Gov Bello Planning to Install His Aide, Okoliko Opaluwa as Next Atta Igala?

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Tongues have started to wag over the suspicion that Prince Okoliko Opaluwa, a Senior Special Assistant to Kogi State Governor, may be banking of his closeness to the corridors of power to emerge as next Atta Igala.

Prince Okoliko, a bonafide son of the Aju Ameacho ruling house, has blatantly refused to step down for his elder brothers and uncles despite being the least favoured according to the traditions.

Princes Igono Adaji, Okoliko Opaluwa, Ocholi Opaluwa, Mathew Opaluwa, Samuel Opaluwa and Isah Achimugu from the Aju Ameacho ruling house are all in the race to succeed Idakwo Ameh Oboni as the next Atta Igala.

However, Okoloko’s chest-beating postures is sending worrisome signals to the revered kingdom as many are beginning to ask if the Governor Yahaya Bello has sinister plans to install the least contender as the next Atta.

It worth mentioning that the Atta Igala stool is built on strong traditions and the process for selecting Atta is plain and well understood by the average Igala.

The Aju Ameacho ruling house has stayed over 101 years without producing the Atta.

Barely two weeks ago, at a meeting convened in Idah by Prince Yahaya Etu, a former manager at Central Bank of Nigeria, Prince Samuel Opaluwa was nominated as Aju Ameacho ruling house’s preferred candidate for the coveted Atta stool.

Etu said Samuel Opaluwa was nominated being the eldest among the contenders.

However, in a swift response, Prince Peter Achimugu Oguche-Akpa, dissociated the Aju Ameacho family from the purported nomination of Samuel Opaluwa.

In a terse statement, Prince Oguche-Akpa insisted that he is the eldest living member of the Ajumachor family and the only legally recognized person to summon a meeting of the entire family or selected elders of the family and preside over such for the selection of the family member to be presented to the kingmakers.

In a statement issued over the weekend, another top contender for the Atta Igala stool, Prince Onuche Gabriel Opaluwa called on the people and the kingmakers in Igala kingdom not to make the mistake of choosing a wrong person to the throne.

Prince Onuche said any error in the selection will have negative impact on the kingdom in years to come. He said the world is keenly watching as how the new Atta will emerge from among the contestants.

He said coronation must be based according to the tradition of the kingdom and the laid down rules.

“I am the bonafide heir to the throne of Attah Igala and I shall abide by the ethics and regulations of the Igala Area Traditional Council as well as modified native and custom order of the traditional council in Kogi state. 

“I shall implore all necessary impetus to make Igala Kingdom great in the comity of nations,” he said.

He appealed to the government, kingmakers and other relevant stakeholders to consider him as the bonafide heir and install him on the throne since the tradition and customs of the land favours him.

Prince Onuche Opaluwa is the son of late Ejeh of Ofu, Peter Edebo Opaluwa who hailed from Aju Ameacho ruling dynasty.

While the ruling house seems to be divided on who should be next Atta among the Princes, the kingmakers are not in doubt as they know the right thing to do based on traditions.

This is a clarion call on the political class to allow the kingmakers do their job without interference in the interest of peace. Igala kingdom is waiting for the coronation of an Atta that will be accepted and respected by all, not a political monarch.

– Adamu Ojonugwa writes from Lokoja.

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