Igala Race Spreads Through 21 States in Nigeria

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By Ayegba Abdullahi Aduojoh and Onoja Johnson Baba.

It is no longer safe to say everyone from Enugu State is an Igbo as it has been discovered that the Igalas too are indigenes of Enugu and many other states in Nigeria aside Kogi where they are predominantly denizen and formed the majority tribe.

Igala as an ethnic group in Nigeria has its original homeland in Kogi state with its headquarters in Idah, the ancient town to the throne of Attah Igala.

In the olden days, Igala people were known with occupations such as farming, hunting, fishing, trading. These occupations led to the movement of many Igalas out of Idah and other Igala territories to locations outside Igalaland. In the process, some did return home while some didn’t but decided to settle down in those places for their occupations.

As a tribe blessed with power to cure people of their sickness with herbs, and so, some Igalas who were medicine men had to move out of Igala ancestral home to where such services were needed, while some were taken by people who needed their services to their community, and would not let them come home again but wooed them with good treatments, sometimes with gift of wives.

Igala people were/are brave and were powerful warriors then, and this had aided them in winning many wars and had their territories secured and defended even against the greatest power in the land. The territories captured by these Igala warriors became theirs as it used to happen in those days where the powerful conquered weak.  Thus, coming back home was not possible for many of them.

More so, some or many Igalas from the royal houses including their maids and sympathizers, especially those related to Attah Igala’s ruling houses, left Idah due to some problems ranging from throne conflict to jealousy in order to establish their territories in a free or empty land where they will be in charge.  Some of these people crossed River Niger and settled in various locations while some migrated towards the eastern part of Idah and settled in various places, and some later embarked of secondary migrations to other virgin places.

This scattering over a large area in the country, and with little or no connection between them and Igalas in the ancestral home, presently in Kogi state had affected the strength and population of Igala people in the country today.

Today, Igala is found to be indigenous of over twenty one states across the nation. This is according to Ayegba Abdullahi Aduojoh’s report in his “Discover and Reconnect indigenous Igalas” project, which he commenced over two years ago. Today, he has discovered the locations of indigenous Igala people across twenty-one states in Nigeria, and has reconnected many of them to the root as many of these communities are already visiting Attah Igala, HRM (Dr) Idakwo Ameh Oboni II in his palace for familiarisation and re-connection.

As found in the “Discover and Reconnect Indigenous Igalas” project report, the twenty-one states (including FCT) in Nigeria where indigenous Igalas are found are;

1. Kogi state: Kogi East, Ajaokuta (Ajaokuta), Adogo, Koton Karfe and Lokoja
2. Nasarawa state: Doma and Toto LGAs
3. Benue state: Otukpo, Otukpa, Agila, Ajomachi, Alifati, etc
4. Niger state: Bida
5. Abuja (Federal capital territory): Abaji
6. Abia state: Umuogu, Amaogu, Umuogwu towns
7. Anambra state:  Anambra west, Aguata, Onitsha, Ofemili, Oko (home town of Late Dr Alex Ekwueme, the first elected VP of Nigeria), Oyi, Amogu, Aguogu, etc
8. Enugu state: Nsukka, Iggah, Abbi, Ibagwas, Enugu Ezike, Ogurugu, Unadu, Obukpa, Nkalagu-Obukpa, Ukpologwu, etc
9. Ebonyi state: Nkalaha, Ikwo, Ezza, Izzi, Izhiamgbo (hometown of Senator Sam Egwu, the first civilian governor of the state and the former minister of education of the federal republic of nigeria),  Okposi, Afikpo, Abakiliki, etc
10. Imo state: Atta community, Ihiajara, Umu-Ogala, Amatta, Oguta, Umu-onu
11. Bayelsa state: Nembe
12. Cross river: Yala, Isobo, Agbo
13. Delta state: Ebu, Aika Ezeolu, Beneku, Obiaruku, Okpanam, okapi, Akoku, Umuebu, Amai, Ugili Amai, Illah, Oko (hometown Late Stephen Keshi, former coach Nigeria supper eagles, and Engr Maduka V., first DG, NTA), Abbi, Aboh, Ossissa, Asaba, Obi Anigala, Owa-Abbi, Onu-Aboh, Aboh, Umuogu, Onu-obuko, Ogute
14. Edo state: Illushi, Anegbete, Agenebode, Ifeku, Inyele (Iňele), Ekpeli, Ikpoha, Igara Jaye (Igala janw)
15. Ekiti state: Ayede Ekiti
16. Lagos state: Isale Eko
17. Osun state: Igila ancient town
18. Rivers state: Ndoni, Nkpolu, Nkoro
19. Taraba state: Wukari
20. Kaduna state: Kakuri, Kaduna south LGA
21. Oyo state: Ibadan town, and still counting.

Although, the Igalas are scattered all over the nation, it was found that they still practice almost similar cultural and traditional activities. With the tribal blood embedded in all Igalas no matter their locations, the tribe will be a force to reckon with among the major tribes in Nigeria if they reconnect and remain under single identity.

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