By Adamu Ojonugwa.
As the 27th Atta Igala, Dr. Idakwo Michael Ameh Oboni II embarks on a ‘hunting trip of no return’, once the rites are concluded, the process to select the 28th Atta will begin in earnest.
The next Atta Igala will definitely be a descendant of Ayegba. The descendants of Ayegba currently have four ruling houses: Ocholi dynasty, Aju Akwu dynasty, Aju Amacho and Aju Akogwu. After one family rules, the others take their turn.
The 27th Atta, Ameh Oboni II, was appointed into office on Wednesday, March 6 2013 by the former Governor of Kogi state, Captain Idris Wada. The appointment followed the laid down procedure according to the Igala Native Law and Customs as it relates to the selection and appointment of a successor to the throne of Attah Igala. Atta Ameh Oboni II reigned for seven years.
However, before Atta Ameh Oboni II embarked on a hunting trip with his ancestors, he spoke about Atta Igala selection process.
In an interview published in the August 26, 2017 edition of PUNCH, the 27th Atta Igala said; “Even the woman frying akara on the road knows the family that will produce the next Atta.“
He explained further: “After the ruling family has selected the Attah, being the next family in line, they would be asked to come and meet a chief called Etemayi and announce that their family has already zeroed in on one person as the next Attah. Then the Etemayi will go to the Achadu (the next person to the Attah) and tell him that a successor has been found. Then he would examine him to see if he is physically fit and without deformity. He will also check if he is a stammerer.
“A stammerer cannot be the Attah. You must be of average height and you must be athletic in appearance. Without all these qualities, Achadu can disqualify the candidate and tell the family to produce another candidate. If the deformity is obvious, the Achadu will disqualify the candidate because traditionally, the Attah- to- be is going to be the wife of the Achadu so he must have good qualities and everything must be working in his body.
“After that, the Attah-elect must have to proceed to Ugwolawo, about 16miles away from Idah on the way to Anyigba, where he will pass the night. He will start the journey of 16 miles back to Idah by foot before coronation is started. When the coronation ceremony starts properly in Idah, they will go to the burial ground and carry nine Ifa priests in the night, and all the priests would stay and do their divination to see how the Attah’s reign would be and whether he would be so harsh on the kingdom that would cause them to go to war or whether he would be the one that would bring about peace.
“The Attah is not expected to eat or dance in the public. He is not expected to shake hands with any woman. The Attah is not expected to behold an infant except he is over three months. The Attah does not enter a canoe. He is not expected to see a dead body. The Attah by his position is expected to protect the originality of the people through governance on the throne. A blessing from the Attah is considered as the blessing from the highest priest of the land.
“If finally they agree the Attah would be crowned, he would be crowned the following morning.”