Historical records of Igala kings – The Igala Empire

Historical records of Igala kings - The Igala Empire

Historical records of Igala kings – The Igala Empire

Historical records of Igala kings – The Igala Empire  A major contributing factor to this observed chasm is the ancient traditional practice (which exists till today) whereby, of all the multitude of royalties that have ruled Igalaland, only nine (9) graves are left standing at the Royal Necropolis at Ọ́jáina, Ídá, at any material time. Whenever an Ata passes on and is buried, the tenth grave is always leveled to the ground in order to obliterate the identity of all his numerous predecessors. Similarly, there are always nine existing royal sceptres (òkwùtẹ̀) in the Ata’s Palace to correspond with the nine royal graves, Historical records of Igala kings – The Igala Empire
Lamenting the relative inadequacy of records on the lives and times of Igala monarchs, particularly those who reigned in the prehistoric and pre-colonial periods, he cited the examples of the ancient kings discussed in the Books of Kings and Chronicles, like Solomon, David and so on upon whom abundant records exist in the Holy Book.

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 This practice, coupled with the fact that Igalas do not erect statues of their past or present kings, has deprived book-makers the opportunity to assemble and maintain accurate statistics of the Atas that have ruled them in the kingdom’s entire history. This has also occasioned blank spaces regarding both the durations of their tenures and their respective achievements. For instance, during the visit of the second British Expedition to the River Niger (and Ídá) in 1841, the Europeans had observed that “not even one member of the Atta’s kingdom (including the King himself) could write his own name,” unlike the situation in Lagos, Old Calabar and other coastal monarchies that already had generations of highly educated citizens. Even in the neighbouring Benin Kingdom, the Portuguese had been present and imparting western education Historical records of Igala kings – The Igala Empire
It should also be noted that Reverend Samuel Ajayi Crowther who was a member of the 1841 Expedition, was informed that Ata Àámẹ́ẹ̀ Òchéje who was on the throne then, was the 20th Ata to rule Igalaa. The question then is: How come that Ágábáìdu Ata Ìdákwó Àámẹ́ẹ̀ Òbòní II still remains the 27th Àtá-Igáláà in 2016? Does it mean that, since that time, only six Atas have ruled in the land? This is an eloquent testimony of abundant loss of records. (See “The Lost Kings of Jukun…Dynasty” at pp.600-601 of my book, An Igala-English Lexixon) for details Historical records of Igala kings – The Igala Empire .
Dr. Ìgọ̀nọ́ also wanted to know if there was a royal archive at the Ata’s Palace. My answer to that is in the affirmative, even though I have not been there to see what records exist therein. I intend to pay a visit to Éfọfẹ to search and I am sure that Gabaidu, Ata Idakwo Àámẹ́ Òbòní II, who I am privileged to call my friend – who himself is a celebrated writer – will grant me unfettered access.
Dr. Ìgọ̀nọ́ also wanted to know if I had any colonial records left by the Divisional Officers (D.O.s). My answer, again, is Yes. In fact, I have a copy of a compilation of research publications on various aspects of Igala being, titled, Anthropological and Historical Notes on the Igala People, which I lavishly quoted in the lexicon, courtesy of my great, humble, unassuming and knowledgeable friend, Dr. John Ọ̀gbadú, one of the pillars on which my book is anchored.
You’ll agree with me, fellow compatriots, that there is a lot of work to be done and so many missing links in our history and anthropology to fill. Unfortunately, however, there is no institutional support for the young and talented Igala writers who are dying to make a contribution and a difference. Many who have attempted to do so have had to rest their pens and keep their resources, the peanuts we call salaries, to feed their families. That one is still on one’s feet, involved in Igala writing today, owes to one’s perseverance and the will to succeed, come what may, for the greater glory of the motherland.
Right now, there are young Igalas, both at individual and group levels, who want to research into and write on Igala language, history and culture but where is the support and encouragement coming from?
These willing, young men and women are courageous enough to want to take up the gargantuan challenge that faces us as a people in modern times but are constrained; hence, we wait in vain for our governments at all levels to come to our rescue, as we watch our language, history and culture go to shreds. Think about it, ‘àmonómele mi,’ it is a really sad situation. If I told you what I went through in a solo effort that culminated in the publication of my book, An Igala-English Lexicon, until a handful of friends, families and compatriots came to my rescue at the production stage, you would weep for me… for our mother-tongue and for the motherland. I wish someone would come to our rescue. As experts have predicted, in 50 to 70 years’ time, most Nigerian languages and cultures, including Igalaa, would be D€ad as a door-nail.
Did I hear you say ‘God firbid?’

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