Igala Cultural Carnival

April 3, 2018

The Cultural Carnival organised by Who’s Who in Igalaland powered by Amodu Hilary and Madira Group headed by Indira Mariam, the event is scheduled for 16th June, 2018 at the Kogi State University Stadium, Anyigba.

The abolition of the provincial and regional administrative units in 1967 led to the merging of the then Ilorin and Kabba Provinces to form Kwara State with its capital in Ilorin. In 1976, following the creation of more states nationwide, the former Igala Division was excised and merged with Benue Province to form Benue State with capital in Makurdi. However, on 27th August, 1991, the former Kabba Province and Benue was carved out as Kogi State with capital in Lokoja. The creation of the state was indeed a significant development for its citizens. This is because it brought about the re-union of a people who had co-existed peacefully within a common polity for over 100 years before they were separated in 1976 following the creation of more states which took the former Igala Division to Benue State and left the other parts in Kwara State.

Igala Cultural Carnival is an intending cultural show with the objective of using our rich cultural traits to enhance unity, development, love and molding our image positively.

The Igala Cultural Carnival today has several endorsements among which is the Federal Ministry of Culture and Information, Kogi State Government, His Royal Majesty-Ata Igala, National Council for Arts and Culture, National Orientation Agency, Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation and Dekina Local Government Area Council.

There are many forest in the Igala Kingdom. These forests yield valuable timber especially Iroko, Mahogany. The oil palm grows wild and is one of the most important economic trees. The forests and the grassland in the area contain animals like elephants, lions, leopards, hyenas, bush cows, bush pigs, monkeys, gorillas and other animals.

The Kingdom is also endowed with some mineral resources such as coal (Okaba, Dekina), Iron ore (Itobe, Dekina), Petroleum and Natural gas (Ibaji and along the Benue trough), Lime (Ofu) Tin (Dekina, Ofu) Limestone (Ofu) Gypsium (Ofu) etc.

The majority of the Igala people are farmers and Igalaland could be called the food belt of the nation. The kingdom is blessed with extensive fertile soil. The main agricultural produce include the following:yams, rice, cassava, maize, guinea corn, millet, palm produce, fruits, vegetables and livestock. Poultry farming is also done in the area. Some farmers also engage in hunting, fishing and trapping as subsidiary occupations.

The fertile agricultural land facilitates the production of food and cash crops in commercial quantities especially palm produce, cassava and rice. As a result, agro-allied industries like cassava/garri, rice, palm produce, mills are found in the area, where such commodities are found they exist in commercial quantities.

Lumbering was once lucrative occupation. Today as a result of the introduction of hand motor-saws, the forests have been vandalized; only a few economic trees are left in the forests.

Fishing is another important occupation of the people, done mostly by the communities living along the rivers Niger and Benue. It should be noted that there is annual flooding in the Ibaji area by the river Niger between August and September. In October, the receding floods leave large quantities of fish in Ibaji rivers and ponds. This makes fishing one of the most important economic activities of Ibaji people.

Since ancient times Igala people practiced Igala traditional religion. The head of the Igala Traditional religion was the Ata lgala, a priest-king who guided the celebration of Igala national festivals like the Ocho, Oganyi and Ngu (festivals). As a result of the activities of Moslem and Christian preachers, the number of Igala practicing the traditional religion has drastically reduced.

Islam as a religion reached the Igala Kingdom through trade and commerce in the l7th century AD. As a religion, the first Atah Igala to recognize it was His Royal Majesty Ata Ayegba Oma Idoko. The first Ata to become a Muslim is His Royal Majesty Alhaji Dr. Aliyu Obaje. Through his influence and activities, Islam has expanded tremendously in Igala Kingdom. European and American missionaries introduced Christianity into the region at the beginning of 20th century AD. The earliest missionaries introduced western education. Most of the earliest Igala elites were those who went to the local Christian missionary schools (in the area).

The Ata Royal clans or families at Idah are divided into four Ruling families. The institution of Ata therefore rotates within these four ruling houses.‘ Their founders are
1. Akogu,
2. Ocholi,
3. Amacho and
4. Itodo Aduga.
Their descendants are known as Aju Akogu, Aju Ocholi, Aju Acho and Aju Itodo Aduga. But the descendants of Itodo Aduga (Aju Itodo Aduga) and the descendants of Amacho (Aju Ama cho) could be called Aju Aku or Aju Akumabi, because Ata Akumabi was the founder of the group before it was split into two for political reasons.

Sule Isa Akagwu Kpaleko
Anyigba – Kogi State.

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