When Talking About The History Of Igala Kingdom one need to accept the facts that Igala is another big ethnic language in Nigeria. Igalas are mostly indigenes of Kogi state, but are also indigenous in other states across the country.
In Kogi state, the headquarter of the Igala people is Idah, but it is still not the most popular place in Igala land. The most popular place in Igala land is Anyimba, probably because of the Kogi state University situated there.
History Of Igala Kingdom
Igala kingdom was found in the sixteenth century by Abutu-Eje. The Igala Mela containing nine officials were the rulers of the kingdom as at that time, these officials were the conservators of the earth shrine, who also became very well known in the mid-17th century.
The first leader or ruler of the Igala kingdom which is called”Attah” was Ebule- Jonu who was a woman. After she died, her brother; Agana- Poje succeeded her. This Agana-Poje had a done who also succeeded him after his death. Agana-Poje’s son was Idoko and he had two sons in which one was to succeed him.
Idoko’s children Atiyele and Ayegba could not both rule the Igala kingdom, only one of them could. Ayegba was popularly called Ayegba Om’ Idoko meaning Ayegba son of Idoko and thereafter he succeeded his father to become the Attah of Igala Land, who later led a war between Igala people and the Jukun. The Igala came out of the war being victorious.
On the other hand, Atiyele went to the Eastern part of the kingdom to establish Ankpa kingdom.
The kingship of the Igala kingdom was circulated to reach the four royal clans of the Igalas.
The war of mutual independence between Idah and Benin took place between 1515 to 1516.
Afterwards, the Igala kingdom became commercially and politically supreme as it became a lead exporter of slaves, medicine, horses, beads and skills to the coastal region.
Their economic power grew gradually and changed the Dynamics of the complex relationship they had earlier with several Idoma communities.
The Igala people are found in towns and villages across Kogi state in Nigeria. In atown where there are up to 1000 Igala people, a chief is selected to act as the head, representing the overall Attah of Igala in that town.
Up till date there has been 27 Attah of Igala that have ruled the Igala kingdom consecutively. Last Attah if Igala who died in December 2020, was selected after the death of the former Attah, Alhaji Aliyu Obaje in 2012, his name was Idakwo Michael Ameh the second. After his death another ruler is yet to be crowned but there has been a nomination from the clan that is next in line to take the place of Attah and rule the kingdom.
The Homeland of the Igala kingdom before was approximately 14,000km I’m the area formed by the Niger and Venue rivers. The area is was the former Igala division of Kabba province, which is now a part of Kogi state. The central capital of the Igala people in Kogi state is Idah.
The population of the people is about 2,000,000 to 4,000,000.
Over the years, some of the Igala people have brought the Igala kingdom to lime light. Some of this people are:
Jeremiah Attah Ochu
Ogwu James Onoja
Emmanuel Dangana Ocheja
THE IGALA PEOPLE do not only belong to Kogi state there also some Igala people that are indigenes of other states. These states are, Adamawa,Anambra, Benue, Delta, Edo, Enugu, Kogi, Nasarawa and Niger with Kogi being ancestral home of the Igala people.
it is also known that Igala and Igbo belong to the same language family known as new Venue Congo family.
Igala Traditional Festival
The Igala Traditional Festivals are numerous and we are going to list just few of it.
List of Igala Traditional Festivals:
1. Oganyi Angwa Festival.
2. Italo Festival.
3. Ocho Festival.
The Oganyi Angwa festival is an annual festival celebrated by the Angwa people of Idah in Kogi State. Igala people are dynamic altogether roundification of life and their culture/festival are unique. This festival takes place Saturday between Easter and Good Friday and it’s an interesting event.
The Italo festival is an annual assembly of all Igala sons and daughters reception and abroad involving traditional music and dances at Anyigba. During this festival, the Attah of Igala (the paramount ruler of the Igala Kingdom) makes a special address to his subjects.
The Ocho Festival of Igala people, tagged Igala Unity Festival, is an ancient hunting festival that asserts the start of a replacement hunting and farming season for the people of Igala kingdom.
Igala tradition may be a product of culture and an integral a part of African culture. The concept of God is central to religion and thus constitutes one among the central themes of the cultures in Africa generally . The Igala traditional concept of God may be a belief within the God whom they call Ọjọ.
The culture of Igala people is extremely much like the culture of most other Nigerian, especially those from geographical middle belt, South ward to the coast.
Cultural practices like kinship, funeral ceremonies, belief, marriage, masquerades, modes of dress, body atonement, etc are very almost like those of other Nigerians within the sub-region mentioned above.
As an example , the Egwu of the Idoma, the Eku of Ebira, the Guru and therefore the Ndakogboya of the Nupe which have some slight differences. The Ogani festival performed at Ankpa is additionally celebrated within the southern parts of Plateau State, especially within the Umaisha and parts of Nassarawa state.