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HomeCulture/TraditionSignificance of Imane to the Expansion of Igala Kingdom.

Significance of Imane to the Expansion of Igala Kingdom.

Imane are Igala tribes from Olamaboro LGA, Kogi state Nigeria. Which practice a number of different religions, including Islam, Christianity and Pegan . The home of Imane the people rule by Onuh Odah Ojiji is situated east of the River Niger and Benue confluence and astride the Niger in Lokoja.

In Igala tradition, infants from some part of the kingdom like Imane and Ankpa people receive three deep horizontal cut on each side of the face above the corners of the mouth as a way of identifying each other. They are intelligent and mostly farmers.

A brief history of Imane in Igala Kingdom: When the Ebule Jonu the daughter of Abutu Eje stepped into her father shoes and left Amagede to Idah Amagede is the present (Omala) she was installed as the First Attah Igala. After colonization of Ochekwu Amara (Omala) occurred in early 17 century, and Ayegba’s arrival at Idah towards close. This tradition is generally accepted by the present Attah ruling family at Idah.

However, after the death of (Attah Ebulejonu) her brother Aganapoje was installed as the Attah Igala. When Aganapoje died Idoko was installed as Attah Igala, after the dead of Attah Idoko, Atiyele as the elder son of Idoko Eje was a hunter he went to a bush on returning from bush he realized that his father died, he want to step in his father’s shoe the kingmakers already crowned his younger brother Ayegba Oma Idoko as the Attah of Igala. When Ayegba OmaIdoko was crowned Atiyele the father of Idoko Eje and Oguchekwo, immigratedd to Imane for the expansion of Igala Kingdom.

The royal clans or families at Idah are divided into (4) ruling families. The institution of Attah rotates within these four royal families. Their founders are Ocholi, Akogu, Akumabi and Amacho.

Atiyele the first son of Attah Idoko, the son HRM Aganapoje, the grandson of Abuttu Eje, left Idah for Imane for the expansion of Igala Kingdom.. As he came to Imane he stayed under Akpata Odah While some children from Otoko clan in Omelewu Agaliga Imane, the present Olamaboro L.G.A, Kogi state came to fetched fruits they saw a man with royal mask (ejubejuailo) and beads on his wrist, the children ran home with fear and called their fathers, the father picked his gun and followed them to the bush. Immediately Atiyele saw him he began to praise him with Igala (Ajodoche) i.e the hunter, then the man from Otoko clan replied again with Igala slogans Odah Ojiji Kidigbili. He was installed as the Odah Ojiji of Imane and he extended his administration to Etteh, Igah Ankpa, Ojokwu, part of Enjema, Inye and Okenyi respectively.

Odah Ojiji Royal clan is made up of five (5) families: Ohiemi, Idede, Okolikotu, Aloga and Onyunka.

AOMA OTOKO: Aoma Otoko Were in Omelewu/ Agaliga Imane. the founder of Oto-oko linearge migrated from their ancient centre in the vicinity of the River Omul- lewu, located in Igala – Idoma boundary in the area of Ugbokolo. Atiyele the founder of Imane kingdom imigrated from Idah, he sat under Akpata Odahd, children from Otoko clan came to the bush to look for survival, they saw a person with royal regalia and they were panic and ran to their father ie ONUH Otoko, he prepared himself and picked his gun to go and trace that person. Then when Atiyele saw him he praised him with Igala slogans (Ajodoche) and Onu Otoko replied with royal honored Odaojiji Kidigbili. That was where The name Odaojiji emanated from. Otoko clan where in Imane before Odah. Otoko picked Odah from bush and directed him to staid by his left side at Ugbodo Agaliga Efabo Imane . That paved way for Idede and Ohiemi clan to rule for long decades. But my mother’s great grand father Abbah Odah Itodo and his son Atiyele rules that power begin to rotate amongst the 5 rulling house’s.

Aoma Ochimane: the first settlers and inhabitants of Imane before the advent of Igala kingdom.Extends their hands of relationship and mutual co-existence to give out their daughters Anukpa to Okolikotu for marriage.

In olden days, if something terrible happened in IMANE community it was ochimane people that will perform their traditional rites to curb the menace out of the community, and they have some professional herbal doctor that cure fracture, snake bite etc. Although, Muslims and Christian in IMANE considered any traditional rites as fetish in our generation. And there is a saying that Ochimane Imane lineage is believed to have originated from the sky.

This is graphically demonstrated in the saying, Ochimame Otutulubatu Oma owo gli gbaje meaning, ” Ochimane the great people from the sky”.

OKOLIKOTU married one of his wife from Ochimane, named ANUKPA and his second wife is from ETTE original Igala present Olamaboro LGA, she gave birth to ONYEKE and OGUCHE respectively.

Meanwhile, Islam came to Imane through some scholars. The first person that established Islam in Imane was a muslim scholar called Baba Ogbo Momoh who left Okenyi for Imane. He reside at Efachipu. After him the first indigen who started the propagation of Islam in Imane is Imam Hammeed, he was the first Imam of Imane. Then Juma’at Mosque at Ebuloko was the only mosque . According to the history when the population of muslims increased he ordered the building of Efekpe Central Mosque Imane in 1982. He established the second Central mosque at Efekpe Imane. How ever Imam Hammeed started the journey with some of his loyalist namely Mallam Shaibu ochai, Mallam Salifu Ukpoju, Mallam Yunusa at Aboh Ojoche Imane.Also they are some people who originated from Kano named Mallam Balarabe and Ameh Akpa whose settled at Mabeyi Ododa Imane. Then some other sets of indigenous scholars Alhaji Adamu Ameloko Odah. Mallam Yusuf Ameh who also returned from Aloko for Islamic education. Alhaji Adamu the son of Ameloko Odah was the first person to perform pilgrimage to Mecca. He made the journey by foot. How eve, Alhaji Abu Ochimane returned from Otukp where he acquired his Islamic Education. and Alhaji Zakari Abdullahi later returned from Ankpa where he acquired Islamic Education. They really make use of knowledge and experiences to spread Islam and put monotheist into their lives. After that, they are other pioneers who contributed to the expansion of Islamic religion in Imane, people like Alhaji Hassan Eneche aka Alh Elubelu, Mallam Salifu Ohi, Mallam Adamu Ochai, Mallam Abu Kurun, Mall Jibrin Ochai, Mallam Musa Obalekpe, Mallam Ibrahim Ochimane, Mallam IDi Ojamodah ochai, Mall Usman Ochai etc.

Christianity came to Imane by Christian missionary to promote Christian religion and western education; for instance Roman Catholic Mission was introduced in Imane in early 1940 to promote Christian and western education in Imane.

The early Christian converts include late Peter Okpe, the first catechist, late MU Illah, EN Adejo, late Patrick Omachoko and other friends of Canadian. Peoples like REV. FATHER MICAH, MR EJELU etc serving in Catholic Church Imane, contributed a lot to promote western education in Imane kingdom.

Finally, ATIYELE came from Idah with some Igala Royal Tradition such as Odechi, Olele, Ugboro, Otegwu, Olageyi, Egu Attah etc. He later died in 1557 and was buried at Royal burial ground ie UloOJA AMOMA OFE AJATTAH. Agaliga Efabo Imane.

The history of the Igala Kingdom by Joseph N Ukwede C1534 – 1854, Arewa House studies Series. Page 55 and 170. Late Alhaji Baba BB, the former waziri Eje of Ankpa, HRH onu odaojiji of Imane, Mr Salifu Ibrahim, District head of Imane, HRH Mallam Shaibu Abbah, Mallam Usman Ochai, Anaja ogaku of Imane, HRH Mallam Hassan Hammeed, Arone Odah ojiji of Imane, Sir Sylvester Onoja, Akomu Attah Igala Dooga, HRH Mr Okoko Ajodoche of Otoko Omolewu Imane, HRH Sir John Agoli, Ochai Odah ojiji of Imane, Amana Odah ojiji of Imane, Ogala Negbulu Odah ojiji of Imane, Achadu Onu Odah ojiji of Imane. HRH Mr Paul Emeje, Omachi Odah of Imane.

Ali Yakubu Salihu
The great grandson,
Of Ayeba Odah written from
Kaduna, Nigeria.



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