Igede Is Not Idoma, We Are Not Historical, Biological Or Culturally Related

Culture, Stories 7/04/2017 by Comrade Andyson Iji Egbodo, Coordinator, Igede Youth Coalition

Adirahu Igede: Who is afraid of Igede?

Suffice to begin this piece by stating from the get go that Igede are a unique people.

Occupying majorly two local governments in Benue State, Obi and Oju with some pockets in Konshisha, Gwer West local governments and also parts of Cross River State, Igede are often marginalised especially by our more populous neighbors.

Attempts are constantly made bundle us under some larger interest but it’s important to note the fact that Igede is unique and should always be treated as such.

This fact has been the crux of the struggle for self actualisation for the Igede people especially independence from our neighboring Idoma and it’s traditional and political oligarchy. It was important to begin there and establish very clearly that Igede cannot be summarised under Idoma because we are not historically, biologically and culturally related. We may share boundaries but we are not the same. Whilst the Idoma are traceable to the Kwararafa dynasty, Igede trace their origin to present day Edo state.

The first person to probably give this ideology serious attention was the late Fr Moses Orshio Adasu, the second civilian governor of Benue state. Being from Konshisha local government area which has indigenous Igede, he was probably conversant with this view and his leadership provided an opportunity to liberate the Igede. He was the first to moot the promulgation of chieftaincy laws in the state that will liberate the Igede and establish for us a separate traditional arrangement separate from the Idoma and hence our own first class chief, the Adirahu Ny’Igede.

This piece will not be complete without the history of the Igede and the seat of the Ochi’Idoma, the traditional head of Idoma and Igede as it were. Following the death of the Och’Idoma I, HRH Ogiri Oko, the 22 district heads within Idoma met and chose Ajene Okpabi as Och’Idoma II even though he was from the minority Igede tribe. He had lived with and served his predecessor and even married his daughter, enough to be treated as part of the family but his selection as Och’Idoma was met with objections from some quarters and these objections were based on the belief that the Igedes are not Idomas and as such someone considered a “stranger” should not ascend the throne of Och’Idoma.

Despite the early challenges, the leader in Ajene Okpabi saw him overcome them and he would go on to reign for 35 years but this arrangement was never going to repeat itself again. Subsequent years of agitation for the Adutu Igede, the highest ranking traditional ruler in Igede, to be upgraded to the status of the likes the Tor Tiv (Tiv ruler) and Och’Idoma looked bleak but the seed planted by former governor, Moses Adasu in creating the Chieftaincy of the Adirahu Ny’Igede was watered by successive civilian administrations of former Governors George Akume and Gabriel Suswam, and given increase by His Excellency, Governor Samuel Ortom to what we have today.

God willing, tomorrow, the entire Igede nation would gather to actualise our years of struggle and produce a traditional leader in substance of the Adirahu Ny’Igede. However, in the words of Amit Kalantri

“the beginning in itself has no value, it is an end which makes beginning meaningful, we must end what we begun.”

It will be important to carry out tomorrow’s exercise in the spirit and doggedness that characterised our struggle over the decades as it is not over until it’s over. The forces that plagued us all through our history have not stopped at anything to ensure that we still loose it, even at our point of collective victory. As it is a victory for us, it’s also a loss for others who would stop at nothing to subvert our joy for their personal aggrandisement.

During a meeting held at the Palace of the Och’Idoma in Otukpo a few months ago to deliberate on how best to implement the amended Chieftaincy laws, HRM Agabaidu Elias Ikoyi Obekpa, the Och’Idoma expressed strong reservation about the laws, saying the continuous agitation by the Igede for a separate traditional institution is a threat to unity and asked well-meaning sons and daughters of the land to rise against it.

He words:

“I wish to point out the disturbing and consistent agitation, by the Igede of Idoma east, to have an “Igede nation” differently from the larger Idoma nation. This agitation,which is threatening the unity of our dear kingdom, should be discouraged, most especially, as the Igedes have never suffered any form of marginalization in the midst of their Idoma Brothers and Sisters.”

Like I said earlier, our collective victory and self actualisation is also a loss for those who enjoy the perpetual dwelling of Igede under their myopic political interest at the detriment of the larger good of the society. And it is alarming to what extent they can go, even recruiting our own brothers in the plot to subvert decades of Igede agitation and the goodwill of the people.

This was palpably evident on March 10th when the scheduled selection of the Adirahu Ny’ Igede held in Oju was botched after government officials who were supposed to midwife the process began to make attempts at subverting it which prompted agitation by the youths. These individuals who internal collaborators claimed to be acting on higher orders from the seat of power in the state, but in a clearly discordant outcome, the state governor, Samuel Ortom made it clear that he has no interest and hence no anointed candidates in the race. When some tried to suggest a move of the exercise to Makurdi as against holding it on Igede soil, he was the first to rebuff.

With all these overtures to overturn our collective progress, one is tempted to ask at this juncture, “who is afraid of Igede and why?” The answer still lies in our spirit, doggedness, strength and resolve to move forward in the right direction. It is my belief that this resolve will once more shine through tomorrow. In the end, whether it will be Professor Johnson Onah, CP Oga Ero or Dr John Ochelle who emerges, it is my prayer that the Adirahu Ny’Igede will be a strong pillar and rallying point for all of us, and a propelling force to pull our race to where we want and ought to be.

Long live Igede
Long live Benue State
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria

14 thoughts on “Igede Is Not Idoma, We Are Not Historical, Biological Or Culturally Related


    Thanks my brother. May God continue to bless you.

  2. Obega Stephen

    You are the best

  3. jonah C.Eleh

    We are Israel no one dare fight us,our right most be deliver..I Pray that our God will raise within us a leader that will fight for our right………………………….. WE are the Definition of BENUE..I love IGEDE

  4. Adeka U. Jerry.

    I love these! Igede is ours and we must work harder to take Igede to the higher level in all ramifications. In all, lets try to be more educate in all fields so that we will not be treated by other tribes. I love Igede! May God protect and bless us.

  5. Ebibi Odeh

    This is such an eye opener. We need to create a rallying point to project our voices for the world to know who we are and what we stand for. Great job.
    Long live Igede

  6. Fola

    Listen 2 yourselves. Wake up to reality please..The people using you for their political gains are the tivs and not the other way round. Ogiri Oko grave Ajene who Served him faithfully his throne because he believed in oneness and never for once saw the Igedes as not Idoma.Its fine if you are agitating for development but to say Igede Is not idoma is akin to saying Agatu is not idoma.

  7. Soul

    The ipob,of idoma land selfish greed, one idoma General through Gen, Abacha gave you Obi local govt

  8. Sieur

    How can Igede people trace their origin to Edo State when their forefathers bore Igbo Biafra names?

  9. Georg Agocha Ojeka

    To Soul: It is not good to wash one’s dirty linen in the market (by displaying innate foul-mouth) against a course whose cause and course u have no control. For, promotion comes neither from the north, south, east nor west but from God alone. Obi Local Government was not given or influenced to be created by any Idoma general. Igede people remain unique and will, as distinct from Idoma people as they are, continue to witness growth and development no matter the opposition and persecution from Sanballat and Tobiah.

  10. Benjamin

    Let us live in peace my poeple

  11. Mysticwarrior

    Igede is a dialect of the idoma language, most igede understand the Idoma language when it is spoken but the idomas don’t understand clearly when igede is spoken.

  12. Gabriel

    My very opinion. Igede people don’t need to see the Idomas ‘ as enemy or blockage to her growth. The Igede people are scattered in the West and other states in Nigeria. Many of our young girls are domestic staff, the males struggle with farm only to save to come and show off every December. Some of the males are either security officers or drivers. Only very few are doing well. Some are too ashamed of their ancestral land (Igede). This is the fundamental problem. Until Igede sons and daughters return home, understand that no one will build their land for them, understand that they are only contributing to the success of other states, their state will be left undeveloped. Population is a big a deal in economic growth and no investor will invest in Igede until he/she sees people living there. If all of us can return home, I am highly optimistic that our land will be developed. I am so bothered about how undeveloped Igede is, How to convince our brothers to return home. I have been away for like 18years. But when I finally traveled home, I saw the need to return home and I am doing just that soon. My people need my skills, they need my strength, they need my idea, they need me to do my part. They need us. But the Idomas are not our enemies, they are rather our closest brother, at least more than the TIV

  13. Ogah

    Igede people are loving and peculiar. No one has suffered like them in Nigeria. They are patience personified. It is time for freedom and emancipation. We claim brotherhood with idomas, but we have never been one in reality.

  14. Philip

    My prayer today for Igede people is, as how God delivered Israel from the land of their enemies we will also have that full Independent in Jesus name (Amen). And all Sons and Daughters of Igede am appealing to u to come back from where u are so that u too will develop ur own land Igede.
    We will remains bless forever


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