We Are Idomas And Not Cross Riverians; Yala People
Have you ever wished you were an indigene of another state other than Benue?
It must have been because of a very strong reason then, well may be because of this one that has prompted the Yala people of Cross River State to refer to Benue State as their home.
The Yala people of Cross River State are believed to be a subgroup of the Idoma nation, but how true is this?
According to traditional history, Iduh, the father of the Idoma had several children who each established different areas. Hence the expression: “Iduh the father of Idoma”. Iduh who begot the whole Idoma had the following children: Ananawoogeno who begot the children of Igumale; Olinaogwu who begot the people of Ugboju; Idum who begot the people of Adoka; Agabi who begot the people of Otukpo; Eje who begot the people of Oglewu; Ebeibi who begot the people of Umogidi and Odeh who begot the people of Yala. While there may be some truth to the above, the Idoma cannot be said to have a unitary origin. Many Idoma groups and village subsets have their own histories complete with stories about how their people arrived at their current location.
So, it might be that the Yala people wandered too far from home, landing at the present location. One thing that baffles me is the ease with which one who is grounded in idoma language can understand Yala language. In my interaction with a Yala man recently when I visited Ugaga (a district in Yala Local Government Area) for a traditional marriage ceremony, he confidently told me they will one day return home.
The big question however is that will they live the high recognition they now have in Cross River State in pursuit of a home history told them is theirs?