By Augustine Aminu
Chairman of the Central Planning Committee of Igala unity festival, Senator Ahmadu Ali, has said that Ata Igala, Dr Idakwo Michael Ameh Oboni, at a press briefing at the palace, said the festival would commence at 9 o’clock in the morning. All sons and daughters of Igala all over the world are expected to grace the event at Idah.
During the carnival-like event, royal cultural troupes and incarnate beings are expected to entertain the teeming crowd who would gather at the civic centre of Ata Igala’s palace in Idah.
Omachi Ata Igala, Professor Steven Ikani Ocheni, who is also the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, would be the Chairman of the Unity Hunting Festival. Executive Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, would grace the occasion as the Special Guest of Honour; while the Administrators of Local Government Areas in Kogi East are expected as Hosts. During the Festival, the Ata Igala and President Kogi State Council of Chiefs, Dr Idakwo Michael Ameh Oboni, would address the kingdom and use the occasion to pronounce blessings on the land.
Senator Ahmadu Ali said the Ocho would be an epoch-making festival as it had not been witnessed by many who had longed to see it. He said, this would be the beginning of an era in which the Igala nation would come together as one big family known for hard work, peace and determination. Ocho is a festival that shows the Igalas of old as great hunters. To mark it the Ata shot at a live antelope tied to a tree at a designated spot. If he shot on target, the Ocho had won or succeeded, but if he missed it, it meant the Ocho had failed and it spelled bad omen for the land.
Ata Idakwo would perform this symbolic action on 19 May with elements of modernity and exactness in the name of God. Ata had said any part of the Ocho outside unifying the people would be expunged.
He enjoined the public to attend the event in their large numbers. He also called on all religious bodies and groups to pray for a successful festival.