ICON: Alhaji Ibrahim Onoruoiza Atta (1884 - 1964)

He was born about the year 1884. His father was Chief Otaru of Kuroko of Ozudu clan; his mother was Zainab Ejinovo, popularly known as Iyebe.

As a young man, he learnt the art of statesmanship from his grandfather, Atta Omadivi; he also learnt business from his industrious mother, and was widely travelled. He was a fast learner and learnt to speak different languages – Hausa, Nupe, Igala, Edo, Tiv, Yoruba, Igbo, Pidgin English.

Atta Ibrahim ruled over Ebiraland between 1917 – 1954, as the first British appointed Chief who exercised influence over the entire Ebiraland. He demonstrated great patriotism and devotion to his domain, evidenced in the many developmental projects he accomplished during his reign. As early as 1923, the first Native Authority School (NA) was founded in Okene. His appreciation of education as a tool for the future saw his own children pursuing scholarship in and outside Nigeria. Amongst his many distinguished children are:

 

1. Alhaji AbdulMalik Atta, Nigeria’s first High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

 

2. Abdulaziz Atta, Nigeria’s first Head of Service and Secretary to the Federal Military Government during Gowon regime.

 

3. Dr. AbdulMumini Atta, the second qualified medical doctor in Northern Nigeria.

 

4. Alh. Adamu Atta, first Executive Governor of Kwara State.

 

5. Judith Sefi Atta, first female Chief Education Officer in the North; later, Ambassador to Italy; first Minister for Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, etc.

 

6. Alh. Aliyu Atta, former Inspector General of Police.

 

7. His Majesty. Ado Ibrahim, present Ohinoyi of Ebiraland.

 

8. Alh. Mahmud Atta, Protocol Officer to the Premier of Northern region; later, Chairman of First Bank Nigeria.

 

9. Mrs. Rekiya Scott, first qualified Nursing Sister in the North.

 

10. Alh. Abdullahi Atta, first Nigerian Resident Ambassador to Cuba; later, to Canada.

 

11. Alh. M.O Atta, a prominent Businessman in Kaduna.

 

12. Alh. Idris Atta, former GM at Ajaokuta Steel Project, etc.

 

The Atta exposed his domain to the outside world through the construction of a network of roads, effectively positioning Okene as the gateway between the North and South.

Realizing the essence of portable water for the health of his people, the Atta, in 1937, constructed a dam for Okene to provide pipe borne water for the township which is still serving the Okene populace.

He was the first Anebira to learn the Quran and spearheaded the construction of a befitting central mosque at Okene which is still been used till date. He also welcomed and accomodated the first missionaries who freely propagted the teachings of Christianity.

His Highness, Alhaji. Ibrahim Onoruoiza Atta died in 1964; never to be forgotten.

His 51st anniversary of passing away was marked earlier this year, may Allah grant him mercy and Jannah; and further strengthen the legacies he bequeathed to his many descendants. Ameen.

 Credit: Kashim Usman

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