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The people of Alago in Nasarawa State 

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Ibrahim Mohammed Funsho

Nigeria is a heterogeneous society with over 250 million ethnic groups and languages but notable among these many entities are; Hausa-Fulani in the Northern axis of the country; the Yoruba nation in the Western part; and the enterprising Igbo in the Eastern axis of the country.

Apart from these three major ethnic groups in Nigeria, it will be absurd not to bring to the fore, some other wonderful tribes. Also worthy of recognition is the Alago tribe, one of the major ethic groups in today’s Nasarawa State.

The people of Alago tribe at present are occupying 3 local government areas in Nasarawa- Obi, Keana, Doma, including Assakio (a community within Lafia local government area).

Before the creation of the state by the then Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, in 1996, the people of Alago were subordinately and geographically part of Plateau State, in the North Central Nigeria.

Tracing the path of history, it is established that the Alago nation originally migrated from the defunct Jukun Kingdom (nestled in present day Taraba State) as far back as 800 AD as they finally found their homes in Keana; Doma; Obi; and Assakio respectively.

No historical narration on the people of Alago tribe will be complete without an apt reference to Akyana Adi – a titanic ancestor and leader of the Alago nation who till this minute, remains their pathfinder from Jukun Kingdom to their present destinations.

Topographic Features:

Keana, Doma, Obi and Assakio (ancestral homes of the Alago folks) are characterized by both flat and rocky terrains. They are blessed with attractive and scintillating scenery. And their ever-flowing rivers are; Akyana Bgobgo; Akyana Poole and One.

The Alago nation sits at an expense of land estimated at about 3,762.1km² and a total population of about 219.607 at the 2006 census. Alago as a language has about 219.607 native speakers.

The dominant religions practised by the vast majority are: Islam and Christianity with an extremely tinny population of traditional believers.

In terms of indigenous economic activities, the land is blessed with industrious men and women who take enormous joy in fending for their various households through their sweats. But there is one popular belief that farming is a reserve for men and salt business (both extraction and refining) is predominantly women’s economic venture.

Inter-tribal marriage is highly encouraged among the people of Alago. This is evident in the agelong peaceful co-habitation with neighbouring tribes such as; Gwandara; Eggon; Koro; Tiv and many others.

Their several palatable local delicacies made the tribe stand exceptional in the league of other tribes in the country. One of these delicacies is Madidi (or alternatively called Agidi)- it is porridge made of corn powder. Madidi can be served with either Moi-moi, beans, or vegetable soup.

While the tribe might sound strange and perhaps unfamiliar, it is pretty interesting to learn that Alago as a tribe has produced (still producing) many notable individuals who had served (and still serving) the country in different capacities, popular among them are;

1. Alhaji Ahamadu Oga Onawo (Andoma of Doma).

2. Alhaji Abdulahi Osana Hayattudeen (Emir of Keana).

3. Mike Omeri (A former Director General, National Orientation Agency).

4. Musa Elaborate (A Former Minister of State For Justice Under Olusegun Obasanjo).

5. Alhaji Aliyu Akwe Doma (A former governor of Nasarawa State).

6. Yahya Adam Major (Former Majority Leader in the State House of Assembly).

7. Hamza Elayo (Secretary to the State Government during Tanko Al-Makura’s first term).

8. Senator Suleiman Adokwe (former Senator)

There are thousands of personalities of Alago extraction, but just to mention a few.

Source: Mallam Abubakar Eselema.

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