AN IGALA-ENGLISH LEXICON: Ọtakada Ofe Ukọla Igalaa Alu Ẹnẹfu (2015).

Samuel Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language (1755) was the first most reliable English dictionary that was produced in the early 18th century. His goal was ‘to produce a dictionary by which the pronunciation of our language may be fixed, and its attainment facilitated; by which its purity may be preserved, its use ascertained and its duration lengthened’. A dictionary is a collection of words in one or more specific languages, often arranged alphabetically which may include information on definitions, usage, etymologies, phonetics, pronunciations, translation, or a book of words in one language with their equivalents in another, sometimes known as a lexicon. A bilingual dictionary or translation dictionary is a specialized dictionary used to translate words or phrases from one language to another.

What Samuel Johnson did for the English language in 1755; Noah Webster did for the American in 1806 in the publication of his first dictionary, A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language and Oxford University press did in 1884 in the publication of Oxford English Dictionary: John Jibo Idakwoji has done for the Igala language speakers in 2015, in the publication of his ‘Magnus Opus’: An Igala-English Lexicon- Ọtakada Ofe Ukọla Igalaa Alu Ẹnẹfu. This is a very highly specialised dictionary. As Prof. Gideon Omachonu attests: “it is a product of 33years of painstaking research and compilation, is the richest, largest and most comprehensive single collection of Igala lexemes available so far in Igala language studies and documentation”

This bilingual dictionary with notes on Igala language, history, culture and the Priest-Kings-is a cornucopia of alphabets, tones, grammar, part of speech, dialects, loan-words, borrowed words, proverbs, idioms, sayings, metaphors, tone and tone marks, rituals, ancient Igala numeral system, Igala names and meanings and much more.

This is a landmark in Igala lexicographical history. This is a Magnus opus for the preservation of the purity of Igala language, for the standardization of the various dialects and an anchorage for saving the Igala language from extinction. We are partners in this! Let’s save the Igala language. John Idakwoji is our lodestar and frontrunner in this.

This bilingual dictionary is a must have for every Igala family, for every library across Kogi, Benue, Enugu, Anambra, Edo, Delta, Abuja, Kaduna, Jos, Lagos and wherever Igala language and its various dialects are spoken. This will be a great resource for the comparative study of the three Nigerian most related West Benue-Congo language groups: Yoruba, Itsekiri and Igala. Universities, Colleges of Education, Polytechnics, Schools and every knowledge hub can lean on this for future research and as a teaching resource.


We need to make this bilingual dictionary accessible, available and affordable. On behalf of John Idakwoji and millions of people who long to have this dictionary, we ask for NGOs, Igala organisations, Universities, individuals, linguistic research institutions and education promoting bodies to help SUBSIDIZE the cost of mass producing this huge and invaluable resource. For further detail kindly contact:

John Idakwoji:

Fr. Michael Achile Umameh:

Igala Language is endangered. Help keep it Alive!