Category Archives: Editorial

Addiction And Its Impact

Addiction is a bad habit . Once addicted, it becomes very hard to stop; only by the special grace of God .Those people who are addicted to alcohol is a serious matter. Some persons prefer drinking of alcohol to eating of food. They drink alcohol as if there will be no tomorrow. They are so addicted to alcohol that when they are broke (no_money)They resort to drinking on credit. Addiction to alcohol had made some persons behaving foolishly Imagine a man after getting drunk, staggered home.His wife was at the door, seeing his wife ,he voiced out “Madam, your face looks familiar, ‘have forgotten where I once met you”. Angrily, his wife draged him into the house . you see what alcohol addiction can cost. What of those who are addicted to smoking of cigarettes, after eating if they don’t smoke cigarettes, it seems as if they have not eaten anything.

They smoke anything smokeable because they are addicted to smoking! Again this me, too much of it, may look foolish. Am mentioning of persons addicted to sex They have sex indiscriminately. Be it, male or female, these persons lack self-control and discipline for sex. They can have sex anywhere anytime; because they are so addicted to have sex. Even, some married men who are so addicted to sex, whenever they are in the mood and it happened that their wife were not around, they shamefully do it with their daughters. Instances abound. On the news, a man was reportedly to have been having sex with his two little daughters. This shows the extent of addiction and associated bad habit. Some women with high level of libido and are so addicted to having sex; often pay young boys to have sex with them once they are in uncontrollable mood to have sexual satisfaction.

The worst are those addicted to taking of drugs. It leads them doing things unimaginable not palatable to the society. My coming up with this topic was as a result of a true to life story on how addiction can go .So relax and read on!

Mr Amose and his wife, Vero (not real names) live in Asaba. Mr Amose is a tricycles (keke) rider and his wife manages a provision store along Nnebisi Road.And she is a Nursing mother .It happened one afternoon that Mr Amos rushed home to take cassava flour (Garri) and because there was no milk in the house at that particular time to’ go’ with the garri, hiy wife, asked him jokingly, if he would like to use her breast milk?

The husband, Mr Amose accepted and right from that day. It becomes a habit for him to be using his wife breast milk each time he wants to soak garri. He eventually got addicted to using the wife’s breast milk, which was mean’t for their baby for soaking garri instead of the normal milk. Now you can see that addiction impact in anything is bad! So be moderate!
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Source: Ika News Agbor
Ika News: Addiction And Its Impact

COMMUNAL LABOUR IN IKA CULTURE

An instance of Ika communal labour was the building of mud house (itun ulo/olo ejan). Annually, every Idumu in Ika community employed communal effort to build new houses for their kinsmen in need. Kinsmen then had reasons to build new houses. Some existing buildings might be cracking after some years and needed destruction in order to rebuild them. In other cases, some young men who were recently married would crave to have buildings of their own from those of their fathers. Hence in every year and from the months of June to September, when the rains fell, people willing to have new houses would indicate during their Idume gathering (ogwa) assembled for that purpose. During this period of the communal assignment, mud was dug and kneaded (izo ejan) towards the buildings while from the months of October to December or January, when the rains had ceased, the mud walls were raised (igbe ulo), and roofing (iwa ulo) came afterwards. Through the communal labour, every Idumu made houses affordable for their kinsmen.

Communal labour was often the assignment of all the age grades from the Ikoro to the young boys (Ikpele) led by the Okwa Ikoro age grade (the quin-quagenarians) between 51-60 years of age; and supervised by the lowest Ndichen age grade, Okwa Ikogbe/Ikoro-Uku (the sexagenarians) between 61-70 years of age (See chapter Four for the age grades and functions).

The reward for the communal labour of itun ulo ejan was not in cash payment, but the merriment which probably ended in local drinks especially palmwine, first on the commencement of the communal labour and the entertainment of sumptuous pounded yam and drinks on the day the house was roofed. On the occasion of this gathering, the elders of the supervising age grade would pray for the peaceful progress, for fertility of the new homes and uninterrupted continuation of communal labour for the kinsmen of their Idumu. The elders eventually supervised the formation of two groups to embark on the communal labour for the year on this day.

Each of the two groups was led by a respectable male in the Okwa Ikoro age grade. Then, each of the leaders was made to choose members in turns for their teams. These two teams would engage in competition to see which side was the more hardworking and dispersed at the end of year’s communal labour assignment.

The communal labour for house building was always on Eken days within the period. The assignment began with determination of the source of mud and water. Towards these, each team broke into two or more sets. While the elders of the groups dug burrow pits in which enough tromped mud would be heaped (otobo) with digger and wooden shovels (oseken), the young ones went for water with which to mix the mud for easy tromping in many smaller pits to produce consistent blended mud which were stacked at the main burrows. In most cases, the workers chanted songs to ease the tension of hard work.

This was the case for three different times or days on which an Idumu would come to knead mud for any house builder. The tromped mud heaped in the two burrows were often deemed sufficient by experienced mud builders for any size of building required, whether it was a three or four bedroom house. Each team carefully covered their otobo with foliage to prevent hardening from the sun.

Apart from digging mud from the pits, there were cases where mud could be gotten from the ruins of old houses (nkpru). This ended the first stage of the communal labour towards mud building (itun ulo ejan).

When the mud had been dug and mixed, a gap was given for the rains to subside before the second stage of the communal house building which was the raising of the mud walls. Towards this, a building plan was set out at the building site. A master builder often from the supervising age grade ruled either with leg or guide ropes. Workers from the two groups went back to their otobo to mix, making sure that the mixture was soft enough. One set of a group used their wooden shovels while the other kneaded the mud by stomping on it, often amidst melodious songs which gingered the workers to work harder.

Each team having chosen which wing to wall, the lead person for each group surged forward and started laying large lumps of mud to start the Iyeto/mgba ejan, the first layer of the building. The members of each group had a duty. While some elders in a group would mould, one or two of the elders smoothened the molded walls with their wooden shovels; and others either draw water and carried for the mixture of mud in the burrows, some energetic ones prepare the mud in lumps for the younger ones to carry to the molders in their awiwo, a wooden palette, according to age and strength.

Layer after layer, the lumps of mud were laid from Iyeto/mgba ejan to mgbe ebuo/mgbenai to mgbawa/mgbe-eto and mgbe-eno/mgbedu, on four different Eken days or times after allowing the preceding layer to get well dried. At the mgbawa level, provisions were made for agba as the lintel board; and on these agba were moulded mgbedu/mgbe-eno, the last deck that finalized the construction of Igbe ulo ejan in Ika mud building culture.

The walls were ardoned with many fixtures while they were wet. For example, mgbawa level had holes (uvun) dug in the mud walls to provide saves; pegs (mkpukpo) were driven into the walls at different heights and ends of the parlor and rooms for hanging clothes and other materials; while shelves (okpukpen) were provided at some corners on which to place materials and things. Also, the ceiling of a house (ifiri) after roofing was decked on the mgbawa level with plank and mud.

On the tops of the mgbedu level, the last layer, were provided with nogs (mkpukpo) round the building on which the roof was firmly secured to the mud wall. The owner of the building made his arrangement to provide termite proof sticks or bamboo sticks which the structure of the roofing was made of. The broad leaves, mgbodo with which to roof the house were collectively cut by the assistance of the builder’s relations and friends. These broad leaves overleaping each other were tethered by the stem of the bamboo sticks which were used to do the nogging, while smaller bamboos were used for the purlines. Strong ropes were used to tie them firmly. Because this part of the construction was an art, it was reserved for the matured men usually between 35-45 years.

It is pertinent to note that throughout the communal labour building process, teams were encouraged to finish whatever they did in time. They would do so before nightfall on each day, and there were hardly any time when a team would abandon their work, especially during the laying of the mud walls levels. Everything was timed, punctuality being the key. Teams were traditionally the same all the time. If any member was late, he was thrown into the mud and his age mates would cover him with mud to embarrass him.

Itun ulo ejan, an age-old Ika tradition actually points to a long-lasting solution to the housing question in the olden days Ika culture. To be continued…
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Source: Ika News Agbor
Ika News: COMMUNAL LABOUR IN IKA CULTURE

Alienation Of Igbanke Community Is One Too Many – Usiagwu

Engr. Usiagwu Arthur Osaretin is the President General of Igbanke General Union (IGU) Worldwide. In this interview with ISAAC ASABOR, he spoke on what drives his philanthropic disposition towards community development, and appealed to other well-meaning sons and daughters of Igbanke Community to join hands in moving the community forward, even as he called on the governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki to complete the abandoned 8.5km road network in the community. In the same vein, he urged the leadership of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to accord due recognition to Igbanke community as a member of the Nigeria Delta region.

You have been involved in the realisation of more dozens of projects in Igbanke, and have been passionate about seeing Nigeria have constant electricity which you recently demonstrated with what can in this parley be called “Operation Light Up Igbanke”. Can you throw insight to the philanthropic move?

Nigeria is a very large country and on daily basis the resources available can no longer cope with the challenges it is faced with. Therefore, the need to look inwards and develop a local framework required to solving our immediate problem has become more imperative than ever.The electricity problem in Nigeria has become hydra headed! I feel we need to think outside the box to help government in addressing this huge deficit. We can make fifty percent of our energy need off grid. I have canvassed in different fora that there is need for Government to apply the energy mix approach as well as the embedded generation option in solving our electricity issues across the country. As a result of the epileptic electricity supply to my community, we decided to look inwards to address the continuous darkness across the streets of Igbanke. The town is an urban community with all the trappings of an emerging big city.

Today, through self-help, we are strategically changing the landscape and turning the Community into a big city through solar intervention across all major streets and government facilities across the community. The General hospital is now a beneficiary just like the divisional Police headquarters.

Some of our traditional institutions are already having a fair share of this infrastructural metamorphosis. Some of our well-meaning Igbanke sons and daughters are aligning with me to achieve our set target. It is my hope that others will follow in this drive to change the face of community.In my own little way, I recently built and furnished a block of two classrooms in my alma mater, Igbontor Primary School, Igbontor-Igbanke and in turn donated the project to Edo State Government.

The facility was commissioned by the Executive Governor of Edo state, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, who was ably represented by the deputy speaker of Edo state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Roland Asoro. I thank God that my philanthropic disposition, as you described it, is been applauded by prominent members of the community. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Coordinator and an Igbanke leader, Elder Benjamin Oghumu and Chief Jimmy Emefiele Ehi, the Abakiku of Igbanke land and a host of other leaders graced my golden jubilee celebration a couple of weeks ago. What drives my philanthropic disposition towards community building is my desire to give back to my society. Owing to scarcity of funds, it has become quite imperative for kind hearted individuals to complement government initiative in bringing basic infrastructure to the people and this singular act is one of them.

Let me use this opportunity to appeal to my brothers and sisters to come in and join us in this our resolve to move Igbanke development to the next level.

Did you ever picture yourself becoming a community leader, and given the fact that being one is no easy feat, and what have been some of the challenges you encountered along the line?

I have found myself in leadership position since I left secondary school. I was the Student Union President of my community years back. I also became the secretary of our Club, Igbontor Dynamic Club, during which time we made tremendous progress in pushing the agenda to develop Igbontor community. This was in my schooldays. In the same club, I held the position of the Vice President for two terms. At our elite club, Association of Igbanke Professionals, I have also held all the most important positions. From Assistant Chief Scribe to the Chief Scribe, Vice President for two terms as well as President for two terms. My life has always been that of service to my community. I believe members of my community saw this progression and became resolute that I am the right person to lead the community as the President General of Igbanke General Union worldwide (IGU Worldwide).

Sincerely, it comes with its challenges. Sometimes I have to be up at nights responding to issues facing the community. Also to manage the divergent views of our people and arriving at a consensus, and these are usually herculean. You know Igbanke community boasts of over 45 Professors both within and in Diaspora, galvanising all opinions and pushing same for a commonly acceptable position is not always an easy task. The joy is that my community trusts in my ability to make wide consultations before major decisions are made. I must say that I have been enjoying tremendous support from my people since I mounted the saddle of leadership. It has been a wonderful experienceWhat is your take on how Igbanke people are been neglected from benefiting from NDDC’s developmental efforts?

As you are aware, Igbanke is a community in Orhionmwon Local government which is an oil producing local council.

Sincerely, I am at sea on why the developmental initiative of NDDC is not visible in the community. In our local government, Igbanke is one of the top urban settlements and despite that, its continuous neglect has become very worrisome. For instance, no Igbanke man is on the board of NDDC. I think there is no plan yet on the part of NDDC to push developmental project to my community. This alienation is one too many. I want to appeal to the management of NDDC to include Igbanke community in their map for project that will transform the lives of the people of Igbanke. This neglect is actually becoming unbecoming and we are quite optimistic that this position will change for better.

As the President General of Igbanke General Union (IGU) Worldwide, and also an affiliate of other development organisations, such as Igbanke professionals, is there any plan in the pipeline towards drawing the attention of Edo state government or the leadership of NDDC to the abject neglect of Igbanke in terms of infrastructural development?

We made concerted moves to visit our governor before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The idea was to draw His Excellency’s attention to some abandoned project in my community. Remember the 8.5km road network graciously given to Igbanke land by the past administration. Our amiable governor did promise to complete the remaining internal section of this project. Over the years, this aspect of the road is yet to be attended to.

I appeal to our governor to help fulfill this promise to Igbanke people to give us a sense of belonging. This aspect of the project is long overdue and it is my expectation that our governor will do something quickly about it.Our general hospital has become a shadow of itself. As a community, we have done tremendously within our capacity to upgrade the facilities in the hospital. Few years ago, Association of Igbanke Professionals donated fans, matrasses, air conditionals chairs and benches for out -patients receiving section. Igbanke Union in the United States also recently brought in ultra-modem facilities needed to improve the status of the hospital.

The major challenge facing the hospital is manning. We have visited the Edo State Hospitals Management Board (HMB) in Benin-city but to no avail. My appeal in this parley to the executive governor of Edo state is to urge him to help my community with qualified staff to man this facility for efficient service delivery to my people. I am confident he will address these areas.

Credit: Independent Newspapers
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Source: Ika News Agbor
Ika News: Alienation Of Igbanke Community Is One Too Many – Usiagwu

ONCE UPON A TIME, EVERY CASTLE HAD ITS HUNTED PAST

Set in the 16th century when countries were divided into city states and minor kingdoms, existed a castle…And she was left all alone in this room.Locked up…

They never cared about her.And on this fateful day.She was starved and locked up in a room…Then she ate her flesh…

Savoring the taste of her flesh and blood…And she left…Her soul left her body.Roaming about in the castle.She hunted them.In their sleeps and in broad daylight.She hunted them…And she cursed!

One hundred years later,A hunted castle chronicles the life of Aliya.And I walked back home, on this lonely night.The night was cold, as the black clouds obscured the stars and moon.And a fierce breeze whistled through the quiet street.Using the back door, I sneaked into the houseIt is then I notice something I haven’t probably noticed on till now.

The room!The stench!Then I opened the room…Edgings of this room seemed to have completely fallen away.Ivy had spread on the bed, patchily dead.It hung on the mirror like a tangled rat tail.And on the other side of the wall was colour.‘Blood red’Suddenly, I hear the creaking of the door.And a shadow passed by the mirror.Everywhere becomes dead silent.The room becomes frosty, and I can barely see anything.And I see a figure.

I walk towards it, but it is only a mirage…Or my imagination.And it becomes silent again.As I retrace my steps…The windows fly open.

The fierce breeze blowing in pieces of paper“And in that day when the deaf shall hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.I shall be awakened.

I shall be you, and you shall be me.I shall live through you, and you shall obey my command.Every breath, every action will be ours.And you will never depart from me”As I read it, I felt this kind of new energy surge into every part of my body…

I felt reborn.I retraced my steps back to the door.And I caught a glimpse of something.My reflection in the mirror.

Never in the annals of the world did I ever think I would see a sight so disgusting.Piercing green eyes.

A smirk at the corner of my lips.Bloody nose.Inky black hair with blood dripping down it.But…Fleshless skin.Maggot seeping bones.

A reflection that wore darkness like girls wear little black dresses.A reflection that didn’t choose darkness, but was chosen by darkness.A reflection that changed my life forever.

©Nma Ewere
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Source: Ika News Agbor
Ika News: ONCE UPON A TIME, EVERY CASTLE HAD ITS HUNTED PAST

T here are so many aspects of Ika culture which are being abandoned and forgotten in the present-day Ika society:

(i) Paying homage to the elders, idioma or diokpa of Idumu.This was done in many ways:-

a. Through the reserving of the dreg of palmwine to the most elderly man. Whenever people or the descendants of a kindred, ebon gather to drink palmwine, the dreg (the last cup of the calabash of a palmwine) is reserved as a tribute and loyalty to the idioma or diokpa.

b. Offering of meat Ohuhu: It was the tradition that whenever any adult of Ika man killed any of the following animals, bush pig, ezi, antelope, mgbadan, deer, ele, etc, in his trap in the bush or with his gun, some portions of the meat would be offered to the idioma or diokpa and the people of his Idumu (See Chapter Four for details on Ohuhu).

(ii) Communal labour orun ogbe: The ancestors of the Ikaland helped themselves through communal effort. They built houses for their kinsmen with mud walls and roofed them with mgbodo (igbodo), and worked in their farms without any payment except for the entertainment given to them by the person they helped (See Chapter Fourteen for details in Communal build of ulo ejan.)

(iii) Nowadays, the Ika people find it difficult to carry out such civic duties which were carried out by the age-grades. For example, a particular age-group is charged with weeding and sweeping the major streets of the village, market squares, playgrounds and lanes in the villages, especially during festival periods. They weeded farm and stream roads when the needs arose and performed a lot of other duties. Communal labour is a big problem now facing the Ika people at home. This has to do with manpower shortage. The youths drift to urban and industrial towns in the country and abroad to look for employment in ministries, industries, firms, etc.

(iv) Wrestling contests during some festivals: In the years past, and on such days, the elders and the youths in a village would assemble at the square or playground for the wrestling contest for the year. Nowadays, the youths of Ika do not attach any importance to this important aspect of Ika culture. It is only the small boys that wrestle in their respective villages, if at all.

(v) Native dance: In the days of the Ika ancestors, new native dances were released regularly by the native musicians. They introduced different tunes of music which they teach the youths. There are various types of music for entertainment on different occasions and nights. Agbara was Ika’s famous music for entertainment on happy evenings or Eken days. Other native dances are Ojerima, Okangan, Kokoma, egu ogbugba, egu ofufe, etc. At present, no new native music is being released by Ika musicians and the old ones are fading away. The Ika elders, who danced them, are so old now that they cannot teach them to the modern Ika youths. The modern sophisticated orchestras have taken the places of the Ika native music. The dangerous aspect of this phenomenon is that modern instruments are no substitutes for ancient and customary musical instruments of the Ika people. As the youths neglect these native music, such music may die away with the elders who danced them. Ekpere trumpet and drumming of the Ika musical instruments cannot be left out. The case of ekpere is most disturbing. Ekpere which gives melody to all Ika native music is rapidly passing away. The modern youths of Ika are not prepared to learn ekpere trumpet. Many drummers of Ika musical instruments are also “passing” away without replacements.

Most traditional rulers seem to have abandoned their traditional roles and responsibilities in Ika polity. Some of them have become Christians while others are neither Christians nor pagans. Many of them pay little attention to the maintenance of sacred places, traditional rules and sanctuaries, which were the mainstay of the purity and holiness of the palaces. Many traditional rulers have restructured and equipped their palaces in modern ways; and yet, many of them have destroyed, or abandoned their ancestral ways of sanctifying their palaces. All in all, it is becoming very apparent that the Ika traditional culture is shrinking with the emergence of new generation of the Ika people.

However, the view is still held that despite the presence of religious organizations and educational enlightenments in Ika nation, the average Ika indigene is obsessed with superstitious beliefs. While many Ika people may wish to be regarded as connected with one or the other of the fashionable Churches in Ikaland, many are, at heart, still having regard for their indigenous beliefs. It is now becoming clear to the most optimistic Christian evangelists that the problems of the Churches in Ika today is the divided loyalty of most of their followers between Christianity with the Western culture and the Traditional Religion on the other hand. It is well known that in strict personal matters relating to the passage and crises of life, most Ika people may regard the Traditional Religion as a final succour. In hospitals and maternity homes, for instance, people who are on admission, and have declared themselves Christians, and indeed are practising Christians, have medicines prepared in traditional ways smuggled in simply because, psychosocially at least, that is more effective, in that it is a consecrated medicine with the touch of a divine healer in contrast with some mere “coloured water” or pills. In matters concerning providence and general well-being therefore, most Ika people still look upon their own religion or herbal medicine as a way out.

Magical practices still take place throughout Ikaland. They are often times applied to meet new circumstances. For example, many young native doctors specializing in the preparation of magical objects of all kinds abound in Ika. New magical objects and preparations are imported from the communities around Ika culture. Some carry amulets which they claim have magical powers around their necks, waists and arms, for protection against evils or evil spirits. Many also consult diviners in secret. There are of course, education and the Churches to give positive enlightenment and combat magic practices, but it will take time before there is a decline of superstition in Ikaland.

Beliefs in gods may linger on as ancestral worship persists. Many Ika people still believe in the spirits of the forests, those of streams and other areas, even if they do not worship them. The ancestors may habe their cults transmuted, but the belief in the nearness of the dead is very strong with the people of Ika community culture. The large and ornated tombs, the long obituaries and the popular memorial services and masses testify to this. Christians may still name their children baba-abia, Abiamuwe, Uwerihun etc, which means “my father has returned to earth”, “I have come back to earth”, “there are other lives ahead”. All these are strongly inclined to traditional beliefs. If there is a death in the family, for instance, Christians cut their hair like the other members of the family do. What all these portray is that we are still living in both worlds of the Christians and that of hate non-Christians. By all these beliefs and practices, Ika Christians seem very close to their cultural root than they are to Christianity.

The study of the new Churches reveals that they seek to incorporate elements of indigenous religion into the formal Christian religion. Their mode of worship is very traditional. For example, traditional musical instruments are now used, and their songs are at times, very similar to those used in the shrines of Ika local deities. Some of the new Churches have prophets and apostles who are reputed to have the power of traditional medicine-men. They heal the sick, define the causes of misfortunes and prescribe remedies that are not very different from those normally prescribed by the Ika traditional medicine-men. But at the same time, they read the Bible and pray through Jesus Christ. Although the adherents of these new Churches appear generally devoted, they are still not as devoted as the practitioners of the Traditional Religion in Ika nation. Indeed, in times of real life crisis, most of the members resort to the traditional faith in secret. This situation may continue in Ika for a long time to come.

Witchcraft belief and magic flourish as ever in Ika community culture. For example, in most cases, the educated ones even attribute to witchcraft their failure at work, their failure to have children, or seek magical protection against diseases. They may use new types of medicine but of magical kind. Many have recourse to the medicine-men and to the European trained doctors. A medicine-man serves as a link between the villagers and their ancestors, he may interpret a patient’s sickness or nightmares as due to an angry ancestor who has been neglected, and demand that money be sent home to make offerings.

In all the villages and towns in Ika community culture, the ancient religion is still practised by many people. Some people have become largely Christians while many others have nearly rejected it. Also, many men and women out of sheer carelessness and laziness have joined Churches and Sects if only they would be freed from being subjected to traditional trials and sanctions. And the majority of these crusaders of the new Churches are women who cannot find husbands, or wives suffering from infertility. Yet, others are those who have found no jobs. Even in the villages, and among those who have accepted the new religion, there is a great substratum of traditional beliefs which must never be left out of Ika community culture. These are the ancient ideas which constantly reappear in Christian societies in Ika. They are not only the spiritual Churches that are currently trying to weld traditional concepts with the imported religion in Ika community culture. For instance, the Catholic Church which, for sometime banned the second burial ceremonies and the taking of titles by her members has partially revoked the ban with a justifiable conviction that such practices are parts of people’s culture.For many people in Ika, Christianity is quite superficial and has no real answer to life’s personal difficulties nor deep-rooted influence on the people’s moral problems. Those people that have affinity with the community’s Traditional Religion in the past, or on beliefs in the phenomena like reincarnation, witches and wizards, clandestine forces, spiritual world, ancestors, deities, spirits, etc, may continue to be shaky. For instance, if such people are threatened by insecurity, death, disease, famine, etc, they may quickly fall back on their indigenous religion for succour. This apparent situation may continue to make some people in Ika to deal only superficially with Christianity while yet, many people may be taken off of Christianity by the ‘evil and unhealthy practices’ of some members of the Churches and Sects.

It is not enough to embrace a faith that is active once a week, either on Sundays or Fridays while during the rest days in the week, nothing is done. It is not enough to embrace a faith which is locked up six days, and opened only once or twice a week. Unless Christianity fully occupies the whole person as much as, if not more than the Traditional Religion does in Ika community culture, most converts to these faiths will continue to revert to their old belief and practices, for perhaps six days a week and certainly in times of emergency and crisis.

In an attempt to restore the soul of the Ika cultural beliefs, the traditional foundation of a ritual has gradually been introduced into all the gatherings, be it civil or traditional in nature. Such a ritual always proceeds the Christian prayers, that is, the ‘traditional breaking of kola nuts’. This ceremony is always performed in a traditional setting. Kola nuts are presented and broken in the traditional manner with the avowed purpose of helping the Ika people to pray to their God/gods through the dialect which the kola nut understands. “Kola nut does not understand any other language but vernacular.” Libations are poured with drinks, and the prescribed details of the foundation of the ritual are carried out. This is often accompanied by poetic affirmations of justice and fair play, and invocation of the gods of the Ikaland to enforce the traditional concepts. Kola nuts and drinks are shared in the traditional way as a form of communion.

“Our recommendation, therefore, is that all the Ibos, Christians as well as non-Christians, acknowledge those links with our patrilneal ancestors in the pouring of libation and in the giving of kola nuts.” (Prof. (Rev.) Ilogu Edmund).To be continued…
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Ika News: T here are so many aspects of Ika culture which are being abandoned and forgotten in the present-day Ika society:

DISGUSTING RAT

And his eyes…They were shining like the moonlight.His gaze…Was deadly.

It held so many emotions that I couldn’t comprehend.His silence spoke millions of words.What did you expect me to do…?I still held the pestle with my left hand incase things went south…You know…But then…

When I took one step back… everything went dark.The lights went out…all thanks to NEPAMy good Lord decided to punish me for all my sins today.Then…

NEPA brought the light again!Finally,I saw him.Staring eye ball to eye ball.On a normal basis, I would just hit him and run …But today, it was just different.My guts were betraying me.I wanted to act tough in front of him,But a tear betrayed me.He was already seeing my weakness.Now I await my death.He gnawed at me.

He moved towards me…Slow and steady.And in one sharp move, he jumped on me…Disgusting rat.Clawing my legs, biting my foot, crawling up to my stomach, scratching my skin, tearing my shirt…Goodbye to planet earth… it’s time to meet my creator.It is finished.

I was going to get killed by a rat.I haven’t even lived up to half of life and my it was going to end right now.A rat was going to kill me.Wake up!Wake up!Tomorrow na JAMB and you don already sleep.Lazy girl.So this was all a dream.

nmascorner

©Nma Ewere.12-06-21
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Ika News: DISGUSTING RAT

Chief Ibude tasks illustrious indigenes on synergy with Monarch

Member of the Delta State Justice of the Peace Association and a respected community leader, Chief Sunday Solomon Ibude, the Mebuzosonme Dein of Agbor kingdom, and the Odozi Obodo of Ejime Aniogor, has called on all illustrious indigenes of Agbor kingdom, both at home and in the diaspora, to partner with their king, HRM, Dr Benjamin Ikenchuku Keagborekuzi 1, the Dein of Agbor, so as to effectively develop the kingdom.

Chief Ibude made the call while speaking to newsmen in Agbor over the weekend on the sustainable development of the agrarian community.He explained that the need for the call can not be overemphasized, pointing out that it will be unpatriotic for indigenes who are power brokers, and political giants not to show concern as to the moving forward of Agbor kingdom while positing that the betterment of Agbor should not be solely the responsibility of king.

He also said working in synergy with the monarch would boost the desired development of the kingdom with reference to both socio-economic development, insecurity and youth restiveness.According to him, “Agbor is our only home and its development is sacrosanct. We cannot leave it for outsiders to come and develop for us. Hence, we have to take responsibility.

“Agbor is blessed with lots of illustrious sons and daughters living outside the kingdom, but the questions are, how much have they done to encourage the development of the kingdom? How many companies have they established in Agbor to improve the economy of the land? or how well have they build the youths of the land? This, to me, does not strike balance.

“Agbor kingdom is for all of us and not divided by any group. We need to stop fighting ourselves, stop the eye-service practice and always see ourselves as one with equal right.

“We should stop blaming Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for doing more for his own immediate community (Owa) because we, the Agbor people also have the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele.“Agbor has both human and natural minerals resources which if properly harness, could take the kingdom to her Eldorado.”

Speaking further, Ibude called on the political class in Agbor to stop playing politics with sentiments, pointing out that their misgivings through partisanship or by way of ‘party is supreme’, was also dragging the kingdom behind.

He also called on the Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. LEO Irabor, to help recruit willing Agbor youths into the military while supporting the unemployed in the land.

“Therefore, I am using this medium to appeal to all and sundry of Agbor kingdom to partner with our respected king who needs everybody to make Agbor kingdom a better place for all,” Chief Ibude added.He concluded with words of prayers for the land and for the king to live long on the seat of his ancestors.

HRM, Dr Benjamin Ikenchuku Keagborekuzi 1,

Chief Sunday Solomon Ibude
The post Chief Ibude tasks illustrious indigenes on synergy with Monarch appeared first on IKA Mirror Newspaper Online.
Source: Ika News Agbor
Ika News: Chief Ibude tasks illustrious indigenes on synergy with Monarch

CRITICISM: A PART OF THE HUMAN GENE.

I have studied her for the past eight weeks.And I have noticed…That she has done nothing…But have been criticized.And when I approached her,She gave me ‘the lesson’Her words read thus;“you don’t want to be gossiped, you don’t want to be criticized.You don’t want to be mocked, you don’t want to be embarrassed,Then don’t get ready to be published”I then thought about what she just said.It is only then I notice…That they certainly fit her records.When she misspells a word,They call her ‘dumb’.When she contributes actively on class activities,They say ‘too serious’.When she sleeps during class hours,They call her’ lazy’.When she talks when everyone is talking,They call her ‘talkative’.When she sings during the assembly,They say she ‘croaks like a frog’.she trips,They call her ‘clumsy’.When she decides to crack joke,It is called ‘lame’And when she finally decides to be static,They say ‘see as you just sit down’Now, I have realized that“Whatever you say or do, people will ‘say’ and people will criticize, whether good or bad”I guess criticism is a part of the human gene.

nmas corner

©Nma Ewere05-06-2021
The post CRITICISM: A PART OF THE HUMAN GENE. appeared first on IKA Mirror Newspaper Online.
Source: Ika News Agbor
Ika News: CRITICISM: A PART OF THE HUMAN GENE.

She benefited immensely for her good manners.

Really, it was quite unexpected and an amazing benefit for a young girl for being so respectful and sociable. In fact, it was a true life story and I was a witness to it .And this was how it happened. My bosom friend Charles, his cousin from Denmark and my humble self attended a wedding ceremony in late December, 2020 at Stephenson Hotel,Agbor. As the MC(Master of Ceremony) announced that there was enough to eat and drink, this petite of a girl approached our table to ask what we should be served to us.She was not at all that pretty, she carries a square face with broad nose and sharp eyes. However she was smart, respectful, sociable and understandable.

She wrote down our requests and left and in three minutes she returned with two other girls that carried our menu. My friends cousin asked for a bottle of Eva water because the menu came with sachet water. The girl politely said,I will get it for you,then left and she came back with three bottles of 75cl Eva water. My friend’s cousin thanked her. Later this same girl again brought to our table three bottles of chilled red wine.She treated us as if we were special guests. Her respect and social attribute played out, my friend’s cousin instantly developed interest in the girl ,then beckoned on her to have a chat. She obliged and after a brief pleasantries, they exchanged phone numbers.

Through Charles’ cousin, we were made to know that she was from Ilah in Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta State and a graduate of Mass Communication. She said she rounded up her NYSC programme in October 2020. Now my friend’s cousin is now making frantic arrangements for his marriage to her and also,all things being equal, to take her along with him to Denmark his base.c
The post She benefited immensely for her good manners. appeared first on IKA Mirror Newspaper Online.
Source: Ika News Agbor
Ika News: She benefited immensely for her good manners.

SOME IKA CULTURAL MATTERS

SOME RITUALS AND ABSTENTIONS IN IKA COMMUNITY CULTURE

Ika people have many aspects of traditional beliefs and practices. Some of them are:Rainmaking RitualRainmaking is one of the socio-religious activities in Ika community. Rain is the focus of interest since upon it depends the agricultural cycle and even life itself in Ika. There have been some families renowned for the act of rainmaking in Ika community. There are others who are famous for their powerful rain medicines and knowledge in weather forecasting, which enable them to tell when rain is likely to fall in the community. People rely on them for their security to make rain fall for them and possibly make rain not to fall for their enemies.Many methods of producing rain are tried, most of which are based on the principles of similarity; that is to say that they perform some actions in the hope that the elements will make rain to fall. For example, green branches and leaves are burnt in order to produce great clouds, which it is hoped will attract the rain clouds. Or the rainmaker crouches under a blanket over a fire and his running sweat symbolizes the coming down of rain. Or the rainmaker fills his mouth with water and squirts it into the air with the object of making the rain to fall in like manner. The rainmaker shedding tears applies the same principle in order to attract the rain.

The power depends on the rainmaker not to take his bath during the period in which he withholds the rain. If he bathes, the rain will fall. This is an implication of the principles that “like attracts like”, water attracts rain. Rain pots with some ingredients are said to cause rain when laid on the ground/fire or fair weather when they are hung up. Some rainmakers use magic brooms to “sweep” off dark clouds to induce fair weather.

The rainmakers observe some rules in their rain making acts. That they seek for rain does not mean that they know nothing about the regularity of the season. They do not try to induce rain in the middle of the dry season, but at the time when rain should fall. If there is a drought, they are called upon to stop it. Similarly, if there is too much rain and the crops are rotting, rainmakers are called upon to ‘drive’ the rain away.Most of the medicines of a rainmaker are kept in earthen pots, which have varied contents. Such pots are kept in secret places, but when they are involved in the exercise of rainmaking, the pots are always put on the fire. No matter the quantity or quality of medicines, rainmakers never engage in the act of rainmaking without first of all appealing to their ancestors and the god of rain.

Agricultural Rites in Ika CultureIka people are essentially agrarian and they spend most of their days in the farm with the exception of the native Sunday, Eken day, on which they rest. Consequently, they observe a lot of rituals and taboos in respect of their main occupation which is agriculture. At the end of yearly cycle and at the beginning of a new one, every village has shrines and oracles to which rituals are made before they start brushing new farms. They do this to inform their ancestors that they are about to start another yearly cycle of farming and solicit for their help.

These rituals are performed by the elders or any age grade that may be assigned to do so. Prayers such as the following are said to their ancestors. “You once came and farmed in the portions of land, on which we intend to farm this year, and you left them for us your children. The Ali on whose soil we are going to farm has come round; and we are going to cultivate it. When we work, let a fruitful year come upon us; do not let trees fall upon us; do not let snakes or any harmful creatures bite us; let us not receive any injury throughout the year; keep us alive to be able to farm during the next farming season,” and so on.

There are obvious signs of bad farming year in Ika community depending on the different towns. In those days, in some Ika villages for instance, if a tortoise (mbekwu or okpoikpo) was picked on the first day of brushing in the new farm, it was regarded as a sign of bad farming year for the man. So also, if a Puff-adder was killed on the first day in the new farm, etc. The ancestors and the gods had to be appeased to ward off the evils intended by these happenings. For this reason, farmers do not keep long, brushing in the farm on the first day they go to locate the portions on which they would farm for any year. They only clear a small area (igbuye mkpara) and return home. (See the mystical four-day native week in Ika culture below).

The blessings of the ancestors are sought when the earth is tilled and crops planted. The same thing happens when the crops are ripe. There are many important ‘first fruit’ ceremonies, not just the harvest. The different quarters and villages offer sacrifices to their Ali Ozugbo and other gods before the first fruits of their farms are eaten. These sacrifices which were so important in the olden days were based on the belief that the spirits must eat of the first fruits before human beings could partake of them. The rite was ‘that of primogeniture’, since the spirits, if deprived of their priority in the hierarchy, could take revenge by threatening the harvest.

The yams are offered to the ancestors and divine spirits first through mashed boiled yam, ewuwu, which are thrown at the shrines of the ancestors and gods by the elders and the Umuadan in the different families or lineages in a town. The spirits are asked to come and eat; and requested to continue to protect them, their children both at home and away and against diseases and misfortune.

The most important sacrifice offered by the Ika people in respect of their farm is that to Ifejiokun, the god of the farm. In most of the towns, sacrifice to Ifejioken is made during the Iwagi festival. The Iwagi festival is an occasion of great joy and happiness among the Ika people for it marks the end of the period of famine, ogen onwun/ugari and the beginning of the season of plenty of food.

The Ika people have a lot of regard for farming and they detest any act that may offend the gods and spirits of the farm. This is the reason why many taboos are observed in respect, and honour of the gods and spirits that guard the farm, such as:

Going to Farm on Eken DaysIka people have four days that make up the native week called izu or azun Eken. They work for three days in their farms and rest on the fourth day, which is Eken day. There is a strong belief that evil spirits and fairies move along the farm roads on Eken days. However, if anybody is pressed with shortage of food items, he may go to collect them. Such a person will not work or cook or roast yam and eat in the farm on that day. The same permission holds for the palmwine tappers and those who may want to go to farm roads to look after their traps. The spirits are said to understand the truth.

If anybody goes against this belief, sanctions and fines are imposed on him by the elders for attempting to bring the wrath of the spirits on them. The elders also believe that going to farm on Eken days angers their ancestors and results in unproductive farm labour.

Several men who went to farm on Eken days had different bitter experiences to give. There is an example of a farmer who lost his hearing sense when he was returning from the farm on Eken day. The legend had it that as the man was returning from the farm on that fateful Eken day, he had the voice of strange people behind him. When he turned to look at them, he had a slap and that deafened him.

Another instance was a man who went to farm on Eken day. He had strange voice of people singing and dancing behind him. He turned and his neck remained like that until he died.

Yet, there was a case of a man who went to the farm on a fateful Eken day. As he was returning home along a lonely farm lane, he met the spirits in session. Because the spirit were aware that he had been warned before, they got annoyed with him and slapped him. The man became blind and deaf and could not find his way home. The villagers conducted a search for him before he could be rescued. He did not recover until he died.

There was an instance of a man who went to the farm on a certain Eken day. He felt like doing a little bit of work and he had hardly started working when he had strange voice of people singing and dancing in his farm hut. He became apprehensive and moved near the hut and quickly asked who they were. As he was trying to peep into the hut, thick cloth of smoke puffed into his face. But for the passers-by who heard his shout, and who came to his rescue, he would have died in the farm. He was rushed home; and when he managed to get well, he swore never to go to the farm on Eken days.

Another man went to the farm on a fateful Eken day. He cooked his meal and as he was eating, he noticed very many strange hands rushing the food, but he could not see anybody. The spirit of one of his ancestors, who wanted to save him pushed him aside. He fell and became unconscious. His kin organized a search and brought him home; and he could not narrate his painful experience with the spirits until he got well.And yet, another middle aged man went to cut palm nuts on a fateful Eken day. He climbed a palm tree that had three ripe bunches. When he cut the last bunch, he traced his eye down to see how it would fall. To his dismay, he saw strange figures carrying away the bunches and packing all the fruits that fell off from them. He became terribly feverish. How he was able to climb down from the palm tree and how he got home was a miracle. When he was hurrying to narrate his ordeal with the spirits, he was prevented from doing so until after a day, etc.

For fear of seeing spirits, people do not go to farm on Eken days. When people have encounter with spirits or fairies, the Ika elders advised that they should keep sealed lips until the next day.

In the olden days, people never moved along the farm roads during a certain period in the afternoon referred to as ogen ogogode or efinai gedenge, which is the period between the hours of eleven O’clock in the morning to about two O’clock in the afternoon. These hours were regarded as a dreadful period during which spirits and fairies trail the farm roads and lanes. To be continued…
The post SOME IKA CULTURAL MATTERS appeared first on IKA Mirror Newspaper Online.
Source: Ika News Agbor
Ika News: SOME IKA CULTURAL MATTERS