Category Archives: IKA CULTURAL

THE REFORMED OGBONI FRATERNITY

SOCIAL AND CULTURAL GROUPS IN IKA CULTURE

The Reformed Ogboni Fraternity is the best known Secret Society in Ika. Its members are drawn from all walks of life, and they are found in every part of Ikaland. The membership of the society is for life. A respondent said that the number of members has been thin until about the 1980’s when the number snowballed. Many people, especially males started to patronize the cult about this time. Some men joined with their wives. The society, according to the respondent exercises a form of social control by laying down certain rules of conduct for its members and prescribing certain forms of behaviours which are considered unworthy of a member. The cult takes active interest in what goes on in Ika society. In other words, he said that the Society seeks for the welfare of not only the members, but also of the community in its doings. “We are co-workers and seek progress of, man”, he said.

An initiate into the Society pays a heavy initiation fee which is shared according to a laid down custom among the members. In effect, the cult serves as mutual insurance, enabling the socially ambitious to invest the savings he accumulated in his youth while guaranteeing him continued economic support and prestige during his old age. Another respondent informed this writer that it is their tradition to assist their fellow members. The membership of the Society is helpful. It provides assistance in troubled times. If a member is wrongly punished, or if he lacks anything, brethren will rally around him. Again if a member is wrongly punished or afflicted, it is normally the duty of the members to collectively ensure that the person is not arraigned. And thirdly, members are always favourably disposed to helping each other first before helping a non-member. And of course, members provide necessary funds for the successful prosecution of the business of the Fraternity, the respondent said.

One other important function of the Reformed Ogboni Fraternity is the burial of its members. Usually, the group takes complete charge from the digging of the grave to the dressing of the corpse of a member who fulfilled the Society’s rules before his demise. Just before the interment, non-members, including the relations of the deceased are prevented from seeing the corpse. This has given rise to speculations that parts of deceased members’ bodies are tempered with before they are interred. But this was vehemently denied. “It is entrenched in our constitution that members should see to the mortal remains of any deceased member by providing coffin, or financial assistance up to a reasonable cost, and to give his or her remains a decent deposit in the bosom of the mother earth. And we do this in the presence of the family of the deceased brethren”. “If what they are accusing us of is the oath that we take before being initiated, all state governments have their way of swearing to oaths, all top civil servants also do. What their problem is, is that we don’t allow the non-initiates to witness all that we do. Such things are practised in the Churches. Mosques do it too. All societies including government have their constitutional rights to choose venues and mode of their meetings”, a respondent said.The Society gives its members elaborate and expensive burial which perhaps, accounts for the popularity of the Society in Ika nowadays since burials are becoming highly celebrated affairs.

Social ClubsA more recent phenomenon is the development of Social Clubs or Associations all over Ikaland. Unlike secret Societies, Clubs are social groupings consisting of a number of persons whose relationships are based upon a set of interrelated roles and statuses. They interact with one another in a more, or less standardized fashion, determined by the norms and a standard acceptable by the members. They are united and held together to a greater or lesser extent by a sense of common identity, or a similarity of interest which enables them to differentiate members from non-members. The memberships of a Social Club often cut across towns, villages, age and sex boundaries. The Clubs ensure social security for their members both in material and social terms. Their system of contributions and benefits is carefully spelt out; thus members know beforehand, exactly what to expect. The affairs of the Clubs are conducted in the open, and they have none of the mysteries and suspicious ritual characteristics of the Secret Societies. In some moment of crises, the members receive not only material benefits, but also solace and companionship.

Some Clubs are registered under the Land Perpetual Succession Act (cap. 98) by the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs. Some are registered under the State Ministry of Social Welfare. The Clubs are usually open to anyone who can afford the entry fees and meet up with the other demands. In exercising their insurance functions, they provide members with protection from the hardship caused by death and other disasters. They arrange befitting burial ceremonies for their deceased members, and pay out money to support their dependants. The Social Clubs have their codes of conduct apart from their constitutions. Prominent in such codes are the stipulations that members should show kindness to one another, and that member must not behave in any manner that will disgrace the Club and its members. To be continued…

08033866719Chief (Dr.) Onyekpeze JP
The post THE REFORMED OGBONI FRATERNITY appeared first on IKA Mirror Newspaper Online.
Source: Ika News Agbor
Ika News: THE REFORMED OGBONI FRATERNITY

IKA GREETINGS AND NUMERALS

IKA GREETINGSThe Ika people have many concepts of goodness that are almost peculiar to them. Some of these concepts are an automatic invitation to a stranger to share in a meal, the respect for elders, and above all, the exchange of barrage of greetings in the streets, which tend to ease the pressure of living considerably. These are some of the ways through which the Ika people maintain good relationship with their neighbours. Convention demands that younger people show their respect for superiors or elders by greeting them first whenever both meet. The respect for elders is considered very important; and a child who does not observe this cardinal article of code of behaviour is not likely to turn out well. In the first place, his parents will practically disown him; and in the second, the children of the elders to whom he shows disrespect will make life extremely difficult for him.

As a mark of respect, the young calls the elders not by their names but by the pseudonym, diokpa or idioma or baba (aba) for the elderly males and edede or odede or iye or nne for the elderly women, before greetings. Refusal to exchange greetings indicates a strained relationship.Ika people have very many greetings suited for various people, time and occasion.

A. Greetings to the Traditional Rulers:(i) The Dein of Agbor is greeted Do-Dein.(ii) Agun or Agu is the greeting to other Obis in Ikaland, exceptthe Okparan-Uku of Idumuesah, whose greeting is Okparan. Agun is a name of powerful animal in the forest, Tiger. By the greeting, an Obi is adulated as a Tiger in strength. Agu is a short form of prayerful greeting. The greeter fervently prays that “this throne shall never terminate”, meaning that Ukponi-agu.(iii) Domo is a Bini greeting which some subjects, especially the elderly ones in Abavo, often times greet their Obi.

In greeting, one stands in an upright position and says, Do-Dein or Obi Agun or Obi agu or Obi Domo or Okparan, with a genuflection, with the right fist held set in the form of a bow; or put at an upright angle towards the king, firmly supported by the left hand below the elbow. The greeting could just be made with a bow. In the olden days, people prostrated on the floor when they greeted the king. Also, the king can be adulated with such forms of greetings like Agadagidi, Agwo Ekika, Eka Oghai, Agbogidi, Tutu, etc. In response, the king prays for the greeter.

B. Morning Greetings:Abavo, Idumuesah and Owa kingdoms have common morning greetings for males and females differently.(i) Lie is the morning greeting of the males to their elders of both sexes. Lie is a short form of prayer to an elder, ni toru nka ni hun onye eli ni, meaning may you live long and may you have who will give you a befitting burial at death. This greeting can also be interpreted to mean, eli-ye nimi meaning “I doff my hand for you”.(ii) Layu-Uwe is the morning greeting of the females in Abavo, Idumuesah and Owa to their elders of both sexes. Layu-Uwe is a short form of prayer to an elder which wishes him or her to live up to the ripe age (Laru-Uwe)(iii) Legite is the morning greeting for the females in Okpe village in Abavo to their elders of both sexes. The greeting is of Bini origin, and it is fast dying away.(iv) Labo is the morning greeting of Oza-Nogogo people in Agbor Kingdom.

C. Evening Greetings:(i) Enyase is the greeting for all in Abavo, Idumuesah, Owa and Mbiri kingdoms. It is a short prayer to an elder wishing him or her very fruitful old age. Ni uwe enyasi bo-i or ni uwe enyase re ima or laru uwe enyase.(ii) Ogbe-e or kaa-ra is an evening greeting for the people of Oza-Nogogo in Agbor kingdom.

D. General Greetings:(i) Uwe-Oma is a general greeting for many kingdoms in Ika. Notably the greeting is most popular for Agbor, Umunede, Akumazi, Mbiri and Ute kingdoms, at all times. Uwe-Oma is a prayerful greeting wishing the elder a blessed and fulfilled living. Baba (aba) or (Nne) is added as a suffix to distinct the greeting between a man and a woman. The greeting is Uwe-Oma Baba shortened to sound Ma-aba for a male and Uwe-Oma Nne shortened to Ma-nne for the female.

(ii) Isichei or Isicheri is a greeting of both sexes to very elderly people in all Ika kingdoms, especially those in the highest age grades in life or the retired people. Isichei is prayerfully wishing the ‘elder’s head’ to continue to survive or live.

(iii) Okpa is the greeting to elderly males at all times for Igbodo and sometimes for Akumazi people.

(iv) Omu is the greeting for elderly females at all times for Igbodo, Owa and Akumazi people.

(v) Omodi is the greeting for the younger ones in Igbodo and Akumazi at all times.

(vi) Ndo or Ndo-o is greeting expressing sorrow to somebody who is hurt, or who has suffered something which needs sympathy. It means sorry, and age or sex do have any barrier in the greeting.

(vii) Alua or Alua-o is a greeting expressing welcome from any journey, visit or outing.
The post IKA GREETINGS AND NUMERALS appeared first on IKA Mirror Newspaper Online.
Source: Ika News Agbor
Ika News: IKA GREETINGS AND NUMERALS

THE IKA KINGSHIP CULTURE

In Ika, an Obi is regarded with religious awe. “He forms yet another link in the hierarchy of society which passes from men to Obi, to ancestors, to gods and up to the Supreme Being.”

In the olden days, the Obis of Ika guarded their supremacy very jealously. No one within the kingdom was allowed to rival them in prestige or pomp. For example, it was a crime for the ordinary mortal to wear clothes resembling any of the Obi’s, build a bigger house than his, use his medicines or watch him eating. He had great magical power and was feared by all his subjects. The Obi was supreme. His decisions had a divine authority, and there was no appeal. He had the power of life and death. He would order the deposition or execution of Chiefs. He would command his people to till the royal fields and repair, or rebuild the palace and his commandment was urgent. He could appropriate the major game animals killed by hunters, and he exacted a penalty from any household, a member of which had been responsible for causing a virgin girl to become enceinte. He could take as a wife, not merely any unmarried girl he pleased, but the wife of any of his subjects. If two suitors quarrelled over a girl, the Obi might settle the matter by appropriating the girl himself. His servants bared their shoulders, and women, their breasts before him. His wives were guarded and attended to by castrated domestic men. Offenses against him were punished more severely than those against ordinary people. People never spoke to him without going down on their knees, and at times touching the ground with their heads.

He was said to be confined to his palace. His subjects treated him with differential respect. He ate alone. The parings of his hair and nails were secretly buried, for if some evil-minded medicine-men were to get hold of them, they might work them into a charm against the Obi’s health or life. He appeared attended to by a crowd of naked serving boys, some carrying ada, ebeni and other insignia of royalty; the greater part of the nobility and gentry also followed in the train. In those days, such public appearances were on rare occasions during important ceremonies when the people rejoiced at his appearance.

Like in the olden days, the Obi is not merely the head of the kingdom but he is the symbol of its unity. In him is unified all aspects of political system and the tenets of his kingdom’s religion. He is the head of the Idibie; he controls the diviners, the Iheren, the Omu, the priests, the witches, the magicians and all cults in the kingdom. As he is believed to be the nearest to the spirits, he is believed to have more powers than anyone else in the kingdom. His political superiority is emphasized in many ways, one of which is through praise names. He receives all the great praise names to which no one else in the kingdom is entitled. These praise names include Agu (Tiger is the king of the animals’ kingdom), and the Obi is the ruler of men in an Ika kingdom. He, whose power is likened to the Great One above; one whose will must be obeyed in the kingdom; he, who owns the kingdom; he, who has the last word; Obi Okusi-ogu; Obi tutu, and so many others. These praise names indicate the notion of the king of a kingdom, and he is the most feared, reverend and adored leader to whom all powers are attributed. The king is never judged but, if his advisers are warned to be careful, then he knows he is guilty.

He is a ruler and law giver, war leader and source of wealth. His person is sacred, his subjects remove their caps and bow their heads before him in adoration and flatter him with adulations.

He is called the father of all the indigenes. He is not a despot, but a constitutional monarch whose office brings privileges and responsibilities.

He is the custodian of the custom of his people. The whole kingdom is his own possession, and his welfare is believed to be vital to all. The Obi does not necessarily administer all justice, or perform ritual sacrifices; but while he can delegate these powers to officials, he is the final source of law and leadership. The Obi cannot, therefore, be scolded in the public or blamed. The blame is levied on his advisers.

To be without a king is regarded as disastrous. And for that reason, immediately after the death of an Obi of a kingdom, a new Obi is enthroned according to the tradition of the kingdom. A lot of guided rituals are performed before the heir apparent is coronated. The rituals include a symbolic ‘meal made in respect of his predecessor’s head’ known in Ika as iri eze, ‘eating king’. A nonagenarian responded told this author that in those days, ritual human sacrifices were offered to protect the Obi from bad spirits, witches and wizards and to cleanse the land. Nowadays, cows, goats, dogs, fowls and rams are used for these sacrifices.

The purity of the Obi is protected by elaborate rituals and taboos, which were very many in ancient times. It is certain to judge from the general trend that some of them were designed to ensure good moral behaviour. The values of the Obiship are reaffirmed and consolidated by periodic ceremonies, the most important of which are ‘national or yearly festivals’, which focus on various aspects of the social and economic activities of a kingdom. During these festivals also, the Chiefs and subjects pay homage to the Obi and renew their allegiance.

To be continued…
The post THE IKA KINGSHIP CULTURE appeared first on IKA Mirror Newspaper Online.
Source: Ika News Agbor
Ika News: THE IKA KINGSHIP CULTURE

IKA CULTURAL GAMES AND ENTERTAINMENTS

ONYEKPEZE AND IKA CULTURAL MATTERS

Ika community had a glorious and rich cultural past in games and entertainments. The adults as well as the children were always fully occupied. There was hardly any time when people were not occupied in those days. On the days when people were not in their farms, they engaged in one craft or the other. Eken days were religiously observed. It was on Eken days that Ika people abstained from going to their farms. It was on Eken days that children and even adults who had no domestic assignments, engaged in a lot of games and entertainments which abound in each clan in the olden days.

In the evenings, the men engaged in discussing, contemporary issues smoked their pipes which was very popular in those days, and relaxing with their kindred on kegs of palmwine. Some of them moved out to visit or join relations, in-laws, friends and well-wishers. The women, in most cases, engaged in moon light tales and feebles that touched exemplary characters and sex education to the young ones and the fairly grown up children, respectively.

The stories told were of varied types. They included legends, allegories, myths, folktales, folk epics, wonder tales, fictions, riddles, rhetoric proverbs, proverbial songs, maxims, aphorisms, anecdotes, euphemisms, humours, dialogue, jokes, banter, folk songs, rumour, gossip, wonder-land, folk music, lyrics, greetings, wise sayings, etc. These stories which in some cases, involved very elderly members of a family, supplemented in-door games like itan ise and igho ise, which occupied the adults and youths at their homes when the moon was not on.When the moon was on, the children often went out for the moon light plays. The children of the ancient Ika had more avenues of entertainment than their present day counterparts. This might be the reason why, in olden days, the children hardly had time for any mischiefs. The youths of the then Ika were very truthful and law-abiding. The games and entertainments that occupied them were many, and only a few present day youths may remember them. Some may not have even heard about many of the games.

This calls for concerted efforts to rediscover Ika glorious and rich traditional games and entertainments that are in danger of extinction in the face of modern civilization. Discussing them may certainly bring their existence to the knowledge of our youths. It may also assist in reviving interest in an aspect of entertainment of the community that is fast dying away. Perhaps, they could once again form part of education and training of Ika children.

To be able to treat these games sufficiently, they are grouped into five different headings: Indoor games, games solely played by boys, games solely played by girls, games suitable for both sexes and games for the very young ones in Ika society.

INDOOR GAMESItan Ise This is one of the most popular games among Ika people in the olden days. It is generally played by two persons, one on either side of a board. The board itself, commonly hewed out of a solid piece of wood, contains six holes, Okwa, on the either side with two bigger holes, one at each end. These are called Ulo/Olo. Each of the side holes, Okwa, contains four seeds (also pebbles or cowries). Sometimes, children play the game by digging similar holes on the ground in their compounds.The game has some rules:

It is played by two persons. The strategy is one person to attempt to capture as many seeds as possible from the other person. The winner is the person who has captured the greater number of seeds. The winner should capture at least 25 seeds since the total number of seeds in the holes is 48.The seeds are placed, according to the rules of the game, in clock wise direction.If the seed placed by one player falls on the seed in the side hole of the other player, the latter seed is capture and both seeds are removed by the first player and put in his store for seeds, Olo/Ulo.The same is true if the seed falls on a hole containing 2 seeds. But if the hole contains 3 or more seeds, the new seed cannot capture the ones already there. It simply increases the number of seeds in the hole.Any seeds in a hole, which are more than 3, form Odin. The seeds cannot be captured by any new seed placed in the hole.The Odin is said to die if:(a) The number of seeds in a hole is so many that the seeding (placing of seeds in a hole) does not terminate on the side of the opponent.(b) The seeding terminates on another Odin.(c) The seeding terminates on an empty hole.The players play in turn. Under no circumstance can one player play consecutively.If a faulty play is detected, the game is cancelled and a fresh start made.The winner of the game is the person who has captured the greater number of seeds.If before the completion of the game one player anticipates defeat and concedes victory, then the other player becomes the winner.
The post IKA CULTURAL GAMES AND ENTERTAINMENTS appeared first on IKA Mirror Newspaper Online.
Source: Ika News Agbor
Ika News: IKA CULTURAL GAMES AND ENTERTAINMENTS

ELEMENTS AND ADMIXTURE OF THE IGBOS AND THE BINIS

Like was mentioned earlier on, the distinctive sub-cultural traits of Bini and Igbo find expression in their manner in economic activities, religious belief system, settlement patterns and linguistic variation. In short, these sub-cultural traits affect, in no small measure, the Ika culture and cultural heritage, and hence a succinct discourse on the’elements and admixture of the Igbos and the Binis.’

Elements of admixture of the Igbos and the Binis can be found today in Ika people’s features, language, religion, customs and indeed, the culture of the Ika people. The physical characteristics that distinguish the mainland Igbos and Binis are visible on the Ika people. This is because this mixture of Igbo and Bini people in Ika often meant that Ika laws and customs vanished and a new law and order evolved based partly on the invaders’ precedent and experience, and a little after, partly on the contact with the British.

Although the Ika-Igbo factor may not have preceded the Bini factor, yet it has assumed a greater pervading influence and has even become embedded in the subconsciousness of the Ika people. Hence overwhelming influence of the Igbos in Ika language cannot be explained strictly on the basis of this founding role.

The Igbo influence on Ika nowadays is all permeating in all spheres of human endeavour. For example, these are seen in commerce, where the Igbos are present in Ika towns and villages as traders and businessmen; or with the Ikas travelling to Igbo towns and villages to transact business. For most Christians, the texts for worship (Bible, Prayer Books, Hymn Books) were written in Igbo Language, which had been more accessible to greater majority than English. Even the early preachers, church workers, carpenters, interpreters, teachers, brick layers, etc., were mostly Igbo and Igbo-speaking. The young ones in schools were exposed to the Igbo Language as one of the major Nigerian Languages recommended in the school curriculum. Moreover, on the political front, the Ika-Igbo solidarity was fostered and sustained by the equation of the issue of Anioma Movement. These phenomena constitute effective linguistic bridges between the Ika ethnic nationality and the Igbo-speaking people of Anioma extraction of Delta State. Therefore, contrary to the Bini situation, here, the elements of mutual comprehension seem to have played heavily in favour of the Igbos and thereby creating favourable conditions for the establishment of affinities between Ika and the Igbo.On the Bini side, it is instructive to note too the similarities between some common Bini and Ika names such as Amenata, Agbogun, Adagbon, Obazuaye, Igbenije, Igumbor, Igbenigun, Igbenedion, Igbenehi, Osunde, Igheghe, Okundaye, Igbenoba, Aghede, Imudia, Isibor, Iyama, Ihator, etc. Also, it could not have been by accident that many common place names and quarters in Ika bear Bini names such as Ogbeisere, Ihogbe, Ogwaide, Ogbeiwase, Ogbe-Isogban, Idumu-Oza, Iregwa, Ogbe Akina or Ogbeleka, Alizomor, Owuwu, Ozara, Ogan, Idumu Agbado, Idumu Iwase, Alisogbe, Ibiegwa, Ukpeworo, etc., found in Agbor, Abavo, Ute-Okpu, Umunede, Owa and in other kingdoms in Ika. In addition, as in Agbor tradition, the Idumu-Oza quarters in Benin has the traditional function of fabricating ceremonical copper anklets for the members of the royal family. There are similarities of other cultural ideology which are not lost among the Ika people.

Whereas the Obiship and traditional chieftaincy titles are essentially of Bini institution, some recent chieftaincy system follows Igbo line. The Ikas bear names similar to Bini and Igbo. Indeed, the Ika people do not have any shared physical characteristics distinguishing them from the Bini and the Igbo. The strongest cults in Ika are Olokun, of Bini origin and Ikengan, Uzun and Ehi (Chi) of Igbo origin. The Ofo (a patrimonial instrument of authority, which represents continuity) is also of Igbo origin.

This dual mode of origin, Bini and Igbo, of the Ika people has influenced them in many ways. For example, the older generations of the Ika people had tribal marks (Igu or egbugbu) of Bini origin, which the younger generations have discontinued due to Western civilization, and so on. This situation, however, tends to pose a crisis of ethnic identity of the Ika people being neither Binis nor Igbos. This mixed, but not exactly confused origin and history is evidenced mostly in Ika culture and her cultural heritage.

However, no matter the divergence of opinion and the identified diversities, the Ika ethnic nationality is an identifiable and vibrant entity, whose existence is not in doubt. Ika identification with larger ethnic nationalities should not create any identity crisis, but should rather be seem as a factor for highlighting Ika specificity, their uniqueness and so their autonomy as a group capable of making clear and conscious choice of whom their friends, brothers or sisters are. Ika are neither Igbo nor Bini, but essentially and intrinsically themselves, that is the Ikas.The original language of most Ika people, as mentioned earlier on, is believed to be Bini. But through recent migration from Eastern communities (Igbo) to Ika, commercial, marital and social intercourse, the Igbo language seemed to supersede the language of the former. This situation, perhaps, has also to do with the classification of the Ika with the Aniocha, Oshimili and Ndokwa people in a group dubbed Ika-Igbo in the Nigeria socio-political nomenclature. This taxonomy is occasioned by the scanty information about the Ika people, which gained prominence during the Nigerian Civil War (1967 – 1970).

But the point must be made that in spite of the affinities between Ika and Igbo, Ika language cannot be described as an Igbo dialect. “Ika is an autonomous linguistic entity made up of its grammatical, syntactic phonological and lexical structures. It has its own literature, which is for the time being and for obvious reasons essentially oral. According to the great linguist, Professor Key Williamson, ‘Ika is a cluster of dialects.’ This implies the acceptance of the true status of Ika as a language. For logically, a dialect cannot be at the same time a dialect and a cluster of dialects. Therefore, Ika is a language with its positive political and ideological connotations rather than a dialect which often connotes inferiority. In other words Ika’s interactions with other ethnic nationalities should be seen on the basis of equality and fraternal relationships and not on the superiority equation.”

Indeed, the Ikas are not Igbo-speaking but Ika-speaking people. The truth of the matter should not be lost sight of. Ika in Delta State now have an identity in Nigeria for which they have come a long way in the struggle to position, reconstruct and this way, re-engineer Ika nation. One of the surest ways to achieve these objectives is the development and preservation of Ika language, as language is the vehicle that drives culture. It is the primary identity of a people as it is the key for all their education agenda. Onu Ika Nigeria, the mouth piece of the Ika ethnic nationality is currently addressing this issue. A committee has been put in place for the development of the Ika language and ensuring the practice of Ika language through encouraging its use and learning in established fora. Towards this aspiration, Ika language is taught in educational institutions in Ika Local Government Areas including the College of Education, Agbor. The Ika language autograph approval is seriously on the pipe line. This positive indication suggests the eventual introduction of Ika studies within the academic programme of the Delta State University.

Also, a clarion call has gone to all Ika at home and in the diaspora to speak and teach their children the Ika language. Ika is one of the ethnic languages in which the Delta State News and other vernacular programmes are transmitted in Delta State Radio and Television. In keeping to this aspiration also, the Ika Bible and the four gospel of the New Testament have been translated into Ndi Ozi Eno (Gospels according to Matthew, John, Luke and Mark) by the Ika Bible Translation Project. The translation of the other parts of the Bible has been completed. The first edition of an Ika Dictionary has been published and serious attempt is being made to increase Ika vocabulary in the second edition that is in progress. Many books have been written in all aspects of the Ika language, etc.

…Concluded.

Chief (Dr) Onyekpeze .F.A. (JP)
The post ELEMENTS AND ADMIXTURE OF THE IGBOS AND THE BINIS appeared first on IKA Mirror Newspaper Online.
Source: Ika News Agbor
Ika News: ELEMENTS AND ADMIXTURE OF THE IGBOS AND THE BINIS

SPIRITS IN IKA CULTURE

IKA CULTURAL CUM TRADITIONAL RELIGION BELIEF IN SPIRITS IN IKA CULTURETHE SPIRIT OF THE WITCHES (NDI IGBOME)

Since witches fly with birds or swift nocturnal animals or with other materials, it is not surprising that their favourite haunts are on top of trees. Tall trees in the forests or hollow or curiously shaped trees, especially silk-cotton, baobab and Iroko trees are widely held to be their meeting places.

It is also generally believed that the guild of witches has its regular meetings and ceremonies in forests, or in open sandy places called ubom (covens) in the middle of the nights. The meeting, a respondent explained, is the meeting of “souls”, ‘spirits’ of the witches. It is believed that the spirits leave the bodies of witches in the form of birds. Their main purpose is to work havoc on other beings; but the operation is the operation of spirits upon spirits; that is, the mortal bodies of the victims are attacked, extracted and devoured. This is what is meant when it is said that witches have sucked the entire blood of their victims. ‘Spirits meet spirits’, spirits operate against spirits, while the actual human being lie ‘asleep’ on their beds. It is always held that if anything prevents the return of the witch’s soul to its body, the owner (witch) will die. By definition, therefore, a witch is known to harm not through any palpable materials and as such, there are no rites, ceremonies or incantations which a witch has to perform. Perhaps, this is why it is not easy to know who is a witch in the community.

Witchcraft is an evil thing. Another respondent explained that it is hereditary with more than eighty percent of its practitioners being women. She said that mothers pass down their witchcraft to their daughters, but very rarely to their sons. Some, she agreed, are born witches; others acquire it, while many more are unknowingly given the act of witchcraft through food, kola nuts or drinks. Practitioners of witchcraft are mostly old and handicapped women, she said.Another respondent said that it is a well known fact that witches bewitch mostly themselves and their families. In line with her thinking, the witches are charged, each to provide victims in turns, and they meet to feast on their victims. These victims brought to the assemblies are mostly close relations of theirs. Witches prey most often upon those who are in close contact with them. The new witch entering the company must bring the soul of a relative, often one of her children. “Witches are terrible, and that is how they are initiated”, the respondent added. If the witch does not find a victim, she is liable to be torn to pieces by the other enraged harpies. The witches are said to eat their victims spiritually; that is to say that although descriptions of the feast sound like cannibalism, yet it is spiritual. The assembled ghouls tear the victim limb from limb, eat it raw or cook it. Or the blood may be sucked, vampire like fashion. Yet all these are done to the soul and not the body. “The soul is closely linked to the body, and as the witches devour the ‘spiritual body’, so the mortal frame weakens. Its blood is sucked away spiritually. Pains, paralysis or impotence appear in different victims. When the centre of blood, the heart or liver, is reached, then the victim dies”.

In the olden days, and even till date, it is believed in Ika that all kinds of troubles may be caused by witches, from barrenness in human beings to bad harvest. A wife who was a witch was believed quite capable of sucking her husband’s blood at night. In such a case, the husband would waste away, while the wife grows fatter and more robust.

Witches could cause abortion, and could delay a pregnancy beyond the usual nine months or indefinitely. They could enter the womb and devour the unborn child, so that a full-blown pregnancy would gradually wither away until it disappears. Witches could cause monstrous births. The child could turn into a tortoise, chimpanzee or snail, or it might have two heads, and so on.

Virtually, any illness whose cause was unknown was attributed to witchcraft, especially those diseases that cause the patient to lose weight progressively. To provoke illness, witches are said to enter the bodies of their victims in the form of crabs, lizards, spiders, ants and the like; thus, it was quite unusual for a sick person to complain of creatures crawling round his body and causing pains. Sudden deaths, lunacy, crop pests, invasion by soldier ants or bees, witches take the blame for them all. Children who cry out in the night may be troubled by witches, and even animals that behave strangely have perhaps been bewitched. They cause social disaster, sickness, unemployment, etc.

Some sorcerers and idibie are able to extract disease so caused from the bodies of their sufferers. The extracted diseases usually assume the form of stones, pins, nails, tiny pebbles, etc. The extracted materials are shown to the patients who would often recover thereafter.

A respondent told this writer. “Well, you are a child. Those who have seen life know that there are witches and wizards. One just prays that they do not put their hands in one’s load”

In modern Africa communities like Ika, there is great fear of witchcraft; and people look round before voicing their opinion on matters concerning witchcraft.

Chief (Dr) Onyekpeze .F.A. (JP)

The subject which occupied the people’s minds in the olden days, in Ika community, was witchcraft with which the aged, and perhaps, childless women were constantly accused to their destruction. No matter who they might be, whether the mother or wives of a king, of a rich or poor person, when once accused of witchcraft by any priest or dibie, they would be prepared to die.

They had to pass through the danger of drinking the poisonous tonic drink made from the leaves or barks of inyin tree to prove their innocence, which nine cases out of ten proved fatal. The result of an ordeal would sometimes be manipulated through the influence of bribery. Thus, a poison brew for an ordeal could be diluted or strengthened if the death of the accused was desirable. Tradition has it that the doses were regulated by the priest according to whether the priest regarded the accused as innocent or guilty, or in some cases, whether he had been bribed or not. The ordeal might include that of pouring poisonous fluids in the eyes and beating.

Witchcraft can also be used for the benefit of man. In that case, it is called white witchcraft. This is so because it is thought to be used for protection as when a woman uses it to protect her children, a respondent said.

BELIEF IN ANCESTORS IN IKA CULTUREAncestor-worship is at the centre of Traditional Religion in Ika culture. In the community, any ritual begins with the invocation. Osolobue (Deity) come and eat kola nut, Olokun come and eat kola nut; our ancestors come and eat kola nut. This shows indisputably that the ancestors are assigned a significant place in rituals.

The people of Ika do not debate whether their ancestors are gods or can be prayed to or not; they believe that having passed the grave, the ancestors have out-soared the shadow of their nights. They have acquired new powers, and so can help mortal beings on earth. It is this belief that makes a man to appeal to his ancestors for help in times of need. Their belief is generally that only good people become ancestors after they have received a ‘well-done’ judgment by the deity or by the ‘court of the ancestors’. In other words, they are those who lived well and great live when they were on earth; those who attained perfection and have joined the ancestors in the final home of mankind, okun.

Bad or wicked people will be cast into a ‘rubbish heap’, the ‘hell of midden’, or the ‘hell of potsherds’. In some cases, they become wanderers in celestial plain. The bad and the wicked people never arrive at the sublime resting place. They stay in their graves or keep roaming about on earth constituting bad or wandering spirits, ihoghai, and disturbing human beings and causing troubles. When they re-incarnate, they are afflicted with all sorts of misfortunes as punishments and purification for their bad deeds.

The Ika people believe that the ancestors have survived death and to be living in a spiritual world, but still taking active interest in the affairs of their families. They are believed to be watching over their families like a ‘cloud of witness’. Everything that concerns the family, its health, wealth and fertility are of interest to the ancestors since they are its elders, and will also seek rebirth with the same family. The family land is their property, and they must be consulted when land is let out to other people. In everyday life of the community, the dead are very present. Most people, as a regular habit, never drink and may never eat, without throwing a small portion on the ground for their forefathers.

As a result of their concern about, and their presence with their families, the community believes that their lives are profoundly influenced by their ancestors. Consequently, the ancestors should be continually loved and respected; their names should be adopted; their descendants should bear their titles of relationship like father and mother, respect their beliefs, values and culture handed over to them. These beliefs require the people to respect their parents and elders, maintain their family bounds such as to avoid meddling with wives of their kinsmen, ina nwunyen ebon, and so on; and practice hospitality towards strangers and visitors. The living should always call upon them when they are about to undertake any great task. They should invoke the ancestors when they break kola nuts, or when they are at meals. Their ancestors should always be in their lips so that their lives may be guided by their sacred presence. And above all, they should strive to live noble lives so that they may join them after death.

(To be continued)
The post SPIRITS IN IKA CULTURE appeared first on IKA Mirror Newspaper Online.
Source: Ika News Agbor
Ika News: SPIRITS IN IKA CULTURE

BELIEF IN SPIRITS IN IKA CULTURE

IKA CULTURAL CUM TRADITIONAL RELIGION The Spirit Of The Witches

(ndi Igbome)

Since witches fly with birds or swift nocturnal animals or with other materials, it is not surprising that their favourite haunts are on top of trees. Tall trees in the forests or hollow or curiously shaped trees, especially silk-cotton, baobab and Iroko trees are widely held to be their meeting places.

It is also generally believed that the guild of witches has its regular meetings and ceremonies in forests, or in open sandy places called ubom (covens) in the middle of the nights. The meeting, a respondent explained, is the meeting of “souls”, ‘spirits’ of the witches. It is believed that the spirits leave the bodies of witches in the form of birds.

Their main purpose is to work havoc on other beings; but the operation is the operation of spirits upon spirits; that is, the mortal bodies of the victims are attacked, extracted and devoured. This is what is meant when it is said that witches have sucked the entire blood of their victims. ‘Spirits meet spirits’, spirits operate against spirits, while the actual human being lie ‘asleep’ on their beds. It is always held that if anything prevents the return of the witch’s soul to its body, the owner (witch) will die. By definition, therefore, a witch is known to harm not through any palpable materials and as such, there are no rites, ceremonies or incantations which a witch has to perform. Perhaps, this is why it is not easy to know who is a witch in the community.

Witchcraft is an evil thing. Another respondent explained that it is hereditary with more than eighty percent of its practitioners being women. She said that mothers pass down their witchcraft to their daughters, but very rarely to their sons. Some, she agreed, are born witches; others acquire it, while many more are unknowingly given the act of witchcraft through food, kola nuts or drinks. Practitioners of witchcraft are mostly old and handicapped women, she said.Another respondent said that it is a well known fact that witches bewitch mostly themselves and their families. In line with her thinking, the witches are charged, each to provide victims in turns, and they meet to feast on their victims. These victims brought to the assemblies are mostly close relations of theirs.

Witches prey most often upon those who are in close contact with them. The new witch entering the company must bring the soul of a relative, often one of her children. “Witches are terrible, and that is how they are initiated”, the respondent added. If the witch does not find a victim, she is liable to be torn to pieces by the other enraged harpies. The witches are said to eat their victims spiritually; that is to say that although descriptions of the feast sound like cannibalism, yet it is spiritual. The assembled ghouls tear the victim limb from limb, eat it raw or cook it. Or the blood may be sucked, vampire like fashion. Yet all these are done to the soul and not the body. “The soul is closely linked to the body, and as the witches devour the ‘spiritual body’, so the mortal frame weakens. Its blood is sucked away spiritually. Pains, paralysis or impotence appear in different victims. When the centre of blood, the heart or liver, is reached, then the victim dies”.

In the olden days, and even till date, it is believed in Ika that all kinds of troubles may be caused by witches, from barrenness in human beings to bad harvest. A wife who was a witch was believed quite capable of sucking her husband’s blood at night. In such a case, the husband would waste away, while the wife grows fatter and more robust.

Witches could cause abortion, and could delay a pregnancy beyond the usual nine months or indefinitely. They could enter the womb and devour the unborn child, so that a full-blown pregnancy would gradually wither away until it disappears. Witches could cause monstrous births. The child could turn into a tortoise, chimpanzee or snail, or it might have two heads, and so on.

Virtually, any illness whose cause was unknown was attributed to witchcraft, especially those diseases that cause the patient to lose weight progressively. To provoke illness, witches are said to enter the bodies of their victims in the form of crabs, lizards, spiders, ants and the like; thus, it was quite unusual for a sick person to complain of creatures crawling round his body and causing pains. Sudden deaths, lunacy, crop pests, invasion by soldier ants or bees, witches take the blame for them all. Children who cry out in the night may be troubled by witches, and even animals that behave strangely have perhaps been bewitched. They cause social disaster, sickness, unemployment, etc.

Some sorcerers and idibie are able to extract disease so caused from the bodies of their sufferers. The extracted diseases usually assume the form of stones, pins, nails, tiny pebbles, etc. The extracted materials are shown to the patients who would often recover thereafter.

A respondent told this writer. “Well, you are a child. Those who have seen life know that there are witches and wizards. One just prays that they do not put their hands in one’s load”

In modern Africa communities like Ika, there is great fear of witchcraft; and people look round before voicing their opinion on matters concerning witchcraft.

The subject which occupied the people’s minds in the olden days, in Ika community, was witchcraft with which the aged, and perhaps, childless women were constantly accused to their destruction. No matter who they might be, whether the mother or wives of a king, of a rich or poor person, when once accused of witchcraft by any priest or dibie, they would be prepared to die. They had to pass through the danger of drinking the poisonous tonic drink made from the leaves or barks of inyin tree to prove their innocence, which nine cases out of ten proved fatal. The result of an ordeal would sometimes be manipulated through the influence of bribery. Thus, a poison brew for an ordeal could be diluted or strengthened if the death of the accused was desirable. Tradition has it that the doses were regulated by the priest according to whether the priest regarded the accused as innocent or guilty, or in some cases, whether he had been bribed or not. The ordeal might include that of pouring poisonous fluids in the eyes and beating.

Witchcraft can also be used for the benefit of man. In that case, it is called white witchcraft. This is so because it is thought to be used for protection as when a woman uses it to protect her children, a respondent said.

BELIEF IN ANCESTORS IN IKA CULTUREAncestor-worship is at the centre of Traditional Religion in Ika culture. In the community, any ritual begins with the invocation. Osolobue (Deity) come and eat kola nut, Olokun come and eat kola nut; our ancestors come and eat kola nut. This shows indisputably that the ancestors are assigned a significant place in rituals.

The people of Ika do not debate whether their ancestors are gods or can be prayed to or not; they believe that having passed the grave, the ancestors have out-soared the shadow of their nights. They have acquired new powers, and so can help mortal beings on earth. It is this belief that makes a man to appeal to his ancestors for help in times of need. Their belief is generally that only good people become ancestors after they have received a ‘well-done’ judgment by the deity or by the ‘court of the ancestors’. In other words, they are those who lived well and great live when they were on earth; those who attained perfection and have joined the ancestors in the final home of mankind, okun.

Bad or wicked people will be cast into a ‘rubbish heap’, the ‘hell of midden’, or the ‘hell of potsherds’. In some cases, they become wanderers in celestial plain. The bad and the wicked people never arrive at the sublime resting place. They stay in their graves or keep roaming about on earth constituting bad or wandering spirits, ihoghai, and disturbing human beings and causing troubles. When they re-incarnate, they are afflicted with all sorts of misfortunes as punishments and purification for their bad deeds.

The Ika people believe that the ancestors have survived death and to be living in a spiritual world, but still taking active interest in the affairs of their families. They are believed to be watching over their families like a ‘cloud of witness’. Everything that concerns the family, its health, wealth and fertility are of interest to the ancestors since they are its elders, and will also seek rebirth with the same family. The family land is their property, and they must be consulted when land is let out to other people. In everyday life of the community, the dead are very present. Most people, as a regular habit, never drink and may never eat, without throwing a small portion on the ground for their forefathers.

As a result of their concern about, and their presence with their families, the community believes that their lives are profoundly influenced by their ancestors. Consequently, the ancestors should be continually loved and respected; their names should be adopted; their descendants should bear their titles of relationship like father and mother, respect their beliefs, values and culture handed over to them. These beliefs require the people to respect their parents and elders, maintain their family bounds such as to avoid meddling with wives of their kinsmen, ina nwunyen ebon, and so on; and practice hospitality towards strangers and visitors. The living should always call upon them when they are about to undertake any great task. They should invoke the ancestors when they break kola nuts, or when they are at meals. Their ancestors should always be in their lips so that their lives may be guided by their sacred presence. And above all, they should strive to live noble lives so that they may join them after death.

(To be continued)
The post BELIEF IN SPIRITS IN IKA CULTURE appeared first on IKA Mirror Newspaper Online.
Source: Ika News Agbor
Ika News: BELIEF IN SPIRITS IN IKA CULTURE