Category Archives: Ika Land



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 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