Category Archives: ikaland

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:

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…
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SOME IKA CULTURAL MATTERS TATTOO

Tattoo is a cultural practice of facial, chest and body marks known in Ika as Igu or Egbugbu. Many Ika people who did not know its origin took it as mere body beautification.

The facial marking of an Ika citizen was at times distinct, but resembled Bini and Ishan designs. Ika used uche-knife to cut lines about 1” and 3” on each check and one on the forehead. Some men like the Edos had longer and wider ones as some had several lines on the forehead only, while women had marks on both the forehead like men and women in Ishan.
Facial marks were designed for the slaves in the early days; but after sometime, a free-born of Ika was difficult to know or discover when kidnapped or killed at war, while a slave with marks was easily traced by the master. By this tragedy, Ika freeborn began to have marks except the prince for any nwa eze must not be deformed.

However, Ika people inherited the culture of tattoo from Benin civilization. Tattoo originated in the reign of Oba Ewuare the Great (1440) who wrecked his misdirected anger on Benin people. This was because of the tragic death of his two sons Ezuwaha and Kubyawa in one day. In his grief, he instructed the Osiwu/Osigwu (women perfected in tribal marks) to tattoo all Benin young men and ladies for identification purposes in any part of the world they got to. This was because Binis who had attained the marriage age fled Benin. He further decreed that no married couple would have sexual intercourse; neither should any marriage take place for a period of three years, which he declared for the mourning of his two sons. He also decreed that nobody in the land of Benin should take his or her bath during the period.

Since young men and ladies could not afford to brook any insolence of remaining for three years without having their bath, without marrying and getting children, they started to flee the kingdom.

Thus, the Ika people of the olden days inherited the culture of tattoo as passport to move freely as those untattooed stood the risk of being kidnapped.

As time went on, Ika people adopted tattoo for the body beautification and traditional permission of newly married couple to begin to have sexual relations, but never before then. When an Ika girl was mature, she was given marks on the belly below the navel. If not marked before joining her husband, she was subjected to penalty by the Osigwu-markers’ guild. If she had any sexual intercourse with any man not her husband, she was considered defiled and her child would not be circumcised until she paid the penalty. Nowadays, tribal marks are no longer of useful purpose in Ika community culture. Things are changing and people don’t want to have marks again.

In Ika, the first make-up and skin care materials were obtained from camwood (ufie). Hausa call it lali. Then, Ika maiden adorned their bodies with the camwood and uri (the black tree) body care mixtures. Camwood was also the main ingredient used in the fattening room of women.

The Ika people with black skins and fair skins showed good portray of high art and delineated Ika cultural backgrounds. Then, many had the notion that fair skin colours were better than dark complexions. As a result, a lot of women used ufie products to lighten their skins, sometimes at a high health cost.

TaboosTaboos are prohibition of religious or social or the use or practice or mention of something or contact with someone. They are things forbidden among some tribes or ethnic groups and put the people in bondage of fear of these taboos,that says or touch not, taste not and handle not. Ika community taboos evolve under the strict influence of religious beliefs. Many Ika taboos are cultural issues of religious beliefs which forbid people to do or say.

The important factor in the moral life of the Ika people has been strict observance of taboos and time – honoured usage. These are the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ regulating every human behaviour. In Ika people’s thought, taboos have collectively taken one special significance by assuming a quasi-personal character in consequence of which it has been given the name, aru-u or nso ali. Ika people believe that in the face of baffling crime or offence, Mmo will judge (track down the offender), which is as much as to say that sinners will not go unpunished.

Ika Myths on TaboosIn the beginning, and in order to live, man adapted himself to his environment. Experience soon taught him what could be done and what must be avoided. His life revolved around taboos consisting in deeds, to abstain from things not to be eaten, acts of breach of moral or spiritual laws, breaking covenants, repeated ablutions before taking part in rites, etc. In other words, taboos refer mainly to forbidden human behaviours. Man found it necessary in an imperfect society, to introduce these elements of subtle ‘coercion’ in order to strengthen his ‘weak will’ in the performance of the ethical duties. These elements are governed by codes and conventions defining man’s relationship, which have to be maintained with spirits, mmo; medicines (ogun), and all creatures, in order to avoid confusion, and to maintain peace in the community.

It is believed that those who broke taboos were, therefore, considered as accursed, who would be liable to bring disaster upon the whole community. By and large, it was also believed that each divinity would punish ritual or moral offences committed within its province; that each aggressive ancestor would reprimand his own people for dereliction of filial duties; and that it is God who judges men pure for what they are in consequence of their character.

Ika myths on taboos are varied, and myths of abstinence which take their roots in totems and creatures (animals and plants) considered by the community to have a close connection with a family group, village or community. This relationship is often in the form of favour or protection, which this group of people may have received from a totem in the past and thus hold it sacred. Ika people believe that it is unkind to kill or eat totems; hence it is a taboo to do so. This belief has imposed upon those involved to avoid or respect these totems. In some areas, sorts of rites are accorded to a totem killed mistakenly. To be continued…
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Ika News: SOME IKA CULTURAL MATTERS TATTOO

The Rain That Beat the Eagle also Beat the Vulture

In Alaika, there is a popular saying: ” MÍRÍŃ M’àh Ùgó’ń Wùfúà Ùÿíń” (The rain that beat the Eagle has made the bird even more good-looking”). Sometimes this saying is extended to include how the rain affected the vulture, a comparative strategy that reminds us that both birds are related. The extension to the vulture adds : “…Kàhńí hùń máh Ùdèlè gbùèh” (“… the one that beat the vulture just killed the bird”). Sorry for the Vulture. Sorry for being unlucky.

Whenever I hear this saying, I feel sorry for the vulture and envy the eagle. Some birds are affected badly by rainstorms and those that can fly high should thank their stars. I recall that Ika folksong that says: “… Míńríń màh Ń’ńùńú kà hùà Òÿíh….” Translated roughly as “… A bird beaten by the rain feels cold.” So, we can understand the predicament of the vulture, especially when its stomach is still a cemetery!

There is strong sympathy, in fact, admiration, for the eagle and no such sympathy or admiration for the vulture. In some countries, for instance, Nigeria, the vulture is metaphorically referred to as ” government pickin,” as a way of registering its being homeless and beyond punishment. It seems the vulture’s freedom is paradoxically a curse, for the bird is still under the bondage of dirt and disease. The eagle, on the other hand, is clean and far from contract of disease. Sorry, too, for government whose freedom is slavery, or abundance serious deficiency!One can see clearly that the rain that beat the vulture is devastating, and the same rain treated the eagle well. It is, therefore, very offensive to be metaphorized as a vulture, not only because of the idea that the referent is a scavenger, but because of the perception of the terrible looks. The vulture looks as if it is going to die any minute!

The main issue: that disfavor or mischief designed for the eagle is only helping the bird, ironically! Isn’t it true that we end up helping that person whose interests we think that we are undermining? If Satan had known that by taking Jesus to the cross and making him spread out his hands that he was advertising his new religion and initiating a very important force of globalization, he would not have ventured near that crucifixion. It, in reverse, cost him a lot.

The point, therefore, is that it is a sheer waste of time to plan to work against the eagle. That noble bird will triumph, what more, the conspiracy will end up helping the high flyer! It is even frustrating to for the rain to beat the eagle also. That rain should be for the vulture and make it look more and more terrible.

Isn’t it interesting the eagle can now perch on graveyards? As a symbol of nobility in the coat of arms! Is it really a vulture? Why drag the eagle into this mess ?

The eagle in that noble outfit also has another relative hidden away. Idealized as a criminal, that relative is the kite. It wasn’t beaten by the rain, but it has a bad name because it takes even if it belongs to another. It believes in not working to own.

What interesting relatives, eagle of the coat of arms. An opposite can sometimes be the real thing! So, this rain could have drenched the same person in different costumes, who knows? It is the same tropical storm breaking branches and breaking relationships and breaking people!the vulture could be the kite

… Who knows?

Citizen Miracle Ogor
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Ika News: The Rain That Beat the Eagle also Beat the Vulture

IKA GRAMMAR SCHOOL OLD BOYS ASSOCIATION CLASS 2006/2007 HELD MAIDEN INAUGURAL MEETING

Ika Grammar School Old Boys Association,IGSOBA, Class 06/07, has inaugurated members of her national executive. The inauguration ceremony took place on Sunday, March 28 at Cool Breeze Garden along Kingsley Street , Boji-Boji, Owa, Delta State.

Açcording to the association, “Sequel to the establishment of Ika Grammar School Old Boys Associations.Class 2006/007 finds it paramount to establish and fellowship across the globe, with a mandate to build a formidable Arm that will work in synergy to better ourselves wherever and whenever the need arises. This was part of the resolution reached during our maiden meeting held ONLINE in our Whatsapp loop on Sunday, 21st February, 2021 where our Executive Committee members were electedunder a free and fair atmosphere to the satisfaction of all the candidates.

The following officers emerged victorious at the end of the election and will serve as the Executive Officers of IGBSOBA, Class 2006/2007 for the next two years as provided for in the association’s constitution.

Names of the executive members and their positions are:

Chairman, Comrade Sammy Anslem,Vice-Chairman,Comr. Obison Okwokenyen (Obison Holtels Alihame)Secretary,Comr Engr Paul Ajudenonu,PRO,Comr. Marvellous Nwanti,Treasurer, Comr. Ekene. Okolie ( Tu-Fresh ),Asst. Sec, Silas Ekaonyewehe,Welfare Secretary,Jerry Ndidi Erue (Malaysia),Assistant Welfare Secretary,Charles Frank,Provost 1, Otor Friday,Provost 2,Alvin C Moni (Malaysia), andFinancial Secretary, Promise Etunim.

The dully returned officers subscribed to the oath of office as expected during her first offline / inaugural meeting.

Speaking shortly after the inauguration, the Chairman of the associationwho doubles as the CHIEF RESPONSIBILITY OFFICER (C.R.O) OF CHUKKY ANSLY GLOBAL RESOURCE. A REAL ESTATE CONSULT FIRM & GENERAL MERCHANT. Comr.. Sammy Anslem Chukky described the re- union as divine, stating that the days of little beginning should not be despised as the Holy Book instructed.

He said that it was a tough journey for them as the pioneer executive members at the embryonic stage but to God be the glory where they are now. He finally urged the current members and also would-be members not to relent in their efforts to reunite with their old boys from their Alma mata of Almost 15 years , noting that it’s a thing of joy for brethren to dwell together in unity,thus every one from that set is encouraged to get affiliated.

He disclosed that the new executive is already working to ensure that the end of the year’s reunion get together will be a historic event which is directly in line with the aim and objectives of the association.
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Source: Ika News Agbor
Ika News: IKA GRAMMAR SCHOOL OLD BOYS ASSOCIATION CLASS 2006/2007 HELD MAIDEN INAUGURAL MEETING

Ika Etumuse Unveils First Achievers in A 245 Page Book

It was a reunion and home coming for a good number of illustrious sons and daughters of Ika ethnic nationality in Delta State as they converged at Palm Event Centre, Boji-Boji, Owa, Ika North East Local Government Area, to witness the unveiling of the Ika First Achievers and Events Book, authored by a US based son of the nation, Chief Ika Etumuse and co-authored by Solomon Omojie.

Speakers at the event which had in attendance traditional, community and religious leaders, politicians, academicians, business moguls and entertainers amongst others, eulogized the authors of the 245-page book, just as they advocated for intellectual and entrepreneurial contributions towards the growth and development of Ika land.

According to the author, Chief Ika Etumuse, the book is a compendium of Ika first Achievers in all fields of human endeavors with Dr Jim Ovia leading the pack as the first Ika Indigene to establish a bank in Nigeria, immediately followed by another banker, Mr Godwin Emefiele, the first Ika son to be appointed as Governor of Central Bank.

One hundred and twenty five Ika sons and daughters made the list of honor, including Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, the first Ika man to be elected as a Governor of a state in Nigeria and the Obi of Igbodo kingdom, HRM Ikechukwu Osedume 1, who is the first king in Ika land to be called to the prestigious Nigerian Bar as a Lawyer.

The Dein of Agbor kingdom, HRM Dr Benjamin Ikenchuku Keagborekuzi1 and the Obi of Owa, HRM Dr Emmanuel Efeizomor 11, were described in the book as men of many firsts as well as other notable giants in Ika land, who have carved niches for themselves in their chosen life endeavors, including the Chief of Defense Staff, General Lucky Irabor, Mrs Priscilla Eleje of Central Bank of Nigeria, Most Rev’d Nicholas Okoh of Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, Nduka Obaigbena of Thisday Newspaper and Prof Linus Ajabor, were highlighted in the book.

Chief Etumuse, explained that there was the need for Ika Sons and Daughters who have set records in various fields and the very firsts from the nation to be credited with such achievements.He said the book intends to recognize and honour these persons for their great accomplishments as well as to appreciate them for their extraordinary and bold achievements in the prism of historical perspective.

The authors maintained that the unprecedented recorded feats and chains of important events had promoted the good image of Ika nation, and impacted positively on the generality of the people.Chief Etumuse equally noted that the book conveys an inspirational message on history and principles that are applicable in the lives of those who can serve as mentors to millions of younger generations on how to succeed.

These principles according to the author, are devotion to knowledge, commitment to excellence and courage to dare in areas where others fear, stressing that he had to venture into such aspects that had been neglected in Ika Nation.

He disclosed that the second edition of the book will be published in due course as there were still many great first achievers in Ika nation that are yet to be unveiled.

Chairman of the event, a Professor of Physiology, University of Benin, Professor Leonard Obika, said Chief Etumuse had contributed so much to inspiring others, particularly the people of Ika nation with the compilation of the book.

Prof Obika emphasized the need for all to cultivate the culture of reading, urging Ika Sons and Daughters to acknowledge and appreciate the book that was painstakingly put together by two of their own, saying that the book would serve as a historical fiction and for academic purposes.The Rector of Delta State Polytechnic, Ogwashi-Uku, Prof. (Mrs) Stella Chiemeke who reviewed the book, highlighted its impacts to Ika nation and the society in general, saying that the book is a clarion call for even generations unborn to strive for excellence.

She said the work chronicled Ika historical events and housed over two hundred Ika Sons and Daughters identified as first achievers in their chosen careers with forty of them dead while others are living legends that have made Ika nation proud.Prof Chiemeke pointed out that the book could be obtained in both soft and hard copies, disclosing that the compilation took the author and his team two years of field work before it was completed.

The academia who also made the list of the Ika first as the first Ika Professor of Computer Science, called on others to emulate the author in contributing to the growth and development of Ika nation, even as she pointed out that being Ika first achiever called for greater responsibility.The Obi of Igbodo Kingdom, HRM Barr. Ikechukwu Osedume 1, who led other special guests to unveil the book, said the journey by the author in building one of Ika ethnic nationality’s most iconic enterprise is an encouragement to other citizens.

Obi Osedume stated that the book is expected to preserve the history, heritage, culture and tradition of Ika people given the fact that many of Ika origin don’t know their root, culture and tradition.He maintained that the book would help to educate, inspire and motivate others to advance the interest of Ika Nation.

The Igbodo monarch explained that the author who incidentally is one of his subjects, had always impressed him by his many feats especially with the publication of the book, despite the daunting challenges that the team might had encountered during field work.He added that Chief Ika Etumuse possesses many qualities worthy of emulation.

Others who spoke, including the President, Prime League of Nigeria, Mr Alex Onyeagwu, Chief Elder John Ehikwe, Chief Ifieoha Azikiwe and Mr Bright Ndidi, also paid glowing tributes to the author of the book for the initiative and for a good work done in chronicling the landmark records of many illustrious sons and daughters of Ika nation both living and dead.They called for greater unity in Ika land and for peace and sustainable development.
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Source: Ika News Agbor
Ika News: Ika Etumuse Unveils First Achievers in A 245 Page Book

SOCIAL AND CULTURAL GROUPS IN IKA CULTURE

Since ancient times, the people of Ika have been known to be gregarious and belong to different groups. They come together for support, and even in their misery, the Ika people love company. The groups help to shape the character, relationship and the matrix of life in the society. In daily discourse in Ika, the term “group” is used to refer to fairly stable aggregate individuals whereby each person associates with a limited number of others in varying degrees of smaller groups. Such social and cultural groups dominate the people’s life, especially in the olden days. The groups are characterized by easily identifiable membership with clearly defined central activity; and the binding of the members to one another is a well established norm.

The groups range from Casual Street crowds or gangs to well organized societies. Some of the groups are something more than a mere aggregation of individuals. Some confer life membership while some cause their members to enter into written agreements, and yet, some may require the taking of oaths before membership is conferred.

Whether temporal, stable or in any other manners under which membership is conferred, these aggregations of human beings have capacity for communal endeavour in the different kingdoms in Ika. The groups are viewed as collections of persons who are capable of consistent and co-ordinated actions; actions which are consciously or unconsciously directed towards the achievement of goals, which bring satisfaction or prestige of some kind to the members. For example, big time farmers in Ika, from time, depend on group co-operative work. The hunters, carvers and nearly all craftsmen operate in groups. The Idibie, ndi Osegwu, ndi Uzun, ndi Iheren, and indeed all cults which are as old as the Ika community exist in groups.

In the olden days, on Eken days, innumerable meetings were held over drinks or food. Members of these gatherings were drawn together because they belonged to one lineage, village, quarter, sex, dance group, the same age grade, cult, guild, fraternity, etc. Because the groups were either socially or culturally inclined, only token money, if at all, was collected. In recent times, the number of groups has snow-balled. Many Christians and elite meet on Sundays, because they belong to the same Church or Sect, clubs, trade, isusu, and so on. The co-operative work groups, Idibie guild, Ogboni Fraternity, social clubs, isusu and Co-operative societies will be discussed, while others may be mentioned in passing in the pages that follow.

Co-operative Work GroupsCo-operative work groups have been in existence since Ika came into being. This entails the exchange of communal labour among farmers, especially when labour more than the household unit could provide was required. This appears to be the first known group in Ika because of the manual labour demanded to cultivate their farms in the then thick evergreen forests. For a prestige farming, some big farmers engaged the services of work groups, especially as there was no paid labour. The co-operative work group today, remains the chief source of labour supply for such farm operations as bush clearing, felling of trees in the farm, planting, staking and harvesting of yams.

Although a work group may recruit its members from its age grade, age is not a necessary criterion for membership. An adolescent who is physically fit and “weilds a machete” may join any work group. The number in a group ranges from two and above. During a farming season, a high turnover of membership is typical. There was always a moral obligation to perform a ‘return work’. The members of the group work in turns in one another’s farms. For this reason, the membership of a group constantly changes. In actual practice, however, the members of a work group try to ensure that they work for each member in turns. When unforeseen circumstance prevents some members from participating, the work may be postponed to a time when all can be present.

The itinerary of the work group is collectively planned and hosts have enough time to prepare for the group. The person to host first is chosen either by convenience or necessity. The person who organizes others into a work group does so out of self-interest, that is to enable him to meet his own work obligations. When every member has had his turn, the life of the work group may end, and its members may start a new cycle with or without new members joining, and some of the former members dropping out. They may join any other work groups, depending on the individuals’ farm needs and future commitments. It is through this closely structured work group that a man meets his labour obligations to his friends in other village groups. A person may send a work party to his friend, to his in-laws, and to his lineage members, without expecting any payment.

Co-operative work of this kind may take the form of having all the members actually working on the same task, such as bush clearing, or there may be co-ordinated division of labour in which, different jobs, such as hoeing and planting of yams are performed by smaller units of the work group. The team work stimulates competition. The member who works the hardest sets the pace for others to follow, each conscious of the efficiency demanded by his group or unit. Members of the work groups are provided lunch which is taken in the farm. Other entertainment agreed upon by the group may be held at the host’s home.

Iye Ohu/Ofu

This was a system through which two men opted to be exchanging farm labour rotationally on each other’s farm. It could last throughout a farming season.

To be continued…

Chief (Dr) Onyekpeze .F.A. (JP)
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Source: Ika News Agbor
Ika News: SOCIAL AND CULTURAL GROUPS IN IKA CULTURE

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.
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Source: Ika News Agbor
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Council Election: Physically Challenged Persons in Ika Land call for support for PDP candidates

Physically Challenged Persons in Ika Land, have called for massive support for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Chairmanship and Councillorship candidates in the March 6 local government council election in Ika Land. The Physically Challenged Persons made the call during the week at Agbor.

Speaking through their Chairman, Comrade John Paul, they said, ” We are appealing to the good people of Ika, to come out in large number to cast their votes for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Chairmanship and Councillorship candidates come Saturday, March 6. A vote for the PDP is a vote for growth and development, hence, we are appealing to our people to make their votes count by voting massively for the PDP.”

While expressing optimism that PDP will win landslide in next week’s council election, they thanked the executive governor of Delta State, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa for his love, care and concern for them, noting that they are going to remain grateful to him.

We are indeed very grateful to our dear leader and father, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa for his love, care, concern and support for us. Okowa’s administration has done us good. The governor has put smiles on our faces and make our lives better. We will remain grateful to him. And we will continue to support him and pray for his success in office.

Comrade John Paul
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Source: Ika News Agbor
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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…
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Source: Ika News Agbor
Ika News: THE IKA KINGSHIP CULTURE