Whatever the sons of late Pa Oji Okoko are saying, the in-thing is that they disappointed their father in death no matter who they said was it the persuaded them, against his wish that Christian burial should not be conducted for him, having been a strong Igbo tradition spiritualist.
Okoko came from Asaga-Ohafia, Abia State. Sun, April 12 2014, informed the world that a so-called Pastor Okipet Odum, a native of the village was contracted with money to officiate the burial of the deceased and he slumped in the process and died.
This happened after about two pastors who were called to officiate the funeral declined. One of them gave excuse that his wife put to bed on the day of the burial; the other said that since Okoko was a traditionalist, his members should bury him.
Several attempts were made at different hospitals to revive Odum, yet he was gone. Perhaps, to defend the family name or to continue to deceive the world that the Igbo spirituality is impotent, the sons of late Pa Okoko and a traditional ruler in the village are hence telling the world that the ill-fate that befell Odum was not as a result that they went against their father’s wish, but that Odum was hypertensive and could have died as a result of that.
Nevertheless, it is so sad that in Igboland today, majority of the people have been brainwashed to believe that the potency of the Igbo traditional belief-system is just in words and not in action. They ascribe the Igbo spirits to ‘familiar spirits’, using the teaching of the rapacious former colonial masters and mistresses for their nincompoop assertions and claims.
The thing is that more pastors might die at Igbo funeral grounds if the Igbo belief-systems are not respected and given back their place in Igbo activities. An older friend and fraternal brother Sidney Davis, a scholar from Kittery Point, Maine, would say that the only thing he is careful about is the TRUTH. You can kill him, but you can't kill the TRUTH. He goes further to say about the imperialistic of the alien religions and their intolerance on Africa, in the following terms:
This is nothing but the zapping of the African mind as a result of the religious imperialism of "the Book" religions. In this case it is from Islam and its holy book, the Koran, whose foreign imposition into Africa generally and West Africa in particular, has resulted in this type of religious "tribalism" that has been reinforced by European colonialism in its creation of Nigeria.
The same can be said with regard to the Igbo that they too have been zapped out of their minds as a result of the religious imperialism of "the Book" religions. In their case, it is from Christianity and its holy book, the Bible, whose foreign imposition into Biafra/Igboland has resulted in this same type of religious "tribalism" that has been reinforced by the efforts of the European colonial missionaries and the British colonizing agents in its creation of Nigeria in their strategy of "divide and conquer".
As long as the Igbo remain enslaved and colonized by foreign religious imperialism, to think that the Igbo ancestors came out of somebody's holy book, instead of the Igbo ancestors on the ground and Igbo ancestral shrines, the Igbo will remain victims resulting from the zapping of the African mind by these anti-African religious ideas, instead of embracing Ndigbo’s own African Spirituality.
And to add salt to injury, we now have to deal with some Nigerian/Igbo who, think their ancestors are Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and who, want to identify themselves as Jews/Hebrews/Israelite/
It is sad how a people could think that their ancestors are not powerful, but that one Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in far Middle-east are effective and trustworthy and are the ‘chosen’ ones more than their own ancestors. These pastors and reverend fathers and their marooned followership have so far made ridicule of the Igbo history as if the people had no history before the coming of Europeans, as if the Igbo history started with the coming of the Europeans.
They call the Igbo spirituality idolatry. We forgive them because they were taught by their European oppressors to so be doing. The Europeans who debased all that the Igbo had that were working for them in order to implant the impotent and rascal European ways of life and their spirituality?
This writer had said in his article (Pirated Spirituality) that there are fake forms of spirituality everywhere in Igbo-land in the form of religion. (Igbo here represents Africa). Fake spiritualities have been carried on for many years and the practitioners think they are modern days’ traditions they cannot eschew.
The presupposition that spirits or their agents from the water are unfriendly is such propaganda that mankind in Igboland has suffered for ages. In what many call baptism today is a ritual that predated the biblical Jesus that connects mankind to water. Remember that human being is made up of 70% of water. Even, apart from the christened water initiation called baptism, in some traditions people were/are taken to water for cleansing as a form of initiation to make them formidable. Some parts of Igbo call such 'baptism' ibo ebi or itu anya. And those who partook in this are even the most kindhearted people on earth than what we can see in the Middle-east religionists.
In our ancient Igbo community, it's an abomination for warriors to kill women and children in an inter-community war. Any man who cut the head of a woman in the invaded community and brought it home, his own head would be cut-off and used in re-charging the Ikoro. But today, the era supposed to be for Christians and Muslims, it is an eyesore and mindsore that the wars being fought in many parts of the world, hapless women and children are the most targeted. Most times, they are raped and abused and humiliated and, the perpetrators christened such bestial and unscrupulous acts "weapon of war".
A friend told us of the history of Ikenga – the Igbo God of commerce and industry. This history is not told to the Igbo generation of today because of church. On revealing this important part in the Igbo etymology, we have suggested that not only Igbo Language but also, Igbo Studies should be inculcated into the Igbo curricula, so that our history would not be forever buried, just as the Europeans and their agents in Nigeria want.
The friend said that Ikenga is the cultus-extension of the Ngwu deity. In communities with high-Ozo title holders (Nnukwu Ozo/Oba/Ide), there must be Ikenga orders within them. The institution is interlinked with the Ozo title system, unless where dismantled. Even in ancient Okigwe and Nkwere, the cultus was also associated with highly accomplished black-smith specialists, just as in the Enugu case.
It is generally recognized as a high-order in the Ozo system. The Ozo Ikenga is the original warrior elite (Ochiagha, Okwoagha, Ulum, Olumba, Odogwu etc) of the accomplished level, who must have climbed from entry warrior/wrestling titles such as: Di-Ota, Di-Ube, Di-Mgba, Okwaube, Di-Ogu. You will need to visit, these six places: Enugwu Ukwu, Ohafia, Ajali, the Ojebogene clan in Igbo-Etiti-Enugu and Nkwere in Imo.
Notable ancient Ikenga traditions in these parts of Igboland. Of course, Nri still claims to be purveyor of every single cultural stream ever revealed in Igbo culture. But we know better. With these stories, however, there are no single sources, unless you want to gather all into an Ikenga mythopoeia anthology, which is a fit-calling, Nwa-Ikenga.
The friend said that he was saying this because Ikenga was one of the major divine teachings that were given to our Egede ancestors originally in Afa poetry (Odu – also a source-prophecy oracle), which are condensed ancient myths and sciences, as you know.
The images of Ikenga and other such deities were encoded much more later on. The original Ikenga was the Ngwu tree – given as the son of Ojeluputangwu, who we now call Jupiter. For some communities with very strong Ikenga traditions, those six are remaining portals to that knowledge -- from his experiences. As far as the original lineage, you would have to go to Afa oracle for direct message from the ancestors.
Another precious friend of mine told me that Mandela once said that nobody was born with hatred, but grew up hating people. And assuming he starts to tell his new born children that anything European and American is evil, so they will grow up believing same (just as Europeans had taught our Igbo people to hate Igbo cultures and traditions and call them demons). He cried that it is unfortunate that African "leaders" are not living up to the challenges to expunge the continent of all the brainwashing Europe and America deposited on the continent in the cause of colonialism.
While many people are being re-integrated and getting back to their roots, these pirated religions and their adherents find it somewhat very hard to be re-rooted in Igboland simple because their fathers and mothers abandoned their aboriginal spiritualities for the pirated ones. The pirated religions and their religionists do not have reverence for their blood-ancestors but for their book-ancestors whom they were spoon-fed to believe are saints and angels to the chagrin of their blood-ancestors who were supposed to be their spiritual ancestors and not those they read from books they venerate and are ready to spray blood for.
How long shall the people continue to wallow in abject non-challant attitude in not cherishing their original spiritual heritages, rather they prefer to estrange them and destroy the society thinking from the blues when their society would be genuine again as it were in the days of their forebears.
Values have died among the peoples, because they no longer appreciate their traditions and cultures, but are ever ready to cast aspersions on them, even when the traditions of the religions they now hold dearly are damn connected to things worse than they had imagined were the reasons for abandoning their forefathers’ ways of life.
These fake religions and their religionists mock their traditional people who for example, talk and sing under the rains, but prefer to go to far land to pray and cry before a wailing wall. And they call it the height of their spirituality, when what they do is the height of ignorance full of mockery.
But till the people re-root theirselves to their ancestors, ancient-culture, ancient-wisdom, beliefs, cultural-history, esoteric-wisdom, free-thinking, magical-thinking, mysticism, primitive-spirituality, forefathers-psychology of freedom and self-expression, the Igbo would continue to totter.
Odimegwu Onwumere, a Poet/Writer, writes from Rivers State.