Osu-Igbo Marriage had Basis in Taboo Against Corruption

Marriage is the only social pressure left, short of criminal conviction to forbid atrocities in most communities. The Igbo are no different from the British that sent rejected criminals to the evil forest across the ocean to the unknown America. The difference is while the Americans and the Osu have rehabilitated and prospered, a few communities in Ndi-Igbo still practiced a custom that is irrelevant and unproductive. Before you jump on the Igbo, look at the Americans today!

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Since marriage is the beginning of family life and procreation of the next generation, avoiding abomination and corruption of the culture send the message of zero tolerance in our societies. It was supposed to instill good behavior and orderly conduct. If you knew that you would be banished or excommunicated with your next generations when found wanting in character, there was no greater incentive than to be of exceptional moral personality.

The fact that Osu fell from grace may not justify their treatment today, which has almost died down anyway. But it shows how powerful marriage was in checking corruption of the past. It did not stop at the foot of the transgressors; it extended to the family and kin. The sins of the father by abomination following the children must be prevented from infecting people from good homes. This by itself may not be fair, especially in cases of the innocent children.

The Igbo culture shares with the rest of the world marriage ceremony to check abnormalities. The form of discrimination itself was instituted to punish corruption of power by the Osu that abused their exalted position in the community. Osu fell from grace to abomination and were banished. Many uninformed people used the iniquitousness to condemn the whole Idi-Igbo. In today’s culture of corruption in Nigeria’s politics where only money counts; Osu is misplaced.

Most cultures share marrying into a good home in common. Families undertake very extensive background checks of one another even when they are from the same community. Some royal cultures of Europe go to the other extreme and marry their relatives or cousins mainly to keep privileges and advantages at home. It is their way of avoiding surprises and the embarrassment of marrying unknown commoners that may be embedded in corruption or abomination.

In most cultures like the Igbo, you do not marry into a gangster family that has soiled its name by running afoul of community’s etiquette. The way it used to be and still is in many cultures, you must conduct background checks into the family of the man or woman you want to marry to make sure there is no blemish in their past. Divorce was not as common. Investigators make extensive search, a standard none of the present political moneybags in Nigeria can meet.

The Osu accepted western education and religion before their neighbors, to break out. Some of the most beautiful women in Nigeria and some of the richest men are Osu that can marry into many families based on their good moral characters over the years. The culture of marriage played its important role then by decreasing the atrocities in the various communities. The same culture of marriage is badly needed in the culture of looter-maniac today.

While young men and women marry money no matter its source these days, the older ones remember when the question was posed: which house do you come from? If the golden rule of marriage of those days is still applied today, the stigma attached to corruption would be worse than those attached to Osu in the past years. It would deter reasonable men and women from being associated with politicians, most of whom have been rewarded as perpetual eyesore.

However, these political elites are the ruling class and like the ruling class of Europe marry one another. They have turned the purifying culture of marriage into infected culture of bacteria. They marry one another at their hill top mansions avoiding stone throwers. Their ceremonies are heavily guarded. One of these days, the sins of the Osu will catch up with them and their own sons concealing whatever, in their diapers will blow them up.

Outside Igbo land, young men and ladies boast of getting married to Osu and take them back home. One has to understand how hard work and loyalty is so entrenched in Igbo culture that they become valuable to their neighbors in Africa and beyond. The exploration into other parts of Nigeria and their acceptance did not come by self-interest alone. Failure for a young man is not an option in Igbo culture, so if they do not succeed at home, they must succeed outside.

Initially, Hausa or Yoruba would be more than willing to trust his business with an Igbo knowing their reputation for hard work and fierce loyalty than his fellow Yoruba or Hausa. But today, expediency and politics has taken over cultural purification of marriage. Though Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa do not trust one another anymore, may be if we go back to our cultures and revisit the reason we work so well together in the past, we may be able to rebuild our future.

The contribution of Idi-Igbo as a people is widely acknowledged, though a few noise makers beat their chests. The place for Osu treatment especially in marriage is cleansing our political system by denying vagabonds wife and husband. Marriage remains a very important ceremony that should be leveraged as purifying force instead of allowing vultures to take it over. In those days, if you see all members of a family married to foreigners, you started wondering.

One would expect that the Igbo culture that knows no kings would also know no Osu as an egalitarian society. Indeed, the Osu discrimination today is an aberration of Idi-Igbo culture where age may be respected but hard work is highly revered. Marriage in the Igbo culture, like other cultures, is a selective and purifying ceremony to weed out corruption from deviant characters. Osu was bad, but a far cry from history of gory French guillotine or Russian gulag.

Indeed, the next generation of President Mubarak of Egypt might be treated worse than Osu. Joseph was a powerful figure in ancient Egypt that saved the population from famine. Nobody would have guessed that the children of Joseph would be so badly treated in Egypt. Moses that led them out of Egypt was also raised in the house of Pharaoh. Time, education and enlightened population have overtaken the past sins of Osu and the injustices that follow their generations.

Do not be surprised if foreign researchers come to study marriage in Nigeria and leave with the impression that the culture of family introduction and investigation have been thrown away into the evil forest. What researchers will be left with is the impression of marriage where only money and status in a political party count. That is how Osu became a caste as punishment for past atrocities.



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Re: Osu-Igbo Marriage had Basis in Taboo Against Corruption
Obi posted on 06-18-2012, 11:33:25 AM
Mr. Martins,

Your last write-up attracted much comments that you usually don't get.
Therefore, It is no surprise to see you hit the attractive "Igbo" key once again.

That said, I don't know why you chose the banned Osu penal system as the metric to revive cherished values in Nigeria.
Being not against that anyway, you have failed to show your knowledge of the current situation of a subject matter you got published.
Being a US resident, I would not be surprised that you have not crossed the Igbo-speaking town of Agbor in Delta state, talk less of crossing the River Niger bridge in decades.

It baffles me that the educated ones buys into this subtle negative Igbo stereotyping. When you say, "Indeed, the Osu discrimination today is an aberration of Ndi-Igbo...", It sends the message that the Osu caste system was very much well and alive in Igboland.

Can you as the writer cite one evidence to buttress your revelation?

Mr. Martins, you are a Yoruba of Sierra-Leonean descent; the Martins of Isale Eko. That being the case, the only evidence I can show you about the accommodative nature of the Igbo is that members of your own grandfathers' entourage and cousins from Sierra leone were well absorbed in Igboland as they were in Yorubaland in the same wave of migration.

Your own extended Martins family are today Igbo citizens of Onitsha. In the same entourage were the Kuti family of Onitsha, Romaine, Williams, Northridge, Doherty, Collins, Moore, Venn, Da Costa, etc. Infact, they make up the ninth village of Onitsha "Ogbe Otu". They are core Igbos like any other and face no discrimination.

Leave Osu matter alone, rather for the experts.
Re: Osu-Igbo Marriage had Basis in Taboo Against Corruption
Counsel posted on 06-18-2012, 12:11:38 PM
QUOTE:
Obi says,
It baffles me that the educated ones buys into this subtle negative Igbo stereotyping. When you say, \"Indeed, the Osu discrimination today is an aberration of Ndi-Igbo...\", It sends the message that the Osu caste system was very much well and alive in Igboland.


Obi,

Your comment is very a sadistic view. I really enjoyed the article and for the first time got a positive view why Osu were bannished. There was no stereotype of any sort. The writer answered your question if you had read it with open mind. The fact that this positive view is coming from someone that is not Igbo means a great deal. More views like this are needed since each culture has their own Osu like the banished Americans across the ocean.

Aresa wrote:

QUOTE:
The fact that Osu fell from grace may not justify their treatment today, which has almost died down anyway.


QUOTE:
One would expect that the Igbo culture that knows no kings would also know no Osu as an egalitarian society. Indeed, the Osu discrimination today is an aberration of Idi-Igbo culture where age may be respected but hard work is highly revered.*Marriage in the Igbo culture, like other cultures, is a selective and purifying ceremony to weed out corruption from deviant characters. Osu was bad, but a far cry from history of gory French guillotine or Russian gulag.*


I also checked Aresa other writings on Igbo and they were positive. You need to do that yourself.
Re: Osu-Igbo Marriage had Basis in Taboo Against Corruption
Ewuro posted on 06-18-2012, 14:11:31 PM
Once Obi reads rhe word Igbo in a post, he checks that the writer is Yoruba, he goes into overdrive gear. What has Sierra Leone got to do with that piece by Aresa? Obi did not dispute what Aresa is saying. He conjures and dwells on a Lagos-Siera/leonean origin that even Aresa may know nothing about. Obi would rather tell us about another Sierra-Leonean 'caste' that exists in neighbourhood Onitsha. The Grand Commander of the federal Republic of Biafra will never let us rest. His own war never ended.
Re: Osu-Igbo Marriage had Basis in Taboo Against Corruption
Anwulika posted on 06-18-2012, 14:18:09 PM
ACT I SCENE II

*Enter, Bros Obugi.
Re: Osu-Igbo Marriage had Basis in Taboo Against Corruption
Obi posted on 06-18-2012, 16:28:45 PM
QUOTE:
Once Obi reads rhe word Igbo in a post, he checks that the writer is Yoruba, he goes into overdrive gear. What has Sierra Leone got to do with that piece by Aresa? Obi did not dispute what Aresa is saying. He conjures and dwells on a Lagos-Siera/leonean origin that even Aresa may know nothing about. Obi would rather tell us about another Sierra-Leonean 'caste' that exists in neighbourhood Onitsha. The Grand Commander of the federal Republic of Biafra will never let us rest. His own war never ended.



O yes, I know quite well that your eyes are sharper when it comes to analysing bigotry in other people.

Again, out of the blue surfaces Biafra.
Ewuro, how do I know you're not more obsessed about Biafra than Obi?

What made you suggest that Obi conjured a different origin other than that of the writer?

You may choose to quote me out of context all you want, but you'll never be better than a "Grand Commander of the Federal Republic of Biafra".
Re: Osu-Igbo Marriage had Basis in Taboo Against Corruption
Magic posted on 06-18-2012, 16:47:55 PM
Obi,

Sometimes Igbo, Hausa, Efik, Yoruba etc just want to have a good rap with one another about common issues. Marriage happens to be one of them. I see the writer kissing up to Igbo (may be his wife is one or kissing up to NVS sister) and you come up and mess it up. Now that you have confirmed that Ewuro is right about your title "can we all get along?".
Re: Osu-Igbo Marriage had Basis in Taboo Against Corruption
Benjani posted on 06-18-2012, 20:48:41 PM
The earlier the Igbos and Yorubas kiss-up and give peace a chance the better for them and Nigeria. Finding themselves in the same geographical contraption -North, the Hausas and Fulanis turn it to their advantage - as in numbers - igwebuike.
There are Igbos of Sierra-Leonean descent. In fact, the late Major General Johnson Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi's father was a Sierra-Leonean, his mother Igbo.
Peace!
Re: Osu-Igbo Marriage had Basis in Taboo Against Corruption
Mikky jaga posted on 06-19-2012, 10:20:23 AM
There can never be anything positive about the Osu Caste system. Even God declared that the son shall not bear the iniquity of the gather. That a man commits an offence and is justly banished does not imply that his children must carry the stigma of what the father did whether they participated in it or not.

Investigation before marriage is not to discover whether the fore fathers had committed any offence in the past, but to discern whether there are communicable diseases in the family that are transmitted from parents to children. That should not be used to justify the Osu Caste system that should have no place in any sane society.
Re: Osu-Igbo Marriage had Basis in Taboo Against Corruption
Namio posted on 06-19-2012, 11:27:43 AM
Mikky Jaga,

You are dead wrong!
Check into the history of marriage anywhere. As for diseases, those are common and could not be so hidden.

QUOTE:
There can never be anything positive about the Osu Caste system. Even God declared that the son shall not bear the iniquity of the gather. That a man commits an offence and is justly banished does not imply that his children must carry the stigma of what the father did whether they participated in it or not.

Investigation before marriage is not to discover whether the fore fathers had committed any offence in the past, but to discern whether there are communicable diseases in the family that are transmitted from parents to children. That should not be used to justify the Osu Caste system that should have no place in any sane society.


Obi Nna,

How body? Which one be your own self? Nah Igbo you be?

Na Onitsha you come nah. You be Yoruba Igbo, we know you well, well. How many real Igbo you know wey dey bear Obi. Igbo no get king O. No be for una side dem still get Lakumi dialet? No matter what, you can't be Igbo more the real Igbo, you hia?

Actually, you just made the point many writers have been making for a long time that there is no difference between Igbo and Yoruba. All those Yoruba you quot in Igbo land including you, speak Yoruba-Igbo. You can not even understand the real Igbo as they call themselves from Owerri.

I must give you one point though. The Moremi lover decendants in Ife and Yoruba in Onitsha have melted into the population. You cannot tell by name which one is Igbo in Ife and which is Yoruba in Onitsha.

So make a beg you smallu, when Igbo dey talk, no talk o. You should be in the forefront of uniting Igbo and Yoruba. No cause katakata.
Re: Osu-Igbo Marriage had Basis in Taboo Against Corruption
Obi posted on 06-20-2012, 05:17:50 AM
QUOTE:

Obi Nna,

How body? Which one be your own self? Nah Igbo you be?

Na Onitsha you come nah. You be Yoruba Igbo, we know you well, well. How many real Igbo you know wey dey bear Obi. Igbo no get king O. No be for una side dem still get Lakumi dialet? No matter what, you can't be Igbo more the real Igbo, you hia?

Actually, you just made the point many writers have been making for a long time that there is no difference between Igbo and Yoruba. All those Yoruba you quot in Igbo land including you, speak Yoruba-Igbo. You can not even understand the real Igbo as they call themselves from Owerri.

I must give you one point though. The Moremi lover decendants in Ife and Yoruba in Onitsha have melted into the population. You cannot tell by name which one is Igbo in Ife and which is Yoruba in Onitsha.

So make a beg you smallu, when Igbo dey talk, no talk o. You should be in the forefront of uniting Igbo and Yoruba. No cause katakata.



Namio nna,

Body dey kampe! Obi na Igbo man o. The main Igbogboligbo!

On a serious note, Naija is faced with a myriad of political and economic problems that are begging for creative ideas to solve them. Obi will instead spend his time to think, read or write about these issues than plot an essay on say Oduduwa and Benin, and therein, premeditatedly navigate on what the Benin folklore says about the great icon bla bla bla.
In the process, coloring and cooling it off with the richness of the culture of the Oduduwa children including Benin.
Honestly, we could do better than that at this difficult time.

Of course, It will be a welcome development should an evidence superior to the pungent Moremi/Edi folklore which we have chosen not to embrace collectively, reveal that Igbo and Yoruba have a common progenitor. I'll love that. If for anything, the historical political boxing of one another would be reduced to the barest minimum.

Having said that, most people do not know about the primary, secondary, and tertiary migrations as they relate to various communities in Igboland.
I'll leave that for another time. But, however, It will interest you to know the meaning of Obi in the Igbo cosmology:

OBI can be a hut, house or small hall which is in front of other buildings in the traditional Igbo compound.
In the Obi, the Head of the family or of the lineage receives his visitors, holds discussions with them and spends quiet moments. It is at the Obi that the shrine of the ancestors( Iru Ndichie) is installed and sacrifices made to it. The building houses as well staves of the head of the family and those of his ancestors. Women under menses, for example, generally do not enter the Obi because of its sacred nature. They stand or bend at the eaves of the Obi to have discussions with the people inside.

Obi associates with authority, and that's why most communities especially in the western Igbo adopted it as the title of ruler ship.
In the eastern hinterland, like in my maternal homestead, Nnewi, in Anambra state, the four villages are ruled by their respective Obis since 1200 AD.

I
'm glad I explained this to you, for some will rather choose to rush to NVS to publish a tradition they know little about.
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