After the uneventful Ibuze festival of that season,
as the sage and his Family celebrated it amid tears and sorrows, Omi completed
the plan to relocate to that new found site, free from worries, fears of
enemies known or imagined. At this juncture, the first place of call was the
recently abandoned settlement at the heart of the forest, generously endowed
with walnut, copiously protected by evergreen trees. Like the proverbial child,
who found snail on a spot.
was towards the beginning of new farming season. The Ibuze festival hid just
been celebrated which marked the end of the years toil. Some assumed it to be a
version of the Christian feast of Pentecost rather called the feast of harvest.
Red yam called Okpenye had been tied to their barn, cocoa yam had been
harvested by the women, the lima beans had been dried and the ancient rice well
processed and preserved. It was a time great and industrious farmers invite
other friends and neighbours to help in yam tying. The wealth of a man then was
measure by the length of his barn, the size of his household i.e the number of
wives and children he controls. Rich farmers began to exercise plans to
increase their family holdings while title holders began to renew their
allegiance and commitment to their kings and monarchs.
Patriach Omi and his wife Iroro were rich farmers, those things no longer gave
them joy as the trauma of the death of their five children gave them much cause
for worry. The Ibuze festival was not well celebrated and there was no good
plan for the Igwe festival that was fast approaching.
was really a quit relief as Ebor told his wife “we shall leave this place for a
better place.. a place of no worry, free from pain, hunger and deprivation”.
However, the new problem in view was how they will cross the natural divide and
settle life anew. Another problem was the various belief communities around
held for the plane of Arada. There, it
was presumed, the gods and goddesses accept pig and human sacrifice and
oblation. They was mass exodus recently
from that location. The original
settlers were all gone; either dead or relocated for another place. Where
others call hell may be a safe heaven for others.
new settlement needs over 10 miles walk away from home. It was a stride that
cannot be withdrawn. The new settlement must not be lived alone otherwise one
becomes prey in the paw of wild beast. This was the beginning of a great community
whose origin could be traced down to some 400 years ago. There was no time for
procrastination, action must speak, hence they now relocated to the new
environment where their talking partners were birds and wild beast of the
forest. Life in itself was really simple for them. Their home was their school,
qualification was not based on paper test but on skills acquired. It was the
responsibility of the family and the entire community to give a child the skill
and education required. The mother ensures that the girl child is well taught
in all domestic chores and household matters. Respect, sobriety was the lady’s
watchword. Crafts like making of inside sweeping broom, mat making, weaving and
design were exclusively for women. The girl child from cradle learns to balance
load on her head without holding it. The best times for fun were the evenings
when stories and fairy tales were told by the moonlight. Then, a woman’s pride
was her ability to serve delicious food
to her husband and extended relations. All these were carefully and
meticulously taught by her mother. There were some families that had specialty
in a particular field like blacksmith, the traditional doctors, priest and
special calls and vocation.
men were constantly reminded of the pride of been strong and undefeated. From childhood, wrestling game becomes a
priority. This was often taught by age group and the street influence. Building
of houses, designs, hunting and medicine were impacted into the boys by their
father and guardian. It was the duty of the father to tell some exaggerated
stories of his bravery, his strength and exploits to his son. No writing
material was needed because the act of writing had been lost to distant
civilization. To a large extent, some drawings as well can be well interpreted.
A visit to palaces of ancient time had good inscription of lions, Elephant
and his family had a simple life. They were their own feeders as the food they
ate were grown by them, their clothes woven by them, even their family and
hunting implements. They had their furnace and sharp stones to forge their
tools. Hunting bullets were produced from broken pots and pebbles, with gun
powder easily fashioned by them. No elaborate building was needed otherwise,
your presence may become a direct threat to the honour and pride of the king.
Cut bamboo, and wood saplings, get palm frond or broad leave of Umah, weave
them together and mix mud properly.. your house is ready. There was no title to
neither compete for nor fear of been molested by either friends or foes. They
saw this place as a safe heaven and a good hide out from enemies.
reason that may have informed their choice for this site was some grown fruit
trees that were abandoned by their former settlers of Owa Nikeke extracts.
Their grown up coco nut trees, Duca nut trees, Walnut trees, the native pears,
the jack fruit, the Kola nut and most importantly, the almighty breg fruit
tree. All were available for food. Their children will have enough time to
spend on the eternal shade and canopy provided by the cherry tree which were
lavishly endowed by a benevolent spirit. Imagine a man taking a spoil from a
battle he never fought. Water was not a problem either as some of the abandoned
wells and water holes was promptly and properly repaired which guaranteed them
steady and regular supply of water.
tradition demands, title holders must always make themselves known. Omi held
the renowned title of Emi (Ipa-emi.) coupled with the fact that Omi was a
prince of Agbor Kingdom. He must be
deeply involed in the coronation ceremony of the Dein of Agbor Kingdom. Till
date, any time, a Dein of Agbor nation is been crowned, the Aghare Ikpemi of
Owa-Alero must be involved. Eborwise
(Omi) went and paid his respect and obeisance to the Obi of Owa. It was at that
time that Obi Orhigwa I was on throne. Assorted game meat like warthog,
antelope, Deer, Okepi, Pangolin e.t.c were carefully dried and presented.
Choice yam tubers were selected. The type that befits palace presentation for
such occasion. A life male cow was led
in front of the procession. To this, Omi was welcomed and given a place of
prominence in Owa Kingdom. It was more of a ceremony of adoption. He was
rewarded with the relation of the palace.
value changes over time, then next to kingship were herbalist otherwise called
medicine men who were regarded with high respect. Ebor was a great herbalist.
When he came to settle, he did not come with any gods or shrine. He met the
Ali. The alter of Ali was only made of earth which he sacrificed to. The
sacrificed materials were simple. The kola nut oblation, the coconut oblation,
some portion of domestic animals killed whose blood was generously poured on
the Ali. Rich portion of pounded yam is often thrown there depending on the quantity
of food available. With time, native chalk was added which gave rise to the
heap and dune of Ali. It was presumed that what was good for man was equally
good for the gods. Shrub tree called Egbon was erected to mark the spot. Gold
fish has no hiding place. Right in this jungle, he almost reigned like a tin
god. People came, visiting him while he practiced his divinity with unlimited
again broken walls were reactivated, as young goats now run around the walls.
Life came back to the desolated and abandoned land. News went everywhere like
historical Eldorado, every young man wish to experience the adventure as
different images were painted about this new found land. By and large, a new
town was born, where the destiny of many today hung.
To be continued next week
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Chief S. I. Agidi (Oduri of Owa)