THE TRADITION: IMA-OZUN (Necromancy) IN OWA KINGDOM

As population continued to increase in Owa-Land, strange and mysterious things continued to plague the ever increasing population. The activities of witches and men of under world became grievous and uncontrollable. This drew the attention of the then monarch of unified Owa Kingdom Obi Ewoh. Mysterious death became the order of the day until the attention of the Obi was drawn to a controversial death of a certain young man. The people, the elders and the entire community were hell bent on unraveling the actual cause of such hideous death. It was at that time that Ugbala was practicing as a traditional doctor. He was summoned by Obi Ewoh to fanton the actual cause of such death. The Obi even threated to stripe Ugbala off his Ede title if he fails to provide solution to the problem. This led to this famous or infamous invention of after death enquiry (Ima Ozun) necromancy.

Ima Ozun in Alero means finding out the actual cause of death through the help of a magic leave called Ama. It is believed that to every death, there is a cause. All activities of man are teleguided by invisible forces which are manipulated by nature. The witches take this advantage to afflict the world of man. It is a rite and tradition in Owa Alero to be necromized at death. This belief is hinged on three fundamental principles.

* You are killed by a witch

* You are a witch

* Your death is natural.

The only way to determine this is through the after death enquiry. This is when the dead talks. The dead does not lie, does not feel ashame hence will stand to tell the truth.

Another reason for necromancy is to ascertain the type and level of burial that should be accorded to a deceased member of the community. In Alero, burial is Community affair. (The witches are evil agents sent by evil gods to ruin and destroy the society. These willing vessels who offered themselves to be used by these accursed demons should be punished at death). If on necromancy, it Is discovered that the deceased is a witch, the body is taken to the evil forest where it is buried naked, irrespective of the age and statutes the decease held in the society while alive. The casket is burnt to ashes under the watchful eyes of the villagers and the corpse is buried naked. In the olden days, it was said that such accused corpse is left to rotten and fed to the beast of forest.

In some critical cases, necromancy is used as an ultimate form of oracle consultation and divinity. Some controversial deaths in Owa-Alero were forced to be necromised. I think this is the major source of conflict between the Christian faith and the pagans. The Christians abhor necromancy in its entirety because it is fetish and magical. Hence Christians should not be necromised at death nor partake while alive. In some cases, argument and controversy may arise from the result of necromancy. This had made some families in Owa-Alero to abandon this belief and instead gives blind burial to the deceased members of their family. By implication, the unnecromised corpse is treated like a witch because it is presumed that the family had a hidden skeleton which they want to steel screen from the community. The body may not be allowed to be burial at home and must be deposited at the evil forest until a fine is paid.

Another reason why some families are refusing to necromise is because cases had been arising where people are confessing to have the power to influence the result of necromancy by magic. If necromancy can be influenced and altered. Why the necromancy? In this case, innocent culprits become the victim of such sacrilegious manipulation.

Owa-Alero today had taken the extreme measure to sanction such refusal to perform this rite of necromancy. On refusal, the family is severely sanctioned with exorbitant fine and in most cases, the dead body is banished from the land by refusing the family to bury their dead in Owa-Alero soil. This has forced most people to bury their deceased relations outside Owa-Alero. I think it is unfair to our dead. This singular attitude had denied most Owa-Alero indigenes their right to proper burial. Imagine where one cannot be buried in his fathers land because he wants to be obedient to his religion. This is a gross breech to our fundamental human right to freedom of worship. It is against the spirit of the federation of Alero which our founding fathers thought of, dreamt of, and died for. In my opinion, let necromancy be optional. Do not cry more than the bereaved. The family is the chief, hence they should decide the best for the family. This is jeopardizing the true meaning of Owa-Alero, destroying the very essence and reason of our fore fathers settling in this plain. It was a decision to give them name to history. It is believed that necromancy was evolved by Ugbala Owa to solve an exigency, then while must it became an exigency itself? The pioneer left their original stead in true search for freedom and solace. It was a place that truly met the wishes of their heart and opportunity to express the desire of their conscience. Today, most Alero sons in Diaspora do not return the corpse of their relatives abroad because of the envisaged problem of necromancy. We have lost a great number of good and illustrious children of Alero to this infamous invention. I hope elders will be adviced.

Let us consider what will happen if a particular witch discovers that her evil scheme and deeds would be concealed. Imagine a witch who keeps killing and nothing is known about her evil activities. What will happen to Alero and her indigenes? The pro-necromancy will ask. Witchcraft will be displayed at broad day light. They are kept at bay because they knew that unusual death in the community will be necromised to exhume the cause of such death. This will remove every hidden cloak from those nocturnal beasts.

Secondly, it is done to discourage witchcraft in the land. It is a clear message to the witches that at death, their dead bodies will be disgraced and give an indecent burial irrespective of statutes and position occupied in life. I think this may justify the reason for necromancy in Owa-Alero. Can it?

Well, if necromancy can exhume the past and predict the future by the ancient secret magic, I think it could be employed for better things. In the last Fifa world cup held in South Africa, the Germans were able to manipulate their magic Octopus to give the outcome of the matches. I think the Owa-Alero people should look at possible ways of exploring necromancy to the benefit of man. If it is the mystic leave Ama that can do the work. community can use it to predict the following:

* The political party that will win Election

* The leader that will serve the people better

* The rain pattern for the year

* Space technology

* Future of family

* Pool Forecast

* Compatibility of marriage

* Raffle draw

* Prospect of a business e.t.c.

Infact, there are countless number of activities Ama leave could be employed as to give insight and better condition. We must not be limited nor beclouded by the myopic environment. The world is moving fast, where dustbins had metamorphosed into goldmines, we can follow the flying computer age. We can even beat it if we move fast enough. The traditional doctors, academians, great and wise men of Ika Nation should rise up and exploit this ancient goldmine that had lied latent. Ama leave is potent especially where no interest is been threatened, no one will manipulate nor influence it. We are truly in a changing world. Today, the white man has transformed "Onunu" into handset, Nherren (varnishing) into spacecraft and automobile, thunders and lightening into electricity. So Ama leave can be used for something else. Though oath of secrecy had been sworn by every adult men of Alero about divulging the secret of Ama, it is high time to relieve them of such oath.

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