Search this Site and the Web

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Preventing the denigration of Igbo native religion

Written by Emefiena Ezeani
~The SUN, Nigeria: Fr. Ezeani is of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Federal University, Ebonyi State

LET us reason together: 
Because our African cul­tures (names, languages, beliefs and practices) are different from European cultures, the Europeans tagged most of our cultural practices, beliefs, and elements ‘pagan’ and devilish. Since this errone­ous knowledge has been transmitted from genera­tion to generation, today in Igbo land things are falling apart with brothers fighting against broth­ers in the name of God and religion. In this dis­course, we shall look at the Igbo Christians and the idol-war currently going on in various parts of the Igbo land. We shall take idol to mean any­thing that is capable of menacing a people, that is, something that can endanger the welfare of a people or community. Idol can also mean a sculp­ture or moulded object of a spirit (Chi) which we can call a religious idol.
In contemporary Igbo society, there are a num­ber of things which threaten the welfare and life of many people in society. These include cor­ruption, deception and selfishness of the politi­cal class, daily intimidation and extortion of the already impoverished bus-drivers and Banye-transport riders (Keke) by different Nigerian law-enforcement agents, deception and robbery in God’s name by different ‘Men of God’, embez­zlement of the Church’s money by various min­isters of religion, establishment of fake Miracle Churches where gullible people are hoodwinked and robbed of their money by ‘Men of God’ (some even have private helicopters), cheating, calumny, lying, envy, wickedness and glaring acts of injustice by different ranks of Christians and their religious ministers. All the above come under what I call social destructive idols.
Under religious idols, we have spirits with var­ious names according to geography, such as Udo, gba, Ikenga, Idemmili, Amadigha, Ogwugwu etc. Contrary to the views of most Christians, for the Igbo native religion theologians, these (small) spirits are spirit-servants of Chi-ukwu (Chuk­wu), the Great Spirit. For Igbo ancestors, they are simply spirits and God’s agents and not gods Only Chukwu is both Spirit and God (Onye-okike). The ‘idols’ (images) which represent these spirits are mere representations or symbols of them and noth­ing more, as a picture of one’s mother is simply a picture/representation of her and not one’s mother. Why are Christians from various parts of Igbo so­ciety investing so much time, human and material resources waging war against religious idols? There seems to be two explanations for this.

First, man tends to fear what he does not know. The second explanation is anchored on a profound philosophical insight of a young seminarian from the diocese of Abakaliki who has noted that the problem of man is not what he knows or what he does not know, but what he thinks he knows which leads to error. Yes, most misunderstandings on earth – between husbands and wives, friends, priests and bishops, lecturers, politicians, ethnic groups, nations, etc. are rooted on what we think we know which often leads to error, misunderstanding, conflicts and wars. These small spirits (Als) are not, contrary to what many Christians know, devil’s agents but messengers of the High God, according to the Igbo native religion theology. Many Igbo Christians, including their priests, pastors, bish­ops and theologians think they know much about the Igbo natural religion and its theology, but their knowledge of these is mainly from what they were taught by the European missionaries, and colonis­ers who were totally ignorant of the people’s reli­gion and theology. In this case, it was like the blind leading a one-eyed man. Oftentimes, no serious attempts are made by Christian religious ministers and other Christians to update their knowledge of the Igbo native religion and theology.

Some of them who, through studies and research, are better informed about this religion and, as a result, see things differently and the way they are, are sometimes misunderstood by, and are at logger­heads with, the less-informed who are convinced they know much about this religion. A lot of havoc has been caused in different societies as a result of ignorance buttressed by emotional religious zeal. Yet, this ignorance could be eradicated or substan­tially diminished by a study and research on Igbo or African natural religion and theology which would help to reveal the richness and profundity of the Igbo natural religion (INR) and its resemblance to Christi­anity. For instance, one Onyema Anozie has, in 2004, written a book titled, The Moral Significance of Afri­can Traditional Religion for Christian Conscience. A true practitioner of INR is a practical Christian. Why is it, that someone from far away Poland has a better and correct knowledge of this African religious prac­tice than Africans themselves, including their intel­lectuals and clergymen? Francis Arinze in his work, Sacrifice in Igbo Traditional Religion, notes three of what he believes to be the objects of Igbo religious belief or worship which are God, non-human spirits and the Ancestors. It has to be pointed out that though the above three are all objects of Igbo religious belief, only God is the ‘object’ of worship for practitioners of Igbo native religion.
The other two are objects of veneration or superior respect due only to spiritual beings. Any observer of the Igbo society would not fail to notice that the Igbo natural religion, with its so-called idols, is not a threat to society, Christianity or morality. Yet, there has been an intensification of efforts by Christians in different parts of the Igbo land in their crusades against this reli­gion, its practices and symbols. When considered from a number of perspectives, including logical, moral, ecclesiastical and doctrinal, these crusades or wars are unnecessary and they are directed against the wrong idols. From the logical point of view is the traditional Igbo wisdom of Onye uno ya na-agba oku, adi achu oke (One whose house is on fire does not pursue rats).
The presence of rats in the house can be very irritat­ing, but one whose house is ablaze should concentrate all his energy on dealing with the bigger menace (fire) to his house, and not with the naughty rats. Social de­structive idols, as we have noted above, are the major problems facing our society and they are the primary reason why things go badly in society and they are also the major causes of human sufferings.
Human logic requires that these be tackled first and effectively too. On the moral ground, attacking the Igbo natural religion and its symbols ('idols') is against the Christian ethical principle which abhors the use of force or violence (physical or psychological) as a means of spreading Christianity. Neither Christ nor the early Christians used such ungentle method. From ecclesiastical angle and the UN Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the freedom of religion and this does not exclude the Igbo or African natural religionists. The Church's injunction to Christians to respect other people's religions, which include Igbo natural religion, also means that we should not abuse or make a mockery of their religious symbols, rituals and practices.

The Catholic Church's official document, Dignitatis Humanae (Decree on Religious Liberty) is particular about this. Even people show respect and refrain from speaking disparagingly against the religion which they believe causes great stress and fear to people. It is dishonesty to falsely represent these spirits as evil when their believers do not believe them to be such. The true meaning of any religious object or practice is in the mind of the religious adherent, and not in the symbols, objects and observable religious gestures.

The Yoruba who prostrates before an elder is not worshipping him, though prostration is a gesture of worship in some religions.
The onus of explanation, therefore, is on the religious adherents and not on the non-adherents of the religion in question. This means that it is unfair for priests, pastors and theologians of the Church to tell people what the adherents of the Igbo natural religion, who we erroneously call 'pagans,' believe. The 'pagans' should be allowed to tell us what they believe. The basic Christian virtue of fairness requires this minimum Christian charity from us. We should always look before we leap.

A priest, who also happened to be a Chaplain to a Charismatic Renewal Movement in a Diocese in eastern Nigeria, was once asked to deliver a talk to the members. At a point, during the session, someone made a case against Mmanwụ (Masquerade) institution in Igbo land and called for its eradication.
The priest asked why? (They make charms) was the reply he got. He asked them whether some Christians were also involved in charm-making. Some said 'Yes'. The priest then said to them, the Church should also be closed. The people shouted, saying the priest was possessed by the devil and needed to be exorcised. Hearing this, the priest knelt down and invited them to come and exorcise him. Mmanwụ institution, though now abused by some irresponsible Igbo youths, is one Igbo cultural practice which survived the European cultural onslaught.

It is today being aggressively fought against by those Igbo Christians who, like the Europeans, see most of the Igbo cultural practices and symbols as things that relate to the devil. People who care to know would observe that the relationship between Igbo Christians and their non-Christian brothers and sisters, who they call 'pagans', is getting sour day by day. Incidents of some innocent priests and pastors being beaten and assaulted in different parts of Igbo land are manifestations of this unhealthy relationship.

Priests and pastors are seen today as enemies or symbols of opposition to Igbo culture and native religion because of what some Christians are doing. It has been noted that the Nanka ugly incident of 1993 when two Catholics were shot dead and many others wounded would not have taken place if 'fanatical charismatic members did not whip up sentiments against' the tradition of the people which forbade a wife to see the corpse of her husband. 'In their case, the Word was made flesh in order to uproot us all from our culture and environment.'
As some have observed, the amount of hatred and rancour that is being generated against the Church and Christianity today by the behaviour of our new generation 'missionaries' could erupt any day into violence of Nanka proportion.' All this reminds one of the wisdom Chinua Achebe expressed in Things Fall Apart and the truth embedded in it:

The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.

Yes, we have fallen apart; opposing, hating, fighting and maiming our own brothers even for things we may not claim epistemological certainty. Has the white man, for instance, not succeeded in dividing the community or Umunna into Ndi-uka (Church people) and Ndi-obodo (citizens) as Ndi-uka (Igbo Christians) no longer see themselves, or accept that they are also Ndi-obodo? Not every Christian shares this view and many are not happy with the way their fellow Christians treat with scorn the Igbo native religion and simple Igbo traditional practices that are not even religious practices. One Okwu Epuechi, himself a Catholic Christian, in a speech titled The Beginning of Liberation from Mental Slavery, lamented as follows: Some Christians and their leaders are attacking our traditional institutions from different facets; either they are fighting to stop our traditional rites of marriage or they are fighting to stop our methods of rites of passage for the deceased or even fighting to stop us using our traditional week/market days of Eke, Orie, Afọ na Nkwọ. Some are even forced or persuaded to the delusion of changing their surnames into Israeli, Latin or English names as such Igbo names, we are told by these ministers of God, connote evil. What a delusion; this is the height of mental slavery. It is not only obnoxious; it is very, very absurd and unfortunate.

No comments:


I am an Igbo, I was born an Igbo, I live the life of an Igbo, I come from Igbo, I speak Igbo, I like to be Igbo, I like to dress in Igbo, I eat Igbo food, my heritage, culture and tradition is Igbo, my parents are Igbo.

Am sorry I cannot help it if you hate my lineage. Am sorry I cannot help it if you detest Igbo, am sorry I cannot help it if you hate me because am Igbo. Igbo is who I am, my name is Igbo and I must die an Igbo.

You see Igbo as a threat, why? You call Igbo rapist, criminals, ritualist, prostitutes, kidnappers. You attribute all negative vices to represent Igbo? Why do you do that? You do because you feel threatened that Igbo might outrun the rest of the tribes. Why do you hate Igbo and despise us? You do that because we are creative, enlightened, hardworking, industrious, genius, intelligent, smart, rich, beautiful and amazing. But its difficult for you to admit it because you feel jealous of my race.

Igbo do not own politics, Igbo do not control the economy neither do we control the natural resources and the common wealth of the nation. You do, we don't and yet, despite the fact that you own everything, we still remain one indispensable race that has outshined the other race in all ramifications.

You fear us because you want to exterminate and annihilate our race, you deny us many things and yet we are stronger, richer and mightier. You fear us because we are everywhere. You fear us because no matter how rural a place might be, when Igbo steps in, they turn it into a Paradise. We have our own resources, which lies in resourcefulness, we do not bother you and your control over the polity, but yet when we cough you and the other race begin to shiver.

Am proud being an Igbo, am proud of my heritage and culture. Igbo means high class, Igbo means independence, Igbo means hard work and strength, Igbo means riches, Igbo means resourcefulness, Igbo means self belonging, Igbo means self esteem, Igbo means pride, Igbo means swag.

Udo diri unu umunnem.
# IgboAmaka
# AnyiBuNdiMmeri

Michael Ezeaka

This is beautiful poetry ...

In response to Alaba Ajibola, the Babcock Lecturer Hate Speech against Igbos.


In Igboland women live apart from their husbands and neither cook for them nor enter their husband's quarters when they are in their period. They are seen as unclean. Even up till today such practice is still applicable in some parts of Igboland especially by the traditionalists. Before a woman can enter the palace of Obi of Onitsha, she will be asked if she is in her period, if yes, she will be asked to stay out.

Leviticus 15: 19-20
When a woman has her monthly period, she remains unclean, anyone who touches her or anything she has sat on becomes unclean.

An Igbo man's ancestral heritage, called “Ana Obi” is not sellable, elders will not permit this. If this is somehow done due to the influence of the West the person is considered a fool and is ostracized by the community.

1 Kings 21:3
I inherited this vineyard from my ancestors, and the Lord forbid that I should sell it, said Naboth.

Igbos have practiced the taking of a late brother's wife into marriage after she had been widowed until the white men came. Now it is rarely done but except in very rural villages.

Deuteronomy 25:5
A widow of a dead man is not to be married outside the family; it is the duty of the dead man's brother to marry her.

In Igboland, there is a unique form of apprenticeship in which either a male family member or a community member will spend six (6) years (usually in their teens to their adulthood) working for another family. And on the seventh year, the head of the host household, who is usually the older man who brought the apprentice into his household, will establish (Igbo: idu uno) the apprentice
by either setting up a business for him or giving money or tools by which to make a living.

Exodus 21:2
If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve you for six years. In the seventh year he is to be set free without having to pay you anything.

In Igboland , the yam is very important as it is their staple crop. There are celebrations such as the New yam festival (Igbo: Iri Ji) which are held for the harvesting of the yam. New Yam festival (Igbo: Iri ji) is celebrated annually to secure a good harvest of the staple crop. In the olden days it is an abomination for one to eat a new harvest before the festival. It's a tradition that you give the gods of the land first as a thanksgiving.

Deuteronomy 16:9
Count 7 weeks from the time that you begin to harvest the crops, and celebrate the harvest festival to honor the lord your God, by bringing him a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing he has given you. Celebrate in the Lord's presence together with your children, servants, foreigners. Be sure that you obey my command, said the Lord.

In Igboland it's a tradition that the male children are circumcised on the 8th day. This tradition is still practiced till date.

Leviticus 12:3
On the eighth day, the child shall be circumcised.

In Igboland, there is a practice known as "ile omugwo ". After a woman has given birth to a child, a very close and experienced relative of hers, in most cases her mother is required by tradition to come spend time with her and her husband. During which she is to do all the work of the wife, while the new mom's only assignment to the baby will be to breastfeed. This goes on for a month or more. In the Igbo old tradition, at this time, the new mom lives apart from her husband, would not cook or enter his quarters.

Leviticus 12:1-4
For seven days after a woman gives birth, she is ritually unclean as she is during her monthly period. It will be 33 days until she is ritually clean from the loss of blood; she is not to touch anything that is holy.


The Igbo tribe is in a serious problem and danger of extinction for the following reasons:

50% of Igbos are born outside Igbo land. Meaning that those children are not likely to live and work in Igbo land and cannot speak Igbo language but foreign language (Yoruba, Hausa, French, English).

40% of Igbos girls between the age of 25 & 45 are single with no hope of marriage because 35% of Igbo boys live overseas and they have all married white ladies.

75% of Igbo youths leave Igbo land every year in search of opportunities in Yoruba, Hausa land or overseas.

85 % of Igbos have family houses and own investments outside Igbo land. They strongly believe in one Nigeria but failed to know that NO Yoruba or Hausa man has a family house or investment in Igbo land.

Igbos are the only people who believe that living outside their land is an achievement.

Igbos are the only tribe that celebrate their tradition outside their land e.g. Eze Ndi Igbo, Igbo Village in America and this is because they have family homes in foreign lands.

Igbos have failed to know that the children you have outside Igbo land especially overseas will never think of living in Igbo land. So what happens to the properties you are building for them when you are gone?

Igbos are the only tribe who see their land as a place to visit or a tourist site than a place to work and live.

Igbos are the only tribe who instead of promoting and appreciating their culture through movies and documentaries they have sought to ridicule it by portraying rituals, killings, wickedness, love for money and other social vices which were not originally inherent in our culture thereby cursing more harm than actually promoting their culture.

Igbos are the only people who without hesitation believe their history and description when it is told or written by an enemy or a foreigner. E.g. that you do not love yourselves or that you love money.

Igbos are the ONLY largest tribe on earth who fought for their independence and failed to achieve their freedom after 40 years.

Igbos are the only tribe who fails to honour their brave heroes and heroines especially the innocent children starved to death during the Biafran war.

Igbos are the only tribe who embraced their enemy after a bloody civil war and subsequently become slaves.

Igbos do not find it necessary to teach their own version of history to their children.

Igbos fight for marginalisation in Nigeria but has no collective strength or teeth to bite.

Igbos how long are you going to fight for your relevance in Nigeria?

How long are you going to fight for a functional airport, rail networks and other structural establishments that underpin sustainable development?

How long are you prepared to wait for your enemy to guide you to your destiny?

Oh Igbos!
Where are your leaders?

Unfortunately, none of them live and work in Igbo land. If you wish to save the future of your children, your identity, your generation and your race then you need freedom and that freedom is Biafra.

Ukpana Okpoko gburu bu nti chiri ya!

By Chime Eze

The Igbo: We die for causes, not for personalities

Written by Emeka Maduewesi

~on fb. 28th September, 2016.

The Igbo will never die for anyone. We will not even riot for anyone. But the Igbo will die for any cause they believe in because the Igbo have a true sense of justice and a determination to obtain it.

The Igbo will not riot because one of their own lost an election. Operation Wetie was the Western response to a massively rigged 1965 election. The Yoruba doused fellow Yorubas in petrol and burnt them alife. Properties were burnt with occupants. The Igbo will never do this.

In 1983, the Yoruba went on a rampage again over the massive rigging by NPN. Lifes were lost and properties destroyed. The riots were over personalities.

Contrast that with Anambra State where Chief Emeka Ojukwu was rigged out by his own NPN, who also rigged out Chief Jim Nwobodo. The Igbo did not protest because the goat's head is still in the goat's bag.

In the North, ba muso was the battle cry when Sultan Dasuki was imposed on the Sokoto Caliphate. The riot and protest lasted for days and crippled economic activities.

The Igbo will riot over issues and causes. The Aba Women Riot was over Tax. The Enugu coal mine riot was about conditions of service. The Ekumeku Uprising was over British colonialization.

Those of "Ekumeku" ancestry - Umu Eze Chima and Umu Nri - were at the forefront of the struggles for Nigerian independence, with people like Dr. A A Nwafor Orizu and Chief Osita Agwuna serving prison terms. Any struggles the parents could not conclude is continued by the children by other means.

The Biafran war was a response to the genocide. The war in fact was brought upon us. The battlefield was Eastern Region. The war ended in 1970 but the issues and causes were not resolved. That is where we are today.

The Igbo will also jointly rise to fight evil in their midst. They did it in Onitsha in the 1980's, Owerri in the 90's, and with Bakkassi in the 2000.

The Igbo will not die for any man. But the Igbo will stand by any man who symbolizes their cause and their pursuit of justice. Even if the man dies, the struggle continues, and like the Ekumeku warriors, the children will pick up the baton from their parents.

This is the Igbo I know, the Igbo I am, and the Igbo we are. This is my story. Feel free to tell yours.


"My boy, may you live to your full potential, ascend to a dizzy height as is possible for anyone of your political description in your era to rise. May you be acknowledged world-wide as you rise as an eagle atop trees, float among the clouds, preside over the affairs of fellow men.... as leaders of all countries pour into Nigeria to breathe into her ear.

But then, Chuba, if it is not the tradition of our people that elders are roundly insulted by young men of the world, as you have unjustly done to me, may your reign come to an abrupt and shattering close. As you look ahead, Chuba, as you see the horizon, dedicating a great marble palace that is the envy of the world, toasted by the most powerful men in the land, may the great big hand snatch it away from you. Just as you look forward to hosting the world’s most powerful leader and shaking his hands, as you begin to smell the recognition and leadership of the Igbo people, may the crown fall off your head and your political head fall off your shoulders.

None of my words will come to pass, Chuba, until you have risen to the very height of your power and glory and health, but then you will be hounded and humiliated and disgraced out of office, your credibility and your name in tatters forever...”


Biafra Videos: Explosive secret about Biafra...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Featured Post


Topics: Mindset of the enemy. Yoruba were in world's best universities when Usman dan fodio was still learning to ride a horse Th...