Iji Ala: An Ancient Igbo Sacred Science of Energy Management and Harmonization for the Present World

Geodesy (Iji Ala/Iji Ana/Iji Ani) is one of the ancient sacred sciences which the Igbo people demonstrated a great mastery of. They knew, expounded and extensively practiced this spiritual science of bringing celestial harmony down to Earth (Anakwudo-ma-Enukwudo). In this light, Geodesy is a truly multi-dimensional science or what may be termed ”a meta-science” driven by high precision thinking, the manifestation of which is evinced in such notable cosmological engineering feats as the creation of geothermal pyramid powered human settlements, through the specific application of this sacred science in the form of “Ikwunite-Aba-Igwe” (lit. Raising the Crown of the Celestial Mound).

Nsude Pyramids in Abaja, Northern Igbo land

Nsude Pyramids in Abaja, Northern Igbo land

For the Igbo people of old and present, inhabited houses can be ensouled and rituals abound for ensouling houses before habitation, as well as for un-ensouling houses after the demise of their occupants. The same exists for environs. In ancient Igboland, the ritual-kings and specialists who had the specialty of performing these architectonic and engineering feats on the scale of the entire communal space were known as Eze Akum, Eze Okpoko, Eze Ana, Eze Mkpume, Eze Uzu, Eze Oba among other specialized titles. They were mostly technocrats and among their expected specialties were advanced mystic control of the elements. In fact, there is still an Igbo village group in Oba, Anambra state known as Umu Mkpume and their oral traditions narrate that their ancestors were unequaled geniuses at working with stone and other mineral elements. Likewise in Uzu Akoli, highly noted for its quality stones, minerals and stone masonry. A noted Igbo proverb in this right asserts that: okwute hiri ehi, too ato na uzu akoli, o zi mbunata lit. durable stones are in sufficient formations in Uzu Akoli, it is only a matter of carrying them to site.

As we aware of today, in the cities and towns, peoples movements could be restricted, their livelihoods controlled, their thinking defined, their health status conditioned and their religion prescribed. In nature where there is freedom of movement and diversity of choices, one can hardly achieve the same result. The oxygen supply is purer and direct in nature, thus the process of natural growth and spiritual development is organic and difficult to impede in nature. This is in clear contrast with the human created city settlements which has as its central underlying ideology, the superiority and exclusivity of human nature over the rest of nature. This is an ideology that is as toxic as it is unfathomably limiting. Yet it is one that ironically presents human beings with a great opportunity to deepen their awareness and creative abilities by way of harmonious adaptation. One may observe that, the Igbo technocrats and ritual-specialists of old largely viewed their respective towns and cities as “architectural tools” for enacting social engineering and politico-religious cohesion. However, their greatest functions were in their metaphysical application; in the manipulation and control of space and time, human creative energy, natural resources, human privileges, conventional thinking and even the unseen prospects of an entire group of people.

Montage of Igbo traditional architecture

Montage of Igbo traditional architecture

Today, on the other hand, the combined forces of nature, fate and history has interrupted many of these institutions and their archetypal ways of functioning, and for a purpose which the future generations will clearly grasp more than we ever may in our times. As for our present purposes today in Igboland, there is great need to revive the ancient practices of temple building for earth-energy balancing purposes (Iji Ala), not just for the typical purposes of social cohesion and judiciary. There is no doubting the fact that, given all the accumulated ills of the past ages in Igboland and the world at large, Ana Igbo is in need of full-fledged purification and re-consecration. This is in alignment with the spiritual foundational practices of the Uga Anwu age, which we are gearing up to fully emerge into. It is to be noted that in this age, individuals must come to the realization that all shrines, sacred groves, temples, churches, religious enclaves etc. are not otherworldly places where “gods and goddesses” manifest or even mere particularized places of public worship. This is the root of religious exploitation. Instead, it should be understood that these sacred natural locales or consecrated spaces are simply places of pure spiritual energy, where the members of community frequently visit to revitalize and purify their devotional passions (Isa Ajasinobi), realign and refocus their minds (Ichikota-Uche-na-Mmuo) and replenish their soul force (Idu-Ikenga-Chi/Inye-Ikenga-Nni).

Speaking of the needs of this present age, it should be borne in mind that generally in Odinala and Igbo cosmology, the world is understood to go through cycles, much like the noted fertility seasons of nature. Of these, there are four Great Cycles which birth Four Unique Worlds, namely: Uga Aka, Uga Chi, Uga Anwu and Uga Azi in that other of succession. The cycles are known to succeed each other with catastrophic, consciousness expanding events. There are ascending cycles (Uje Uga) and descending cycles (Una Uga). At the culmination of each full cosmic cycle (Mgba Uga) made up of eight unique consciousness seasons, all the created life forms of Chineke achieve a holistic evolutionary leap, known as Opupu Mmuo/Ipu Mmuo. While, the now receded Mgba Uga is regarded as Uga-Nala-Ana (One Full Completed Cosmic Cycle) and its accumulated knowledge and wisdom will henceforth only be accessible via the intuitive portals of cosmic consciousness. The next Opupu-Ije-Mmuo or Uga Uwa cycle thus begins from either an ascending or descending point, with a matching influx of varying incarnate spirits. We are currently experiencing an ascending cycle which hints the immense possibilities predisposed to us and which are languishing under our noses. These four seasons of the world (Uga-Uwa-n’Ano) as with the primordial four Igbo circadian cycles of Eke-Orie-Afo-Nkwo (Izu/Izu Igbo) have come and gone for as long as creation has been.

Igbo Cycles

Igbo Cycles

In this light, Uga Aka is the cosmic age known for non-duality, profound wisdom, pure spirit, pure consciousness, human omniscience, whole mastery of human potentials and the universal laws at the global level by human beings, which results in the achievement of immortality. The age which follows this is known as Uga Chi, and this age is characterized by the consciousness of duality, great influx of self-realized spirits, soul power, ingenious cultural creations, telepathy and the appearance of death, when people once again lose the privilege of immortality. Next is the Uga Anwu age, noted for the incarnation of cosmic-minded visionaries (Umu Anwu) who are acknowledged for their profound solar-intuition (i.e. versatility of mind) and deep original thinking. Uga Anwu is also the age of marked gifts of prophecy, technological feats and highly advanced understanding of energy and its interplay with consciousness throughout nature. It has also been observed that in this age, the urge to check harmful tendencies are bound to become a worldwide obsession. People become ecology-conscious all of a sudden and are drawn to lifestyles, practices and philosophies that encourage this concern. Last of these four is the age of Uga Azi, identified with pessimism, mindlessness, crass ignorance, wanton destruction and desecration of natural harmony, very low consciousness level, superficiality, clear disregard of sacred knowledge and wisdom, unimaginable greed and conquest etc. In fact, in the age of Uga Azi, the world is literally upside down (descent of spiritual awareness).

To be reincarnated into this world at this present time is an utmost desire of several spirits. For Uga Anwu is an age of the Mind. All who possess the Divine Mind of Light (Umu Agwu) will lead in this age as visionaries. As such, it is highly necessary that all human institutions and knowledge systems be dully revised with this profusion of higher minds amongst us, even as we are presently experiencing it technologically. It should thus be made clear, in this light, that the churches, mosques, temples, shrines, oracle groves, sanctuaries etc. of old and present are not divine, but merely sanctified spaces. It is the human being and nature that is divine. Religious doctrines, traditions and philosophies are not divine. It is the individual experience of their true spiritual principles that truly is divine. Accordingly, the ritual specialists, Priests and Priestesses who officiate in these sacred places are in truth and practicality, adept spiritual scientists who have been spiritually called and readied from birth by nature, to devote their whole being to the preservation and perpetuation of divine order for their respective communities. As such, the fundamental focus of the vast spiritual sciences, rites, rituals, ethicalities, local jurisprudence and allied functions which they administer on behalf of the community is to be understood as fundamentally ensuring the preservation of cosmic harmony (Udo), based on their divine eligibility (Chi), noted spiritual uprightness (Ogu) and ancestral appointment (Ofo). It is one of such appointed tasks that they accomplish through the rituals of Iji Ala. 

Light Body

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Nze Izo Omenigbo (Chukwukadibia E. Nwafor)  is an Igbo writer, philanthropist, Dibia and advocate of African knowledge systems and indigenous spiritualities. A life-long learner and advanced practitioner of Igbo medicine and sacred teachings, he is also a fully-investitured culture bearer and spiritual lineage holder (Eze-Aka-ji-Ofo-Odinala) of Ururo-Umunze descent. His dedicated strides towards the total awakening of Igbo contemporary humanity have propelled him to introduce and teach the first comprehensive cyber course on Igbo cosmology. His general publications on the intellectual and mystical traditions of the Igbo are widely read. Leopards of the Magical Dawn: Science and the Cosmological Foundations of Igbo Culture is his first book.

A Re-Emerging Scam: A Review of The Jews of Nigeria Part 3

ReEmerging

In the last part of this article, I began the process of evaluating the claims made by Jeff Lieberman and the Igbo Jews in “The Jews of Nigeria” film. This segment was originally meant to touch on seven areas, but I have decided to present on just four areas this time, and then conclude with three for the final part. The four areas that will be evaluated will be Linguistics, Christianity & Igbo Tradition, Family & Village Traditions, and Artifacts.

1. LINGUISTICS

One of the Igbo Jewish teachers in the film attempts to use pseudo-linguistics to show a similarity between Igbo and Hebrew. He makes a number of statements that range from comical to downright insulting to the intelligence of viewers.

“I believe that the word Igbo or Ibo is a corruption of Ibri or Ivri” – Eben Cohen

“There are alot of Igbo words that sound quite similar to that of Hebrew. Igbo is getting from the word Ivrim.” – Eben Cohen

Mr. Eben Cohen is so desperate to establish a connection between Igbo and Hebrew that he even shamefully makes the claim that the word Igbo is nothing but a corruption of a Hebrew word. Besides showing his massive inferiority complex, he also neglects the fact that the “gb” in Igbo (pronounced EE-g-bow) is considered one letter, as it is in other West African languages. Furthermore, its very well known that the word Igbo is found in other languages in Nigeria:

“Among the Yoruba – speaking people of the Kwa language to which the Igbo belongs, the expression ‘igbo” was very popular. He points to the Yoruba tradition which says that ‘the indigenous people whom their cultural hero, Oduduwa and his followers met at Ife were the Igbo.’ Furthermore, ‘we find among the Yoruba, place names like Oke-Igbo and Ijebu-Igbo…while ‘igbo” the bird, reflects the forest environment…While the linguistic authority, J.H Greensberg has placed the homeland of the Bantu speaking peoples in south-eastern Nigeria, J.A Ademakinwa, an Ife historian concludes that it was possible the Igbo retained the name of the original population of Eastern Nigeria”

SOURCE: “The Igbo and Their Niger Delta Neighbors” By Nnai J. O. Ijeaku (page 16-17)

Cohen’s silly pseudo-linguistic examples continue:

“Kol in Hebrew means voice, ool in Igbo means voice” – Eben Cohen

Actual Igbo words for voice: Olu or Onu

SOURCE: “Igbo English Dictionary” by Michael J.C Echeruo

“Ketan: Hebrew for little or small, nkenta in Igbo” – Eben Cohen

Actual definition of Nkenta – allotment or share

Igbo words for small: nta, obere, ogbede, mpe mpe

SOURCE: “Igbo English Dictionary” by Michael J.C Echeruo

“If these people are not descendants of Israel, how come their languages rhymes with that of Israel?” – Eben Cohen

Perhaps in Eben’s demented world, Igbo language resembles Hebrew. Of course, this would mean that native Igbo speakers would be able to understand Hebrew, the same way that speakers of pidgin English can understand British English or Haitian Kreyol speakers can generally understand French. Igbos cannot understand Hebrew whatsoever because its totally unrelated to it:

“The Igbo language (also known, less commonly as Ibo) is an African language, spoken in several African countries including Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Congo among others.

It belongs to the ‘Benue-Congo’ family of languages, which is a subgroup of the major ‘Niger-Congo’ family of languages. It is similar to Yoruba and Chinese in the sense that it is a tonal language. Like many African languages, the Igbo language has to its credit a number of dialects, distinguished by accent or orthography but almost universally mutually intelligible.”

SOURCE: “Development of Igbo Language E-Learning System” by Olufemi Moses Oyelami. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education-TOJDE October 2008 ISSN 1302-6488 Volume: 9 Number: 4 Article 2

Eben goes to make a pretty revealing statement later in the film:

“Initially there was no vast knowledge of Hebrew here, even though they have the Hebrew alphabet” – Eben Cohen

Despite the fact Igbos today have a vast knowledge of multiple dialects and even there is even evidence of Igbo scripts that predate the Latin one (Nsibidi & Uli for example), Eben Cohen wants us to believe that their real original language was Hebrew…which there is no vast knowledge of whatsoever in Igboland today. In fact, they would have to learn their true “original” language from foreign sources. Does that make any type of sense?

Court Record written in Nsibidi script

Court Record written in Nsibidi script

“We look forward to the day we will be perfect. By having our conversations fully, hours of conversations all in Hebrew. That is the day we will term ourselves perfect people.” – Eben Cohen

Well obviously being able to have full conversations in Igbo isn’t good enough for people like Eben Cohen. He wants to be able to converse fully in the totally foreign Hebrew language in order for him to be “perfect.” Its no different than a person saying the same thing about being fluent in the English language making them  a better person, and is also more proof of the massive inferiority complex of Eben Cohen and the other Igbo Jews.

2. CHRISTIANITY & IGBO TRADITION

One of the oddest arguments that Lieberman makes in this film is that the introduction of Christianity into Igboland made its people totally forget their traditions and their origins. In the early part of the documentary, Lieberman tries to make the case that Igbo traditions somehow were lost due to colonization:

“In a land confused by outside forces, those traditions began to bear a different name”- Jeff Lieberman

Fortunately for Igbo people, Lieberman is mistaken. The Igbo customs have are known as Omenala or Odinani. Which means “it rests upon the Earth.” Christianity and Odinani have been practiced side by side for almost 100 years, although they have influenced one another. In fact, the idea that colonization would make people totally forget their origins and traditions is quite insulting to Igbo people’s intelligence. Yet another example of Lieberman’s patronizing attitude. This passage, which tells of the impact that Christianity had in the Igbo town of Nsukka is mirrored in many places of Igboland:

“When describing this belief system, I have adopted the present tense, since British colonialism and Christianity did not destroy or completely replace Nsukka religion. If anything, Christianity and traditional religion coexisted, often peacefully and conflict arose only when one religion tried to suppress the other.”

SOURCE: “Igo Mma Ogo: The Adoro Goddess, Her Wives, and Challengers—Influences on the Reconstruction of Alor-Uno, Northern Igboland, 1890-1994” by Nwando Achebe. Journal of Women’s History, Volume 14, Number 4, Winter 2003, pp. 83-105

Lieberman continues with this ironic statement:

“Like much of Africa, Nigeria suffers from a complicated sense of identity, due to the impact of outside forces. Nigeria’s fate came at the hands of the British, who began arriving in the middle of the 1600s. “ – Jeff Lieberman

Its pretty interesting that Lieberman can note that outside forces have complicated the sense of identity of many Nigerians, but doesn’t seem to include himself as contributing to this confusion. With people like him trying to reintroduce the failed Oriental hypothesis, would Judaism now count as an outside force? Furthermore, he incorrectly states that the British began arriving in the 1600s, when it really the Portuguese. Did Lieberman even attempt to fact check before putting out this film?

“The British administration was eventually established, and what followed were schools and churches. The Igbo initially rejected the churches, but attended the schools, thinking that they would eventually outsmart their oppressors. Before they realized that the schools and the churches were the same, more than half the Igbo were already converted.” — Jeff Lieberman

Funny enough, not one of those pictures shown in the film portrayed Igbo people during the colonial era. One can click here to see actual pictures of Igbo people during the colonial era. Secondly, the reason that many were converted was because the schools catered to children, who were far easier to indoctrinate than adults.

Igbo Men over 100 years ago

Continuing:

“Missionaries boosted their efforts in the 1980s, this time lead by the American Pentecostals.” – Jeff Lieberman

Coincidentally, it was soon after, that the Igbo-Jew fable began to re-emerge as well as shown in part 1. Next Lieberman attempts to paint a simple picture of Nigeria’s religious landscape either out of ignorance or deception:

“In this fervently religious nation, where’s there’s not an atheist or agnostic in sight, the country’s 130 million divide roughly equally amongst Muslims and Christians.” – Jeff Lieberman

Why does Jeff Lieberman continually ignore the traditional religions which are still heavily practice to this day? According to the CIA World Factbook, 10% of Nigerians adhere to their traditional religious practice. However, this number only accounts for peoples primary religious affiliation. If one were to add the number of people in Nigeria who still adhere to the traditional practices as their secondary religion, the number would jump up substantially to over 50%. The Nigerian Constitution even recognizes traditional religious rulers and customs. But that doesn’t stop Jeff Lieberman from continuing to spread his propaganda to uninformed audiences:

“While the link between the Igbo & Judaism are obvious to many Igbo, those practicing Judaism are small in number. Rough estimates figure that its less than 3000 that have embraced the faith. While the vast majority of Igbo remain active Christians.” – Jeff Lieberman

“As one of the three largest groups of Nigeria, the Igbo number approximately 25 million, and as the movement towards Judaism continues to grow, it has the potential to create a Jewish community of enormous size.” – Jeff Lieberman

Once again, Lieberman makes more misleading statements that are easily debunked by the facts on the ground . As pointed out in Part 1, the Oriental hypothesis of Igbo origin was discounted nearly 100 years ago. It was obvious to both the Europeans that introduced it as well as the native Igbos that the racist theory was based on little to no evidence.

The miniscule amount of people that practice Judaism in Igboland despite the “obvious links” should be a red flag to anyone who subscribes to this dead theory, as discussed by Rabbi Gorrin at one of the Re-Emerging Film talkback sessions:


Even more concerning should be the fact that there are alot more practitioners of the Igbo traditional religion than there are Igbo practitioners of Judaism. According to the CIA factbook, Nigeria’s Igbo population is roughly 30 million people. If the same percentage of them practiced their traditional religion as their primary religion, as is the national average, that would put the number of traditional practitioners at 3 million, more than 10X the amount of Igbos practicing Judaism in any capacity. Even if only 5% of Igbos practiced the traditional religion as their primary religion, that would still put the number at 1.5 million practitioners, most of whom live in rural areas. This is further buttressed by the number of traditional priests, priestesses and native doctors that still are able to obtain clients. If there was a movement of Igbos away from Christianity, it would be back to their native religion, and not to equally foreign religion of Judaism.

3. FAMILY & VILLAGE TRADITIONS

As Samuel and others begin to tell their stories, alot of holes start to pop up which cast doubt on the Igbo-Jewish idea:

“He (Samuel) studies whatever materials he can lay his hands on, and is amazed by how Jewish traditions mirror that of the Igbo. Samuel’s search has lead him home” – Jeff Lieberman

But how can this be? If Samuel actually studied whatever materials he could lay his hands on, he would have been aware that multiple Igbo historians have debunked the Oriental hypothesis, as demonstrated in part 1. And an analysis on both traditions will show that most of the claims of similarity are either overstated or downright fabricated, as demonstrated in part 2. Continuing:

“My father is an enlightened man. I still say it, that he was the first person to tell me about Judaism. But my mother was deceived by her friends, that I had joined an occultic society…my father tried to convince her that Judaism is a pure religion, but she wouldn’t listen ” – Samuel

Samuel’s father obviously isn’t a Christian. But he doesn’t practice Judaism either. Clearly, the mother also doesn’t, but if Judaism was really their ancestral tradition, why would the mother and her friends confuse it with an occult society? Especially since most of them have no problem no problem with masquerade societies:

When I went to Arochukwu to join the Ekpe traditional men’s society, I wasn’t condemned by members of my family. In fact, many people praised me for keeping the tradition alive, and my experience isn’t unique, and apparently Samuel’s isn’t either, but for a very different reason:

“Samuel’s experience is not uncommon. Those returning to Judaism face opposition from all sides” – Jeff Lieberman

Could this have anything to do with the fact that the traditional religion of the Igbos is still being practiced today? Igbo Christians recognize and respect many of the traditional practices and beliefs. But what the Igbo Jews are practicing is something completely alien to people in Nigeria, hence why there is alot of opposition to it. The experiences of Miriam add further evidence to this point:

“I’ve not really gone into my village so deeply because since I got married, when I did my wedding, when they saw people with kippahs, when they saw when we did our Ketubah marriage, when we break the glass, they were so scared, they were even crying, they said that my husband has initiated me in a cult” – Miriam

This may in fact be one of the most damning statements in the entire video. Lets look at this rationally: Its a fact that the traditional religion and practices are strongest in the village. Even to this day, people go to the village to do their traditional wedding before they do their Christian one. Even I have seen a video of my parents traditional wedding in the village.

If what Miriam had done was actually a traditional wedding, why would people in the village be scared of it? One can see the various traditional rites of Igbo marriage that are still practiced to this day right on Youtube.


Do they resemble the Jewish rites in any way?

“I’m still living in isolation in my family. I’m like an outcast among them.” – Igbo Jewish man

One open secret amongst many Nigerians is that there is usually at least one member of the family that openly practices the traditional religion As long at as that person isn’t engaging in taboo behavior, there is no reason for them to be isolated from their family. The people in my family that openly practice the traditional religion are not only respected, but are also consulted when spiritual issues arise.

4. ARTIFACTS

The lack of physical evidence that the Igbo Jews have casts more doubt on their story. However, the little physical evidence that they do present is not only misleading, its actually fraudulent.

“And even when they came down here, they constructed a monument at Aguleri called Obu-Gad.” – Igbo Jewish man

If Jeff Lieberman had done his homework, he would have found out that the name of the place was actually Obu Uga (or Obuga for short), and has only been called Obu-Gad in recent years, when the people of Aguleri realized that they could use this re-emerging scam to promote their town, even going so far as to create this hoax.

Alleged Hebrew text written by Eri. Somebody forgot to inform the scam artists that cowries are a fairly recent import to West Africa

Alleged Hebrew text written by Eri. Somebody forgot to inform the scam artists that cowries are a fairly recent import to West Africa

“In Aguleri the elders told Jeffreys in 1930 that: ‘…there are trenches (ekpe) that encircle Obuga and those trenches were told by our father were dug by the Igala in the old days as protection against the Igbo. In this trench people took refuge when an attack began. Afterwards the Igala went away …’ (Jeffreys 1930, 689)”

SOURCE: West African Journal of Archaeology, Volumes 12-13, page 56

Revisiting this quote from part 1, it makes you wonder why even the supporters of the Oriental hypothesis like Jeffreys weren’t informed of this so called Obu-Gad, especially since it would have added credence to their theory:

“By the late 1930s, the Oriental hypothesis had been argued out ad nauseam and abandoned, since no amount of research, not even (Herbert Frank) Matthew’s at Arochukwu and Jeffrey’s at Awka could uncover solid historical or anthropological evidence in its support. C.K Meek, the government anthropologist who had coordinate the research into this and related issues in Igboland, closed the debate as far as the government was concerned when he warned that: “no purpose would be served by engaging in speculations about ancient cultural contacts, such as that the prevalence of sun-worship, of forms of mummification, and of dual organization points to some distance connection with Ancient Egypt. As far back as we can see within historic times, the bulk of the Igbo peoples appear to have lived an isolated existence.”

By 1940 then, the Oriental hypothesis was to all intents and purposes dead as a serious explanation of Igbo culture history.”

SOURCE: “The Culture History of the Igbo Speaking Peoples of Nigeria” by Adiele Afigbo, West African Culture Dynamics: Archaeological and Historical Perspectives pages 307 to 309

When Rabbi Gorrin visits Nigeria, the people there have never seen a Torah in their lives:

“Then taking out a Torah scroll and unwrapping it and have them walk inside and see a Torah for the first time…” – Rabbi Howard Gorrin

But these same people had no doubt seen Ofo sticks, Mbari shrines, Ikenga figurines and other traditional artifacts:

“Excavations at Ugwuele, Nsukka and Afikpo show evidences of long habitation as early as 6000 B.C. However by 9th century A.D, it seemed most clearly that Igbo had settled firmly in Igboland”

SOURCE: “Migration and the Economy: Igbo Migrants and the Nigerian Economy 1900 to 1975” By Mathias Chinonyere Mgbeafulu, Page 10

So let’s get this straight. Igbos have artifacts in Igbo Ukwu that go back up to 8000 years. This is before anyone named Abraham, Isaac or Jacob would have existed. But the Igbo Jews want us to believe that they migrated from Israel but didn’t bring a single copy of ANY of the Jewish scriptures with them? Or even an artifact? Well Chukwu Dalu (Thank God) that Igbo ancestors left a multitude of artifacts for us to enjoy:

In summary, the Igbo Jews resort to using pseudo-linguistics in a failed attempt to link Igbo language with Hebrew, totally misrepresent the impact that Christianity has had on the Igbo traditional religion, demonstrate that Judaism is a foreign tradition as evidenced by the reactions of their family and village members, and last but not least, present fraudulent artifacts as evidence. In the fourth and final part, the following claims will be covered: Igbos & The State of Israel, “Expert” Opinions & DNA Testing.

Fraud

SOURCES CITED:

  1. “The Igbo and Their Niger Delta Neighbors” By Nnai J. O. Ijeaku (page 16-17)
  2. “Igbo English Dictionary” by Michael J.C Echeruo
  3. “Development of Igbo Language E-Learning System” by Olufemi Moses Oyelami. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education-TOJDE October 2008 ISSN 1302-6488 Volume: 9 Number: 4 Article 2
  4. “Igo Mma Ogo: The Adoro Goddess, Her Wives, and Challengers—Influences on the Reconstruction of Alor-Uno, Northern Igboland, 1890-1994” by Nwando Achebe. Journal of Women’s History, Volume 14, Number 4, Winter 2003, pp. 83-105
  5. West African Journal of Archaeology, Volumes 12-13, page 56
  6. “The Culture History of the Igbo Speaking Peoples of Nigeria” by Adiele Afigbo, West African Culture Dynamics: Archaeological and Historical Perspectives pages 307 to 309
  7. “Migration and the Economy: Igbo Migrants and the Nigerian Economy 1900 to 1975” By Mathias Chinonyere Mgbeafulu, Page 10

A Re-Emerging Scam: A Review of The Jews of Nigeria Part 2

In the last part of this article, I gave an overview on the history of the failed “Oriental Hypothesis” that has re-emerged in this modern day immigration scam. The filmmaker, Jeff Lieberman deceived people into thinking that Igbo people have been in the dark for all these years about where they come from. In fact, he goes so far as to state early in the film that:

“It is only recently with the arrival of the internet that things began to change. Young Igbo like Samuel began researching their roots and comparing Igbo traditions with Hebrew traditions.” – Jeff Lieberman

This of course ignores the various debates that took place in the early 1900s, and the fact that “by 1940 then, the Oriental hypothesis was to all intents and purposes dead as a serious explanation of Igbo culture history.”

SOURCE: “The Culture History of the Igbo Speaking Peoples of Nigeria” by Adiele Afigbo,West African Culture Dynamics: Archaeological and Historical Perspectives, page 309

But what I intend on doing in this part is to take a look at each of the claims that are made in the film and test the veracity. The results of my research have been posted below, as well as the title of each source used. Furthermore, many of the books and articles have been uploaded to this site for everyone to be able to see them for themselves. It has taken me a few years to build up my collection of Igbo related documents and books,  and it took me a few months in order to be able to put this all together. I would urge those who are truly interested in learning Igbo history and culture to take the time to read the sources and come to their own conclusions. The topics that will be evaluated will be the following: Traditions of Origin, Eri, Migration Routes, Circumcision, Kosher Diet Customs, Sabbath & Other Holy Days and Concept & Names of God.

1. TRADITIONS OF ORIGIN

According to the “Igbo Jews” most Igbos are aware of their “Jewish origin”. Samuel even goes so far as to say that he’s “always known that Igbos are Jews.” However, just a few second later he says the following:

“I can’t imagine myself practicing Judaism without going to the Internet cause I go there to study.” – Samuel

How in fact could this be the case? If he was truly interested the traditional religion of the Igbo people, then why didn’t he consider going to the Igbo traditional priests who have a wealth of knowledge of those traditions? They aren’t hard to find. In fact, you can even find them given interviews and press releases for local Nigerian newspapers.

Traditional Priest of Umueri

What about the local universities, which have published an abundance of academically sound research papers?  What about his own parents? Certainly that’s the primary source of the vast majority of people to learn about their ancestral traditions right? Why does he have to resort to going to random internet links to find out about his own origins?

“Samuel is looking towards Israel as the birthplace of his ancestors. Its a notion he and so many other young Igbo first heard growing up in Nigeria, an oral history passed down through generations of the Igbo people” – Jeff Lieberman

Exactly what oral history is Lieberman speaking of?  Of which communities and how many generations? Lets compare this statement to some pronounced scholarship on this issue:

“In the Igbo area, three different types of traditions of origins can be distinguished. The first claims that the community concerned migrated from an important kingdom outside the Igbo area, such as Benin or Igala. The second claims that the community migrated from a place within the Igbo area, while the last type typically claims that the community migrated from nowhere. Scholars have used these traditions of origin in two different ways: either to come to conclusions as to where the Igbo as a group came from, or to decide on the relative importance of the different groups within the Igbo area”

SOURCE: “Who are the Igbo? – Searching for Origins” by Dmitri van den Bersselaar, page 40

Does this have any truth at all? Lets take a look at sample of some of the major clans and areas of Igboland:

Aboh – Migrants from Benin Empire
SOURCE:  “Views on the Origins, Structure and Hierarchy of Some Niger Delta Mud Sculpture Styles of Southern Nigeria” by  Ese Odokuma (Department of Fine / Applied Arts, Faculty of Arts, Delta State University, Abraka, P.M.B 1 Nigeria)

Agbor – Migrants from Benin Empire
SOURCE:  “Views on the Origins, Structure and Hierarchy of Some Niger Delta Mud Sculpture Styles of Southern Nigeria” by  Ese Odokuma (Department of Fine / Applied Arts, Faculty of Arts, Delta State University, Abraka, P.M.B 1 Nigeria)

Abiriba – Migrants from other parts of Igboland & Enna (Efikland)
SOURCE: Nigerian History, Politics, And Affairs: The Collected Essays Of Adiele Afigbo  By Adiele Eberechukwu Afigbo & Toyin Falola, page 132

Afikpo (Ehugbo) – Migrants from Egu & Nkalu Igbo groups
SOURCE: “Origin of Afikpo (Ehugbo)” By Gabriel Mbey

Arochukwu clan (responsible for over 100 settlements in Nigeria) – Migrants from the Igbo heartland, Cross Rivers area, Ekoiland and natives from Ibibioland
SOURCE: The Slave Trade and Culture in the Bight of Biafra: An African Society in the Atlantic World by G. Ugo Nwokeji, pages 26-27

Anioma clan- Migrants from Nri, Ogboli, & Nteje groups of Igbo, and Benin Kingdom
SOURCE: “Anioma” by Emeka Esogbue

Adazi-Nnukwu – Did not come from anywhere, and sprang from the earth
SOURCE: Traditional Igbo Beliefs & Practices by Professor IK N Ogbukagu

Asaba – Migrants from Awka group of Igboland, Igalaland & Benin Kingdom
SOURCE: “The Traditional Government and Institutions of Asaba” – Asaba National Association,USA

Egbuoma – Migrants from Umuehi & Umu-uzu villages in Igboland
SOURCE: The Paragon of Civilization by Sylvanus A Enworom, page 33

Ekpeye (Akpaohia) clan – Migrants from Benin Empire & other parts of Igboland
SOURCE: “Ekpeye History”- Usama Ekpeye USA, Inc

Ika clan – Migrants from Benin Empire, Ishan & other parts of Igboland
SOURCE: “The Ika People” by Onyeche Ifeanyi Joseph, PhD

Mbaise clan – Created by God in their current land (Orie-Ukwu Oboama na Umunama to be exact)
SOURCE:  African Christianity Rises Volume One: A Critical Study of the Catholicism by David Asonye Ihenacho, page 8

Neni – Settlers from Umudioka in Igboland
SOURCE: “The Politics of Igbo Origin & Culture” by Dr. Nwankwo T. Nwaezeigwe

Nnewi – Migrants from Orlu in Igboland
SOURCE:  Structure Plan for Nnewi & Satellite Towns by UN-HABITAT, page 19

Ngwa – The Igbo village of Umunoha (near Owerri) in Igboland
SOURCE: Palm Oil and Protest: An Economic History of the Ngwa Region, South-Eastern by Susan M. Martin, page 18

Ogba – Migrants from Benin Empire
SOURCE: “Ali Ogba History” – UmuOgba-USA

Oka (Awka) – They grew out of the soil
SOURCE:  Who are the Oka people by Nevbechi Emma Anazovba, P.h.D, page 15

Orlu clan – No traditions of coming from any other place
SOURCE:  The Igbo of Southeast Nigeria by Victor C Uchendu

Okigwe clan – No traditions of coming from any other place
SOURCE:  The Igbo of Southeast Nigeria by Victor C Uchendu

Oguta – Migrants from Benin Empire
SOURCE:  “Oguta Traditions” - Oguta National Association, USA

Onicha (Onitsha) – Migrants from Benin Empire
SOURCE:  “Views on the Origins, Structure and Hierarchy of Some Niger Delta Mud Sculpture Styles of Southern Nigeria” by  Ese Odokuma (Department of Fine / Applied Arts, Faculty of Arts, Delta State University, Abraka, P.M.B 1 Nigeria)

Owerri – Migrants from Umuori Village, Uratta in Igboland
SOURCE:  “History of Owerri”  from the Palace ( Ibari) of Eze Owere His Majesty Pharm. (Dr) Emmanuel Emenvonu Niemanze Ozuruigbo of Owerri

Ukwuani – Oguta village in Igboland
SOURCE:  Studies in Ibo Political Systems: Chieftaincy and Politics in Four Niger States by Ikenna Nzimiro, page 237

Uratta – No history of coming from anywhere else
SOURCE: “Historical Promenade on Uratta” by Professor Felix K. Ekechi

Umueri (Aguleri, Nri, Enugwu-Ukwu, Enugwu-Umeh, Nawfia, Nnokwa, Oraerim, etc) clan – Igalaland
SOURCE: The History of Aguleri by M.C.M, Idigo, page 5

Alaigbo

Its clear from this sample of some of the major areas in Igboland that all of these communities claim descent from:
A. Other parts of Igboland
B. Neighboring ethnic groups & kingdoms
C. The earth itself

So exactly what are the communities that have “oral traditions” of Israelite ancestry? And if so, how old are these “oral traditions”?

Jeff Lieberman then goes on to make a very revealing statement. He states the following:

“What simplified the ease of transitioning into this Judaism was that it was somewhat familiar to Samuel. Prayers were made in the name of Jesus. And many of the evangelical elements of Christianity were blended into Judaism, making it palatable to once-Christians. But yet this mixture of Judaism and Christianity made it theoretically completely contradictory. Despite that, the Messianic or Sabbatarian movement remains quite popular in Nigeria, seemingly attracting large fund and large amounts of people. It was a wrong turn for Samuel, and many once Christians, but one quite common on the Nigerian road to Judaism.” –  Jeff Lieberman

Later in the film, one of the Igbo Jews also reveals the path that they took:

“Six years ago we started from Messianic, before we grow up to practicing Judaism.” Elder Habbakuk

If people in Nigeria decide to convert to Judaism, the only thing they would be returning to would be the roots of CHRISTIANITY, not of their native religions, which are still being practiced to this day. This is further demonstrated by the statement of one of the neighbors of Habbakuk who says:

“I used to be very scared of him, because of the religion. I don’t know the kind of religion, my first time of seeing such religion” – Johnleo Raymond

Every Nigerian knows exactly how their native religion looks like (even enough to put them in Nollywood films), so why would this woman claim that this was the first time of her seeing “such a religion” like this unless of course it was foreign?

2. ERI

One of the most “convincing” pieces of “evidence” that the Igbo Jews have to offer for their Israelite origin is that they are descended from a man named Eri, who happens to share the same name as one of the sons of the Biblical Gad. They give all types of details about this man named Eri:

“According to the history, Eri is the forefather, the ancestor that we had. He came with his brothers down to the East and established his first home.” – Igbo Jewish man

“In exploring a Jewish connection, many Igbo also point out that a figure named Eri is frequently mentioned in the Old Testament. To determine if the Igbo ancestor could be the same Eri of Biblical times, we can gain a few facts from the Old Testament.  Jacob had 12 sons, the 7th son was named Gad. Gad himself had 7 sons,  the fifth by the name of Eri .  Eri is only mentioned in one other place in the Bible, in Numbers, reveleaving that Eri had himself multiplied, and Gad and his descendants now numbered over 40,000. Jacob and his 12 sons, and his vast number of descendants became the 12 tribes of Israel. 10 of these tribes, including that of Gad,  made home in Samaria, today the northern part of present day Israel. In the year 722 B.C, the tribes were attacked by Assyria, and quickly conquered. Sent into exile, they scattered throughout the land. And it is here that we lose track of the 10 lost tribes Including Gad, Eri and their families. Could Eri and his descendants have ended up in Western Africa? In Nigeria, the belief is yes. And there are many theories on just how they got there.” – Jeff Lieberman

When you visit Aguleri, Nri, there’s many evidence to show that is where they first, our ancestors migrated to” – Igbo Jewish man

The palace of Eri, has stayed over a thousand plus.” – Yermiyahu

Its a small house they built for a man. That’s what they mean – Aguleri.”

There’s burial ground of Eri, in Aguleri.” – Yermiyahu

Maybe the person that came is the descendant of Eri. It could be Eri, it could be the descendant of Eri. But all I know is that the lineage of Eri came down to Nigeria” – Igbo Jewish man

Does the Biblical Eri have any relationship whatsoever to the one spoken of here? Lets see:

a. They are separated by thousands of years

The Biblical Eri would have lived nearly 3000 years ago, while the Nigerian one lived a few hundred years ago (which is even admitted by one of the Igbo Jews)

b. They are separated by thousands of miles

The distance between modern day Nigeria & modern day Israel is over 4000 kilometers (2500 miles)

Isreal-Nigeria

c. The pronunciations of their names are completely different

The pronunciation of the Nigerian Eri is “Air-EE”

The pronunciation of the Hebrew Eri is “Air-Eye”

SOURCE: BIBLICAL PRONUNCIATION GUIDE compiled by Lana Beyer, Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, Austin, TX

d. The stories about them are completely different

“The Umundri tradition is that they come from the ruling stock of the Igala and are thus connected with the Atah of Idah”

SOURCE: Jeffreys, MDW, The Divine Umunri King: Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, Vol. 8, No. 3 (Jul., 1935), pp. 346-354

“The Aguleri people originated from Igara (sic) and migrated to their present abode about three or four centuries ago. The leader Eri, a warrior, took his people on a war expedition, and after long travel and many fights, established his camp at Eri-aka, near odanduli stream, a place which lies between Ifite and Igbezunu Aguleri. Eri, with his soldiers, went out regularly from his settlement to Urada, Nnadi and other surrounding towns on war raids and captured many of the inhabitants. These were the Ibo-speaking people and by mixing with them and inter-marriage, the immigrants adopted the language.”

SOURCE: The History of Aguleri by M.C.M, Idigo, page 5 (Published in 1955)

“According to the tradition of the Nri themselves, a man of Igala stock from Idah called Eri, son of Achado, a native doctor and hunter, came down the Omambala River in search of the River at a place later called Aguleri (Aguleri Igbo), and begat a number of children, to whom he passed on the secrets of his arts. His eldest son, who succeeded to the paraphernalia of his trade, was called Nriifikwuanim.”

SOURCE: The Awka People by Amanke Okafor,  page 53

Its pretty safe to say that these two people have NO RELATIONSHIP WHATSOEVER, and linking is another fraudulent attempt to fabricate an Israelite lineage.

3. MIGRATION ROUTES

One of the most entertaining segments of the film was where some of the Igbo Jews attempted to explain how their ancestors ended up in Nigeria:

“I know from birth I’m a Jew, only I know that my forefathers missed the way. They missed the way by coming down to Nigeria and decided to behave like Nigerians. We are not Nigerians, I am sure of that” – Igbo Jewish woman from Nnewi

“The 10 lost tribes of Israel are scattered all over the world. And they believe some of them will be in Africa, Western Africa.” – Samuel

“Well Israel is not far away from Nigeria…very close to Nigeria. They enter Ethiopia, enter Cameroon, and Cameroon with our place.”

“Through Asia, and now they migrated to….through Sudan to Africa.”

“I don’t want to sound racist. If I saw Abraham is Black, then I’ll be saying his white descendants are not his descendants. And if I say he’s White, then I may be saying he cannot have Black descendants. So I think it has to do with environmental factors.” – Samuel

“When the Jerusalem was destroyed, and we were  dispersed,  we set-up…stayed in Egypt. then Ethiopia, and the travel continued until we find ourselves scattered all over the place.”

“It was a mixed bag of Israelites, that migrated down here. They moved..majority..moved from North Africa, Morocco, passed through Mali, Northern Nigeria, entire length of Nigeria, then Igboland. In not very very ancient times, the traffic between Africa south of the Sahara, and north of the Sahara was quite immense. The Sahara desert was not a barrier. There was serious traffic. We are seeing evidence that Jewish people participated in the foundations of some of the empires that existed in Sub-saharan Africa. We have Judar Pasha. I don’t think anyone but a Jew could have answered the name Judar Pasha. He lead Morocco’s armies against the Songhai Empire. So its more likely for Jews to be participating in the traffic, in the trade” – Remy Ilona

Not only can they not get a coherent story together (coming through different routes as well as time periods hundreds of years apart), but its pretty clear that they are making up the stories as they go along. And not good stories either. To explain the dramatic difference in phenotype between Middle Easterners & Sub-saharan Africans, Samuel insinuates that their skin must have gotten darker as they moved closer to the equator (which sounds pretty racist by the way). The woman from Nnewi claims that she’s not from Nigeria and that her forefathers got lost and miraculously ended up in Nigeria. For some odd reason, her Nnewi ancestors forgot to mention that in their oral history when they stated they came from Orlu in Igboland. She goes on to claim that “Israel is not very far away away from Nigeria”, despite it being over 4000 kilometers (2500 miles) apart, and separated by the largest desert, most inhabitable in the world. The same desert that was able to keep the Roman, Ottoman, & Macedonian empires from penetrating further than North Africa was not really much of a barrier at all, according to Remy Ilona. He also makes the claim that Judar Pasha must have been Jewish because of his name, despite the fact that he was a Spaniard who was born a Catholic but then converted to Islam.

But the most damning question is that if Igbo people are descendants of Jews who migrated from Israel, why don’t they have any type of relationship with any of the other groups in Africa that claim the same thing such as the Lemba of Zimbabwe, Beta Israel of Ethiopia, or Yibir of Somalia? Why is that that until now, they had never heard of such groups although its pretty clear that if their narratives were true, that they would have either been part of them at some time or at least encountered them? And if they did come from the Sephardic populations in Northern Africa, why is there record of such a migration on either end? Furthermore, why don’t any of their surrounding neighbors have any stories of wandering Hebrews or Jews passing through their land? The only people in Nigeria that share some of the migration routes that the Igbo Jews are claiming would be the Fulani people, who have populations in West, Central, North and East Africa.

4. CIRCUMCISION

Probably the argument that is used the most as “proof” of a Jewish origin of Igbo people is the fact that they circumcise their infant males:

“People who generally mention that Igbo people came from Israel talk about circumcision on the 8th day, which is universal among the Igbos” – Igbo Jewish man

Unfortunately, what they forgot to mention is the fact that circumcision on the 8th day is NOT universal in Igboland. There are places like Afikpo where it could be done as late as the teenage years. But when it was done in Igboland, the delay was typically 1-8 days after birth. The delay of both the circumcision and naming of the child in Igbo culture was done mainly because of the high infant mortality rate in the days before colonialism, and that practice was shared amongst many African groups.  There is no covenant whatsoever mentioned when the rite is done, and the foreskin is not even preserved, as it often is in the Jewish rite. Furthermore, the burial of the umbilical cord (Ili Alo) actually has far more significance than circumcision and actually does represent a covenant, between the child and Ala (the Earth deity), as well as the ancestors. Furthermore, they also intentionally leave out that both MALE & FEMALE circumcision was a part of the traditional society until recently, which is certainly not apart of the Levitical code.

SOURCE: “Infancy Rites among the Igbo of Nigeria” by Christian Onyenaucheya Uchegbue (Department of Religious and Cultural Studies, University of Calabar, Nigeria)

Unfortunately, female circumcision is one aspect of the tradition that’s still being practiced to this day, with figures estimating that nearly half of women reportedly still undergoing it.

SOURCE: “Female genital cutting in southern urban and peri-urban Nigeria: self-reported validity, social determinants and secular decline” by R. C. Snow, T. E. Slanger, F. E. Okonofua, F. Oronsaye and J. Wacker.  Tropical Medicine and International Health volume 7 no 1 pp 91±100 january 2002

Last but not least, the two methods of circumcision are extremely different. Especially since in the Orthodox Jewish circumcision tradition, the mohel (the Jewish priest doing the circumcision rite) performs what is known as metzitzah b’peh, or oral suction, where they takes a mouthful of wine and then his mouth around the base of the boy’s penis and uses suction to clean the wound. This is ritual is not done anywhere in Igboland. A rabbi explains this practice in this video:

This practice has recently been the center of some controversy in New York Ciy.

5. KOSHER DIET CUSTOMS

Another claim that is made amongst the Igbo Jews is that they share the same dietary customs as those prescribed in the Levitical code:

“As a child, my father taught us, we do not eat these fishes without scales, how did he know that? We don’t eat pigs, how did he know that?” – Igbo Jewish woman

The following is a list of the foods that Igbos traditionally have eaten that are specifically banned in the book of Leviticus:

“Unpure” animals that Igbos eat:
Snail (ejuna), Lizard (Ngwele), Bush pig (Ezi ofia/ohia), Crayfish (Isha/usha), Crab (Igbeni, nshiko), Beetle (ebe), Rabbit (ewi)

The following is a list  he foods that Igbos traditionally have eaten that are NOT specifically banned in the book of Leviticus, but would have been, because of their characteristics:

Unnamed “unpure” animals that Igbos eat:
Squirrel (Osa/Osia, Uze, Ukpepe), Dog (Nkita), Hyena (Edi), Snake (Agwo), Porcupine (Ebinitu)

SOURCE: “Igbo Traditional Food System: Documentation, Uses and Research Needs”, Leviticus 11 & Deuteronomy 14

As one can see, the traditional Igbo clearly diet violates the Kashrut, which is the Jewish dietary law. Ironically, Samuel actually confirms this when he states the following:

“Grasscutters. They are a kind of rodent. They are like rats, but they are larger, and they live in the wild. So its a very popular meat in Africa, especially in the Igboland. We call it Nchi. And it is believed that when you have a guest, and you give him grasscutter, you’ve really honored your guest. But its not Kosher, so I stopped eating it. We still eat our African food but we make it Kosher” – Samuel

Greater Cane Rat, a traditional Igbo delicacy

Greater Cane Rat, a traditional Igbo delicacy

The fact that Samuel admits that they have to make their traditional food “kosher” means that the whole concept is one that is not native to their culture. The same woman who lied about the kosherness of Igbo foods tried to make an argument for ritual slaughter being the same way as done in Judaism:

“Even the way we kill our animals, which is killed in a kosher way” – Igbo Jewish woman

“Ritual cleansing – using of birds, animal sacrifice, they slaughter” – Igbo Jewish woman

However, this is negated by the fact that (a) the animals that are killed aren’t “kosher” and (b) ritual cleansing is a worldwide phenomenon.

6. SABBATH & OTHER HOLY DAYS

A common trait amongst all Jewish communities worldwide is the observation of a day of rest on the 7th day of the week. One of the Igbo jews makes an extremely misleading statement in the film:

“In Igboland we have resting days” – Igbo Jewish woman

What she is saying is in fact true. Igboland still does have resting days. The only problem is that there was no such thing as a Shabat (Sabbath) in Omenala. In fact, Igbos didn’t even have a 7 day week, they had a 4 day week (comprised of Eke, Orie, Afor, and Nkwo respectively). The “sacred day” not only differed by town, but also was particular to the deity in which a person was dedicated to. For example, devotees of Amadioha or Anyanwu would perform certain rituals on Afor day. Devotees of Owumiri spirits like Ogbuide or Urashi would perform their rituals on Orie day.  Titled men and women also had their respective days of rest and meditation.

SOURCE: “Worship in Ibo Traditional Religion” by Edmund Ilogu (Numen, Vol. 20)

Another interesting statement is made by Jeff Lieberman:

“Whether its Shabat or Jewish holidays like Sukkot and Passover, each is greeted by Igbo gathering together from all corners” – Jeff Lieberman

What’s ironic about Lieberman’s statement is the fact that when goes and analyzes festivals and holidays in Igboland, you will not find any that trace their origin to Israel or relate to any historical events of the Jewish people. Celebration of Jewish holidays such as Hanukkah, Purim, Sukkrot, Shavuot, or Pesach are completely foreign to Igbo culture. Stories about the Exodus from Egypt, Destruction of the Temple, exiles to Persia, Babylon, etc are completely absent from Igbo mythology and folklore.

The vast majority of traditional Igbo festivals are related to agricultural cycles, culminating in the largest of all, the New Yam Festival. As stated in Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Igbo Traditional Agriculture:

“Traditional festivals in Igboland are mostly linked to stages in the farming operations and activities. They therefore serve as the farmer’s calendar of events both within the farm and off the farm. They mark the period of procurement of planting materials and farm implements, the time to tend the crops, the time to harvest and store farm produce, and the time to relax and celebrate any success achieved during the farming year. The sequence of events that take place in the farming system is aligned with the different festivals that take place during the year. The traditional Igbo society does not have any names of months, rather it is the festivals and the times they are held that guide them in their farming operations.”

SOURCE: Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Igbo Traditional Agriculture by Francis O C Nwonwu page 301

Examples of some of these festivals include the Festival of the New Year (Ikpuko), the Festival of the Grasshopper(Agugu ukpana), the New Yam Festival (Ufioioku, Iri ji, Ikeji), the Asala Festival, the Palm wine tappers Festival (Agbu Nkwu), etc. Agricultural deities are thanked during all of the aforementioned festivals. Other festivals that are dedicated to traditional Igbo deities include the Olisa, Agwu, Ekwensu, Ani & Ikenga festivals.  Festivals dedicated to women include the Ogbe Festival. Other festivals include the Ufala festival, the Alo festival for Ozo titleholders, & the Alulo Mmuo festival.

SOURCE: Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Igbo Traditional Agriculture by Francis O C Nwonwu Chapter 12

An integral part of nearly all of these festivals is the presence of masquerades. Mmanwu, as they are called in Igboland are performed by secret societies and represent ancestral spirits as well as deities. During the festivals, they provide entertainment as well as protection to those in attendance. This central part of Igbo culture is not found anywhere in Judaism or Jewish society.

7. CONCEPT & NAMES OF GOD

Several attempts in the film are made to equate the concepts of the Supreme Being in Judaism with the one in the Igbo tradition.

In the beginning of the film, Samuel states: “My parents are not Christians, neither are they Muslims. Like my father, I know he only believes that there is God, and when he wakes up, he prays to God and that is all. I’ve never seen my parents go to church.” But what is really telling is what he does not say. Samuel never once goes and states the name that his father used for God. Was it Hashem? Was it Jehovah? Or was it Chukwu, Chineke or Obasi, which are some of the traditional names of God in Igbo listed below:

42 Igbo names & epithets for the Supreme Being:

Chukwu – The Great Chi (Edeh, pg 133)
Aka – The Origin, the Antiquity and the First One (Umeh, pg 129)
Okasi-Akasi – The Highest Highest (Edeh, pg 121)
Okike Chi – Sharer that shares Chi (Umeh, pg 129)
Obasi – (Onunwa, pg 27)
Ife-Anyi – For whom nothing is impossible (Edeh, pg 122)
Okike Uwa – Creator of the World (Umeh, pg 129)
Onwa n’etiri oha – The moon that shines for all (Udoye, pg 39)
Awuwa walu ife – Cutter that cuts things (Umeh, pg 130)
Eze-Igwe – King of Heaven (Edeh, pg 121)
Na Okike kelu ife – Creator that creates things (Umeh, pg 130)
Okaike – Most Powerful (Edeh, pg 122)
Anyanwu na Agbala – The Sun & the Mighty Spirit that holds the world in place (Agu, pg 23)
Ofu – The First of all that exists (Umeh, pg 130)
Chineke – (Edeh, pg 33)
Onye no n’elu, ogodo ya n-akp n’ala – One who dwells above and his wrapper stretches to every part of the world (Onunwa, pg 27)
Odenigbo – Whose fame resounds everywhere (Edeh, pg 122)
Ezechitaoke – King of the spirits & creation (Onunwa, pg  45)
Omacha – (Edeh, pg 33)
Anya Ukwu Na-Ele Uwa – The big eye that sees the entire world (Onunwa, pg 27)
Chidiokike – (Edeh, pg 33)
Eze-ogholigho-anya – King of knowledge who knows all (Edeh, pg 122)
Anyanwu – Eye of Light (Edeh, pg 125)
Obibie Okwachi – Great destroyer & repairer (Onunwa, pg 27)
Eke-ji-mma – Creator who holds goodness (Edeh, pg 122)
Ikpo Nkpume – The impregnable rock (Onunwa, pg 27)
Ike-ife – Bringing into being, originating or causing without pre-existent material (Edeh, pg 122)
Onye-Okike – Being who creates (Edeh, pg 121)
Ife – The Light (Umeh, pg 135)
Omelu-k’okwulu – Who keeps to his words (Edeh, pg 122)
Nna Ife Nta – The Father of the Small Light (Umeh, pg 135)
Otu Aka Oru Mba – One who points from one spot and it stretches to any part of the universe (Onunwa, pg 26)
Obasi Di’Elu – God that Lives in the Sky (Umeh, 133)
Igwe ka Ala – Heaven above the earth (Udoye, pg 39)
Chukwu Abiama – God the Revealer of Wisdom (Umeh, pg 135)
Olisa (Edeh, pg 33)
Olisa Ebili Uwa – God the mystic tide of the Universe (Umeh, pg 133)
Osebuluwa – Lord who carries the world (Edeh, pg 122)
Agbala ji igwe – The pillar holding up the sky (Udoye, pg 39)
Eke ekelu Igwe na Ana – The Creator who created heaven and earth  (Udoye, 37)
Amassi Amassi – Known but never fully known (Edeh, pg 122)
Onozu-ebe-nine – Present everywhere (Edeh, pg 122)

Why are there no names or titles that resemble any of the Jewish names or titles for God?

SOURCES:

Resolving the Prevailing Conflicts Between Christianity and African (Igbo) Traditional Religion Through Inculturation by Edwin Anaegboka Udoye

After God is Dibia Vol. 1 by John Umeh

Towards an Igbo Metaphysics by Father Emmanuel Edeh

A Handbook of African Religion & Culture by Professor Udobata Onunwa

The Book of Dawn & Invocations by Ogonna Agu

Besides comparing the names and titles, we must also consider the nature of God in both traditions.

“The Igbo people, by nature and tradition, they believe in the worship of one God” – Pinchas

Is this the whole truth? Lets hear from a famous practitioner of the Igbo traditional spirituality:

“Broadly speaking, there are two related concepts of God: Chineke, and Chi.

The first idea is the Supreme Being, God, the Creator, the universal God. He is the same for all persons and races and nations. He has no angels or holy messengers because he needs none. He can do everything. He created the whole cosmos alone and without fatigue. He is not human and does not possess an animal nature that would need food and drink; our sacrifices are symbolic. No one has ever seen him physically and no artist dare portray Him in wood, bronze, or painting. He is a spirit and communicates to man not in body but in spirit.

We believe that man is different from lower animals only in one primary sense: God left in every man a portion of his breath. When this element leaves the edifice called man, the residue is a mere matter. From this belief we derive our idea of personal gods, called Chi in Ibo (Igbo) language. There are as many Chi as there are personalities. No one Chi is like another, because no two persons are identical. A rich man’s Chi is rich and a poor man’s Chi is poor. A man’s Chi is masculine while a woman’s Chi is feminine. A man’s Chi is equal to that man. This personal god does not leave its master until death. It is a personal guard to which God entrusted every human being.

It is a common saying that a man is as great as his Chi. Thus in art, the personal god of a baby is represented as a baby. This god is visible through the individual persons. Hence it is not an invisible being, although it cannot be separated from the person without causing death to the individual. This is the concept of Igbo spirituality which has been most seriously misunderstood and misrepresented both by foreigners and some Igbo who are trying to interpret its relation to the social order.”

SOURCE: My Africa By Maazi Mbonu Ojike (1946) pages 182-183

From the account of a man who was a practitioner of the Igbo traditional spiritual system, the Igbo concept of God does not have angels, prophets or the need to receive offerings or sacrifices. Furthermore, Chukwu never needed to have holy books, never had a chosen people and never declared any particular land to be a holy land. The Igbo concept of God as being simultaneously an internal, personal force, as well as a collective one is virtually identical to the concepts of Atman and Brahman in Hinduism.

“The Igbo man has one Supreme God called Chukwu, who deserves worship alone” – Remy Ilona

Did the traditional Igbo people actually practice monotheism? Perhaps, we should confer with one of its respected traditional priests for some insights:

“Is the Igbo a polytheist? Yes, and he is closer the truth about God than the sneering, ignorant monotheist. We saw above that God is both one and many, just like the Army. The Army is a Unit with functional subdivisions. The same holds true for God. It is one Spirit, one Unit whose functional parts are Gods or Spirits. The functional parts of the Army are hierarchized. The same is true of the Gods. It is meaningless to assert that I applied to the Army for help to put out a fire in my house. The correct statement is that I applied to the Fire Brigade of the Army for help to put out a fire in my house. It is the Fire Brigade of the Army, not the whole Army, which handles fire-fighting. Similarly, we apply for help to a God in charge of a particular function, say, procreation (Akwalï Ömümü). To pray to a God makes sense, but it is foolishness and ignorance to pray to God. To worship or venerate God is inefficacious, but to worship or venerate a God yields immediate results. Our ancestors knew this and that is why they were ö-göö o-lee. Their prayers to a given God always yielded the desired result.

We repeat: Before the advent of Christianity in our midst, the Igbo mindset was that God is both one and many, just like the Army. The Christian mind-warping strategy was to assert that there is only One God, the Christian God, which is the God of all Gods. Man’s salvation lay in venerating and worshipping this Christian super-God. But the sober truth is that the Christian God is just one among the many Gods. The attempt to reject the Gods and cling to some super-God unsettles the mind because that mindset goes against all our observations. Can the world in front of our eyes be the creation of one super-God? No! Nature confirms the reality of Gods or fashioning powers, but not the reality of one super-God.”

SOURCE: Odinani: The Igbo Religion by Ezeana (Priest of the Earth Deity) Emmanuel Kaanaenechukwu Anizoba, page 35-36

We can see clearly from this statement that the traditional Igbo worldview would not be classified as Monotheism in any sense of the word. It would be far closer to Polytheism, and more specifically, Pantheism, which is defined as the view that everything is part of an all-encompassing immanent abstract God; or that the universe, or nature, and God are equivalent. The Igbo concept of God doesn’t have much in common with the Jewish one.

In summary, Jeff Lieberman & the Igbo Jews have yet to name any villages or clans that have oral traditions of origin from Israel, have yet to show any relationship between the Eri of the Bible and the person who was the founder of the Umueri clan, and cannot demonstrate a coherent or realistic migration route from Israel to their current location. Furthermore, it becomes clear with proper analysis that there is no link whatsoever between Igbos and Jews when it comes to circumcision rites, dietary customs, holy days, and concept and names of God. Its becoming more and more clear that Jeff Lieberman & the Igbo Jews are attempting to scam people, especially the Jewish communities in America & Israel by fabricating history and facts that don’t exist. In part three, I will cover the following claims:  Linguistics, Christianity & Igbo Tradition, Family & Village Traditions, Artifacts, Igbos & The State of Israel, “Expert” Opinions & DNA Testing.

Fraud

“Conversations with the African Gods” Review

Conversations with the African Gods

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of reviewing another book written by an Igbo author who goes by the name Nwaonishe Ezenwanyi, entitled Conversations with the African Gods. Many of you might be familiar with the similarly titled “Conversations with God” series, written by Neale Donald Walsch, in which he has a number of conversations with “God.” To say that this book is the African version of that would be an understatement. Conversations with the African Gods is a journey for anyone who reads it, on humanity’s past, present, and future, from an African point of view. For far too long, perspectives, philosophies, and religions have been placed into a  false dichotomy of being either Eastern or Western, with Africa being excluded.  This book challenges that false dualism and brings forth commentary on world events from African gods and ancestors.

False Dichotomy

The author begins by describing her personal journey.  Like many of us born during the African Dark Ages, she was raised as a Christian (specifically Catholic), but was still extremely curious about the other religious and spiritual traditions in the world. Her journey took her to exploring Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, amongst others. Eventually, after doing a lot of seeking and searching, her journey didn’t lead to her finding the “right” tradition, but to the tradition “finding” her. In fact, she  ended up  listening to the voices that had been calling her all along. She claimed her birthright and began practicing the spiritual science of her ancestors, Odinani.

Her spiritual awakening has also lead to her becoming aware of and developing different abilities such as clairvoyance, clairaudience, etc.  One of the most interesting gifts that she learned was how to invoke spirits.  The one that she was able to invoke the most was Onishe, who happened to be her “head deity”, or the one most in control of her life.  For that reason, she goes by the name Nwaonishe, which means a child of Onishe. She also happens to be the spirit that makes the most commentary. She opens up the dialogue by stating:

“I am a prophetess, a chosen one, selected apart by god/dess to speak the words of god/dess. I am manifestation of god/dess as I surrender each moment to my essential nature. I am speaker of life and death. Avenger for the just, the pure, the clean. There is only one Onishe and she is here and now, in you, and in many. I am the word. Atu. Word that forms everything. Logos. Mami Wata, Supreme Water, Essence liquid, Nut of Khemet. I am the word of Nut, the goddess of creation.”

Statue associated with Onishe in Asaba

While Onishe is the Igbo Alusi (spiritual force) that speaks the most, others also make their voices heard including Eke, Ikenga, Amadioha, Ani, and Anyanwu. Two other African Gods who are typically associated with Ancient Egypt also make substantial contributions: Ausar (Osiris) and Auset (Isis).

Ausar and Auset: Real Love

Contrary to popular belief, while  the gods of Ancient KMT (Egypt), especially Ausar and Auset, might have been popularized by that particular nation, they are actually much, much older than it and can be found all around the continent under different names and titles. This will be elaborated on in future posts.

These African Gods, as well as other ones including the popular ones made popular by Hinduism, Kali and Krishna (who both have names that mean “the Black One” ), as well Tehuti (Thoth) and Heru (Horus),  make commentary on a wide range of issues, including the ancient “Golden Age” civilizations of Atlantis and Lemuria, climate change, 2012, colonization, slavery, civil rights as well as the possible “Golden Age” to come. The discourse on how Africa (and Nigeria in particular) should structure their economies and governments to actually work for the benefit of the people (for once) is very enlightening, but is sure to shock a few people (Ikenga’s comments in particular).

Kali is not one to mess with

Commentary is made on the lives of difference ancestors as well, with some of them even commenting on where they are currently in the spiritual realm. Some of these ancestors include Fela Kuti, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr, Olaudah Equiano, and others.  I found Fela’s mother, Funmilayo’s statements in reference to the Fela play to be pretty funny.

Olaudah Equiano

Another added bonus to the book is the use not only of the Nsibidi symbols associated with the different Alusi, but also practical rituals that one can do to commune with the Ndichie (ancestors) and Alusi, as well as attract abundance in one’s life.  I totally recommend this book to all  people of African decent, but it can speak to anyone  interested in advancing on their spiritual path. To order the book, click here.

SPECIAL BONUS:

To hear an interview with the author, on Igbo Kwenu Radio, click here.

 

“Akata Witch” Review

“Akata Witch” by Nnedi Okarafor

Imagine if Harry Potter were a she instead of a he? What if he was Nigerian instead of British? What if he were learning at Leopard Knocks instead of at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry? Enter Sunny, Nnedi Okorafor’s latest anti-Disney heroine. I say that she’s anti-Disney because unlike most Disney films, the main females in her stories serve not as damsels that need to be saved, but as the ones that do the saving. Furthermore, they have physical features that are typically considered to be undesirable by society, such as the protagonist Onyesonwu being biracial in her most previous work Who Fears Death, and Sunny being an albino in this one.

Same Script, Different Cast

Before we get into the contents of the book, let’s start with the name of the book first. What is an Akata? When I was growing up, I was taught that it was a slang (and somewhat derogatory term) that Nigerians used for African Americans. That was until I was referred to as one by a native born Nigerian. I then began to see that it could also be a term used to describe any black person born and raised in America. Like me, the protagonist Sunny was born and raised in the United States. At the age of nine, her family decides to move back to Nigeria. Like any girl, she feels out of place and spends the next couple of years trying to find her place,  when she finds out that her place is nothing like she imagined it to be. She discovers that she is a “Leopard person”, a person that is born with mystical abilities and she is has to undergo intense training to learn how to utilize her powers while still living amongst the “Lamb people”, or regular folks. One of the best things I loved about this book was the name dropping by the characters themselves of the books that had a large role in influencing this novel, including In the Shadow of the Bush by P. Amaury Talbot, Her Stories by Virginia Hamilton, and The Witches by Roald Dalhl.

“The Witches” by Roald Dahl

Different locations were also named, the significance of which will go unnoticed to the general population. One such location is referred to as being the African American “Leopard person” headquarters. This place is referred to as the Gullah Islands off the coast of South Carolina. This area is usually overshadowed by New Orleans, even though it has had a much larger impact on African American history, and mainstream American history. It also has retained more African culture and tradition (including the folk magic) than any other region in North America, but thats a discussion for another day.

The most creative literary element used by the author is the technique of having a “book within a book” (another very popular example being the  Necronomicon). As Sunny begins to learn and master her abilities, she reads from a book entitled Fast Agents for Free Agents by Isong Abong Effiong Isong.  The wonderful part is that the reader gets to also read from this short book. So instead of doing a typical review of  Akata Witch, I will actually do a review of the book within the book, and explain some of the terms used:

What is a Leopard Person?

“A leopard person goes by many names around the world. The term “Leopard person” is a West African coinage, derived from the Efik term “ekpe”, “leopard.” All people of mystical true ability are Leopard people. And as humankind has evolved, so have Leopard folk around the world organized…from Fast Agents for Free Agents

One of the real life “Leopard people” that the writer is referring to are the Ekpe society of southeastern Nigeria. This society, which was started by the Ekik people, spread through to the rest of the Ibibio, Oron, Igbo and Ekoi peoples.

Ekpe Society members during a procession in Arochukwu

The Ekpe Society was introduced to Igboland by the people of Arochukwu. In fact, their lodge is in my home village of Atani. In Igboland, the Ekpe Society usually went by the name Okonko.

Ekpe Lodge in Atani Village, Arochukwu

They were the premiere secret society in Southeastern Igboland, and the highest grades held alot of the secrets of the mystical arts, including the magical Nsibidi script.  An entire topic will be dedicated to discussing the Ekpe society and its legacy in the near future.

What is a Free Agent

“A free agent is one who isn’t privileged with even one pure Leopard spiritline from the survivors of the Great Attempt. She or he is a random of nature, a result of mixed up and confused spiritual genetics. Free agents are the hardest to understand, predict or explain. Learning will not come easy to you. you are a Leopard person only by the will of the Supreme Creator and as we all know, She isn’t very concerned with Her own creations.

After your initiation, make sure that someone is there to help you, for you will not be able to help yourself, so new the world will be to you and so fragile your ego. You’re likely an infant. You will be dumbfounded and disorientated. What’s most important is…from Fast Agents for Free Agents

Initiation, which simply means “beginning”, plays a huge role in Igbo culture, as well as with other cultures all over Africa. Traditionally, both men and women would receive multiple initiations at different points in their life.  A very good metaphor is employed by Okorafor when one of the character states: “Imagine that you are a computer that came with programs and applications already installed. In order to use them, they have to be activated; you have to , in a sense, wake it up. That’s what initiation is.”

Igbo boy being healed by a Dibia

Igbo boy being healed by a Dibia

What is chittim?

“Chittim is the currency of the Leopard people. Chittim are always made of metal (copper, bronze, silver, and gold) and always shaped like curved rods. The most valuable are the large copper ones, which are about the size of a dove’s egg. Least valuable are chittim made of gold. When chittim fall, they never do harm. So one can stand in a rain of chittim, and never get hit. There is only way to earn chittim; by gaining knowledge and wisdom. The smarter you become, the better you process knowledge into wisdom, the more chittim will fall and thus the richer you will be…from Fast Agents for Free Agents

The real life chittim that the author refers to are commonly known as manillas.  The most popular African name for manillas, Okpoho, comes from the Igbo language. They were used as currency (as well as worn as jewelry) all over West Africa, but particularly in southeastern Nigeria, Ghana and Guinea.

Okpohos

What are the Masquerades?

“Up to now you’ve known masquerades to be mere symbolic manifestations of the ancestors or spirits. Men and boys dress up in elaborate cloth and raffia costumes and dance, jeer, or joke depending on who they are manifesting. Up to now, you’ve believed masquerades to be nothing more than myth, folklore and tradition. Now that you are a Leopard person, know that your world has just become more real. Creatures are real. Ghosts, witches, demons, shape-shifters, and masquerades, all real. Masquerades are always dangerous. They can kill, steal your soul, take your mind, take your past, rewrite your future, bring the end of the world, even. As a free agent you will have nothing to do with the real thing, otherwise you face certain death. If you are smart you leave true masquerades up to those who know what to do with juju…from Fast Agents for Free Agents

The above statements say it all. Masquerades in Igboland are known as mmanwu. Here are some pictures of some of them. Some of them are people in costumes, but the older pictures might be real ones. We will never know for sure:

Agbogho Mmuo (Maiden Spirits)

Masquerade at Igbo Farm Village

Masquerade at Igbo Farm Village

Ijele Masquerade

Ijele Masquerade

The Ijele masquerade originated in Anambra state is known as the “King of all masquerades.” In ancient times, it had 45 masquerades perform on top of it, which are now represented by 45 figures. It was also used to scare away some of the early missionaries in Igboland. Masquerades made their way into the Diaspora, and can still be seen in modified forms in the Carribean Carnival celebrations:

Carnival Masquerade in Brooklyn, NY

Carnival Masquerade in Brooklyn, NY

Carnival Masquerade in Brooklyn, NY

Chapter 4: Your Abilities

“How to discover your ability: Its doubtful that you have the intelligence to figure out something so important. But here is something to think about: one’s ability lies with those things that mark him or her. They can be talents, like an affinity towards gardening or being able to play the guitar well. Often they are things that Lambs make fun of, imperfections. They can be physical, psychological, behavioral. And I do not mean things that are a result of your actions like being fat because you eat too much and sit and play video games all day…from Fast Agents for Free Agents

I really felt this was the most important chapter in the book. I truly feel that if more people did what they were naturally gifted at instead of trying to conform to the standards imposed on them by society, the world would be a drastically better place. By following these instructions, one could unlock their latent abilities, as Sunny and her cohorts were able to do. Who knows, you might even discover yourself to be a Leopard person ;)

Conclusion

“…So there you have it. All you need to know to get started. As I have repeated incessantly throughout this book, there is no direction you can turn that does not face you toward certain death. The best thing to do is be who you’ve been, don’t move, stay where you are, drop all ambition as a Leopard person. Relax. Don’t strive too high. Learn but do not use. And only learn the basics. It is best to remain in your protective shell. Ambition is not your friend. Be glad the Leopard world has been opened to you, but remain a mere spectator. And for the hundredth time, I repeat: “KEEP YOUR SECRET LIFE FROM YOUR LAMB RELATIONS AND ACQUAINTANCES. not only are there dire consequences for breaching secrecy, but you risk upsetting a very delicate, crucial hard earned balance. Now go well, free agent. Be well. And again I saw: Welcome…from Fast Facts for Free Agents

This book is an essential read for Leopard people who know that they are free agents,  free agents that think they are Lamb people, or for Lamb people who want to get a glimpse into the mystical and secret world of Leopard people. As of now, I cannot find any copies of Fast Facts for Free Agents, so the best way to get a glimpse of it would be by purchasing a copy of Akata Witch. It has an excellent story too :-D

Be sure to be on the lookout for an interview with the author  on Igbo Kwenu Radio in the near future.

Honoring your Ancestors

By Wise

“The Ndiichie (esteemed ancestor spirits) also held a high place in traditional Igbo society. Elders have always been revered in Igbo society, and even more so after they passed onto Be Mmuo (the land of the spirits). The Ndiichie would often be consulted to offer advice to their descendants and appeal to the Alusi on their behalf. Ndi Igbo have never worshiped their ancestors only venerated them, which is no different then what Catholics do to their saints or what every country does to its national heroes. Respect and honor for the Ndiichie was shown in one way by pouring of libations while chanting incantations. Ndi Igbo believed in the concept of reincarnation and felt that the Ndiichie often reincarnated back on Earth. In fact, all Mmadu (human beings) were believed to reincarnate seven or eight times, and that depending on your karma, one either ascends or descends into another spiritual plane” - Onyemobi

Obu Figures

Ancestral veneration is a very ancient and common practice all over the world. The Igbo people have understood the importance of honoring the Ndichie (Venerated ancestors)  in order for the civilization to survive and progress from times immemorial. One of the reasons Igbos and Africans in general are in a state of damnation is because we have forgotten how to honor our ancestors.

Figure in an ancestral shrine

Instead of developing our own culture as a people, we see Western culture as superior to our own and trap ourselves in an inferiority complex. Yes despite hardcore resistance against the Atlantic slave trade, British colonialism, and the Nigerian genocide against our people we ended up losing. Yes our Civilizations collapsed. Yes Nigeria continues to discriminate and oppress Igbo people. We have suffered a lot and nobody shall ever down play that. However, until we remember to honor our ancestors, we will continue on the path of self destruction our enemies have planted for us.

Uxurhe Ancestral Staffs

The Igbo people are one of the most ancient groups in the world. Like most African groups and civilizations in ancient times had advanced human consciousness, culture, knowledge, creativity, leadership, philosophy, science, and etc. True civilizations respect, honor, and live in accordance to Nature. We once understood the oneness of the Source/Creator (Chineke) with Creation and our relationship with Nature (Ani).

Ani in Mbari House

We honored and respected Ani. That is why we had rich societies and collective democratic leadership that lived by justice, order, peace, unity, and balance. Our ancestors built many ancient civilizations such as the Ugwelle (6000 BCE), Afikpo (3000 BCE), Nsukka (3000 BCE), UmuEri/UmuNri dynasties (500 BCE), Igbo Ukwu (900 CE), and etc. We developed sophisticated architecture such as the Nsude pyramids in Agbaja, Mbari structures, and etc. Igbos developed writing scripts such as Uli, Aniocha writing systems, Nsidibi, Ikwu, and many more. The level of knowledge and scientific (especially metaphysics) discoveries and practices done by the Igbo Civilizations is most likely beyond our imagination. We have a long history of achievements.

Igbo Ukwu Burial

In order for us Igbo people to really rebuild and progress, we must honor our ancestors. We shall not live exactly how our ancestors lived but revive the institutions they built that are applicable today and improve on it. How can you know what today and tomorrow will be if you don’t yesterday was? How can you know who you are if you don’t know who brought you here? The ancestors brought us here and as a mixture of all of them into one, we must know who they were to know who we are. We may say we are children of the ultimate source of all creation and life (Chineke). But through who are we children of Chineke? Who did Chineke give power to bring us into this world and gave life? The answer is our ancestors. Therefore, we must honor and respect them. To honor the ancestors is to honor ourselves and the ultimate ancestor/source of us all Chineke.  Chi (God) Bless

Land of the Rising Sun

“Chukwu”

by John Umeh

Great Chi
Source of my Chi
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

Totality of mystic propulsions
Source of life propeller and other propulsions
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


Aka Ofu the first cause
Aka the First, origin and source of energy and light
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

Chukwu the Universal Spirit
Revealer of Abia - arcane and other knowledge – first to Agwu
and then to His servant Di-Abia the expert in Abia
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


Tide of Long-basket Abia
Source of round-basket divination Abia
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

Olisa the Tide of the Universe
Destroyer and Restorer.  Head-water of eternal purity
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

The one-eyed One
but all seeing Anthill with eyes all over
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

Aka Ofu the ancient and the First One
Purest Blaze whose servant the blazing Sun is comparative darkness
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


O’sa the Wisdom and knowledge that gave round-baskets of
knowledge and wisdom to Holy Spirit Agwu and Dibia
so that they immediately follow behind Him
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

Obasi the High God
Whose child Dibia is to be titled the child of the High One
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


Husband of Komosu
Father of the Beautiful Spirit Queen, my mother Idemmili
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

Father of all fathers
You’re the Kindness, the Kindheart and the Merciful
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


Chineke - the Creator
Not to be seen in His rectangular sacred Obi house
Komosu opened slightly to see
A spark of golden fire of creation escaped and caused
the greatest tragedy
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

Love
You pressed the mystic brakes
Komosus corpse and particles of erstwhile monolithic world
come to balance
Some have continued to go round and round
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


Love, Mercy and Kindness
You too back Your Wife
Wept Your Tears on Her corpse
Salty Oceans and seas that cleansed it of hatred, death
staleness and loss
It became the sacred land/earth
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

SPIRIT greater than all spirits
Who comes First, followed by Agwu the Holy Spirit
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


Revealer of all Abia
Dibia the Abia expert after his mission returns to God
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

Omniscience
The greatest historian eventually goes back to God
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


The greatest artist/technologist
Eventually goes back to God
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

Eternal Mystery to the world
The children of the world are striving to know how you are
They are all guessing
For one one sees God and remains alive in this planet
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


Completeness of potency
Whose words gave existence to innumerable beings and things
up and down the universe
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

King of kings who verdict is final
being the Being of the last appeal
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


Eternal Mystery to the world
With no beginning and no end
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

Defeater of all those who’ve boasted they’ll defeat me
You’ve given me the Lion’s Ikenga that never cools off
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


Igbulu Ukwu
Great Igbulu greater than Sacred Grove
Source of sacred altar
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

The Light
Father of  small light the ancestor of all Iduu- Olu and Igbo
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


The Potency
Whose hands touched and changed sands to Gold
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

The greatest and all pervading
Omnipresent, omniscient and all seeing
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


The One Who’s wide awake even in deep slumber
The one-eyed One that sees all
The One who duplicates Himself in countless numbers
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

One who is not targetted to time and calendar
Save the time and calendar God has set for himself
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


The Creator that created Himself
The Breath that breathes Himself
The Life that lives Himself
The Potency that Potentiates Himself
The Word that speaks Himself
The Psalm that sings Himself
The Song/Dance that sings and dances Himself
The Hymn that sings Himself
The Laughter that laughs Himself
The Lamentation that mourns Himself
The Peace that pacifies Himself
The Divination that divines Himself
The Supreme Thought that thinks Himself
The Reflection that reflects Himself
The Wisdom/Knowledge that knows Himself
The Mystic propulsion that propels Himself
The Wind that blows Himself
The Fire/Energy that lit/energized and sustained Himself
The Completeness of Aura that carries Himself
The Prophecy that prophecies Himself
The Title that titles Himself
The Medicine and the Charm that medicates and charms Himself
The Light that lights Himself
The Calendar and the Time that programs Himself
The Completeness that complete Himself
The Hidden Knowledge and the Wisdom that reveals Himself
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

The Fire/Energy and the Light
Which the uniformed are seeking with their dim palm candle-light
thinking You’re Mkpu termite flies which can be attracted
by the show of owa dim light
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


From Okponku Abu by John Umeh

Music. Dance. Spirit.

Igbo Women Playing Udu Drum

By Ezi

For most people, when they think of music (egwu) the immediate things that come to mind involve some form of technology that outputs a song which contains vocals and/or instrumentation. They may think of their favorite artists or songs and hum their tunes. But, I see music as not only something that emanates from my headphones day in and day out, but also sounds, unrefined at times, that emanate from not only within me, but within the environment. Everywhere around you there exists sound and essentially music, if you can open yourself up to a wider definition of what music is and where you can locate it.

There is a rhythm to life. The birds chirping, the sway of an ocean’s waves. The rhythm of 1,000 feet hitting the pavement on their way to work.

Music – vocal, instrumental, or mechanical sounds having rhythm, melody, or harmony

Rhythm – The pattern or flow of sound created by the arrangement of stressed and unstressed syllables in accentual verse or of long and short syllables in quantitative verse

I will dare to say this and you can quote me, that when it comes to instruments, the drum is the pulse of Africa. From East to West, North to South.  Whether it is the ekwe, the djembe, the bata, or the ngoma; the drum operates as that rhythmic pulse, in my opinion. In lieu of the physical drum, the body is also a drum. The body is an instrument, so why then can we not imagine it as a drum? Touch your inner wrist. Do you feel your pulse? Or simply listen to yourself and you will hear your pulse.

For me, when my body is in sync with the instruments that I hear in a song, that is when I can have the most enjoyable and spiritually pleasing experience with music.

Some questions that usually come to mind:

1) What message(s) is this song trying to convey to me?

2) Who is delivering this message(s)?

3) What effect is this song having on my mind, body and soul?

Music is a fundamental component in the way of life of African people.

“Music usually accompanies African religious ritual and is used in prayer to request favors or help from the spirit world. The drum unlocks communication with the spirit world.  Songs are usually accompaniedby the beating of drums and the playing of other instruments.” (Aloysius M. Lugira, African Traditional Religion, p. 74-75)

The beauty in music is that it has a very attractive quality that allows it to be retained in the mind. You can hear a song and it can stay in your head for however long. You may not remember every lyric, but you certainly may remember the melody, the memory attached to the song, as well as what you felt when you heard the song.

When you listen to music, wherever you find it, ask yourself what is the message(s) being conveyed in the song, who is conveying this message(s), and what kind of effect the music has on you.


Finding God in Nature

“To understand the nature of God, look for God in nature” – Omenka Egwuatu Nwa-Ikenga

Every week, billions of people all around the world attend religious ceremonies in their respective buildings.  Muslims go to their mosques, Christians go to their churches, Jews to their synagogues, Hindus to their Mandirs, and so on and so on.

National Mosque of Nigeria

Believers of these different faiths gather for prayer and worship, fellowship with fellow believers, and to get a chance to hear text that they consider to be the “Word of God”.  These sites are considered to be sacred places. They often are seen as the literal house of the God or gods which they are dedicated to.

Hindu Temple in New Delhi

Hindu Temple in New Delhi

Within these structures, elaborate murals, shrines, scultpures are put up to represent different gods, angels, and saints. Followers of these faiths will often go to these places to speak to these representations in hopes of getting them to intercede in their lives.

Statue of St. Peter

Within these “Houses of God”, people will hear stories about the divine revelations and experiences of their prophets, saints, and holy men and women. But the most ironic thing about these stories is that most of the people described in them did not have their spiritual awakenings, revelations or experiences in a temple or building of any kind. In fact, most of them had their spiritual experiences in nature. Don’t believe me? Consider the following examples:

Moses

Moses experiences God through a burning bush

Moses experiences God through a burning bush

Considered to be the most important prophet in Judaism, Moses had his first experience when he heard a voice speaking to him through a bush that was on fire, yet was not burning.  His second divine revelation from God came to him on a mountaintop.

Moses receives the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai

Gautama Buddha

Buddha under Bodhi tree

After trying different paths to find an end to human suffering, Siddhārtha Gautama decided to meditate under a Bodhi tree. After 49 days of non stop meditation, he reached Enlightenment, and became a Buddha, which means an “Awakened One.” Those that follow his teachings today call themselves Buddhists.

Jesus Christ

The man known as Jesus Christ is said to have begun his ministry when the spirit of God descended upon him during a baptism ritual performed by John the Baptist at the river Jordan. He then spent the next forty days and forty nights fasting and praying, not in a temple, not in a synagogue, but in the wilderness.

Jesus in the wilderness

According to the scriptures, he remained in the wilderness throughout his ministry,  and  did the vast majority of his preaching in nature, including the famous sermon on the mount.

Sermon on the Mount

Prophet Muhammad

“When Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] was nearly forty, he had been wont to pass long hours in retirement meditating and speculating over all aspects of creation around him. This meditative temperament helped to widen the mental gap between him and his compatriots. He used to provide himself with Sawiq (barley porridge) and water and then directly head for the hills and ravines in the neighbourhood of Makkah. One of these in particular was his favourite resort — a cave named Hira’, in the Mount An-Nour. It was only two miles from Makkah, a small cave 4 yards long and 1.75 yard wide. He would always go there and invite wayfarers to share him his modest provision. He used to devote most of his time, and Ramadan in particular, to worship and meditation on the universe around him.” [Rahmat Al-lil'alameen 1/47; Ibn Hisham 1/235,236; Fi Zilal Al-Qur'an 29/166]

Cave in Hira where the Prophet Muhammad received the Koran

“When he was forty, the age of complete perfection at which Prophets were always ordered to disclose their Message, signs of his Prophethood started to appear and twinkle on the horizons of life; they were the true visions he used to experience for six months. The period of Prophethood was 23 years; so the period of these six months of true visions constituted an integral part of the forty-six parts of Prophethood. In Ramadan, in his third year of solitude in the cave of Hira’, Allâh’s Will desired His mercy to flow on earth and Muhammad [pbuh] was honoured with Prophethood, and the light of Revelation burst upon him with some verses of the Noble Qur’ân.” [Fath Al-Bari 1/27]

So here you have the founders of four of the major religions in the world receiving divine revelation in nature, and yet today, their followers are literally stick themselves inside in large boxes of sticks, stones, glass and metal.  Does anyone else see something wrong with this picture?

Its not only religious people that have become delusional, its also people who proclaim to be scientists as well. Ancient scientists used to learn about nature by actually being a part of it. Sitting around watching the heavenly bodies in the sky, and seeing how different things interacted in nature. Nowadays, they are stuck behind computer screens or locked away in laboratories. The interesting thing is that most of their “theories” and “laws” stem from people like Sir Issac Newton, who “discovered” gravity after an apple fell on his head while he was sitting under a tree. I guess you can call him the Buddha of Physics.

Ndi Igbo (Igbo people), much like other African peoples, did not limit God to  a physical structure or even one piece of land. They recognized the Divine in all of nature.  I recall hearing a story about how when some of the European missionaries came to Alaigbo (Igboland), they had requested some land to build “God’s house”, to the amusement of the Igbo elders that they had spoken to. These same Europeans who claimed that their God was omnipresent truly did not believe it, for if they had, they would not have condemned the Igbo traditions which truly placed God in everything.

Contrary to popular belief, Igbos DID NOT worship or pray to “idols” or wooden sculptures. The idea of Africans worshiping or praying to an object that they created is downright insulting. The ironic thing is that the people who perpetuate this myth spend a good amount of time doing the same thing that they have historically condemned others for:

Offerings to a Statue of Mother Mary

Instead of worship, Igbos entered into communion with Spirit. Divine experiences were not limited to special prophets or holy men or saints, but could be  had by everyone. The vast majority of  places for public communion in traditional Igbo Omenala (custom and tradition) were either at trees or groves of trees. These trees were representations of divine forces, but were not the divine forces themselves.  The following are some examples:

Agwu deity represented by Ogilishi tree

Ngwu deity represented by Ngwu tree

Both examples taken from Ngü Arö Öka The Öka Lunar Calendar, 2010 -2021 by Nevbechi Emma Anizoba.

The pouring of libation at the shrine of Onye ama-ama in Amaeke

Sacred Grove of Ihu Nne Chukwu at Obiene

The use of trees as connections to the spirit world is illustrated beautifully in the “Tree of Souls” in the film, Avatar, where the Na’vi would go there in order to commune with the spirit of their planet, Eywa.

Tree of Souls in Avatar

This use of trees as places of communion with Spirit carried onto the Diaspora. Ayiti (Haiti) was one place where alot of Igbos ended up during the Maafa (African Hellacaust). Here we see a picture of Haitian Vodouisants (Practioners of Voodoo) having a ceremony at a sacred Mapou tree:

Voodoo Ritual at Mapou Tree

Two hundred years ago, their ancestors gathered together in a sacred grove in the Bwa Kayiman woods and declared that they would no longer be enslaved by the white people or their god.

Voodoo Ritual at Bwa Kayiman Woods

Even in North America, the significance of trees as sacred communal places has not dissappeared from the lives of Africans in America. Below are some pictures of the special trees of some of the black fraternities and sororities:

Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc. Tree

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. Tree

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. Tree

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Tree

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Tree

What’s significant about the black fraternities and sororities in America is that they also trace part of their lineage to the Ekpe society of southeastern Nigeria, but that is a conversation for another day.

Besides trees, caves also were used as sacred places. Two of the great oracles of Alaigbo (Igboland) were found in caves, including the Ibini Ukpabi oracle of Arochukwu (also known as the Long Juju) as well as the Agbala oracle of Awka. Below is a picture of a shrine in the Ibini Ukpabi cave:

Ibini Ukpabi Oracle

Of all, the most famous public places of African communion with Spirit have always been bodies of water. Rivers, lakes and streams have always been viewed as extremely sacred all over the continent, as evident by the number and popularity of water divinities (Yemaya, Oshun, Auset, Het-Heru, Nommo, Mami Wata, etc).

Those who visited these sacred waters would go for spiritual cleansing, purification, and healing, to become one with Spirit, for initiations and for a variety of other reasons. Water is perhaps the easiest medium to go into a state of trance , in order to connect with Spirit as well as ancestors.  If you want to learn how to connect with Ezenwanyi, the Divine Igbo mother water goddess, click here. Below is a picture of a Voodoo bathing ritual in Haiti:

Voodoo Bathing Ritual

I hope you have enjoyed all this information that has been presented to you. If you want to get a deeper understanding of the concepts mentioned above, the most effective way for you to do that would be to simply go outside. Whether you go a park, or a stream or even your backyard, you will gain a far deeper insight into what God is from simply getting back to Nature and being still then you would from reading any book or blog. Yagazie (May we prosper).

The Transmission of Odinani & Omenala in Pre-Colonial and Modern Society (Part 2)

by Omenka Egwuatu Nwa-Ikenga

Ifuru (mythology)

Ndi Igbo (Igbo people), like other ancient people around the world, created mythology to answer basic questions about how the world was created, where their people came from, and why things are the way they are in the world. However, unlike many unenlightened people today, they were not naive enough to take these stories literally, and understood them to be symbolic.

The following myth deals with the origin of Afa (divination). Although the Yoruba system of Ifa is the most popular, it did NOT originate with them and appears all over West Africa. The Fon people call it Fa.  The Urhobos call it Epha. To the Ewe, its also called Afa.

Divination Apparatus

The excerpt is from page 86 of  John Umeh’s After God is Dibia Volume 1:

“The Igbos have a very interesting history of the origin of Afa Ugili/Akpukpala. There was a very brilliant Igbo lady who made accurate prophecies and inspired utterances and accurately read the minds of God, spirits, ancestors, men and women, stars, planets and all that exists and saw clear and accurate visions of what was, what is, and what will be. Additionally, she heard, with the help of her mystical third ear, what was, what is, and what will be.

She was consulted on all problems which she solved with precision and complete satisfaction. She lived to a very ripe old age, serving humanity and God with her clear vision and uncanny audition. When she finally died, humanity was thrown into a great wailing, chaos and confusion.

A delegation was therefore sent to Chukwu (God) with a request that He kindly send a replacement or make it possible for all to have the vision and audition of the dead wise old lady sage. God consoled the delegates and sent back, through them, His merciful words of consolation to humanity.

He instructed them on how to bury the old, dead divination sage with a promise that an Ugili, sacred tree, will sprout and grow from her head and that its fruits, when they ripe and fall, should have their shells broken into two and arranged four on each of four strings, which when cast and interpreted will tell with accuracy, what was, what is, and what will be.The delegates left home for the human world with the good news, divine words of consolation and instruction on the new divination system that would replace the uncanny vision and audition of the lady sage of divination. God’s instructions were obeyed to the last letter. The result was as promised”

Ugili Tree

Unlike other mythologies where women usually are blamed for the downfall of the human race, a woman is seen as being the source of this sacred divination system, and women played very important roles in pre-colonial Igbo society as dibia afa (diviners) and priestesses.

Ukabuilu (parables)

Parables are alot like mythology, but mostly deal with moral lessons rather than answering questions of origins. The following is a parable from the Oraifite community of Igboland. More can be found at this link.

“Many years ago there was a Calabar hunter called Effiong, who lived in the bush, killed plenty of animals, and made much money. Every one in the country knew him, and one of his best friends was a man called Okun, who lived near him.

But Effiong was very extravagant, and spent much money in eating and drinking with every one, until at last he became quite poor, so he had to go out hunting again; but now his good luck seemed to have deserted him, for although he worked hard, and hunted day and night, he could not succeed in killing anything.

One day, as he was very hungry, he went to his friend Okun and borrowed two hundred rods from him, and told him to come to his house on a certain day to get his money, and he told him to bring his gun, loaded, with him.

Now, some time before this Effiong had made friends with a leopard and a bush cat, whom he had met in the forest whilst on one of his hunting expeditions; and he had also made friends with a goat and a cock at a farm where he had stayed for the night.

But though Effiong had borrowed the money from Okun, he could not think how he was to repay it on the day he had promised.

At last, however, he thought of a plan, and on the next day he went to his friend the leopard, and asked him to lend him two hundred rods, promising to return the amount to him on the same day as he had promised to pay Okun; and he also told the leopard, that if he were absent when he came for his money, he could kill anything he saw in the house and eat it.

The leopard was then to wait until the hunter arrived, when he would pay him the money; and to this the leopard agreed. The hunter then went to his friend the goat, and borrowed two hundred rods from him in the same way.

Effiong also went to his friends the bush cat and the cock, and borrowed two hundred rods from each of them on the same conditions, and told each one of them that if he were absent when they arrived, they could kill and eat anything they found about the place.

When the appointed day arrived the hunter spread some corn on the ground, and then went away and left the house deserted. Very early in the morning, soon after he had begun to crow, the cock remembered what the hunter had told him, and walked over to the hunter’s house, but found no one there. On looking round, however, he saw some corn on the, ground, and, being hungry, he commenced to eat.

About this time the bush cat also arrived, and not finding the hunter at home, he, too, looked about, and very soon he espied the cock, who was busy picking up the grains of corn. So the bush cat went up very softly behind and pounced on the cock and killed him at once, and began to eat him.

By this time the goat had come for his money; but not finding his friend, he walked about until he came upon the bush cat, who was so intent upon his meal off the cock, that he did not notice the goat approaching; and the goat, being in rather a bad temper at not getting his money, at once charged at the bush cat and knocked him over, butting him with his horns.

This the bush cat did not like at all, so, as he was not big enough to fight the goat, he picked up the remains of the cock and ran off with it to the bush, and so lost his money, as he did not await the arrival of the hunter.

The goat was thus left master of the situation and started bleating, and this noise attracted the attention of the leopard, who was on his way to receive payment from the hunter. As he got nearer the smell of goat became very strong, and being hungry, for he had not eaten anything for some time, he approached the goat very carefully.

Not seeing any one about he stalked the goat and got nearer and nearer, until he was within springing distance.

The goat, in the meantime, was grazing quietly, quite unsuspicious of any danger, as he was in his friend the hunter’s compound. Now and then he would say Ba!! But most of the time he was busy eating the young grass, and picking up the leaves which had fallen from a tree of which he was very fond.

Suddenly the leopard sprang at the goat, and with one crunch at the neck brought him down. The goat was dead almost at once, and the leopard started on his meal.
It was now about eight o’clock in the morning, and Okun, the hunter’s friend, having had his early morning meal, went out with his gun to receive payment of the two hundred rods he had lent to the hunter.

When he got close to the house he heard a crunching sound, and, being a hunter himself, he approached very cautiously, and looking over the fence saw the leopard only a few yards off busily engaged eating the goat. He took careful aim at the leopard and fired, whereupon the leopard rolled over dead.

The death of the leopard meant that four of the hunter’s creditors were now disposed of, as the bush cat had killed the cock, the goat had driven the bush cat away (who thus forfeited his claim), and in his turn the goat had been killed by the leopard, who had just been slain by Okun.

This meant a saving of eight hundred rods to Effiong; but he was not content with this, and directly he heard the report of the gun he ran out from where he had been hiding all the time, and found the leopard lying dead with Okun standing over it.

Then in very strong language Effiong began to upbraid his friend, and asked him why he had killed his old friend the leopard, that nothing would satisfy him but that he should report the whole matter to the king, who would no doubt deal with him as he thought fit.

When Effiong said this Okun was frightened, and begged him not to say anything more about the matter, as the king would be angry; but the hunter was obdurate, and refused to listen to him; and at last Okun said, “If you will allow the whole thing to drop and will say no more about it, I will make you a present of the two hundred rods you borrowed from me.”

This was just what Effiong wanted, but still he did not give in at once; eventually, however, he agreed, and told Okun he might go, and that he would bury the body of his friend the leopard.

Directly Okun had gone, instead of burying the body Effiong dragged it inside the house and skinned it very carefully. The skin he put out to dry in the sun, and covered it with wood ash, and the body he ate.

When the skin was well cured the hunter took it to a distant market, where he sold it for much money. And now, whenever a bush cat sees a cock he always kills it, and does so by right, as he takes the cock in part payment of the two hundred rods which the hunter never paid him.

MORAL: Never lend money to people (who cannot pay it back), because if they cannot pay they will try to kill you or get rid of you in some way, either by poison or by setting bad Ju Ju’s for you.”

Ute ikpe ekpere (prayers)

Prayer has always been a central part of Igbo life. It served as a direct link to ala mmuo (the spirit land). The following is an excerpt from pages 199-200 of Traditional Igbo Beliefs and Practices by  IK Ogbukagu. A morning prayer  of this nature was done every day by the head of each household while offering oji (kola nut) to the different divinities.

A kpopu uzo, a kpopu onu
The dawning of a new day marks the beginning of a routine struggling for the means of human and other beings existence

Ubosi kpatalu nu nya likalie
The day that fetches more benefits than others deserves to have more of those items of benefit

Uchu adi agba mma ekwu
The pen kinfe routinely deployed for splitting of kolanuts because of the nature of its assignment is always assured of early morning breakfast

O bu n’igwe , O bu n’ana, chedo anyi
God who lives in heaven and on earth, please protect our interest

Omebia, Odokwaa
God you destroy and regenerate lives

O sibe, O dika a ma elisi
God bestows gifts as though these benevolence would remain endless

E lisie, o dika a ma eweta ozo
He allows or rescinds these gifts as he considers appropriate or expedient

Taa oji a n’otu ka anyi taa ya n’ibe n’ibe
Almighty God, take this kolanut in whole, while we take it in cotyledons

Oru mmuo na nnu mmo bianu taa oji
All classes of spirit/elementals, especially the good ones, please have your own share of this nut

Ichie ukwu na ichi nta
Titled and non-titled ancestors to join us in this exercise

Ndi mvu na ndi egede
The primordial and other ancestors of the spirit world also to join

A nalu nwata ife o ji ama mma mma ya aluru
When a child is deprived of what he loves he subsequently is made miserable

Ana, ndi afulu anya na ndi afuro anya, nke na enwero okpa ibe ya kwota ya n’azu
This land, indigines dead and alive; among the dead;the deformed and the crippled helped by others also are invited to join

Unu ekwena ka oji dalue ana, ma o bu ka nwa-ngwele gbaa aji
(Almighty God) do not allow this kolanut to drop from my hand or subject us to any misfortune today

Ofo nn m nyiba m alo, e welu m aka abo bulu ya
I will at all costs endeavor to protect all the heritages handed over to me by my father

Mmuo na anoro ya, mmadu ebulu oche ya
If an oracle vacates its seat, a human being takes over

Izuzugbe nzugbe, anunu gbe
All (spirits/ancestors) are enjoined to rally and then fully participate in these early morning prayers

O sii nwata, jide nkakwu, ya ga-ekunye mmili o ga-eji kwo aka
Anyone who makes a child commit a crime will have to bear the consequence of his action

Oso chuka nwata, o gbanaa ikwu nne ya
A child who has a serious disagreement with his fraternal household may op to move over and settle with his maternal relatives

Nee ubosi taata dozie ya ka o di ka ibe ya
God bless today as you did with other days

Ndi ilo ezuana anyi n’uzo
We earnestly pray we do not fall prey to the evil plans of our enemies

O bialu egbu anyi gbue onwe ya
Wicked plans designed to harm the innocent are to have boomerang effect

Ile oma ka ejuna ji agan’ogwu
We achieve much progress by being good, kind and gentile

Ife any ga-eli bia, nke ga eli anyi abiana
We pray for the good things of life and abhor evil tendencies

Izu gbajulugwo o kaalu nti
Secrets and malevolent plants at some point in time, may be revealed

Ututu tutauta ife
May today be blessed with blessed with lots of good luck

Onye welu ututu tutuba otutujue akpa
If you start early enough to toil, you will achieve a lot by the end of the day”

As you can see, Igbo prayers were a combination of affirmations, praises, proverbs, and requests. There were not wish lists or the marathon sessions of begging that are prominent in some traditions today. Most importantly, Igbo prayer was almost always never done empty handed, and placed a good deal of responsibility on the part of the person doing the prayer to follow it up with the right actions and deeds that would lead to its fulfillment.