OUR ANCESTORS AND THE ORACLE THEY LEFT BEHIND
By Bons O. Nwabueze
The population of Nigeria is fast growing, though, depending
on which population report one wants to believe, Nigeria has over
one hundred million people and it’s still growing. Within
the past twenty years, the geographic fabric of the nation has
dramatically changed. Buildings are replacing our forests, farm
lands and pasture areas. Increase in population means increase in
the number of buildings to support the population.
A modern day Nigerian wants his or her own home. During the
days of our ancestors, families lived in single huts as still
practised in some parts of the world. Though in some cases, the
man of the house centers his house known as the mans
"Obi" in Igbo land at the middle of the compound while
his wives and children surround the obi with their huts. That was
basically done to preserve the farm land and defend the family in
case of enemy attack. Unfortunately, with the days of our
ancestors behind us, one must not fail to ask what will happen to
the legacy our ancestors left behind, including the good, ugly
and the bad? Buildings are replacing our forests and farm lands,
but not without noticing dilapidating "Okwu-alusi"
(shrines) left by our ancestors next to them. People are afraid
of clearing the shrines because of fear of sudden death to all
the family members or attack by members of the idol worshipers.
No one knows how to remove the shrines because of the spells
left in them. The people closer to our ancestors did not pay
close attention to shrine worshipping and now we have problems
removing them. We are no longer in the era of paganism, why are
we still dying from what our ancestors left behind? The shrines
are not even as dangerous as the deadly "Eke-Ogba"
(pythons) they left in our homes. Thirty years ago, the pythons
were seen in huts around the villages. Growing up in Nigeria as a
child, I was told never to kill the "Defender of the
Land" or the Mother Goddess", as they were referred to.
Six years ago, I had an encounter with a python in the toilet,
and while trying to kill it, I was advised not to for the
interest of my life and the lives of my family members. Having
lived in America for almost twelve years at the time, I thought
that our ancestors have all died and so was their idol
worshipping. Unfortunately, not. While researching into this
python worshipping, my auntie indicated that there are still idol
worshipping people left and that they are very dangerous. The
group can kill, poison or bring spell to one and his or her
family. It was then I realised that all Chinua Achebe, the great
African author, wrote about the "Mother Goddess"
(Things Fall Apart) was not fiction.
I received an ear full when I heard that people around the
Ide-nmili area lose their lives every day because they kill
pythons. According to the village elders, the Ide-nmili area also
have a lot of "Osu" (outcasts) people. This Osu is one
thing I still do not understand. We are entering the millennium,
yet people in some areas of the world are still ostracised and,
in most cases, killed because of the beliefs of our great
grandfathers. The pagans left in the villages should let the
Python spells and the Osu die with our ancestors. They should
focus their efforts on one of the good legacies left behind by
our ancestors, the Alternative Medicine.
The world is entering into a new century and witnessing the
arrival of a new form of medicine known in the medical world as
"Alternative Medicine." The orthodox scientific
medicine generally accepted and practised in the western world
has recently started embracing the arrival of this unproven form
of medicine, although the school of thought is still divided on
the acceptance of alternative medicine. However, most of us from
undeveloped nations have always accepted alternative medicine
which has been in existence since the turn of the century in
Africa. Some Nigerian trained medical doctors in America have
indicate that while practising medicine in Africa, they faced
challenges from idol worshipers and their superstitious beliefs
that alternative medicine is better than scientific medicine.
Idol worshipers should spend more time researching medical help
for our people, instead of worshipping pythons and wasting time
identifying "Osu" people.