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The Gods And Curse Culture

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By Ambrose Ekhuosuehi (Last update 25/09/2017)

THE gods are superhuman beings or spirits of an outstanding physique with divine nature created little above human beings. Human beings are created little less than the gods with fine qualities even to attain godhead, deity or states of being a god or goddess when they possess the character of a god.

Since the human beings were created little less than the gods, they became the god parents, of the human beings while the human beings became sons and daughters of those divine beings in essence, they work to assist the human beings hence in ancient culture the curse on anything is directed to overseeing of the gods.

The dichotomy, that is the two divisions or classes of human beings and the gods spirit contrasted groups are quite strong in nature that the two speak well of one another.

In the olden days, there was a goddess river whose inhabitants speak with the people of the mundane world. The gods told the people that there is a being who steal and the name of the being is ‘Thief-Oyi’

When the Thief comes to the mundane world; there will be thieves and insurrection. No person would love his or her property to be stolen away. If it happens the owner should call on the gods to help look for the missing item or settle the insurrection. If found the person should curse no more but say “I have found my missing item”. If the item is not found the gods will kill the Thief and the person causing the insurrection.

The rule was that when anything is missing or some one had caused an insurrection —oriaevbo, the people should curse thus “Ebo gha gbe oriaevbo” that is the god should kill the person causing an insurrection, while the people say “Te o ghase” so be I when the material has been found or the matter has been settled, the people should quickly proclaim an announcement as far beyond the curse area. Saying “The gods should not kill for the item has been found or that the matter has been settled, I recall the curse” “Ebo ghe ghi gbe, a mien emwin no win, iserhienrhien”.

The gods would forgive and take no further action, but if the people fail to recall the curse, the gods would still intervene.

There was once a prosperous and famous hamlet between the river Ethiope and its tributary, the river Jameson, nowadays, a sacred lake. The inhabitants were mainly fishermen and like many people who live by river banks, worshipped the river deity. At the end of every year, elaborate rites were carried out in honour of the deity-god.

Every child born and bred in that village became an ardent believer in the god. Each time, there was rumour of an impending disaster, they suppliantly implore the god to avert the danger and the god succeeded in helping them.

For many years, the god shielded the people from all types of plagues and external aggressions, which often engulfed their neighbouring villages. In addition the deity acted as the chief arbitrator for the hamlet. Each time there was a case of theft, stealing, or insurrection that could not be settled by the council of elders-Edion, it was referred to the deity. The deity decision could not be contested, the only form of punishment was death. Victims were compelled to confess their guilt-sin before death.

The death penalty would be carried out by the deity in a most mysterious manner. On the day the victim would die, the person would voluntarily trek to the public square (iro) and after a thorough confession the person would automatically cease to exist.

The elders would drag the remains of the person into specifically chosen “Ekpekpe” for such victim.
As time went on, the people began to doubt the wisdom in the judicial system. They thought that death should not be the only form of punishment for those convicted of theft, or insurrection. They therefore, asked the deity to give them the power of differentiating the innocent from the guilty person, so that they could decide suitable punishment apart from death penalty.

For a long time, the god refused to grant their request, however, the deity had the penalty. For a long time, the god refused to grant their request, however, the deity had the plan that the new instrument of power or authority shall be handed over to one of the hamlet’s person in a mysterious manner. The custodian of the wand of authority should be very humble.

The deity, the people believed was annoyed, so they gathered to offer sacrifice. When the elders were conveying the sacrifices to the river, a most wonderful phenomenon occurred.

All of the sudden, the weather became extremely dull and the elders stood still. As they stood in amazement, they discovered through the faint light of the day that the river was moving toward them. It was unusual because it was not the time of flood. When it got to few distance from the people, the water branched out in a tiny stream and flowed towards the feet of one of the elders. The streamlet engulfed him and receded with him, a humbly person named Obazu, the last of Ikoro family.

After this, the weather became very bright, but for six days the village searched for the disappeared Obazu but all their efforts were in vain. On the seventh day, Obazu appeared at noon, the exact time of the day he had disappeared.

Obazu held a white wand, which was to be the instrument of Justice for the entire inhabitants. He told the people that in accordance with the instructions of the deity, the wand was to be used in the settlement of all cases of theft or insurrection.

The operation was simple. The suspected person would be asked to handle the wand in the presence of all the villagers. If the suspect was innocent, the wand would remain very white, but if the person was actually the victim, the white wand would immediately turn absolutely black.

Obazu the custodian of the wand became the priest — Ohen of the people and became a very important man.

One day, a case of theft was reported by the village head. Someone had stolen his coral beads. It was strange news for such to happen within the household of the village head.

He could not suspect any person because the incident happened when all his servants were away from the house. Only his wives were in, Incidentally too, he had no visitor on that day. As it would be very embarrassing for the village head to bring his wives before the want of justice, the council of elders proclaimed that all the villagers must undergo the ordeal.

Again the day became very dull. All the villagers turned out to prove their innocence. One after the other the villagers handed the wand but nothing happened.

The village head then ordered his eight wives to take their turns. The first wife handled the wand, she was proved innocent. The second, the third, the forth handled it, were all proved innocent, but when the fifth handled the wand, the entire village became absolutely silent because immediately she handled it, the wand, turned absolutely black.

The village head himself was thrown into dilemma. He could not understand the type of verdict. He could not imagine how his wife could be a thief. He quickly dismissed the gathering and summoned\the meeting of the elders.

Contrary to the usual practice, Obazu, the custodian of the wand of Justice was accused that Obazu deliberately manipulated the wand to work in the way it did. The elders then decided that Obazu must die by strangling and a date was fixed.

Obazu was brought to the public square. All the villagers gathered, but just as they were about to strangle Obazu, the river had moved very close to them and engulfed the entire village. There was no escape for anyone, anything. Today, what is left of the village is a stagnant pool of water — a lake sacred to all the neigbhouring villages, which has no link either with River Ethiope — Olokun or River Jameson Igbaghon but a lake — Odighi, sacred to all neighbouring villages a tourist centre. In the middle of the lake there is a tree without branches. People say that it represent Obazu, the last of Ikoro family.

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