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IFA PRIEST: LAGOON IS HUNGRY, ANGRY

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               …urges Oba of Lagos to appease gods of waters

 

 

 

 

Many people, including medical experts, seem to be pointing to depression as the possible cause for Dr Allwell Oji’s tragic suicide. But two renowned Ifa priests have maintained a different stance. They spoke to ISIOMA MADIKE and ADEOLU ADEYEMO in two separate interviews about what they suspect could have pushed the doctor to such a sad act.

 

 

Allwell Chiawolamoke Oji’s tragic death shook the nation to its foundation. It reverberated across Nigeria with many giving suggestions on why the young doctor, who was widely viewed as successful by Nigerian standard, did what he thought was best for him.

There has not been any consensus on the possible cause of the act since Sunday when the incident happened. In an attempt to solve the mystery, Saturday Telegraph team decided to consult the Ifa priests. But, the journey to one of the Ifa temples at Morogbo Village via Agbara, a boundary town divided by a major road that runs through to Badagry, was as tortuous as it was interesting.

The temple, however, is very popular among the inhabitants of the area. Right from the Morogbo junction, every one appears to know where it is located.

Though, the community is better accessed with Okada if one is not driving, it is not a place where a stranger will easily miss his or her way. The shrine is located on a near rough, sandy terrain, adjoining the almost ghettolike street that was freshly rehabilitated. Nevertheless, the neighbourhood is an interesting sight to any visitor any day.

Such fascinating things greeted Saturday Telegraph when its crew entered the temple that is tucked away in a beautifully carved architecture, overlooking a darkish canal at the back of the building hosting the traditional worship centre.

Within a few hours that the crew was ushered in, Chief Omo- Oba Olorunwa Ayekonilogbon, the priest of Ifa deity, sauntered in clad in casual robe; his lieutenants, in more expensive attires, were in circle formation.

Together, they went through motions of holy ecstasy, chanting incantations. They muttered seemingly unintelligible, perhaps, spiritual words and danced to beats of native drums. Yet, the drummers were not anywhere near the shrine.

As this was going on, visitors to the temple were being tutored on how to behave in order not to incur the wrath of the gods inside the outsized edifice. Women were ordered to look away from the shrine as it is forbidden to do otherwise.

Those who came for prayers and spiritual consultations were asked to remove their footwear as a condition before stepping into the holy arena.

As the first step preceding the consultations, those awaiting cleansing were taken to the inner chamber, where some invocations were made. Others clapped and danced to the priest’s tantalizing ditties.

This, according to one of the adherents, was necessary to appease the gods and ancestors. The chanting, no doubt, electrified the atmosphere. “It is everyday process of supplication here,” the priest said, after completing what looked like an obligatory ritual before commencing the business of the day.

Clearing his voice in a manner reminiscent of Chief Zebrudaya of the famed New Masquerade, Ayekonilogbon, offered a very lengthy prayer for all around, the nation and its leaders, and surprisingly to both Christian and Muslim clerics. “We prayed for everybody here because we believe Eledumare (God Almighty) created all of us.

We do not discriminate as it is the case with the Whiteman’s religions,” he told his guest, with a tone of satisfaction. After due consultation with the gods and his ancestors, Ayekonilogbon, declared emphati-cally that anything could have caused the death of Oji.

The young medical practitioner had brutally ended his sojourn on earth on Sunday in an unnerving manner when he plunged into the lagoon after he allegedly received a call that no one could ascertain where it came from.

Many theories and suggestions have been advanced on what might have been the likely cause of his action, the most prominent being depression. However, the Ifa priest said, such a theory could just be a smokescreen.

To him, that a bird cried at night and a child died in the morning could not be wished away as a mere coincidence. Traditionally speaking, he said, only two theories could suffice in this case.

“It is either he was controlled using an African traditional technique or the lagoon is hungry and angry. “Considering that it was after Oji received the call that he took his life in such a cruel manner, speaks volume.

If he was controlled through African traditional way, no matter how he tried to evade it, he could still have looked for or waited to get near water before taking his life.

You also know that our religion believes in destiny, it could have been his destiny as well. “Again, if you look at the rate of deaths in the lagoon in recent time, via suicide mostly, it is equally possible the water is hungry and angry.

What His Royal Highness, Oba Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos, needs to do now and urgently too, is to assemble credible traditionalists, I mean Ifa priests, to find out why the lagoon has suddenly become angry. All what the Babalawos need do is get close to the water, take a little for consultation.

Ifa is capable and would surely reveal why all these things are happening. Until that is done, we might be chasing shadows.” Also, Chief Yemi Elebuibon, another wellknown Ifa priest, spoke in a manner that suggests that Oji could have been ‘programmed’ (hypnotized) to do what he did. Eedi, he explained, is a bad omen in Yoruba land. “It is a great offence for a person to commit suicide; an abomination.

Whoever does that is considered to have brought dishonor to his/her family. “Yet, the traditional belief behind suicide is that some people do not just commit the act on their own, but for some mystical interventions.

However, some people could find themselves in critical and unpleasant situations, and opt for suicide as the last resort instead of living to face the problem.

Whenever it happens proper inquiry is set up by the king or head of the community where it occurred to find the cause of the problem and an Ifa priest is mostly called upon to prescribe atonement to cleanse the city.” Elebuibon nevertheless agreed that it is possible for a person to harm himself or herself without any diabolical undertone.

“We live in a world where we all have personal battles. We tend to overcome them each time they arise as a result of our mental strength but sometimes they conquer us. When this happens, a person may consider suicide as his/her last resort,” the priest told Saturday Telegraph. He said it could be diagnosed through a session of Ifa consultation.

When a person consults Ifa, according to him, the past, present and future will be revealed. “Ifa gives warning about incoming dangers and the priest analyses the root cause of a certain predicament. Signs of hypnotism can range from change in attitude, manner of speaking and so on and only people close to the person can discover this.

“However, a person suspected or confirmed to be under hypnotism should seek help immediately as failure will wreak havoc and may eventually lead to awful death of the particular person and many others. Without proper spiritual care, sometimes, the repercussions of some actions can influence a person’s life negatively.

Such a person will begin to act under the control of mystical forces,” Elebuibon added. The renowned traditionalist also said there is history of suicide in Ifa mythology and that hypnotism can only be prevented through constant consultation with Ifa for spiritual fortification.

To Ayekonilogbon, Ifa is a religion, widely worshiped mostly by the Yorubas in the South Western part of the country. The 49-yearold traditionalist hails from Ode-Erinje in Okutipupa, Ondo State. He believes that neither Christianity nor Islam – Nigeria’s two most professed religions is superior to Ifa.

This may be the reason he wants Ifa to be embraced as a national religion. Ayekonilogbon said with the deity accepted Nigerians, corruption and allied vices in the country will become history.

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Metro and Crime

Gunmen abduct businessman, kill masquerade, two others

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Armed men have kidnapped the Chairman and Chief Executive of Always Petroleum and Gas, Alhaji Otinau Momohjimoh. The oil mogul, who is in his early 40s, was abducted about 8p.m. on Sunday opposite Okene Central Mosque, kogi State, where he often spend time with friends and business associates.

A witness said the gunmen, whose numbers could not be ascertained because it was dark, stormed the place and started shooting sporadically to scare people away. The witness, who identified himself as Usman Ishaq, added that as people were scampering into safety, two of the gunmen held Momohjimoh’s hands and dragged him into their Toyota Camry car and sped away. Ishaq said that the kidnappers were yet to contact the family of the oil magnate and that no ransom had been placed on him.

In a related development, two people and a masquerade were killed at Inoziomi quarters in Adavi Local Government Area during the Ebe festival. The incident, it was learnt, occurred on Saturday between 9p.m. and 10p.m. when gunmen ridding on a motorcycle suddenly opened fire and killed a masquerade and two people on the spot while several others were seriously wounded.

The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. William Aya, confirmed the killing of the masquerade, but said Momohjimoh’s abduction had not been reported to the command. Aya promised that the perpetrators of the heinous act would be apprehended to face the wrath of the law.

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Metro and Crime

Man impregnates, weds teenage sister in Anambra church

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Just like a fairy tale, a 25-year-old man, Mr. Chiadi Ezeibekwe, said he impregnated his 17-year-old younger sister. As if that was not enough, he wedded her at a church at their Agba village in Ekwulobia, Anambra State. Agba youths, who saw the marriage as “an abomination,” burnt down the church where the wedding was consummated.

It was learnt that the wedding was conducted by Chiadi’s elder brother, Mr. Chijioke Ezeibekwe, a Shepherd of Dwelling Fullness of God Church, Agba. Chiadi quoted Deuteronomy 36: 6, which, according to him, permits marriage between brothers and ssters of the same parents. However, a member of the church, who spoke on condition of anonymity, countered that. He referred the brothers to Leviticus 18:9, which clearly speaks against marriage between brother and sister.

A source noted that immediately their eldest brother, Mr. Emeka Ezeibekwe, heard of the “incestuous marriage,” he alerted the clan head, who summoned the family to an emergency meeting. When their father, popularly, known as “Luisco,” was contacted for comments, he said that his concern was a way out of the situation, since according to him, “what has happened, has happened’’.

Addressing the crowd which gathered on their premises, their mother claimed that his son’s action was biblical, saying Chiadi paid her the bride price. Further enquiries showed that Chiadi and some members of the family were baptised into the Adventist Church after leaving their former church in August 2016.

“Since they were baptised into the church, they have been engaged in weird and rebellious behaviour as well as false teachings,’’ said Mr. Onyeka, a member of the Adventist Church in Ekwulobia. “Because of their rebellious attitude and false teachings, the Seventh Day Adventist Church expelled them since May 2017.

Not long after that, Mr. Chijioke Ezeibekwe started his own church,” Onyeka added. It was also learnt that their grandmother passed away a few days after she found out about the marriage. The Igwe-in-Cabinet had since summoned the family for interrogation.

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Metro and Crime

Police probe ex-speaker’s brother’s killing

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Police yesterday commenced investigation into the murder of a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at a ward rally in Nwofe Primary School, Agbaja, Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. The victim, Elias Nwankwegu popularly known as Okarika, who is younger brother of former Speaker of the state House of Assembly and Attorney-General, Chief Augustine Nwankwegu, was at the weekend shot dead by suspected thugs during a political gathering.

A man, Emmanuel Nwofe, has been arrested in connection with the killing. The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Loveth Odah, confirmed Nwofe’s arrest to our correspondent.

Elias’ body has been deposited at the mortuary of the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (FETHA 2). Odah said the suspect, Emmanuel, in his statement, denied having a hand in Elias’ killing.

She said: “He is being accused of knowing the killers but he denied the allegation in his statement. He said he heard noises in the classroom and went there to find out what was happening. He said that some people there slapped him and kicked him to the ground and collected his phones.

“Then, shortly after that, he heard a gunshot and he took to his heels. He said he did not know his assailants as they were not from the area.” Odah said the command had also decided to invite other persons at the event for questioning in a bid to find out what actually happened.

She appealed to politicians in the state to always inform the police before carrying out any rally so that the police could deploy officers to the area to ensure safety of lives and property. “When we are not informed, we may not deploy our officers to such event and that is when such things may happen. We were not officially informed of the event,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Francis Nwifuru, has denied having a hand in Elias’ killing. He was reacting to allegations that the killers were some boys loyal to his faction of the PDP in the area.

The Speaker and former Speaker, Augustine Nwankwegu, have been having a running battle in the constituency since Nwifuru defeated Augustine in the party’s primaries in 2010. Spokesman for the speaker, Mr. Tony Nwizi, exonerated his boss from Elias’ death. Nwizi said that the gathering was a ward meeting not a rally in support of the speaker’s re-election bid as claimed in some quarters.

He said: “What happened is that the party was supposed to hold a ward meeting there. The ward is not even Mr Speaker’s ward but the current Attorney General Cletus Ofoke, who is from the ward called Mr Speaker and begged him to come attend.”

Nwizi said Nwifuru decided to make a brief stop at the meeting on his way to Ikwo Local Government Area for a burial before the incident occurred. Nwizi noted that the victim was Nwifuru’s staunch supporter so the speaker or any of his supporters had no reason to attack one of their allies in the ward.

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