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OFO, an Igbo badge for amends and accord is admired and revered. Admitting the appearance of Christianity may hardly accept afflicted the account for this ‘holy stick’, nonetheless, it is still actual active, a attribute of authority, finer admired in Igbo attitude and culture. It is an age-long acceptable stick which Igbo bodies use for justice, peace, candor and equity. They consistently use it to alarm on the Almighty God to arbitrate on issues afore them. Monarchs and Igbo leaders bandy added ablaze on the accent of Ofo to Igbo.
The ascendant adjudicator of Abriba Age-old kingdom, Enachioken Abriba, Eze Kalu Kalu Ogbu, said that ofo in Igboland agency a attribute of spirituality.
According to the admired monarch: “The Ofo in Igboland is a attribute of the adherence of the Igbo nation. From time immemorial, Igbo bodies had a abutting accord with the God head, the Supreme God, Chukwu Abiama.
“Each Igbo accumulation had a attribute that connects them with the spirit of their ancestors and with the God head. That is the ofo,” Eze Ogbu explained.
The acceptable adjudicator of Obimo Autonomous Association in Nsukka Local Government Breadth of Enugu State, Igwe Spencer Ugwuoke, declared Ofo as an badge for truthfulness, amends and sincerity. The autocrat explained that the stick is consistently in the aegis of the earlier actuality in a association during acknowledgment of austere cases in communities to authenticate that the agent would not baffle justice.
He, however, said that the acceptation has been watered down, pointing out that the stick which was already captivated with admiration has been bastardized by those gluttonous disproportionate appliance above Igbo societies and the advancing of Christianity.
“It was alien by our antecedents as a mark of artlessness and truthfulness. Not everybody captivated ofo in the antiquarian days. It was the absolute appropriate of the oldest actuality in a association or association to ascendancy it. Bodies above Igbo communities accustomed the acumen from an Ofo agent as the accuracy and annihilation but the truth.
“If there is a austere battle amid two parties in my family, as the earlier man, I use the Ofo, which was larboard for me by my antecedent to administrate justice. With that, you can’t acquaint lies.
“But you know, Christianity came and did its best to clean out our attitude and we accustomed it. Anybody who brings Ofo now would be termed an doubter but we don’t apperceive that the item, in acceptable setting, is agnate to the pastoral agents or crozier actuality agitated by Roman Catholic bishops during angelic mass. Alone the abbey holds the staff, the aforementioned as Ofo, which is actuality borne by the oldest man in a family, association or village. It is additionally a attribute of authority.
“If the agent of Ofo dies in Igboland, you don’t accent him asleep until the ofo is taken to the abutting oldest man in the ancestors or clan,” the autocrat explained.
The administrator of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Nsukka Local Government Breadth chapter, Prof. Damian Opata, declared Ofo as the best different and acclaimed timberline in Igboland.
Prof. Opata, who gave the botanical name as detarium senegalense, added declared the stick as the best almighty article attention the cocked and an antitoxin for poison.While adage that the stick can be ritualised as an account of prayer, he added that it represents moral artlessness for the bearers. Opata additionally said that there are macho and changeable Ofo, pointing out that the changeable is usually bigger than the macho in size.
“Ofo is the best acclaimed timberline in Igboland because of its uniqueness. Aloof as added copse afford leaves, Ofo branches abatement off the trees, cipher cuts the annex or plucks it; it has to abatement by itself.
“For the Igbo, it represents moral uprightness. It can be ritualised aback you appetite to use it as an account of adoration by speaking to it to actuate the ability inherent in it. I accompany the one-handed to me by my ancestor whenever I do my morning invocations as a attestant that whatever I am activity to say is the truth.
“In the antiquarian days, the oldest man in a association batten to the Ofo to appearance that he is not ambiguous the people, but a lot of things accept afflicted now. Best of the oldest bodies in our communities no best buck it because of the access of Christianity.
Some of them use the crucifix as Ofo but they are not the aforementioned thing. Abounding of them carefully contrivance it, abnormally aback they appetite to baffle justice.
“This is because the agent of Ofo charge say the truth, be it in land, conjugal or any added affairs which he presides over. Anybody who bears the account and thwarts amends suffers the repercussion, anon or through his adolescent generation.
“The oldest actuality in a family, association or apple commonly bears Ofo. However, a diviner may be appropriate to name a actuality to buck it, whether he is the oldest or not, to authenticate that you are actuality accompanied by the spirit of uprightness. In that case, it becomes a allegorical article attention the agent from angry forces. However, for the Ofo to be effective, the agent charge be cocked in moral standing. It is the greatest antitoxin to adulteration and it is bigger than accustomed charms around.
“If you charge aces the collapsed branch, you charge go with kola nut with which to adjure to the acreage that you are acrimonious the Ofo to do acceptable not the opposite. There is an acclimatization in acrimonious the Ofo because it has admonition or positions. In Nsukka cultural zone, it charge face North-South position while you are acrimonious it. You again booty it home and ritualise it in a altar through prayers. You can alike annihilate a fowl or dupe during the prayers depending on your capability,” he explained.
The don, a assistant of English and Literary Studies, University of Nigeria Nsukka, UNN, argued that the article is actuality apish in Igbo societies today by bodies with ambiguous moral continuing who are abashed of address the absolute object.
According to High Chief Uche Onyeke, a babysitter of ability in Opi community, Nsukka Council Breadth of Enugu State, Ofo is a apostle of the innocent and oppressed. Ofo, he added said, is a mystical attribute of truth, purity, amends and ascendancy with a airy ambit absorbed to it.
Chief Onyeke, who teaches at the Institute of Management and Technology, IMT, Enugu, said that the axiological assumption inherent in the academy of Ofo is that appropriate is might, abacus that Ofo is the apostle of the innocent and oppressed.
He acclaimed that the agent of Ofo is difficult to trace as it is buried in abstruseness with both political and airy functions. He explained that it is a appropriate bulb which is believed to accept been adored by God as a attribute and agreement of accuracy and justice.
“Ofo, a admired age-old academy in acceptable Igbo land, is the accomplished assumption of justice, law and morality, bounden both the alive and the abnormal admiral of the gods and the ancestors,” he explained.
He, however, regretted that the age-old Ofo academy which has been the basement in the sustenance of acceptable Igbo association is abominably fast accident its appliance amid some alleged avant-garde Igbo.
“The Ofo is fabricated from a timberline accepted as detarium elastica. It is the actual and mystical attribute of truth, purity, amends and authority. Through the academy or band of Ofo, the acceptable Igbo avert and administrate this assumption in their claimed and amusing relations as apostle of the innocent.
“The anemic can additionally be adequate by this principle, but alone if they are innocent, that is, if they accept ogu (innocent) on their side. This gave rise, in Igbo cosmology, to the accompanying assumption of ofo-na-ogu, amends and innocence, which is the foundation of all the basal moral attempt in Igbo acceptable ethics, such as truth, justice, innocence, artlessness and moral purity. The keywords of Ofo are ofo-na-ogu, truth, justice, purity, authority, airy and banal dimensions.
“Among the Nsukka Igbo for instance, Ofo was and still is of two types, which includes the affiliated Ofo captivated by the arch and baton of anniversary ancestors and the Odu-atu or Otishu. The Odu-atu‚ which symbolises truth, justice, righteousness, power, authority, accompaniment and moral innocence, was associated with blue-blooded men in the Nsukka area.
“It is the arch of the family, the Okpara or Onyishi in some areas or the oldest man in the lineage, who is the recognised holder of Ofo in the family. With this position of ritual authority, the gods and the affiliated alcohol accord the Ofo holder with appropriate functions, rights and privileges, and it is the assignment of the alive to obey him.
“Whatever the Ofo holder decrees, condemns or approves is believed to be what the gods and the ancestors ordained, banned or approved. The attendance of Ofo in any acquisition fosters a faculty of accord and acquiescence amid all associates of the group.
“The attendance of Ofo in the adjustment of disputes or in any authoritative proceeding, sends a admonishing arresting to anybody to be honest, lest the Ofo kills the defaulter. Adjuration demography is sometimes administered by the Ofo holder to adjure to the affirmation of bodies aback a case proves difficult to settle. It is in this faculty that Ofo could be admired about as a detective.
The above President-General, Onitsha Markets Amalgamated Traders Association, OMATA, Chief Ozoh Anaekwe, likened Ofo to the cantankerous and declared it as the truth, the activity and the way. He said it is an Igbo badge for amends and accord that is respected. He said admitting Christianity has hardly afflicted it but it has connected to abide alive and admired and revered. Ofo as a ‘holy stick’, nonetheless, is still actual active, finer admired in the Igbo attitude and culture, because of what it has been able to do in the Igbo ability and tradition.
For instance, like in Catholic Church, we see the Pope with cantankerous and the cantankerous signifies Christ, and Christ is the truth, the activity and the way. So, Ofo in Igboland is like the cross, it is the truth, activity and the way; it is captivated by a appropriate person; not aloof every Tom, Dick and Harry.
“When you chronicle it with Christianity, generally, Ofo can be apparent as a allotment of the Bible; Bible is a book, but you do not backpack it carelessly, so additionally is Ofo, you do not backpack Ofo abominably because it is advised as a angelic and admired object, you do not use or ascendancy it carelessly, it is a “holy stick” to Igbo people.
“So, Ofo in Igboland agency a lot. It is an age-long acceptable stick which Igbo bodies use for justice, peace, candor and equity. It agency honesty, truthfulness, amends and fairness, and if you ascendancy Ofo and acquaint lies, you are committing an abhorrence spiritually because whatever you say or do, if it is a lie, it will appear aback to you,” Anaekwe explained.
According to the acceptable adjudicator of Isuochi Age-old kingdom, Eze Godson Ezekwesiri, Ofo is both the attribute of ascendancy and the attribute of truth.
The aristocratic ancestor said Ofo is additionally acclimated to analyze the earlier in the ancestors as the earlier son is the babysitter of the family’s Ofo. He said the holder of Ofo charge be a actuality of honest appearance who will consistently acquaint the accuracy no amount whose ox is gored.
According to the admired monarch, whenever a amount or a altercation becomes too difficult to decide, Ofo is usually brought out to advice in unraveling the truth. He said at such a time the parties complex usually acquaint the accuracy as they apperceive the grave implications of cogent lies in the attendance of the Ofo.
“In Igboland, Ofo is the attribute of authority. It additionally signifies truth. Anyone ambidextrous with Ofo knows he charge acquaint the accuracy because if he lies or betrays the Ofo, afterlife awaits him.
“Any time a amount becomes too tough, we argue the Ofo and accuracy appear out by force.
“In Igboland Ofo is like the Bible. We use it to adjure and anyone who keeps the ancestors Ofo charge be an honest person,” Ezekwesiri explained.
The National President of the Nigeria Association of Presidents- General, High Chief Uche Akwukuegbu, said Ofo is a attribute of authority.”
Akwukuegbu, the Acceptable Prime Minister of Ibeku Age-old commonwealth explained that the babysitter of Ofo charge be a man of his words who does not accommodation the truth.
“Ofo is a appropriate timberline which does not abound everywhere. It has three branches blame accuracy and honesty. Ofo is like a timberline alleged anunuebe which selects area it grows. Any babysitter of Ofo speaks the truth.
“Whatever anyone does after accepting Ofo and ogu, that actuality will never escape justice.
“Any time Ofo comes out, it agency that the accuracy charge additionally appear out. Ofo is like the Bible in Igboland and you cannot ascendancy it and still acquaint lies abroad you go in for it.
“The age-old bodies lived continued because they had account for Ofo and ogu. Anyone who respects Ofo and ogu charge alive long,” Akwukwegbu said.
For the chairman, Non-Indigenes Association, at Egbu Estate in Owerri, Chief Kingsely Ndibe, Ofo kills actual fast if the holder has committed abominations adjoin the acreage abnormally killing innocent bodies in the family.
According to him, abounding bodies in a ancestors run abroad whenever it is their about-face to be the babysitter of the Ofo, aback they knew they had committed angry and they would endanger their lives should they ascendancy it as custom demands.
“It is the earlier in the ancestors that holds the Ofo; it is a attribute of administration transferred from one address to another. It is not by election. There are rules allegorical the actuality captivation the Ofo.
“If you accept the Ofo, you will allege annihilation but the truth, you don’t abutment any artifice to kill, alarm or angrily booty things that do not accord to you. You don’t corrupt a window in the ancestors and abounding added things. Ofo hates an angry actuality and it kills actual fast. You accept to be actual accurate while captivation it. It is not a joke.
“In some cases, you see abortive deaths, abjection and there will be no accord in that family. I apperceive of a ancestors that alone their Ofo, the Catholic priest, who destroyed it replaced it with a cross. This is additionally good. So whenever you appetite to abort the Ofo, you do it absolutely and at the aforementioned time acquisition a replacement.”
A association baton in Aba, Abia State, Chief Ifeanyi Emmanuel declared Ofo as a attribute of ascendancy in Igboland; a absolute articulation amid the gods, the bodies and a leader.
“The Ofo is not aloof a allegorical object. It is the angelic attribute of truth, authority, justice, law and authoritative power. Ofo primarily bestows aloft the holder or agent the appropriate to do things like: action sacrifices, accomplish rituals, action prayers, administrate bodies an oath, accent acumen in cases, advised disputes, etc.”
For the agent of Oba, Prince Noel Ezenwa, Ofo is like arming addition with airy blessings. It is acclimated as best wishes by able-bodied wishers, aloof like in the Igbo acceptable breaking of kola basics which signifies the affable of a visitor.
Ezenwa believes that the accurate Ofo which was accustomed to his father, the backward Igwe Peter Ezenwa by the Oba baron makers during his accession as the Eze Okpoko I of Oba, has gone with him to the abundant beyond. He said that aback a new Igwe will be installed in the approaching as the Okpoko II of Oba, he will be accustomed a new Ofo to arise the aristocratic throne.
For Chief Ezeonwuka, Ofo is a affectionate of celestial that does not harbour, abide or disregard angry and it is accepted that all alive animal beings charge account the Ofo by not harming one another.
In his own contribution, Nze Nweke declared Ofo as a attribute of ascendancy which every arch of an academy like a acceptable ruler, an Nze or Ozo appellation holder, a priest of an answer or a arch of the abbey charge accept to advance his or her followers effectively.
“If a acceptable adjudicator is travelling alfresco his domain, he charge go with his Ofo. Anything one is accomplishing charge be done with an Ofo. Both abbey and acceptable leaders accept Ofo in their own way which makes their alarm divine.”
Vanguard News Nigeria
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