Asi dikwa Nga Odi, meaning Our Seasonal Quarrels Remain, by Clement Udegbe
I had planned to do this piece since over 3 months ago, but several factors prevented me, and I think I better do it now, before it looses its impact, as things roll on too fast in Nigeria,.
Just a few months back the social media was awash with Senator Smart Adeyemi castigated His Excellency Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State on the floor of the Hallowed Senate Chambers, calling him names..
This is my response to the Distinguished Senator for the records and for the guidance of those like him:
I will open the eyes of Umu Igbo, with two true life stories that happened during the Biafra War in Uhuala Village,Orlu Imo State, which I was involved in.
First let me start with “ka ahara chu nta ka anaha eke” . This means that only men involved in a hunting expedition participate in the sharing of games.
During the early days of the Biafran war, or the Gowon War against Ndigbo as we children at that time understood it. Children had four major assignments ; help fetch water, help in the farm, hunt eat and play.
It was about September after the harvests in August, we had little to do at home, so we hunt and very scarcely fish.
We did not like fishing because River Urashi was in Obinugwu Ihiteoweri,near my maternal home area, Abo Ihiteowerri. Mama Nnukwu told us bizarre stories about the powers of Urashi so we just faced hunting around our farm areas with people around in case we needed help or something.
Three of us, Silas Igbuka, Sunday Ogbuehi,and myself ably aided and followed by Nnawuo Udegbe,went to Agbualla Owerri area near Nwanyi Oma River to hunt. We caught 3 Rabbits, plenty Crickets, About 12 Frogs, a few snails, One small alligator and two black long Snakes we call Echu Mmiri, meaning “don’t go to the River”! It was reputed to be very deadly, but to this team, the thing was fun to catch. Once it takes off and runs very fast and speedily,it soon stops to rest, pursue after it, get to it and kill it.
Our uncle Obialor Nwagochukwu taught Sunday and us, how to kill any snake.To kill it, one person stays in its front to distract it, while the others cut it or strike it! The person in front must be agile to keep a distance ,cover his face because all the harrassed snake can do is spit! The spit never goes more then 10 feet, so if you keep that distance, we have food to take home. After one spit it requires 5 minutes to gather another spit to release. That’s a good time to strike. So killing any snake was fun and easy to us.
With our hunting bag rich with the games we caught.. We got to the junction near our houses and decided to share it. We reasoned that going into any compound will subject us to the influence of the mothers in that compound. We chose a spot at a junction called Owerri Adiole to share the booty.
Sunday being the oldest suggested Nnawuo shares it into three. Seniority will used to determine who takes first. As we were arguing over who takes first and what we give to Nnawuo, Mama was returning from picking Palm fruits at a nearby bush. He stopped and asked what the problem was, another Boy who did not participate but senior to us all,started talking. As he was winding , Rebecca Sunday’s mum came too with some vegetables in her hand. She was exchanging pleasantries with Mama, about their last Nkwo meeting, when Nwagwa Silas’s Mum came around with one of her sisters, they were going to pick some palm fruits. These three women took over. To the young boy who wanted to talk Rebecca asked “did you go with them”? He answered no, and three women shouted him down and out with ; “owu ka nga ahara chu nta ka anaha eke” meaning the rule is only those that participated in the hunting can share the booty. They chased him away to the good pleasures of our team. Then they asked us to bring out something first for Nnawuo because he played roles though youngest among us, and we shared the rest equally and took according to seniority. Three mothers told us our seniority scale that day.
The need for this story is that Smart Adeyemi hunted in Kogi, for money of the people, while Okezie Ikpezu hunted same money from his own people in Abia.Like Udegbe my grand Dad would ask, let me Ask distinguished Senator Smart Adeyemi:
“A man who sits in his own house to count the yams in another man’s barn, what is his intention? Is he counting that if there wasn’t enough yams in the barn he will send some over to the man, or if he finds too many yams, will go there to take some? “
The only driver here with the Senator is greed and jealousy! Smart must think that Okezie has taken more booty than himself and was flounting it before the Senator. He should plan to get into Kogi Government house to take more as all they do in the place is to take , take and take to the shock of citizens of their individual States.
Senator Smart Adeyemi should stop counting for Abia people, he can neither take or add. He should stay on his lane!
I lived in Gboko, Benue State for about 2 years from 2012, and was always commuting between Gkoko and Abuja. Twice we were robbed along Kogi Road within Kogi State. The robbers would shoot into the air, and force buses to stop, take the queue of about 6 to 10 buses through Bush paths, where the rob, rape and run into the Bush leaving their victims devastated!
I experienced this two times within one year. I checked before writing this piece, same thing happens along that road till tommorow even with this distinguished Senator in power! Today it has become worse, they kidnapp and demand Ransome in addition to the usual robberies!
Security is a big issue in Nigeria today and , Abia is relatively safer than Kogi, any day any time, but for the foolery of collective five Governors of Igbo land, and even with their intransigence, there can never be any basis to compare any South East State with Kogi State.Senator Smart Adeyemi goofed.
Let this Senator remove the plank in his eyes before looking into the spec in eyes of Abia.
It can only be a poor game of distraction and show of shame,to personify a national calamity of lack of concern for the security failures under their watch, to be saying derogatory things about Abia Governor. Iam not amused by all these, and Iam not alone!
Distinguished Senator, that you gave so much time on the hallowed floor to defame the character of another, a sitting Governor insulting all in his constituency is least expected of you. People are really very dissapointed with this Senator!
Okezie Ikpeazu for starters, cannot share games with Smart Adeyemi, they did not hunt together.. Get it! As God would have it, things have turned so bad for Kogi now as I write. So Oga Senator, respect your self Sir.
Let me conclude with the second true life story, I title;
“Asi dikwa nga odi” my main message today, meaning Our seasonal Querrels Remain.
When we came back from Benin during the Biafran War. Papa went into farming and that meant that farm lands belonging to Udegbe will have to be recovered and shared to provide farming lands for returnees including Papa.This caused a lot of stress, quarells and fights over a few rows of ridges here and there among Umu Nna.Uncle Okonkwo was the closest to us at every piece of land.. So Papa and him will always shout and quarrel over one tree, some land or something.Planting season was always very tensed, but Mama and others other surviving wives of Udegbe will always caution us the children of the kindred family not to be involved, and to see all members of our kindred as one, our uncles.
This was the situation, when A big man of Nze na Ozor title died in Umuede Obibi. My paternal grand mother, hails from Umuede Obibi, and it was a big issue that Papa must lead a Mourning Party according the tradition. On the appointed day. Umu Ada gathered, with all the wives of our entire village, Two able bodies men held the Big Cow and went ahead the Party, followed by Youths, Umu Ada, wives,called Ndi Alutara Di.Papa and the Elders followed with their walking Sticks and Red Caps of all shapes. Some group of young ladies had gone in advance with the food, drinks, yam tubers, wrapper clothes, and many other items. They were shown a Canopy made from palm leaves where they Sat and waited for us to arrive. I was lucky with my little Uncle Nnawuo. We had the assignment to carry Papas Remington Double Barrel Gun. I had the gun, while Nnawuo had the packets of cartridges. We soon arrived and were taken to the second Canopy reserved for Ndi Nze na Ozor titled men.Our Party was listed when the advance party of young Women led by my Aunties Paulina and Nwaikpeghe had arrived. But a trouble maker who did not like Papa, called Dike a popular Butcher in our market went and tampered with the list, putting our party to the last. This came to the knowledge of Papa who went to confront Dike, and Uncle Okonkwo followed beckoning us to come with the gun, which I latter realized was for effects.Before Papa could say one word, Uncle Okonkwo snatched the unloaded gun from my hand with his left hand and using his right hand pointed straight into the nose of Dike, and opened up. He told him off and commanded that our party be called next and it was so. It was awesome. All the dance, to a traditional beat called “Odi Ike ” meaning “drum of power”.. It had a Particular dance step, and Okonkwo with Our Eldest Uncle Dick Ezeaku, did great justice to the dance steps. Another Uncle who knew the Odike dance steps was Onyebinama.
We finished, ate, drank and left for home.The next morning, Papa took one Fowl, 2 bottles of Schnapps dry gin, and with Dick Ezeaku we went to thank Uncle Okonkwo.After the usual banters about the previous day at Umuede, Okonkwo presented Kola and dry gin. They took. Papa introduced the matter and handing over the items we brought,thanked him, dashed outside released two gun shots in appreciation and joined us back in the Obi.
Uncle Okonkwo stood up and gave Dick Ezeaku the usual Nze hand shake, and did same to Papa.He then cleared his throat in a peculiar loud manner and said this after calling Papa by his name; ” Mathias, you are hard working, and that is what I love about you.You misunderstand me and that is what I hate about you. I have come to the conclusion that the Benin lifestyle has made you forget what we do in Igbo land among brothers. Quarelling over one line of ridge, one tree, or a shrub here and there is part of the fun during planting season. We do it to let off heat, but Mathias you take this things to heart.I stood for you yesterday and will do so any day, because I have my love for you, and your father Udegbe did same for me….Mathias, have you not heard Metu Mara ibe? Meaning through quarells a man reveals what a brother have hidden in his heart! Yes!…. Eem, ehm, in any case, “asi dikwa nga odi!” Meaning,” expect quarells during the next planting season”. With those concluding words, Uncle Okonkwo requested or ordered that we, myself and Nnawuo come back in the evening to help carry pots of Palm Wine to the market for him.They laughed and we left.
The message here is that my Brother, Okezie Ikpeazu should expect that Asi dikwa nga odi, between me and him over many issues bothering on IPOB. As a Lawyer, and Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s Governor. He must always remember that a true Igbo Man and Son, does not spit at his brother, because that spit falls back on the owners chest. A word they say is good enough for the wise. We will deal with Smart Adeyemi, and put him back to his lane. Same treatment to all of them rabble rousers in Abuja, but, Asi dikwa nga odi.