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Saturday, February 03, 2018

The gods might be confused 2

Written by: Muoka Chibuzor G

He whom the gods love dies young.

The people of Okonta could barely explain what was wrong in the land, for the height of unproductivity has become unbearable and bothersome. But the king was acting indifferently and the people were in search of panaceas so that the scorching sun rays of the perilous days would not dry them up.

Igbo aged men who always appeared on the native attire of a wrapper tied gracefully to the waist, a red cap with hen feathers placed carefully on the head, a walking stick to avoid stumbling, and a chewing sticks to ensure frequent discussions and unrushed conclusions; came together and decided it was time to put square pegs in square holes, round pegs in round holes, and not the other way round, for the troubles in the land cannot be condoned any more.

For the past 15 years, we plant and our crops don't do well, our animals no longer live long till maturity, our rivers are running dry, hunger and starvation has attacked our population and we dwindle with mysterious illnesses, our women die in labour, and our men can no longer wage wars effectively, what shall we do for the gods to favour us, for it appears we have been cursed? Obidike who was a titled man and one of the oldest in the land, asked his fellow titled men and villagers as they gathered for the Umunna meeting, a meeting where children emerging from the same ancestral father deliberated on issues of great concern, to ensure peace and stability.

With Obidike's question in the minds of the people, there were low keyed murmurs and uncoordinated bodily movements. The hearts of men were beating faster and bleeding profusely in pains but they decided to murmur and not speak.  Murmurings have never solved problems, speaking and action do, when everyone is talking then no one is listening, Obidike reminds them.

He further spoke proverbially, a man who shies away from speaking up but rather whispers about seen evils, shall cry out unrestrained before unforeseen evils. Alas! No one will be there to wipe his tears and the evil will consume him. Obidike with his wealth of experience in life has remained a formidable reservoir of unadulterated knowledge in the land of Okonta, thus when he speaks the people listens.

From a distance at the back, a young man in his late twenties stood up with confidence and was waving his hands so high for everyone to see. Sit down! This is a meeting of personalities, his two friends Jidenna and Okpara cautioned, but the young man waved persistently.
And who is that? Asked the old men who sat in the front seats, Obidike immediately urged him to come up and speak to the people.

The young man struggled to wade his way through the crowd, and as he moved, everyone turned around to look and assess him critically. This man is too young to address us, they said among themselves, but the young man was not intimidated nor deterred by their mixed body reactions, and neither was Obidike moved by their egoistic assertions because he believed that the truth mostly comes from unsoiled hands, whether young or old.

When the young man got to the rostrum from which Obidike spoke from, he said;
I am Obiakor the son of Ijere the palm wine taper, whoever doesn't know my late father in this village has never drunk palm wine for the past twenty-four years. I have not come here to enlighten you people about my energetic father who craved for the happiness of the people nor to praise him, but rather I have come before you all present to talk about a man, a father who has left the people his supposed children debased and helpless.

Obiakor paused and looked at the people; he discovered that they were eager to discover his bone of contention. He continued thus;
If one says the truth he dies, if one does not say the truth he dies as well, therefore its better one says the truth and let's know where the problem is coming from before one dies.
We have slept for so long, how then are we different from the dead? Perhaps we are now the living dead, and nothing separates us from the beasts of the Obande evil forest. Cursed is the man who forcefully takes another man's wife, and commits unspeakable atrocities towards the people. It appears too late though to tell king Esema the truth about his misdeeds, but the truth must be told because it is needed and not wanted. If one man cooks for the people, the food will be finished but if the people cook for one man, he will definitely not finish the food.

Obinigwe one of our amiable high priests, a man whom we loved so much has been incarcerated for the past 27 years and we have been going about our businesses without seeking for his freedom. We have forgotten how he protected us severally from the attacks of Obima people with his wisdom, my father told me everything. This truly shows that no man in adversity has friends, but all hope is not lost, for when there is life there is hope. Do we deceive the gods or ourselves? 

Ojiabaliahu the god that sees in the dark, might not be on our side anymore and no appeasement would please him anymore.
We suffer the consequences of our persistent muteness in the face of evil, and silence is absolute consent. Our representative the king has failed us, why then will the gods not punish us?

Obiakor paused and immediately there was uproar and abrupt disorderliness among the people as most supported him, while a few criticized him. One of the King's strong ally called Ifenna spoke out vehemently, Obiakor you must be mentally incapacitated! He roared. You must be beheaded for insulting the king! Do you think you can turn the people against the king? Young man! You have bitten more than you can chew; get out of our presence with you chaotic insights! Your sayings are puerile, they hold no water and speaks no volume.

Obidike was impressed with Obiakor's crystal clear words, his firm resolve and outspokenness, but he still harboured atoms of fear as he remembers the death of Egwuatu, thus he immediately ordered Obiakor to go back to his seat. While Obiakor left the rostrum, the people made a clear path for him, hailing him for his unprecedented bravery.  You are truly the son of Ijere! His two friends cheered him, but be careful they also cautioned him.

Obidike said to the people, it is true that the king cannot be ruled out of our problems but yet we all are the architect of our woes.
Blasphemy! How dare you gather the people to slander the king? You must have orchestrated the unacceptable events occurring in this meeting. Ifenna and other king supporters accused Obidike.

The King must hear this! Obiakor the son of Ijere the palm wine taper has spoken blasphemously, and Obidike the brother of Amadi the father of Udara has supported the slanderer. This revolutionary movement must be stopped! Ifenna spoke in anger as he left the meeting with his supporters in haste while heading straight to the king's palace.

To be continued….

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