OHAFIA: WHERE IS THE UNITY, PEACE, AND LOVE OUR FOUNDING FATHERS SHARED? Pt. 1

This aged long totemic peace and love as some of the statutes which were boldly written in the mind of the “Mben” (Ohafia). It is an insignia of office worn by the Ohafians and thereby depicting a clarion call to arrest a particular situation in dire need of attention.

During the sojourn of the “Mben” {the trouble maker} got wind of a clandestine plan by Isieke – Ibeku people. He {Ukoha} alerted the ohafia people about the planned attack against them. As a result, Ohafia guards were deployed all over the Mben settlements and thereby laying wait for swift action.

In addition, it was that same Unity, Peace, and Love which prevailed amongst the Mben that necessitated the tongue – twister coined by the fleeing Ohafia people after the incidence of the collapsed string of calabashes “Aka metu Ngu, Ngu metu oba, oba me kpogoro; Uso su, Mben, su leru, leru n ’uso,  Mben n’ uso”.

The meaning of the riddle would have been divulged to our envisaged aggressor (Isieke – Ibeku people) by saboteurs who might be in the midst of the Mben; (God forbid). Thank God that harmony was still its apex then.

With reminiscence, our forefathers were sustained by the spirit of oneness blend with mutual co-existence and brotherhood during the great search for a permanent home. Akpo Uku, Atita Akpo, Ezema Atita, Uduma Ezema, and their cohorts took us throughout our odyssey for Hebrew to the final and present habitation called Ohafia.

Plato, the Greek philosopher regarded as the founder of western philosophy stated that “The rules that make society possible also make men good.”Thus, the tripod vision and mission (Unity, Peace and Love) for Ohafia triggered the needed fillips for the two adventures (Mben), Eyen and Okpu Uma (Possibly Okpu Mma) who was a blacksmith improvised an Axe which was used to fell a gargantuan tree (Unru) across the Igwu stream at Abam; and “Mben” safely crossed the water.

In another development, right from the ages, Ohafia is also identified with valor. This remarkable feat would have been in shambles if not for the Unity, Peace, and love which had held sway. Heroes of Ohafia during the age of battle valor were numerous and they emanated from a various section of Ohafia. These acts of gallantry range from a number of slave or human skulls that a warrior brought back from a battle. Bravery exhibited in self-defense and that of the entire security of Ohafia. Above all these lavish of velour is concomitantly debunking Ohafia man as a lame duck or an ujo.

Similarly, the incidence of slave trading (date 15th and 19th century) which was added and abetted by the early European adventures in Nigeria, had the Aro’s as the main agents of the slave dealer. Succinctly, Ohafia warrior served as mercenaries in the acquisition of slaves.

The crave for slaves by the Aros baited Ohafia belligerently with Nteje, Ngwo, Ukpati, Ibibio, Agbaja, Ogegu, in ukwa of Abia State e.t.c. Even at that, the glory and honor of our forefathers were not smeared upon. Their gregarious nature had that summit of bond, Unity, Peace, and Love which materialized positive result.

Furthermore, the spirit of ones kindled the filial duty of “Amogu oloko ikpo” of Amuma Ohafia who volunteered and succeeded in feeding seven Dane guns with a bullet and gun-powder standing on a nest of soldier ants (Odu Ijere). This was when the Nike people (in the present day Enugu State) aided by an esoteric medicine man which made the Nike people impregnable by the Ohafia warriors with its attendant and considerable casualties on the Ohafia side. As expected, the  Nike strong man and the entire Nike force were crushed by Ohafia warriors by that single act of bravery by “Amogu Oloko Ikpo”.

Pertinently, “the histories of today are antiquities for tomorrow”. Hence, Chief Eke Kalu Uwaoma’s progressive instincts ensured by an embodiment of Peace, Unity, and Love of Ohafia is no fairy tale. And it would forever remain evergreen in the minds of Ohafians. There were desertion and devastation of Elu Village which is the nucleus of Ohafia (it should be noted that what affects Elu is believed to have affected the entire Ohafia clan). This ugly scenario arose from the excesses of a Sierra – Leonean Court Clerk known as Vincent and his Superior Major Cockburn, as the District Commissioner stationed at Bende.

It should be pointed out clearly that the Court Clerk locked up two Age Grades of Elu in a tight cell. This degrading insolence and brutal episode cannot be entertained as Elu people freed their men amidst the destruction of the courtyard. It culminated to a clash between Elu and the armed policemen acting on the orders of the District Commissioner (Major Cockburn). This episode was known as the “Ajagirigwe Stampede” – (Uso Ajagirigwe) of August 1909.

By – Negro Chukwuma Uma

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