The Oh!-hafias : A historical overview of a people branded by cultural heritage, geographical location, and social values…
From way back in history amongst the Ohafians, a community of warriors, exist a festival known as ‘Nma-agu” (War Dance). “Nma-Agu” is also called “Ikpirikpe ogu” or “Iri-aha, a famous cultural heritage of the Ohafia community. Brave warriors are recognized and honored by the community with the war dance as they victoriously returned from the war front.
The gallant war dancers move their feet swiftly and meticulously, in the rhythm dictated by the “Ikpirikpe” (drummer), quickly responding to the tones suggested by the horn piper (Opu). The war dancer’s costume has various significance. First is the ‘Okpu-agu” (war cap) knitted with red white colors symbolizing a hero of laudable achievement. Next is the “Abuba-ugo” (eagle’s feather) attached to it, also signifying greatness. The black short muffler with white dotted spots represents a medal for gallantry. All these instruments have, in their symbols a way of communicating to a core Ohafia man the situation of events at a particular time.
The Ohafia people are educated, civilized, and are endowed with unique ideas which should be harnessed for the mutual benefit of all.
To our intellectual contributors and guest writers like Prof. E. U. L. Imaga (PHD) UNN, Prof. Kalu Uka (PHD) UNIUYO, Mazi Obuba Igu, Mr. Chukwuma A. Uma (Esq)
QUICK FACTS ABOUT OHAFIA
The founding father of Ohafia is Ezema Atita
Children of Ezema Atita are Five (5) Namely:
Ama Ezema – Son
Ukpai Ezema – Son
Ututu Ezema – Son
Uduma Ezema – ..Son
Ibuo Ezema – Daughter
The first settlement of Ohafia is Ugwungbo in Elu Ohafia
The Traditional Capital of Ohafia is Elu Ohafia
SEASONS IN OHAFIA
Okochi – Dry Season (Nov. – April)
Udumini – Rainy Season (April – Sept)
Uguru – Harmattan (Dec. – Jan.)
AGE GRADE SYSTEM
This is used to groom or bring together, people born at a particular period and is usually distinguished from the other Age Grades with a period of 3 years interval.
OHAFIA TRADITIONAL DANCES
Men’s dance Women’s dance
Iriaha (Ohafia war Dance) Okomisu
Ekpe with masquerade Ohuwa
Ekpe (Okonko) Aggrey
IKORO: Used to praise and honor for great achievement
OGELE: Used for information dissemination and to make music
EKWE: Used to call for a call to Emergency gathering
IKPIRIKPE: Highest Women’s Disciplinary body
OMU: Restrictive and warning symbol
OYAYI: Trophy for display in honor of men who have achieved the highest feat in society.
OPU: Instrument blew for music, a clarion call, war ……
Omume iro Uduma – March
Easter Season – April
Omume iri iji – September
Christmas Season – December
CHRISTIANITY AND DEVELOPMENT
Before the advent of Christianity into Ohafia, through the Church of Scotland Mission (now the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria) on 11th November 1911, the people of Ohafia were ferocious (headhunters) who excelled in intertribal wars. Diseases were rampant, twin babies and their mothers were not allowed to live. With the arrival of the Church of Scotland Mission, Church buildings and schools sprang up all over the place. Right now, a good measure of ignorance, superstition, and disease has been wiped out. The Ohafia man, who was dreaded for his valor in inter-tribal wars, and skilled in vices has been mellowed and transformed into an honest, intelligent and friendly person.
OHAFIA PEOPLE AND THEIR CHERISHED MORAL VALUES
The Ohafia people are part of the core Igbo people of Nigeria. According to Prof. Ben .O. Nwabueze, the Ohafia people as of Igbo people have a zeal for self-improvement and modernity through education.
His spirit of enterprise, adventure and competition have found ample self-expression in the Nigerian community where he takes advantage of the free mobility of people, free enterprise system, peace and security afforded by modern government. With these, they moved out of their’ forest home’ and soon established themselves in various kinds of business across the country. The Ohafia people were very strong in the education sector; with an Ohafia man Prof. Eni Njoku being the pioneer Vice-chancellor in the University of Lagos. In general, only a few other Nigerian groups could compete with the Igbo’s on equal terms and be able to stand their ground. Unfortunately, the Igbo’s man’s success in education and trade has inclined him towards’ noisy exhibitionism, over assertiveness, overconfident pride and too-know air leading him to have a patronizing and condescending attitude towards the less successful communities among whom they settled. The later are despised and mocked to their face for not being as successful. For all his, the Igbo’s were and are justifiably resented and this has led to their being attacked and killed and their properties looted across the country, often times with the government’s connivance.
Today the Igboman, nay the Ohafia-man should be wiser to learn that discretion is a better part of valor. For this, we need to imbibe and practice cherished traditional and moral Christian values.
- Mutual respect among all the citizens irrespective of their religious or ethnic affiliations.
- Avoidance of attitudes and practices which subvert and undermined social love and constitutional rights of others.
- Readiness for service and sacrifice for the welfare of the country when situations so country when situations so demand.
- The recognition of the truth that authority at all level and in all forms is a sacred societal trust to be exercised with probity and accountability and for the people’s welfare.
To sustain the moral momentum of the Ohafia (Igbo man) there is need for exercising the faithful moral principal namely – faithful, hope, love, mercy, righteousness, trustfulness, peace, loyalty, humanity impartiality, kindness, courage, tolerance, equality, discipline, justice, accountability, unity, power and authority.
Brief comments on a few of these moral principles are in order beginning with faith.
Faithfulness: Faith in God (Chukwu Okike) implies unquestionable confidence and trust in God. As long as belief influences conduct, so long will a confident trust in God yield a godly behavior.
Hope: Hope is hope in God’s ability to offer us a future. As individuals and communities hope procedures confidence, patience, assurance and a lessening of tension.
Love Love is an indispensable virtue in human relations. His finest expression fines fulfillment in the Christina idea of love as expressed in first Corinthians chapter thirteen. Here the attributes of love are spelled out as patience, faithfulness, hopefulness, humanity, gentleness tolerance, and endurance.
Discipline: This embodies such ideas as self-control, obedience, loyalty, humanity, patience, commitment, self-respect, justice, sincerity, and fidelity. Disciplined people have respect for orderliness, fairness, equality, and justice. Every community needs disciplined people to be able to maintain law and order.
Unity – This implies oneness, togetherness, wholeness, Ohafia people need to the United for united we shall stand, divided will fall.
Honesty – This manifests in truthfulness, sincerity, integrity, and fairness. Honesty implies the absence of deceitfulness, dishonesty, and disloyalty.
In the final analysis, the challenges of exercising moral virtue in our private and public life are to aspire to overcome evil with good, to overcome darkness with light. There is a vital need in our time for us to take sides with the above moral virtues.