Today’s churches and their bizarre names

wonder


The Pentecostal church in Nigeria has no doubt, come of age. Today, many Pentecostals stand at the same level with the older orthodox like the Catholic, Anglican, Methodist and others. But with this development has also crept into the church, a strange new phenomena, that of configuration. For there is presently an explosion in the number of churches, and the new ones springing up daily seem to have run out of nomenclatures to designate them. The result is the influx of churches with names, from bizarre to funny, to outrightly unbelievable names. For instance, when the reporter was first told of the existence of a church called “Jesus no dey Fuckup Ministries” in Benin City, he scoffed at the idea. But coming face-to-face with some of these churches, like ‘Jehovah Sharp Sharp Ministries’, in FESTAC Town, Lagos have since changed this position.

In the heart of Ekosodin, the largest off-campus hostel community for University of Benin, in the loneliest area of the village lies a shack with a white flag and red cross on it. At first glance, one would think it is the home of a juju priest, but two large posters with Jesus on them revealed that the grounds were supposed to be anointed by the spirit of the living God. On a yellow cloth banner were clearly printed these words “Meet with the spiritual guru master, Evang TB Michael, alias Urgent Solution. It was like a marriage of Indian Hindu ministries, TB Joshua and juju priest and all. The place was deserted, but the earth floor was well swept, indicating that the evangelist was serious about his business.

A survey around the country revealed that Benin City is not alone in these bizarre names. Up north, right in Jos is the ‘City of Vengeance’, where faithful give their enemies, who no doubt are usually witches the fresh fish treatment- point and kill! But that’s not the only church boasting of the fresh-fish treatment, as Jesus Fire Ministry, Asaba also has point and kill as its theme. What’s more, the pastor in their poster is shown with a catapult, aiming at a black cat. Then comes another point and kill church, this time in Abuja. It shows the pastor in three places, dressed like a soldier, and armed with a pistol. But what’s more, were pictures of Hollywood movie actors armed with guns, including Arnold Swarzenegger with two guns. The pastor must love Hollywood action movies.

The Mega Church in Abuja also has dreadful plans for the devil. In its poster, the pastor is armed with a horse whip, popularly known as koboko, and is flogging a red devil. The poster advised the faithful to ‘come with their kobokos’, and ended by saying that God should punish devil. Another poster advertising a church programme showed a pastor literally armed with a cutlass. The programme, tagged ‘Radical Night for Jesus’, showed the pastor looking very threatening, and one may wonder whether it was aimed at frightening people away rather than attract.

‘Mountain of Swallowing Problems Ministry’ is another church. One only needs read the signpost to know that his problems are to be swallowed. Only it did not state whether it is the pastor or Jesus who will do the swallowing. Another bizarre name for a church is the ‘Guided Missiles Ministry’, which reminds one of the era of missiles during the Iraqi-Kuwait uprising in the 90s. Located in the heart of Lagos, the church would have fitted a country like Sudan where rebels have refused to stop aiming missiles.

One which would send readers to titters is a poster roughly written with a coloured marker. In very bad English, it read “Holy Japhet Munistrys”. It stated that all days are for God’s work, and spelt out the costs for each work of God- ‘bamutism (baptism)-N200, anoiting(anointing)-N250, deliverance-N400, special prear (prayer)-N150, ordinary praer-N100, and ended by stating that ‘donations are happily received’ in capital letters. However, this other poster did not look like its real. It read ‘Fire, Power and Thunda (thunder) Efangelist (evangelist) Mynistrey (ministry)’, and it came with a price list as follows: ‘anonyting power-N1,500; deliverance-N1000 per demon; strong demon-N5000;miraculous-N5000;receipt(receive) husband-N10, 000;receipt wife N5000; born shildren (children):twins-N20,000; boy/girl-N10,000;receipt job-N50,000;uk visa-N5,000 pouns(pounds); us visa-N10,000 dullars (dollars)’.But it was the last sentence with an asterisk that cast doubts whether this was a serious poster. It read ‘dozen price dey o’.

Another backdrop also announced the name of a church as ‘Elshaddai shall not Die’. However, on closer inspection, the reporter was shocked to learn that the programme was ‘powered’ by Viagra, Yem-kem and St Remy, products associated with sex and alcohol.

One other poster invited single ladies, stating that God is offering 1000 husbands. They were probably up for grabs. To buttress their point, several good-looking men were shown on the poster. Yet another cried “My father my father, release my money!”

Another church signpost sounds like an advice- “Run for your Life Chapel”, and one may wonder where the members should run to. In the city of Port Harcourt is the church “Laboratory Church of Christ, and one can’t help wondering whether the pastor was not successful as a surgeon, and decided to try his hands on spiritual surgery. Probably keying into the fuel subsidy problems of 2012, Word Chambers Church, Ibadan decided to make a sticker titled ‘My Year of Divine Subsidy’. Another outlandish poster advertising for Dr Fireman’s church is one which reads ‘All the HOT girls in Lagos attend Dr Fireman’s church apart from you!’ To balance the poster is the photo of a snazzily-dressed Dr Fireman with a flock of really hot-looking girls laughing at the reader. The disturbing question is, has it become a sort of brothel? But Dr Fireman has always been associated with such controversies. In 2008, a poster of his had church read ‘The God of Dollars- when much money comes like a dream’.

But Winners’ Chapel, Choba Port Harcourt beats them all. Its poster is telltale that whoever is the pastor is also a die-hard Chelsea fan, as Chelsea players are clearly shown on it, celebrating with the champions cup.

Daily Newswatch could not also help coming across the poster of another church. It is called ‘The First Nigerian Church of the Crazy Mother’, and states at the bottom that they devote themselves to the crazy mum. Don’t ask who this crazy mum is please. Such church names have become inexhaustible, but some other churches Daily Newswatch made some effort at gathering their names are: ‘Go and tell Ahab that Elijah is here Ministries – Benin; God is Real Ministry. motto: “Jesus no get muscle but he get power”; Jesus The Landlord, We The Relaxing Pew Ministry- Port Harcourt; Best Spot In The Land of God Church – Apapa Lagos; Trigger Happy Ministry. Motto- “always firing the devil’; Kasabubu Church of God – Ibadan; Jesus Knows His Children Ministry – Benin; Seven Thunders of Jesus – Abuja; Face to Face Ministry- Kogi; Angels on Fire Chapel of Peace; Liquid Fire Ministries (Suleja, Niger State; By Fire By Fire Ministry; David Killed Goliath Ministry (Kaduna); House of Jehova’s Padawans (TransAmadi, PH); My Brother is a Christian Church Of God- Benin; High Tension Ministry; Devil go hear am Jesus Ministry- Warri, Delta; Accredited Church of God – Abuja; Chukwudi & Son Evangelical Ministry, Aba; Power Pass Power Church Of The Mountain Ministry Incorporated; Ministry Of The Unclad Wire – Bayelsa State; God’s Mennonite Church; Hurricane Miracle Ministry; Healing Tsunami Ministry; Satan in Trouble Ministry; Fire for Fire Ministry; Fist of Fury (NTA Road, Port Harcourt).

MY EXPERIENCE IN NIGERIA, by Onyema Uche

002_lagos_nigeriaLet me start by stating that prior to my brief visit, I have been very doubtful with the possibility of Nigeria becoming better in the future. Each time cynicism gets a better part of me, my friend Okafor C. Udoka would always say something that would keep the light of hope burning though very deem. Now I know for sure that Nigeria will not be good not to talk of better in this generation nor in the next 100 years. Now before you crucify me read this and see if in your patriotism you have been a victim of exploitation all your life in Nigeria.
1. Impression is everything. On arrival at the Muritala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, I was shocked to my marrows and that shock dampened my emotions and I never recovered from it till now. If you travel you would agree with me that every nation brings out their best at the airports. Impression is everything because through the first people you saw on arrival you begin to imagine how nice the people in the city would be. You see curvy ladies, smiling faces of young men well dressed and welcoming with a smile. Clean and beautiful women, always smiling showing you their willingness to assist you should you need help.
I was shocked to see first the heat at the airport arrival part. No air-condition-the heat that greeted you first is a minus. Then the first group of Nigerians you would see are people looking like kwashiokor survors. Ugly, malnutrition, dirty with parched trousers and dress. Some looking like baby lizards, baby monkeys, sickly no smiles and no friendliness in their faces. I perceived the image of a dirty, poor stricken, and hungry people. My expectations dropped to zero. Unfortunately I saw every Nigeria lady on the streets as dirty, and unkempt. I know I might be wrong but that is how the images I saw at the airport affected me. I tried very hard to overcome this perception but I could not. It is very bad that at our airports our best are touts, beggars, loafers, baby lizards, and those who have never smiled before and never have reason to be happy or express happiness.
As I was cleared to enter my country, while waiting for my luggage to arrive, I went to get a trolley. I wanted a big one that would carry all my bags. I was told the big trolley is 2,500 naira, and the small ones was 250 naira. That was the first trouble. The second after that I was so pissed. On my way out I met about four ugly looking ladies dressed in customs uniform. They stopped me. The leader asked to search my bags. I said go ahead and opened the bags for her. As she was flipping through my stuff, I said to her, ”ma’m can I ask you a question?, “Sure ask” she said. Then I asked, ”are you a thief’? ”No o. shebi I’m doing my job”, her hands in the air. I asked her, and what the hell is your job? To violate my privacy and flipping through my personal stuff? IS THAT YOUR JOB? Now all of them had become angry. I continued, I have passed through all security, certified to go and here you are searching me again and throwing my stuff. I said you have no right to do this and I believe you are a thief. This how people get robbed at the airport. You are searching people to see who has what so you can send your men to check me out. At this point my voice was loud and people had gathered. Other visitors were in support of me and they too started complaining swearing and cursing. I told the woman to bring her boss, the person she is working for. Her boss came and denied sending anybody to search people. He apologized and promised to handle the situation. I planned to spend 2days in Lagos, but the experience made everything repulsive to me.
2. NIGERIANS EXPLOITATED PEOPLE.
In Abuja and even in my 12hours stay in Lagos, you can perceive the exploitation of the people by organizations. The PHCN, NEPA, forcing citizens to pay for services they did not receive. It does not matter whether you had electricity or not, you must pay your bill. There is no government agent to complain to. Your government does not care about you. The telephone companies are there robbing everybody through poor services. No one to complain to. No government to protect the people from exploitations. Are you using public transport to work? Your government has no plans for you. You are not considered when the roads were constructed, so no pedestrian crossing. You are at the mercy of drivers. Bus drivers are free to pack you like the slave ship five in a seat meant for three. You can’t complain. Every car, keke napep or motorcycle that passes you blows the horn into your ears. Every minute it’s all pee peem peeeee peem peem pee pee pee. Haba, are passengers that daft?
Where and how would Nigeria change? I doubt and I sympathize with those who hope. There is no order or organization. Everybody is robbing everybody. The government is even robbing her citizens. I weep for the country called Nigeria. The worst of it all are the drivers. They are thoughtless and selfish. They have no respect for pedestrians. You make me the president today, the first thing I would do is seize the licenses of all Nigerians and no one gets it back till they go for a 4days driving school and passed it. It is horrible. Where do we start to make it better? Nowhere!

Onyema Uche writes from the United States.

NKEREFI: Underdevelopment killing Enugu’s food basket

Palm-OilThe people of Nkerefi, in Enugu State has decried the level of infrastructural underdevelopment being suffered by the community. The community, under the aegis of Nkerefi Youth Congress, the community lamented the utter neglect of the community by both the Federal Government and state. This was contained in a press statement signed by the group’s president Mr Chidiebere Onu and Secretary-General, Anih Monday-Diamond.
While welcoming the Enugu State Governor from his leave, they called on the Government to attend to their needs, which has become an urgent concern.
The four-page release stated that from the early 1960s, Nkerefi community, located in Nkanu East Local Council has been a major source of food items for the whole of the old Eastern Nigeria, which stretches from Anambra to Bayelsa State. It further stated that Enugu State is richer for Nkerefi, which is largely responsible for high quality yams, garri, palm oil, cocoyams, vegetables and other food condiments. It called on the governor, Sullivan Chime and Mr President, Goodluck Jonathan to come to their aid.
“Nkerefi is an agrarian community located in Nkanu East, a border town with Uburu, in Ebonyi State. It houses over 250, 000 people, including immigrant traders, cattle rearers from the North, and farmers. Nkerefi is a hardworking community and is responsible for over 30 percent of garri, palm oil, yam and cocoyams, and other food items produced in Enugu State. Despite the constant migration of young people away from rural communities, our people have stuck to their trade of providing food security in their own little way. Despite the fact that trailers come all the way from big markets in Enugu, Onitsha and Port Harcourt to buy foods from our market, our roads are in very bad state of disrepair. When the last administration of Chimaroke Nnamani was rehabilitating other roads in Nkanu East, ours, which is a border road with Ebonyi was the only neglected road. What was more painful was the fact that the old road scraped off, but nothing was done, and the result was dust, and mud spoiling motor vehicles driving into our community.
“Nkerefi, although with electric connections all over, has not had electricity in the past one year. What is the use of cables and poles without electricity? We also lack any form of pipe-borne water. The basic amenities needed by our community are lacking. Our people are basically farmers, but the lack of basic amenities make it quite difficult for us to focus. We are appealing on the good offices of the Federal and State Governments to come to our aid as we are being driven back into the stone age by lack of infrastructure”, the statement pleaded.

My take on FBI Most Wanted Nigerian Fraudster, Tobechi Onwuhara by Benedict Okoro

I read with depth of interest that Tobechi Enyinna Onwuhara has been apprehended by some security forces in Sydney after many years of his exploits in the world of cybercrime; which compelled a sitting American President in 2005 to declare him America’s most wanted person. By nomenclature Onwuhara as a name depicts an Igbo descent. Onwuhara means – ‘death has set me free’. This expounds his sojourn into freedom. Perhaps, his pursuit for economic freedom became a prolegomenon to hacking America’s classified individual bank status. There has been all manner of write ups on this subject. I solemnly respect the barrage of opinions that people have expressed on this matter; however, I part ways with all those who descended to pedestrian pelf in their argument that after all, he’s an Igboman and a Nigeria.

I do not hold brief for anyone, but let us remember that Onwuhara is no spirit, he worked with some people – Americans to loot their fatherland. Americans always make noise about their avowed commitment to their fatherland. Perhaps, those who connived with Onwuhara are aliens! I wonder why the FBI wrote only Onwuhara’s name, instead of e.g WHITE, GOLDIER, COSMAS & ONWUHARA WANTED BY FBI. What is wrong in putting it this way? My grouse became doubled on watching the Youtube version of the entire gambit where Nigeria, Nigeria and Nigeria kept being mentioned in episode. For what?

A single Nigerian CANNOT translate into Nigeria for Christ’s sake. This whole manipulation has got to stop, the idea of sending moles as Nigerian ambassadors to sensitive countries like US is the ensuing nightmare n harrowing experience that Nigerians pass through in this country. Americans have done worse things here! Where are we on the Haliburton fraud? There is no State in Nigeria that doesn’t use Lebanese to launder money, all in the name of construction companies; they are all branded whites by our functional illiterates. Today, the yellow man (Asians) has their prisons filled with Nigerians. This global insult on our senses MUST be resisted! The imperialists are the ancestors of the present day white man, yet we hold nothing against them.

Americans should be grateful that Onwuhara just woke them to the consciousness that their banking system is not a perfect one, thereby opening up avenues for improvement. Such is knowledge and it should b appreciated! Nigeria government should scout for Onwuhara and ensure he returns at the appointed time to help fix our banking system. Please we need such brains here. But how possible?

Okooro, a public analyst writes from Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.tobechi

‘God is not modern, and must be worshipped the ancient style’ -highpriest of Igbo

Ozo Okonkwo EzeaniThe origins of the Igbo people have been a most controversial subject right from the cradle. While some argue that Igbos are Jews who migrated away from Israel a long time ago, there are those who argue that Igbos are in fact, an autochthonous people. Their argument is that Igbos are the children of the earth, Ani, having sprung right from there. This class argues that all civilization, which has been proven to emanate from Africa, started with the people of the forest areas around the Niger, the Igbo. The word Igbo also means ‘Forest’, indicating that these people actually are forest people. One of such people is Okonkwo, the high priest of Igbo, the unknown God whom he claims created all things. According to him, Igbo lives in the deep recesses of the forests, called Offia-Adu, or the ‘Forest of Adu’. This forest, according to the high priest, is the missing ‘Garden of Eden’, where man was created. As he put it, the forest, and the entire Igboland are full of oracles dedicated to deities whom he stated were the original dwellers of Offia Adu when the world was created. They were with Adunnayi, the supreme God, when he created mankind: “Adu-nna ayi is who Jews mispronounce His name when they say ‘Adonai’. He is Igbo, and the sacred worship of Igbo has been copied by several different peoples all over the world to establish religions. The one true worship is that of Igbo. The Igbo people are the original children of the Most High, not the cult called Judaism, he argues. Okonkwo Ozurumba is an Eze Ani and Ozo, a title which means a highpriest and knight of Igbo Order, which he says is not even a title, ‘because it is the gods that chooses one, you don’t just desire to become a priest and become it. You can desire to become an ozo and the title will be given to you. I was chosen by the gods’, he stated. He also explained that Igbo means ‘forest’, and that it was God’s name which the forest bears, which the Igbo people, who lived with God started bearing as their name.
Ozor Okonkwo, Eze Ani and high priest of Igbo, the Forest God would have passed for an ordinary young man in the streets, had it not been for his traditional attire, which stands him out in the crowd. He is dressed in an ishi agu top, an okpu agu- Igbo traditional shirt and cap, as well as a walking stick, apart from carrying a dark brown bag made entirely from real crocodile skin, with menacing teeth. He would not disclose his identity, or the reason for his outstanding outfit to the curious reporter. However, he agreed to speak ‘when the time is ripe’, after disclosing that he is the high priest of Igbo, which he said is the supreme God. ‘Igbo created the whole universe, and Igbo people are the real people of God, not those Jews who claim what they are not,’ he retorts.
The Garden of Eden
Then one day, he invites Daily Newswatch to his hometown, all the way away in Agbaja-Umumba-Ndiuno, Enugu State. It was a thick forest, housing hundreds of shrines, which in times past used to be temples. These shrines are dedicated to several different deities, associates of Adu, the God. On the lengthy way leading to Adu’s own shrine, the priest, who was accompanied by a very old man, later identified as Mbadugha Eme gave the reporter the story of the forest, which he described as Offia Adu, or the forest of Adu. “This is the place of creation, and because it looks too ordinary, people find it hard to identify. They expect to see a different kind of place. But it was right here in this forest that man was made to come into being. This is the Forest of Eden”. “There is the shrine of Nwangele, and then, the one you look at here is Nono, the wife of Adu, who is the queen. She is the first ‘nono’, and that is the right pronunciation for the word ‘loolo’, which queens bear”, and so, he kept on, pointing out the several different gods and goddesses which he explained, have been abandoned by the Igbo people who are supposed to serve them. She is the queen whose Mother Image has been replicated for hundreds of thousands of years, from Greece to Egypt. Over 50 deities have shrines in the forest. “Igbo people are suffering today, and are always in servitude because they abandoned their father and God, Igbo. They threw away their Ikenga, and they must suffer for that. My only annoyance is that the people of Igbo do not know who they actually are. Igbo is the son of Adu. So whether you see Igbo as a place, or a people, the basic thing about Igbo is that He is the son of Adu, and Adu is the universal deity. He is the God that came and planted himself as seed yam on earth, the Creator. That is what Adu is. It is from this Adu that humanity and all things came into existence. A lot of stories have been told on how humanity came to be, but I want you to know that they are all the story of Adu and Igbo that people are telling because of their personal interests and the gains they want by telling the story to suit them. But all the stories you have been hearing from Christianity, to Hinduism, to Judaism, to Islam, are all the stories of Igbo”.
There was a circular mound raised around an area, with an entrance which is without a gate. Within here, there is a collection of several stones raised as an altar. The stone altar reminds one of the stones which the Israelites used as a memoriam to god after their passage through River Jordan. The highpriest explained that the stones actually are a memoriam, nothing more. Although this is supposed to be the Holy of Holies, there is no image of any deity. All around the area, there are large and small trees, and in several places are earthen pots submerged into the ground. Each contain water. Close to the stones, is the holy presence of Adu, where Okonkwo performs a solemn ceremony of food offering.
Worshipping at the ‘Holy of Holies’
He pulls out the horn of a deer, (mpi-atu) and uses it to touch all the sacred areas in the grove, and all the stones. Then he does a sign of the cross, which is a little different from what we know. “You must have noticed that I perform ceremonies similar to what Christians do in church. All the modes of worship of Christianity and other religions are just offshoots of the worship of Adu, who is Chukwu Abiama. After doing the so-called sign of the cross-the forehead, two shoulders, heart area, didn’t you see me touching my knees and feet? That is to tell you that this is the original. It has been like this before the advent of the early missionaries in Igboland. You saw what I used-it’s not a cross, but the mpi atu. What that mpi atu means is that whenever I am performing any holy ritual, I use the mpi atu to purify the environment by touching ever corner of the shrine, then I purify myself by doing what you saw.”
He offers nine yams to the deity, from which a piece is cut, and roasted. A cock too is offered, and its throat is slashed, while the blood is spilled to the ground. Kola nuts are also presented at the altar, and palm wine too. “The yams are offered because yam is God. God offered himself in the form of yam to man. Then the kolanut is the food of the holy communion between humans and God. We eat kola and palmwine to renew our relationship with him all the time. It was a routine ceremony of paying obeisance to the deities and the ancestors, and communing with them. Contrary to what we have been taught, God dwells in the earth, not in the sky. That is why, when an Igbo man is doing ofo, if he doesn’t want to talk much, he says, ‘Aja Ana’. Aja Ana represents everything, because whatever you do, you do it on the earth”, he stated.
When Daily Newswatch enquired why the priest stuck to the ancient methods of worship instead of modifying to suit the times, he stated that God cannot be modified, neither are his ways: “You mean I should adopt the Christian method of igo ofo (prayers), when I have come to restore what was suppressed? Let me ask you; is God, Chukwu Abiama modern? Modern things mean things invented by man. How could you leave what God has made to be for what God has created himself? To go modern is impossible, it’s defying the orders of Chukwu Abiama to follow man for personal gains. So, the process is thus-the white chalk, called nzu represents peace, the brightness of the day. When you are using nzu for ofo, you are letting the Gods know that you have come to them in peace. Someone who is not a man of peace that touches nzu has invoked trouble upon himself. So evil people do not use nzu during igo ofo. on the other hand, the reddish one is called odo. It is also for peace. It is meant to cool whatever is hot. So whatever we do in culture, we always ensure everybody is at peace with his God. No priest will use anything that is negative to offer ofo prayers. If you use it, you have dug your own grave yourself. The issue of the kolanuts is, you finish offering the nzu and odo, then you pray with the kola. Then you break and offer a lobe or two to the deity, indicating that you are eating together, that you are having a continuous communion with God.”
Adonai, Charles Darwin and creation of man
Ozo Okonkwo however, was skeptical about telling the history of the creation, according to the adherents of Igbo. He however gave a brief, revealing that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was almost right, in the sense that God made man from monkeys and Himself. He stated: Even though I may not say much now, I will explain some things to you. The Almighty God Himself is Adu. It is this same Adu that the Jews adopted His name as Adonai. He is the same whom the Muslims adopted as Allah. When Adu planted Himself as seed yam, a lot of things were happening. The yam is God but people do not know. The theory of evolution according to Charles Darwin is the story of Adu and Igbo.
In ancient times, right here in the forest of the gods, where the seat of Adu is placed, during those days, there were several species of monkeys who lived here. Whatever feast the community people hold, these monkeys, chimpanzees and gorillas will participate. It is these monkeys who metamorphosed into humans. You must have seen the whitish skin I used when praying at the oracle. It is the skin of the monkey specie. Before I was able to establish myself as the high priest of Igbo in Adu, I had to wear the old body of man, which is the body of a monkey. I used that skin to purify myself, and that was when my old personality returned, giving me the eligibility to take up the position of the high priestship of Adu.
It is a mystery. When you ask questions in culture and other religions, it is Adu and Igbo you are talking about. The gorillas were in fact the people who can be said to be the Adam living in the Garden of Eden, although the story in the Bible is quite different. But this forest is the forest of creation, where God made man. The Christian Bible stated that God said ‘let us make man in our own image’. It was the almighty Chukwu Abiama who came and planted Himself as Adu. He talking to Adu and the gorillas. You can see how the gorilla looks. Man has the physique of gorilla. People have been telling this story without understanding. So, ‘let us create man in our own image’, it was Chukwu Abiama, Adu and the gorilla who got together to do this. So Chukwu Abiama has His image is in Adu, and Adu has His image in gorilla. That is why they said, ‘let us create man in our own image, and in creating man, that man became ‘madu’- ‘maa-du’, meaning, ‘there is divinity’, that divinity in man. It is the same word that the English mispronounces as ‘man’. Man is an Igbo word which they have shortened and robbed of its true meaning. It is a Divine Word.”

A walk through Adonai’s Garden of Eden…in Nigeria

Image
Ozo Okonkwo Ezeani

Ozor Okonkwo, Eze Ani and High Priest is the priest of Igbo, the Forest God whom he claims is the father of the Igbo people, creator of all and supreme almighty God. In this interview with JUNGLE JOURNALIST, Okonkwo narrates the stories of the creation, right in the jungles in the heart of Igboland. He also explains that the origins of Christianity and Judaism are in fact, Igbo:

We understand that you are the high priest of Igbo. What or who is this Igbo, or are you referring to the Igbo people?

Igbo is a great mystery beyond human understanding. That is the simple meaning of Igbo. The hour is fast approaching when what Igbo is will be given out in full. This is not the time. Igbo is like saying the universe.

What about the Igbo who is a deity?

Image
The original Mother Goddess, Nono at Offia Adu, growing out from the Earth

You mean Adu. Adu is the supreme God of all the gods in Igboland. I know why I am narrowing it to Igboland. As time goes on, people will understand what the word Igbo actually mean. My only annoyance is that the people who call themselves Igbo do not know who they actually are. Igbo is the son of Adu. So whether you see Igbo as a place, or a people, the basic thing about Igbo is that He is the son of Adu, and Adu is the universal deity. He is the God that came down and planted himself as seed on earth, the Creator. That is what Adu is. It is from this Adu that humanity and all things came into existence. A lot of stories have been told on how humanity came to be, but I want you to know that they are all the story of Adu and Igbo that people are telling because of their personal interests, and the gains they want by telling the story to suit them. But all the stories you have been hearing from Christianity, to Hinduism, to Judaism, to Islam, are all the stories of Igbo.

I was made to understand that creation happened within these forests. Can you explain more on this?

It is unfortunate that Ndi Igbo do not even know what they have, because of that, they no longer know whom they are. If you don’t know where you are coming from, you will never know where you are going. It is high time the Igbos should know who they are. It is high time the world should know the truth about mankind. Even though I may not say much now, I will explain some things to you. The Almighty God Himself is Adu. It is this same Adu that the Jews adopted His name as Adonai. He is the same whom the Muslims adopted as Allah. When Adu planted Himself as seed yam, a lot of things were happening. The yam is God but people do not know. The theory of evolution according to Charles Darwin is the story of Adu and Igbo.

In ancient times, right there in the forest of the gods, where the seat of Adu is placed, during those days, there were several species of monkeys who lived there. Whatever feast the community people hold, these monkeys, chimpanzees and gorillas will participate. It is these monkeys who metamorphosed into humans. You must have seen the whitish skin I used when praying at the oracle. It is the skin of the monkey specie. Before I was able to establish myself as the high priest of Igbo in Adu, I had to wear the old body of man, which is the body of a monkey. I used that skin to purify myself, and that was when my old personality returned, giving me the eligibility to take up the position of the high priestship of Adu.

It is a mystery. When you ask questions in culture and other religions, it is Adu and Igbo you are talking about. The gorillas were in fact the people who can be said to be the Adam living in the Garden of Eden, although the story in the Bible is quite different. But that forest is the forest of creation, where God made man. The Christian Bible stated that god said ‘let us make man in our own image’. It was the almighty Chukwu Abiama who came and planted Himself as Adu. He talking to Adu and the gorillas. You can see how the gorilla looks. Man has the physique of gorilla. People have been telling this story withpout understanding. So, ‘let us create man in our own image’, it was Chukwu Abiama, Adu and the gorilla who got together to do this. So Chukwu Abiama has His image is in Adu, and Adu has His image in gorilla. That is why they said, ‘let us create man in our own image, and in creating man, that man became ‘madu’- ‘maa-du’, meaning, ‘there is divinity’, that divinity in man. It is the same word that the English mispronounces as ‘man’. Man is an Igbo word which they have shortened and robbed of its true meaning. It is a Divine Word.

There were so many deities and shrines in the Forest of Adu. Are they part of creation?

The Forest of the Gods, even at the ‘ogbaja Adu’, Chukwu Abiama, in the person of Adu has a lot of Divine Beings He works with. Some of them include Ngwu, Anyanwu, Akpu, Ogwu, and so on. All of them are a product of Aja Ani, the earthen ground, and Aja Ani is even Adu Himself. Contrary to what we have been taught, God dwells in the earth, not in the sky. That is why, when an Igbo man is doing ofo, if he doesn’t want to talk much, he says, ‘Aja Ana’. Aja Ana represents everything, because whatever you do, you do it on the earth. Adu also has a ‘Noono’. Noono is the wife of Adu. That is the real word for ‘loolo’, meaning queen in Igbo. She is a great mother to mankind. Then there is the deity called Owangene, a water deity, but there is no water there at the shrine. We have Mmuyo, we have Arushi-Iyi, and so on and so forth. Outside that, we have what we call Nechukwu, which is the Mother of God. She has mother name apart from Nechukwu. These personalities are all messengers to Adu, who is Chukwu Abiama.

Is she the same as what the Catholics call Mary, mother of God?

Exactly. Nechukwu actually is seen as the mother of the entire universe. Since she is the mother of the God that created everything, we also see her as the mother of the entire universe. She is a god that sees about fertility. We can also address her as ‘akwari-omumu’, the deity of fertility.

Image
A handmade European version of the Mother Goddess deity

There is this image arising from the earth at the shrine of Noono Adu that looks like the image commonly referred to as The Universal Mother Goddess in antiquity. Are they the same?

Yes, I am sure those ones you have been seeing is the carved one. You can see this one just came upon its own, naturally-you can see that she is soil, from the earth, not man-made. She also is carrying a baby on her back, showing that we are already in a new generation but people do not know. Over the years, people do not know the truth behind creation, even among the so-called Igbo people. They do  not knowmuch about themselves, simply because they rejected their culture. That is why they have been paying dearly for it. The Igbos cannever achieve anything in life until they return to their culture. Also, mankind can never know peace except the Igbos know peace. So, in as much as people are trying to debase the Igbos, they are debasing the entire universe.

As I said earlier, people do not know how creation came to be. A lot of stories have been told, people have been living in the dark over the generations. This work I am doing today, I was aware from the day I was born, that my work was to come and tell the truth about mankind and how mankind came to be, whom Chukwu Abiama is, Adu and Igbo. It was until some few years back when it was time for me to start this work that that very new baby appeared on her back. It is representing what I am doing today. She has given birth to a new beginning, which everybody has been clamouring for. Even though you see her that the image looks new, she renews herself all the time.

You said that Chukwu Abiama and Adu are the same, yet the shrine of Chukwu Abiama is in Arochukwu, and Adu is here. How come?

All the shrines in Igboland represent Chukwu Abiama. It is the presence of Chukwu Abiama that is in all the shrines. It is a mystery you won’t understand now. Chukwu Abiama named the Arochukwu shrine after himself. It is the same Chukwu Abiama who manifested His presence everywhere.

 I saw you making the sign of the cross during the igo ofo, and it is a catholic tradition. Why do you use a catholic rite in Igbo worship?

I am sure you did observe me very well and saw that I did more than the sign of the cross. After doing the so-called sign of the cross-the forehead, two shoulders, heart area, didn’t you see me touching my knees and feet? That is to tell you that this is the original. It has been like this before the advent of the early missionaries in Igboland. You saw what I used-it’s not a cross, but the mpi atu. What that mpi atu means is that whenever I am performing any holy ritual, I use the mpi atu to purify the environment by touching ever corner of the shrine, then I purify myself by doing what you saw.

I noticed that you used a certain leaf to purify when the mpi atu was not available. Can you explain that?

That leaf is a holy leaf as well. You cannot use it to do evil, its called ogirishi. Not everybody knows it, and you can use the ogirishi for purification. I made use of several other things as well in the process of igo ofo. The culture of igo ofo has been there before Christianity came, but you will find that it is the same process as the Holy Communion of the church, but it is more complex. 

So why not stick to the modern one which is simpler, instead of having to go through all that cumbersome methods?

You mean I should adopt the Christian method of igo ofo, when I have come to restore what was suppressed? Let me ask you, is God, Chukwu Abiama modern? Modern things means things invented by man. How could you leave what God has made to be for what God has created himself? To go modern is impossible, its defying the orders of Chukwu Abiama to follow man for personal gains. So, the process is thus-the white chalk, called nzu represents peace, the brightness of the day. When you are using nzu for ofo, you are letting the Gods know that you have come to them in peace. Someone who is not a man of peace that touches nzu has invoked trouble upon himself. So evil people do not use nzu during igo ofo. on the other hand, the reddish one is called odo. It is also for peace. It is meant to cool whatever is hot. So whatever we do in culture, we always ensure everybody is at peace with his God. No priest will use anything that is negative to offer ofo prayers. If you use it, you have dug your own grave yourself. The issue of the kolanuts is, you finish offering the nzu and odo, then you pray with the kola. Then you break and offer a lobe or two to the deity, indicating that you are eating together, that you are having a continous communion with God.

Nobody can also use kola to say a negative prayer; it is death on the person. So these three items is for positive prayers.

There are different types of kola. Is it safe to use any type, like the gworo or other ones?

No, no no. the gods have a way of doing their thing. You can use goats and chickens for rituals, but you can’t use a leopard or monkey. It’s only those native animals you must use. You cannot even use a he-goat if you are doing what is holy.

Is it only priests like you who can perform the igo ofo? Can other people like even a woman perform it?

No, any man can do it, but women do not. The gods forbid it. Left for us alone, it would even have been good if our wives are allowed to perform it when we are absent, but the gods do not accept that. If she does it, she will definitely see the repercussion. So, any man can perform the ofo prayers, but make sure that you are on the positive side whenever you are doing it. But note that a young man cannot perform the ofo where an elder is.  It must be done by the eldest person around. It is in situation like when you are in your house and receives visitors that you do it, even though you are young. You offer the kola to the visitors, and they will respect you by returning it and saying, ‘oji eze di eze na aka’. When you are in your house, you are also a king, the king of your house.

What is the essence of visioning the shrine of Igbo, and what does one stand to gain by going there?

Anybody who goes to Igbo to offer obeisance should count himself as highly blessed. It is either the gods have seen you as somebody who is worthy, and want you to come in close communion with them, so as to guide you on what they will want you to do for them. Or if you feel that you need the favour of the gods, you can as well take something to the shrine of Igbo, so that the gods will favour you in positive ways. You cannot bear any evil thing in mind and go to offer anything to the gods. If you do, you have destroyed yourself. So, sometimes some people try to do that, but the gods do not accept such foul form of worship. Whoever you see who go to the deities to offer oblation, that person is a pure person. Only an honest and pure soul can offer anything at the shrine of Igbo.

How do we know when a deity is benevolent and when another is a malevolent one, since some deities are said to assist people in committing atrocities?

My brother, traditional worship and juju/charms are not the same at all. As Igbos will say, ‘Omenana bu igbaru ihe ojoo oso-‘ (culture) is running away from evil and atrocities. You can ony be eligible to stand before the gods when you keep away from evil. If you are making juju to destroy people or do some negative things, it is not culture. It is people forcing what is not their destiny on themselves. When you want to force things on yourself, you have to go extra miles, you do the wrong thing. That is juju for you. Juju people are seen as cult people in the eyes of the true adherent of the culture. There is a great difference between culture and cultism- ndi otu na ndi omenana (cultists against culture adherents). The people that practice culture are people who dissociate from anything evil, and cultists are people who are so desperate that they can commit any atrocity, any abomination in order to become what they are not. They do this to become too wealthy or too powerful. Juju can only affect somebody who is not pure in his heart. If you are a pure person, and does not engage in anything evil, no matter the type of charm the person uses, it will never affect you. Those who get affected might have gone wrong somewhere, knowingly or unknowingly.

We have embraced Christianity, some Judaism, Islam, and even Hinduism. Why should we now leave these modern religions for these outdated traditional worship?

I will never stop advocating for our people to go back to their culture, to the ways of their ancestors. I believe stories of how your ancestors lived in harmony and peace abound in your community. Back then, there was no Christianity. Now that these foreign religions have come, saying they are here to teach us better ways of worshipping God, everything have turned upside down, things have fallen apart, in the words of Achebe in ‘Things Fall Apart’.  The type of peace and unity Igbos used to enjoy in their various communities is no more. Everybody is on his own now, yet they claim to know God the more. Now that they keep piping that it is these foreign religions that are the sure ways to God, and everybody is striving to be a Christian, evil and crime is at its highest. People engage in juju and charms to poison and kill their fellows. Who are even the ones doing that juju and all those evils? Because very few people can come out today to proclaim that they worship in the ways of their ancestors. Who are the armed robbers, who are the kidnappers? This is to show you that there is little good in Christianity or any other religion. They want you to worship their ancestors, and tell you to worship St Michael, St Francis, Maharaj this and St that, and you ignore your ancestors. How can you wake up in the morning and refuse to greet your father and mother, and then you go outside the gate and start greeting all the men and women you see? That is what you do when you refuse to respect your ancestors, and that is why we Africans are suffering today. That is why we are advocating that people should come back to the ways of their forefathers, because that is where the truth is. Any true traditional worshiper can never think of harming his or her neighbour, no matter what. I want to tell you that culture is God himself, no man forms culture. But you see every other religion has a founder, but our traditions and worship have no founders. Who is fooling who? I want to let you know that culture is God himself, but people do not know. Culture is not a religion, like the others. That is why, in culture, you don’t teach people how to offer their prayers, because the culture, which is God himself will guide you on how to offer your prayers. It is not something you study in school. All you heard me talking were not learnt from anybody, they came to me. The truth is manifesting about this culture, and our people are coming into a new awareness, that is why I told you we are already in a new generation- the generation of Truth and Revelation. This is a spiritual revolution, so if you want to become who you truly are, it is a spiritual process. You should not depend on what people will tell you about yourself. You must know yourself. You must be ready to take the bulls by the horn.

But you seem to have forgotten that these same shrines that you say people should return to for worship have carved images that are made by men. What do you say about that?

If they are dead, how come Europeans and Americans come and buy the same things you call idols for millions of dollars. What they tell you are dead is what they buy with so much money. A few years ago, some Europeans who brought the great Haaba deity and took it away t5o use in their evil worship returned to Lagos and were looking for Agulu people in order to return Haaba. They said Haaba was killing them. It was because Haaba was angry, and told them to return him. They finally returned Haaba to Agulu with all the necessary rites before they had peace. Some people went to Arochukwu to steal a deity, and the deity himself arrested them. One of my friends from Abakaliki once told me how they were stealing and selling deities from different oracles. But all of them died mysterious after a number of years. Who was buying them? Whites, because they know its value. But you don’t steal our deities. That was what inspired one powerful Nollywood movie called ‘The Oracle’. We also know that these same people are majorly atheists. How can somebody who does not believe in God or Jesus Christ tell you to worship what he says does not exist? Is it not time my people should wise up?

So all those things were made to deceive you into believing in them, and remaining spiritually enslaved. When you are spiritually enslaved, you are totally a slave, because spiritually is the highest form of energy on earth. If you want to be powerful politically, or have economic power, or whatever you want, you must be spiritually powerful. So the basis of everything is based on spirituality. We are taught to think that our ways are evil and inferior. We then dumped it, and that made it easy for them to conquer us. Africa, the entire black race will never know peace until they trace their roots back to their culture.