- December 14, 2017
- Posted by: Gilbert Odior
- Category: History and Culture of Ogbona
ORE OKHIYIE (Ore Okhiyie means I HAVE COME AND I WON’T GO BACK, IMMORTALITY)
One mystery that has defiled logic and historical account is the totemic Ore Okhiyie tree. No one has anything concrete about the history of the tree. Its history is intertwined with that of Ogbona. In fact, from oral tradition, the tree predates the history of Imhakhena, the founder of Ogbona. Oral tradition has it that upon arrival from Fugar circa the 14th century, Imhakhena was enthralled by the magnificent tree and its dark green leaves. He could not help but sort cover under its alluring shade.
There have been two theories about the tree, firstly, it’s meaning. Ore Okhiyie means I HAVE COME AND I WON’T GO BACK, IMMORTALITY. The one that will live forever. There have been several postulations about who claimed immortality between Imhakhena and the tree. Imhakhena was known to be under immense pressure from his family, especially the mother, Alokoko to return home to Fugar having been pissed up with his brothers’ indolence. Imhakhena was said to be very defiant and uncompromising. He was said to have told them point blank that he would never go back, and he never did. It is also being sponsored in some quarters that the trees earned the name of immortality because of its longevity. Either way, both of have remained immortals, physically and spiritually.
The second argument centers on the plausibility of the claim of immortality. Proponents of this school of thought are of the view that the real Ore Okhiyie died a long time ago and that what is seen green on the withered trunk is a latter day leguminous tree that came up accidentally very close to the base of the real tree. The actual state of things seems to give credence to this position as Ore Okhiyie seems to be made up of two trees. Then, nobody can say with precision when the leguminous tree engulfed the real Ore Okhiyie tree. Needless to say that any attempt to deconstruct the phenomenal Ore Okhiyie is as difficult and confusing as St Augustine’s attempt to explain the mystery of the trinity of Godhead.
One clear and indisputable fact about the tree is that it is not like any other tree seen anywhere else in the world. It has no known specie of any kind. It is not Obechie, Iroko or mahogany. It is a tall tree with big trunks. Parts of the roots are visible. No Ogbona child has to be taught about the mysteries of the tree and the special place it occupies in the history of the community. No child, however stubborn, has ever dared to climb the tree. It is at the center of the Community and important meetings and events are held under its shade. As one grows up, he comes across the tree and he’s stuck by its awe and wonder. No matter how strong will one might pretend to be, the chipping sounds of birds would soon arouse his curiosity.
However, whatever one says about Oreokhiye is just an academic exercise that cannot be verified. Nonetheless, if one is not fascinated by the great tree and its dark green leaves, the eerie feeling
one gets as he approaches it, breaks one’s walls of defense.