THE OGBONA THAT FLOWS IN My VEINS (18) Dr. John Odior Anaweokhai.


Dr. John Odior Anaweokhai.

One did not need any formal lesson to know that Ivhido is one of the four quarters that make up Ogbona. It is one of the smallest quarters in Ogbona. I cannot say precisely if Ivhido is bigger than Ivhiorevhor or vice versa. Ivhido is sandwiched between Ivhiochie and Ivhiorevhor. In the northern part, they are separated from Ivhiochie by the old road. On the west, they share a boundary with The Ayenis and Abu families On the east, they are surrounded by The Akpabor and Adomhere families and interlive with Ivhiochie and Ivhiorevhor on the southern part of Ogbona across the main road. Ivhido originated from two families of Ivhietso and Ivhiobiri and the two Adi from Ivhido are so named. The notable families from Ivhido are the Anyiador, Aikabeli, Dunia, Igbadumhe, Ezuyia, Aimiekhamhe, Eleta and Orbih. The Orbih family is the largest in Ivhido.

The way Ogbona is planned and structured either consciously or unconsciously is very fascinating as the four quarters are neatly linked together by a major road. Wherever there was a burial or any other ceremony, it was customary to go around the village in a long procession. The final burial ceremony was very colourful, especially among the women folks. it is traditional for women to participate in every aspect of both the father and mother in law final burial just as she would observe her biological parents. With a horse tail wangling in her hand, the woman’s age mates queued up behind her in a long procession on a route that cuts across the four quarters. Men did go around the whole village but never in a procession. It was worst where in-laws were concerned. With just two people and a drummer, the man would go around the village like somebody running for his dear life on the battlefield. Perhaps, the architect of our socio-cultural polity realized the fact that everything boils down to the man as it would be a duplication of duty if both were to perform similar rites for the departed soul. A lot of importance was attached to the funeral procession, especially during the final burial ceremony as it was a display of splendour, wealth and power. Most families would deliberately refuse to have more than one member in a particular age mate as it would reduce the number of people that would go on procession whenever the need arose. I know a lot of people who found themselves in age grades far below their real age because of this issue. All the same, a procession was treasured in those days and it was the duty of both the man and woman to embark on a procession around the route that linked the four quarters that makeup Ogbona including Ivhido together.

Ivhido had Iloh like the other quarters in Ogbona but it was not as spectacular as that of either Ivhiorevhor or Ivhiochie but they carved a niche for themselves with drumming. Whatever they lacked with the conventional Iloh acrobatic displays and toe dance, they made up for in drumming. It was a common practice then to organize waking keeping for young girls preparing to get married. In the mornings, the dance band would go around the whole village. It was a spectacle whenever Elue Ivhido went around the village. It should be noted here that on such occasions the Iloh masquerade was never involved as the drummers were the only ones for the morning processions. throughout the night of the wake, one didn’t need to be told that Elue Ivhido was on display, even a tired horse would be jotted from its deep sleep by the distinctiveness of the drumming that was led by Chief Jacob Orbih. He was to Elue Ivhido what the server is to a computer network. He was really gifted as he led the band with the all passion in the world.

Apart from Elue, Agbi dance was another great export from Ivhido. Though it was generally called Agbi Ivhido, one will not be out of place to conclude that the group was peopled mainly by Ivhiochies. This was not an issue as Ivhido was seen as an extension of Ivhiochie. Agbi dance is a pride to Ogbona. They were two in number, there was the Okotor Agbi and that of Ivhdo. Apart from Agenebode where a certain Akpanube had a semblance of the Agbi, it was not close to that of Ogbonas’. Akpanubes’ hadn’t the distinctive rhythmical beat like that of Ogbonas’. Moreover, Akpanube’s Agbi was not as panegyric as ours as he was hurling insults at people. Ogbona Agbi was very unique and well branded and organized. It is not a common dance that one sees every day. it is seen on rare occasions. Gen Bolivia Osigbemhe of blessed memory explored the Agbi genre to its fullest as it formed the mythology around which every other musical instrument danced in attendance. Apart from its enchanting drumming, the rhythm was danced to with measured steps. Agbi singers sing about the exploits of great men and women just as it is used to make commentary on social issues too. Chief Jacob Orbih was their chairman and became known to everybody as chairman. I don’t need to bore anyone with details of his drumming prowess with the Agbi dance. He introduced the bass guitar, unfortunately, he was not as musically savvy as Gen. Bolivia.
Ivhido also had Uke dance that was mainly a women’s affair. My paternal aunt, Uwuomha Mary Anyiador was one of their women leaders. I remember drumming for them on one occasion having learnt the skills from Uke Okotor which my grandmother, Uwuomha Iwulavhor Eradi Ikhumhi owed. Beating Uke drum for Ivhido did not happen by chance as I always frequented my Aunt’s house. We used to call Uwuomha Mary Anyiador Inene nae Ivhido. We were not just going there alone to consume food as we also helped her out with farm work.

My first knowledge of Ivhido will ever remain green in my memory. I was a little child when all of a sudden on a certain market day I saw my grandmother and my mother crying. They said somebody died in a terrible accident. Soon afterwards my mother would drop my twin brother and me off with a woman who looked like her and who also took care of us like her. Behold, it was our aunt, Uwuomha Agnes Adomheli Orbih who was mourning the death of her husband, Eramha Anthony Isah Orbih.

The Orbih family house is a masterpiece of architectural design with flashes of 19th-century European castles. It overlooked the Catholic Church cemetery, surrounded by the Amiekhamhe family on the left and the Ayeni family on the right. It has a wooden floor and a wooden staircase. My aunt lived on the left part of the building as soon as one climbed into the main building. She had a lady sewing machine. The kitchen was behind the main where sisters Angela and Rebecca cooked for us. On the left part of the compound before the Amiekhamhe family was a zinc house where Eramha Onikhena operated his kerosine business. He had a calibrated bottle with which he sold kerosene. We were fascinated whenever a hand pump was manually used to fill big bottles with kerosene for buyers. There was a barbwire that separated the kerosine sales outlet from the big pear tree which my cousins, Anselm, Ubald, and I patronized regularly. My aunt used to give us avocado pear that was found in abundance in front of the main building. There were a lot of fruits in front of the compound. The Christmas trees were a beauty to behold. I can recollect only two elderly men who always sat in front of the house.on the left side was Eramha Aleghe who was always quiet and hardly talked to anyone, contrasting sharply with Eramha Zoget who always sat at the centre and full of life. After a while, my aunt died too ending our frequent visits to that part of Ivhido. I never had the opportunity to enjoy the echoing sound of the wooden staircase again until January 1995 when bros Tom Orbih was brought home for burial. In All honesty, I never heard the name, Chief.MCK until later in life when I was shown a very tall man in a white Peugeot 404 car.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *