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By Alex Adeiza. 

 The Ebira people, my people arguably belong to the league of ethnic groups in Nigeria with a complete cultural system, beautifully packaged way of life and endeavors while peacefully coexisting. The Ebira culture when wholly researched and understood, reveals a communal and logical adoption of practices to complement the belief system of the people.

 Our trajectory into this century has evidently witnessed a plummet in the observance of these cultural practices. Modern religion and civilization are solely responsible for this unfaithfulness to what our forefathers thought they had handed down to be passed on to generations. Concomitantly, the knowledge of these practices wanes gradually, yet at a pace that probably would be difficult for the next generation to grasp. In fact, some of my friends only got to know the mystery behind Ekuechi festival when my curiosity got me to write about it.

 The day a man was born, the day he marries, and the day he dies are the three most important times in a typical Ebira man’s sojourn on earth. Therefore, it was pertinent to clearly lay down principles and practices that will guide the observance of these all-important days. Thus, just as Christianity and Islam taught their faithfuls, how a child is christened, a young adult marries and the dead buried are clearly spelt out in our unwritten “Ebipedia.”

I only recently started to question myself on these things, and struggled with how our people buried their deads before Islam and Christianity took over. Another curiosity right? Yea! The type that led me into reviewing the work of John Picton, Emeritus Professor of African Art in the University of London, whose research works in Ebira Land are practically unbeatable. In his paper published at the University of Nebraska, he emphasized the significance of such clothes as the “Itokueta,” a hand-spun cotton textile made of three pieces.

The distinguishing features were an indigo-dyed weft, and one or other of two distinctive sets of warp stripes; one for the corpses of men, the other for women. It is the responsibility of the family of the deceased’s mother (omė’nyi) to supply the itokueta to wrap the bodies of the deceased ready for burial. Meanwhile, if the deceased passed on prematurely, the Ebira tradition holds that the deceased had not achieved the status of grand-parenthood, or if the deceased was otherwise a man or woman of no particular status, a grave would be quickly dug, behind the house or elsewhere, and the body buried the same day as the death itself.

 “If, however, the deceased, whether man or woman, had achieved what was regarded in Ebira tradition as a good death, ie as a grandparent and dieing in hirth order (it was socially difficult for a senior to mourn a junior, for example) the process of hurial would he rather more elahorate. The hody would be on view in the house preferably overnight laid out on a platform in the main passageway, or in a room, and the walls and doorways hung with itokueta. Anyone passing by would see immediately that someone of importance within that community was awaiting burial, and they would see whether it was a man or a woman.

The family might also have invested in some ‘itogede,’ indigo and white handspun cotton cloth with undyed bast fibres. It was more costly, and thus prestigious, but not gender-specific in its patterning. The body itself would lie on itokueta, covered or dressed in the deceased’s clothing, leaving the face and arms visible. Sometimes a cloth of machine-spun yarn, with tloat-weave patterns, would be placed over the clothing, but still leaving at least the face visible.” Picton (1996, p.254) In the house where the body lays, women relatives would sing all night long, while a special pot-drum (anuva) is played for people outside to dance. If the deceased happens to be a man, masquerade (eku) might appear to join the dance.

 The following day, people would rest, though mild musical and masquerade activity could prevail until late afternoon when people would reassemble for the burial procession. The body is wrapped in the deceased’s clothes, followed by the itokueta and sometimes the itogede that had been draped around the walls and doorways. According to Picton, by the 1960s, a respected and senior man would most definitely be wrapped in the Ubaneito, a red patterned cloth from Kabba axis of Kogi State. Once wrapped, the corpse would be tied with strips of white cloth to a broad plank, wide enough to contain the body. It would be paraded around the village, carried on a man’s head, and accompanied by young men, women, drummers and masquerades (if the deceased were a man) in a procession.

The procession with the corpse might well include a man carrying the empty coffin on his head following the man carrying the wrapped corpse. The grave for someone of importance would be dug during the morning of the burial. This is often done in the prominent part of the house such as the front veranda, or the main passage, or its principal public room. Interestingly, on the day of the burial, the children of the deceased appear in the clothes of the deceased, especially for the procession. To this end, there is one underlying similarity between the three religions when it comes to death, the world beyond (idaneku) unanimously agreed to be determined by the deeds of an individual as a sojourner on earth. Though the Ebira traditionalists believe in the reincarnation of the dead revealed by divination, and the return of powerful traditionalists as masquerade performers. “People learn more on their own rather than being force fed.” – Socrates.

Alex Adeiza.

I am a Travel Blogger, Computer Engineer, Internet Marketer, and a Web Developer I can design the most perfect Website for your business for any info, hit me up on Whatsapp +2347033004080

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The Ebira Concept Of Ozi-Emasu And Enebe.

credits to Yagbe-Onilu

Disclaimer: Please note that even though all my articles are based on facts (research), it is for educational uses only, I am not an herbalist as some people will put it, I am a very good Muslim but my line of work make me do research out of my own curiosities. Also please ignore all my grammatical errors, I will keep all my contents simple and concise in such a way that even an illiterate will be able to understand. I am Anebira not Americana, so try and keep up.

If you read the previous article I wrote about Onovave (Reincarnation), you will notice that this topic is somehow related to it. The similarities between this articles is that of Eva (the oracle of wisdom) that is involved, reason been that back in the times of our ancestors even they believe in God, they consult Eva through Oheva to solve every problem that arise in the community.

Ozi-Emasu could sound primitive but it’s real most especially in West Africa and mainly among our tribal folks (Anebira). Ozi-Emasu completes several life cycles with one mother. In some reality cases, the Ebiras, in one of their traditional ways of deterring Ezi-Emasu from death after reborn is deface such children, either by cutting the finger, ear, or a deep mark in the face or back or by burning them. To a great surprise most of this children when reborn will have the same marks exactly the way they were been defaced before they died.

It is believed that Ezi-Emasu plummet the fortune of their folks, and their greatest joy is to see their mother cry when they die, severally because the tears on their mothers face are valuable in the spirit of Ezi-Emasu. Emasu time in human life is short and their death mostly occurs immediately after birth and the time of their joy, like graduation or marriage.

Enebe and Ozi-Emasu are the kind of children according to the Ebira belief who make pledge concerning the duration of their life, and they reunite with their fellow members in the spirit life after death. Some traditions also confirmed that some Enebes must have married their mates and probably bore children over there (in the spirit world), by coming to the human world, they will find it difficult to get married or to have children of their own.

The Ebira beliefs that the Enebe and Emasu spirits always roam about during mid-noon, and night and the most places they can be found are T junctions, dumping grounds (Itutu), river sides, grave yards, jungles and inside trees (Iroko tree for example), and all these places are forbidden for pregnant women, if you are a Muslim you will notice that this align with the so called Jinn entering peoples body in such areas. The belief is that if pregnant woman should come in contact with them they could follow her home, and could eventually give birth to a child with Enebe or Emasu spirit. (This is a very big lesson to all women). Thank you for reading my article.

Written by;
Yakubu Binuyaminu Adeiza (Binoosmart).

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Article

The psychological effects of broken homes on children in Ebiraland.

I just want to talk about something which a lot of people don’t talk about which is the psychological effects of broken home on the children of the marriage. A lot of times children from broken marriages/homes are left in a world of their home .I want to share my story.

I am a product of a broken marriage, my parents separated when I was in SS1 that’s around 2007 due to the fact that my mother couldn’t have more children for my dad after me, hence my dad’s family as well as my dad wanted more children and since it wasn’t coming forth my mother was told to leave the home. She was just 34 years old then, whilst I was 14 years old.
I didn’t really understand what was going on then, all I knew was that my parents were fighting and somehow I was in the middle. My dad relocated to Ado Ekiti and married another woman whilst I was forced to stay with my mum in Okene as my dad will not take me along.

My mum will transfer all the anger of the broken marriage (my dad’s hurts) to me. She would look for the slightest opportunity to beat me, she would throw wooden chairs and anything in sight at me anytime. She would even curse me for what my dad did to her.

She remarried another man and had a child, my troubles worsen then as anything I do she would say “that is why I didn’t have another child after you for your father because you are a witch”. I would cry countless nights and pray for me to grow and just leave the house as I was in boarding school.

Anytime it’s time for holidays I would cry and weep because home was a place of hurt for me. I even attempted suicide once in school. My Dad never asked of me this period as there was phone to even communicate.

When I finished secondary school, none of my parents was at my graduation even though they were supposed to be on the high table as I was collecting some prizes. My mum’s excuse was that she just gave birth and her baby was too small to travel from Okene to Lokoja, whilst my Dad never gave an excuse why he couldn’t make it. It really hurt me as all my friends kept asking for my parents.

After secondary school, I tried getting admission to ABU Zaria in 2009 I got 96 in Post UTME but was denied admission for “political” reasons, I called my dad he did nothing about it. He couldn’t even come to Zaria even after I cried and begged that someone in the VC’s office was willing to help if he comes. That’s how one year of my life wasted.

The next year, after much persuasion from my maternal grand aunt, my dad agreed to send me to a private university. For my year one my mum never called me for over 3 months even though I left her house to go to school. It really hurt because when my friends talked about their mum, I won’t say anything as we didn’t even have a relationship as mother and daughter.
My dad would come to school once a semester or sometimes once in 2 semesters to see me and that how it was till I finished university.

Another very painful experience was on my convocation day, my dad said “I cannot come if your mum is going to be there” I had to lie that she wasn’t coming just because I wanted my both parents to be there. My dad saw my mum on the road from the convocation ground and left without saying a word to me. I don’t think I have forgiven him for making me cry on my convocation day till today.

For my call to bar ceremony, he specifically said that if he must be there my mum must not come. I cannot say he shouldn’t come because he has money (financial gains) and he crumbled my mum’s business when he left her so she doesn’t have the finance for me, in fact in my last years in school I had to be splitting my pocket money from my dad with her as she would call me crying that she is hungry that her new husband is beating her etc.

I had to start a business in school to assist my small pocket money of 10k which I shared with my mum.
In fact I can go on and on about the various NOT so pleasant experiences I had growing up. In fact I was forced to grow up.

My point of this write up is that BROKEN HOME affects children more psychologically than even physically.

As at now that I’m 25 years, I still wake up and cry over this issues.
I still feel a yearn to be loved unconditionally as I feel I wasn’t loved as a child. My parents can’t stand each other till now and I still think how it will be like when I eventually want to get married? It affected me as a person as I am such a loner, I don’t even keep friends for fear of betrayal.
Please and please if you are reading this article please try to make your home a good one, I never blame and I blame those girls that do runs and start carrying aristos and sugar Daddies. If you see such child like myself in your area please help them not to be a loner it really hurt…

Thanks.

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Article

EBIRA TRADITIONAL BELIEVE ABOUT ONOVAVE (REINCARNATION)

Onovave (Reincarnation) means the new life after a biological death (the dead body begins a new life somewhere else). In Ebiraland it is believed that everyone in life reincarnated some fallen souls in their respective families that is the major reason for Eva Ozi in Ebiraland that some people still do till date, we have experience a situation whereby someone got sick abroad and was later brought back home (Okene, Kogi State. Nigeria) because of this Eva Ozi and he was healed. Some believe that depending on the person reincarnated, if the person reincarnated want to be known, they will surely disturb the person that reincarnated them and must be done through Oheva (one that consult the Oracle of wisdom). My next article will be on Eva Ozi (this is against Islam and Christianity as these two religion believe that it’s an act of Satan), please stay tuned and read this article first on Onovave…..

Note: This is for Educational purposes only, before I write any article on Ebira Online Media (www.ebiraonline.com) I either follow the fact that people wants to know that topic or it’s a topic in Ebiraland that is worth knowing for nowadays youth like myself or I write based on request from my followers and fans.
Why am I writing this article now? It’s because one of my followers ask for help on Onovave if it’s true or just another story to scare little children. The person email content below;

Yusuf Ozovehe, Wrote: Hello Yakubu Binuyaminu Adeiza of Ebira Online media I really need your help regarding Reincarnation please it’s urgent.
Please I had a brother that we don’t get along at all we are like water and fire even though I love my brother so much and care about him and I am sure he feels the same way but we have never for once get along in the house I feel very uncomfortable anytime we are around each other. What really surprise me is that my mum knew about this and she thinks it’s nothing. When I asked her why she felt at peace knowing so well her sons are not getting along? She replied with, since those that reincarnated the two of you never get along till their death (my elder brother reincarnated my grandfather while I reincarnated my grandfather’s younger brother).
Believe me bro, this has got me down ever since and I don’t know what to do, please help me out, since you are in Nigeria and things like this might not be new to you over there. Thanks in Advance…
Yusuf Ozovehe, From England.
My answers will be in two forms, 1. Ebira Traditional Believe About Onovave. 2. Islamic Believe About Onovave).

EBIRA TRADITIONAL BELIEVE ABOUT ONOVAVE.
Ebira people believed traditionally that anybody that died untimely death come back to life In the same form but different location and different tribe to complete his remaining years on earth, this Onovave topic is a broad one according to my grandfather that is putting me through, he said he has heard stories of people that died in Okene and was found 10 years later at a very small village in Yoruba land with his own family (wife and children). He decided to bring them home after so much disturb from the wife that she needs to know where he is from he brought them home but later he was nowhere to be found, he pointed to me the family that it happened to in Inoziomi and he said it was a story he heard growing up, he is not sure if it’s true, lot of people have been saying it and the family has never for once denied it.

Also after Eva Ozi has be done in Ebiraland by Oheva and the person reincarnated has been known, this is when names like Inya, Inda, Mummy, Daddy came from in Ebiraland, because they believed some fallen family members have been given birth to again. This kind of children became spoilt as they will be over pampered believing they are elders. (In Yoruba land its Babatunde or Yetunde which means Father or Mother is back again).
Please Note: I’m not saying that everyone with above name gone through the process of Eva Ozi; all I am saying is that, it started from there, ok? Some people gave such name to their children just to sweet them thanks.

ISLAMIC BELIEVE IN REINCARNATION (ONOVAVE)
Islam believed that it is possible but they are not the same person, it is the work of the devil trying to lead you astray Evil spirit take the form of your dead family member to deceive you, if you believe in it you visit the Oheva which is strictly against the law of Islam. Please be careful about this…
Thank you for reading my articles.

Please if you like what I do on Ebira Online Media consider donating to us any amount you are capable of to keep us bringing more topics like this in Ebiraland.

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