- IJOGBE, THE ESAN FAMILY HEADQUARTERS: A CALL FOR ITS PROPER HANDLING
(A SPECIAL TRIBUTE TO SNRS. NOEL AND ROWLAND)
The name Omonkhoa in Esan, speaks volumes. One of the reasons for this position follows the statement that Akhabiomon, Ogbeiwii or Ogbeifun; literarily means, a family lineage will not go into extinction, once a child is born into such family. Meanwhile, Omonhegbele is gender restricted. That is, it is reserved for the male sex. While Omonkherebhe is an explanatory name for a regular and particular sex (female in most cases) being born into a family. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on my mind.
For every Uenlen/Uwen, (family, nuclear and or extended) there is Ijogbe, the headquarters where the general family stool ( Ukhure) is domicile. Here’s the ancestral family Altar. Prayers are usually offered here to Osenobulua the Almighty through the deified ancestors which the Occidental world may choose to call Saints. The presiding Priest here is the eldest male in the family who has fulfilled the prescribed rites on the passage of his parents. He is expected to stand in the gap between the dead and the living for the overall well being of the homestead. He is saddled with lots of responsibilities such that he is usually likened to Itikun (dust bin) that accepts any and everything thrown at it all for the good of all. This is a character of an Owanlen: large heartedness, loving, patient, uncompetitive and virtue of sacrifice.
Like it is usually said in Esanland that “Usikoko is not Usimama”, I wish to call to mind the necessity for us to better understand the whole idea of Ijogbe and the need for it to be preserved. In the spirit of Amiolemhen, and Akokhamen, we are all stakeholders in making sure that the family headquarters is kept usefully active and inviting. May those who are privileged to function as administrators at Ijogbe not hide under the guise that “Airiohuodion” or “Aigbedion” and take others in the Ogbe for granted. After all, a hard to approach king, often gets humiliated by outsiders. Did you get that?
For a father to name a child, Iribhogbe or Ogbeide, it is so out of a sense of fulfilment and sense of belongingness. For this Ogbe to be valued, appreciated, and kept alive, the administrator(s) MUST be discretional in his handling of issues, both main, evolving or perceived… Otherwise, the Ogbe may suffer ridicule. Traditionally, for the purpose of emphasis, the first son is the naturally commissioned administrator of Ijogbe. To administer here goes beyond mere announcement; do you know I am this or that? If you allow me to invoke the power from the family Altar against you, I am the first son…, hmmmm? It ought not to be so. As the shepherd, you owe all that you are now opportune to be presiding over, coverage, defense and don’t expose them to wolves pretending to help you defend the indefensible.
We all have our roots, no doubt about that. Mine may not be as rosy as yours. But it remains mine and not yours. Abi? In case you have lost yours, it is time to trace it. The one you are claiming or may have claimed now, note that people made it so inviting and interesting. You can do something about it. So that Ogbe may not fall. “No Ogbe hei deee”. Today’s reflection is a special dedication to the wonderful twins: Noel Ojon and Rowland Akhere IJOGBE of Idihaza- Emaudo Ugboha. It is there birthday!
Big brothers, I celebrate you sirs as always and thanks for all you represent. May you never have a better yesterday sirs. Rejoice and again I say rejoice for it is your season of remembrance. May Ogbe not fall under your watch. May God bless Esanland even as those given the privilege to administer Ijogbe, remember that no one person can be Ogbe, Uenlen and Egbele. ‘I am because we are. We are, therefore, I am”. Federal needs the State. The State also needs the LGAs. An individual needs the family…. We need each other. Shalom from all of us,