Every Nigerian born and bred, must’ve, at some point learnt a lesson or two from our popular Nollywood movies. Be it how to behave, especially at the university level or how the wicked always get punished. This character is usually left for our very own Patience Ozokwor.
In Nigerian movie industry, Dibias are always depicted in so many unrealistic form such as; living in mud houses, always on red over-all’s with white chalk all very their face ,feet and hands.
Moving round the village with their Oji and Ofo, chanting gibberish when provoked in the name of making incantations to the gods to probably summon a superior power and cause mayhem.
While this was a fictitious assumption, my reality was different from what the movies portrayed. My first hand experience was from my uncle who was a practicing Dibia but never worn red over-all, didn’t live in a mud house, didn’t chant incantations but rather made supplication also known as IGO-OFO.
Kedu Ka Igbo Si Ago-Ofo:
The items required for this ritual include;
- Oji (Kolanut)
- Nzu (White Chalk)
- Edo (Yellow Chalk)
- Ose Oji (Alligator Pepper)
- Nkwu Ike ( Strong Drink eg. Kai Kai etc).
Everything done in this ritual is highly symbolic and its usually done for diverse reasons.
- Water: To Ndi-Igbo its a general belief that whilst as sleep, we come face to face with the dead or death. We employ the use of water to wash off this interaction (I sapu ihu ndi-mmuo). Water is used to wash the face, hands and feet. In modern times a simple tooth brush would suffice.
- Ose Oji; This alligator pepper is used to clean the body off any impunity and negativity (Uchu).Use one or more and swipe it around your body.This is very essential for all Akajiofo (Ofo Holders).
P.S : Use this after every sexual encounters and strange travels.
3. Nzu: This is used as a tool for invitation. By sprinkling or drawing it on the floor, we are calling upon all our ancestors and spirit guilds to come and partake in this supplications.
Each number of Nzu drawn has a sacred meaning. The number 4 which represent the four market days is called Nzu Okolo. This is usually drawn by men that has not gone through the process of Ilu-Agwu, while those who had underdone the Ilu-Agwu process can draw up to 5.
Others like Nze n’ Ozo and others can draw up to 8 and above.
Women are not permitted to draw Nzu, reason being that a woman doesn’t have a permanent home of residence i.e. she can be married and move into her husbands house(Nwaanyi anaghi enwe aja ani).
The exception to this, are women that are Dibia’s and Ezenwanyi.
4. Edo: This is used to placate angry spirits that could negate ones prayers and obtain forgiveness from them.
5. Oji: “He that bring kola brings life”, Oji is used as a communicant between man and spirits. “Oji ka eji ayota mmuo ihe” (We use kola for intercession).
Men are not allowed to eat any kola broken by a woman.
6. Nkwu Ike: When asking for something that is ordinarily difficult, we deploy the use of strong wines as an exchange for our physical woe’s. While leaving droplets of this drinks, we affirm that whatever is seen or perceived as difficult in our path may they use this strong drink to fight for us (Chubara anyi ihe siri ike n’uzo).
During this process of Igo-Ofor, its essential that one deploys the used of Ilu (Proverbs) and call upon all familiar and ancestral spirits to take charge.The breaking of Kola also known as “Communion of saints” is a replication of communal sharing, that ignite’s our spirit of brotherhood “Do this in remembrance of me”.
Igo-Ofo is an integral part of our Igbo life, depicting a strong sense and use of our lexicon. This ritual is performed with a pure and contrite of heart.