O.G.B.A.N.J.E (The Child of Thunder) - Episode 1

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A long time ago before white men find their way into Africa. In the small village of Udum, amongst the igbos, legends, myths abounded. Amadioha son of Olisa was greatly served by the people of Udum.

It was said that Olisa otherwise been known as Chukwu has three children.


Njoku ji,  Is the guardian deity of the yam for Udum  people. He made their yams to be healthy that a day was made for Njoku ji to celebrate him.

Ikenga, a deity too proud for his name was always given a benefiting sacrifice . Every full moon a maiden must be sacrificed to appease Ikenga. It has always been their tradition.

The first son of Olisa,  Amadioha was the strongest of them. He is represented with a white ram and his color is red. His day is afor, which is the third market day. He is considered as the gentle deity among his brothers and also the cruelest amongst them.

Ikenga has always be jealous of Amadioha and had always wished he has the powers Amadioha possesses. He went as far as his jealous would carry him to meet his father's enemy, Ekwensu.

Together they all planned to bring the downfall of Amadioha.

One day, Amadioha didn't know what came over him and he struck the village of Udum with thunder and lightening, were it not for the intervention of his father, Olisa, the people of Udum would have been wiped out from the surface of the earth.

Because of what he did, the people swore never to engage anything that has to do with Amadioha again.

Amadioha was soon forgotten. Amadioha became a myth that was told as a story of how he nearly destroyed Udum.


In Udum village live a young couple that has been newly married.

"Chi, I hope my meal is ready because I am heavily famished", Chi husband, Okoro said as he dropped his farm tools and said down near his sulking wife

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. He saw the look on her face and proceeded to asked "Chidinmma, kedu ihe ọ bụ ọzọ-what is it again?"

Okoro was a well to do farmer, he was one of the respectable people in the village, he has three barns of yam at his disposal amongst other things. In fact he was seen as one of the richest men in Udum village.

"This is two years of our marriage we have been living dị ka di na nwunye-as husband and wife, yet no fruit to show. Kedu ihe m mere Ikenga iji kwado ntaramahụhụ a- what have I done to Ikenga to deserve this punishment eh dim mu- my husband", Chi said quietly.

Okoro shakes his head and held chi in his hands.
"I have told you we just have to be patient, Ikenga will give us a child if not children, we are just two years in our marriage, there are many more years to come, so don't cry inugo?"

Chidinmma nodded her head and the smiled, her mood changing quickly.

"I am sorry I acted this way dim mu, your food is ready; let me go inside and bring it for you".

"Okay awka ugo mu, go and bring it I am greatly famished".

10 years Later.

A shout pierced the peaceful night of Udum.

It was coming out from Okoro huts as some of the villagers made their way to the hut of Okoro.

"It has happened again, my enemies are at work", Okoro said to his viewers as they watched him crying hysterically. His wife Chidinmma was not left out. She was seen crying out her eyes, her dead son in her arms.

"Odigwu oooo- Na wa ooooo, what is happening Okoro to you and your family? First it was Adanna who died and now your son is dead too, what is really happening?", Ikegu asked his childhood friend Okoro after everyone had sympathize with him and Chidinmma and had left for their various home.

"ọ bụrụ na ị jụọ m onye m ga-ajụ-if you ask me who will I ask. I have did everything instructed by Ikenga orders but still yet it happened again, this would be the third child we are losing in just 12 years of our marriage. Enyi m, enwere m mgbagwoju anya ebe a- My friend, I am confused here".

"I think you should go and appease Ikenga again". Ikegu said after a while.

"How many times do you want me to appease Ikenga?" Okoro asked.

"How will I know? I am only saying you should go and meet the chief priest and tell him to beg Ikenga on our behalf. Ekwuru m nke m Okoro- I have said my own Okoro".

Okoro heaved a sigh, "If you say so I will do exactly what you said".

Chidinmma who have been eavesdropping on their conversations came out after Ikegu had left.

"You want to appease Ikenga nke mere na ọ ga-egbu nwa m ọzọ- so that he would kill my child again, not this time".

"We have no other options than to dance to the tune of Ikenga, he maybe testing our patience to know the kind of person we".

"Testing who, look dim mu I have heard that patient enough. Ndị bayị na-ekwu- our people say, if there is a will there is also a way, I will not go to Ikenga shrine and appease him again, after all we have wasted a lot of cows, goats and various type of things just to appease this god called Ikenga". Chidinmma said.

"So what do you expect me to do? What do we do?" Okoro asked.

Chidinmma started smiling, "Ugbu a ka ị ga-abịa- It is now that you come. My late mother once told me about a strong Idibia in Umu ome village. He is a very power Idibia, nnukwu Idibia, they say his own god listens to him. I want us to go and visit him". Chidinmma explained.

"Hmm, well there is no harm in trying, we will set for Umu ome village first thing tomorrow and ehmm do not tell any one about this. Ị maara na ọnụ ọgụgụ ndị inyom dị oke oke na-ezobe ihe nzuzo- You know women mouth are too wide to keep a secret, I don't want to hear anything".

UMU OME VILLAGE

The couple journeyed through the village and went straight to the Idiba after asking some of the villagers the direction to his shrine.

When they got there, they were surprised when the Idiba told them
"I have been expecting you since, you are highly welcome to my abode. You can sit down".

The Idiba pointed to a raffle mat position nearer to his gods. Chidinmma and her husband Okoro sat down fearfully.

As if feeling their fears he said "Do not be afraid, you have come to seek solutions to what has been happening in your family, am I not right?"

"You are much right Wise one. We came all the way from Udum to Umu ome to seek for a solution and we were told only you can help us out of our predicament", Chindinmma said.

The Idiba nodded his head. He turned and faced his gods, taking his gong and started beating it. "Nnukwu ihe mgbu nke na-ehi ụra m na-akpọte gị n'ụra ụra gị- The heavy masquerade that is asleep I wake you up from your slumber".

After beating his gong for a while he turned to face the couple. "Your children that have been coming to you are all Ogbanje children even the one in your womb now will die after 5 years on earth".

Chidinmma expressing shocked over what she just heard, she kept a firm hold on her stomach. Okoro was not left out he too, he was shocked.

"Wise one, please what do you advice us to do? Please we don't want to lose another child again", Okoro pleaded.

The Idiba beated his gong again and turned to face the couple again.

"It is said when a tortoise walks slow, a plan is taking shape in his cunny head, well, there is a way to stop this child you are carrying from dying, you did the right thing by coming here".

"Please what can we do to stop my children from dying?". Okoro asked.

"If you are ready then I  will have to send away the Ogbanje evil spirit in the child's body, after that the child won't die, infact it will protect your other children coming". The Idiba told them.

"Wise one we are ready", Chidinmma reply.

"Very good decision", the Idiba said
He said some incantations and a black cloth appeared in his hands, he handed it over to them, Chidinmma taking it from the out stretch of the Idiba hands.

"Whenever you want to sleep at night, make sure you put that black clothes on. This black clothes signify that you have already know about its origin and you are exposing it it. Wear the clothes till the child is delivered. Make no mistake, every night. If you missed a night then all your efforts are in vain".

"Thank you wise one", Okoro and Chidinmma thanked the Idiba.

"And one more thing, after the child is born bring he or she here for the final cleanse together with the black clothes, you may now go".

They left the Idiba with great joy in their hearts.

*****************

Nine Moon Later.

Okoro was seen pacing outside his hut while he hears the cries of his wife in labour. Thunder strikes in the sky. Okoro looked surprised as he stares at the sky.

Before he would say anything the door to his hut opened and Udum village mid wife came out with a little bundle in her hands. He quickly took the baby from the mid wife hand as she told Okoro "It is a baby girl".

"The gods be praised". Okoro said rejoicing. He then turned to the mid wife. "How is my wife, hope she is fine. You know it is not easy during childbirth. So how is she faring?" Okoro asked.

"Well, Okoro ị ghaghị inwe obi- you have to take heart". The mid wife began

"Take heart for what? Amaghị m ihe ị na-ekwu- I don't understand what you are saying. Kọwa ya nke ọma ka m wee mara ihe ị bu n'uche- Explain it very well so that I can know what you meant by that ", Okoro asked confusingly.

"Nne nwata a anwula, o gara ala nke mmuo- this child's mother is dead, she has gone to the land of the spirit.

Read " Riches Of The Dead-Ije (The Journey) " by the same author ( Ifeoma Isabella Okeke )

. Okoro your wife is dead". The mid wife dropped the bomb shell.

"What did you just say?" Okoro asked.

"Your wife Chidinmma died after childbirth, Take heart inugo, do not be devastated about the death of your wife, the gods knows best". The mid wife said as she went inside to clean the remains of the deceased.

**************
UMU OME SHRINE.

"Why didn't you tell me my wife was  going to die during childbirth". Okoro asked as soon as he stepped his foot on the shrine, the baby was with him.

"It was ikenga who killed your wife. But now that the child is born, let me do the final cleansing". The Idiba said then continued "Give me that child".

Okoro without saying a word gave the child to the chief priest together with the black cloth, he then lifted the child  up and started saying the incantations meant for Ogbanje children.

After a while, he wrapped the black cloth on the child and throw some kolanut on the child. He unwrapped the child from the clothes and gave the child back to her father.

"It is done, but know this, she shall bear no other name than Ogbanje". The Idiba finally said

"Ogbanje? Why that name wise one?"

"She is one of the daughters of Ogbanje who came to torment their human parents by dying and coming back to life, then repeating the process again. But I have prevented her from going back to her world, she is now here to stay and dwell amongst us".

"Thank you wise one". Okoro left the shrine after the Idiba had burned the black clothes to ashes and sprinkled the ashes on air.

*******************

The burial of Chidinmma came and gone but she was greatly missed by Okoro, and some of her friends.

Okoro has to beg one of the nursing mothers to help him nurse Ogbanje promising her payment after she has rendered her services.

It was on this process that Okoro decided to take a second wife from Umu Apam, a neighbouring village close to theirs.

Okoro got married to Adaku, the daughter of a late palm wine tapper.

Okoro greatly loved his beautiful wife. Infact all the whole Udum village loved to take a glimpse of her ebony black whenever she passes by.

Some had even wondered how Okoro had seen this beautiful damsel.

But unknown to Okoro, his beautiful wife Adaku was  a witch in disguise.

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