Our ancestors were playing musical instrument …. we are joyful people !!!
How did this agitation come this far? Well, it’s been a very long journey and for people like us, it is not surprising. The agitation for Biafra is not news to us because it has been there over time especially since 1966 with what gave birth to the overthrow of the Aguiyi Ironsi government after the killing of some top leaders. The agitation has been there and that was what led to civil war in 1967 when Odimegwu Ojukwu came on board against the state and the reconciliation in the 1970s. Ever since, there had always been one agitation of the other. But the truth of the matter is that nobody is happy about the situation and all of us felt that it would not augur and it is not even in the best interest of this country for any part to secede now. This is a critical and very challenging time. And it is high time we began looking at the issue critically. We are only pretending that Nigeria is a nation, it has never been a nation. We just pray that it would become a nation. There are very fundamental issues that need to be addressed by any government in place and, to do that we must apply the principles of equity, justice and fairness to all. The moment we begin to say this group of people must be dealt with decisively because of their mindset or thinking that they are being marginalised, then there is a problem.The government must be seen to be doing justice and discussing issues the way they are. If we continue to pretend that things are normal and people are saying they are not normal and are agitating, one day it might not be funny. In as much as we pretend that things are well, you can see this call for Biafra is getting more popular internationally. I pray and I pray the leaders begin to see reasons to look at the issues critically. If they feel they are being marginalised and you underestimate and threaten them by arresting them and incarcerating them, just know that the more you do that, the more they get international and local sympathy. At the end of the day, you would be marvelled at what that amounts to. It could metamorphose into something beyond your expectation. Detention and arrests are not the answers to the issue. Issues must be brought forward for discussion. We must disagree to agree so that we can form a nation. We are not yet a nation. Under international laws which Nigeria is signatory to, the right to see for nationhood is guaranteed. Thus, if people decide that they don’t want to be part of your project, there is nothing you can do about it. Whatever you do is just to buy time. So why don’t you look at the issues the way they are and address them once and for all? This is what I think and it is absolutely my opinion. Those sympathetic to President Muhammadu Buhari believe that the agitation became intense because the average Igbo man does not like a Hausa man being the President. Do you subscribe to this? I do not subscribe to that because before Buhari, there were leaders who came from the Nort. Umar Yar’Adua was from the North and we could see the support from the East until lately when there was this problem of misgivings just before the recent elections. The perception of those in the camp of President Buhari is that the South-east was against him and that he did not get enough votes from the area and so what they bargained for is what they would get. Again, I do not share that perception. This is because this is a democracy where everyone has the right to decide where he wants to stay and if a government is finally formed at the end of the day, that government must be seen to be all-inclusive and carry everybody along irrespective of whether you got votes or not. You must be seen to be more civilised and behave in very civil ways so that we will all feel we are part of this democracy. But where things went wrong and you want to pay back, I do not think that is nationalistic. And when the issue of appointments came up and some positions that should be shared nationally went in one direction as far as we were concerned, some of us raised alarm we did not raise alarm because we don’t enjoy Buhari, but because we know he is human and those who work with him are also human. So where something is going wrong, there is no problem in calling the person to correct it. I do not think it is in the best interest of Nigerians to play politics with things like this because the only reason Buhari is elected is because people gave him mandate to be President of Nigeria and so issues of a section of the country not giving him their votes should not arise. The perception became more glaring and visible because certain things happened in recent times, especially just before the election, after the election and in appointments. It is not because they hate Buhari but certain things have gone wrong and it is better to address them. As long as they remain part of the country, what belongs to them must be given. But where we believe that some parts of the country should be treated as second-class citizens, then we are not doing justice to the nation or that we want the country to survive. This is just the truth of it. There is also this argument that the South-east is not ripe enough to call for secession because there is not particular leader to take them out of the woods. An analyst recently cited the case of South Sudan. What do you think? That they are not mature enough, how is that our problem, the problem of anybody or a section of the country? By law, how is that a problem? It is either you decide to carry them along or if you feel they are a burden to you, then allow them to go. When a child decides that it is time to come out of her mummy’s womb, you can’t stop the child. Oftentimes, we make the mistake of comparing Nigeria with other countries forgetting that we do not share the same culture. We are people from different backgrounds, religions and environments. So I do not share that sentiment. There are also countries that broke and the seceding countries are living on their own. Have you ever seen where a country breaks up and the parts come back together because it was a mistake? It has never happened. So who is afraid in the case of Nigeria? If we cannot do justice to all, then let everyone go peacefully. For me, I do not think the entire North should be held responsible for not allowing the East to go. For me, if they choose to go, so be it. The day we fee tired of this project called Nigeria, we too in the North would say we are going. Let nobody hold anybody to ransom. I only just think going our separate ways is not the best answer, but let’s also begin to decide for them as if we should tell what they want or not. If we cannot bring equity and justice to this table and discuss it, then what is the essence of this pretence? We don’t have to pretend; the country is sick and we need a man who truly believes in the nation to govern it rather than heating it up. And this is where I differ because with the problem at hand like insurgency in the northern part of the country, there should not be any reason to create another monster in another part of the country. Leaders must be seen to be low-headed at this time. Let us not be fooled, this is the best time for leaders to put their heads together and see how things would be solved and appreciate the fact that we come from different backgrounds. Let us not abuse this opportunity. If found wanting, let us address the problem and stop behaving like there is no problem. The moment you begin to say some people should be sidelined, then you are not bargaining for peace. READ ALSO: Radio Biafra Director Granted Bail In resolving this problem now, do you suggest that the report of the last National Conference should be looked into? The report of the National Conference cannot be a reason to start looking at a new Nigeria because even some of us have issues with the Confab and its composition and how it went. This government must be open because if we cannot sit down and discuss it, then there is a problem. This government must be create an atmosphere and engage everyone. I believe a Sovereign National Conference is the answer to this whole thing and there must be no no-go area. People must be allowed to discuss issues. Often, when the issues of national discourse emerge, these mischief makers, these crooks who are 80 percent criminally-minded people at the National Assembly would tell you that they are the ones to discuss them. You cannot be the manager of Nigeria because they voted for you. You cannot just wake up one morning and declare that the sovereignty of the people is now your own. Allow the rightful owners decide how they want to live together and move forward. The constitution we have today is fraud. We challenge the legality of the preamble of the constitution. You cannot be move a country forward where there is problem. The country is sick! We can only buy time, but the day it would escalate, everyone would start running helter-skelter. And I am afraid that the prediction of America that Nigeria would break would not come to pass. Unfortunately, the government of the day believes so much in America. In fact, they even consult America before introducing some local policies to us. You can see how bad it is that after 55 years, Nigeria has not grown enough to decide how we want to govern ourselves. Must we consult America? Why can’t we do our thing our own way? Who even tells you America is in support of Nigerians uniting together? History has shown that so many wars and insurgency around the world have the imprint of America. Can’t we learn from history? Do we want to go into another civil war? I can tell you that if Nigeria goes into another civil war now, we will not survive it.
Dogon statues are conserved in the semi darkness of sanctuaries or of family homes. These objects are made to be touched rather than seen. Occasionally offerings and sacrifices are made to them. The statues are made by a blacksmith, who, if he has talent can create true works of art. The masks are sculpted by non specialists during the course of a ritual that takes place outside of the village.
Dogon style has evolved towards a type of cubism with ovoid heads, square shoulders, slender limbs, pointed breasts, forearm and thighs in the same parallel plane, and a coiffure stylized by two or three incisions. Dogon statues express in particular religious values and feelings. They act as a support to initiation rituals and in explaining the world.
The Dogon live in the south of Mali, a region which is made up of plains, a plateau and above all an escarpment. The Bandiagara escarpment is 260 km long and overhangs the plains. The Dogon cultivate millet, sorgho, fonio, rice and durum wheat at the edge of the cliffs and near the rare water points. They are not the first inhabitants of this region. The Dogon say that they came from Mande, or the Ancient Mali Empire to escape from Islamization. They probably started their migration between the 10th and 13th centuries and chased the Tellum from the cliffs. The memory of the Tellum is conserved in grain stores at the foot of the cliffs and rocky cavities where their dead were buried along with the statues.
Before the world was created, there was a God called Amma who had the appearance of an egg. Amma created four male and four female creatures. The males are: Nommo Die, Nommo Titiyayne, O Nommo and Ogo and were created in the form of fish. But Ogo rebelled before he was fully finished, as he wanted to make the creation his own. O Nommo was sacrificed to pay back the error of his twin Ogo and came down to earth in the ark that carried men’s ancestors and all living beings. Ogo, rebelling against Amma, detached himself from Amma’s placenta, ripping part of it away, and came down to earth with the ark.
In leaving Amma’s womb prematurely, he did not wait for the full gestation of his twin. He found himself weak and alone because Amma had transformed the piece of placenta torn out by Ogo, into our earth and the moon. Ogo, displeased with the earth, unfit for cultivation, went back up to the sky to interrupt Amma’s work and to retrieve the remains of his placenta. But Amma, wanting to put this piece of placenta out of Ogo’s reach, transformed it into our sun. Next, Amma transformed Ogo into a four legged creature, a pale fox that from that moment on would be the instrument of chaos in the universe. In accepting the opposition of the fox, and the chaos that he brought to the universe, Amma allowed psychological dualism and individualization to be created. In order to reorganize the universe that had been disturbed by the fox, Amma decided to sacrifice her twin brother O Nommo. His blood served to purify the earth and his body, cut into pieces, allowed the stars, the animals and the plants to appear. After this purification of the universe, O Nommo was brought back to life and sent back to earth by Amma, to give birth to humans and to reorganize life on earth. Amma had made men immortal, but following the chaos brought by the fox to the earth, death appeared. The ark in which Ogo had come down to earth became uncultivated land, and that of O Nommo the symbol for cultivated land. After all the beings had descended from the ark, O Nommo (or Nommo) returned to his fish like form and went to live in the great expanse of water (the oceans) that had been born of the first rainfall. It is in the water that Nommo reveals to man the words woven through his teeth.
The Dogan religion is made up of the belief in Amma, distant and immaterial God, but which is realized through institutions and ongoing actions towards the ancestors:
1° The cult of the immortal totemic ancestors.
2° The Lebe cult, a great ancestor who died and was brought back to life in the form of a snake. Lebe is the great ancestor whose sons gave birth to the four tribes: Dyon, Dommo, Ono and Arou.
3° The mask cult, mortal ancestors.
The Dogon Economy
The Dogon are farming people, with a system of patrilineal descent and patrilocal residency. There is a division of labour. The men cultivate the fields and hunt albeit for a meager result (because of the lack of game) weave and make basket work. The women take care of the home, make pottery, spin cotton and dye fabric. The blacksmith doesn’t only work metal he also makes objects out of wood. He is an important person and belongs to a caste.
Social Organisation among the Dogon and Initiation rites
Comprising several totemic clans, the Dogon village comes under the authority of the council of elders. The clans are subdivided into lineages, led by the patriarch, the guardian of the ancestral altar and responsible for the cult.
There are other broader communities than the clan, these are the four initial tribes (Dyon, Arou, Ono, Dommo) each the respective descendant of the four mythical ancestors (Amma Serou, Libe Serou, Binou Serou, Dyongou Serou). In the beginning, they should have shared the Dogon country between them, but they were finally integrated into the same territory. It is at the heart of these tribal proceedings that the ‘Hogons’, or highest religious dignitaries and heads of a region, are named. They are in charge of the cult of the mythical snake Lebe and the cult of the ancestor Lebe Serou. Aided by the blacksmith, they preside over agrarian ceremonies. Masters of exchange and commerce they do not work the land and cannot leave their house, considered as a sanctuary. The supreme Hogon is the one that resides at Arou.
In correlation to this hierarchical relationship there is also a system of grouping by age, whereby the members mutually owe each other lifelong help and assistance.
Circumcision and excision open the door to adulthood and allows young people to marry and participate in social and ritualistic life.
Masculine and feminine associations are responsible for the initiation which is carried out by age group. Members of each age group owe mutual and lifelong help to the other members of the group. A boy’s initiation begins after his circumcision. This begins with teachings of traditional myths, taught through the medium of drawings and paintings. The boys learn man’s place in nature, society and the universe. Dogon mythology is so complicated that a griot would need a week to tell it in its entirety.
Blacksmiths and wood carvers form a separate caste. Their trade is mainly passed down from generation to generation. They are feared and respected by the community who attribute particular powers to them. They can only marry inside their own caste. The women take care of the pottery.
Great Dogon Ceremonies
The masculine association or ‘Awa’ is responsible for initiation and equally organizes the great ceremonies that take place at the end of the mourning period. This period can last for several days and recalls the memories of people that have died within the last two or three years. Two main types of mask are made for these occasions:
- The ‘Sirige,’ or house with several storeys, is worn by a dancer who mimics the myth of creation and the descent from the ark.
- The Kanaga mask is crowned by a cross indicating the skies and the earth.
They are accompanied by other types of zoomorphic masks: antelope, hyena, lion, hare, monkey, buffalo, bird, as well as other helm masks embellished with horns and a muzzle. These masks might be decorated in red, black or white.
The grand Sigui ceremony takes place every 60 years. It is symbolized by a snake mask, and everyone in the community takes part in the event.
Dogon sculpture is conserved in the semi darkness of sanctuaries or of family homes. These objects are made to be touched rather than seen. Occasionally, offerings and sacrifices are made to them.
The masks are sculpted by non specialists during the course of a ritual that takes place outside of the village. The statues are made by a blacksmith who, if he has talent, can create true works of art in his house situated in a quarter reserved especially for professionals who work under the watchful eye of the population. The quality of the work also depends on the wealth of the person who commissions it.
In this region of Mali, it is important to recognize the works of art that were made by the Tellum, the predecessors of the Dogon, who occupied the area in the 11th and 12th centuries.
The main theme of the statues is the sacrifice of Nommo. The statues are created from a wood that is thought to be hard and powerful. They follow the relationship of Nommo and Amma at various periods of their lives.
The signification of the different representations is mainly as follows:
- If the statue has one arm raised up it symbolizes the relationship between O Nommo and Amma before his sacrifice, but also of his role as the organizer of the world. Sometimes, he is hermaphrodite because Nommo is bisexual.
- When both arms are raised but separated, Nommo is praying to Amma to allow him to stay with her after his resurrection.
- If both arms are raised and joined together, Nommo is praying for Amma to come to him and protect him.
- When both arms are raised with the hands together and the palms facing up to the sky, Nommo is imploring the rain to fall.
- When both arms are down by the sides this position symbolizes Nommo’s descent to earth.
- With both arms spread out away from the body and with the palms facing forward, Nommo reveals his role of guardian of space.
- If Nommo has both hands placed on his thighs this means that he is relying on Amma.
Throughout these different representations, the face is often very smooth signifying that the world must remain clean and organized like a smoothly shaved face.
The figure of a man’s statue incorporates traits that are the essence of Dogon sculpture. They translate the monumentality that is obtained through a strict use of volume, reducing the physiognomy down to the essential (without superfluous detail), disturbing the serious face of the character with its long and extremely triangular nose.
A couple of primordial ancestors, sitting side by side share the same characteristics. The faces are harsh and the rigidity of the pair is only broken by the gesture of tenderness of the man putting his arm around his companion’s shoulder.
Again, the same characteristics apply for a statue of a woman sitting on a stool decorated with sculptures of the ancestors. The coiffure of the seated woman is more heavily refined, but the principal traits of the face are schematic: diamond shaped eyes, rectilinear nose in the form of an arrow, slit mouth. Sculptures of women with children are treated in the same austere and monumental manner. A woman crushing seeds is sculpted in the same synthetic manner, without any anecdotal features.
Xylophone or balafon players are treated in the same hieratic way, full of nobility and severity.
A great number of figures recall that Nommo pulled the ark towards a hollow filled with water by changing himself into a horse.
– The Dogon create hermaphrodite, ‘Tellum type’ statues where the arms are raised and which are covered with a thick patina of blood and millet beer.
– The four Nommo couples, mythical ancestors born of the God Amma, decorate stools, the columns of the men’s meeting houses, as well as locks and barn doors.
– The primordial couple is represented sitting on a stool, of which the base represents the earth and the top tray the sky. Between the base and the tray Nommo is figured, the ancestor of all humans.
– The feminine seated figures, with their hands on their stomachs, are linked to the fecundity cult and are the incarnation of the first dead ancestor that died in childbirth. They are the object of offerings and sacrifices made by pregnant women.
– The kneeling statues of the protecting ancestors are placed next to the deceased’s head in order to absorb his spiritual force. They play an intermediary role with the afterlife by accompanying the deceased. They are then returned to the ancestral altars.
Dogon style has evolved towards a type of cubism with ovoid heads, square shoulders, slender limbs, pointed breasts, forearm and thighs in the same parallel plane, a coiffure stylized by two or three incisions. Dogon statues express in particular religious values and feelings. They act as a support to initiation and as an explanation of the world itself. Hidden in sanctuaries or in the Hogan’s dwelling, they act as vectors of knowledge for the initiate who will learn how to interpret the signs of the statue depending on his level of knowledge.
Dogon art also manifests itself in architecture, and both cult and domestic objects.
Dogon blacksmiths also make ritual irons showing Nommo in various stances and situations as for the statues, but along with some fish like elements.
APGA is Igbo,Anambra should support what they have,
Chief Dr. Victor Umeh, Ohamadike Ndigbo has made clear his stand on issues bothering on Anambra Central Senatorial re-run election and the accusations against him of supporting the Biafra agitators…
Speaking during his last program on Odenigbo Fm, Ohamadike affirmed that he is an Igbo activist and would continue to do everything possible to help alleviate the sufferings of Ndigbo in Nigeria. He debunked every claims by the opposition that he would create a divide at the senate pointing out that he is vying for the senatorial position in the Republic of Nigeria and does not harbour any plans of disintegrating the nation.
On the issue of who the cap fits most and the struggle by the former governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi; Ohamadike stated that Ndi Anambra Central have already seen for their selves who is more qualified for the job and that is why they’ve thrown their support behind him (Ohamadike) and are yawning for the date of the election so that they will vote for their preferred choice. He further stated that no one is afraid of Mr Peter Obi contesting the election if certified by INEC and the court. The people’s Senator also stated that he has better knowledge of the grassroot politics and better relationship with the people. He knows the people and understands their needs as well as the necessary remedy; he noted that though Peter Obi may boasts of being wealthy, he does not have the voice and/or charisma needed for effective representation of the people…
Ohamadike Ndigbo assured Ndi Anambra Central and lgbos of his unfailing wills and passion following his unique potentials which are very sufficient in representing a people as the Igbos in the senate.
Ohamadike said “I have the voice and the charisma required for the effective representation of my people; when I stand up to speak on issues concerning the Igbos, I do that with great enthusiasm because it is an issue so dear to me, it is an issue I am part of”
He concluded by saying “I am an Igbo activist and I am not ashamed of being an Igbo man or defending it, I wear my long red-cap everywhere I go and once you look at me you’d know where I come from”
– – — — — – —— – – – – –
Ndi be anyi, let us be wise and disregard the propaganda spread by the enemies of our progress… Chief Dr Victor Umeh FNIVS, OFR, KSJI (Ohamadike Ndigbo ) is the right candidate we must support to go to the senate and battle for our freedom; Financial freedom, freedom of movement and expression amongst others…
He is Bold, He is Strong and He is Courageous… With Ohamadike Ndigbo in the Senate, Anambra Central and lgbos at large will witness an obvious difference in representation.
Designs in Biafra
Did Africans really knows their history?How did NIger,NIgeria comes in African Map,and Biafara and BIafra is no more in the Map,but now on the People,of Eastern Nigeria?