April 15, 2024

Ezekoro Achina Powerful Deity:

Before the advent of Christianity, Achina people like other communities in Aguata and most part of Anambra state and beyond practiced Idol worship.

Apart from other deities like Ajala, Ishigwu, Odu and Okija shrine (Ogwugwu deity), Ezekoro deity known as “Akpaka” which was the only masculine deity in the whole of Aguata, also existed and had enormous influence.

Ezekoro Achina Powerful Deity: Report

According to Cardinal Arinze in a research report on oracles said only Ezekoro Achina and that of Nmaku in old Awgu devision were the only male deities he discovered in this area.

Ezekoro shrine which is the “Ezekoro Ehuru” is strategically located at Eke-Achina in part of old Ebele village, where its masculine effigy is standing erect in its main shrine.

Its smaller shrine is located at the back of Oye market in Achina. It remains a land mark to visitors till date.

However, before we continue, there are few things we need to look into for better understanding of what Ezekoro Achina stand for.

Oracles and Shrines

What Are Oracles and Shrines?

The utterance, “oracle” was derived from middle age English language through French and Latin “oracleum” from “oracre” implying to speak out authoritatively (CF the new penguin English Dictionary 2010).

On the one hand, the word “oracle” means prophesy, vision, prediction, forewarning, foreshadowing, and revelation.

On the other hand, it is as well giving wise or authoritative decisions, or a statement by them, one of which means that human beings cannot question or avoid them without real and symbolic consequences and implications.

Clearly, oracles have from antiquity had genuine intentions and meanings for the community domesticating them in their norms and social chores.

Shrine

Shrine means site where oracles are located and may be accessed. Shrines are houses or homes of deities.

In these homes, deities are consulted through forms of rituals with appropriate rites of passage to each.

Devotion is paid to a deity, or saint in shrines. Saint is used to show that to graduate to the level of deity, the extra human force or spirit must prove itself in terms of genuine functions and services to humanity.

In Catholic faith and hierarchy, saints are Christians who lived and died in faith. But before a dead person becomes a saint, proof is gradually assessed and authenticated.

Likewise, the traditional manner of consultation and petition in worship and healings are correlated to this mechanism of power and belief.

Shrines are rational healing sites and as well bring people and feared reliable cultural forces into contact to solve difficult problem in culturally patterned ritual ways.

Deities

Deities are extra human and supernatural forces without human bodies. Images are used to represent the deital forces.

The images or symbols may be dead or live objects of power. Trees, rivers, mountains, hills, valleys and stones are all components of images.

Oath taking among other things, usually prompt people to call on the name of a deity such as Ezekoro of Achina.

The Ancestors

The ancestors form the spirit world known as “The ancestral spirits” (ndi gbo, ndichie, nna nna anyi ha).

It is believed that people who become ancestors are only those who led a good life, with a ripe old age, and who have died a good death followed by full burial rites.

You can fetch the details of Ezekoro Achina, what has been written about Oracles and Shrines when you continue to read from page 26-39 of the book:

Achina Idegwu: The Mirror of Ages” an eBook on Achina Idegwu History by Nweke Ifeanyi Green; published 27th December 2012.

Haven touch on few things, let’s get back to Ezekoro Achina.

Below is an older undergraduate research on Ezekoro shrine I found informative.

Briefs on Ezekoro Shrine at Achina by Chief Dom Nwosu

Interaction with Chief Dom Chuks Nwosu (Obidigbo Achina) was resourceful; according to Obidigbo:

Achina town in Aguata LGA, in Anambra State, is as old as the Achina founders dating back to some 1,000 years of the settlement.

Ezekoro Achina Powerful Deity, is a masculine deity and a titled one at that, hence, the titular prefix, Eze or King (The Eze prefix being a preserved of first born adopted at Ozo title ceremonies).

It is known that the first settlers on the geographical area known as Achina, planted the shrine at the prime spot of habitation, believed to be at Eke-Achina in Ebele village.

The Ezekoro Chief Priest

The Chief Priest is always of Ebele Origin.

The last reigning Chief Priest (as of the time of publishing Achina Idegwu: The Mirror of Ages) being Ezeimo Okpala, took over from Ezeonyilimba over 80 years ago.

As of the time of this BrainPower post, new presiding Chief Priest has been installed.

To the north of Eke Achina is found the Obu Ezekoro i.e. the family hall of the deity where some villagers of Umueleke and Umuezeiyi worship also.

Officiating priest are also drown from the Eleke and Ezeiyi villages but the presiding Chief priest comes from Ebele village.

Ezekoro Ceremony

Ceremonies are spread over years corresponding with the farming season i.e. beginning during and end of the farming season.

The climax of the ceremony comes up between October and November of each year and is spread over 12 days from the date of the official announcement by the Chief priest at Eke-Achina square.

It is terminated with marketing carnival called Izu ahia na obu Ezekoro market with the famous Ntiri dance and a flight to Ugoro tree at the boundary with Akpo, by all able bodied men.

This flight is symbolic of the Exodus described in the holy bible.

Achina People

In fact, a study of the ritual at the official announcement of Ezekoro festival called “Iyi Ezekoro,” tempts one to conclude that Achina people owe their origin to the Hebrews:

Which also is traceable to their culture and idiosyncrasies like hardness, thriftiness, and religiosity.

The place of Ezekoro in the political, religion, economic and cultural life of Achina:

Before the advent of the missionaries and the colonial government towards the end of 20th century, is worth a good study by historians and archeologists.

Ezekoro The Chief Oracle

Politically, Ezekoro was both the head of state, prime minister and commander in Chief.

As the Chief oracle, it had a religious head, worshipers of other minor deities like Ishigwu ajala, oji, chi etc, which had a last resort to it.

Oppressed and dispossessed people ran to it for protection and you dared not touch them or their property any more.

Economically, it dominated the two market of Achina viz Eke and Oye. While Eke was for sacred ceremonies like Ozo title taking and funeral rites, Oye was a holy day of obligation.

It was equally a day of reunion and economic activities. It was a day to celebrate marriages and complete funeral rite.

Culturally, Ezekoro dictated the tempo of music, arts and dances; for instance, any new dance not ousted at the Oye square was deemed a failure.

Same applied to new masquerades and indigo designing new dresses.

Orie Day

It was forbidden for any Achina villager to engage in any form of warfare on Oye day, which was a day of holiday and respect of Ezekoro.

Violation mysteriously injured any violator, large flocks of rams, cows and He-goats sacrificed to Ezekoro enjoyed freedom of roaming about and fatten on villager’s economic crops:

And they would not be caught, tethered or killed, otherwise his wrath is visited on the offender.

Large areas of forest, perhaps half of the land area of Achina was owned by Ezekoro and the people dared not hunt, fetch fire wood or cut timber in the forest, unless approval was obtained from diviners.

This perhaps accounts, for why Achina never had any case of soil erosion until the last few decades.

Ezekoro Stream

The famous Ezekoro stream is a living legend in Achina and is reputed to be the cleanest stream in Aguata, as the dense roots and limestone purify the water.

Curiously, the stream sprouts from two source and was decreed by the deity to be for separate harvesting for males and females.

Violation of the apartheid used of the stream annoyed the deity, which leaves his home to join his concubine Agwazi Uga whence the stream virtually dried up.

He never returned full flow until the Adas went to Uga to perform rituals to placate him.

The Adas ensured a bi-weekly clean up of the Ezekoro stream environment.

Ezekoro Preserved Large Area

It is obvious that no ancient or modern history of Achina can be complete without the Ezekoro.

In the sense that more than any other factor, the Ezekoro preserved a lot of land forest areas like the Abanwagu where St. Peter`s Secondary School and the Rest house stand today.

That land area was a playground of the Tigers and Lions which live at a cave inside Ezekoro forest.

“These Tigers emerge from time to time; the last it appeared publicly was in 1984 but harmed nobody.”

Girls Secondary School Eke Achina (now Community Secondary School Achina), St. Charles Catholic Church, Combined school Akpo/Achina are all sited on what was once part of Ezekoro forest. (Ohia Ekweiyi is also a part of the Ezekoro forest).

The above brief is but a scratch on the surface of Ezekoro Achina study.

Achina is now Christian Dominated

This brief is not a boost to deity worship in Achina as Achina is today over 90% Christian, but a record of the religious beliefs of the people before the white man stepped on Achina land.

The zeal with which the people of Achina worshipped in their ancient history is also the zeal they embraced Christianity from 1913-1916 to this day.”

Get details of Ezekoro Achina when you purchase the Book “Achina Idegwu: The Mirror of Ages;” an eBook on Achina Idegwu History and continue from page 26-39.

Also, you can read the free ebook, I Saw Sodom that captured the autobiography of Nweke Ifeanyi Green, and what happened after the launch of Achina Idegwu: The Mirror of Ages.

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