The Untold Might of Akwaị Deity (A Flash Fiction) By Izunna Okafor
By Izunna Okafor
This is a work of fiction. All persons, names, characters, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination and are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is entirely coincidental and exists only in the imagination of the reader.
It was incredible as we, the villagers watched Obummụọ the Chief priest set the Holy Book ablaze. Nobody knew Akwaị deity could be such powerful. Although, history told great of his deeds and mights.
"But Fr. Edeh should have waited for the outcome and the resolution of the Ndi Ichie meeting, having been told repeatedly that the Agbọ Akwaị originally belonged to Akwai; and every historical mind in Ụmụezeala knew this," these I reasoned aloud, forming a tattle clique.
I could still recall that grandpa once said Ụmụezeala gave the missionaries the land to build church, because the God in whose name they ab initio arrived proved to be more powerful than Akwai, as they cured and delivered all who Akwai bounded, and also undertook the highest adventure that no living or dead had dare undertaken in Ụmụezeala, by wading into Awkaị shrine, clearing and burning the dreaded Agbọ Akwai, and building church thereon.
"If it were when Fr. Bona was here, this wouldn't have ended this way; because he didn't mess around with young girls and Holy Sisters like Fr. Edeh," Nwakaego opined shrouding at the duel.
"Nne ehh, this really shocked me. Didn't I tell you that the man was becoming emptier, and his anointing bidding farewell, since that day he started acting like Bingo?" another villager, Iloakụ rhetorically asked, drawing closer.
"You must have noticed that he cannot call down anointing anymore during crusade, having messed his prayerful strength with our girls on that foam Chief Ezulu donated," he added, kidnapping other listeners' attention.
Fr. Edeh was defeated by Obummụọ, the Chief Priest of Akwai deity in a dramatic power conquest which ensued after his series of attempt to explore further into a land which hitherto belonged to Akwaị. The land, Agbọ Akwaị, had no clear boundary with another sylvan land belonging to Obummụọ, who Fr. Edeh had always threatened to publicly disgrace, curse or kill with God's name and power.
In the oral history, Grandpa also told me that Akwai shrine, a thatchy mud house at the center of the Agbọ Akwai forest was demolished to powder by the missionaries, led by Fr. Bonachristus, as sanctioned by the Igwe and Ndichie. However, he confidentially revealed that prior to the destruction, Obummụọ and few other heathens conspired and smuggled out the real Akwaị symbol called Ọkịka, which is a mannequin-like carved wood with an arcane ornamental staff in his hand. The arcane staff, according to him, had seven fingers, which represented the seven villages of Ụmụezeala. These were hidden at Obummụọ's house.
"Let's first hurry to Igwe's palace and catch up with the latest, as they must have started judgement by now," I said, increasing my pace, while they all followed.
"I said it initially that Christianity is a scam, but our forefathers never listened," Iweka, a highly dreaded diabolic villager said, as people gathered at Igwe Omenka's palace.
Gazing antipodally into Igwe Omenka's eye balls, he questioned:
"How could he claim that he is a man of God, when he is unremorsefully screwing our sackless girls, committing all forms of sacrileges and taboos, throwing people's respect and title to dog, condemning our culture and traditions, and more ruefully, dragging people's land with them; a stranger for the matter!"
"Doesn't his God have principles, or respect humanity, Igwe?"
"This man must be shown the way out of this land, because we are tired of this foreign religion that does no good to us than serving as asylum for men to perpetrate evil. Anyị ga-abụzị okenye nọ n'ụlọ ma ewu amụọ n'ọgbụ, Igwe?" another elder, Ezeanyịka added, at the well-attended gathering.
Some itinerant villagers also alleged seeing Fr. Edeh over times in a far away land tiptoeing to Okwu Shrine, from where they suspected he usually brought the magic water he used for miracles in those early days when his manhood was still holy.
After sifting the notions and reactions of the people and Ndi Ichie, the newly coronated Igwe Omenka publicly pronounced ostracism on Fr. Edeh and ordered a consummate and indefinite ban on church activities. He also re-introduced idolatry as the sole religious practice in Ụmụezeala, with Akwai, as the supreme deity.
Next morning, we all hastened to markets to buy white cocks, in response to Obummụọ's declaration that land cleansing and appeasement ritual would be performed in the next Nkwọr market day.
"So this is how we have gone back to this idolatry that cost the life of my only sister, when ten virgins were needed for sacrifice?" this I said, crying out, as I remembered my only sister, Uju, sacrificed to Akwai some years ago.
"Yes? who's that?" I muttered out, as I sobbingly woke up and opened the door, having ignored several knocks earlier.
Lo and behold, it was Fr. Edeh. He had come to wake me for the Morning Mass. The congregation was already seated, while a Mass Server hurried straight to the tower to ring the last bell.
Actually I was the church's Chatechcist, and Fr. Edeh, the Parish Priest I work under.
It was all but a mere dream.
© Izunna Okafor
About the Author:
Izunna Okafor is a Nigerian novelist, poet, journalist, essayist, publicist, administrator and an Igbo Language Activist who hails from Ebenator in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State.
He writes both in Igbo and English Languages, and has published enormously in both.
Izunna, a graduate of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, has won some literary awards, has some published books to his credit, in addition to hundreds of online publications, which cut across journalism and creative writing.