HISTORIC FRIDAY - OFALA FESTIVAL



The word ofala is coined from two Igbo words; ofo (symbol of authority) and ala (land).  Ofo is the symbol of authority, spirituality and connection to the great Creator (Chukwu okike); the ancestral spirits; and the unborn generations. It also is a symbol of truth, justice and righteousness. The ofor scepter ratifies major rites and seals major decisions binding on the socio-politico cum spiritual spheres.  

The festival dates back to the 16th century and was observed only during the coronation and death of a monarch. Historians have it that this was the Onitsha people’s version of the Igue festival of Benin, having migrated from there. It is a consummation of a week-long consecration of the monarch, who is incommunicado during that period. Thus, the festival is the official event that marks the end of the king’s consecration and ushers in his blessings on the land. It also marks the end of the 13th in Igbo calendar and usher in a new year.



It kicks-off with a twenty-one gun shot and an all-night playing of the royal gong (Ufie), accompanied by traditional dances and several cultural activities. Later at noon the next day, mammoth crowd in their numbers pay courtesy to the king’s palace: the Obi's cabinet of chiefs, guests from other communities, age groups, women and youth of the community, all dressed in the traditional native attires.

Like the Igue festival of the Benin, traditional royal music, Egwu Ota, fill the air at the palace entrance as the red-cap chiefs, Ndichie, dance alongside family and friends, in a procession. The festival comes to its climax when the king goes out in his traditional ceremonial attire and a bronze sword in his hand to welcome the crowd. This is accompanied by a canon gun shut as the crowd cheer the king, who goes around the four corners of the venue, waving in acceptance of the encomium. He retires to his harem where the red cap chiefs, in a procession, pay homage to him according to their hierarchy.

Thereafter, another gun shot is heard, heralding the re-appearance of the king, this time, with his chiefs. The king dances heartily to the traditional royal music. A cogent observation during this second appearance is that the king’s step covers more areas than they did during his first appearance. This is also followed by homage from guests and visitors.

Today, the festival is observed yearly in the Igbo land.

BY IFEANYI

 (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ofala_Festival)

MY SOLITARY LETTERS - THE PLAY



The Play


We may all be puppets stumbling

To the music of a master;

Immaterial, perhaps immortal.



Belief is a string tied around our necks

And once we cut it off, we fall like infants

Drunk off exhilaration,

We suffer, struggle to believe again.



But the doors are timid,

The windows won't consider

And every atom dancing between our solemnity laughs at us.



So, we thirst for the rain,

And oh; when it does fall,

Perhaps the purpose of life will unravel

And there dare not be no meaning to death.



©Samuel Jr.


LABELS - MY SECRET STASH


My Secret Stash

I kept it in a deep corner, dark and moist, quite musty
I left it there to explore and revel in, during my wishful nights
Its hidden even from myself during the day, even from my light
I’m always right even when its tight, in my deep corner I’m lord and master
I will rather lie, than allow others to see me in my corner
It possesses my passion, happiness and life
You ask why do I hide my greatest potential there?
Well where else will I keep it? To be exposed to their light?
To be judged by your schemes of right and wrong?
In my dark secret corner, all looks grey – neither white nor black
Not good not evil; I’m plain me - faults and all
I live my best self with no reason to be depressed – yea in my imagination
To always be repressed, castigated and insulted
To be suicidal, filled with murderous and cursing intent.
Where will I go to show my true self and not be judged.
Just let me be in my dark, moist corner – yea celebrating my infatuations
Sade died of depression last week; she was just eighteen
All because she had an abortion in her early teen
It might be all shades of dark to you, need I tell you she was raped?!
But lo, as the jury, judge and executioner that we are
we didn’t hear the other side of the story before crucifying
Oh! has a young celebrity role model, she was hung on the social media court tree
Dear social media court, kindly don’t kill our youths anymore
We all make mistakes but please stop roasting on your grill of self-righteousness
To him who has no sin kindly spare us, please mind your business
So, we can move our dreams out of the dark corner
if I come to the lime light and shine, kindly appreciate and go
Don’t poke around for my dross and stains, let me be, kind Sir and Ma
I don’t want to be another Sade, let me be 'me in our world.


TOLU'S DIARY - CLASSIC MAN

TUESDAYS 10AM

                                  CLASSIC MAN

Have you heard Jidenna’s hit song ‘Classic man’ ? The Nigerian-American singer said continuously ‘I’m a classic man’. Just as he said in his lyrics, he was truly a classic man; simple, stylish and highly revered.

Classic according to the Oxford dictionary means; of recognized high quality, or simple in style. Wouldn't you like to have a classic man with this attributes?

A classic man is respected; no wonder the statement; ‘you are addressed the way you dress’. It is not only about putting on the most expensive clothes and accessories but looking sharp and fly. Do you know the feeling when a man alights from a black mustang (I’m so in love with Tommy Egan’s ride in the movie series ‘Power’), with a nice look to match a well-tailored outfit? I know you are dripping and want to associate with that kind of man. This is called ‘The Magic of the classic man’. A classic man is not of quality only in his container but also in content. A classic man is responsible, strong (physically, spiritually and emotionally), mature and honorable (if you're thinking other attributes asides from the one listed, you are with me 😉). No wonder a lady claimed our youth leader proposed to her even though when there has been no known contact between the pair. Hmm! He was a classic man.

Mr. Man, do your best to make use of the year in a classy style. Dress well, look clean, get something doing, get more knowledge, keep on with the hustle, be responsible, do your best to save the world and enjoy life till it ends. Remember you only live once, once is enough if you live it well.

 Get me my iPod; let me play ‘classic man’ again😁

See you again diary. 

HISTORIC FRIDAY - EYO FESTIVAL



The Eyo festival is a unique festival celebrated at the Island of Lagos State, Nigeria. Lagos is known for her fast growing economy and large contribution to the GDP of Nigeria. It is the commercial nerve center of Nigeria. The word “Eyo” refers to costumed dancers, also called masquerades that come out during the festival and believed to be the spirits of the ancestors. History has it that the festival is observed in event of the death of a monarch or the coronation of another. It is also observed in honour of a dignitary who has contributed immensely to the growth and development of the state or on request by the governor who pays certain fees.

The Sunday before the festival, the most senior Eyo processes round the city, this signifying that the festival will kick off the following Saturday. Next are four other Eyo: Làbà (red hat), Ónikó (yellow hat), Ọlọgẹdẹ (green green), and Ageré (purple hat) who oversee other groups. They take turn to process around the city between Monday to Thursday.

On the morning of the deal date, the Làbà (red hat masquarade) processes around the city. The festival commences with the Eyo setting out of the palace of a ruling family, robed from the head with a white flowing gown down to the legs and wrapped underneath with an extra clothing. He also puts on a hat which colour depicts that of the palace from where he proceeded and holds a palm branch; heading to the shrine.

Procession to the place of display and exhibition commences from Idumota and culminates at the official residence of the Oba of Lagos, a site for tourist attraction, on Lagos Island.

Here, displays and exhibition by all the various Eyo and their groups characterizes the scene. The show of inherent culture and highlight of the Lagos heritage, natural endowments and richness is the main show of the day.  

An Eyo does not move alone. He moves with other members numbering up to 50 and 100. In hierarchy, there is the most senior Eyo, who does not move with the other members. He is referred to as the Eyo Adimu Orisa, he wears a different hat from the others, mostly black, and must be an elderly and spiritually advanced male. He leaves the shrine after every other members have left. The other four are Eyo: Làbà (red hat), Ónikó (yellow hat), Ọlọgẹdẹ (green green), and Ageré (purple hat) all of whom oversee other groups.
BY IFEANYI KONYEHI

(source: https://hotels.ng/guides/activities/eyo-festival/)

THE SOLITARY LETTERS - The Murder



The Murder


We heard weeping howls without hope

From fallen facades far-flung

Like lonely lip-shaped leaves left littered



We watched wicked wired whips which whispered

Whilst wearing worn-out wounded flesh

And women with wrapped infants inking incantations

Perhaps afraid to utter prayers: padlocked tongues.



Some sang sweet songs sounding so solemnly

Before bloody blades broke bones and bullets bleared.



But of us who live to tell these tormenting tales

Bear butchered bodies, blistered, bruised backs,

Anguish and amputated arms against ankles:



Death, survival's sister; such sinister sinner.

(Again, another alliteration altered)



 ©Samuel Jr.

TOLU'S DIARY - WHY NOT TRY AGAIN?

TUESDAYS 10AM

WHY NOT TRY AGAIN?

Hi diary,
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you need to reach someone on the phone for business and your network keeps on saying ‘not reachable at the moment?’, The fact that the line pronounced not reachable means there is hope, especially if it is a matter of transactions. I trust your fingers won’t deviate from the green button; you will keep trying till you reach the dollar bills server at the end of the call. If we truly desire to achieve the best out of this life, we have to keep trying.
There is this saying “the best things in life don't come cheap”. Therefore persistence, consistency, determination and focus are vital keys to success. It doesn’t matter how much we try, we are only celebrated when the outcome is desirable. Thomas Edison; the great scientist tried again and again before becoming successful on his renowned project. Several notable great men have the same story of trying again including ex American president; Abraham Lincoln. Readers, we must not stop a quarter to glory, we must try again.
Why not try again? You have almost hit the gold. Will you allow someone else to claim that innovation just like the Wright Brothers did? Will you quit when you are almost crowned the champion? Will you stop to write when your ink is about to prevent that man from suicide or depression? Will you leave that best song ever to be enjoyed only by your intestines, heart, veins and arteries just because you have failed before? Will you allow that mediocre to rule over your kinsmen? Why not try again readers?
See you again next week by His grace.

HISTORIC FRIDAY - OFALA FESTIVAL

The word ofala is coined from two Igbo words; ofo (symbol of authority) and ala (land).   O fo is the symbol of authority, spiritu...