"The moment we [Africans] lost our languages was also the moment we lost our bodies, our gold, diamonds, copper, coffee, tea." - Ngugi wa Thiong'o

African (Igbo) Tradition as contained in Psalm 7

Like Jose Mourinho – Chelsea football manger would say: “there are fights that you cannot win”, especially when it appears that everything and everybody is against you. This type of fight could come from conspirators that for reasons unknown to you, initiate false charges against you. And as nobody is willing to plead your cause, you are thereby convicted as charged.

However, in Ome N’ala (Igbo tradition), when someone finds himself/herself in such a situation and believes he’s right with a clear conscience; he takes his cause to the tribunal of Chineke (God). This process is called Iju-Ogu in Ome N’ala Igbo (Igbo traditional religion).

Iju-Ogu is very potent in Ome N’ala Igbo. But, the aggrieved usually gives notice of his intention to use the instrument of Iju-Ogu to extricate himself from the charges against him. And in most cases, the accusers may withdraw their charges if they have knowingly brought false charges against a poor and helpless innocent man.

There two types of Iju-Ogu: single handed and double handed.

The single handed Iju-Ogu is pretty straight forward and less effective. Using this option signifies that the person may not entirely have a clear conscience. In this case, the man using the instrument of Iju-Ogu is not trying to clear himself of any false accusation. He is mainly complaining to Chineke (God) about an injury caused to him by a person he showed favour to.

For instance, if a debtor tries to avoid his debts because the transaction between him and the creditor was carried out on trust without witnesses; the creditor can now complain to Chineke as follows. Chineke, as my debtor has decided to take advantage of my goodness, may he not see any one that will do favour for him till the rest of his life.

Now, double handed Iju-Ogu is a situation where the person using that instrument will first lay a curse on himself/herself before laying a curse on his/her adversary.

Again, using the above debtor/creditor example, the creditor’s supplication to God will be as follows: Chineke; if I have at any time taken advantage of anybody’s goodness to me let me not see good things for the rest of my life. But, if I have never done that to anyone, may you (Chineke) repay my lost money. In addition, may the debtor not see any one that will do him a favour  till the rest of his life.

Nevertheless, in the above example, the creditor should be absolutely sure that his/her hands are clean; otherwise, the curse he/she placed on himself/herself will materialise. But, if his/her hands are clean, Chineke will reward the creditor and punish the debtor as requested by the creditor.

In Africa (Igbo land) and before the introduction of Christianity, widows and orphans including the less privileged, use the instrument of Iju-Ogu to protect themselves from strong and wealthy individuals from forcefully taken away their properties by bringing false charges against them.

But today, Africa Christians preach against the use of instrument of Iju-Ogu by their members. They call it pagan practice.

And this so called pagan practice is very similar to David’s supplication to God in Psalm 7, when he was under attack from Cush the Benjamite. Verses 3 – 6 in particular are similar to the double handed Iju-Ogu as it is performed in Africa (Igbo) traditional religion.

Verse 3, 
“O Lord my God, if I have done this, if there is wrong in my hands,
Verse 4: 
if I have repaid my friend with evil or plundered my enemy without cause;
Verse 5: 
let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it; and let him trample my life to ground and lay my glory in the dust. Selah
Verse 6: 
arise, O Lord, in your anger; lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies; awake for me; you have appointed a judgement."

This David’s supplication to God is similar to the supplication of the creditor in the above debtor/creditor example.

Chineke; if I have at any time taken advantage of anybody’s goodness to me let me not see good things for the rest of my life. But, if I have never done that to anyone, may you (Chineke) repay my lost money. In addition, may the debtor not see any one that will do him a favour till the rest of his life.

As you can see, Iju-Ogu is even in the Bible. Perhaps, it is in the bible because David was an African. I say this because some scholars suggest that Cush the Benjamite may also be King Saul since he (Saul) was equally a Benjamite. And Saul may have been referred to as Cush because of his (Saul) dark complexion. Cush means African.

Hence, if Saul was an African it is most certainly that David was equally an African. And that explains why David used the African instrument of Iju-Ogu to exonerate himself from the charges against him and at the same time asked God to fight his enemies.

I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, nevertheless, the jury is out, let’s hear the verdict.

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