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MANNER OF WORSHIP

Religion is the beliefs, feelings, dogmas and practices that defines the relationship between human beings and sacred being or divinity. It is also the beliefs in the existence of a supernatural ruling power, the creator of heaven and the earth. The people of Ebudin, before the coming of the missionaries, engaged in ancestral worship and this was universal in the whole Esan land. Everybody had to remember and worship the spirit of his/her departed parents, particularly his father, at the very least, once a year. In reality, the living appealed to God Almighty through their dead fathers; they knew that they really had not the power of God or even of any divinity, but they believed that being in the other world, where all inhabitants could see what goes on in   the earth, they could direct their off-springs they had left behind in this world. More so, they believed that all dead people could see and speak to God.

It was the common practice that all children worship their dead fathers in Ebudin as commonly practiced in Africa, through the most senior surviving son who is the custodian of the family’s ‘Statue’ known in Esan Land as ‘Ukhure’ (about two feet long carved stick, covered with cowries in it upper part to represent the family spirit of their dead; an effigy). It is the traditional ancestral stick. It is the first son alone that can touch this ‘Ukhure’ and use it to bless the family. Thus, if any of his junior brothers or sisters has to appease the spirit of their dead father, they have to come to ask their senior brother or oldest male child of the family to perform the worship for them. Sacrifices were made to this effigy (Ukhure).

When the first son dies, his own first son takes up the custody of the ancestral statue (Ukhure) and now has to perform the rites not only for his own brothers and sisters, but also for his uncles and aunts, whenever the need arises. Our fore-fathers, who started the ancestral worship, were directed by their beliefs that dead people had the power to see God Almighty face to face and also those they have power of seeing and knowing what went on in the world they had left. Generally, the belief is that the ancestors had powers to influence the affairs of the living for better or for worse. 

 

The belief in the ancestral powers in Ebudin is based on the general notion that life continues after death and that communion and communication are possible between those who are alive here on earth and the deceased. This belief led to the presence of many native doctors in Ebudin prior the arrival of the missionaries.

There are very notable and reputable native doctors that have lived in Ebudin. Worthy of mention here and whose activities have also helped to shape and reshape the well-being of the Ebudin community are:

Late Pa Odiagbe Eseigbe, who was noted to have been the man who was invited to attend to the Oba of Benin when he was in some trouble and needed a good native doctor for divinity and fortification. People who have heard of the capabilities of Pa Odiagbe Eseigbe had to refer the Oba of Benin to reach him. As the author was told, at the invitation of the Oba of Benin, Pa. Odiagbe Eseigbe travelled to Benin along with his wife, Late Madam Ikhimiukor Odiagbe, who later married Pa Isele Eseigbe, the junior brother of Odiagbe, upon the death of her husband. She was reputed for her capacity to treat barrenness in women all around Esan Land. Pa Odiagbe Isele’s wife was said to have waited for her husband at Ehor town, along Benin/Iruenkpen road, to allow her husband make the Oba’s palace alone. When Pa Odiagbe got to the Oba’s Palace in Benin he was said to have been tested by the Oba by infesting Pa. Odiagbe with a disease of the scrotum (‘Evele’) and on noticing it, Pa. Odiagbe used his hand to rub the infested part of his body and the disease turned into dust and he showed it to the Oba who was amazed over the enormous mystical powers of Pa. Odiagbe. To further demonstrate his mystical capabilities, Pa. Odiagbe Eseigbe was said to have turned into a ‘young palm tree’ right in front of the Oba, who became terrified by the act and was now very confident and convinced that Pa. Odiagbe Eseigbe was truly good enough to help him out. He was said to have resolved the Oba’s problem before joining his wife again at Ehor town and they both returned to Ebudin then after. How Pa. Odiagbe and his wife travelled from Ebudin to far away Benin City is yet to be understood till date. They were however said to have vanished and appeared wherever they wanted (first at Ehor and then after in Oba’s palace in Benin City).

Late Pa. Isele Eseigbe, who was a junior brother of Late Pa. Odiagbe Esiegbe and was fondly called  ‘Okankan’, for he was seen to be a strong man and reputed for his healing capabilities for most ailments is also worthy of mentioning here.

Late Pa. Osimen Edoror was known as the ‘Ojoboh’ (the leader of the native doctors in Ebudin). He was well respected throughout Esan land for his great mystical powers of divinity and healing. 

Late Pa Akhimien was another good native doctor that have lived in Ebudin and made his mark.

Late Pa. Isaac Odiase, popularly called ‘Ogidigan’, was a relation (second Cousin) of Pa Isele Eseigbe and Pa. Odiagbe Eseigbe and will also be remembered here as one of the good native doctors that have lived in Ebudin. He is noted for his capacity to turn ‘sand’ into ‘gun powder’ and used in shooting of Dane-guns and other ground explosives commonly used in ceremonies. His healing capabilities is worthy of mention here too. 

Some notable Ebudin people known for their capacity to cause and/or prevent rainfalls and have variously demonstrated this are:

Late Pa. Irebhude

Late Pa. Oghuma Ikhine

Late Okoh Ereguaogun, popularly called ‘Omo’ and/or ‘I-show-wonder’. He was very reputed for his rain-making capabilities.

A major religious group in Ebudin worthy of mention here is the ‘Oguese’ traditional religious group, also called ‘Osenughegbe’ or the ‘Iyayi Society’. This religious sect was introduced by Late Pa. Abidu Isele, who was also a past Odionwele of Ebudin. Other notable people of Ebudin who have organized religious groups in Ebudin are:

Pa. Ojeaga Omoguaifo, who was once the oldest man in Ididigba quarters in Ebudin and had an Oguese religious group.

Late madam Edegba Okogun (nee Isele) was one of the prominent leaders in Oguese religious group in Ebudin

Late Pa. Omijie Akhimien from Ididigba also had an Oguese religious group based in Ididigba quarters in Ebudin.

Late Pa. Ataga Akhimien, the first son of Late Pa. Omijie Akhimien. He was said to have inherited his late father’s religion and became reputed for his healing capabilities.

Late Madam Omozobhie from Iguizi quarters in Ebudin.

Late Madam Ekeasimen Odiase (nee Omijie). She was the daughter of Late Pa Omijie of Ididigba quarters. 

This Oguese/Iyayi religious group believes in the use of mirror and ‘Ezuzu’ (Animal skin hand fan) for divinity. They still exist in Ebudin till date.

Another form of religion that existed in Ebudin in those days was the ‘Azelu’ religious group. Not much of this sect could be seen amongst the people of Ebudin again. However, the chief Priest then was late Madam Iyen Oare from Odogbe. Members of this religious group were quite few in Ebudin. This religion seems to have been extinct in Ebudin today.

Another type of religion that existed in Ebudin worthy of mention here is the ‘Ebakorle-ane’ religious group. This was formed by Late Pa. Eronmomwen Odia from Idimu-Ohoghe.

Christianity, as a religion, was introduced to Ebudin many years ago, even though it became prominently embraced in 1928, when late Pa Patrick Oboh Anofen (a past Odionwele of Ebudin) introduced the Catholic Church. With the presence of the white reverend fathers in most other parts of Esan Land, it was quite easy for the Ebudin people to embrace the catholic faith, as a form of worship, which is why it is the largest of all religious groups in Ebudin today.

Other Christian religious groups that have sprung up in Ebudin as at date are:

Assemblies of God mission: Now in two locations in Ebudin (Idimu-Oghale and Odogbe)

Jehovah Witness: Introduced to Ebudin by Messrs Iyangbe and Edionwele

Osagbomorhue Gospel Church (now extinct): Brought by Late Anakali Patrick

Living faith of Christ: Introduced into Ebudin by Mr. Benedo Asabowan in Idimu-Ohoghe quarters in Ebudin.

Baptist Church: Located at Iguizi and introduced by Mr. Ibhayehor Idiake

Apostolic Church: Located at Idimu-Oghale

Redeemed Christian Church (RCC): Located at Idimu-Ohoghe and introduced by Ernest Iribhogbe of Idimu-Oghale.

Church Of God Mission: Located at Idimu-Ohoghe and introduced to Ebudin by Pa. Emonyon.

Alfa Church Of Christ: Located at Idimu-Ohoghe and introduced to Ebudin by Mr. Ogbidi

Cherubim and Seraphim: Located at Idimu-Arua and introduced to Ebudin by Mr. Mathew Okhueleigbe

Power Line Bible Church: Located at Ididigba and introduced to Ebudin by Cmdr. Raymond Omijie (RTRD)

Winners Chapel: Was recently introduced into Ebudin

Deeper Life Bible Church: Introduced to Ebudin by Mr. Fredrick Ebo Omononyan 

Sanctuary of the saints Church: Located at ididigba and introduced to Ebudin by Bishop Otabun Idiake 

There are others, not too prominent churches, springing up all around Ebudin that are yet to be fully established. As at date, there seem to be more Christian religious groups in Ebudin than the pagans. Nearly every family in Ebudin has now embraced Christianity.

 

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