Mazi Kenechukwu Ude, founder of Omenana Igbo Amaka, a group reviving ancestral worship in Igbo land, recently, told our correspondent that a majority of Igbo youths are gradually returning to the Igbo culture because of what he called ‘apparent deception of church ministers’.
Mazi Ude said, “The deception the white men brought to our people has lingered with the continued deception of our own indigenous pastors in the name of church.
“This is why today, many Igbo youths are reviving our cultural heritage and worshipping our creators the same way our forefathers did.”
He however said ancestral worship does not mean committing atrocities.
In his words, “They are too different things. Our culture or Omenana simply means a way of a people to maintain sanity. This Omenana movement borrows a leaf from Lucky Dube’s ‘Going back to our roots’.
“Whoever knows his father has known his God. We don’t classify evil doers as cultural people. They are anti-culture. Omenala or culture means rules guiding a people. It is found among every society. And all tilt towards harmony with nature.
“None of them supports evil. If you go to my place at Akegbe, there are things we abhor; same way they are found everywhere. These are universal laws. No culture allows adultery or wasting blood, among others.
“Omenana involves praying to our God through our ancestors. Get your kola nuts in the morning, pray and exalt ancestral land owners. It is not to be praying and closing your eyes. Whenever closing eyes comes in, deception is imminent.
“Church business is the deception our colonial masters used to penetrate us. What we now realise is that the white men came to make our ways of worship ordinary. They said theirs is supreme, and ours is small. Meanwhile both mean the same. Why then the deception?
“We call upon our ancestors in our ancestral tongues, using kola nuts, ose oji, and nzu, and our problems get solved. Before the coming of the white men, we never had anything like small God. But they taught us to be raising our hands and looking upwards to communicate with the higher God.
“The same God is with us here. I don’t go to church because if I want to kill a fowl to commune with my ancestors, church people don’t come when I invite them. If they invite me, I will go. I don’t have any idol.
“If I have a newborn, I bless the child, give him or her name the way I want. Not anybody else should do that because we have our ways of doing such.
“I can’t hand over my child’s destiny over to somebody I don’t know from Adam. We must return to our roots so that people will not hide under the name of church to commit atrocities.”
He said he founded Omenana Amaka to revive lost Igbo cultures: “It is not tenable to seek forgiveness from anybody except the person one offended. But today, pastors forgive sins while the victims live with the pains.
“We also revivive out masquerades. They entertain and also correct societal anomalies. These are among what churches preach against.”