Culture & Tradition

Posted On 16 May 2010
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Land: Ogbas regard their land with sincere veneration, as befits a great, mysterious deity whose favors yields rich harvests and whose anger causes famine, discords and plague just like the ancient Egyptian belief. Ogba “law” and unwritten moral code deal with such matters as marriage, births, deaths and burials,

 

Marriage: In regard to marriage, exogamy within each extended family or Onuobdo is strictly observed, polygamy is practiced and a uniform bride price is fixed and revised from time to time. An elaborate marriage ceremony was instituted in which bridesmaids and bridal trains featured. Definite condition are laid down for divorce.

 

Birth: A birth is welcome as the return of an ancestor. A female child born at night when Okrosu was being performed is name Nnowu and given special privileges and “right of passage”. Other children were named after their “re-carnation” after verification by Dibia through “divination”.

 

Death: The death of a young person is a tragic and sad occasion but a mature or elderly person’s death is an occasion for elaborate rituals involving eating, drinking and dancing by okrosu and members of the traditional societies (e.g. Igbu) Ogbas looked upon a deceased elder as a forerunner in the world beyond, who continue to take interest in the affairs of the living.
 

 

Customary Code: A “customary code” prescribed the traditional law in such matter as murder, adultery, theft, debt, and inheritance.

 

Murder: In regard to murder, the penalty was an eye for an eye. If a member of one Onuobdo (extended family) kill a member of another Onuobdo , the members of the former Onuobdo were made to produce someone of comparable standing (e.g. of the same sex and age grade) who would walk courageously to his/her death by public hanging. Killing in self defence or warfare was recognized as an act of bravery and a qualification for entry into the prestigious Igbu society.

 

Adultery : Adultery involving one of the Kings wives incurred capital punishment. A man who spoke to a married woman frivolously would be compelled to pay penalties if she was sitting down with her feet outstretched, any male who stepped across her feet knowingly or unknowingly was considered guilty of an offence attracting substantial penalties so high were the standards of morality and propriety.

 

Theft: Theft rarely occurred because all property were perpetually under the watchful eye of erisi (the gods) consequently, erisi formed part and parcel of the judicial formality. Some Ogbas depend on the local gods but a good number accept the modern jurisprudence.

 

Executive Action: In regard to executive action, the age-grade of Ali-Ogba play a useful role since everyone belong to an age-grade, it is not very difficulty to mobilize the people for concerted action when the need arise.

 

Traditional Rulers: Traditional Rulers known as Royal fathers enjoy high respect from young and old, undoubtedly because of the veneration in which rulership was held in Benin to which Ogbas trace their origin. It is true that Ogbas do not prostrate flat on the ground (as in some areas west of the Niger) to greet their traditional rulers, but neither do they “stand erect” to greet “royalty” unless they come from Onuobdos traditionally entitled to do so. On the whole, Ogba society had a solid base in which everyone played his or her clearly defined role with pride and dignity in the general interest.

Executive of Judicial or legislative decisions: Executive of Judicial or legislative decisions is achieved through family or onuobdo elders, or through social pressure, or the ubiquitous erisi Or age-grades.

 

Ogba society is largely genentocratic (“A young person has to bow to an older person, other thing being equal”) The oldest male in an extended family has always been the head of the extended family. The oldest male in an Onuobdo is the Head of the Onuobdo. Where a new priest is required by an erisi, the oldest male member of an onuobdo is usually appointed.

Consequently, enforcement of a law, custom or decision was usually carried out by different Onuobdos under the direction of their elders. Sometimes, implementation was achieved through ostracism or social pressure. A person guilty of an abomination is avoided like a plague, for fear of infection with the calamity that was destined to befall the transgressor.

The consequence of losing the goodwill of their association must have operated as a strong deterrent to some intending criminals, sometimes the names of the guilty individuals or notorious suspects were mentioned in songs purposely composed to expose the offenders to ridicule or compel them to make restitution. Sometime, it is the ubiquitous esiri that was invoked to kill someone who failed to do so is expected of him.

 

Public Service: In all cases where a specific public service was to be done, or where handwork or specific sacrifice of time and energy was called for, or where there was risk to life and limb, the youth age-grade provided an ever-ready agency for executive action

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  1. Rita ogu

    What is d total female population in ogba

  2. zreal

    update the site with the Definite condition are laid down for divorce.

  3. Nkem

    Am reading the culture and tradition of Ogba land including purnishment for crimes, are those really enforced in the present day? If yes, who in our Ogba land is without one crime or the other?