EBUKA OBI-UCHENDU TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE AND THE POWER OF RAINMAKERS

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Ebuka and the pretty wife Cynthia (Photo credit: AEP)

Written by J Duke Anago

The popular TV presenter Ebuka popularly known as Okija married the beautiful, smart, humble and intelligent daughter of Anambra State billionaire, Chief Vincent Obianodo, CEO Rockview Hotels, Young Shall Grow Motors, Vineegas LTD and other business interests.

The wedding was adjudged as Anambra state equivalent of the royal wedding with its pomp and circumstance. Numerous dignitaries graced the occasion with Chief Alex Ekwueme, former Vice President leading the way. Flavor N’ Abania performed live. Most Lagos entertainment stars were present.

Ordinarily, I don’t write on weddings. I leave that for Ovation magazine and Bella Naija. This is because Renaissance Reporters is an opinion based news media with its unique selling proposition being people’s views, interpretations and opinion of happenings in the local and global polity. However, two reasons motivated me to do an article on this: first, the wedding held in my town, Neni. Secondly, the power of rainmakers. Non-Igbos may not understand the second reason above about rainmakers. Let me explain.

Organizing a public event in Eastern Nigeria without seeking the blessings of local Rainmakers is tantamount to buying Iceblock for an occasion the next day and leave it under the sun to melt. These rainmakers are like gods with supernatural ability to bring down rain from the heavens. Their men and women have what it takes to make rain fall precisely at your compound while your neighbors enjoy the real sunshine if they are not settled well enough in advance. Although it is becoming less fashionable for modern youths not to seek their blessings since some feel it is a fetish or succumbing to devilish power, most people (my humble self inclusive) see it as African cultural astronomy.

Against the above backdrop, most families in Igbo land go and settle these rainmaker(s) and at times it may involve paying both father and son if they are equally powerful. They usually accept cash donations ranging from N10,000 to N1,000,000 depending on one’s social status so that your occasion may be rain free. Else they will brag to you that “mmiri ga ezo” meaning rain will fall on your day.

However, rainmakers vary in power as some are said to be more powerful than others and at times there are just many of them one have to pay so they won’t scuttle the event with a heavy downpour. Paying some and not paying the other will signal you are neglecting their efficacy. Woe betides anyone that pays the weaker and ignored a more superior one with stronger rainmaking capacity. Mmiri ga ezo surely.

This was exactly the situation on the day of the wedding as it rained cats and dog on Saturday 3rd October 2015 which nearly impede the event that would showcase exceptional and colorful Igbo traditional marriage in full display. My personal investigation as a local revealed that one of the most powerful rainmakers in the neighboring town, a young teen of about 16 years of age was upset that he was neglected hence decided to bring down the rain. A 16 years old boy with such power to bring down that heavy downpour? I was dazed and equally amazed by the power the kid controls.

When I retired to my hotel room that Saturday, I was thinking of the science behind this supernatural power. These guys have some supernatural power, and when they laugh, it rains for a good purpose, when they cry, it rains that which can disturb one’s event. How can this power be transformed into something positive and not the current crude way it is applied? I have scheduled a meeting to interview this boy. Hopefully, he will agree to speak to Renaissance Reporters and allow us to publish his views.

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6 Responses to EBUKA OBI-UCHENDU TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE AND THE POWER OF RAINMAKERS

  1. Chijioke Reply

    October 10, 2015 at 7:04 am

    When my father was interred in 2002 I was asked by my cousins in the village to ‘settle’ ‘rainmakers’. I refused because my beliefs was against that. I also argued March was part of the rainy season and so there was no need to deceive ourselves. I surely rained much and ended. I continued with the burial. When my father’s sister was buried last year, my cousins ‘settled’ them and even brought in a ‘powerful rainmaker’ from Ojoto. The guy put up an ugly looking shrine behind the house with Hindu-like incenses burning and with all the traditional African ‘rainmaking’ artefacts like stone and uduko (from palmtree). It rained more heavily than during my father’s burial. Earlier this year there was another burial of one of our matriarchs and they ‘settled’. It still rained the second day. ‘Rainmakers’ seem to have no solution to rain during rainy season. During my mother’s burial in 2011 I prayed fervently to God to give me a dry burial. It rained the night before and never rained until I was through. I was happy I didn’t ‘settle’ in 2002 and 2011 and compromise my beliefs. I will still not ‘settle’ them any time.

  2. Patrick Iroegbu Reply

    October 11, 2015 at 4:37 am

    Ordering Rainmaking and Rain-Stopping

    The art of rainmaking is wide spread in Africa and other indigenous societies. Like masquerade cult, rain making is associated with the god of thunder, Amadioha and other forces at play. You would need to google for published research on the subject as well as unveil some blog articles on the cyber wave.

    In Igbo generally, indigenous healing and performing arts such as masquerade, music and rainmaking we do understand that there are beliefs in supernatural forces around the outcome of events where the art of rainmaking is applied.

    Make no mistake; rainmaking is a challenging oke amuma ogwu. It is said to work with objects of attraction in opposition to what is intended. Fire and smoke are made against rain. Symbolism is apt to its happening.

    Many rain makers use special thunder related objects to direct the weather of either rain pouring or sun shining. Let me say that no healer will stop rain from falling easily. What they do is to delay it through a means of pushing or redirecting the rain away and spreading it elsewhere. Diversion is central to the practice of rain making. It works through the obvious use of forces to counter forces as well as by team work.

    It is easier to bring down the rain than to stop it from pouring. That is why social networking applies to connect with all rain makers in the region where an event will take place.

    Rain makers have a cult or union. They operate under an oath of support. Some members are greedy and want to be involved anytime there is a rain job to be done. Do rain makers bring down the rain in the dry season? They can but the requirements and cost of achieving the feat is too heavy to bear. It could eat a head up. It can happen when a group is into a contest of their medical and professional powers.

    Like in all professions, well trained, excellent and disciplined rain makers can do wonders in the field of letting the rain pour or hold it off by redirecting the pour elsewhere. Often you hear remarks like mmiri ibu aka, or a hungry rainmaker breaking a taboo around the efficacy of preventing a rain fall such as eating or drinking or snuffing as well as having sex before the event. It also involves being too greedy to share by not contacting one’s fellow rainmakers in the area.

    Sometimes there is the belief that an outside rain maker or healer will do a better job than a local practitioner of rain making. In all cases they must collaborate so that no one will jeopardize the expectation and success of the job in a given event.

    To the question of being teen age and having to possess rain making power, anyone can learn the art and carry it out. You need not be at the location or site of the event to draw out rain to fall. Once a child of 10 years can do it and this mainly happens in the home of a skilled healer where participation in preparing medicines – roots, herbs, and items for sacrifices take place.

    A ten year old person who is initiated and shown how to mix concoctions can do the job of rain making. Most of the time, healers and therapists can send their children that carry their medicine bags to go and deliver and administer medications and offer sacrifices as directed.
    A boy of 16 years is mature enough to understand the symbols and uses of objects of power to make rain. For example, a boy who is in dare need of money to pay for school item can hunt for a rain making job and take permission or defer from his mother or father in so far as he has been initiated to carry out the job for a fee.

    We have numerous cases where school boys help their school mates when they are sick with therapies to recover. A mere offer of some herbs, roots and something to chew against stomach upset or diarrhea, headache, and fever happens.

    We expect the proposed J. Jude Anago’s investigative interview with the amazing young rainmaker succeeds in taking place and that the young chap would be able to discuss and explain the rites of rainmaking in his own approach. Questions like the following should be helpful.

    1. Family background related to learning how to make and stop rain

    2. Age he started getting training – initiation, fears and outcomes.

    3. Benefits of rain making and why at his age he considers it a moral, social, economic and cultural duty to participate, intervene and when he feels ignored, he rocks the boat.

    4. Forces involved in rain making – deities, amadioha, symbols and objects of power like thunder stone and okwute mmiri, sea stone.

    5. Discipline and taboos involved in rain making.

    6. Belief and Christian religion namely prophetic churches and Pentecostalism around rainmaking beliefs and concerns for the profession of rain making.

    7. How do young people of his age view him and his rain making art?

    8. His future regarding rain making profession.

    9. Dangers and implications of rainmaking. What makes one to be a successful rainmaker during an event?

    10. Social and cult membership networking in rain making.

  3. Patrick Iroegbu Reply

    October 11, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    A Comment On Rain-making

    A comment provided in response to J. Jude Anago’s Post in http://www.renaissancereporters.com affecting a Society’s Marriage Ceremony.

    The art of rainmaking is wide spread in Africa and other indigenous societies. Like masquerade cult, rain making is associated with the god of thunder, Amadioha and other forces at play. You would need to google for published research on the subject as well as unveil some blog articles on the cyber space.

    In Igbo generally, indigenous healing and performing arts such as masquerade, music and rainmaking we do understand that there are beliefs in supernatural forces around the outcome of events where the art of rainmaking is applied.

    Make no mistake; rainmaking is a challenging oke amuma ogwu. It is said to work with objects of attraction in opposition to what is intended. Fire and smoke are made against rain. Symbolism is apt to its happening.

    Many rain makers use special thunder related objects to direct the weather of either rain pouring or sun shining. Let me say that no healer will stop rain from falling easily. What they do is to delay it through a means of pushing or redirecting the rain away and spreading it elsewhere. Diversion is central to the practice of rain making. It works through the obvious use of forces to counter forces as well as by team work.
    It is easier to bring down the rain than to stop it from pouring. That is why social networking applies to connect with all rain makers in the region where an event will take place.

    Rain makers have a cult or union. They operate under an oath of support. Some members are greedy and want to be involved anytime there is a rain job to be done. Do rain makers bring down the rain in the dry season? They can but the requirements and cost of achieving the feat is too heavy to bear. It could eat a head up. It can happen when a group is into a contest of their medical and professional powers.
    Like in all professions, well trained, excellent and disciplined rain makers can do wonders in the field of letting the rain pour or hold it off by redirecting the pour elsewhere.

    Often you hear remarks like mmiri ibu aka, or a hungry rainmaker breaking a taboo around the efficacy of preventing a rain fall such as eating or drinking or snuffing as well as having sex before the event. It also involves being too greedy to share by not contacting one’s fellow rainmakers in the area.

    Sometimes there is the belief that an outside rain maker or healer will do a better job than a local practitioner of rain making. In all cases they must collaborate so that no one will jeopardize the expectation and success of the job in a given event.

    To the question of being teen age and having to possess rain making power, anyone can learn the art and carry it out. You need not be at the location or site of the event to draw out rain to fall. Once a child of 10 years can do it and this mainly happens in the home of a skilled healer where participation in preparing medicines – roots, herbs, and items for sacrifices take place.

    A ten year old person who is initiated and shown how to mix concoctions can do the job of rain making. Most of the time, healers and therapists can send their children that carry their medicine bags to go and deliver and administer medications and offer sacrifices as directed.

    A boy of 16 years is mature enough to understand the symbols and uses of objects of power to make rain.
    For example, a boy who is in dare need of money to pay for school item can hunt for a rain making job and take permission or defer from his mother or father in so far as he has been initiated to carry out the job for a fee.

    We have numerous cases where school boys help their school mates when they are sick with therapies to recover. A mere offer of some herbs, roots and something to chew against stomach upset or diarrhea, headache, and fever happens.

    We expect the proposed J. Jude Anago’s investigative interview with the amazing young rainmaker succeeds in taking place and that the young chap would be able to discuss and explain the rites of rainmaking in his own approach. Questions like the following should be helpful.

    1. Family background related to learning how to make and stop rain.

    2. Age he started getting training – initiation, fears and outcomes.

    3. Benefits of rain making and why at his age he considers it a moral, social, economic and cultural duty to participate, intervene and when he feels ignored, he rocks the boat.

    4. Forces involved in rain making – deities, amadioha, symbols and objects of power like thunder stone and okwute mmiri, sea stone.

    5. Discipline and taboos involved in rain making.

    6. Belief and Christian religion namely prophetic churches and Pentecostalism around rainmaking beliefs and concerns for the profession of rain making.

    7. How do young people of his age view him and his rain making art?

    8. His future regarding rain making profession.

    9. Dangers and implications of rainmaking. What makes one to be a successful rainmaker during an event? Can rain making occur in dry season – and what are the terrible challenges?

    10. Social and cult membership and networking in rain making.

    11. How much is the range of fees charged for a good rainmaking job?

    12. How are quacks in the profession of rainmaking handled?

    13. Duration of training to become a rain maker and costs.

    14. Explore how the boy of 16 years became interested in rain making and received specific training to qualify.

    15. How do we recognize a qualified rain maker?

    16. How do they hunt for, advertise and win contracts of rain making jobs – including local and external opportunities?

    17. Do apprentices approach to learn rain making and how long does training take to become a competent and competitive rain worker?

    18. What side effects on the body and family are associated with thunder influence and culture of rainmaking?

    19. How are ritual sites or places for rainmaking determined and used?

    20. If a contract of rain making job would last for a week, how does the rain making artist or therapist survive regarding the taboos for successful rain making?

    With these suggested questions, and other related journalist’s queries, we hope to gain more specific and general insights on the tradition and practices of rainmaking in Igbo society.

    Considerably, understanding how rainmaking is a preoccupation including ways of putting the skills and resources of rainmaking practitioners into some more dynamic and expanded development strategies must be sought for and surely made helpful.

    Anthropological discipline, which is the study of people and their cultures wherever they live and carry out their daily lives and seasonal activities will be of interest to study rain making in depth.

    Here we think it is important and we suggest to journalist J. Jude Anago to seek and include an anthropology staff and student in the team to visit and discuss with the 16 year old rain maker to explore the cultural and astronomical dimensions of rainmaking based on the boy’s and his family’s practices and approaches in his immediate community and surrounding regions.

  4. Austine Reply

    October 11, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    Thanks @ Chijioke, God bless your beliefs

  5. K.C Reply

    October 12, 2015 at 8:22 am

    Thank u chijioke,God bless u and may God give u more grace not to compromise.
    Rainmakers are for them that believe them

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