If my memory serves me well, it been over 10 years since I last went “home”. Having spent most of my life in the Northern part of the country and with my closest living relatives resident in the North, most times, we did not see the need to go home for Christmas and other festivities that usually pull the average Igbo man Eastwards.

So, Ukpor Nnewi South, prepare to receive your prodigal daughter and if you guessed that this has something to do with the elections, you are probably right. No, I am not contesting for a political post (yet), I simply want to prepare for my participation as a voter in the forthcoming general elections.

One of the memories I have of trips down to the village during the Christmas seasons was of the sacred masquerade festivals. They was a lot of fun to behold, but participation, even as a spectator carried its own risks. For instance, there was the famous “fighter” masquerade of Ebe n’ano whom it was rumoured would appear out of a hole in the ground, nobody knew at what spot it would appear. You could be standing one minute, gisting with your home girls about mundane things like which boy scratched your palm when he shook your hand, or which boy’s jacquard shirt was well starched and the next minute, your heart would freeze into a solid lump as you watched the spirit of your ancestors as they bore down on you in their raffia skirts, koboko held aloft, ready to whip you back into your mother’s womb if you did not scamper off leaving behind your slippers and a trail of hot pee pee.

If that is not potent black magic, you tell me what is.


Hmm…. those masquerades’ kobokos is a topic for another day. I do not know what proportion of these stories to attribute to the mischief of my step aunties who, closer to us in age than they would have loved to be, needed to have a sort of leverage to enforce obedience and compliance from us but, they would point out the village nit wit or lunatic and regale you with stories of how the person “turned” overnight after receiving just one stroke of cane from the masquerade at Umuhu. None of us wanted to suddenly drop from being straight A students (na you sabi), to being the village object of caricature and since our aunties obviously knew how to avoid the kobokos, we remained loyal.

Once, while running from the masquerades in a gaggle of young girls, my aunty told us how suddenly, the masquerade bent down, picked up a handful of sand and flung it at the running girls. The ground in front of them immediately morphed into a carpet of shards of broken glass and they stood in one place, scared to move forward and run into the glass and scared to run back into the loving embrace of their forefathers. It took the intervention of the masquerade handlers who had temporarily lost control of the restraints to prevent the village from having more nitwits and lunatics than they would have ever imagined in their wildest dreams.

If that is not hard core otumokpo, you tell me what is.

It was not rare then to see groups of young girls trekking long distances, in different stages of disarray and with one or both shoes missing, make up bedraggled and stinking like she goats having run into bushes, scaled palm trees or even attempted to turn invisible in the middle of the road at the sudden appearance of their dearly departed relatives who rather than being happy to meet their descendants whom they probably did not have a chance to see alive, preferred instead to thrash them within an inch of their lives, and forgetting they were supposed to be long dead ancestors coming up for a breather, would actually pursue said young girls into the bushes where they would cop a quick feel before continuing on their merry ancestral ways!

Tell me, which 4000 year old ancestor, just awakened from slumber to commune with his living descendants has the energy to trek long distances, carrying a heavy wooden mask and dressed in stifling raffia costumes, still finding the strength to chase young maidens down deserted alleyways etcheteram, etcheteram, what other jazz can be more effective than whatever they are high on?

So, what does all this have to do with my preparations with the 2015 elections? A lot o, very very “a lot” matter of fact.

You see, following from Rauf Aregbesola, the kotuma short knicker wearing governor’s directive to his people to take charms to the polling booths in preparation for the August 2014 elections, we now have the grandfather of APC, Monsieur Tinubu, allegedly asking the electorate to prepare charms and other native powers for the 2015 elections.

Okay o, I have let you into the secret now.

Do not be left behind.

Do not say you were not informed…

Return to your roots and “cook” yourselves.

Juju attire with amulets

Ensure you arrive at the polling booths come February 14, 2015 with your voter’s card, as much native insurance as you can carry without needing a wheelbarrow, and a camera phone to capture proceedings. Who knows when the dust settles, you might be the last man standing and have an authentic video of the war to earn you an interview with CNN and a Pulitzer…


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About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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