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Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Early Christian Missionaries Were Wrong to Have Named Their Satan After a Powerful Igbo God Known as Ekwensu

By Anayo M. Nwosu

Ekwensu was a popular deity worshipped by the Igbo people.

In fact, there is a town known as Obi Ekwensu which is located northwest of Ụmụ Akwa, south of Ovu Ngwu and southeast of Amapụnta town in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area of Abia State.

There is also a long, steep and tortuous hill in Ụkpọ, Nnewi South LGA known as Ugwu Ekwensu.

Ekwensu is an Trickster deity of the  Igbo people who serve as the Alụsị or God of Bargain and the Tortoise.

Crafty at trade and negotiations, Ekwensu is often invoked for guidance in difficult mercantile situations.

Like most Trickster Gods, the deity was a force of  Chaos and Change, thus in his more violent aspects, Ekwensu was also revered as a God of War and Victory who ruled over the wicked spirits and the chaotic forces of nature.

Ekwensu's companion was Death.

With the advent of Christianity, the more beneficent aspects of the deity were supplanted by missionaries who came to misrepresent Ekwensu as Satan. That was wrong.

Ekwensu's symbol is a tortoise.

Recall that tortoise also symbolizes craftiness in Igbo folklore.

It is noteworthy that it was during the colonial enslavement and during missionary period that Ekwensu was transcribed to become the Igbo word for Satan.

Ekwensu has a co-ordinate power as other powerful Igbo deities like Ogwugwu, Ụlasị, Udo, Edo, Agbala, Amadịoha etc. which under Igbo cosmology are under the command of Chineke.

Edo Or Uzukpe deities of Nnewi were and are not answerable to Ekwensu in Isiala Ngwa. Never! They are independent with their own geographical dominions.

Satan can better be described as Ezeajọmụọ i.e. the head of bad spirits. He could also be called Dimmụọjọọ or Osumụọjọọ. The suggested names derives from the fact that the leader of yam farmers is called Osuji or Diji and the leader of an army is called an Osuagha.

Whenever you pray in Igbo and you intend to bind and cast Satan, leave Ekwensu alone otherwise you may end up provoking an innocent deity of people of Obi Ekwensu.

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