In Anambra State of the 1970s and 1980s, there was a very popular bread brand named Our Lady’s. It was the most premium and most expensive. It was the number one bread brand for those coming home or leaving home through Onitsha.
Then a rumour started that the bread was popular because the owner caused luxury bus accidents, sucked people’s blood and used it to make the bread and attract buyers.
This did not stop as a rumour. Some ladies went to Anambra State Broadcasting Service, Onitsha to be interviewed on the issue. They said they worked in the bakery and were privy to how people’s blood was used to make the bread. They told all kinds of stories about Mamiwọta powers. Then the bread brand died. I don’t know who the founder was. But I could imagine how devastated he or she must have felt with such a gang-up even endorsed by the state-owned radio station.
It was the era Patty Obasi sang Mma Mamiwọta (Mermaid’s Beauty) and Victor Uwaifo sang If You See Mamiwọta. It was also the era of Egedege troupe from Unubi – it was said that the lead singer was also a top member in the marine world, and that was what made the musical troupe popular.
The talk of Mamiwọta and Ogbanje was all over town then. Half of the girls and young ladies, especially the pretty ones, were termed members of the marine world or female cult called “òtù. Any girl with blue eyes was an initiate of the marine world. Any girl that was too quiet was a member. Any girl that was very fair-complexioned was a member. Any girl with lovely or sexy eyes was a member.
There were many medicine women who specialised in performing the rituals on such girls, so that they would be allowed by the marine world to marry, have children, concentrate on life, live long, not destroy the destiny of their husband, etc. Such ladies usually got some marks on their hands, left by the medicine women.
Sometimes if a woman was having problems of stubbornness, waywardness, domestic fights, childlessness, etc in her marriage, her parents would come pick her up and take her to a medicine woman. Depending on the rank of the initiate in the marine world, sometimes a cow and other items were used to pacify the marine world or her cult to let her be, to let her enjoy her life and marriage.
It was said that girls got initiated through other girls and women by accepting food items from such people. Because of that, girls were warned never to accept food items from even their friends or other people.
Note that at the time this was going on, Christianity was by far the dominant religion around us. But if you argued that such was empty talk, even staunch members of the church would tell you to keep religion aside, to avoid losing your daughter.
And when Nollywood started, while the men were acting films of men involved in money rituals, the women were acting films of women involved in the marine world, destroying men and homes.
I have studied Nigerians of different ethnic groups and have seen that there is virtually no difference between the belief of animists, Christians and Muslims in superstition. In Nigeria, every thing that cannot easily be explained is caused by evil forces. The animists will seek a medinine man to help solve it. The Christians will seek a man of God to solve it. The Muslims will seek an alfa to solve it.
In Nigeria, nothing happens for nothing. All around are evil forces that need to be cast out or pacified with sacrifices or offerings.
Over 150 years after the Europeans came to conquer us with guns made with the brain, while our deities failed our forefathers, we still continue to depend on spiritual forces to solve our problems, thereby making ourselves slaves to China, Europe, America. Even many parts of Asia have left us behind. They believe in their own religions but they seek scientific solutions to most of their life problems while we seek almost 100% spiritual solutions to our problems. Sadly, we are not half as godly as we are religious.
Like we say here, it is well, it is not my portion, I reject it. Happy weekend.
Credit: Agunze Azuka Onwuka