OVERVIEW OF IGALA CULTURE
Chief Musa Adegbe at May 3rd, 2014
It is quite interesting to note that an impressive culture had flourished in Igala kingdom in the prehistoric times. the culture had tenaciously held on to the entire gamut of the people’s life thereby making its traits popular through the much publicized arts, festivals, religious beliefs, knowledge, customs, moral philosophy, crafts, dress code, language, historical relics, artifact etc. In the olden days, the cultural life of the people was a pleasant reflection of a unique cultural endowments characterized by a wide range of taboos which prohibited all forms of evil practices in the society. For instance, the traditional religion was in addition to being used for spiritual fulfillment, it equally served as an important source of political control. People were scared of being sanctioned by the ancestral spirits and in so doing, lived a normal life with high moral philosophy. Good manners were improved while societal evils were equally abhorred. In the same vein, security was provided through social or cultural norms and the use of masquerades for practical enforcement of rules and regulations. The use of masquerades generally believed to be the ancestor’s incarnate or personification thus symbolically representing the watchful eyes of the founding fathers of the kingdom on earth; is a common phenomenon in African society. In addition, the powers of certain traditional masquerades like Ekwe, Abule, Egwu afia to publicly identify, discipline or sanction thieves, witches and those who violated the cultural norms of the society was a common feature. Thus the masquerades were greatly feared and respected.
Similarly, table manners require the child to first wash his hands then sit well before eating with his right hand. He should not talk while eating neither should he be sent on errand. And after eating, he comes to the father and mother to greet and pray ‘ojo ki d’enyo wa’ which means ‘thanks, may God bring more blessings’. And with this, they continued to train well mannered children.
Another interesting aspect of Igala culture note worthy is the mutual relationship that exists between children of one family or by extension between the youth and elders in the society. Igala tradition requires the young one after greeting his father and mother in the morning to equally do the same to his elder brother by saying ‘enegbani, I wola odudu’ which means good morning my elder brother. The next thing for him to do is to listen carefully and answer the questions that might come from his elder brother in a polite and humble manner. He does the same to his elder sisters, other members of the family and the society at large. In addition, the young one never speaks while the elder is talking to him, and he responds in a respectful manner as if he is answering his father. He never loses his temper while receiving query from the elders. This is because, tradition demands that elders should be given due respect and unquestioning obedience.