Choice of the
Copyright 2007 by Erasmus Osais Austins
It started likes a Dream, after a long period of barren. Mr. Okoro the chief priest's wife finally gave birth to a baby girl, these brought joy to the lgwe the king and the community at large, but like the custom necessitate during the circumcision day a child is brought before the gods. The first reason for doing so is to show appreciation for the suppose gift of the gods on the family, secondly is to seek from the gods what the child would be the in the future.
So the case of Ada wasn’t going to be an exemption, on that particular day they arrange the kegs of palm wine, some kola nut, native pepper, the white cock and other things for the ceremony. Eventually the occasion entered into the aspect everyone was waiting for that is the getting to know the future of Ada the newborn child. So the chief priest the guardian of the gods entered into the village shrine as the custom permit. But he took over one hour to get response from the gods, as he the priest was keeping long the people outside became apprehensive, some even begin to reason with themselves could it be the gods are not happy with the coming of the new child, some others still think ‘maybe the child future is blurred.' But as all these were going through their minds the chief came out, first he face was looking funny then he went straight to consult with the lgwe in council and his chiefs for permission to relate the minds of the gods to the crowd present.
Mr. Okoro the chief priest started by first clearing his throat then greeted the Igwe the head of the land, then he said that the gods were indeed happy with the coming of the child, but he quickly added that there was a special assignment that the gods have bestow on her, that she would he the next chief priest of the land. At that point the crowd broke up into murmuring. “How can a woman become our chief priest?” they reasoned. Because from times immemorial it has always been a man’s job, so they saw no reason why it must change now. But something different is happening now. So after the respite of the crowd. the only explanation the priest was able to give was that the gods works in mysterious ways, and that they have spoken nothing can be done. So finally the crowd dismiss each one to his or her home to continue the remaining part of the issue with other family members. Thereafter before the Igwe and the elders left the shrine, the priest made other point clear to them that the gods also had made a choice of husband for the little Ada, and that when she grew up she must be made to get married to the gods choice or else incur the wrath of the gods. Everyone left in astonishment but believing in the superiority of the gods.
At the age of 10 years Ada learned the details of the duty of a priest, following the father to the bush to make sacrifices and other things like consulting the ancestors for solutions to problems. Soon as she was getting older she became fond and proud of her position as assisting the father.
Finally at the age of 18 years, she lost the father to illness, and so the opportunity finally came for her to practice fully as the chief priest of the land. But before then she must get married according to the custom of her people, in the next 12 market days. Unknown to her that the gods had chosen a young palm wine taper who is notorious for his bad drinking habit to be her husband. When she was told she simply refuse ‘saying she can’t get married to such a social misfit, instead opting for another person as a married mate. But the man in question saw it as a privilege to get married to the daughter of the gods, Ada the chief priest.
Furthermore in the process of avoiding the young palm wine taper completely, that would be husband. She fell in love with a decent young man who was engaged to another woman, named Oluchi a slave girl to the lgwe. She made advances, in form gifts and expression of care. But this young Chidi refused it, instead expressing his commitment to betrothed girl. Ada the chief priest decided to go nasty to achieve her goal. Since she is possessing spiritual power, she made Oluchi the stave girl blind, and cook up with a native doctor to tell the parent that she possess some demonic power that is why the gods are angry with her, with the intention of getting the attention of the Chidi the young man she likes. But to her greatest surprise Chidi still refuse to be attracted to her even after his love Oluchi was blind, he still prefer to stick around Oluchi. These gave Ada great cause for concern.
Anytime Ada see the palm wine taper in her hunt, she kept crying and accusing the gods of bring sorrow to her. She felt as the custodian of the gods, she had right to a decent husband and the choice of the gods.
She finally decided to solve this problem once for all time, she arrange for some youth in the village to kill this palm wine taper, and made it seem as if he was killed by warriors from the neighboring village, with the belief that the death would made her free to get married to her choice husband and not the god's choice.
But after the death of this palm wine taper, the land never knew peace, there was reports of the death of many young children, even it refused to rain and the harvest was very poor that year. Then the lgwe sense that something was wrong: he summoned the chief priest Ada to his palace to inquire the reason for the sudden calamity on the land. But after consulting the Oracle she simply said that everything was well with the land and that the events were mere occurrences and that there was no problem at all, the lgwe accepted and she left.
But after a week more reports came that the situation had worsen. The lgwe in council summoned his chiefs and elders of the land to deliberate on the solution to the problem affecting the village, at the end of the meeting they decided to go and consult another chief priest from the neighboring village. After consulting his Oracle he said that the problem of the land is with their priest Ada. and he stated all the atrocities she had committed namely the killing of the palm wine taper and the blinding of the innocent slave girl Oluchi, At that they were all surprise but very angry, so they decided with themselves that she must leave the village immediately.
As the elders took the report back to their lgwe for decision, news reached Ada the chief priest about all that happened in neighboring village. So to avoid shame and molestation she quickly left her shrine and flew for the forest. Since then nothing have been heard about the first female chief priest of my village.
Evidently the choice of the gods did never become the
choice of the people.
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