Cooperation Of Wife Or Lover Is All It Takes To Kill A Great Man Or Warrior
The biblical accounts of Delilah, Abigail and few others are not the focus of this write up. However, the above assertion was validated in Nnewi about 340 years ago.
There lived a legend of man called Ezeokpo from Umu Ezeikwuabuo in the present day Otolo Nnewi.
Ezeokpo was a very powerful warrior with great mystical abilities. He could decide to fight without arrow, sword or gun but would still win his battle.
The warrior had the powers to tranquilize his opponents and take them out in a most disgraceful way. He could also appear and disappear at will.
The heroics of the great Ezeokpo have been duly recorded in Nnewi history books.
It came to a time when the highly revered Ezeokpo became so proud and self-conceited.
Like the proverbial dog that wouldn’t perceive the odour of delicious excreta during the tail ends of its life, Ezeokpo allowed his talent and prowess to get into his head.
The irony was that Ezeokpo, who had usurped the headship of his Ezeikwuabo clan had become so belligerent and disrespectful to the leadership of Nnewi town after he had successfully used one of his favourite daughters to do a juju, that upon invocation, would make him move invincibly in a cloud of fog.
That was during the reign of Chief Ezeagha, the first Onuora of Nnewi.
Ezeagha was a ruler and a general who wore the insignia of eight bells sewn on his chasuable and which discordant rings announced his presence.
Onuora was a military title earned by the bearer; it means “the conqueror of nations” or someone who had fought and won all his wars.
Ezeagha relied on the services of warriors like Ezeokpo for his assured victories in wars.
But, Ezeokpo was hell bent on dancing Surugede – the dance of the spirits- when he challenged the whole Nnewi town for a fight.
On that day, he used his juju to tranquilize his fellow warriors including the sons of Ezeagha the ruler of Otolo and Nnewi.
To the sons of Ezeagha, he afflicted with “akpili anu” or uncontrollable appetite for meat which made them go at Okwu Oyo or Nnewi meeting venue and the nearby Nkwo market begging for meat instead of mobilizing to fight Ezeokpo.
This irreversible longer-throat affliction on the sons of Ezeagha by Ezeokpo, forced their wise father to hand over the Obiship of Otolo and the town to his brother’s son named Ifeluonye, who later took an ozor title of Ezeoguine, who is also the great-grandfather of my father and that of Igwe KON Orizu, the current traditional ruler of Nnewi.
For causing their disinheritance from the throne of Otolo and Nnewi, children of Chief Ezeagha are, till this day, yet to forgive Ezeokpo’s kinsmen of Ezeikwuabo Otolo.
Ezeokpo’s humiliation of his townsmen and his fellow warriors was total just as the consequences of his headiness caused a reduction in the population of his kinsmen.
On that very day Ezeokpo challenged the whole of Nnewi to a battle, he was seen moving around the town without a weapon but with an “urimmu” (i.e the fluorescent of palm tree soaked in a palm oil and dried to be used as a torchlight in the olden days).
With “urimmu” in hand, Ezeokpo was shouting “where is Nnewi?” as the entire able-bodied men in the town were held clayed-legged under the juju influence of one man, one of their great warriors.
After homouring himself, he went home feeling victorious.
But the Nnewi elders led Chief Ezeagha were still conciliatory.
Chief Ezeagha had impressed on his fellow leaders to forgo the plan to liquidate one of his greatest warriors because of an Nnewi adage that “if a warrior is killed in a family fight, his usefulness would be felt when there is an external aggression”.
In a large hearted gesture which was a mark of circumspective leader, Chief Ezeagha sent emissaries to bring Ezeokpo to come to the palace and apologize but, the fugitive warrior killed all the messengers.
It was then that Chief Ezeagha realized that Ezeokpo “ekeghi obele odogwu” i.e “that the warrior had more insidious yet-to-be executed plans” hence he decided to stop the small pond from becoming a river.
The ruler initially descended on Ezeokpo’s village of Umu Ezeikwuabo who seemed to have supported the recalcitrance of their relation.
Umu Ezeikwuabo are the descendants of Ikwuabor, Otolo Digbo’s brother. So, even though Umu Ezeikwuabo live in today’s Otolo village, they are not Otolo but brothers to Otolo.
Umu Ezeikwuabo were consequently sacked from their former settlement in present day Okpuno Otolo spanning down to St. Thomas Anglican church Akwu Udo, down to where they live presently.
Even when population of his kinsmen, Umu Ezeikwuabo, was greatly reduced by a fratricidal war with Otolo, Ezeokpo was not captured.
Pinpoint assassination was the only option available for Chief Ezeagha who incidentally was the father in law of the fugitive Ezeokpo.
Ezeokpo had married one of the daughters of Chief Ezeagha.
When all attempts failed, Chief Ezeagha the old fox and the ruler who also was a warrior and a field marshal devised another strategy.
He started befriending the most favorite wife of Ezeokpo who hailed from Nnokwa, a town in the present Idemili local government area of Anambra. For her, it was an honour to be courted and befriended by the ruler of Nnewi.
Only the nwanyi Nnokwa or the Nnokwa wife of Ezeokpo knew the secrets of her husband.
Ezeokpo had dug a bunker covered with a wooden mortal which entrance was situated near his “agbugbo” or compost heaps.
Atop of the mortar were disused palm fronds which would never give a clue to even the most diligent detective.
The warrior’s wife would whistle with her mouth in a particular fashion to signal Ezeokpo to come out of the hole to eat at meal times.
Other wives of Ezeokpo including the daughter of Chief Ezeagha could not give any account of or the whereabouts of Ezeokpo except the Nnokwa woman.
Chief Ezeagha, won Ezeokpo’s favorite wife’s confidence when she was promised marriage on the condition that she must aid the Nnewi ruler in capturing Ezeokpo.
On the appointed date, the professional isiakpus or assassins had taken position in all the corners of Ezeokpo’s “ngwulu” or compound.
The wife had earlier been advised to spray Ezeokpo’s “okuku” or place where he hung his juju with “mmannu Ojukwu” i.e palm oil made from ojukwu species of palm tree.
The palm oil like crude oil, coconut water and bitter cola has a neutralizing effects on juju till date.
Set for action, the wife of Ezeokpo called him out to eat in the dead of the night as usual and he came out.
In a matter of seconds, the head of Ezeokpo had been severed from his neck.
The fog he invoked could not materialise as the efficacy of the juju had been attenuated by the special ojukwu palm oil.
The relieved Chief Ezeagha was woken up by the victory songs of the professional assassins who presented him with the head of the great Ezeokpo as a proof of job well done.
Nwanyi Nnokwa, the favorite wife of Ezeokpo couldn’t get her prize.
Chief Ezeagha could not imagine himself taking her as a wife as promised and in turn be betrayed by a woman who just betrayed a husband who dotted on her as a favorite wife.
Nothing was heard of Nwanyi Nnokwa next day.
Even in death, Nnewi people don’t forget the great works of a legend hence Chief Ezeagha allowed the kinsmen of Ezeokpo to take his body and give him a befitting burial and funeral.
Ezeokpo was a great man who derailed.
Yet again, a great man was betrayed my a woman he prefentially loved.