'Isi Agu,' Not An Igbo Cultural Symbol - Enugu-Based Lawyer - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Monday, July 13, 2020

'Isi Agu,' Not An Igbo Cultural Symbol - Enugu-Based Lawyer

Says, Lions Never Existed In Igbo Land 

Nnabuife Ezema, a Nigerian Lawyer based in Enugu State has alleged that the “Isi Agu” on most Igbo traditional clothes is a wrong choice of symbol. He argued that lions never existed in Igbo land. The Lawyer made the argument while criticizing the ‘lion statues’ being erected at different junctions by the state government.

Lions are strange foreign animals… They are not from here. On this regrettably undiscussed subject, Ezugwu Okike already lit a fire in his last post.

The question now is: why is Enugu, my home state, being gradually “renamed” a Lion State?

We already know that Enugu’s seat of power is named “Lion Building”. What informed the choice of that name I do not know. One can assume, however, that since the “Agu” totem occupies spiritual place in the Igbo sociology and Enugu is the heart of Igboland – the authors, in the bandwagon of popular misconception about the persona of “Agu” among modern Igbos, erroneously translated it into “lion”. Disastrously enough, they did not stop at the error of naming – they made a sculpted image of the error at the premises, at the gate and at the Junctions.

Apparently, this is a case of heresy occasioned by innocence of ignorance – it deserves no hard words. But for fear of the seismic violence, which further acquiescence in this error might do to our highly revered Igbo pride, it is time Enugu is summoned back from her wayward journey into the dangerous territory of lions…

Lions did not wander Igbo forests – of course they could never have – rain forests are not their turfs. Rain forests are the turf of some majestic, unbelievably strong, solitary hunters – the leopards. It terrorised ancient Igbo society and eluded their understanding – so much to earn their admiration, awe, love and fantasy. The leopard was the definition of power (dragging a fully grown cow up a tall tree) and majesty (absolute silence in the dark; eyes incandescent with fierce bravery).

There were no relics of lions on the walls of greatest Igbo hunters; Igbo hunters could not have hunted or killed what they did not see. On the contrary, hides and skins, claws and teeth of leopards are not rarities in Igboland; our best hunters displayed them as trophies. Leopards are from here.

Pound for pound, leopards are far more powerful than lions. While lions, (in undiscussed display of cowardice) must move and hunt as a gang, leopards hunt in “one-man-squad” and feared nothing. They prawled the densest of Igbo forests in awesome grace and grandeur. …Leopards are extraordinarily beautiful creatures that wear on their skin, some intricately ornate patterns from the hands of the gods themselves. And the lions? Those bland, sunburnt, albinic mobsters they say smell awful! Absolutely shorn of all beauty…

Enugu might need to rethink her heretic investment in lions. If the mushrooming feline effigies are nothing but easthetics as some try to claim, why even lions? Imagine a perfectly sculpted statue of a charging leopard finished in black! I bet you, no Igbo blood can afford to drive past without feeling a reawakening of his warrior past…

Elevating a strange foreign cat (lion) over and above our tribal totem, through wanton erection of statues, is nothing but heresy. It is like flying in the face of an indigenous god, by importation and worship of a foreign god.

Source : OkangaTrumpeters

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