he naming ceremony, during that time was the best any native of Umuachi could ever have dreamt of. Usually, the memories of celebrations last for at most three eke markets, but that of Akachi’s daughter became a standard to which other minor ceremonies were measured. The child was named Adaoabi and she was Pa Akachi’s first child. The god’s weren’t too benevolent with him in regards to having children.
Five eke market days after Adaobi’s naming ceremony, Pa Akachi became ill, and within three days there was no more meat left on him. What was left of him is a weak skeleton and thin sheath of skin. Rumors had it that the gods want his life in exchange for the child they gave him. All the native doctors and seers in Umuachi, within these three days had been invited, but all they could say was: “the gods are not saying anything”. The only dibia that has not attended to Pa Akachi, is the King’s personal seer, Etiti – meaning thunder.
It was already late and the fowls had gone to their place of rest. The silence in the compound heightened as the night descends….
Suddenly a voice cried from the footpath leading to Pa Akachi’s coumpond: “eyeeeeeeee! Eyeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Hammmmmmm! Heeey!....”
He would run and stop momentarily, and then strike the earth with his staff. The wooden staff was crowned with beads and pieces of rusty metals. On Etiti’s head was an earthen pot, out of which dark smoke runs. Some have even said that the pot has been on his head since the day they have come to know him. There’s no way to know if that is true, since nobody has ever entered his inner chamber.
“Igbudu! Igbudu!! Iiiiiiiiiigbuuuuuuuuduuuuuuuu!!!” He chanted thunderously and rushed into the compound like a whirl wind.
With the speed of light he drew a rough circle at the centre of Pa Akachi’s compound. Jumped into it like a monkey of the forest, and then sat on the ground. He held his hand up high and chanted with a chilling voice:
Eke! Ukwo! Afor! Orie!....(four market days) He repeated five times and threw some beads out of his lifted hand on the ground. Chewed a kola and spat in suddenly on the helpless beads.
Women ran into the woman’s room. Others hide their faces. The ghostly sound of Etiti’s voice sent little children crying, many of whom had to be rushed home.
Etiti ran into the compound like someone possessed by an evil spirit. After running round the compound two times, sprinkling water on everything before him, he walked into Pa Akachi’s room and ordered all the elders out.
Two days later Pa Akachi had regained a little strength and sat inside his hut when a messenger came to him from the King.
“My brother! The gods be thanked.” Elder okoli said as he lowered his head to enter the hut.
“Thanks to my Chi, our fathers and the king.” Pa Akachi replied with a faint voice. What brings you here?
“As you must have learnt, it was the Igwe’s personal dibia that attended to you.”
“Uhmmmm! That’s true.” Agreed Pa Akachi. “My life will always be his.”
Okoli clears throat and continues. “The king demands that considering the great favour he has shown you, your daughter, Adaobi should be engaged to the prince of Umuachi and the aparrant heir to the throne.”
Pa Akachi sat calmly and replied: “I was expecting a request from the Igwe, but I never imagined it to be like this. I have little say in this, because I owe the king my life, and if he demands that I pay back with a marriage between our children; who am I to say no?”
The engagement rites went smoothly and it was agreed that the only condition the two soul mates will never marry, is if one of the party dies before the formal marriage. But after marriage, on no condition would any of the parties remarry.