Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The second burial in Akweya land (III)

By Dr Ochinya Odaba Ojiji 
Dr Ochinya Odaba Ojiji
Music, Dances and Masquerades and the Second Burial
Music, dances and masquerades are integral part of Akpa culture. They are best expressed during burial; both the first and second burials. In this particular case, there will be the Ichicha and Okpachina music performances. These are royal music performed only in the death and burial of a chief or an elderly member of the royal family. There will also be a performance of the Ogaala music which is a uniquely Akwete music performed during the death and burial of middle aged people.

To provide an all round entertainment, a number of “social masquerades” will
perform during the second burial. These will include: Ogrinye, Agrima, Ibboh and Ikyahoho. The afternoon session will be rounded up with performances by ancestral masquerades which will include: Egresse Ikyekye, Ochonowa and Okpnma.

Timetable of Events
Day and Date
Mon, Mar 18, 2013

Commencement of gun salute to last till Thursday, March 21
Wed, Mar 20, 2013
4 pm
Mourners arrive Akan family compound at Akwete Akpa to commence mourning
Thu, Mar 21, 2013
8-9 pm
Gun salute to Pa Ojiji and other departed family members
Fri, Mar 22, 2013
9-10 pm
Inquest and stock taking by the family

10 pm
Gunshot to commence ancestral masquerade mourning by Iffim If’ogwa

11 pm
Arrival of Ikpachikwu Ochowa, Agbasi and Ochobo to engage in mourning
Sat, Mar 23, 2013
4-5 am
All Ikpachikwu retire to their embe and cease mourning

6 am
Anagbogbo arrives the funeral arcade to sweep the compound

7-8 am
Ikwukwura Ochowa and Ochobo, and Egresse take turns to arrive at funeral arcade to ‘sweep the compound’

Arrival of guests

Arrival of Anagbogbo and Akpnmobe from Onyuwei, Adim, Ogyoma, Otobi and Ejor; and Okpachina

Akpnmobe odvuogbo

Od’owowa n’embe Ifim (Special intercessory prayers)

Arrival of more guests and light refreshment

Lunch for ancestral masquerades—Ifim If’Ogwa, Ikpachukwu Ochowa, Ochobo, and Agbasi, and Egresse. Okpachina and Ichicha perform

Anagbogbo with Akpnmobe, Ikwukwura Ochowa and Ochobo, and Egresse take turn to ‘sweep the compound’.

Performances by Agrima, Ogrinye, Ibbo and Ikyahoho masquerades

Performance by Egresse Ikyekye

Performance by Ochonowa and other Ikwukwura

Akpnmobe, Anagbogbo and Imiwyi Owyi achek’owyi

Special procession by If’Akpa Council of Chiefs to the funeral arcade

Okpnma Orofowyi

7pm-till dawn
Ifim continues mourning

Dinner at the respective Ekpa

Dances—Ichicha and other dance groups
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Amukwu ibroga (Egresse, all the Ikpachukwus, and Ifim take turn to depart)

Killing and sharing of cow according to clans

Command performance by Analo masquerade dance group

Family members take turns to present Okwu Ekpa Omi

All-night performances by different Ekpa dance groups
Monday, March 25, 2013
Ogy’ibutfukwu to the dance groups

Presentation of gifts and departure
Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ikwyi oboba by the family. End of second burial ceremony

A Brief Profile of Pa Ojiji Ikplo Akan

Pa Ojiji Ikplo Akan, fondly called “Ochinokwu” (Big Three) by his peers, was born in 1895 to the family of Chief Akan Ediba at Akwete-Akpa. He was the last of the many children of Chief Akan; then the Ankpa of If’Akpa- a cluster of four royal families in Akpa land.

Pa Ojiji witnessed the arrival of the first British colonialists to Akpa land. He worked as an unskilled labourer with the firm that constructed the first rail line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri. In spite of his privileged background as a son of a chief, his lack of Western education meant that he could not make any progress in this job and he was laid off by the firm shortly after the railway station was opened in Otobi in 1922. By then, he had experienced the mistreatment that characterised the place of black people in colonial administration at the time. 

As a result of the discrimination and maltreatment he suffered while working with the railways, he spent most of his life advocating for greater access to Western education for the younger generation. He, along with James Adoga Ade and Pius Ogwu Ediba, trekked several hundreds of kilometres to Igboland to negotiate for the posting of a teacher by the Roman Catholic Mission to Akwete-Akpa.

He had little interest in politics mostly because, in Akweya culture, once your father served as a chief, you cannot aspire to become one. Nevertheless, he was the chairman of the kingmakers that produced the late Chief Stephen Otim Egbe. Pa Ojiji was more concerned with fighting injustice and corruption at the local level. He was an accomplished wrestler by the local standard of the time as well as a successful farmer. He was married and had many children. He is survived by many grand, great grand, and great-great grand children. Until his death, he was the Ond’Agye of Akwete Akpa.

Family Genealogy

Pa Ojiji Ikplo Akan traces his ancestry to the If’Ogwa clan; one of the four clans that make up the If’Akpa Royal dynasty in Akpa land. Here is his genealogy:

Ojagba was the father of Ogwa;

Ogwa was the father of Okpotu;

Okpotu was the father of Ofikwu;

Ofikwu was the father of Abbeh;

Abbeh was the father of Ejetayi;

Ejetayi was the father of Ediba;

Ediba was the father of Akan;

Akan was the father of Ojiji.

Ojiji Foundation

Although he had no formal education, Pa Ojiji, fought for the establishment of a primary school in his village by the Roman Catholic Mission, mostly in recognition of the place of education in the advancement of human societies. He encouraged his own and other children to embrace Western education. He sacrificed his meagre asset which consisted of goats and farm produce sold at local markets to ensure that his children, nephews and other children of extended family members got the basic educational qualification at the time: Primary Seven School Certificate.

In view of his strong support for Western education, the family decided that the best way to honour the memory of Pa Ojiji is to continue with his modest philanthropic gesture to support education in Akpa land. The family has therefore decided to establish a foundation to be known as the Ojiji Foundation (OF). The foundation will, among other things, grant scholarship to indigent children of school going age up university level. It will also pursue research and development activities aimed at improving the quality of life for Akweya people and other Nigerians.

To start with, two students will benefit from the scholarship scheme of the foundation in the current academic session. The scholarship will take care of school fees/tuition and a modest stipend to cover purchase of books. A formal launching of the foundation will be made in due course.


The children of Abbeh lineage of If’Ogwa clan and the entire Ediba family wish to express sincere gratitude to all our friends and well wishers for their generous support to the second burial of our dear father, grandfather, great grand-father, great-great grandfather-Pa Ojiji Ikplo Akan.

May God Almighty continue to bless, guide and protect you and your family. As you go back to your various destinations, we wish you a pleasant and safe journey.



  1. I must commend you sir for propagating the Akweya culture and tradition on this medium,it is well written and properly researched,thank you and God bless you. Amen!!!

  2. wao! That was impeccable!! may your hand be lifted up higher for the TIME and ENERGY expended in carrying out this project. You are doing us(AKWEYA) proud out here,heading towards zenith. Once again, thank you DR.
    - JohnPaul, Ogor
    Lokoja, Kogi State.


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