Reviving, Preserving And Promoting Isoko Culture

BY UDUMUBRAI UTOHWARE
ETHNIC nationality culture the actual representation of peoples’ image anywhere in the world. These cultural traits or features include its language, religion, burials, marriages, festivals, occupations, arts and crafts, greetings, family structures and authority, mores, folklores, ethos, technology and inventions, education and other norms and values systems. No tribe or society grows without proper and relevant cognizance of these fundamentals. Whatever done in abeyance outside these values gives pseudo indices of development. It is regrettable that growth is mistaken for development.
Isoko people reigned in the legendary past. Due to the fact that the structural studies of Isoko national life, the origin and lifestyles have been neglected by the elites, created the illusion that none of our ancestors lived in glorious past and nothing good comes from our people. If not for lack of documentation, the good and examplanary stories we have and read in the Bible and other holy books also took place in Isoko land.
However, the Isoko aborigines were beloved of their wives, children, relations and care for the growth and development of the entire society in which they live. They act in union to defend their settlements, needs and worship morality as an act of Godly institution. Above all, they have the fear of God. They invented items and ideas to meet their daily needs and equally did everything humanly possible to sanitize the society in which they so cherish and love. A typical example was the Eni cleansing trial in Uzere which was adjudicated inside Lake Eni where evil doers meet their waterloo.

The origin and expansion of Isoko nation started from the legend given above. That was the beginning of our beloved people, living in the environment that the owners no longer like to develop. The process of entering and leaving the society is either through birth and marriages and death or immigration. But, as people come in and leave the society, Isoko society remains. This is why some of us are trying by all useful and moral means to make sure that people with sentimental views in the guise of religion do not destroy the society for us because it will create the problem of identity for our incoming generation. Generally, there are two fundamental changes in personnel overtime which means those people who existed before the modern time and the present time and the changes in structure or system in the environment in materials and machine in times ahead. While the first one is historic, the second one becomes differently known as human evolution. Human evolution without corresponding human capital development in language, indigenous technology for material creation becomes a floating ethnic group. Physical products arising from genuine physical effort sorted from the original environment and when necessary adapted from any neighbouring one without the temptation of alienation lifts an ethnic group and a nation. Distancing ourselves from our culture simply means an effort of self-alienation, a prelude to creating obscured image for ourselves. We must avoid this ugly scenario before we become its victims.
The crux or nexus of this piece of idea will be based entirely on these two attributes above centre entirely on how we handle our culture. Taylor [1871-1958] defined culture as knowledge, beliefs, arts, morals, laws, customs and other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of the society. What is paramount have been presented by God at creation, so it is left for us to harness the deposited potentials for own benefit but not God. At creation, [Gen.1 ;28] God gave man all capabilities and habits to develop himself and his environment including the control of human and material resources. These potentials are the kingdom the Bible refers to when Christ said ‘first seek the kingdom for the rest shall be added unto you’. Man should therefore thrive to discover these natural productive qualities but not expect God to put food in his mouth while he remains idle. These potentials are the very basis on whose human growth and development for meaningful existence strongly depend.
The creation of these capabilities and habits are made possible by men who deliberately sustain what they met and have the interest and focus to make improvement through deliberate effort and initiation for better development. According to Gearts, people meant to internalize these sets of cultural processes through enculturation in a given traditional set up or society. It is either by conscious or unconscious processes, transmitted from the older to the younger generation by way of informal educational system. It is however adjusted to suit necessary time demand without disintegrating formal and reasonable norms and values of the existing societal goals.
Today, the glottochronological pitfalls in religion, marriages, languages, mores and other native civilities that Isoko people had inadventedly allowed and introduced had been disintegrated. Isoko people had developed general but childish aparthy for their own God given culture. To any sound Isoko man, it is a major source of worry. Each culture has its own principles, forms, functions as well as meanings. Isoko people are awfully feeling ethnocentrically inferior to their very rich culture which they have failed to revive, preserve and promote. It is impossible for any person or messiah from any tribe or planet to come to remedy our situation while we stand aloof. Let us see these pitfalls that we have introduced due to overbearing westernization and destructive foreign religions instead of internal developments.
With due apology to the few persons who devotedly go into Christianity for the sake of communal responsibilities, the main agent disintegrating the Isoko nation is the Church.
This Godly religion had created a great but bad rivalry in Isoko society due to the way the adherents go about it. By its way of relating with the Isoko public its main purpose is tailored to eliminate all what Isoko people took as their culture as if God was not the author and creator of humans who evolved it. Painfully enough, this seemly angelic faithful ways of life has failed to ennoble the Isoko society nor has it been able to properly sanitise itself. The church today parades some of the frivolous and dubious men, the self styled’ men of God and prophets. From scholars and critical considerations, it has therefore established itself as an illiterate morality, a boastful and an echoing giant without corresponding’ moral pedigree and intellectual strength to understand even its own practice not to talk of knowing the importance of culture to the growth of the religion itself in particular and the society in general. Christianity as a religion, evolved from the Hebrew cultural Judaism religion that never lose sight of its culture. The originators of the religion do not practice it the hypocritical ways we do it here in Africa been First, among the clergy, there is that puerile but high level of unhealthy rivalry for pride and even hatred among their ranks and files. They preach what they hardly practice in their homes and among themselves. Many churches administration had bottlenecks, creating ungodly conditions for their subordinates pastors and workers. The Bishop could go abroad for holiday with his wife for his annual leave as if oversea forms a part of his diocese while their subordinates have to go through earthly hell before getting their pantry annual leave grant. To the independent church owners, paraded as General Overseers, the family members are the sole signatories to the church account.
Satanically enough, when it comes to raising money for any project, they come in glowing language, some even use subtle threat through cooked up stories of the destruction that awaits those who dare not donate. After making people to fill even guilty when there is no guilt, the money comes but when it will be put into use the family retires into either bedroom or recline into meal caucus to decide the faith of the money from the hapless congregation. They equally inherit the church at the demise of the
DADDY, the founder, without giving any other member the chance any reasonable position. Put on the other way, they are perpectual but abject labourers in the church.
Their only reward is continuous glorification of the founder and his family in the guise of service to God. Finally, with such internal deceptive service, the church had woefully failed to satisfied and truly recognize their contributions.
While the church had successfully deceived even its members, it took the battle to the society from which it has segregated itself. First, it battles on to indoctrinate, the entire society, creating gullible human elements, all normal God given potentials and attributes for meaningful growth and development are abandoned. They do this in order to gain focus and retain domination in the society. They come out with what scholars termed foreign madness in the name of Eldorado messages. Foolishingly and funnily enough, our people do not know that whatever we are accepting and practicing are purely the promotion of other people culture while we are knowingly or unknowingly rejecting our own. This madness goes on to add church marriage as the only one God sanctioned so the church claims. By implication whichever form of marriage our forbears engaged in was not sanctioned by God, the God that made them that time is either a foolish God, blind, non-existence or outrightly, they were not made by God. Conclusively, we are indecent human stock from unblessed satanic matrimonial union. Unfortunately, the adopted church marriage wears colonial folly as the church has no biblical marriage equivalent.
As the audience in the church is a captive, intimidated and confused one, no thank to different interpretations of the Holy Bible, both those who went to school with even higher degrees and knowledge than the pastor and even older and wiser members, all cede their sense of reason and not in affirmative because they have been totally hypnotized. The cage went further that to cajoled us to be marrying one girl twice because the traditional bribe price is not enough because God was not with eldest parson who blessed the marriage. The only person who has God is that dubious or illiterate pastor, an agent of Isoko cultural hater, that is doing all possible to keep an ethnic group morally blind for his pocket. Currently, the Anglican denomination has gone ahead to streamline Isoko traditional marriage by making it less attractive while the European borrowed one in the guise of church or wedding to be more elaborate and attractive. If the church wants to cut cost, well, fine, so long the native marriage should be done in the closet, without much funfare, during the church marriage let only the bride and groom move to the alter to receive their blessing from the priest and return without music or accompanying reception.
No Community or ethnic group live without its past. If Israel has done this then the Pilgrimage journey by Christians would have no bearing as there would have been nothing to attract any sight seeing in the holy land. Israel kept and maintains its cultural artifacts. It is not giving them financial benefits only but had projected it as a popular anthropological centre the world over. These pasts formed a part of the people. It is a great source of inspiration to boast their ego and propel them for greater economic, political and socio-cultural height. Sociologically and anthropologically, once a ritual or part of human elements stop or abolish a greater part of that human race had left them and the history of the people becomes incomplete and highly distorted. In Isoko land and by extension in other neighbouring lands, confused and illiterate crusaders go from one community to another one to be destroying images and shrines that once form the religion worship of some people. This is !”!lost ridiculous. There are no God[s] in those images as they merely represent their religious understanding and beliefs. These artifacts are now in dire need by students of anthropology and history including the children of these cultural destroying clergymen but none could be found any longer.
This is now creating access difficulties for these young scholars. This is why in Hosea 4;6 said that ‘my people perish because of lack of knowledge’ The church had virtually stopped all lawful, entertaining and educative festival in many Isoko towns and clans. The church brands festivals as satanic and go further to sanction their members who attend any of such activities. If those who brought the religion to us still practice their festival in their homes what then is wrong with our own?
Again, if all historical artifacts in the area are damaged, distorted and disturbed what can our children write on during academic assignments and even examinations in the higher institutions? Again, if the clergy class feels it is necessary to eliminate all forms of festival and rituals including our highly curative herbs and medicine, why should the same clergy class direct their children to the few brains that know about our traditional artifacts and rituals and allow their children to write on these alleged satanic traditions in their projects? Is it not proper to write on the ones recorded in the Bible as our own or allow them to fail that course? If pastors allow it, are they not part of the home evil system and by that action in support the continuation what they termed as evil culture?
Another worrisome introduction is the foreign religion dimension being introduced during kola nut presentation rendition. The traditional remarks of [Isi egwae] which means, people from all land and climes, I have ended my presentation or acceptance. People who had been wrongly indoctrinated by the pastors even known traditional chiefs do not even know what to say or do. Many of them end it up by ‘fiki krist Qnovbo mai, ami When ask why wuch ending remarks, they often reply by saying that it is what the pastor said. Is that not a robot life? One of the reasons why we still have traditional leaders is to preserve and promote our cultural heritage. Why come when our chiefs and some traditional leaders are the ones helping to erode the very reasons for which they are currently serving? How can a sane, wiser and even more educated traditional chief claim that it was what the pastor had instructed? Every activity has its own place and language application. These elements give such activities unique cultures that become identifiable with the people. Is the church actually set to abolish Isoko cultures? If the Isoko man loses its language, marriage, communication bits and all other necessary rituals, can we still retain ourselves as Isoko people? Is it now reasonable and fashionable to wholly adopt the Hebrew culture, adequately documented in the Bible and now that we are openly driving our own away? Which one do they want us to practice? We should be told that even the cross use to crucify Jesus, the-thomb for his burial and other artifacts in Israel that Pilgrims flock to are parts of the Hebrew culture. If they have not upheld and preserved all these, what will the Hebrew pride themselves with? About eighty per cent of the pastors are even theologically illiterate and not to talk of the general literacy that is needed to lead the congregation aright. This is why it is easy to destroy the fabric of Isoko society through the church
which parades unread congregation with little or no primary source of information where the pastor does the thinking for them and direct them according to their overbearing interests. The church should not deceive itself. In case we do not know, the church had left its lane of main duty of welfare and spiritual sanitizing the society long ago. If one, may ask, if the church is actually serving God’s purpose as it claims which school had provide benches, science laboratories, repairing of damaged roofs and even building additional classrooms or providing other utilities for the public it claims it so loved?
It is interesting to note that any cultural group or civilization that forbids intellectual as well as a psychological study of its challenges, has in itself forbidden the ability to find help, healing and progress for the future. It is against natural laws for one who uproots his crop to expect it to grow to maturity. In an era where other tribes, societies and nations, small or big, weak or strong, are carrying out cultural revival, Isoko nation, in an amazing absolute ignorance, is driving away her unique culture in the guise of Christianity, well intended but wrongly and satanically practiced, that may at last, going by the way we are carrying its worship in the most hypocritical manner may not lead us to God.
We must at all times and in everywhere through reasonable manner, preserve and promote out cultural values like China, Korea, Japan and other serious people in the World. We cannot embrace destructive cultures. It is also important to know that India I accepted colonial technology, relevant education and political administration but out rightly rejected colonial religion from the British. Today, India not only remained economically viable but culturally indendent.