OMENUKO by Pita Nwana - Chapter fourteen - fifteen


    Omenuko then selected eight men and sent them out to go and tell the chiefs of our town what had happened. He told them to go by twos to the homes of all the chiefs in our town, because there are fifteen families in our village and each group of villages has its own chief. Omenuko told those emissaries to ask those chiefs of our town to help him by sending several people to come and move his things, because he was preparing to return to our village as soon as his belongings were moved out, whether it be today or the next day. When the messengers arrived and delivered Omenuko's message, the chiefs of our town received it. No chief who heard the message thought of anything else from then on. All the chiefs then sent messages to each other that each chief should take the drum and call the young men and tell them to prepare the next morning to join Omenuko and his brothers in moving their belongings, and that they should work for him until all of his belongings were removed from Ikpa Oyi.
    When all the chiefs who had met together had dispersed, their drums began to beat everywhere, "Boom boom, boom boom"--if you listened in one place they sounded, if you listened in another place they sounded in the same way. On the following day, if there had been a weak person blocking the road, the young men and women would have trampled him to death. From the day they started going and moving those things, there was no week that people were scarce on that road, for nine days, until they were finally resettled in our village.
    On the tenth day, Omenuko went and told the District Commissioner that on the next day he would return to our village. The D.C. said to him, "What you want to do is good, but what will you do about your people and all your belongings?" He then told him that all his belongings had been returned to our village. The D.C. then asked him, "What will you do with your houses?" Omenuko said, "I will abandon those houses, so that the forest will grow over them and they will fall down." The District Commissioner told him, "It is too bad to let those houses of yours go to ruin." Omenuko replied, "I will give several of my friends other things, but there is no one to whom I can give my houses." The D.C. said that he regretted very much that all of those houses would be wasted, and that it would be good if Omenuko's friends could buy them and pay for them.
    Omenuko then said, "Anyone I see in my house I will deal with separately after all of those houses have fallen to the ground. If anyone wants to live there let him go and live, but right now, I do not consent." The D.C. then said to him, "All right, after you have reached your land and have rested, when you want your warrant, come and see me so I can give you a paper which you will give to the District Commissioner of Okigwi." Omenuko then said to the D.C., "I will come, but do not expect me this year or next year, because anyone who is a chief will have a house where his friends will be coming to see him." The District Commissioner then told him that would be all right. Omenuko then thanked him, they shook hands, and Omenuko left.
    On the eleventh day Omenuko brought out four large guns called cannons, packed them well with gunpowder, took the four guns and climbed to the top of a hill, placed them in a row, chose sixteen strong young men, and told them to wait until the four guns were fired and then carry them back. Then the time arrived when Omenuko was ready to get going and start his return to our land. One of those strong young men then took a torch and ran to fire up the cannons. The first one sounded, the second one sounded, the third and the fourth sounded. Omenuko then told everyone standing near him, "I have shot off these big guns so the people in this town will know when I am starting out; whoever wants to rejoice let him rejoice, whoever wants to cry let him start now to cry." At that time the strong young men who had been chosen came and carried off the four cannons, and it was time to leave. When Omenuko and his people reached our village, the four cannons were fired up again and shot, so that everyone should know when Omenuko and his brothers arrived in our land.
    I cannot say exactly in which year Omenuko left our village and escaped to the Mgborogwu people. But the year that Omenuko came out of his exile and returned to our village was 1918, at the end of the tenth month. When Omenuko stayed a rather long time without asking the white people anything concerning his position, some people began to question his intentions. Omenuko then told them that it was not very important to him to be a judge from that time on, and that he would continue to assist the government officials any time they needed help. But the people of our village did not like to hear that Omenuko refused to be a paramount chief as the white people wanted him to be. Omenuko then said, "I have been made a paramount chief, the public has acknowledged my government and has praised me; because of this I will become a peacemaker in my village and support the government officials. This will help me in my life." Omenuko then kept his word.


    Omenuko built numerous houses for himself and for his people. He sent all of his sons to school, but some of his children wanted to leave school beginning from the time they returned, because several of them had passed primary six at that time. From the year 1918 on when they returned to our village, no year passed when you would not have seen one or two of his children in primary six. Neither was there a year when you would not see one of his children going for a white collar job. Several of his children worked for the Railway Corporation, and some were traders.
    Omenuko used to go to court, but he was not a chief of the court. If he went to court, he would go and sit quietly watching the court officials like a lawyer. If the court chiefs ruled unfairly when Omenuko was present, even though he was not a warrant chief he would not be pleased to see something like that going on. Therefore, whenever the court chiefs saw him in court, each one would be careful in words and deeds.
    You  know very well that there are different kinds of people in this world of ours, and not everyone liked Omenuko, because some people are always wanting to take from others but they do not want people to take from them. Because of things like this, Omenuko did not have a chance to treat everyone who knew him as they wanted to be treated. Thus, some people loved him, and some hated him. But anyone who knows good from bad will know that Omenuko was a man of the people; because of this, there were more people in our village who loved him than there were those who did not love him, to this day.
    I have written this book or this story concerning the life of Mr. Omenuko so that anyone reading it will be sure to learn something through it. There are both laughter and tears in the world, which will cause anyone seeking wisdom to become wise. Omenuko had had money from the time he was a young man,  but when he  became an adult his money was gone. Anger and sadness told him to go and die, and have rest, but peace and love told him to wait, not crying about something called death which was in the future.
    Omenuko is still alive today. He is still doing good deeds during all his long life. Any time he wants to do something, he looks for a suitable time so he can show his wisdom. Everyone will learn something about the scarcity of money these days. From the year 1929 until today, some people tied their money up with rope and hoarded it so it would not get away from them. Omenuko was one of those people. Some people cry about the scarcity of money, but I think Mr. Omenuko, any time he wanted to do anything, waited for the right time so he could show his wisdom.
    Now money is very scarce, it is true, but what this name Omenuko means in translation is, "One  who can do things when wealth is scarce." That is the name his father gave him. On account of Omenuko's having a name like this, anything he wanted to do, he was sure to do it wisely. Omenuko began to build a storied house in a year when money was scarce, so that he would live up to the name his father had given him: "One who can do things when wealth is scarce."

~~~~ The End ~~~~

No comments:

Post a Comment