One of the things that connects me to my community is my irreversible childhood. The brownish fields that lined up the path to the stream will always evoke your anticipation of the fresh water flowing gently under the harmattan sun below the hills. No mind disconcerting stories existed in the dry season because you will always have as many people going and coming from the stream as possible. Most times, the roar of other kids playing on the sands near the stream will only give you anticipation of your cold bath in the fresh waters beyond.
Unlike the rainy season where the thickly greenish overgrown bushes will narrow the paths to suggest everything wild and dangerous around. Our elder brothers were not charitable with their stories of how a spirit had pursued them up the hills. “You will here footsteps pursuing without seeing anyone” they told us. Sometimes stories will be told of how they met a woman combing her hair in the stream with various makeup kits, on seeing them the lady had disappeared and in her place a big python had crawled into the bush while they scampered for safety.
One funny thing was that the spirit never killed them. They always lived to tell these scary stories to us – the younger ones so as to create the almost undeserved loyalty. Most kids have grown with these fears to adulthood. When they travelled out of their various communities, they are so scared to visit their villages. The stories of witches flying at night and how several number of cats used to gather at a certain junction will drive a certain degree of fear that will get goose pimples all over the body of the listener.
I recall one story that went viral in my village and all the neighbouring villages when I was a kid. A man had owed a popular merchant a certain sum that ran into some thousands of naira. One day they quarreled over the debt and the creditor promised to teach his debtor some lessons. Acclaiming himself a famous member of a witchcraft coven he promised to deal with his debtor in a way that will resonate in the entire Afaha clan.
One morning, the debtor was seen naked lying in front of his house, directly under his roof with the thatched roof dropping some dew to his face. The first person to see the man was his wife while going out for the then popular Nsit Market. The wife had quickly rushed the man inside, covered him with some clothes and asked him what happened.
Narrating his story, the debtor claimed he saw his creditor carrying him on his back with two other people he could not identify. On reaching their village junction, the creditor had wanted to drop him there but was persuaded by the other two men to drop him in front of his.
This, according to the trio was to warn or teach the debtor a lesson in a very strong term that his creditor was never a man to be toyed with. And that since they have spared his life, he should make haste to pay back his debt to avoid any more embarrassment. The story spread like wildfire and the entire clan received the story in great awe. Other debtors sold their properties to pay off their debts to avoid any friction with the merchant. The case was taken to the village council and since the victim confessed that there were three men that carried him out of his house but couldn’t produce the two as witnesses, the case was struck out and the merchant went with his name unstained.
Several years down the line I went home and had the privilege of visiting a palmwine joint. One discussion led to the other and I questioned why we have not been able to convert the technology in ‘witchcrafty’ into something profitable ventures. Yes, a man is able to fly at night to any part of the world to kill his relative and come back that same night as the story goes. In Ibiono Ibom, it is recorded that their masquerade has the power to invoke the name of any native and in less than 24hrs the person will come to the village even without a mission. These are some metaphysical ideologies that could be converted to great technologies since the mind has been able to create it.
Now looking around, I saw the son of the debtor whose father was victimized some years back by a very popular merchant whom his father was owing. Relating my mission in the village and why I was so scared of sleeping in the village, the boy laughed hysterically and narrated the true story of that event that occurred more than 20 years ago. Straight as his father latter confessed to his mother and they had decided to keep it a family secret.
After the debtor was severally harassed by the rich merchant in the village. Some friends to both men had gathered and asked the debtor to create that scene so that when the story goes hey wired into the nearby communities, other debtors will rush and pay up their debts to save the man’s raffia and wrapper business from collapsing due to high debt profile. The other men had promised that since there will be no evidences in the village council, the case will be struck out, but the hearers of the story were so terrified that some of them had to sell their lands to pay up their debts. At the end the desired result was obtained and both men continued as friends till their final days on earth.
If the above stories are true of Akwa Ibom Villages is what I can never vouch. But over the years the paradigm has changed. Like the son of a once debtor who played a victim to some powers for his debt to be wiped off, while other debtors flogged to the merchant to pay their debts, some people left their villages with these negative stories and promised never to return except for their obsequies. Sadly, some never had the opportunity to be told the other stories that later followed some of the dramas in our communities.
Now there is one big community based project coming in from the private sector. It is aimed at raising a vibrant pool of young positive influencers within communities in Akwa Ibom State. Over 3million naira is set to be won quarterly and by submitting your essay you stand the chance of going home with the sum of 100k quarterly. Don’t you think it is wise to get close to your village and communities and find that one nagging problem everyone is crying about? Thank God you do not need the best English expressions to write your essays. I think the ability to express your idea carries a good percentage.
On Wednesday I understand the program is going to be launched officially. #TechnologyForest can authoritatively report that even IT Solutions will be used to solve some of the identified rural problems. If you are yet to learn a skill in the IT Industry visit our contact menu and we will help you find your area of passion in the ICT Sector. Trust me, even if you are selling Crayfish in the market, we have a solution for you in our ecosystem. Don’t forget to listen to Comfort 95.1FM every Sunday by 5.00PM.
It’s time to get closer to your community. You can be a solution. #UnveilingiOLED #iOLED