A tale of Idemili, Aho, Afo, Nnewi and Nnobi.

It’s quite noticeable in African traditions that the female gender had a prominent place in myth and indigenous religious and cultural concepts — the supernatural, a goddess, is female. For every cultural or traditional belief, there’s a female god making waves.

In the Igbo omenala, there’s a goddess called idemili. She rules the land of idemili in Anambra state, Nigeria. The stream, Iyi Idemili, is the source of Divinity, in this area.

If you have stayed or visited this area, you will be conversant with the name ‘Aho-bi-na-agu.’ It was narrated that Aho, a man who lives in the wild nature, met a miraculous woman called near the Oji Iyi stream in Nnobi. He fell in love with her, and they married and had a daughter named Edo. As idemili was very beautiful and highly industrious, Edo inherited these qualities, which made other hunters began to compete to marry her. Ezemewi was the most handsome, and he won her love and married her.

The influence of Idemili was more substantial than that of her husband Aho, and so she spread her idols in every nook and cranny. When her daughter, whom she loved so much, set off to Nnewi to join her husband, Idemili took her idol, gave it to her, and blessed her. She also has her ite uba, the pot of prosperity, and told her that she had taken back the pot of medicine, ite ogwu, which she had given to her earlier.

So, like it was narrated, when Edo got to Nnewi, her popularity and influence, like her mother’s, rapidly spread.

While Idemili established her shrines and influence all over the land of Idemili, Edo established hers all over the area of Edo, called Nnewi.

It was also said that aho felt less of a man by idemili’s influence and possessions, and he tried to subdue her. He went ahead to marry a second wife, called Afo. But idemili, with her powers, shut down their rivers and kept only her rivers flowing. Aho ruled that every activity should take place in Afo’s place in nnobi, which is said to be the reason afo is their market day and afo is also the name of their market square, where every significant activity holds, till now.

Interestingly, the priests of idemili debunk the aho being married to idemili stories. They are saying that the people of nnobi are not talking sense. That no one witnessed the marriage, and therefore, no one should assume they both married.

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