COVID-19 Pandemic: Only The Igbos Will Understand This Passage Very Well

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*In the days of our fathers…*

Ezemụọ would have arrived with a white ring around his eyes and a staff with shrieking bells.

He would have opened his goatskin bag and extracted the tools of his trade.

Tools that would have ended this madness and restored order

Cowries would have rolled on ‘anị’ 

White, straight lines of ‘nzu’ would have appeased the red earth.

‘Anị’ would have also been drunk with libation and the crimson red blood of giant cockerels.

Obese kolanuts would have funneled our prayers into the heavens.

And ‘ọfọ’ would have gone up in supplication to ‘Chukwu-Okike', the creator who lives in the heavens yet his long garment grazes the earth

In the days of our fathers…

The gods would have whispered into Ezemụọ’s ears.

Ezemụọ would have untangled the cause of this virulent pestilence.

Yes, he would have resolved this macabre riddle and divined the malevolent spirit that has wreaked this carnage.

He would have waged war on ‘Ekwensu’ and procured our redemption.

In the days of our fathers….

The cry of the ‘ogene’ would have rallied our people.

The persuasive voice of the ‘ọja’ would have entreated our ‘chi’ to keep a watchful eye.

The uplifting lyrics of ‘mbem’ would have lifted our spirits.

In the days of our fathers….

Ezemụọ would have fought this cowardly pestilence.

This pestilence that has imprisoned us in our 'obi'

This pestilence that snuffs life out of the ‘okenye’ on the day life is sweetest.

This pestilence that came from ‘olu’, a land from which we are separated by seven rivers and seven seas.

In the days of our fathers…

Ezemụọ would have made it clear that it is possible to walk around the pepper tree but its stem cannot be climbed

He would have won this battle for us

He would have issued handwashing instructions 

But the instruction would be for us to wash our hands clean before eating pounded yam at the victory feast.

But the days of our fathers are long gone…

The modern day Ezemụọ arrived wearing a white coat.

We jubilated as she reached for the contents of her bag.

We eagerly waited on her to extract the tools that would redeem us from the clutches of the malevolent spirit.

A hand sanitizer emerged and we were admonished not to shake hands with our kinsmen.

Indeed, things have fallen apart.

Osita Abana, March 21, 2020.

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