Social Significance of Idoma Ritualistic Drama of Death

Oche Gabriel Ukah

The time for channeling energies into engagements in debunkments of Eurocentric positions and opinions that Africa had no literature is gone for good. The Alekwu Ogogo among the Ugboju people in Idoma land of Benue State is one of the ritualistic dramas of death. Drama of death here means drama that is occasioned by the death of someone in the community. In this case, the series of activities captured by this researcher as heralding this Alekwu Ogogo ceremony occasioned by the death of Adumou Onyilokwu are treated as stages in this ritualistic drama of death.

Dramatic elements in the drama are discussed in the light of the social significance of the performance. Video coverage of the Epooka—judgment—scene was done. Audio recording of dialogues between Alekwus, and of Alekwus were made. The researcher depended heavily on information from five informants vested with the knowledge of the drama. It is true that Christianity is a threat to African culture such as this drama, even though like written literature, our oral literature is a vehicle for educating, informing and entertaining the people. This drama represents an aspect of the lives of the people, without which their society is less complete.