The Story Of OMALIKO Festival Of The ABATETE


The story of OMALIKO Festival of the... - The Igbo Identity | FacebookIt all began when the families of Edeogu (Abatete) wanted to divide their father's land and the strangers living amongst them wanted their own shares of the land but were refused. Reason being that when their grandfather OKOLI OTIE was alive, he divided his land into three giving each to Edeogu, Ojiofokudo and Npkoguidike but he never gave any to the strangers' grandparents namely AKWA and OWA.


The strangers were reminded that ISIUZO, AZU, MPUTU and OHAOHIA -- the other warriors that came with their grandfather -- have long ago left the land. And so, war started among them; they fought for months trying to push the strangers away but to no avail. The opponents were more in number and were pressing on to defeating umu Edeogu (Abatete) who had begun to lose most of their warriors.


This led to the recruitment of younger boys into the masquerade cult (IMA NMANWU) knowing that only Masquerades could go to war. Age grades after age grade went to the war (Agha nholi) but still they could not push the opponents out. So, they went to OGBARU and invited Ezeigwe Ojena Nmuo who later came with his wife and his young son by name OMALIKO.


Ezeigwe was a sorcerer but his son Omaliko was an incredible hunter/warrior who could fight both humans and spirits. Omaliko the young warrior singlehandedly went into battle with the enemies of Umu Edeogu (Abatete) and killed all their warriors overnight. That was how the strangers all left the land. But for days he (omaliko) did not return. So, umu Edeogu went to check the battle field looking for him -- from Ezimuku to UgboAkwa. They came across many dead bodies as they were going and later found him under a tree in the forest there with human bones in his mouth feasting. So, they nick named him "OMALIKO OTA OKPUPKU" and in appreciation of what he did for them they later gave him that forest (Ohia Omaliko).


After then Ezeigwe and his wife lived among umu Edeogu (Abatete people) in Nsukwu land but after the sharing of land Omaliko relocated to his Forest and there he erected his 'Okwuh', married and had children. He lived very long but when he died, nine 'ndi dibia' (native doctors) were invited to prepare nine charms to empower Omaliko as powerful deity. This done, and the medicine men were paid off but to prevent the native doctors from retaining the power of the charms they had prepared, the people laid ambush and killed them and the skulls, jaws and arms of the native doctors were all deposited in the Omaliko Shrine.


Since then, Umu Edeogu (ABATETE) started a three-day celebration (Omaliko festival) in remembrance of Omaliko the war deity. Each year, before the festival starts all the boys who were initiated into the Masquerade cult must participate in the clearing of the road/path that leads to Omaliko Shrine. All village roads are also kept clean and tidy in preparation for the festival (Asum'ezi Omaliko).