"The building below is faith Tabernacle church that white men tried to use to destroy a long standing Igbo Culture when they arrived. They used recruits as missionaries and interpreters of bad deeds in bad faith."
The advent of the white men as the slave masters had their first strong encounter in IGBOLAND particularly at AFRA IBEKU because of this very church lbelow, located at Ohokobe Afara Ibeku. This portion of land is between golden Guinea breweries and ceramics industries. When heading out of Umuahia, it is on the left hand side of the road.
The story went like this
The white men came to IBEKU from Calabar through Isieke Village in Ibeku, their first landing site in Umuahia. This was on their way inland till they got to Niger river . They , the slave masters had with then men who called themselves missionaries spreading a different kind of belief that was strange to the people.
They settled, moved around, recruited people and started preaching their vision of the world to came. While shipping people out of the villages around to far far away lands across the big water called ocean.
They moved around Ibeku then found a place at ohokobe to build their shrine called church. They asked for land and the got the above place and they started building.
When they had a lot of converts, they started challenging the owners of the land. And most of their converts were not from OHOKOBE where the church was being built. Their was land encroachments and disagreements.
The white men did not want to settle things but push for a whole take over of the village. The white men and their recruits abused the ELDERS and CHALLENGED THE RULING COUNCIL OF THE LAND. The claimed that the ruling group were evil men and will burn in hell because they worship idols. They said that the Elderly men must not be the ruling council but the white men with their recruits that had power over every body. They imposed their condition and made demands and forced contributions from the villagers in other to keep their mission of enslavement going. Forcing people to change their names, separating families as a way to gain control.
This ruling council is/was none other that the OKONKO. It is a secrete society
Of wise men of the village. You have to be of age to join. No women allowed.
The OKONKO is the council of wise men of the tribe and elderly men of the village that rule and protected the customs and were/are the custodians of everything natural.
The white men and the recruits started arresting villagers and dragged them to their new shrines called church, forcing them to convert and imprisoned them within that confine.
Some elderly members where whisked away to other parts of unknown land , forced them into submission as a way to bring the elders under their control. by imprisonments.
This was not to be. The OKONKO met and decided what was enough of these new found excitement that has cost them their brothers and leaders.
The OKONKO reacted, counter attacked within the whole AFARA CLAN villages of [Isiama, Okwulaga and Ohokobe na umuokeyi]. The reprisal was easy and fast and lasted for days. OKONKO was/is a brotherhood and they fanned those recruits out of all the three villages, not too many escaped the do over search, day after day and night after night . They Killed many of them, burned their houses, any remnant never looked like the original. The church was no more as a congregation. Parts of the building was destroyed . The small completed parts were brought down. Some of the women and Kids that escaped the killings left Ohokobe and the surrounding villages for good to save their lives, especially those who were not originally from Ohokobe. Those recruits from Ohokobe that escaped up till today , the grand children of recruits from ohokobe who escaped have not returned to ohokobe. Rumor has it where most of them are still residing in various parts of Igbo land.They cannot come back because their lands were given away long time ago and relatives disowned them because of the abomination against OKONKO just to please white men. Those who help protect the recruits were latter kicked out of the villages and acted against.
The white men never came back, they left and that building was left unattended for over 100 years. Generation died with no body to claim ownership of this CHURCH TILL DATE for fear of being linked to the original members. After the war, it still stood unattended. But owners of the lands nearby are now farming around it. Some people set up a nearby church called FAITH but claimed no link to the original Faith Tabernacle. The land stretched out to the main road.
Some people long time ago tried to see is they could form a group to complete the building and take it over but with no success. They just cannot seem to get members.
Now in the front to the right, closer to the main road is a new age church preaching fire and brimstone with holy ghost fire heard out of it.
This is the story about the OKONKO WAR with the Christian White men and their first encounter in IGBOLAND. There were many more where they succeeded in destroying things. But they lost this one.
This building is still standing , It is a GOTHIC in design, it is a free standing structure with the side wall bearing all the loads from the roof. there is no wooden frame ..all molded frame around the doors and windows.... This building took war bullets at artillery armor shelling with only dents as scratches. It looks like something put up yesterday. look at this picture..unbelievable. It is stronger than these new structures. It has gone many decades with no roofs on it . Some one has just put some zink at the back as I can see from this picture.
There was a big orchard around it with fruits that were free for all but no body wanted to be seen harvesting anything from those trees.
Now you know part of the story.
I will tell more about this church and its effect on the people of Ohokobe. A disguised part of this story is found in the novel. “things fall apart”.
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