There are some deities in Igbo land that their positions have been wrongly interpreted. So also are the works of these deities misrepresented that people now attribute so much evil to them. Lets discuss the a deity that is wrongly perceived.
I have to say this with all the amount of knowledge at my disposal. Ekwensu is not and has not been Satan, Devil or Lucifer as widely conceived. As funny as it may sound and as bad as it is the Christian bible that they translated into Igbo language was done by people who knew nothing about our language. What they did was that anywhere they found difficult to place words they just have to use whatever is in their mind close to the meaning of any word. For example just like they interpret love as Ihunanya.
That is not the focus now but getting you to know that Ekwensu is not Satan. Ekwensu if properly examined cannot be found in English language but the only thing that is close to it is the God that the white man dedicated Tuesday to. That is the planet Mars, the God of War. The month of March is also dedicated to this God. In Igbo cosmology Ekwensu is a God of war. But there is more to being the God of War. It is also the God of craftiness, a trickster, God of negotiation, the God of commerce, marketing and Industry.
He plays vital roles in these areas. This is the reason that the understanding the ancient Igbo had about the deity helped them to do well winning all the wars against their enemies. Igbo held British army against conquest for 31 years. Our guerrilla were the last people that they over came in Nigeria in 1914. It was Ekwensu that helped fight them off that was the reason they demonized it. The British man is using the Roman calendar which has seven days in the week.
The first day of the week is Sunday, and Monday the first working day in the week. Tuesday the second working day and the third day of the week is what was dedicated to this deity which they now translated in our tongue as Satan. Ekwensu I repeat is never Satan. In Igbo land there is a tree that is called Ekwensu. It has torn, is of carton colour, the leaves and stems are green. It cannot be climbed and is called oshishi Ekwensu (tree of Satan).
In some towns in Igbo land they bear Ekwensu not because they are evil but because their deity is respected and honoured by the people. This is because it played a very important role in the lives of Igbo. It is when we begin to demonize and rubbish Ekwensu that we will now be dragged into perpetual slavery. That is why the Igbo man is suffering today, being slaughtered like goats and other animals. This is one of the two Gods that we take to war. They are Ekwensu and Amadioha.
Ekwensu functions in other areas of Igbo land with other names. You can see Ekwensu as what is called in parts of Rivers State Ogbunabali. It can also be seen as Igwekala. It appears in so many ways but these deities are also individually friendly. But the fact is that it functions in those capacities. Let me highlight what a friend of mine wrote. It is self-explanatory about what Ekwensu is.
“Ekwensu is a trickster, God of War in Igbo land. He is an Alusi (deity) of bargains. He is well known as tortoise for his cunny ways, fond of breaking rules. Many people mistake him for evil spirit but it is not. When they couldn’t defeat us they tried to know what sort of power that our ancestors had that helped the Ekumeku warriors kill the British army when the Igbo people refused to surrender and be colonized. It was after the missionaries demonized Ekwensu that our people destroyed it and accepted what the white man told them. That was when they defeated us because what we had as power has left us.”
The white missionaries that invaded our land I guess purposely deceived the people to take us away from what should help us and keep us into perpetual slavery and bondage. It is not right for us for others to define who we are or what we should believe in. In every community there has been spiritual support that people use in battle. The Igbo have Ekwensu, Amadioha, Arobinagu, Ikenga. These are the deities that we take to war.
The thing that makes Ekwensu unique is that it is the God of bargain. He opens doors and allows you to succeed in business. It brings wealth like Amadioha. Since our people began to demonize Ekwensu things have gone bad for us and that is why when you go to churches the people that suffer most are the ones that are called prayer warriors.
One of the reasons that they are in perpetual poverty is that they are the persons casting and binding Ekwensu, a deity that is supposed to bless them with wealth. At the end of the day they attack a benevolent spirit and uncertain if what they believe exists. Christianity has really destroyed the minds of our people. That is the biggest problem in Igbo land, people going to destroy the very foundation that they should survive on. Some cut their roots by destroying the Ofo, artifacts and other things that our forebears left behind.
This is what made the ancestors retain the wealth that was handed over to them. So Ekwensu has wrongly been presented to us. Except for a few of us that have gone into research, it is difficult to believe that everything that the white man told us is lie. Ekwensu is also God of war as I said earlier. It can be invoked for guidance and for success in marketing or business.
Ogbunabali in Ikwerre land acts like Ekwensu and kills people that it has been asked to kill in the night and these are usually criminals or those who may have committed one abominable thing or other. Most business people love to consult Ekwensu so that there are no betrayals in business. When the white man heard about the good things it does it demonized it as similar to devils. It fights on its own, that is why it is said in Igbo that whoever concedes or agrees allows it to happen (onye kwe ya esu)
Ekwensu is not the enemy of Chi Ukwu as we have been misled to believe but among one of those angels that worked with God. It is part of Chi ukwu and does its own functions. It cannot work against Amadioha or other deities. At times our people go to war with them and that is why those who ought to be afraid of us are those slaughtering us. The average Igbo man has no Ikenga, does not know his Chi nor does he know how to revive his Agwu. The average Igbo man does not know his left from his right spiritually, nothing to offer, afraid of death in the hands of the Fulani man because of what he ties in the waist because he is empty.
When you try to enlighten them they tell you that they don’t want to go to hell, that Jesus and Holy Spirit will help them. As I check you discover that people who brought this religion no longer use them. They took away what would have given us meaning to life. Ekwensu doesn’t abandon those who cry to it for help.
Due to vengeance it is feared and avoided. It is only summoned when situation gets beyond what people can handle. Till today the pastors are still misleading the people that Ekwensu is Satan. When our people shout Elohim and the rest they are calling the deities in the land of the white man. The Europeans have their own cosmology that they buried in a book and exported to us.
Do we share same weather with them? No. Their life is structured according to the nature of their environment. They know why they worship what they worship and same for us. It is said that it is the fire wood in other lands that cooks their food.