By Emuji Magnus
Recently, the Cultural procedures and traditions of Umuebu traditional marriage rites seem to be as old as the community itself. A simple community with accommodating disposition for both their born, horned and groom indigenes and strangers either residing in the peace loving community or those who may come to the place to Marty a wife, Umuebu outside of its human endowment, relishes happiness in the preservation of their rich socio -cultural heritage as well as other things that could foster strong unity among them and their neighbours.
However, the ethnic and tribal diversity of a people from different societal backgrounds, certainly alludes to the fact that indeed, society is dynamic as being advocated by sociologists and several other thinkers with common sense acuity of the continued trends and trajectories of human evolution .
To the good people of Umuebu in Ukwuani Local Government Area of Delta State, Nigeria , marriage whether intra or inter is designed to serve as symbol of unity and at the same time, seen as springboard towards exposing one to be abreast with the culture , beliefs and traditions of other tribes with a view to enhancing mutual understanding among the various ethnic groups .
Marriage, therefore, brings different societies into one family. This perception underscores a common adage in my place that “in the event one marries into a family he becomes part and parcel of the family and in most cases, given the the privilege to enjoy certain benefits from the family not just a son -in -law but a member of the family in recognition of their claim that the population of a family is few, then the in-laws are taken to be part of such family “.
However, the belief system and doctrines of a people determine the kind of marriage they adopt and wholeheartedly embrace over time. For instance, we have the Islamic marriage which is predicted on the fundamentals, principles and doctrines of the Islam as the case might be. There is, also, what people refer to as ‘court marriage ‘ though predominantly practiced in Nigeria as it is being done abroad.
Similarly, Christian marriage is dominantly practiced most in all parts of the globe except those countries with rare cases of Islamic extremism that has a mono religious structure. Marriage is often referred to as the oldest institution in the whole world following it’s aged long existence. It is as old as man.
But of all the varying kinds of marriages irrespective of their socio -cultural and religious influence and connotations, the traditional marriage is so approved to the extent that even the Holy book /scriptures be it Bible or Koran lends credence and explicitly supports the fact, that before a man and woman are wedded in church or mosque, the potential husband must have done the traditional marriage if not the wedding may be considered null and void, of no effect and hence cannot be used as a instrument that qualifies a man to have legally married as it were.
The implication of the aforementioned is that it is not acceptable for one to claim to have successfully concluded his wife’s marriage rites and custom, without following the traditions which dictates the requirements of the institution. Therefore, it is advisable for one to place high premium on traditional marriage rather than westernized type, called court marriage and all that, though everybody has his or her preferences in life and the way to go.
It could be recalled that marriage contracted and joint together under the traditional fashions and natural requirement has symbolic implications.
Of particular note is the six kobo for traditional marriage ceremony in many parts of Nigeria including Umuebu community where your sincerely hails from is meant for the ancestors otherwise known in my local parlance as ”Ego Ishi Onu ‘Nmo”. The money serves as a unifying symbol between the man and woman. Despite underrating the denomination, the money is so much powerful in the marriage more than any other thing.
Another very critical meaning of the ”Ego Ishi Onu Nmo ” , that is, the six kobo which is usually paid to the oldest person of the bride’s family and her father by the groom’s oldest man in their nuclear family implies that the woman had been legally and traditionally married and should not misbehave. More importantly, it indicates that she is forbidden from meeting another man or allow any other man to make inviting advances towards her and other such related activities.
Moreover, the ”Ego Ishi Onu Nmo ” is used by the forefathers who may have the ancestral supreme authority to invoke punishment on the family whenever she commits say adultery . When a woman who has been traditionally married does such nasty things , it could affect the husband and their children if and only if the ungodly activities of wife, that is infidelity has been brought to the knowledge of the man and he undermines it and continues to sleep with the woman and eat the food prepared by her.
In most cases, thus, the man and their children fall victim of the anger of the ancestors and could lead to their death, especially if he refuses to stop from having anything to do with the woman, after he might have confirmed that his wife was sleeping outside.
Notwithstanding the fact that the forefathers may need not to be questioned for the wows befalling on the man and his children for being adamant to desist from eating the food prepared by the so-called wife.
Several instances, the woman may survive the wrath of the gods of the land despite indulging in the act of infidelity to her husband.. But in few cases, they woman can’t escape it because she is no doubt, the architect of the issues confronting the family. Those who cheat on their husbands do not have love for their husbands and their too and they should be despised in the society so that it would serve as a deterrent to others who may be nursing the intention to venture into it.
In a bid to eliminate such incidences of infidelity in marriage by the whore -like wives, parents must consistently enlighten their female children on the sicio-cultural implications of infidelity, call it adultery if you like. They should also make them to embrace Godly manners, adhere strictly to the principles of Christ, avoid promiscuity and above all, give them sex education from time do that they could always confide in them in things of this nature with a view to averting it’s occurrence.
Umuebu, a peace loving community in Ukwuani Local Government Area of Delta State has a well established and functional customs and traditions in terms of marriage, the legal union between man and woman. The community still sustains till date, it’s long existing procedures of marriage.
The cost of marrying a wife from Umuebu is cheap , simple and adorable. The man, that is, the proposed son -in-law is not subjected to unnecessary and unhealthy discrimination and extortions by the family it his wife to be against what is obtainable in some parts of the society. The people Umuebu are honest, transparent and exhibit high sense accommodating spirit in all spheres. Marriages contracted in the Eastern part of Nigeria is seen to be too high compared to other tribes and ethnic groups, a development that has continued to elicit much concern by the generality of the people from various ethnic background, particularly would -have been suitors who may wish to take a companion from the east.
In Umuebu, the traditions demand that the man should observe introduction for the bride with just a token of drinks, possibly a bottle of schnapps gin, with a carton of assorted drinks and wedged with little cash so that it would not roll down. There after the man in tandem with the tradition, laws and customs of the land, would be given a list of items for the marriage.
The rationale behind issuing a list, that is affordable is because of the remarkable reduction in the items is borne out of the conviction that Umuebu community, especially parents do not subscribe to the notion that marriage is an opportunity for the parents and relations of the girl to benefit from the girl’s marriage . Umuebu people do not give out list that tends to suggest selling their daughters under the shadows of over-bloated marriage list .
On the day of the marriage where both family members would converge at bride father’s family compound, the spokespersons for both sides would kick start the business of the day by asking to know why the visit. This is shortly after presentation of kola nuts, drinks and wedges and subsequently return in double folds by the man’s family.
The groom is expected to see the father -in law, mother in -law and siblings of his wife with specific amount of money, though little. This activity seems to be one of the all important things to be done at the early stage , after the list had been given and could as well as be observed during the marriage proper, depending on when the proposed in law has the money but must be completed on or before the actual agreed date for the marriage. During the traditional marriage processes of Umuebu, all the drinks which the family of the bride present are doubled. Having concluded those processes, the father of the bride would declare the amount he wants to collect from his son -in law, followed by the much talked about six kobo (Ego Ishi Onu Nmo). And lastly, they would ask the groom to spray all his wife’s family relations. Again, he would also be called upon to take the centre stage and spray his wife. Here, all his family members and friends will identify with him by joining him to rain his hard earned money on her.
The spraying is certainly the last stage. This is owing to the fact that before then, the wife’s family would invite her to declare whether or not they should eat the food , drinks and money offered by their son’s in law. Immediately, she affirms yes it therefore means the marriage has been approved by their daughter, the groom and the bride would be joined together by the bride’s father who will now bless the marriage kola nut which the groom would eat and gives his wife and this indicates that the woman should henceforth, refrain from committing things like adultery, cursing his husband by using words that are not allowed.
Umuebu community cannot boost of a number of influential personalities who have contributed to the growth and development of the place .
To this end, however, the history of the trajectory, direction and modern development of the peace loving community cannot be effectively, highlighted without acknowledging the indispensable role and modest contributions as well as sacrifices of late Mr. Samuel Bulala Emuji, a renowned and consummate leader of inestimable value . While on earth he put the general interest above Personal interest in his outstanding services to his community.
Recently, one of the sons of late Sir Samuel Bulala Emuji, Mr. Maximus Emuji, a graduate of Political Science, Delta State University ,Abraka had his traditional marriage with his many years admirer, former miss Onyemazuwa Victoria Oshiokpu, now Mrs. Maximus Emuji, at Umuebu, their country home on December 30, 2019.
The marriage which was the talk of the town, one because the timing and secondly as a result of calibre of dignitaries that graced the occasion , including the Senior Special Assistant to Givernor Ifeanyi Okowa on Community Development, Hon. Gabriel Ut among others irrespective of the plethora of activities and engagements that usually characterise the end of December of each year.
Speaking at the event, the Chairman of the occasion, Hon. Gabriel Uti, who is the SSA to Okowa on Community Development, admonished the couple to love and tolerant each other at all times, pointing out that mutual understanding was critical to the success and sustainability of all marital homes.
Hon. Gabriel Uti, also underscored the importance of marriage and stressed the need for the couple to shun third party influence in their marriage, adding that such unhealthy and unnecessary interference in people’s marriages could impact negatively on the marriage. He said that marriage was the responsibility of every matured man on earth.
In their separate remarks, the Councilor representing Umuebu ward 8, Hon. Lucky Ekpenuma, Mr. Fednand Ibobo, a Lagos based entrepreneur Mr. Ogochukwu Abada, Hon. Sunday Idise, Mr. Benson Alioweikquneshi, Mr. Enuesike Lucky, Dr. Friday Oliseyenum and Hon. (Madam) Victoria Emuji who is the mother of the groom as well as Mr. Magnus Emuji of the State Ministry of Information, Asaba among others urged the couple to build their marriage on the fear and principles of God, saying that the union would usher in more blessings for the family.
In an interview with newsmen shortly after their marriage, the groom, Mr. Maximus Emuji who was visibly elated that had actualised one of his childhood dreams, described his wife as caring, humble loving woman, even as his wife, Mrs. Onyemazuwa Victoria Emuji maintained that the uncommon humility and intelligence of Mr. Maximus Emuji inspired her to fall in love . She said she would continue to respect and support her husband just as Mr. Maximus Emuji appreciated well wishers for identifying with them