For several nights, I saw her.
That woman of great beauty and dignity who inadvertently brings suffering and death to all her lovers. For nights on end, I saw her. Ihuoma. The fictitious character in Elechi Amadi’s debut novel, “The Concubine.” For a woman, whose name meant “beautiful face” or “good luck” The description of her character was that which left me enthralled. First published in 1966,“The Concubine” positioned Elechi Amadi as one of Africa’s outstanding storytellers. You see, as beautiful as Ihuoma was, She can never be anyone’s wife. In the words of Anyika the dibia (diviner-priest), “Ihouma is a woman who should not be married but she could be someone’s concubine.”
Even for her to be someone’s else’s concubine, several rites must be performed to appease the King of the Sea. According to him, Ihuoma is the spiritual wife to a dreadful spirit who is the King of the Sea. In fact, the Sea King is a jealous spirit who kills every human being that dares to marry Ihouma. Emenike, her husband who died from a locked chest, and Madume, her admirer who later committed suicide are clear examples of how the Sea King spared no one who ‘dared to dream.’ But then, Ekwueme is a gifted song composer and singer who gets whatever he wants.
For a man, whose name means “say and do,”Ekwueme was determined to go any length to make Ihuoma his wife. He was in love with Ihuoma. Even after his parents (having consulted Anyika the dibia) told him of the disaster that may befall him should he go ahead with his plans of marrying Ihuoma, he was adamant. He told them of how he was ready to be Ihuoma’s husband even for a day before his death as his spirit will go singing happily to the spirit world. Agwotorumbe, another dibia from Aliji village gave them hope, or so it seems. And just when we thought the Sea King may be appeased, Ekwueme died a few hours to his being called Ihuoma’s husband. The Sea King had the last laugh.
Ok. Something interesting happened in Nigeria on Friday, 6th February 2020.The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directed banks to shutdown crypto accounts. An action which would undoubtedly cause a huge setback on the attempts by several young persons to earn a living in a unique country like Nigeria. Unlike Ihuoma who still retained her sex appeal despite losing her husband and another admirer within the space of 2 years, this current administration is losing its mass appeal daily. With policies and programmes designed to frustrate the common man, start-ups, young entrepreneurs and businesses. One may be forced to mistake this administration for the Sea-King, Ihuoma’s jealous spiritual husband who killed anyone who desires to wife her. There was this statistics that was shared where Nigeria ranked 3rd in Bitcoin Trading Volume in 2020 behind the United States and Russia. This is an information which I’m sure could have worked in favour of Nigeria only if policy makers could think without the box. Though the last may not have been heard about this crypto ban, I’m also sure this Sea King may not have the last laugh. Ekwueme may have died a few hours to him being called Ihuoma’s husband. But you see these resilient Nigerians, we will survive this Sea King.
Written by John Olugbemi.