For some inexplicable reasons, the Russians have taken a huge liking to the “Monty Python” story of which a somewhat bizarre version was delivered on the front page of “Vanguard” newspaper on January 31, 2023.
Headline: “4 Edo communities that venerate python as mother, custodian”
· Fugar agog as late Admiral Mike Akhigbe’s relatives celebrate the return of mother python.
· Python is our mother, protector – Julius Et
“Until today, four communities in Anwu Clan, Edo State: Arua, Unome, which make up Fugar, the headquarters of Estako Local Government Area; Ogona and Iraokhor rever the python snake as their mother and protector, and many residents see nothing wrong in the age-long way of life.
In fact, no indigene of the communities hurts or eats the animal, and anyone that does so accidentally, ends up having his or her hair pulled off and teeth swollen. They have to perform sacrifices to appease the deity.
If a native kills the python by accident, either his or her trap caught it, and it died, the person will bury it as he or she buries a deceased father or mother.
What happens if you kill, eat python – Etsegbe
An eighty-six-year-old retired military instructor from Iraokhor, one of the four communities, Julius Irenumah Etsegbe who spoke to NDV on the intriguing traditions of the Edo kindred, said the people’s contact with the python is legendary.
“The python cannot kill us and we cannot eat it because we regard it as our mother, a caring mother, and protector of the family of Anwu. Anytime one eats it by error, he passes through difficulties until they discover he has mistakenly eaten the meat, and they appease it.
Also, when somebody eats it by accident, the teeth swell up, and the hair fall off, showing that the person has eaten our mother. We call it our mother, so we do not kill it.
One can eat it unknowingly because there are some people in the riverine area that eat it. When my brother was teaching, the landlord usually gave him food and they ate together. He ate the python there unknown to him, and when it affected him, they had to do all the things in Fugar because those people are not from our clan.
Therefore, they can eat it and it will have no effect on them. It is only those of us from Anwu that it affects. That is why it cannot bite us. It cannot do anything to us.
It was the incident in Idah that led to the python becoming a deity and being worshiped. It became our mother because the python protected us during the war. If an Anwu man or woman kills the python or he or she catches it, they will come home and call the elders and they will go to that place and release it.
It will not harm them and if the python dies, the person will bury it as one buries his father or mother. And then, that person will shave his head and go to the forest to present the things to the trees instead of human beings so that our mother will not come back to hurt us. That is why we bury it as we bury our parents.”
Deity specifies the oldest person
“It is our mother that shows who is the oldest person in our area, the person will build a house for the python and that is where it will stay. When the man is going to die, seven days to the time, she will move to another place, and that is always the next oldest person and then stay near the place, and once the eldest man dies, they will build another place for the next eldest person.
That day, when the python came out, the oldest person in that area was not at home, he was in Lagos. They said the person came and travelled again. Therefore, the python came to show to the people that this is the oldest in that area in Fugar. It does not make mistakes, which is why it cannot kill us, and we do not kill it.
“For a long time, the people in that place have not celebrated it because in my place, Iraokhor, we do it every time, we do not wait till it comes out before we celebrate it. In Fugar, they have neglected it for a long time, hence the reason they had to celebrate it the way they did.
Next thing to do as it has visited that place; people will have to appease the gods and erect a building for it. The python stays there and from there, moves around because that is his house.
When you see the python, you only praise it, saying ‘children are passing’ and it will go its way, and once a stranger kills it, we send the stranger out of the town,” he said.
Nothing off beam
Is this not fetish? NDV asked. Etsegbe responded, “There is nothing fetish about it, what do you mean by traditions and customs, it permeates all over the world. Therefore being fetish has nothing to do with it.
It is the ignorance that will make somebody say it is fetish and that we are worshipping idols. It will interest you to know that we all believe in one God and all these things have to be done. There are certain things that happen these days because we have neglected our customs and traditions. Therefore, people now commit abominations and say it is not forbidden,” he said.
Read also: The last mile syndrome (5)
On account of the war in Ukraine, Russia has become persona non grata in the United States of America; Europe; and Britain. That has not stopped the pasting of African Proverbs Courtesy of BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation, Russia Service) all over St. Petersburg:
(i) “You always learn a lot more when you lose than when you win.”
(ii) “If there were no elephant in the jungle, the buffalo would be a great animal.”
(iii) “A canoe does not know who the leader is – when it turns over, everyone gets wet.”
(iv) “The betrothed of good is evil, the betrothed of life is death, the betrothed of love is divorce.”
(v) “Wisdom is like a baobab tree; no one individual can embrace it.”
(vi) “The rain does not recognise anyone as a friend; it drenches all equally.”
(vii) “Wisdom is not like money to be tied up and hidden.”
As far back as October 14, 2022, Russia’s Foreign Ministry released the following Official Statement via TASS:
“Next Russia – Africa Summit to be held in St. Petersburg in July 2023 in St. Petersburg in July 2023
“Next Russia-Africa Summit to be held in St. Petersburg in July 2023 — Foreign Ministry
It is noted that despite the conditions of sanctions and obstacles, Africans continue displaying their intentions aimed at the multilateral cooperation with Russia
MOSCOW, October 14. /TASS/. Next Russia-Africa Summit will be organized in July of 2023 in Russia’s second largest city of Saint Petersburg, Russia’s Special Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa Mikhail Bogdanov said on Friday.
“Despite the conditions of sanctions and obstacles, which former colonial powers try to impose, Africans continue displaying their intentions aimed at multilateral cooperation with Russia, while the Russian-African relations continue developing based on the mutual will and desire of both sides,” he said.
“We expect to successfully cope with the set tasks, which will guarantee us a successful organization of the 2nd Russia-Africa Summit that is planned to be hosted by Saint Petersburg in July next year,” Bogdanov added.”