This is the Four junction; a monumental spot where people converge during the Ofala in the old Amanze kingdom of Nri. The spot was always vibrating in response to the coordinated stamp of their feet on the ground. It has been colourful and full of happy people.That was in the past, giant steps have now been replaced with tiptoes, loud music with whispers, and fun fare with warfare.The silence is deafening and I can see women walking in turns with a child in one hand and the other hand supporting a load on their head. Children were regarded as wealth but not anymore because the farmlands where they would have worked in are now deserted. They’re now burdens to their parents, an extra load.I’m here standing and wondering what had gone wrong. I’m here standing by King Isiekwene’s beautiful tomb, the first of its kind in the whole Amanze. He was buried at the four cardinal spot – where the four towns – Ajalama, Isiabor, Udokiti, and Nkata – meet. I remember him. He was so great a king that the four towns staked a claim for his body.Eze Isiekwene ruled Amanze for 30 years. He held us together, had vision and never put a wrong foot forward; well, maybe he did, even if it didn’t seem so at the time he made the step.He was a visionary who made everyone brothers. He was the first to embrace western education in the whole of Nri, such was his foresight. From his first to last son, they all studied under the white man’s guidance and the education shone through his family. This made everyone excited and wary at the same time. It yielded dividends. Amanze became the hub of Nri, it became the destination of young men and women, from Arochukwu down to Igbo-nkwo. There was socio-economic boom and Eze Isiekwene became the greatest king ever in Amanze, though some would argue the whole of Nri.But it had its cracks. What came along with the western education was enormous and shocking. The changes and harsh reality were hard to take. The legacy that bound Amanze together at the time stood the risk of being ripped off. King Isiekwene tried all he could to restructure Amanze kingdom, but in doing so, he lost the soul of Amanze. The rituals, the festivals, the games, all were seen by the white man’s standard as archaiac and useless. Silently they gave way for modern rules under King Isiekwene.He died while still changing the rules, and that was the unfortunate tragedy. Some people argued that it was the wrath of the gods, but most citizens of Amanze worshipped him.I’m here standing by his beautiful tomb, the only tomb in the whole of Amanze. I’m here looking at the shattered dreams of Isiekwene. Of the four towns, I don’t know which one to face because I may be facing my death. The kingdom is divided and in chaos because none of the sons want to become king. They’re all in the white man’s land with their white wives. They’ve refused to be involved in our dirty culture; same culture that birthed them.
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