Urhobo Historical Society




The Original Sin is believed to have caused the separation of Adam and Eve from the love of God. But what is the real nature of that sin? Has the world been wallowing in age-long ignorance as to what it understands by ďthe forbidden fruitĒ? Nengi Josef Ilagha, poet and teacher, reveals the character of this despicable crime that still stands between man and God. It is the subject of the second chapter of his famous book, Epistle To Maduabebe.

 

Maduabebe & The Forbidden Fruit

 

Following the path of least resistance

is what makes men and rivers crooked.

 

-         Larry Bielat

 

By His Majesty Nengi Josef Ilagha
Mingi XII, Amanyanabo of Nembe
Bayelsa State, Nigeria

 

 

Y

OUR MAJESTY, NO one waits for a letter bomb to arrive their writing desk at breakfast, or else they would be blown to bloody pieces like Dele Giwa. It is not my portion. But that is the typical response of tyrants like you who dare not be challenged. And so, I thought it worthwhile to sit my very mobile butt upon a certain cornerstone, and scribble a simple text message to you at yahoo dot com. I do so in the belief that it is the proper thing to do. I do so in the belief that you are a reasonable man, that you will lend me your attention, and gladly give account of yourself in the near future. Nothing holds a manís opinion hostage as his spill of ink on a blank sheet of paper like this. Therefore I assure you that I shall be nice, friendly and very reasonable.

 

I have cause to write you another pertinent epistle, following closely on the heels of my opening glee published in the December 25, 2008-January 1, 2009 edition of WWW. Let it not be that I failed to mention to you that the worldwide response to the said epistle to Maduabebe practically overwhelmed me with reports of heartquakes in Nembe and surrounding kingdoms, as well it might.  By popular accounts, a certain young man, Alexander Iberebo, was said to have jumped out the window for fear that he might be identified as a staff of the author. He is not alone. Even Peter, the most steadfast of the disciples, denied Jesus in the thick of crisis. History has a way of repeating itself and, when Jesus comes, history will do well to live up to its billing, up to a point. And it so happens, at this material point in history, that Pope Pen has come to write the last epistle.

 

Speaking of writers and writing, by the way, when last did you connect with William Shakespeare? A rose, said the poet, would smell as sweet as a rose only, even if you were to call it a chrysanthemum. Or, something to that effect. In other words, whatís in a name but the deeper meaning? By the same token, Maduabebe would set out to do what Maduabebe would do if Maduabebe is to remain true to his name. If he means to send soldiers to the next war front, he would gladly hire them to do so. I wonder what Maduabebe would do, though, now that all the bloody wars have come to an end, all thanks to Ama Gido.

 

The other day, I felt threatened and wondered who to turn to for protection in this world full of guns and missiles and bayonets. Ordinarily, as king of Nembe, Maduabebe should have come to my mind. Or else, the governor, and indeed both of you came to my mind when my vehicle was stopped at the opening end of Alamieyeseigha Way in the New Jerusalem. In a civilized and evidently democratic government such as this under the able leadership of President Umaru Musa YaríAdua, Grand Commander, Federal Republic of Nigeria, what should a law abiding citizen like me expect?

 

It turned out, however, that the king I was banking on for protection was the one who had dispatched six Nigerian soldiers to manhandle me and put me in handcuffs, with the full endorsement of the governor. Or, was it the governor that sent the soldiers to rattle me, at the prompting of the king? Ask me another question. If not for the intervention of Jehovah Ama Gido, God of War, something murderous might have happened to me. 

 

But hear me out, your majesty. Even if I have no chance to sing your praises like Jonathan Obuebite who begins every presentation to the Bayelsa State House of Assembly on your majestic behalf (as if you were in charge of the affairs of Bayelsa State altogether), even if I do not have a microphone in front of me and an open gallery resounding with my imperious voice, I do not despise you. Why should I? The only thing standing between our prospects for friendship is your legendary greed. Forsake your selfishness, and we shall be the best of friends.

 

As a matter of fact, I respect your intelligence. In all of Nembe history, you rank as the first son of the soil who has been in charge of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. I know for a fact that Ibrahim Babangida placed you there on merit. You were also appointed twice to the office of President of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, alternate or no, besides being Minister of Petroleum and Energy. Do I have my bearings right? In other words, you have dealt with men and women of reason. I am a personal witness. I see you from time to time, upon the satellite clouds of space, speaking English like a typical black Briton at yahoo dot com.

 

I donít want to say too much, your majesty, but you have provoked me into doing so. And if I talk, you will not sit in one place for one second. You canít even move around town without someone stoning you with eggs along the streets of Nembe. You might be led to dismiss the things I say as constituting the ranting of an irate poet, and you may jolly well be right. Even so, do remember that it takes a poet to hang upon the cross.

Verily, verily, you will be in no position to have a good night rest because you will think, at every material point in your sleep, that Ekekoru is under your pillow. I know that doesnít frighten you one bit. You are quite used to Ekekoru as a pillow. You dress like one, like a royal python, glittering in your train of colours. The other day, after a short flight from Port Harcourt to Lagos, you went past me, dragging your entire length out of the executive airport taxi, pretending to be human. I know you too well to be far less so.

 

Anyway, I can help you, your majesty. I can help you relax. I can help with a few suggestions beyond building a roof over Owusegi Polotiri. Letís reason together in the interest of Ikoru and everything she did for you. Donít tell me you are not grateful to your first wife. Come on. Let us frankly consider, before the public jury, what to do about the future of Nembe Kingdom. What is the meaning of all this blood flowing from the fountain head of knowledge? What have you done to the Small Brave City-State?

 

Why are you encouraging militants in Nembe to hide their weapons under their beds and in the rafters above their heads, when YaríAdua and Jonathan have said categorically that everyone should surrender their weapons? Why donít you want violence to end in our land? Why are you still sponsoring violent partisan politics in this day and age? How much more blood do you want to see flowing through that creek, down that estuary, breaking out with the waves at the shores of Twon-Brass, and bubbling into the worldwidewaters of the Atlantic?

 

How can a man who trained to check oil spills take such great delight in spilling blood instead? Where did we go wrong? Is it this matter of burying our sons and daughters upside down, like good old Abel, face hidden from the saving grace of Jehovah up above the world so high? Or, could it be this matter of bowing down to worship a creepy, creeping creature going around town in a circumbendibus, flicking a double tongue, as dubious as Maduabebe?

 

I believe you know why I have never been comfortable with your name, and the wicked spirit behind your person. Since my grammatical Father, your personal friend, His Royal Majesty Ayebatitari Tonton Teme Owei-Ilagha, told me as a boy at Anglican Isoko School, Apapa, Lagos, that your name is Maduabebe, I have never been able to think of you without thinking of Ekekoru, the royal python, flicking a double tongue, awaiting the next rat.

 

The other day a good friend of mine was making an analysis of names in Eden, and couldnít stop laughing when I requested politely that he tell me the full meaning of Maduabebe. In typical bar-room fashion, this fellow persuaded me to take a fresh bottle of palm wine, and began to tell me the following story. According to him, it is terrible for any nation to worship the serpent, for real or by proxy, because serpents donít ever dwell together. They always go their separate ways. Therefore, when a nation erects the serpent as a national god, the citizens of that nation would go their selfish ways, each one for himself. A brood of vipers would break up as soon as each viper became conscious of its head and tail.

 

Or, something to that effect.

 

By the time my good friend finished his story, I was calm enough to tell him that Pentecost had given me a more graphic account of what happened in the Garden of Eden, between Maduabebe and the open thighs of a sleepy-headed Eve, and how Adam had to pay for the sins of Maduabebe because Eve would not play with Adam again, unless and until he began by eating of the forbidden fruit at yahoo dot com, as demonstrated by Maduabebe.

 

Picture the scene clearly. Here is Adam. Here is Eve. They hold hands and run around the garden, naked, playing hide and seek, running over that hill, climbing this figurative tree and hurtling down, swimming across that creek and back, whooping with great delight at everything bright and beautiful, like two adult babies full of innocence. At the end of the day, they are both so tired that they sleep upon a bed of roses without a care in the world.

 

Donít forget, they are naked.

 

In the course of the night, turning and turning in the widening gyre, Eveís thighs fall apart. Adam is fast asleep on his side, backing Eve, hands folded into the warmth of his crotch. So comes Maduabebe with a flicker of tongues and a soporific hiss from the creepy dark, heading for the maidenhood of Eve. To cut a long story short, there is great moaning for the better part of dawn at yahoo dot com, and Maduabebe slinks away on his flat tummy, happy with the havoc he had done to Eveís sensibilities.

 

In the full-blown morning, Eve falls in love with Adam afresh, telling him just how wonderful he was last night. Adam couldnít make nor head nor tail of what his playmate is saying. Night after night, the woman grows moody, insisting that Adam repeat the performance of the other night or else she would not play with him again. Time passes, and Adam finds it hard to sleep. He develops black rings around his eyes. He remembers what God had told him in express terms, in crystal syllables, before Eve came alive from the mud of creation.

 

Digi, Iyai, mi segboru migho a teme worio ma ye mabise inain yo. Alalanda ma ka inain. Ogbein ma ka inain. Idu ma ka inain. Ilelemu ma ka inain. Mbiakpa mabise ka inain. Nte, I tubara tubara reki nain ka, miogho a teme I prete iyoro tin mi, Fin Bolo webe tin mi, ini beleu eki ain iku bio gho tua kuma o. I pogi ebimo o. Aniogho sigo nimi imbi ingbo mi tonton ye o. Ini beleu mi I weke ain gbolo barambu na, I tibi reki suote yo. Ani sei I wo miena, ini teme mi re fi te. Animi eresine, I nain mianga da, nain anyaga da nyo. Nte, inain danga danga, ini beleu mi mu ani imkpi pali mi gho suo kori kuma. Tonton. Tonton. Tonton.

 

In short, Adam, every fruit in the virgin garden is at you disposal. But thou shall not eat of the clitoral fruit between the thighs of Eve. Do not even dare it. Perish the thought. For, verily, verily, that is the original sin that is bound to offend the sight of God, and the wages of that sin is death of the soul. Get your bearings right at all times. But, then, all that seemed so long ago, and Adam wondered if God may have forgotten that Original Commandment over time, because He never spoke about it again.

 

One dull night, simply to please the woe-begun woman beside him and win back her cheerful company, Adam lowered his holy temple into the foul grip of Eveís naked thighs, against his better judgment, pretending to be drunk on wine.  So fell Man from grace. So did Adam come short of the glory of God. For, indeed, Eve is the female tree of life. She was created to breed new life, as in baby babble doth com. Adam is the male tree of life, made in the image of God, and therefore built to solidity. That was why God was particular in His stipulation to Adam. But, then, Adam fell into the primary temptation. So did man commit the original sin in the Garden of Eden, eating of the fruit in the forbidden grove, literally bowing to the mark left by the beast, Maduabebe, now 71.

 

(I have always had problems with your exact age, frankly).

 

Donít forget that when God drove Adam and Eve out of His presence, in the aftermath of the original sin, the serpent led the way. God practically considered Eden polluted and unworthy of his attention anymore after the sin of cunnilingus was committed before His very eyes. Are you with me? Are you still wondering what cunnilingus is? The Cambridge Advanced Learnerís Dictionary defines it as ďthe sexual activity of moving the tongue across the female sex organs in order to give pleasure and excitement.Ē What the dictionaries of this world have failed to know is that cunnilingus is the same thing as the original sin, the act of eating the forbidden fruit.

 

When Adam did this abominable thing, letís face it, God could not stop spitting. He severed every valuable tie with Eden. So, when the Creator turned his back on Eden, the serpent found reason to drag this floating island with him, winding through creeks and rivers, until he deposited it on the fringes of a dark continent, somewhere where the devil thought God would no longer find Eden. And so, everything about Eden was virtually lost to memory, and the python took up residence as the royal god of the land, dictating to Adam and his wife how to play the role of priests to the deity.

 

To be sure, a land governed by the serpent cannot be expected to do more than creep. What is more, the sorry state of Nembe today is abundant proof of this reality. The ancient city-state still parades the serpent as its national god. And so the physical and cultural development of the primordial community upon the face of the Earth is retarded till date. That is why the language of Eden, the very first language by which God spoke to Adam, is not available in the internet as we speak.

 

A tei fie te, a tei fie anyo? Ama nyana, mindi nyana me ebe kule mi, tio re dugo bo bara iwo ikio ne? Ani titari kimo bei eki o teme Ayeba bei re bomo ire ebe yomi inimi gha o? Inye wa? Nimi ye na, nimigha ye na bogoya bogoya. Miene mi Nembe mi wori nimi wori eki odu piri. Segboru mi wa mini ama mi re gho titari koro tere beke nongu mein ka bo di. I pigi pigi ya ani ini bere.

 

Pigibofa.

Ya Nembe, ya Nembe, ya Nembe, kimi emi muno kimi fagha?

Kimi emi e!

O soute. O soute. O na fiagha ongu mein Nengimobo bei atankoro kiri mi gho soute owu bei kori wapri ye!

Owu eeee! Owu eee!

Mi bele egberi ne a gbate.

Mara timi gelegu gelegu egberi ka emi?

Bere pele ene la te.

Ayeba tonfie mi la te.

Oin?

AinÖ!

 

If you were to place the foregoing text in the deepest entrails of the internet and seek automatic translation, you will cast about in vain for its linguistic equivalents. Accordingly, allow me to call upon the worldís most renowned linguists to get to work, and rediscover the first language by which God spoke to Adam, and by which Adam replied like a dutiful son. As may be expected, our long-suffering God has been grieving in the depth of His graceful heart since creation. And creation, from the perspective of the present moment in 2009, is aeons ago.

 

The original sin has since overtaken the heart of man, and he has been committing it with impunity. Presidents do it in the privacy of their bedrooms, and so do Prime Ministers, apparently as an expression of love for their particular piece of Eve.  Even bishops and pastors do it on Saturday nights, abusing God with their tongues, before preaching a sermon full of holes in church the following morning. And, especially, lesbians do it without compunction, and know not that they eat of the forbidden fruit, and therefore are headed straight for hell.

 

In modern times, Hugh Hefner, 71, playboy of the western world, possessed of the spirit of Maduabebe, has advertised the body of Eve so openly that cunnilingus has become a common rehearsal before intercourse. There is nothing proper and decent about sex anymore, nothing holy. Check the pornographic depths of the internet in the next cyber cafť, and get your bearings right.

 

Now, for our next round of XII questions for Maduabebe, our foremost geologist who is well-nigh familiar with the twists and turns of every creek, every river, every underground tunnel, to say nothing of every upstream and downstream flow of the oil and gaseous tide, like a typical A-stream scholar at yahoo dot com. I donít know if you have been following the story. Are you snoring, your majesty? Am I boring you? In that case, letís take a well-deserved break. See you in the next epistle at yahoo dot com.

 

I.                   Have you ever stopped what you were doing to ask yourself how exactly Jesus Christ would return to the face of the earth?

 

II.                Or, are you one of those people who happen to think that the Son of God would leap from the sky and land upon the ground, like a typical parachute expert? Does that not sound like the same temptation in the wilderness, that he should jump and break his bones?

 

III.             If Messiah were to appear suddenly upon the sky, how large would he be for every human eye on every piece of land in every country to see him at one and the same time up above the world so high?

 

IV.            What would happen to the network of countless flights in the sky from east to west and north to south, if Messiah were to show up on their radars all of a sudden?

 

V.               Since God hates the sight of blood, do you think He would encourage such a dramatic and spectacular descent from the sky which is more than likely to cause unprecedented pandemonium and lead to massive bloodshed around the world, from vehicular accidents alone?

 

VI.            Since Jesus came as a man the last time, and interacted successfully with Adam and Eve at the level of man, donít you think he just might do the same at the second coming? Or, how else can anyone understand and appreciate him if he does not come like a next door neighbour at yahoo dot com?

 

VII.         Since the population of the world today has grown beyond what it used to be in the time of Jesus, and there are more languages in the world now than then, do you think he would still speak Aramaic if he is to reach a worldwide audience in the bid to reconcile man unto God?

 

VIII.      What, in your opinion, is the most popular language of the day around the world, more than likely to have been adopted by Jesus Christ doth come?

 

IX.            How many human beings did God create at once? If one, doesnít that confirm that God prefers to deal with an effective unit rather than an entourage, such that He would touch one vessel, invest it with His spirit, and expect that one to redeem all others? Who would be that chosen vessel?

 

X.               Do you think that Jesus Christ would return to the same soil that sucked in his blood, namely Israel, the same warring parcel of land that so violently rejected him in the first place?

 

XI.            Why did Albert Einstein, widely adjudged to be the greatest mind of the twentieth century, stick out his tongue at the world in his last days? What message could he have been passing to mankind?

 

XII.         Would you recognize Jesus Christ if he approached you as a journalist seeking answers to highly testy, sensitive and provocative questions? Or, do you expect him to return without having been repaired in body by God?




RETURN TO CONTENTS | RETURN TO KING ILAGHA'S ESSAYS AND REFLECTIONS