The Osu Caste System: Misconception Of Reality

The belief in Osu Caste System in Igbo land has become a virus that has ravaged southeastern Nigeria. It is indeed a superstitious belief that affects relationships and hinders marriage. When you listen to different people on their views on Osu Caste System, you will find out that there are different views, which means that the majority of people in this present generation do not know how the Osu Caste System came into existence.

Relationships and marriages in Igbo land are being damaged daily because some parents believe that their sons are dating an Osu. This invariably made it impossible for any relationship or marriage to survive or last longer in Igbo land, southeastern Nigeria.

The truth behind the Osu Caste System is not rampant which made it impossible for the majority of the Igbo land to grasp the truth and meaning of the so-called Osu Caste System.

Most parents are not helping their children; they have tied down their future indirectly and lay blame on their enemies. Some of them have caged their children to an extent of choosing who they marry and who they shouldn’t marry.

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Parental bondage should at least be lost once you are an adult, at 18 years of age (as a Nigerian), and above so that you will be able to make your own choice in life and decide your future on time and accurately. In some parts of the world, adulthood starts at 16 years, while others start from 21 years.

Go to Igbo land, you will be surprised at the rate Osu caste system has ravaged the entire tribe. The emanation of the system happened in centuries ago without legitimate proof that it must be adopted by this present century. However, unfortunately, some people have ignorantly adopted it and it has ignorantly devastated their lives.

The Osu Caste System

“The Osu caste system is an ancient practice in Igbo land that discourages social interaction and marriage with a group of persons called Osu (outcast). It is believed that Osus are dedicated to deities (Alusi) of Igbo land; they are considered as inferior beings and are usually separated from Nwadiala or diala (considered to be freeborn).”Wikipedia.

Different views have been made on this outrageous topic. Osu caste system is a practice in Igbo land where some people are tagged second-class citizens as against the freeborn, and therefore, are denied certain privileges enjoyed by those who are called freeborn. In this sense, second-class citizens are not allowed to marry a freeborn, and, are not qualified to take certain traditional titles which are exclusively reserved for the freeborn.

In a nutshell, let me share the interactions I had on Facebook with Professor (Duru) Omire Nobi. According to Omire, he is the oldest ofor holder in Owerri West, hails from Emeabiam, Owerri West, Imo State but now lives in England.

My Facebook Post

On 20 August 2020, a post I made on Facebook titled “Criticize Me After Reading This Piece, I Don’t Care” attracted the attention of a Nigerian-London-based educationist, Professor Omire Nobi, who happens to be an Ofor holder in Igbo land.  He faulted what most of us hold as an opinion concerning the Osu caste system in Igbo land. The Facebook post is found below:

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“I’m out to help ladies get married fast if they will humble themselves and correct their ideologies. I’m tired of what some of them are doing in the name of hunting for husbands.

Now listen, most ladies that always say “I can’t marry him, he is an Osu”, your husband that God has prepared for you is an Osu. If you like, believe it or not. I have seen where it happened severally.

In fact, who is an Osu?

Delay is dangerous, stop flooding churches in search of a husband, start changing your mindset for your poor ideology has chased away your God-made husband.

Teach your parents what they were not opportune to know. What worked in their time does not work in our time. If you’re educated, you will understand what I’m saying.

Most pastors don’t tell you the truth, because they enjoy your continuous presence in their churches. Do you know that most ladies are into frustrated marriages, for marrying the wrong persons in haste? After much pressure from her parents, she would want to manage anyhow man. The man she so much love has been tagged an “Osu” by her parents therefore, she has no other choice.

When a lady failed to marry who she loves, she will have every selfish reason to cheat. An infidelity5rf is an act done against love. We can stop infidelity in marriage by allowing ourselves to marry who we love. You can’t bite more than you can chew; you can’t condemn God’s creation and enjoy His blessings. Never!

You can’t marry him because your parents called him an Osu but you can give him your body for s*x because he is caring, loving, responsible, handsome, etc. You can’t marry him but he is having s*x with you 3 times a day. Have you seen what I mean? Then what’s the need to reject him for marriage when you have already given him yourself for S*X?

Ladies, it’s in your hands to decide your future; no one can fight your battles. Have a nice day ahead as you begin to imagine the truth in this piece.”

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Facebook Comments

Following my post on Facebook, Duru Omire Nobi, a traditional chief priest faulted what most Igbo people believe Osu to be, and provided guided responses in the comment box of my post. I chose to document the interactions we had to educate people that what they hear, think, and believe about Osu was false as the most meaningful parts are omitted. The majority of people within the neighboring communities that surround Okolochi know who Omire Nobi is, and his commitment to traditional affairs. Enjoy our discussions below:

Nobi:            “There is no Osu in our part of Nigeria. The word is propaganda by early Christians to unseat an existing religion.”

Godspower: “How do we accept this when the term “Osu” has eaten deep our hearts?”

Nobi:            “Osu is not a derogatory term, nor has it any fetish connection in my part of Owerri. It was a term the carriers of Western Christianity abused in order to defeat an existing religious order. In an act of warfare, everything is fair game so long as the perceived enemy is defeated.

To Igbos who know our naming system, do such names as Nwa-Osu, Osu-agwu, Osu-ji (osu used both as prefix and suffix) confirm that such bearers are real-time Osu? If not, why not? Only a chief priest can explain this conundrum to you, but if you think you can find an answer from Rev. Father Cloonan, from Google, or from your Smartphone, good luck to you.

I am the oldest surviving chief priest in Igbo land. I am the only surviving Duru in Owerri West. I am the only graduate (England) chief priest in Igbo land. I am the only ofor-holder international teacher in black Africa. I am the only chief-priest WAEC examiner in West Africa. I hold the oldest ofor in Owerri West. I hold the greatest number of ofors in Igbo land.

The Osu Caste System: Misconception Of Reality
The Osu Caste System Abolition Ceremony in 2018

I was a Cabinet Secretary to the most incorruptible traditional ruler in Owerri West in the person of late HRH Eze FINO Nwabiri. We were the first to confer chieftaincy titles on the indigenes of Okolochi, Eme-Abiam, Eziobodo. No youngster has ever asked me the criteria we used in conferring such titles. Was any ‘suspected’ Osu excluded from being recognized? How many youngsters have approached me to know the methodology we adopted?

Your late chief priest Oguoma and I performed the last ofor rite in our neighbourhood in 2010, when one of our illustrious sons thought the Bible and confessional could defeat our ofor. The rest about him is history.

The discussion about Osu Caste System in Igboland has convinced me that, in reality, half education is dangerous learning. Real Osus belonged to Agbaras, and only chief priests will tell you what they did with their Osu. Osu was to our religion what priesthood is to Catholicism.

If being a priest is ugly in the vocabulary of Catholicism, Osu should be ugly in African religious beliefs. If a soldier is derogatory in modern warfare, Osu is equally derogatory given that they were our front-line defense against an invading Christianity. If an offspring has any DNA, please note that our original Osus was castrated.”

Godspower: “Very deep and explicit content. I knew about you years back when I was a kid but I never knew you were a palace secretary to late HRH Eze FINO Nwabiri. Truly, Eze Nwabiri was the only incorruptible traditional ruler in Owerri West.

You have thought me what no one else had ever tried to teach me. One of them is: If an offspring has any DNA, please note that our original Osus were castrated.

That means, they no longer exist as they were unable to have children.  I think I am permitted to use it as a reference in my newest book? Thanks so much.”

Nobi:            “Castration took place in Okolochi as well. Are you so detached that you cannot meet your elders and ask important questions? How can you write on a subject you know nothing about? Our omenala is not documented like in the Bible. You didn’t know that Nwabiri had my intellectual calibre behind his throne? It appears you think you can know the history of your community on the pages of Facebook. YOU CAN’T.”

Godspower: “No Prof., a lot of questions have been sent to different elders in Okolochi for the purpose of setting a pace on the subject matter, but unfortunately, I am not always satisfied with their responses. None of them had said that Osus were castrated. Can you see that?

All they kept telling me was: “my son, you’re not an Osu because your grandfather was a figure in the community and played major roles in the customs of the land.” Again, they said: “if you’re being mistaken to be addressed as one (Osu), it was because your grandfather (Oparaugo) married your grandmother (Catherine) from the family of Osu in Obibiezena, and when he was alive no such mistaken address was made against any of your family members.”

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Therefore, I must make every effort to clear every doubt in the matter that was caused by ignorance and unable to defend one-self, which was a heavy mistake of my father and his siblings. I know that true Okolochians know the truth and also stand by it. If I may ask, do you know the history of my grandfather, Oparaugo?

Nobi:            “I mentioned Oguoma to you as one of the ofor holders in Okolochi and in the old Oche Ward of Okolochi, Eme-Abiam, Eziobodo, and Ihiagwa. Who has taken over from him? What is his age? If Oguoma’s family (like the Okereafors of Okpuala and ofor Emeabiam) has thrown their ofor away, who is now in-charge of Otamiri Okolochi?

Otamiri Okolochi did not take part in the Aba Women’s war of 1929. My priesthood rank is higher than that of Oguoma, who was never a Duru till death. On top of that, I enjoy the longest traditional antecedent. I am the most literate among my peers and have been able to compile aspects of our tradition since the end of the Second World War (1945).

You are now getting to the roots of the wrong interpretation of Osu in Igbo land. Osu-agbara, though castrated, was entitled to take on a wife to help in the arduous task of being our front-line defense against the oppressive trinity of colonialism, imperialism, and Christianity. If the wife had children from other men, how can you call such children Osu?

I am in England, and here, men are now marrying men, women are marrying women. You can buy male sperm or female eggs from any hospital or chemist and go for surrogacy. Nobody cares. This was the ancient African practice that the Bible carriers termed primitive, barbaric, and Osu. Logically, the children of Osu-agbara are not genetically Osu. In conclusion, you cannot learn this complex subject on the pages of Facebook. I can see we are friends on Facebook. You can inbox me if you need further historical guidance.”

The Osu Caste System: Misconception Of Reality
The Osu Caste Abolition Ceremony in 2018

Are We Still Ignorant Of The Fact?

The rest of the Igbo race who have been regarded as Dialas (freeborn) have lived for decades of years segregating and separating themselves from the so-called Osus, as they have considered it to be a taboo to mingle with them. This ill-treatment became a breach of social peace in Igbo land, leading to disruption in marriage, the enmity between families, and other ugly outcomes.

The Diala hardly allow the Osu to hold office in any organization they belong to, and the Osu would neither allow the Diala to oppress him. This has caused so many silent battles between the parties as they stand against each other. This single tradition has devastated and shattered relationships and marriages in Igbo land more than natural disasters could have caused. In the right sense, Osu is man-made, it shouldn’t be allowed to continue to exist for it lacks the legal evidence or approval both in the human courts and spiritual courts. More so, after the efforts made to abort it legally, those who don’t want to learn still cling to it.

According to AllAfrica.com, “the Osu caste system was officially abolished on 28 December 2018, it was published with a title: “Nigeria: Osu Caste System in Igboland Ends Today” The abolition ceremony took place in Nri, the acclaimed ancestral home of the Igbo nation, in Anaocha local government area of Anambra State. The abolition ceremony was witnessed by top traditional rulers from across Igbo land, and other traditional title-holders, community leaders, and other prominent Igbo leaders to a pace for the continuity of peace and social relationships.”

This article from AllAfrica.com also speaks of more abolishment of Osu Caste System in Igbo land.

There are so many relationships that were about leading to marriage that has been destroyed just because the parents of the lady discovered that the man whom their daughter was about to marry was an Osu. Who is fooling who? What would it benefit you to sideline your daughter from getting married for the tradition you cannot defend?

So, ladies and gentlemen get loose from parental bondage and build your own future. I know some couples who didn’t listen to their parents concerning the Osu and Diala stuff, and they are happily married today, living and succeeding in all they do. Can you see that!

We all were created by one God in His own image and nature. The Osu caste system is man-made and does not have God’s approval. Educate your parents about it, most of our parents are not formally educated but we can help and teach them what they do not know.

Stories about some men, who have trained their girlfriends in the university in agreement to marry each other after graduation, got disappointed, and were, tagged ‘Osus.’ Why don’t you find out who he is before allowing him to train you, to avoid tagging him ‘an Osu’ after your graduation? Did you also remember the law of karma? This is one of the major causes of late marriage and break up after marriage.

Some men are worse; they can date you for years, knowing that they can’t marry you but still make you feel as if you are valued. They would say: ‘my family vowed to curse me if I marry you. They said you’re an Osu.’ Is this not madness to the highest order? A man will ignorantly quit his relationship with his girlfriend because she has been tagged an Osu.

If the original Osus are castrated, how come about the continuous existence of Osu in Igbo land? Now, how can we heal the wounds this must have caused in the hearts of some people? How do you want a lady to feel after tagging her “an Osu” that made her be rejected for marriage? Pretty ladies everywhere, no husbands, and at last, some of them would turn to single mothers that depend on men to feed their children. Handsome men everywhere, with their money, yet can’t still find a good wife as the ones they have found were tagged Osus. What a life!

One of the Remedies to late marriage is getting loose from parental bondage. Stop listening and believing Osu exists. It wasn’t created by God; it’s man-made, therefore, it does not exist. It’s the wickedness of man against God’s handwork. Don’t be ignorant of the fact, Osu caste system has been abolished in Igbo land two years ago, and a curse had been placed on anyone that will call a fellow human Osu. Know it today that God frowns at such acts.

In conclusion:

Osu was to our religion what priesthood is to Catholicism. If being a priest is ugly in the vocabulary of Catholicism, Osu should be ugly in African religious beliefs. If a soldier is derogatory in modern warfare, Osu is equally derogatory given that they were our front-line defense against an invading Christianity. If an offspring has any DNA, please note that our original Osus were castrated.Omire Nobis

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