24th January, 2022
Veteran Nollywood actor Bob-Manuel Udokwu has put in strong words for Igbo tradition, arguing that African deities are no demons.
The actor made this known in an interview with BBC Igbo while speaking about how modern Christianity has eroded a great deal of the Igbo culture.
Udokwu said the incursion of modern religion demonised the existence of native doctors and African spiritualists who were often consulted to cure such things as insanity and malaria.
“As white people came to our land, they took away our artefacts, deities, insignia, and other valuables. If you look up the news, you find that they’re returning them because these statues are tormenting them,” he said.
“The white people brought modern Christianity but included the part where we’re being made to pray in the name of some of their saints and adherents who have died. These are dead people we never got to know.
“If you pray in the name of white saints, make sure you include those of your home country. If your father is dead, know that he has joined the saints and ancestors that would do intercessory prayers for you wherever God is.
“It doesn’t amount to worshiping deities. And even worshiping African deities is nothing bad.”
Udokwu charged Igbo people to be selective with the traditions they dispose of, even while adhering to modern Christianity.
“There are some customs that are not acceptable. Let’s stop those. And some have indeed ceased to exist. Let’s not dispose of both the baby and the bathwater,” he said.
“Before the whites came, we had herbalists who treat various ailments. All of them were categorised as native doctors and spiritualists. The whites came and made us believe that native doctors are a bad omen.
“Today, where are those traditionalists who cure insanity, iba, diarrhea before white people came? Open your eyes.
“I’m educated. I agree that sick people should use the hospital but let’s give what’s to Caesar to him and what’s to God to him. Breaking kola is no different from the holy communion we take in church.
“The white people who told us these things are demonic are taking back their words because our deities they stole are tormenting them.”