Remembering ARAMATU of Ipele

                 Remembering   ARAMATU  of   Ipele

        …She should  be honoured, and I am going to her graveside to worship her says IYALAJE FAMA

    Aramatu was a very powerful woman in Ipele community, Owo, Ondo State.    She was said to be appearing everywhere one and a half years after her death.  When her body was exhumed she was still fresh. Her severed head was returned…

              The whole town was in  confusion  as people ran              helter skelter.   The old and  the young could not sleep with two eyes closed again. Those who could not bear it any longer fled the town both the natives and non natives. Farmers abandoned their  farms and hide their cutlasses and hoes. Early risers had no choice than to hold on till  day break. Night crawlers  became a thing of the past.Those going to  night market resorted to  selling at home. Going to the brook alone became  difficult . The old and the young could not sleep again. Only powerful hunters were bold  to go hunting. The small ancient town was destabilized.Fear gripped everybody.

This is not a fairy tale or tales by the moonlight. It was real.

Oh my God, the ancient town was going empty in a  town where  there was a King!.

Impossible. Kai!, Eewo!, A tii gbo?. Its unheard of that people were leaving in droves. Who else would remain?.

Who will save the situation?. Then the  wise, Chiefs and powerful  elders put their heads together and met the community head , the Monarch, Oba Ogene . A meeting was held on what to do and the best solution was to go in ”Native” way!.

       It all happened in a small town of Ipele, in Owo , Ondo state around 1974 .The news spread fast like wildfire, no sooner  the town became a Mecca of sorts as everybody thronged there to have a glimpse and confirm  the rumor .

               DEAD WOMAN ROSE FROM GRAVE

           The news spread that a woman called Aramatu who had been buried for about one and a half years was  being  sighted in broad day light and at  night  walking, talking and terrorizing the residents. While the mere mention of the name , ”Aramatu”  sent shivers into one’s spine. You dare not  mention  her name ,it is sacred , it is attached to evil , everybody with his or her own stories ; those who saw her   and those who did not.

The dead has risen?. No way, it is abnormal,it is  unheard of and a taboo .Only Jesus Christ died and  rose from the grave!.  Again the  news of the bodiless head whose body was severed and  the  head  was speaking and singing .  Are these real? . It was a not a  rumour, no any iota of doubt in it . It happened.It was real.

According to sources , those who went on  hunting usually saw her in the bush and  she would asked how they were faring  while she would ask nursing  mothers whose children cry  in the  dead of the night to breastfeed their babies!.

                 

              Pa Daboiku

Those in the farm would be saluted by her saying “well done” .

            First to sight her were  the hunters who came to report of seeing  the strange dead  woman. According to our source,  some young  men who  sighted her at the mosque while  coming from a night party said they saw  a woman with a gaslight  but  could not see  her legs , they claimed later that the woman went after them and   beat their chest , the result?- When   they got  home  they started vomiting blood and later died.

              Another source said Aramatu  used to go to  Omolege and Elegbeka markets in the neighboring villages  to sell her provision and she would  sell to  unsuspecting buyers  who did not know she had died.This she did for a very  long time until when  an Ebira man went to her stall to buy cigarette but met her praying at a mosque. The story continued that while the Ebira man called  her that he wanted to buy cigarette   but  since she did not want to break her prayer  so  she did not answer him  but continued her prayer this made the man got annoyed ,  hissed and left. But the man was not lucky  according to the story, Aramatu ran after the man and slapped her back for hissing on her. When the man got home and narrated what happened not knowing she had died, but after being told that  the woman she narrated her story had died , he started vomiting blood and died.

                 In addition, unconfirmed sources said Aramatu  would wake up early in the morning to assist the drivers calling  passengers into their vehicles

According to Pa   Gabriel  Kolawole  Daboiku who is now 87 years of age, a native of  Ipele and a retired headmaster  ” It was during the time of  Ogene head of the of  Ipele  community that it happened .Yes, Aramatun was from Okewoye here in Ipele and at that time my father was a hunter and also a member of Olupele Inner Council. The news spread like wildfire that a dead woman  who had been buried for over one and a half years used to come out at night and the hunters vowed to find solution to it.

Pa Daboiku said ” Aramatu was living in her husband’s house then at Okewoye.The head of Ipele who was the Oba Ogene could not go out  as the Oba claimed  that the said woman, Aramatu used to throw stones on his roofs.

”A meeting was held  and the hunters vowed to find its root,with charms and my father was a hunter and he and his colleagues followed Ogene who was then the head of Ipele in 1974.

About the woman, one Segun said Aramatu was a prominent woman who  used to pass  through Okobola to her farm along Old Owo road, where her farm was.

 

            FRESH BODY EXHUMED

            According to Pa Kolawole “All hunters were commanded to come out and  her   grave was dug up  while her  body  was removed”. The old man said  he saw the woman’s corpse which was still fresh. He said ”they exhumed the body. I saw it . I saw it .It was exactly how she was placed in the coffin that they met her , and  they had buried her over one and a half years yet   she didn’t change  and the body  did not decay.

”The  plaited hair on her head was clean. I learnt she asked her hair be plaited when she was sick before she died”

          According to Ajo’s version , ”the town’s  powerful men went to Egbe in Kwara to prepare some powerful charms to  neutralize  her power and overpower her . Immediately  the Hausa man who was the first person  to be contracted the job  to dig the grave hit  the ground with his digger  his  torso  was swollen   like the size of a  balloon  .Then they brought out the Oro  [Deity] of  the land while  hunters  were charged to be on guard , all  in the  broad day light while  curfew was imposed  and  nobody should go out. Some   hunters sighted   two  pigeons flying towards old Owo road  forced  back the birds  , believing it could be the woman”, narrated Ajo.

                   BODY REBURIED

                According to reports    rituals and sacrifices were offered and the body  was exhumed  and was found fresh .The white cloth used to wrap her was as white as snow .  Not only that some said  in the grave where  the dead woman was buried she had constructed  a big extra room there thus having a room and living  room, and she pushed her coffin somewhere in the grave.

              On what happened to the body after exhuming it , Pa Kolawole said ”  when they hewed the body into pieces  blood was  oozing   out from it and it  was the Ugbamas [ set of age grade] who took the corpse away into the bush called Igbo Omo Oba where witches are buried  and  the dismembered body was buried there”.

                        MANY DEATHS RECORDED

            When the news spread many came from far and near to have a glimpse at the strange woman’s body and confirm the story. According to Pa Daboiku many had accident on their way to view  the corpse , Pa Daboiku  said ” I remember many died in auto crash on their way to here to  confirm the story by viewing   the corpse . Some White men who were coming to have a look at the corpse had accident on the road but the Black men coming behind the White men’s car  had accident and they all perished,I think about four or so died.  I  am not saying the white men  died but the Black men”, the old man clarified.

Confirming what Pa Daboiku  said, Johnson said  ” many who rode on  motorcycles going there to have a look at the head  had accident and died at Obukele , in Owo, some died in  motor accidents”, Olu  too corroborated what they said , he added ” Many died on their way to Ipele to watch the scene. It was an unforgettable incidence for  so many people  perished on their way to and from the scene died.

IYALAJE FAMA   says Aramatu should be honoured

THE SINGING HEAD

While the body was exhumed and cut into pieces , investigation report said that some men took parts of the severed body away possibly to use them for other things . Later rumour went round that  Aramatu’s severed head was bought by a white man who took the head away  secretly . According to rumour the  White man who bought the head could not keep it any longer as he said the head used to sing at night and the buyer had no choice than to  return it back to the man that sold it to him.

An old man who begged for anonymity said ”the head of Aramatu was bought by a white man and only God knows why and what he wanted to use it for , anyway, he was said to have returned the head saying the head was singing every night, disturbing him .Thus another news broke in.That was how the secret of the whereabouts of the head leaked out.

But Pa Daboiku confirmed  it and said “I learnt that those who bought the severed head returned it ,” but I did not see it o”.

ARAMATU’S HOUSE

On whether the house  where she was buried is still there , Pa Daboiku said , ”the house where the body was exhumed is still there till now. The house where she was buried at first is still there till now  .It was the Ugbamas who took away the corpse  for reburial after rituals and sacrifices were offered and since then we have never experienced such  thing  in this town again.The story is real” , the old man said , shaking his head.

Asked whether it was due to uncivilized life that made her corpse be exhumed and her body dismembered but he replied ”It is not because we were not civilized but  when a witch is disturbing the society the the body has to be taken away ”.

          Investigation revealed that the Igbo Omoba that  was once a thick forest  is no longer a forest  .The house where she was once buried was her husband’s house and is still there today and people are living there without any fear or being troubled .

          According to some sources, Aramotu was said to be of a good woman when alive and nobody ever knew she was such a powerful woman  again nobody has ever accused her of any wrong doing.

                         SHE SHOULD BE WORSHIPED

           Yeyelodu Awo and FAMA, an Onisese Orisa  who  lives in California, America  is a Nigerian-American. She is from Emure -Uli near Owo, Ondo  State.  According to her,  Aramatu was an heroine of our time but we failed to recognize, honour and appreciate her.

FAMA who was shocked to hear the story for the first time said ”If what I heard about this grand  mystery woman, now a super ancestor. If what I heard of her larger than life encounters and which you confirmed as a result of your investigative  journalism  about her  is true, she needs to be immortalized. What she did beyond her grave after death surpasses any of the Biblical stories I read as an ex-Christian (FAMA is an Ifa Priestess) as well as what  I heard from active Christians. Unfortunately, these same people, Christians, will classify her miracule after death existence as witchcraft. Miracles that I applaud. If it was witchcraft, then, it was a good,  powerful witchcraft”.

    The Ifa Priestess continued ” I pray and wish she will extend and bless me with such power in this 21st century life of insecurities. I need all the miracles I can get to help my people out of the wicked acts against them everywhere, everyday as well as for my own self defense and security.”

The highly respected Traditionalist who is well known in California said she will be coming to the ancient town of Upele to the graveside of this great  woman called ARAMATU.

FAMA was sort of upset as she asked ”Was she ever reported of bad behaviour when alive? We are blind as we don’t appreciate these people of high repute” she continued

”Moremi’s statute is presently in Ile- Ife today. Ogedengbe Agbogungboro was very powerful and his statute is in Ilesha till today. I believe one day Upele people will correct the mistake and honor her,” she said, adding that UNESCO is noted for  building monuments on  our world’s past great heroes, and Aramatu’s house and grave should become  monuments and tourist attraction for us all to know how powerful Africans are. We should look inward positively and stop vilifying our heroes and heroines.”

FAMA  however   compared Aramatu with her own powerful woman in her home town, she said there was also a powerful woman in her home town  Emure-Uli,   who was equally as powerful known as Mama Kaku who legend had it that she defended the town’s Ugbo oro (Sacred Groove) when a duo timber contractors were warned not to be desecrate  the groove with their  presence but they defied the  pleas and  paid the ultimate price for their defiance.

The America-based Olorisa said ”I am willing to go to the grave side of  Aramatu to honour and worship her.” She added ”if it is America they would probably turn to a point of interest as it might become a tourist centre. It’s painful that in spite of the fact that the  White men we do much like to imitate will not despise their own heroes but in our own case  we still look down on our culture. People like Aramatu should be worshiped. She is a heroine. I wish to go there to offer prayers and sacrifices.I will scoop the earth from her grave for a possible connection with her. If she can transfer her power to me , so be it. It  will be highly appreciated,” she told our reporter.

               STILL FEARED 44 YEARS AFTER

            Despite our efforts to interview some people on the story of Aramatu which happened in 1974 many still refused to talk about her even from her town. While many  begged this reporter  for anonymity. Even in the internet there is no mention of her name. She is even feared in death 44 years after. What a powerful woman!.

 

 

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Taiwo Abiodun

I am a blogger . taiwoabiodun.com and TAIWOABIODUN.BLOGSPOT.COM

6 thoughts on “Remembering ARAMATU of Ipele”

  1. It is ignorance that will make anyone to compare witchcraft with Christianity. Aramotu was evil and darkness cannot be in the class of light.

  2. Mr Babalawo! Story very true . I told some people last week about this Aramatu and resemblance of it that happened in Ute Ilogi Land. . I am following you, go on. ….

  3. Thanks for sharing this unforgetable story of our acient town. I have told this story many times to the white folks but not a single one of them believe me because it sounds more of a fairy tale than a true story. I remembered vividly that the Drum magazine extensively covered the story back then.
    Thanks for taking us back the memory lane.

  4. A good investigation. We were told the story. It really happened. We were not in Owo. It was stranger than fiction. A traveller going from Owo to Benin was caught in the middle of the rush to see Aramatu. At the park people gathered to listen to his story

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