Pa Daboiku telling the story to Taiwo Abiodun
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!.
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.
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”.
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!.