Divinity and Spirituality in Igbo Tradition

Moderator Yvonne Mbanefo begins the panel discussion by explaining the term ‘Odinani’. She says that the term simply means traditional religious practice and cultural beliefs. It is with this explanation that the floor is opened for panelists to share their views.

Eloka Umeh speaks first. He emphasises the fact that everybody worships a god. “Anyi niile na efe Chukwu, ndi igbo na akpo ya i ga ofo,” he says and explains the procedure for Igbo ancestral worship.

Chukwubudike Ugbaja expounds on the distinction between ‘Chukwu’, a general supreme God that everybody serves and ‘Chi’ which he believes to be a personal god.

Munoyedi Ogboluma rounds up the discussion with a powerful statement that gives the audience something to think about long after they leave the festival. She says, “There are so many misconceptions about African spirituality, and we can only understand it when we debunk the misconception. When African people push back or resent the African tradition and spirituality, it is because they are afraid of being labelled”.

Conversations around Spirituality and Divinity in Igboland are important. The panel serves as a wakeup call for Africans to embrace their tradition.