The Ika people have many concepts of goodness that are almost peculiar to them. Some of these concepts are an automatic invitation to a stranger to share in a meal, the respect for elders, and above all, the exchange of barrage of greetings in the streets, which tend to ease the pressure of living considerably. These are some of the ways through which the Ika people maintain good relationship with their neighbours. Convention demands that younger people show their respect for superiors or elders by greeting them first whenever both meet. The respect for elders is considered very important; and a child who does not observe this cardinal article of code of behaviour is not likely to turn out well. In the first place, his parents will practically disown him; and in the second, the children of the elders to whom he shows disrespect will make life extremely difficult for him.
As a mark of respect, the young calls the elders not by their names but by the pseudonym, diokpa or idioma or baba (aba) for the elderly males and edede or odede or iye or nne for the elderly women, before greetings. Refusal to exchange greetings indicates a strained relationship.
Ika people have very many greetings suited for various people, time and occasion.
A. Greetings to the Traditional Rulers:
(i) The Dein of Agbor is greeted Do-Dein.
(ii) Agun or Agu is the greeting to other Obis in Ikaland, except
the Okparan-Uku of Idumuesah, whose greeting is Okparan. Agun is a name of powerful animal in the forest, Tiger. By the greeting, an Obi is adulated as a Tiger in strength. Agu is a short form of prayerful greeting. The greeter fervently prays that “this throne shall never terminate”, meaning that Ukponi-agu.
(iii) Domo is a Bini greeting which some subjects, especially the elderly ones in Abavo, often times greet their Obi.
In greeting, one stands in an upright position and says, Do-Dein or Obi Agun or Obi agu or Obi Domo or Okparan, with a genuflection, with the right fist held set in the form of a bow; or put at an upright angle towards the king, firmly supported by the left hand below the elbow. The greeting could just be made with a bow. In the olden days, people prostrated on the floor when they greeted the king. Also, the king can be adulated with such forms of greetings like Agadagidi, Agwo Ekika, Eka Oghai, Agbogidi, Tutu, etc. In response, the king prays for the greeter.
B. Morning Greetings:
Abavo, Idumuesah and Owa kingdoms have common morning greetings for males and females differently.
(i) Lie is the morning greeting of the males to their elders of both sexes. Lie is a short form of prayer to an elder, ni toru nka ni hun onye eli ni, meaning may you live long and may you have who will give you a befitting burial at death. This greeting can also be interpreted to mean, eli-ye nimi meaning “I doff my hand for you”.
(ii) Layu-Uwe is the morning greeting of the females in Abavo, Idumuesah and Owa to their elders of both sexes. Layu-Uwe is a short form of prayer to an elder which wishes him or her to live up to the ripe age (Laru-Uwe)
(iii) Legite is the morning greeting for the females in Okpe village in Abavo to their elders of both sexes. The greeting is of Bini origin, and it is fast dying away.
(iv) Labo is the morning greeting of Oza-Nogogo people in Agbor Kingdom.
C. Evening Greetings:
(i) Enyase is the greeting for all in Abavo, Idumuesah, Owa and Mbiri kingdoms. It is a short prayer to an elder wishing him or her very fruitful old age. Ni uwe enyasi bo-i or ni uwe enyase re ima or laru uwe enyase.
(ii) Ogbe-e or kaa-ra is an evening greeting for the people of Oza-Nogogo in Agbor kingdom.
D. General Greetings:
(i) Uwe-Oma is a general greeting for many kingdoms in Ika. Notably the greeting is most popular for Agbor, Umunede, Akumazi, Mbiri and Ute kingdoms, at all times. Uwe-Oma is a prayerful greeting wishing the elder a blessed and fulfilled living. Baba (aba) or (Nne) is added as a suffix to distinct the greeting between a man and a woman. The greeting is Uwe-Oma Baba shortened to sound Ma-aba for a male and Uwe-Oma Nne shortened to Ma-nne for the female.
(ii) Isichei or Isicheri is a greeting of both sexes to very elderly people in all Ika kingdoms, especially those in the highest age grades in life or the retired people. Isichei is prayerfully wishing the ‘elder’s head’ to continue to survive or live.
(iii) Okpa is the greeting to elderly males at all times for Igbodo and sometimes for Akumazi people.
(iv) Omu is the greeting for elderly females at all times for Igbodo, Owa and Akumazi people.
(v) Omodi is the greeting for the younger ones in Igbodo and Akumazi at all times.
(vi) Ndo or Ndo-o is greeting expressing sorrow to somebody who is hurt, or who has suffered something which needs sympathy. It means sorry, and age or sex do have any barrier in the greeting.
(vii) Alua or Alua-o is a greeting expressing welcome from any journey, visit or outing.
(viii) Daru or Daru-o is a greeting for a person who is engaged in any work, or who has shown favour to the person greeting.
(ix) Me-ngwa is a greeting for anybody working; the person is bidden to hurry up.
(x) Ye-meke is a greeting for somebody who has shown or rendered help, etc.
To be continued…