In the piece on Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki and Adams Oshiomhole, I used the word “chi”. In my context, ‘chi” is your personal god. This is consistent with what real scholars have written. In Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe wrote, “At most one could say that his chi or personal god was good”, ‘When Okonkwo was young, he won the title of “greatest wrestler in all the land,” and the others didn’t attribute that to his personal strength or hard work, but to his chi.’ (See more references below)
That chi is different from Chineke which is the Almighty God, Jehova, God, Chukwu Abiama, Chukwu Okike, God of Abraham, in the modern Christian Igbo Nation. If you substitute chi with Chineke in my piece, you get tripped. Like I explained, living in the village and observing tradition, humans can become “chi” to others.
Igbos name Nnabuchi – my father is my god. We name Nwabuchi – my child is my god. Practically, in the domain of Edo politics, Adams could be chi to Obaseki.
Note that I did not use “Chineke”. Yes, Nwabuchi cannot mean “my child is my God Almighty”. Humans are chi to people but never Chineke. If you have read the 1978 report of the first Igbo Convention, led by venerable Igbo Scholar, Prof FC Ogbalu, and the 1983 convention with support from Prof Tony Ubesie – the author of Isi akwu dara n’ala and Ukwa ruo oge ya o daa – you will see that chi is personal.
More so, the writings in Okike which Achebe edited, the use of chi is not at the same level as Chineke. Chinua Achebe consistently used chi in small caps when referring to chi, the personal god . The chi influenced Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart. Achebe was disconnecting it from the Almighty God (Chineke) which if you go back to the Igbo Bible has been used in Upper Case; the Anglican Church put efforts in 1913 to standardize things when it produced the Union Igbo Bible.
Things Fall Apart
In the Igbo society, an individual’s “chi” was its personal god. The chi was thought to have influenced their every daily life, either for the better or the worst, and helped to determine a person’s “destiny.” As it was thought to have been the job of the chi to protect them, everyone had a statue to honor their chi.
Quotes In Book
“That was not luck. At most one could say that his chi or personal god was good.” Pg. 27
When Okonkwo was young, he won the title of “greatest wrestler in all the land,” and the others didn’t attribute that to his personal strength or hard work, but to his chi.
“He had been cast out of his clan like a fish onto a dry, sandy beach, panting. Clearly his person god, or chi was not made for great things.” Pg. 131
After being cast out of his clan, Okonkwo is related to a fish out of water, doomed by a chi that “was not made for great things.”
” The saying of the elders was not true– if a man said yea his chi also affirmed.Here was a man whose chi said despite his own affirmation” Pg.131
A person’s chi does not always agree to what the person may think is right, and the chi acts upon it’s own will.
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