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Ake And Irhevbu Ake’s wife in Edo culture

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By Ekhaguosa Aisien (Last update 30-08-2018)

Let us tell the story as the folklore narrates it:
Ogan n’Ekhua, now deified and worshipped in Ekhua village, was an Ishan man from Irrua town. He had settled in Umagbae village not far from lJrhokuosa in Uhunmwode. He became a disciple of Okhuaihe. He was a noted expert in native metaphysics, able to see farther into the future than most other people. He was said to have been immune to most of the everyday afflictions that perturb ordinary individuals. And he was a warrior, his main battle weapon being the javelin or spear, in the use of which he had no rivals,
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Ake deity

Another retainer in Okhuaihe’s household was AKE, a personage also later deified and worshipped in the land. Ake, whose name means “rock” or “granite”, was an expert bowman. His expertise with the bow and arrow was unrivalled. He built his reputation on his elaboration of the metal-tipped poisoned arrow. The metal tip of the arrow was called uto. Into the hollow of this metal-tip, into which the wooden shaft of the arrow would fit, a

powerful herbal poison was introduced. This poison brought down any animal, or man, shot with the arrow — a form of chemical warfare.

Ake was the hunter who supplied venison to the Okhuaihe household. In battle he was an expert marksman, always able to hit his target. He, therefore, acquired the appellation.

Ake n’okpefi:

“Ake who never misses a target !”

Okhuaihe’s wife at this period was a young and comely woman. Her name was IRHEVBU and Okhuaihe was very fond of her.

Okhuahe had already set out on his journey to the IKPE waterside, accompanied by Ogan with his javelin when a troubling thought occurred to him. He was keenly aware of the fatal attraction which hunters have for women, and Ake, a member of his household be was leaving behind, was a hunter.

A woman is attracted more to a hunter than to a farmer. She loves the male who brings the killed animal home. In the village market a hunter’s wife stands shoulders higher than a farmer’s wife, and the wares that she sells dried and fresh meats, are more valuable and attract more clientele than the yams and plantains of the farmer’s wife.

Okhuaihe did not want to be cuckolded while he would be away on his journey to the sea-coast. And not having known about the “Chastity Belts” which solved this nagging problem for the European crusaders of old, who put these locked-up belts on their wives before leaving Europe to fight the Moslems in Jerusalem, Okhuaihe decided to remove what he knew might threaten his wife’s virtue in his absence. He decided to include Ake in his entourage to the sea-coast, to ‘Heaven.”

So Okhuaihe turned on his heels and with Ogan, returned home. He met Ake cooking a breakfast of yam pottage. Ake’s favourite meal, Okhuaihe told the Youngman to hurry up with his cooking, so he could join his entourage to the sea-coast.

Egged on by the impatience of his lord, Ake added more faggots to the fire and soon the pottage was ready. He ate the meal hot and as quickly as he could. Then, grabbing his bow and his quiver of arrows, he set out with Okhuaihe and Ogan along the winding forest road leading lo lkpe village, the present - day Benin — Abraka road.

Freed of the burden which had been weighing on his mind, Okhuaihe maintained a jaunty pace of walking, emulated by his two companions. But it was not long before Ake began to lag behind the other two.

The road, being a forest track, was narrow and winding, and traveling along it was possible only in a single file. The high canopy of the branches of the great forest trees shaded the track from the direct rays of the sun, making the trekking not unduly tiresome.

Okhuaihe looked back, and Ake was not in sight. He hollered his name, and Ake answered, at the same time coming into view as he rounded a bend in the track.

''Catch up!” said Okhuaihe, “and let us make fair progress in order to get to Ikpe before night fall’.

Some short while later Okhuaihe again looked back, and again. Ake was not in view. He hollered his name. Some moments passed before Ake’s answering voice filtered through, assuring Okhuaihe that he would soon catch up with them.
When a while later Okhuaihe again called out at Ake he received no further response from him. Okhuaihe decided to plod on towards Ikpe. He hoped that the laggard. Ake, would catch up with him and Ogan in the village where they planned to spend the night before embarking on their boat journey to the sea coast, to the mouth of the Benin river.

When Ake was satisfied that Okhuaihe had gone Qn ahead without bothering to wait for him to catch up with them, he turned on his heels and raced back to Benin. There he seduced lrhevbu, his mentor’s wife. And that night the couple fled from the ikpokpan quarters and headed in the direction of the ISI distinct, towards ILOBI village. Ake’s native place. Irhevbu became Ake’s wife, and never was a union between a man and a woman so ordained in heaven with love and companionships that between this eloped couple.

Ake and lrhevhu became inseparable throughout their lives. And not even death could separate them. They were said to have died on the same day, and were both buried in the same grave. A few days after their burial, it was said, a rivulet sprang from the grave, and flowed into the Orhionmwon River, not far from Abudu town. The stream is called “Ake “to this day.

Ake developed into one of the mystics of Edo Land, and when he died he was deities as an IHEN, a deity. Irhevbu, his wife, shared in his deification. There are fourteen shrines or temples devoted to this worship of Ake in Edo land. And whenever an altar sculpture of Ake was created in any of the temples devoted to his worship, the statue of his wife. Irhevbu. was always a part of the statuary. And no prayers or supplications ever made to Ake were complete without a mention of the name of Irhevbu. Ake’s wife.

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