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Izu ka mma na Nne ji
by Pericoma Okoye
Pericoma Okoye (c.1935 to 2017) was a Nigerian 'traditionist' singer/songwriter and local politician. Pericoma Mesuo Okoye was born in the Arondizuogu, Imo State, Nigeria, in about 1935. His first name, 'Pericoma', had many other spellings and stylings but this was the most popular. Imo State is an eastern state occupied by the Igbo people of Nigeria, and Arondizuogu is a community which occupies three local government areas - Ideato North, Okigwe and Onuimo. From adulthood, he became prime minister of the Arondizuogu community in Imo State, holding this position until his death. A firm believer and practitioner of 'Obeah', the traditional religion of the 'Igbo' people, Okoye was sometimes called a sorcerer or medicine man (a description originally given to him by the broadcasting company 'Nigerian News NAIJ' when he foiled a group of illegal tax collectors by perceived mystical means). His official title of 'Arusi Makaja' might also have portrayed this, as 'Arusi' means 'deity' or 'oracle' when translated into the English language. But he was also famous as a musician in Nigeria, his music style being best defined as "an oral rendition of the culture and tradition of the Igbo people". Okoye's most memorable songs were probably "High Tension", "Ikeji Izuogu", "Obodo Aghoka" and "Igatakwuteya Aja". As the prime minister in Imo State (styled 'Chief'), he was very prominent in local government, and was instrumental in the development of the 'Ikeji' festival, held in his community every April. It mainly serves as a source of foreign income for the whole nation of Nigeria as it attracts tourists from around the world, and during the festival he was often alleged to have performed several feats of a "supernatural" kind - this legend also helped to earn him the alias 'Lion Of Africa'. He eventually featured in a two-part biographical movie of that name, taking a supporting role in it alongside "Nollywood" star Pete Edochie, who played the young version of him. Pericoma Okoye died in Imo State on February 16th 2016, aged 81. http://buzznigeria.com/pericoma-okoye-dead/
Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pericoma_Okoye - http://www.latestnaijagist.com/2017/02/how-ichie-mezuo-pericoma-okoye-died.html
Posted: 22nd March 2017
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† REST IN PEACE †
Hundreds of very talented musicians pass away each year, some without much recognition at all. On "Rest In Peace", I aim to give them a fitting 'send-off', with a decent Tribute. I hope you will join me in marking their passing.....
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