Movie Name- IGODO

Director: Andy Amenechi , Don Pedro Obaseki

Major Cast: Pete Edochie, Nobert Young, Sam Dede, Charles Okafor, Obi Madubogwu, Chidi Mokeme, Prince James Uche, Ignis Ekwe, Joe Layode, etc.

Release Date: (Nigeria) 1999.

Settings: Nigeria

                                                  Stories make histories, and histories, stories --------- Ebi Robert


I take my time, some good days, to search for some things that seem hidden; not that they are, but that they seem to be. I have watched Nigerian home videos directed by some Nigerian Directors, but each time I sit close to the TV, I either end up sighing or leaving; nothing other than the fact that I get thwarted at what I see. Quite captivating posters and excellent actors every now and then, and yet most productions end with no so good an ending. It’s simple; most of the producers/directors work for the money, not the audience. Yet in the mist of all these, I have my reserves. There are one or two movies I have marked out, because of their distinctive qualities. IGODO (The land of the living dead) is one of such. Acted in the late 20th century, it tells the story of seven great heroes who ventured into the evil forest for the knife of Amadioha. When this movie was produced then, the Nigerian movie industries never had the best of cameras and so the graphics and screen play in all may not be as good as many movies are today. But there are a lot invested in that movie that perhaps even the story tellers, script writers and of course the movie producers may not have taken into consideration. Movies are not only meant to be watched, they are to be spoken about. And so after these many years, I have decided to cast my mind back to this great movie to tell some facts about it, rewrite it in another way, so that we can appreciate it in different ways. I am sure, that by the time I am done, even the crew will see IGODO in a different light. The REVIEW will come out in episodes. This is because there are so many aspect of the movie to be looked at, and I do not think that all these should be done in one write. For this episode, we will be looking at ‘STORY IN A STORY”.


Imu-Igodo (forgive me for any misspelling) is a land of death. People keep on dying day by day. The people are worried about the cause of death and so there is a need to know why. The King of the land invites the Chief Priest to the palace to explain to them the cause of death. And yet in the mist of the worries, he says: ‘The gods are silent… Only one man knows it all’. 

One would wonder why the silence of the gods reveals that ‘one man’. The king demands the one man by name IGODO who lives in the forest. No one knows why he is that one man who could tell the cause of death. The people on the command of the King venture into the forest and bring IGODO, a very old man who then tells of the story of what happened in their land long time ago. 

Igodo also recaps how similar death occurred in their own land which he says was once named ‘Umuoka’. People died in their numbers and so there was need to also know the cause of death, and so the Chief Priest at that time was brought to reveal the cause of death. Now the Chief priest also had to relate them back to time; a story of the death of the son of Amadioha and the curse that followed after his death. 

Now here begins our very theme. Just like the device of ‘Play in a Play’, here we have ‘Story in a Story’. Yes, the story by the Chief Priest in the Story of IGODO; I mean from the lips of the character himself. So let us see how this literary technique was judiciously used in this movie. 


IGODO:  Long long time ago, Imu-igodo was known as Umoka, the land of the living dead. This is the place where this tale of pain begins. Fifty seasons ago, the gods visited this village with a harvest of death. The old buried the young, as they died in their numbers. Umoka was in disarray. No one knows what to do. People sought answers and they went to their father who was one of the greatest Dibia that worked at that time. From the mountains, from the high mountains up, to the banks of the great river, he told the tale that heralded the beginning of our pains and more deaths…

(And so at this point in the movie, we see a break of flash back and so begin our second story). 


DIBIA: Igwe, across the mountains of Arochukwu, on the hills where Amadioha sits, a child was born and was named Ihekumele (forgive me for any misspell) meaning “a great thing has happened to us”. Like all such children, he was dedicated to Amadioha, the god of thunder and he grew up as a son of thunder. Ihekumele was a gift of the gods, Amadioha’s messenger, if you like, destined one day to be the Igwe (King) of the land. Some people liked him, but some others said: How could such a -(Can’t pick the words, but sure an insult), become the Igwe of the land? NO, they couldn’t take it. So one day, Ihekumele became the victim of man’s conspiracy.

(Flash back- Here, the movie reveals how some men visits the home of Ihekumele and then kill his mother and father)

DIBIA continues his story:

He ran and ran until his legs could carry him no further. A son of Umuoka, a very great hunter by name Ezeoke found him at the edge of the evil forest. Ezeoke the gentle hearted hunter, killer of elephants, had no son. So he took him in as his own son and soon he became a citizen of Umuoka. He grew up into a man, and a very wealthy one at that. Not long after, Ezeoke the one he looked upon as his father, died and Ihekumele, cried and cried and cried, inconsolably. Quite naturally, his wealth attracted plenty of jealousy and a conspiracy was impregnated against him from within. So they said he must be stopped. ‘O’ yes he had to be stopped’. So a group of seven plotted. One day, the Igwe’s staff of office was hidden by the conspirators and they told the Igwe that the staff had been stolen. So the Igwe decreed that anyone caught with that staff must be buried alive up to the neck and left at the mercy of the elements.

(Flashback – Sure, who else? The conspirators hide the staff in Ihekumele’s house. So he is arrested.)

DIBIA continues...

And as they led him away to the palace, death was certain. After passing sentence on Ihekumele he was humiliated and led to the forest. They buried him alive for a crime he did not commit; a deed done by seven, and endorsed by an entire community. The entire town bore the guilt. The heavens wept, even the sun struggled with the moon for a place in the sky, as Amadioha wept for his son. …


The movie did not only employ this beautiful dramatic device of ‘STORY IN A STORY’, the movie goes as far as using FLASHBACK in between the narrative to bring to the fore, the dramatic movement. This shows one beautiful thing about African Literature, the use of Tales to pass down events upon events to the children. More likely, a folktale, but this is different. But there are two things to learn from the story:


Quite significantly is the fact that the stories were not just told, but they were told by two Old men full of wisdom. Igodo the first story teller in the movie had seen it all. IGODO did not just experience the horrible adventure. IGODO revealed must of the wonders in the journey to the land of the living dead as will be seen in oncoming episodes.
Another Grey who spoke is DIBIA. DIBIA is a man of wisdom as well. Beyond being the chief priest and mouth piece of the gods, DIBIA kept in the records, the history of the land. If not for DIBIA, the people of Umuoka wouldn’t have gotten to know about the story of the death of Amadioha’s son. The Wisdom of DIBIA will be spoken extensively in an oncoming episode as well. 


You will get to understand if you watch carefully that the listeners of the both stories are made of the ‘King and elders in Council”. Wow, some wisdom is not known to the kings and elders. So they had to learn from the wisdom of some to tell others, perhaps their own children. Sure, the grey had to listen. But how did the community get to be doomed with the mysterious deaths? That we shall see in the next episode titled ‘THE LAMENTATION’.  



Post a Comment

Post a Comment (0)

#buttons=(Accept !) #days=(20)

Our website uses cookies to enhance your experience. Learn More
Accept !