I listened to an interactive programme on the radio (102.3FM-Continental Radio) sometime ago, and the discussion was about the prevalent caste system in the south eastern part of Nigeria. It was quite interesting and the various contributions from both the audience and the invited guests made it so. From what each contributor said, the Osu people were dedicated to the gods – for their service. Contrary to negative perceptions concerning this special set of people, I learnt that they were the first set of people to be educated when the missionary people came to the South Eastern part of the country.
According to the history persona, it was quite easy to become an Osu. For instance, if an individual was trying to escape from an adversary, by swearing an allegiance to the society, such a person becomes an Osu. It was also interesting to know that due to the special duties being carried out by the Osus’, they were rewarded with choice lands, property and other valuables. They also had their own schools, markets and other social amenities. It was also interesting to note that only the fairest and the brightest people were members of this special community. I understand that within the South Eastern part of the country, they’re the most prolific and eminent individuals. So, I wonder where all the negative connotations started from.
Why would parents threaten to disown their children for marrying an Osu, who obviously has an illustrious pedigree? Why the unnecessary discrimination? I don’t know all the answers, but I’m of the opinion that this kind of abominable discrimination has got to stop.