Kpara Sokun

The High Priest Who Sold Us Nupes out to the Yorubas

Nupe Short Story

From the book 'The Landzun Master Story-Teller'

by Ndagi Abdullahi Amana Nupe

By the Zambufu forest is gathered over two thousand Nupe witchdoctors, herbalists and even witches and wizards to celebrate this year's annual three-day Zambufu Witchdoctors Championship Competition.

They came from all over KinNupe – from Egbian, Zugurma, Bokani, Yeti, Kataeregi, Lanle, Takuma, through Baddegi, Esheti, Gulu, Vatsa, Lapai, to Agaie, Dankogi, Etsugaie, Jebba, and so on and on. This is the Competition everybody wants to witness…

… Because an upstart witchdoctor, the young Tsowa Wurugi from Kagba Tifin, have come to challenge the decade-long defending champion, the elderly Kpara Sokun.

Tsowa Wurugi was secretly propped up by the Hidden Elders of Nupe spiritualists who want to humiliate Kpara Sokun. They have been slighted by Kpara Sokun in his decade-long championship. Gbarizhiko magicians kept both Kpara Sokun and Tsowa Wurugi inside huge bonfires until Tsowa Wurugi ran out for help, thereby losing the first contest of the day.

Then Kagowogi hunters tied both contestants with cables and buried them alive. Tsowa Wurugi immediately came out of his grave alive but Kpara Sokun could not.

The entire gathering of over two thousand spiritualists was shocked. For the first time in over a decade Kpara Sokun has lost a contest. The third and last contest for that day involved both Kpara Sokun and Tsowa Wurugi being bound by Kusopa wizards to heavy rocks and being thrown into a nearby river. Again Tsowa Wurugi won. Of the three contests that first day, Kpara Sokun won one and Tsowa Wurugi won two.

Kpara Sokun and his supporters claimed that Kpara Sokun's unexpected defeat that day was due to the spiritual machinations of the Hidden Elders. The second day Kpara Sokun and his supporters came bragging that Kpara Sokun will defeat Tsowa Wurugi that day.

In the first contest that day Kpara Sokun’s antelope was successfully killed by Tsowa Wurugi. But in the second contest Tsowa Wurugi’s eagle was killed by Kpara Sokun’s eagle.

The third contest that day involved both contestants bringing a dead crocodile back to life. Tsowa Wurugi couldn’t.

Kpara Sokun won the day!

It was a tie – Tsowa Wurugi won the first day of the Competition while Kpara Sokun won the second day.

The definitive winner will be the winner of the third day.

On the third day the over two thousand spiritualists gathered very early as the first contest of the day involved both contestants being lashed with Sharo sticks.

Tsowa Wurugi couldn’t endure the whipping for long, so he lost the contest.

But Kpara Sokun lost the second contest of the day when he eventually cried out for help against the bloody slashing by the sharp swords of the Tswata Mukun smiths from Bida.

It is a tie again. The remaining only one and last contest of the day will be the decisive one! That was when Kpara Sokun asked to be given a while to go and wash off his bloodied body at the nearby village of Dumagi.

Three hours later, when Kpara Sokun didn’t come back, Sagi Layi sent for him…

… Suddenly the disturbing news reached us, the over two thousand crowd of Nupe spiritualists gathered at Zambufu, that Yoruba spiritualist militants headed by a certain 'Oduduwa' had besieged the nearby city of Tsaragi again and are on rampage killing innocent and powerless Nupe citizens!

We all rushed back to Tsaragi to fight and repel the Igbomina Yoruba invaders from Share.

The Yoruba forces have surrounded Tsaragi city on the adjoining hillocks. We immediately fired some amulet missiles at them and a number of the Yorubas fall from the hills as dead bodies. In the ensuing confusion and alarm among the Yorubas, however, their leader, the 'Oduduwa' changed into a vulture and came down upon some of our witchdoctors gathered at reaches of the hillocks. The Oduduwa vulture spurted a smelly but boiling liquid that burnt some of our witchdoctors to death.

That was when Sagi Layi changed herself into a giant owl that chased the Oduduwa vulture away from the Tsaragi skyline. The Yorubas also ran away but not before assuring us that they will be back tomorrow.

We were disturbed – the power to change into a vulture is a sign of invincibility. Then Sagi Layi told us that only the Nupe people have the secret of transformation into vulture, so Oduduwa must have been empowered by a Nupe witchdoctor.

That was when we all remembered Kpara Sokun – he is the only Nupe witchdoctor who was known to have delivered Nupe spiritual formulas to the Yorubas.

Now we know why Kpara Sokun left Zambufu in a hurry and never returned; he had gone to mobilize his Yoruba allies to come to besiege Tsaragi in a bid to disrupt the Zambufu Competition which he was obviously about to lose to Tsowa Wurugi. Oduduwa appeared the next morning with his large army of Yoruba spiritualists and Borgu mercenaries. As they took their positions on the hills and started firing down at Tsaragi citizens again, we empowered Tsowa Wurugi to transform into a gigantic python which slithered uphill and started decimating the Yoruba forces.

But Oduduwa changed into a dragon which severely injured the python.

It was the Sagi Layi, who changed into a flood of water that drowned many of the Yoruba forces on the hills and that almost drowned the Oduduwa dragon, that saved Tsowa Wurugi from certain death in the hands of the Oduduwa dragon.

We chased the fleeing Yorubas right into and out of Share town as the flood actually flowed from the Tsaragi hills to overwhelm the Yoruba neighbourhood of Share.

That night, a selected number of us, headed by Sagi Layi, secretly left Tsaragi for the ruins of Kpotofu. Our ancestors came from Kpotofu, that is, after the dispersal from our original port city of Gudu on the southern bank of the River Niger.

At the Kpotofu ruins we used an ancient Nupe ritual to summon the spirit of Ndace Dogun, the Founder of our Tsaragi race from Mulia and Mokwa.

The Ndace Dogun apparition gave us the shock of our lives by revealing to us that Kpara Sokun was the ‘Oduduwa’ leading the Yorubas to attack the Nupes!

Ndace Dogun told us that no external force, except led by a treacherous Nupe insider, can defeat the Nupe people.

Ndace Dogun then revealed to us that only a pre- pubescent child-girl, and not a fully grown young man like Tsowa Wurugi, can defeat Oduduwa-Kpara Sokun.

The next morning when the Yorubas appeared on the hills of Tsaragi again led by their ‘Oduduwa’, we didn’t waste our time fighting them. We simply sent a spiritually-fortified seven-year-old girl uphill to go and fight them.

The little girl went uphill and started killing any Yoruba or Borgu fighter that she set her eyes on. By the time over one thousand Yoruba warriors died in the hands of the little Nupe girl, the remaining Yoruba warriors, including their ‘Oduduwa’, fled the Tsaragi hills.

But the little girl chased them, caught the ‘Oduduwa’ whom she brought to us at Tsaragi. The two thousand spiritualists gathered at Tsaragi were shocked beyond belief to discover that when the ‘Oduduwa’ masquerade was disrobed he was none other than Kpara Sokun!

We took both Tsowa Wurugi and Kpara Sokun back to the nearby town of Zambufu and made them participate in the third and last contest which was a wrestling match between the two. Of course, Tsowa Wurugi defeated Kpara Sokun…

… A humiliated Kpara Sokun has lost his decade- long championship to Tsowa Wurugi!

Instead of accepting defeat, Kpara Sokun went insane and is, to this day, parading the streets of Tsaragi as a madman claiming to be the champion of all the witches and wizards of Tsaragi. Today you can still see Kpara Sokun as the madman sitting beside the motor-park garage at the centre of Tsaragi city.

© Ndagi Abdullahi Amana Nupe (0813 798 2743 whatsapp message only)

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