“Have you ever doubted your ability to invoke rainfall,” he was asked by a BBC Pidgin reporter.
The old man looked up slowly as if his neck was weighing him down. He pointed his finger to his chest in confidence and told the reporter, “Rain will disturb your movements as you return to your base today”
After making that boastful statement, he folded his hand to indicate that the interview was over as he was prepared to display his metaphysical power.
Later that evening, the reporters began to drive from Akwa to (Anambra State) Enugu and heavy rain started to fall. According to the reporters, it was so heavy that the team almost parked their car at the side of the road. The rain fell until they reached Enugu State.
The Search For The Rainmaker
The BBC Pidigin reporter in charge of the documentary
The existence of powerful men and women reported to have control over the atmospheric condition has always been a popular talk in town. Many people have always say the rainmakers can invoke rainfall as well as stopping it.
But several other people believe nobody can control the weather not to talk of causing rainfall. The Nigerian Metrological Agency believes controlling the weather is as good as a myth.
There are rainmakers across the world especially in Nigeria. Their business is to halt any event of rainfall for people holding social occasions like burial ceremonies, parties or even market days. There are also reports that some people hire rainmakers to invoke rainfall to disrupt the events organised by their supposed enemies.
Some people also believe rainmaking is full of lies and no human being possesses the power to invoke or stop rainfull at any given time.
It took the reporter four good months to look for a confident rainmaker who was ready to display his powers on tape. With the help of some indigenes, the reporter traced Godwin Onasedu to Ifitedunu village at Dunukofia Local Goment Area in Anambra State, southeast Nigeria.
Godwin Onasedu is a powerful rainmaker in his village and according to him, his generation has been into rainmaking for many years.
To invoke rainfall, he asked the reporters to bring some items which are as follows:
- Two crates of beer
- One bottle of 501 gin
- Four pieces of kola nut
- 1000 naira to take break the kola nut
- Candles, white and red cloth
On The D-day
On Friday, the 17th of August, 2018, the reporter finally met with Godwin at his house. When the reporter met him, he was seen burning some leaves outside his house. He revealed he performing that as a ritual to forestall rainfall.
“Some people are organizing a burial ceremony and they have given me the job of holding off rainfall” he said.
“But as you have come to put my powers to test, I will cause a small quantity of rain to fall but it will not last”
As the sacrificial items were presented before him, he ordered an assistant to quench the fire so that they could head to a designated shrine to complete the task of invoking the rain.
The rainmaker revealed to the reporter that the fire from the burning leaves prevent rainfall and quenching the fire will allow rainfall.
This is a raining season and rainfall has been a regular occurrence. But on this particular day, the sun was shining brightly. The reporter checked Google weather report and discovered rain was supposed to fall later that day.
By the time they arrived at the shrine which was close to the rainmaker’s house, the villagers who heard about the test had gathered to feed their eyes. Parent and their kids followed the reporters and the rainmaker. The rainmaker walked in front of the crowd wearing a white cloth which he also tied on his head.
The shrine was made up of two very tall trees. A rope and some clothes with yellow and red colours were tied to these trees. There were empty bottles of gin on the ground coupled with other fetish materials unknown to the reporter. The rainmaker started to recite incantations and repeatedly beat a gong known as Ogene in local parlance to bring down rainfall but at that time, there was no single rain drop.
People gathered watching the scene and the camera of the reporter was set to capture the event. Nothing happened, he performed these rites for about 45 minutes but the rain refused to come. The rainmaker stopped. By this time, people had started to leave for their various houses.
The rainmaker asked the assistant to return to his house to check on it. When the assistant returned, he informed the rainmaker that someone had started the fire they quenched behind their back. According to reports, the man who set the fire was mentally-challenged, the pressmen had earlier met him at the rainmaker’s house and he wasn’t friendly. As the rainmaker was invoking rainfall, the man was busy derailing his efforts by burning the mystic leaves.
At last, Godwin the rainmaker lost his temper and returned to his house. The impatient villagers also left for their abodes but the reporters waited at the shrine for the rainmaker. They were waiting for the two hours deadline they gave him to elapse.
At about one hour and thirty minutes, there was no sign of rain so the pressmen started packing their gadgets in preparation to leave the area. Not too long, the breeze started. This started gradually. The cassava leaves, palm trees and other plants started to shake due to the breeze. The pressmen looked up and observed that the environment was cloudy giving indications of imminent rainfall.
The pressmen immediately brought out their equipment, switched on the camera and pointed it to the sky to film as the rain had started.
This according to them lasted for five minutes. The rain wasn’t heavy but the ground was obviously wet. According to the reporter who wrote the story, people might believe or doubt the story but he witnessed rainfall that day. He asserted that he can’t categorically state that the rainfall was natural or induced by the supposed powerful rainmaker.
Watch a short video clip of the incident below: