Legendary traditional singer and Masquerade, Ichie Mezuo Okoye, Arusi Makaja 1 of Arondizuogu, popularly known as Pericoma is dead. He reportedly passed away at about 4:30am Thursday morning, 16th February 2017 in a hospital in Okigwe, after a brief illness and has since been buried.
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Nnukwu mmanwu (great masquerade) as he was popularly called was famous for his traditional dance group and music. He is survived by wives, children and many grandchildren.
Pericoma who hails from Ndi-Ogbuonyeoma in Arondizuogu, Ideato-North LGA, became well known after stopping illegal tax collectors aka agbero boys at Upper-Iweka Onitsha.
He was said to have been on his way to Onitsha when he was waylaid by the touts who demanded that he produced his tax receipts. He ignored them and they lifted him on their shoulders to their office.
However, when they got to their office, they couldn’t bring him down from their shoulders, as he had used Black magic on them. The more they struggled to put him down, the heavier he became on their shoulders. This continued for hours until resorted to pleading and begging. They pleaded and begged him to have mercy on them so he asked to be appeased, saying that his ‘chi’ (diety) is angry. A request to which they responded swiftly and made sacrifices to appease his deity. Only then, where they able to bring him down.
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This singular act was said to have curtailed the excesses of the tax collectors in the area and the legend is still shared by parents, especially those in the rural areas, to their children till today. And in an effort to ensure that the legend does not die, the great Pericoma was featured in Nollywood film, titled, “Lion of Africa” which also starred the legendary Nollywood thespian, Pete Edochie.