Meet Pericoma Okoye, a renowned musician, songwriter, and traditionist whose influence extended throughout Igboland. He was not only a talented artist but also a devout practitioner of the traditional religion of the Igbo people, known as Obeah.
With the title of ‘Arusi Makaja,’ Pericoma Okoye captivated the hearts of many within his community, Arondizuogu, who regarded him as a revered figure. His style of music and unwavering commitment to his cultural beliefs made him a respected individual. People marveled at his seemingly supernatural abilities, often labeled as “sorcery,” which defied the laws of physics. His extraordinary talents and consecutive victories in various competitions earned him the nickname “Lion of Africa.”
Pericoma Okoye’s influence extended beyond the realm of music. He even ventured into the world of acting, starring in the movie “Lion of Africa” alongside the legendary Nollywood actor, Pete Edochie. This biographical film depicted his early life, showcasing his remarkable journey and contributions to the community.
One remarkable incident in Pericoma Okoye’s life demonstrated his extraordinary powers. While traveling to Onitsha, he encountered tax collectors at the notorious Upper Iweka. Unaware of his identity, they demanded his tax receipts, but he chose to ignore their demands. In response, one of the thugs decided to lift him up and carried him on his shoulders to their office. Astonishingly, Pericoma remained silent and unfazed throughout the ordeal.
During the journey, Pericoma suddenly became incredibly heavy, causing the men carrying him to struggle. Despite their efforts to put him down, they couldn’t. Pericoma insisted that the gods must be appeased before he would come down and made specific requests, including a certain amount of money. Eventually, his requests were fulfilled, and after several hours, he gracefully descended from the shoulders of the men. This incident led to the popular saying “Pericoma na anyị ajọ alo,” meaning “Pericoma does not descend easily.” It also marked the end of illegal tax collections at Upper Iweka, solidifying his reputation as a formidable force.
In addition to his musical and spiritual endeavors, Pericoma Okoye held a significant position as the prime minister of the Arondizogu community in Imo State. His leadership and influence further highlighted his dedication to the well-being of his people.
Pericoma Okoye’s legacy lives on through his son, Speed Darlington, who has become an internet personality and musician in his own right. Speed Darlington continues to carry the torch of his father’s talent and cultural heritage, ensuring that the Okoye name remains synonymous with greatness and tradition.
Pericoma Okoye, a multifaceted individual, left an indelible mark on Igboland and beyond. His music, spiritual beliefs, and extraordinary experiences continue to inspire and captivate audiences, showcasing the richness and depth of Igbo culture.