The concept of “Ofor na Ogu” in Igbo language

Dave Partner
2 min readOct 30, 2022


In Igbo culture, before a person prays, the first few words have to be the person justifying to the gods that they have done the right thing, then they demand that the gods must now fulfill their own part.

That is, this person must first justify that they have tipped the universe on its side with a good character or deed they have done in the past. And now, the universe owes them a good karma.

Now the universe has to pay back. That justification is called “Ofor”, the expected payback by the universe is called “Ogu”.
To say an offor na ogu prayer, the person must remove their shoes and let their feet touch the earth to be one with the mother earth before uttering those prayers.

If you offend an Igbo person who has not done you bad and they don’t want to personally revenge, they go to the gods to invoke the “offor na ogu” treaty with the gods. Then they go about their duties, it is believed that you will not escape.
The word “Ogu” there is closely related to the Yoruba word for war which is “Ogun”.

In christianity, it is the opposite, the person saying the prayer must first totally find all their faults, destroy their ego, then totally surrender to the mercy of the gods.

Igbo man not surrender, prayer in Igbo culture is a bargain and once an Igbo person has held up their own end of the bargain, the gods have no other option than to do theirs.

Igbo quote: “Anaghim eti mmuonwu ana akwa aka n’ike”.
English: “I do not worship a deity I have to push around before they can do things”