The Bakossi people’s beliefs and customs include belief and participation in secret societies with certain magical powers including but not limited to AHON.Mwakum is the most powerful of all the jujus, invisible, mysterious and full of magic. Some jujus are restricted to men of a certain age and demand an initiation. Jujus or secret societies and their ceremonies keep peace in the villages and ward off evils.
The Ahon Society
The Ahon society is arguably the most honourable and prestigious of the Bakossi folklore societies). This mythic, yet entertaining society is noble amongst the AKALERH of the Bakossiland.
Any person initiated into the Ahon society is referred to as Nhon and uses the designated letters Nhon before his names as a title. However a man of considerable wealth may also be addressed as Nhon but this does not make him a member of the Ahon society and he is not privileged to clad himself in the Ahon regalia or permitted to encroach into the Ahon shrine (Mbourh).
The very first Ahon rank is called Osam; all new members are of this rank. The second is called Epie and the third and final rank is called Song Nhon. The Song Nhon has ascended to the apex of the Mahogany (EMAARH4). In this unique class, the new entrant is introduced to the mystics of the inner core of Ahon. The associated rites are performed on a sacred stage in the shrine (MBUORH). All the mysterious practices of this celebrated cult occur at this level. Each village has just one or two individuals in this class. To move up the ranks, you must pay a charge accordingly and must not be of doubtful origin.
The Ahon cult is not only sacrosanct but it is also covert in nature. As a result, the actions of the society are kept in the closet. In any case, an aspirant rich man who is considered a conspirator by the screening cabal can hardly get initiated into the Ahon society.
Women are part of this imposing ambiance. Nhon who has no male offspring can pass on his regalia and all his accolades, as he approaches the end of his life, to his female offspring provided the designee is past menopause. However, there are limitations in the participation of the female. Moreover, at any time that a male offspring crops up in the family this membership is transferred to him without contest.
All songs sang are poetry given that every Nhon is a poet in our folklore. Besides that, the songs produce the rhythm that enables everyone to enjoy themselves and in the process attract some aspirants. This dance is rare and is a vital element of the Ahon society. The dance is staged occasionally and does not last for long, so whenever the opportunity to perform the dance arises, it is spice it with very imposing melody.
The ahon outfit has a conspicuous configuration and represents a distinct sign of class in the society. The attire consists of a red hat called OLAP, a black shirt, black loin called ODINE, black shoes and black stockings accentuated with a bag called NGWEM. There s something special in the garments of Song Ahon in that he will always have a red scarf knotted around his waist or neck and drooping from his shoulders towards his lower extremities.