POLITICAL STRUCTURE OF AFIKPO IN THE PRE- COLONIAL AND COLONIAL PERIODS
POLITICAL STRUCTURE OF AFIKPO IN THE PRE- COLONIAL AND COLONIAL PERIODS
Afikpo village-Group is one of more than two hundred relative autonomous groups of Igbo-speaking peoples in southeastern Nigeria. Being one of the autonomous groups, Afikpo has its major political structure or institutions which constitute the basis of this research. To place an order for the Complete Project Material, pay N5,000 to Then text the name of the Project topic, email address and your names to 08060565721.
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To place an order for the Complete Project Material, pay N5,000 to
Then text the name of the Project topic, email address and your names to 08060565721.Political structure is the process of organizing, acquiring or exercising power within a group2. This power is organized to give representation to every segment. The system of government can be called republicanism or egalitarianism3.
It is pertinent to note that the Igbo (including Afikpo) did not develop large political units as their neighbours did. But in a more or less liberal interpretation, the Igbo societies emerged through the process of one village begetting another4. These villages had similar political set up that is said to be traced to the original traditions of their beginnings5.
According to A.E. Afigbo, the archetype of the Igbo political community (including Afikpo) is the village-group which rests on the myth of the bloodline. Each category or level of Igbo political organization is conceived of as a grouping or aggregation of blood brothers. They are the Umunna or Umudi, and their origin are traced to a common ancestor6.
Thus, the Igbo society (including Afikpo) is traditionally republican in both socio-political and economic arrangements. She enjoys a democratic similar to what happens in the Greek city state. In other words, decision making is a collective responsibility7.
However, given that this study focuses on the Afikpo, and there is very little or no written work on the political structure of Afikpo, linkage shall be established to show relevance in the Afikpo political structure and their Igbo counterparts in the course of this study.
For the purpose of clarity, the study has been divided in five chapter.
Chapter one which is general introduction consists of the introduction of the study, scope, problem of the study, sources and methodology, area of study and literature review. Chapter two deals on the Afikpo political structure in the pre-colonial period, and the various age grades_ Isi Elia, Ekpuke Eto, Ekpuke Esaa, Onikara, and Horii. Chapter three discusses the Afikpo political structure in the colonial period, and the institution of warrant chiefs. Chapter four discusses the impact of modernization on Afikpo political structure. Then chapter five summarizes and concludes the study.
1.1 Purpose of the Study
My purpose of writing on this topic is not only to contribute to the search for an indigenous system of administration in Igboland (including Afikpo), but also to place the political history of Afikpo in its true perspective. It is hoped that the study will enlighten and educate Nigerian on the beauties of our indigenous system of administration even before the coming of the European.
It is aimed at dispelling the growing negative perception of the Igbo (including Afikpo) as incapable of administering their societies in a highly organized democratic set up.
It also aims at identifying not only the method which Afikpo people adopted to governing themselves, but also the method of administration or governance adopted by the colonial masters.
It further reveals the impact of colonial rule on the political structure of Igboland with particular reference to Afikpo.
Lastly, it aspires to meet the requirements for the award of the bachelor’s degree in History and International Relations of the Ebonyi state university.
1.2 Scope of Study
The study focuses on the political structure of Igboland with particular reference to Afikpo village group. Functions of the various age-grades in Afikpo shall be considered.
A little journey shall be made outside the above mentioned area of reference especially in the area of literature review to show uniformity among different communities. According to A.E Afigbo, pre-colonial Igbo society can be seen to have enjoyed a striking uniformity8.
The time scope of the study spans from the pre-colonial period to 1960. In particular, the study shall scrutinize the traditional Afikpo politics and the impact of colonialism on the political structure.
1.3 Problem of the Study
The problem of writing a political history of this type is that of collecting a reliable data as most of them are prehistoric. Since the study covers the preliterate era of the people of Afikpo, it implies that oral tradition is much relied upon. Thus, the unreliability of oral data due to distortion and misinterpretation may bear on the study.
Further problem of the study is financial constraint. This has made my trips very rigorous in the course of my research. Also there is lack of substantial data from Afikpo.
1.4 Sources and Methodology
The sources used for this study are in too categories – viz, primary sources and secondary sources. Primary materials were collected through oral interviews with Afikpo elders in Enohia Nkalu, and Amankwo. In each of these localities, two elderly men were interviewed.
The secondary sources include all the written materials collected. These are those collected from National Achrives, Enugu; University of Nigeria Nsukka; University of Port-Harcourt, and Ebonyi State University library. My personal libraries equally, supplied substantial data.
1.5 Area of Study
This study is meant to cover the political structure of Igboland with Afikpo as the area of study. This choice is based on the observed phenomenon of the level of advancement and consciousness among the people politically.
In particular, Afikpo people’s mode of political organization or administration shall be explicitly explored. Not only by establishing linkages, but also by reviewing the ready materials on the people and the societies. Various segments that constitute the Afikpo political structure shall be recognized.
1.6 Review of Related Literature
As noted in the introduction, the study of Afikpo must be understood in terms of its lack substantial data from Afikpo on the political structure. There, most books written on political structure of other Igbo groups have proven relevant.
Conceptualizing the political structure of Igboland, S. Ottenberg, opined that each village group usually consists of a series of villages as they are called, and each village is composed of a number of residential corporate agnatic groups (often both lineages and clan are involved) which may or may not be related. According to him, it is a village democracy where the elder lead the agnatic grouping, priest and other ritual leaders, and sometimes member of title groups and secret societies9.
Like other Igbo groups, Afikpo is noted to pursue republican government. She has village-group, each consisting of several of villages. These village-groups form the five autonomous communities – Nkpoghoro, Ugwuegu, Itim, Ohaisu, and Ozizza. Each village has a common meeting place were social and ritual actives occur10. As noted above, the elders lead the agnatic grouping but their decisions and that of the titled men cannot be made binding on the people except it is unanimously approve. It is more or less a participatory democracy. Also, membership to any grade is not done secretly. Rather, it is opened to all male from the age of thirty.
In ‘Ropes of sand: Studies in Igbo History and Culture’ (1981:96), A.E Afigbo said that government of any local Igbo Community (including Afikpo consisted of a federation equivalent segment whose leading men met together in a council which was said to consist of the senior age-grade in the community and was referred to collectively as elders. To him, affairs were conducted through the accredited representatives of the component segment.
However, in Afikpo political structure, the government has always been vested in the hands and shoulders of the Ekpuke Esaa and Ekpuke Eto. It is a bi-camera arms where each sub-grade has it own meeting shed at Ulo Ubi in the market. In other words, they are the mouthpiece of Ehugbo (Afikpo) and equally, the backbone of the Ehugbo traditional council of elders11.
As O. Imoagene rightly observed, as an alternative, the Afikpo and their neighbour turn to group leadership based on age grades as the backbone of government and politics12. According to him, no commoners for whom decision had to be made. All has an equal share in the decision making process13. Thus, it can be said that the political community among the Afikpo people stands on a tripod viz, the spiritual common wealth, the principle of equity and equivalent, and the age grade.
In the book ‘the Growth of African civilization: The revolutionary years in west African since 1800 (1969:175-176) Webster et al point out that the social settlement of Igbo (including Afikpo revealed high sense of political organization. Here, the village is divided in wards, each ward of section, and each section made up of a member of extended families who live in close knitted compounds. As he said further, not only was there a legislature and a developed parliamentary practice, but also there was the village assembly which was considered as a guarantee of individual rights, and shield against oppression. Depending on the level or tier, each has a specified place for deliberating on issues that affects its member.
In support of the above view, R. O Aja revealed that Afikpo is divided in residential unit called Ezi followed by the name of the founder. It graduates into minimal and maximal lineages, and finally to a village and village group14. According to him, every village was represented in the council, that is, the council of Elders with regard to the age15. However, above every qualification, age is at apex. It manifests itself when setting the political structure.
In ‘History of West Africa since 1800’ (1977:109), Elizabeth Isichie noted that the typical form of government in Igboland (including Afikpo) was village democracy where village group might have an assembly of al male citizens which would meet when of great moment (such as a declaration of war), was at stake. Each village group contained a number of component villages, and these villages are guarded by the age grades or, in some areas, the secret societies.
According to G.T. Stride, and caroline Ifeka, the political system of Igbo communities (including Afikpo) is an outstanding example of participating democracy: every adult man has an inalienable right to voice his opinion on public affair at the village assembly16. Though, he went further, the government was based on village and village group council. The councils were composed of descent group heads, and other wealthy or influential men. Yet, none had political power other than those given to any elder17.
As R.O Aja revealed, these age grades and elders (in Afikpo) were so organized that they perform legislature, executive and judicial function at village level and community level. He described it as gerontocracy which is government by age grades and elders18.
However, it should be noted that the political structure of Afikpo is traced to the common traditions of origin of the various autonomous communities in Igboland. To restating the fact, A.E Afigbo argued that the governance in and Igbo polity (including Afikpo) as basically conciliar and that those who represent extended families in village councils, and villages in village group council were merely delegates not rulers. The need for every component segment to be represented was also recognized. The lack of any one central focus of power was equally recognize19.
Arua Okereke contributing to ‘Afikpo Today magazine’ Vol.2 No.9 (January-June 2004:85) he said that by implication, the Traditional Council of Elders still remains supreme in the government of Ehugbo (Afikpo). He went further to say that though, Ezeship title has been introduced which include: the Igboukwu of Nkpoghoro, the Isuoha of Ohaisu, the Itim Ukwu of itim, The Egu of Ugwuegu, and the Isha of Ozizza yet, the traditional council of Elder is the offshoot from age grade traditional system of government which is as old as Ehugbo (Afikpo).
According to A.E Afigbo, perhaps, Eze concept may be part and parcel of Igbo culture (including Afikpo) but there is no doubt that his kingdom is small in geographic and demographic terms, and his palace is humdrum and non descript. He has no retinue and counters. His authority may not have extended beyond the sound of his vioce2o. He said further that most of the Ezes the Igbo have (including Afikpo) today are not replicas of their pre-colonial Igbo forebears and do not appear to compare too favourably with their contemporary counterparts in Edo, Yoruba, Hausa etc. Hence, the statement ‘Igbo Enwe Eze’ continues to ring louder and louder from time to time to advertise their much touted republicanism, democracy, individualism and self-reliance in contrast to what they regard as the feudal and conservative tradition of those who have Eze22.
To sum it up, the Afikpo political structure in the pre-colonial period has ascriptive meaning. But British colonialism fracture the system following the introduction of the council of Ezes. Then owing to the antecedent of the elders and the age grades, they have not only gain political recognition, but also relegated the Ezes to a mere political contraption.
Besides, the above authors may be highly appreciated to have touched the topic of research but it is unfortunate that they failed to give Afikpo political structure it ascriptive meaning according to the distinguished epocs. Even the few authors that talked about it failed to reveal the hurdles it encountered and the necessary modifications up to independence. It is therefore for the purpose of filling this identified vacuum that this study is motivated – among other reasons.
2.0 AFIKPO POLITICAL STRUCTURE IN THE PRE-COLONIAL PERIOD
The history of Afikpo political structure in the pre-colonial period is complex and obscure. Oral traditions have tried to throw much light. Now there appears to be a general agreement among the oral sources collected.
The formation of Afikpo political structure is traced to the account of territorial wars of conquest and other forms of hostilities by force of occupation. Afikpo tradition states that the original inhabitants were non-Igbo speaking groups called the Egu and the Nkalu. There is also legend of the existence of a distinct group called the Ohaodu1.
According to R.O Aja, the Egus were renowned craftsmen in pottery, carving and Smithery. They (Egus) scattered over the present location of Ugwuegu and Ukpa while the Nkalus occupied the area of the Enohia Nkalu. The traditional reference of the Egus in connection with pottery in Afikpo is symptomatic and a pointer to their age old attachment. Whereas Enohia Nkalu have claimed that they are remnant descendants of the original Nkalu. The group (Nkalu) came with Elom Ji a ritual connected with the New Yam Festival. The Juju priest of the Elomji as and it still called Eleri2. while the god of yam is called Ekete, Installed in Ohia Ekete and both located at Enohia Nkalu.
Afikpo traditions are agreed that the founder of Afikpo was Igbo Omaka otherwise called Igbo Ukwu Omaka Ejali. He migrated from Arochukwu in company with other kinsmen, who founded Edda, Amasiri and Akpoha. He was a warrior. Then on his arrival, he launched a war on the Nkalu and Egu and other non Igbo original inhabitants most of who had to flee to areas around Abakaliki such as Nkaluegu, Ezza-egu, Nkwaegu, Amasiri and parts of the Cross River state. The rest were assimilated into Ehugbo society3.
With Igbo Omaka Ejali exercising supreme authority, latter migrants had to settle with his authority and permission. Each group that arrived had to take an oath of allegiance to Igbo-Ukwu Omaka Ejali before it was allowed to settle. In other words, the group was allowed to settle in the name of Igbo, otherwise Na-Eha-Igbo abridged to Ehugbo. It was in this way that Ehugbo got its name. Afikpo (anglicized) is a corruption of Ehugbo which was a symbol of allegiance to Igbo4.
A.E. Afigbo has rightly observed that the authority of this Eze (that is, Igbo Omaka Ejali) of Afikpo in the pre-colonial era was the best that era could produce5. Besides, he was a democratic man, but very courageous. As soon as he established his authority and consolidated his position, he inaugurated a supreme council made up of all the elders of Ehugbo (Afikpo). He was the president of council which had supreme authority over the whole of Ehugbo. It was like a chief in council, for he did not overrode the decision of the council6.
R.O Aja revealed that as more groups arrived from various places, there arose the problem of administering a larger group of people and territory. Igbo Omaka was not only a brave warrior but also and administrative genius. He quickly surmounted the problem posed by the new development by organizing an Age-Grade system in Ehugbo (Afikpo), and it was a very wonderful device and innovation. According to him, Igbo Omaka did not abolish the supreme council. Rather he made use of a particular age-grade called Ekpuke Esaa as member of the supreme council while Onikara and Horii were advisory body. Every village in Afikpo was represented. The Ekpuke Esaa-Igbo Omaka continued to preside over the council7.
Tradition has it that after the death of Igbo Omaka, Ehugbo (Afikpo) became a typical republican society and classic example of village democracies in Igboland. Igbo Omaka did not establish any hereditary rule or dynasty in Ehugbo8. According to S. Ottenberg, the Afikpo histories do not say that the founding patrilineage has the right to rule others and there is nothing like hereditary rule in Afikpo9. Since then, no single person or group of persons has ever has any successful authority over the villages that form the Afikpo village-group. The government of this ancient and democratic society has been and still is carried out by a hierarchy of age grade system with the Esaa as the administrative and judicial body and the Eto as their executive wing. They were the elders and their decisions were made binding.
No member could inspire such an outstanding and imposing and unquestionable personality as Igbo Omaka Ejali did rather the council resorted to the selection of one of its members as a spokesman or leader of speaker. The person so selected was, in no way, higher in authority or status than others. The person however was simply selected on account of his eloquence and probably sound knowledge of the custom and the tradition of Ehugbo. Any member possessing such outstanding attributes could be selected as a speaker whenever the council is being constituted without any sectional discrimination10.
Later, this pattern of democracy was undermined by the development of a powerful union of the warrior families in Afikpo. This union was known as the Amadi11. It is not clear when this group arrived but tradition has it that Aliki Obini (the leper) brought Otosi Juju to Afikpo. Aliki was, of course received in Afikpo after he identified himself with one of the matriclan groupings (Ikwu) called Imete. Then, armed with social weapon, he began to entice people to buy the Otosi Juju which would confer on its possessors the title Amadi and equally, gave them the privileges of killing and looting people’s property such as goats, cows, other livestock, selling people into slavery etc12.
In other words, the Otosi conferred on the Amadi as freeborn while those who did not want to buy were Umuogbeyi (poor people)13. The fact that the holders were warriors, they started to pres their influence in the council of Elder (the Esaa) they claimed that Otosi gave them the authority to do so. There was struggle for power-the holders and the non-holders who constituted the greater majority of Ehugbo. The struggle continued until the colonial period when colonial administration set aside the Otosi and Amadi which it described as anachronism and therefore undesirable for any modern system of political organization. The administration therefore upheld the authority of the Esaa council of Elders14.
Thus, as Arua Okereke maintained, the age grades were the bricks that form the foundation upon which the government of Afikpo rested. Once the age grades were weak, the entire government structure will collapse15. Also, the system was organized to suit the social settlement of the people. That is, the three tiers – the compound which could be nuclear family or extended family, the village (Isi Ogo) and the village group. Although, the family of the origin of socialization.
R.O Aja has rightly maintained that the smallest unit of Afikpo political organization, as in other parts of Igbo land, was the family. The oldest man of the nuclear or extended family (compound) was called the Okpara. Following this was the Umudi or Umunna. That is, different families or lineages with close paternal blood relations who trace their origin from a common ancestor or father. The Umudi finally graduate into minimal and maximal lineages (village) and finally to a village group16.
However, Umudi or Umunna formed a clear demarcated residential unit called Ezi. It political organization was and still is meant to reflect age grade system called Ekpu Uke Ezi (society-grade compound) to which all males above the age of about thirty years belong. S. Ottenberg revealed that membership is necessary for full citizenship. It provides a person with a residential identity and place in the total social setting17. Ekpe Uke Ezi is responsible in controlling intra-compound disputes and maintenance of peace and order. But when any situation seemed above compound, it is extended to the village level and finally to the village group council.
General Assembly can be called when any situation appeared to be above the village group council. It was and is still hold at Ogo Okpaa Ota or Ogo Amngbala. It is the highest decision making body often consists of men, women, youths, little men and priests. Webster et al observed that the assembly was considered as a guarantee of individual rights and shield against opression18. Thus, depending on the sensitivity or importance attaché to an issue before the general assembly, the matter is discussed over and over again (or goes through several reading) in order to obtain a general consensus.
Above all, age set was and is still formed based on three years age span. As mentioned earlier, it is started from thirty years of age and exclusively open to adult males who have attained the proper age. It role starts from compound as Ekpu uke Ezi. From which, its largely duplicated in the village and finally graduate into village group. Depending on the tier, each tier has a specified place for deliberating on issues that affects its members.
Meeting at the village level is held at Ogo where as that of the council of elders (Ekpu Uke Esaa, Eto and Onikara) in village group level is at Ulo Ubi located at Afikpo market square. A session of the general assembly is preceded by a meeting of the Ekpu Uje Esaa who deliberate on whether to summon it or not. It will be followed by the town crier who will announce it in the market19. The general assembly is always a constituent assembly.
It is pertinent to note that age was and still is the greatest determined in a man’s say in affairs while wealth and titles were of little importance, having social values only20. A.E Afikpo graphically defined the age grade system as “………the method which segmentary communities like Afikpo organized themselves for work, war, and government21.
As a matter of fact, Afikpo has no history of a single political dynasty authority was genentocratic and “…………..decisions an ultimate authority rest in the heads of group as a whole”2. The are responsible both if the village level and at village group level for the exercise of authority, the keeping of peace and ensuring religious and social obedience.
2.1 Isi Elia
Isi Elia is seen as the beginning of maturity into the council of elders in Afikpo. As noted earlier on, the people’s culture allows three years birth spacing. That is all those born within a three tear bracket are expected to fall within one grade. This grades operate single until they attain the Isi Elia Ehugbo when the three age grades (each maintaining its identity) are put together for national mobilization and grooming for entry into the Ehugbo council of Elder – the governing body. At this stage, the different age grades from different villages now adopt one name in place of the names by which they were known and called in the respective villages.
Isi Elia is made up of people between the ages of about 45 to 48. According to Lawrence E. Oko, Isi Elia qualifies to attend Ehugbo general assembly often held at Ogo Okpaa- Ota or Ogo Amangbala and of course Esaa, Eto and Onikara assembly Houses. Meanwhile, no provision is made for them at Ulo Ubi, but most time they are observes and could be called up to express opinion or offer suggestions. If there is any case of urgent state matters, they can request the elders to summon the general assembly. The agenda for such a meeting must be disclosed to and accepted by the elders23.
R.O Aja asserted that Isi Elia have the responsibility to organize the young men for communal work. They announced the day and time for communal work with use if a gong (omomo) or drum (nkwa)24. They can undertake the project of Ise ogwe (bridge construction), Ulo Ekaani (rest house in the village square), Igbu Uzo (road construction) etc. In case of serious misdeed, they will arrest the culprit and present him before the elders which is the custodian of authority.
2.2 Ekpuke Eto
The original name of Ekpuke Eto was Ekpuke Isii reflecting the number of age grades that constituted the body. Oral source claimed Ekpuke Isii were affiliated to Amadi and were heavily corrupt. But the new name (Ekpuke Eto) was adopted after the proscription of the former by the colonial administrator. They were accused of misdeed. Then, it became imperative to amend their roles and reduce the number of grades that constitutes it25.
Ekpuke Eto is made up of three age grades of the ages of about 55-65. it comprises Isi Eto (about 62-65 years), Ugbo Etiti (about 58-61 years) and Ohali Eto (about 55 – 58 years).
Ekpuke Eto usually undergoes induction or initiation after which a member qualifies to sit in Ulo Ubi Eto – the lower chamber of the government body (Traditional Council of Elders) every Eke market day. Attendance is optional but decisions are binding on all members. An Ekpuke Eto qualifies to carry Usu (walking stick) and adorn the head with Okpu agu (cap). The Usu is a staff of office which one must carry during official engagements or keep clear of the group. On the contrary, such one will be subjected to a disciplinary action26.
Oral source has it that: –
The Ekpuke Eto member were used as warlords. Before which they undergo initiation into Ogo cult. They are equipped and market with Nzu (cohere chalk) at their left hands indicating preparedness for war27.
Above all, the Ekpuke Eto members were and are still the military and police of the entire clan in Afikpo. They are use to settle debt between one individual and another; and they are responsible to the Esaa. Also, they enforce the decision of the community. Sometimes, they are address as ‘Eto no achi ali’ (rulers of the land). Of course, the change from Ekpuke Isii to ekpuke Esaa took place in 191728. though their role were crucial as they stood the taste of pre-colonial government and transcending to colonial period and finally till date.
2.3 Ekpuke Essa
This is the upper house of the Ehugbo Traditional Council of Elders made up of six age grades. They meet every Eke market day at Ulo Ubi Esaa.
Esaa fall within the age of 65 to 75 years. The costume and the staff of office is the same as the Eto. It comprises Isi Esaa, Etiti Esaa and Ohali Esaa (head, middle and junior). Meanwhile, unlike other grades that spend nine years, an Esaa member must spend eighteen (18) years at Ulo Ubi before he moves to another grade-Onikara. In other words, one has to graduate from junior Esaa to senior Esaa after nine years. This is necessary to enable the new entrants from Eto to understudy the older Esaa in handling the delicate and intricate assignment of interpreting the unwritten law and constitution of the land.
The Esaa grades constituted the highest authority in the government and administration of Ehugbo (Afikpo) which perform both legislative and judicial functions. It is seen as court of appeal and also responsible for guiding social norms, trends, ideas and taboos and enforcing them through the executive wing (Ekpuke Eto)29.
R.O Aja Enumerated some functions of the grade as follow: –
i. They were and are the custodian and interpreter of the customs and traditions of Ehugbo.
ii. They maintain law and order arbitrate in civil matter such as matrimonial disputes, land case etc. following the tradition of Ehugbo.
iii. They adjudicate criminal case such as theft, murder etc.
iv. Hey determine the timing of Ehugbo calendar your from which other traditional event followed.
v. They guard jealously any interference with its traditional role30.
Thus, by their responsibilities, they are addressed as ‘Esaa now ali’ (owner of the land). As noted earlier, each age grade chooses a name that depicts an emotional attachment. Such typical name are: Uguru, Ngwa ogu, Ekwueme, Odeligbo, Igbo Ukwu, Ahueme, Igbo Jimba, Onyirimba, Ochiogha, Agbajahi, Okpoota, Eta Bu Ogu, Ebube Agu, Mbakwe etc.
This is derive from ‘Oni okari oha, gi ni m a ka kwa’ (you who give and tell the public, if you give me keep it yourself). They also consist of Isi Onikara, Etiti Onikara and Ohali Onikara (head, medium and junior). The ages range between 80-100 years.
The Onikaras are distinguished by special red cap which no one else wears even for the fun of it. He carries long staff called Usu. The original dressing was baragidi (a large wrapper) blanket which passed through the right armpit over the left shoulder over which was hung a bag for monetary gifts.
According to S. Ottenberg, this senior subgrade or Onikara usually consists of only a few member, who hold important honorary positions in Afikpo and carry out a few ritual crucial for the village group but its member are too old and weak to rule31. For R.O Aja, these Onikaras are the retired Esaa age grade. Even though, they have retired from active policies, they still constitute an advisory body to the Esaa and could still be consulted on intricate case32.
However, Onikara age position is everyman’s liability and responsibility hence the practice of money into this bag wherever anyone meets him. They have their Ulo Ubi Onikara (meeting house) at Eke market. Should he attends a public meeting or gathering, he is entitles to a special purse (cash).
Also, they meet on Nkwo days at Ogo Onikara in Amebo Ukaka in Amaizu. During the Nkworisu (four day meeting) people were forbidden from passing through the Ogo in the early hours of the morning33. They were and are regarded as elder emeritus and whoever that survive this stage after nine years becomes Horii.
After eight years as Onikara, one moves to Horii age grade and retires home. He no longer attends meeting but could be consulted at home if and when necessary. He is not only remember but gets a lion share when anything is being shared in the village. He is cared for by the whole compound or village. If he has children the village ensures that the children live up to their responsibility or face a taboo34.
As R.O Aja rightly observed the Horii are the embodiment of wisdom in Ehugbo and could be likened to the lords of Britain in English parliament. He continued, their ages rages from 100 years upwards. They don’t take part in matters that are obscure35.
Above all, the age of Horii was and is often seen as a diamond age with sense of accomplishment. It is an institution from whose wisdom and experience one can tap copiously. As a consultant who has seen and experienced life, he happily desires to return to his maker. But if it happens he survived after eight years, becomes Rikweri. Of course, it is the last grade and whoever attains the age is expected to eat whatever that comes his way. Although it is unrealistic.
3.0 AFIKPO POLITICAL STRUCTURE IN THE COLONIAL PERIOD
Afikpo administration can best be understood in its political setting as noted earlier. But the problem that confronted it was colonial attempt to establish its authority by subjugating the indigenous government structure. For while the ingenuous administrators gloried in their remoteness and political cultures, the British encircled them with militating assault and made imperialism imminent.
It is pertinent to note that the British first made their appearance in the Afikpo area in the 1800s through the Christian missionaries1 as one of the outcomes of attempting to pacify the area. They did not only aimed at introducing Christianity but also creating the pathway through which the imperialists could impose their rule on the people ultimately.
According to A.E Afigbo, Afikpo like other Igbo village group become part of British empire when on 5th June 1885 the London Gazette announced…….that her Britannic majesty had taken the so called area under her ‘gracious control’2. With British Imperial law and international convention of the period justifying the claim, it becomes necessary to establish effective control to forestall other European Nations. Gun boats and consuls were set around Afikpo as in their presume ability to meet all foreseeable contingencies.
However, Afikpo was sovereign and independent in its own affair as well as ignorant of the political and legal claims and pretensions of the Britannic majesty and her councils3. She wished for no external influence in the lives of her people and the government. To this end, she assumed a stance of diplomatic friendship and acceptance of western ways as probably in a bid to halt any attempt to forcefully conquer ad dominate her4.
The British were kept at bay by long palaver5 in combination with resistance. To start with, Oko A. Oleh said that the first opposition to establishment of colonial administrative base in Afikpo was in 1888. This was when the Amadi had persuaded other groups to reject the Presbyterian missions demand for land in Afikpo6. while it had established its station at Unwana, it could not exist in Afkipo until 1927.
Oral source has it that initially, the colonial administrators has no intention of penetrating into Afikpo forcefully. Rather they planned for peaceful negotiation7. Afikpo people who were badly frightened by the disaster that had befallen the Aro decided to send emissaries to the political office of the colonial administrator in charge of Ediba district to protest their loyalty and friendship to the British. This was a diplomatic strategy when they thought that the British had not come to stay, but it could not hold water. A.E Afigbo said that when they discovered their mistake they organized for war, with its different grades of young men’s association innured to war and head-hunting……….in anxious to achieve some fame8.
Afikpo would nor allow a government post to be established in her territory and would not even receive messengers sent to negotiate with them. They went so far as to attack those of her neighbours, like the Enohia Kpoghirikpo, which showed pro-British leanings. In anticipation of British reaction she organized her people to take measures to fortify and guard all the major approaches to their town including Cross River landing pace9 and Unwana- Afikpo route.
On 28 December 1902, the British expeditionary force against Afikpo set out from Unwana. Making use of the intelligence collected from some frightened women, the troops outflank the main defending Afikpo force and attacked them from the rear10. The first encounter took place at Ugwu ovum or ovum hill11 from where they moved and dislodged other necessary forte in Afikpo. Resistance was not considered yet over until they had killed the commander of Afikpo army Okoro Ugo Egwu Ali of Ngara Mgbom and captured Obia Uka Ibe of Ndibe, Oko Ehi of Ukpa12 and Okocha of Mgbom. By January 3, 1903 every outstanding resistance was seen over.
Elizabeth Isichie said that it was impossible to imagine the terror and dismay created by the encounter with the British army13. Afterall Afikpo put up quite a stiff resistance but lacked the technicality and modern weapon to execute the war. Then the British, having employed the millimeter gun and seized their villages after heavy bombardment, they had to invite Afikpo people to a pacification meeting held at Amangbola. In effect Afikpo people were not invited to negotiate the end, but to witness the means to an end as already decided upon by the British. The were invited to append to append their marks for the surrendering of the sovereignty, territories and accept colonization.
It is clear that innumerable little military campaigns continued in Afikpo. But in the long run, no single authority whose defeat could place Afikpo in the feet of the alien conqueror. By 1910, all military resistance to British rule had stopped and British administration was in full effective operation.
Though, the structure of colonial administration in Afikpo like other Igbo areas was not basically different from what it was in either Yorubaland or among the Edo and Ibibio-speaking peoples14, yet some problems were encountered. It was far from normal because the colonialists failed to understand that there were differences in the structure of these societies. As a result, the more had the colonial administration lingered than “Afikpo won for its inhabitants an underserved reputation for ungovernability- if not for anarchy15”.
To present the matter simply, the first epoch of Afikpo political structure in the colonial period covers the years from about 1902 (after her occupation) to 1919 (before sir Fredrick Lugard second arrival). This period was when Afikpo was not only recognized as a British territory but also a District under Cross River Division. From between 1902 and 1905, British administrative Bungalow was completed, and from 1906, following the creation of Calabar province, she (Afikpo) became the local headquarter or administrative district in the Cross River division16. A.E Afigbo said that the top echelon (i.e. province) was the commissioner otherwise called resident as the head while at the divisional or district level was the divisional office or district officers17.
The division was created together with the native council or Native court. Also it was expected to point some chiefs who head this council and govern the people through them. The Native Council was a multi-purpose governmental institution in the sense that it exercised judicial, legislative and executive powers. It was a medium through which what was best in British civilization would combine with what was best in Afikpo civilization to give birth to a new Afikpo culture18. But for the fact that it was strange to the people, it got involved in head-on collision with the culture as well as the age grade system of government in Afikpo.
Elizabeth Isichie rightly observed that:
…………….the small politics of Afikpo like other Igbo grou were singular ill-adapted to the needs of colonialism……….because of their large number and small scale and because of the nature of their political institution19.
The chiefs bore no relationship to the traditional authority, which was in the hands of Ekpuke Esaa and Ekpuke Eto neither their retinue comparable to them (i.e. the Ekpuke Esaa and Eto). They (the chiefs) were selected arbitrarily, and they were seen as the puppet of the British. Walter Rodney noted that:
They were chosen to serve as agent of foreign colonial rule…………, they had no power to act outside the boundaries laid down by colonialism, lest they find themselves in the Seychelles Island as ‘guest of His Majesty Government20’.
To this end, their appointment, use and deployment led to chaos and confusion. It continued until 1912 when Sir Fredrick Lugard returned. Then there was a new down for the second epoch. Although the dangerous social cocktail of warrant chief system introduced by his predecessor was not corrected, yet he embarked in reform and reorganization.
Lugard, having been inaugurated, poured a vitriolic criticism on the Igbo political system. As a result, in 1914, not only that he amalgamated the northern protectorate with the southern protectorate but also he extended the provincial system21. Afikpo was not relegated of her position as a district headquarters, rather her affairs were detached from Calabar province into the new created Ogoja Province. Similarly boundaries were adjusted to suit this arrangement so that they could be administered as a unit while the native council came into close supervision.
A.E. Afigbo said that subsequent reorganization amplified this situation22. Consequently, in 1916, Native Authority ordinance and Native Revenue Ordinance were enacted in Afikpo which not only aimed at personifying the appointed chief as paramount chiefs23 but also enforcing direct tax collection. The incipient Native Treasuries attached to the Native Court were abolished, and the number of court messengers, clerks as well as chiefs reduced. As a result, the court members and staff became so corrupt and oppressive, that they had to loose their popularity. In 1922, they could not stand the test of dispensing justice, and cases were settled outside the court in the traditional judicial council of Ekpuke Esaa and Eto24.
Direct taxation totally resisted. But the British, in an effort to popularize it, in 1927, embarked on propaganda tour. Mr. W.E. Hunt was the one that visited Afikpo for this reason. In April 1928, Afikpo refused to pay until Calabar and Lagos had paid. This created more problem as the availability of tax disc was delayed in those area too. Then stern action has to be resorted to compel Afikpo to pay it, and by December 1928, ₤13,288 has been collected in tax from Afikpo division25.
As already pointed out, the tax was untidier affair with the administration. But not until 1929, that general discontent broke out which the upshot was the women’s Riot. It took the government by surprise and brought the warrant chief system of rule to ruin26.
A.E. Afigbo said that:
The history of warrant chief system is a tale of wrong assumption leading to wrong decisions and wrong remedies and finally failure27.
This was the end of the second epoc in the administrative history of Afikpo under colonial rule. The third and final epoc took its rise from there.
It should however, be noted that following the 1929 disturbance, intelligence surveys were carried out in Afikpo. After intensive investigation the report so far presented recommended the adoption of village and clan council in the court to replace the warrant chiefs. The idea of village democracy was uppermost in the mind of the colonial administrators. To this end, it was concluded that the first class townships would be under the councils while the second class township would be administered by District officers who act as advisory body28. W.H Waddington who served as a district officers in Afikpo wrote on November 10th 1930, that the desire of appointing villages heads to the courts as soon as possible does not need emphasis29 since the representation of every component segment has been recognized.
This ushered in the era of Native Administration which was basically a change in approach but not a change in policy. The authority of the Esaa council of Elders as the ruling age grade of Afikpo was also recognized and Native authorities were appointed from various segment of Afikpo community by the colonial administration. They (native authorities) were no longer seen as chiefs but representatives of villages. As oral source has it, they were ordinarily instituted for tax collection30. But soon, corruption set in again.
Thus, to the British, it was unfortunate to see the native authorities got involved in corruption. As a result, in 1931, Mr. Shelton, a district officers in Afikpo noted that:
The temptation to make money is bounded to prove detrimental to the administration of justice31.
But due to untoward effect from the statement, more evidence of corruption continued abound. In 1937, A.B. Westmacott, Afikpo district officer, described them as “unwieldy machine……..”32, which conduct does not fit in with modern government.
By the time the second world war ended it has become clear that the Native Authority system has failed. Both the people of Afikpo and the colonial administration were disappointed in them. By 1948, the colonial government retreated from the undiluted Native Authority system, and adopted what has been called the ‘Best Man Policy’. Under this policy, each community in Afikpo was allowed to send to the Native council and Native court the men it considered ‘best’ qualified to represent their interest. Such people could be traditional leaders, or educated youths or retired civil servants33.
Unfortunately, the system could not work because of the squabble for power between the educated elites and the traditional leaders. For while the educated elites who constituted the vanguard of nationalist were agitating for far-reaching reforms, the traditional leaders looked indifferent. But as a further concession, colonial administration imported a modified version of the British County Council system under which members were chosen by election.
It was introduced in Afikpo in 1955 with much help from Dr. Akanu Ibiam and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe who opened the council hall. J.B. Craig, Afikpo district officer, pointed that there is the need to replace the ‘outworn’ native court with never customary court34.
Later still, the county system failed – most of them being hopelessly corrupt and uncertain as to what their duties were precisely35. Mr. J.A Livingstone-Booth, Afikpo district officer, in 1958 recorded that there were evidences of inefficiency and irresponsibility, and suspicion of corruption. Thus, by independence the political setup was replaced by a new shaky system of government36, though the educated elements got the opportunity to flood the local government council in consequence of which local politics came to be drowned in national politics.
In conclusion, Afikpo which was recognized as district in the initial stage experienced a great increase in her population. By 1923, she was working together with various native authorities from different communities. But with subsequent reorganization, Native authority system virtually ended. Then from 1960, Afikpo political structure began to reflect a replica of the system practiced in Britain.
3.1 The Institution of Warrant Chiefs in Afikpo
Warrant chiefs as the name implies, were those who owned their authorities and positions to official recognition and support from the colonial administration rather than to the fact that they were the surrogates of the ancestor or correct heads of the various communities in Afikpo37. Meanwhile, Afikpo has no dynasty of kings, as a result, some men were recognized by the colonial administration and given the certificate of ‘warrant’ to legalize their power.
The system was regarded as without parallel partly because it was cheap and partly because the believed it made for harmonious relations between the colonial administration and the people of Afikpo38. Oral source suggested that they were appointed to assist the colonial administration in collecting taxes and passing information to the people. Though, it failed because it was alien to the tradition and custom of Afikpo people who had a clear and definite system of government39.
Below are the names of the warrant chiefs in Afikpo as they were appointed by the colonial administration and their eras: –
First batch of warrant chiefs (1902 – 1929)
Okpani Orie Otu – Amangbala village
Ibe Uro – Mgbom village
Obia Ogboro Uka – Ndibe village
Ehihia Onwa – Amachara village
Oko Ehi – Ukpa village
Uwakwe Ekeokpa – Enohia Nkahi village
Egwu Okoro – Amaobolobo village
Egwu Idam – Amankwo village
Udume Ikwor – Ugwuegu village
Egwu Ogeri – Ngodo village
Inya Uwa – Enohia Itim village
Uche Okpani – Ibii village
Second Batch of Warrant Chiefs (1929-1948)
Ekuma Agbi – Amangbala village
Enwo Nnachi and Uche Olugbu – Mgbom village
Urom Nta – Amuro village
Otu Agbo – Amachara village
Agbo Oti – Ukpa village
Egwu Chukwu – Enohia Nkalu village
Oti Ude – Amankwo village
Okorie Uro Egwu – Amaobolobo village
Obiahu Ibe – Ndibe village
Oko Eni – Amaogwugwu Ugwuegu village
Otu Eke – Ugwuegu Elu village
Ama Isu – Amauzu village
Nkaa Oyari – Ozizza village
Egwu Eni – Orah Ozizza village
Egwu Elem – Ibii village
Egwu Idume – Ngodo village
Ibe Enya – Enohia Itim village
Aja Okoro – Enohia Kpoghirikpo village
Third Batch of Warrant Chiefs (1948 – 1955)
Ogbupie Ekuma Ola – Amangbala village
Oko Okpara – Enohia Nkalu village
Nkama Onu – Amankwo village
Uka Ibe – Ndibe village
Isu Egwu Orie – Ngodo village
Enwo Nnachi – Mgbo village40
Most of the warrant chiefs mentioned above did not come from the Amadi group. They were equal in status in all respect, and they were appointed based on personal ability and merit. However, in court cases and similar duties, they selected from among themselves one chief in rotation to chair or preside. In all, they were merely the link between the natives and the British administrative in Afikpo41.
As noted earlier, the traditional administrative body (Ekpuke Esaa and Eto) was recognized by all the British officers as could be judged by their intelligence report in Afikpo community. They respected it and preserved it. In 1930, wehen the Amadi attempted to interfere with it, the colonial administrative resisted and proscribed it (Amadi)42. In one hand, the traditional administrative body was the embodiment of tradition and custom, while on the other hand, the warrant chiefs were means of dispensing British justice in Native Court.
Oral source has it that in going through the customs of Afikpo district, it will be discovered that the whole villages were ruled by Oha (assembly of elder) from time immemorial and not the Amadi as they claim. But with introduction of native court, warrant chiefs were appointed by merit and not based on the recommendation of the Amadi43. They have nothing to do with Otosi Juju of the Amadi group.
To sum it up, the warrant chiefs were known as the Native court. If they met at a district headquarters where it could be often presided over by a political officer, it became Native council44. Their recognition was made possible because they made themselves useful,…………or because they had been misrepresented ……..45. Consequently, they were corrupt and oppressive thereby perverting the purpose for which they were established. In the long run, the Best Man Policy had to be adopted. Though it was just a corruption of name warrant chief.
4.0 IMPACT OF MODERNIZATION ON AFIKPO TRADITIONAL POLITICAL STRUCTURE
Afikpo traditional political structure seems to have undergone some stages of transition, which included traditional stage and pre-take off stage before it arrived its take off stage. This stage was when the door of colonialism opened the way to modernization1. The society here became complex and needed a structure that could take care of the complexity.
The concept of modernization signifies the modification that exist or are experienced in all aspect of human environment, which are meant to suit present circumstances in human society. It also refers to the sequential transformation of traditional types of society into more advanced type of society in all spheres of human environment2. C.O Mgbada quoting Wilbert More noted that modernization is a total transformation of a traditional or pre-modern society into the type of associate social organization that characterizes the “advanced” economically prosperous and relatively politically stable nation of the western world3.
In S.N Einsenstadt, modernization is conceptualized as the process of change, which affects social, economic and political system……4 of the society. Thus, for any society to be modernized, it must be complex with some records of transformation. This transformation must represent the new style that is different from the traditional type.
As already noted, the impact of modernization could be traced from the wind of change that culminated in the emergence of a new Afikpo society. Here, the colonial conquest shook the foundations of traditional system and caused the institution of a system of government which have endured up till data. A.E Afigbo noted that it was the first time in history that……. Afikpo like other Igbo groups came to have a vision of areas of social and political cooperation larger than village group or even than the clan5. She underwent the British model of district, division, county and urban administration before it finally emerged as a local council.
Sir Arthur Creech – Jones, a secretary of state for colonies in 1947, noted that:
………….local government machinery was required for the administration of plan for progress in the economic and social field, while an outlet was required for the growing political consciousness of the ordinary people. For these purposes the unmodified traditional machinery was inadequate; and, wherever possible, it must be adapted to the new needs of local government and administration6.
From the 1950s, elective principle was introduced and precisely, Afikpo local government became the training grounds for indigenous people in democracy. They were meant to understand the importance of civic responsibility as the basis for modernization: for new demands and new responses.
Thus, with the recognition of Afikpo as an administrative centre, she was exposed to urbanization which served as a catalyst for the people to get more enlightened, and prepared way for proper modernization. To this end, there was transport and communication revolution and education revolution in Afikpo.
In case of transport and communication, it was geared to serve political interest, and not necessarily economic interest. Although, it linked various communities in Afikpo and facilitated trading system. Coming and going developed between the rural villages and the administrative centre as people came to sell, answer the calls of the political officer or to do political labour7. There was close link between Afikpo divisional headquarters and the Ogoja provincial headquarters, as a result, they were administered as a unit. From sharing same communication link and the same resident (or provincial commissioner), they developed the new sense of inter-relatedness and became revolutionary8.
Apart from road construction which was nearly completion by 1917 in Afikpo, telegraph system and had been in operation i0n 1909. Although, it had to do with electrical means, consequently, post office was built to render other services to and from Afikpo regularly9.
After transport and communication revolution, the next in importance of the impact was the introduction of education. It is pointed out that this was spearheaded by the Christian missionary who used it as their instrument of proselytization10. Notwithstanding, education expose Afikpo people to the modern way of life. By 1951, educated elements had gotten opportunity to flood the local government. Walter Rodney noted that:
Without education it will be impossible for us to get to our destination which is…….political independence11.
Besides, these educated elements who formed the vanguard of nationalist, effected a far-reaching reform. Consequently, Afikpo local politics came to be drowned in national politics.
As a result of clash between the western educational calendar and the traditional calendar, modifications were effected on the later which did left out many traditional ceremonies12. The modifications are underpinned by the close bound of both political institution and religious institution in Afikpo. Customary or traditional laws were changed to suit with the changing environment. Consequently, the Amadi group was abolished in the polity of Afikpo.
Having seen the positive impact of modernization in the Afikpo political structure, the negative impact equally, cannot be ignored. As already noted, Afikpo was recognized as urban administrative centre, but the charisma of her political leaders was a source of controversy. Simply put, modernization contributed in changing the people’s attitudes towards wealth and brought in corruption in the polity. For A.E Afigbo, these modern political leaders were not replicas of the pre-colonial Afikpo leaders13 rather they were selected to continue fostering colonial interest.
Generally, modernization as a fruit of colonialism has the two sides of the coin. Meanwhile Afikpo political structure adjusted to both the positive impact and negative impact. Her autonomy from 1960 has proven her capability not only adopt more modernized techniques but also to control and govern herself.
Not much modifications were effected in the Afikpo age grade system of government because the British government did not interfered with it. Rather her authority and method of dispensing justice were recognized and preserved. It was seem as equivalent to the House of Lord Britain. It is not comparable to the Ezes who served as mere political contraptions. From time immemorial till date, the age grades have and still are the brick that for foundation upon which the traditional government rests. They have remained supreme, and they are drawn from every villages whereas the Ezes represent the various autonomous communities. Below is the original structure.
ETCE – Ehugho Traditional Council of Elders
ECOE – Ehugbo Council Ezes
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
This study is informed by the need to place the political structure of Afikpo in its true perspective, particularly, to understand the organizational structure in the pre-colonial period, colonial period and the aftermath. Aftermath of colonialism has been modernization as it were
To achieve the basic objective of this research, the study was divided in five functionally related chapters. To start with, in chapter one, a broad introduction to the study with references to Afikpo was undertook. Following that, the purpose of the study was stated, viz; to dispel the growing negative perception of Afikpo as incapable of administering themselves in organized democratic set up. The sources for study was clearly stated to include oral interview and written materials. The area of study was noted to be Afikpo, after which relevant literature relating to the area were thoroughly reviewed.
In chapter two, attempt was made to explain Afikpo political structure in the pre-colonial period. It unraveled the age long age grade system of government traced to the founder of Afikpo who is known as Igbo Omaka Ejali. There was no history of dynasty of king. Rather there was division of labour. The Isi Elia was expected to co-ordinate communal labour. Following that was the Ekpuke Eto which performed executive function, and the Ekpuke Esaa which performed judicial and legislative function. Then the Onikara and the Horii were the advisory bodies. Besides, it was noted that the movement from one grade to another was and is still determined by age.
Chapter three dealt on the political structure of Afikpo in the colonial period. It was treated from one epoc to another. Ofcourse, it was seen to have commenced properly after the conquest of Afikpo in 1902. In the process of transition, she was recognized as district headquarters, divisional headquarters, county council headquarters and local government council headquarters. The native council or court was formed to be headed by warrant chiefs. The names of the warrant chiefs were stated in relation to the period they were instituted. It was also clear that neither the native court nor the British officers interfered with the activities of the traditional judicial council (the elders). Even the Amadi group was proscribed. Because colonial administration made use of chiefs to administer Afikpo, it became indirect rule system.
Chapter four discussed the impact of modernization on the political structure of Afikpo. It was otherwise, the fruit of colonialism. It was clearly stated that Afikpo was exposed to urbanization- political setting larger that the village – group or clan, from which there was education revolution and transport and communication revolution. It was opportunities for the elites but they abused it by rather becoming wealth seekers.
Indeed, Afikpo political history is an interesting study. Here summary has preceded. In the next sub-section of this chapter five, conclusion and recommendation will be treated.
From the preceded analysis, it seemed clear that before the advent of the British colonialism, the archetype of Afikpo political structure was based on the principle of equality and equivalence. In other words, it had ascriptive meaning because it was rooted in the theory and practice of the bloodline. Family was the smallest unit of the polity, from which it extended to the umunna (lineage), village and village group. Umunna was a residential unit of group families with common ancestor, while village was the embodiment of different lineages with larger socio-political aggregation.
Also, while Okparas constituted the major political heads within a lineage, age grade system was strictly observed at the village level. With respect to age, every individual got represented at the village group level. It was democratic and replican system of government. But with the advent of British colonialism, the system was fractured.
Although, the coming of the British had involved serious confrontation, after which foreign cultural value was imposed on the people of Afikpo. She was exposed to urban system of living. Significantly, western-type literacy education was the instrument to make Afikpo accept western ways.
Consequently, it can be inferred that Afikpo political structure has been growing from the bedrock of western or colonial legacy. Most of the highly educated and politically Afikpo people are predominantly first generation people, who are, perhaps, justly proud of their achievement. Also, customary laws were modified to suit the changing society. But age grade system was and still is recognized in Afikpo. As elders, they are seen as the epitome of knowledge, and their judgment is still given recognition.
In the light of this research and in order to contribute in the search for creating true perspection of Afikpo political history, the following are hereby recommended: –
A. In order to maintain the political unity of Afikpo it is necessary that the position of the traditional council of elders should be above political manipulation or whims and caprices of the politician since it may cause the lost of the political and traditional value of Afikpo.
B. Afikpo poltical structure should continue to be recognized by its republicanism. Here, the position of the Ezes should not attempt to rift that of the traditional council of elders. After all, the position of Ezes is quite new while the traditional council of elders is as old as Afikpo, and has been the bricks that formed the foundation upon which government rest. Also, the Ezes represent only their various autonomous communities – Itim, Nkpoghoro, Ugwuegu. Ozizza and Ohaisu, while the council of elders represent each village, and are much nearer to the people.
C. In performing legislative role, it is necessary that no law of the local government council should contravene that of the council of elders. Afikpo should be administered based on the original custom of the land though modification could be necessary to changes or modernization. Particularly, it is necessary that the local government council should work together with council of elder but each one with its own jurisdiction.
POLITICAL STRUCTURE OF AFIKPO IN THE PRE- COLONIAL AND COLONIAL PERIODS
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