Socio-cultural History Of Akaeze From 1929-2008
Socio-cultural History Of Akaeze From 1929-2008
This research work is divided into five chapters. The first chapter comprises the concept of culture, social cultural history, literature review and other vital concepts. 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.Chapter two examines the geography, geology, demography, origin, migration and settlement, people and culture, religion and economy. While chapter three treats the evolution of socio-cultural institutions, the cultural and the social importance of the sundry institutions. Hence, chapter four discusses the Akaeze border community’s relations, the strength, weakness, and prospect (way forward) of those relations, finally chapter five deals with the summary of the research.
People make choice about social practices. Around them that is bases of their beliefs about the values of these practices. And to have a belief about the values of a practice is, in the first instance, is a matter of understanding the meaning attached to it by our culture. To this end, societal culture involves. ‘shared vocabulary of tradition and convention’ which underline a full range of social practices and institutions.
However, to understand the societal practices, therefore requires understanding this shared vocabulary, that is understanding the culture and history which constitute the building block of every society.
Furthermore, understanding these cultural narratives is a precondition of making intelligent judgments about how to lead our lives. In this sense our culture not only provides options, it also provides that spectacles through which we identify experiences as valuable
1.2 CONCEPT OF SOCIO-CULTURAL HISTORY
In this project, an analytical attempt shall be made to understand the meaning of culture, what socio-cultural history is all about, and other concepts in the research project.
However, what has been termed the classical definition of culture was provided by the 19th century English Anthropologist, Edward Burnett Taylor in the first paragraph of his work titled “primitive culture” (1871) “culture ….is that complex whole which include knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of a society1 .
From the above definition, culture has considered in general as possession of all mankind. On that note, it is appropriate to turn to a particular culture and society. Meanwhile, it has been customary for historians and Ethnologist to speak of Seneca culture, Eskimo culture, Igbo culture and so on. That is, culture of a definite society. It therefore follows that what is needed to explain culture precisely in its particular manifestation for the purpose of historical study and for this, the term socio-cultural history has been proposed.
Socio-cultural history therefore, has been defined as the culture possessed by a distinguishable and autonomous group (society) of human beings, such as tribe or modern nations .
By explanation culture is made up two aspects or types. The explicit (material culture) and implicit (non-material) culture. The explicit culture refers to those aspect of the people’s way of life which are visible in their society. The explicit (material) culture consist of directly observable regularities in verbal and non-verbal behaviours of members of a given society. Examples are artifacts, that is, the technological aspect of a culture, pick Axe, cooking utensils- plates, pot.
By implication, scientific knowledge is experienced through working. Nevertheless, the implicit (non-material culture) refers to those aspec that are not visible, but belong to a particular society. This has to do with the norms, beliefs, sanction, value system of the people. It also includes language, songs musics, sign and symbols, which are parts and parcel of the people’s life in different societies.
1.3 SCOPE, AIMS AND OBJECTIVE
This project is basically centred on Akaeze people. It is a research study of socio-cultural practices obtainable in Akaeze society. Significantly, the research study is based on the society and culture of Akaeze from antiquity to the present.
The aim is to assess the cultural practices of Akaeze at various times, putting into consideration the role of culture in community sustainability, its strength and weaknesses. Whereas, the objective is to show the indispensability of culture, it follows that culture is to the bedrock or foundation on which every society is built. This research, at the conclusion of it, is expected to provide a source of reference for Akaezeans and others who would be research oriented to dig deep into the socio-cultural history of Akaeze.
1.4 LIMITATIONS OF STUDY
In the course of this research, one encountered various impediment against the success of the research. This ranged from insufficient written sources, inconsistency of oral account given by those so far interviewed, the problem of not giving accurate but relative date in some events. The lack of general consensus that Akaeze people borrowed some of their culture from their neighbouring communities. Finance has also constrained the research work at some points in time. Thus, at the end of this project one shall see that this problems are resolved.
1.5 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
In reconstruction of the past, that is, historical reconstruction, as would always be the case, sources are arranged in the order of primary and secondary sources. In the course of this research both primary and secondary sources have been used.
As regards to oral interview, information that are of great significance have been obtained form across the villages that constitute Akaeze. This has been gotten from the elderly people, men and women alike, who fall between the age bracket of sixty years and more than that. In line with secondary (written) sources, both published and unpublished material, journals, newspapers and magazine by scholars from various professions that are of relevance to this project have been used.
1.5 LITERATURE REVIEW
In the course of this research work, some literature of various authorship, which are of relevance to this topic have been consulted. Among many of this, attention will be focuses on:
Akwari O Chukwu, in his long easy, “the History of Akaeze people from the earliest to present” 2003, has discussed Akaeze people, their culture, economy, socio-political institutions, their origin and migration, and the impact of culture on Akaeze people. To this end, he asserts that the ancestor of Akaeze people migrated from Edda to the area called Akaeze 3.
Nevertheless, A.F.R stoddart in his intelligence report on Akaeze clan, 1929-1930, National Archives, Enugu, had indicated that Ezeoke oyiri the second son of Chima Oyiri left Edda as a result of dispute and settled by the Eze iyieku River at what is known as Akaeze Ukwu, which he founded. Akaeze Ukwu is the evolutionary village of the other Akaeze villages.
Professor A.E. Afigbo in his book titled “Ropes of sand, a study of Igbo history and culture”1981, has indicated the historical origin of cross River Igbo to which Akaeze belongs to. According to him “following the movement from the Orlu in an eastward direction soon met with challenge in the form of westward expansion of the Benue-Congo speaking”. For one thing the Igbo expansion was ‘deflected’ northward leading to the foundation of the Ada group of the Cross River Igbo (Akeze, Edda, Nkporo, Amasiri etc.) and the large group also know as Ogo-Ukwu. The tradition of these people indicate northward movement of the population”4.
Brig gen. M. Tambo “The Subjective Nature of organizational Cultural and Strategic Decision Makers” 2003, highlights the importance of culture in society building. According to him, quoting Griffin (1996:9) “the culture of an organization is the set of values that helps its members to understand what the organization stands for, how it does things, and what it considers important”5 . On that note, when an infant enters the world cultureless, his powerfully influenced by the culture that surround him on all side.
Jacob E Safra et al, “The New Encyclopedia, Britannica”, 1998, pointed out the effectiveness of culture. Culture they said is strong to hold sex urge in check and achieve a pre-marital chastity and even voluntary celibacy for life.
It can case a person to die of hunger, though nourishment is available, because some food are branded unclean by culture. For instance, Amiyi Kinsmen in Akaeze community cannot eat crocodile meat. Culture can cause a person to disembowel, shoot himself, commit suicide to wipe out a stain of shame and dishonour.
Significantly, culture is stronger than life and death. Death is merely the cessation of vital process of metabolism, respiration etc. but culture triumphs over death and gives man eternal life6. Nevertheless, it holds the building blocks or foundation of a society internal organization, and plays a major role in shaping the organizers behavour7.
1.7 CULTURAL COMPARISON
Ethnocentrism, this is the tendency to interpret or evaluate other culture in terms one’s owns. This tendency is common to all society. An Akaezean may find some custom of her neighbour “queer” or “boorish” merely because they are different8.
Increased knowledge has led to or facilitated a deeper understand and, with it, a finer appreciation of culture quite different from one’s own. It was understood that universal needs could be with culturally diverse means, that worship might assume a variety of forms, that morality consist in conforming to ethical rules of conduct, but does not inhere the rules themselves. Moreover, what is moral in one’s culture might be immoral or ethically neutral in another.
Richard T. Schaefer et al., sociology, sixth Edition pointed out that through out history, human society have made significant cultural advances.
For them, despite all human and societal differences, societies have attempted to meet basic human needs by developing cultural universal9. This they identified to include language, religion, music marriage, personal name etc.
Jacob E. Sfra et al., “The New Encyclopedia”, indicate that every culture is always influence by other people’s culture. “culture is contagious” an anthropologist once remarked, meaning that customs, belief, tools techniques, folklores ornaments and so on diffuse from one people or region to another. Diffusion can occur through various means: exploration, military conquest, missionary work, the influence of mass media and tourism10.
Culture has ponderable values and imponderable ones, and the imponderable ones can be measured in objective, meaningful yardstick. A culture is a mean to end: the security and continuity of life11. So, some cultures are better means of making life secured than another. For instance, in Akaeze of 1903-1997, if a girl gets premature pregnancy while living with her parents, a prominent member of the family died if the good were not appeased. But with the reversal of such custom, no one died again as a result of an abomination committed by another person.
This chapter centres on the introductory aspect of the project. This segment is actually the base on which the project shall take-off from. Paramount issues that are of relevance in this chapter have been discussed. They include concept of culture, socio-cultural history, scope, aims and objective of study, research methodology, limitations and of review of literatures used in this research.
1Jacob E. Safra, S. Yannias, James E. Goulka, “Socio-cultural system”, The New Encyclopedia. Britannica (Chicago, 1998) 15th ed. Vol. 16 pg.874.
2Ibid pg 876
3Akwari O. Chukwu, “The History of Akaeze people from the Earliest Time to the Present” B.A. Project, Department of History and International Relations, EBSU, 2003, pg 4.
4 Prof. A. E. Afigbo “Ropes of Sand: Studies in Igbo History and culture” (London, Oxford University Press, 1981), pg 14.
5Brig. Gen M. Tambo, “The Subjective Nature of organizational Culture and Strategic Decision Makers”, The valiant, A Jounal of the Nigeria Defence Academy (Kaduna, Defence industries corporation of Nigeria), vol. 33, No. 2, September 2003, pg. 11.
6Jacob E. Safra, Yannias, and James E. Goulka, The New Encyclopedia (Chicago, 1998), 15th ed vol. 16 pg. 676.
7Brig. Gen. M. Tambo, The valiant pg. 11.
8Jacob E. Safra et al, the Encyclopedia, pg. 875.
9Richard T. Schaefer and Robert P. Lamm “Sociology” Sixth Edition (U.S.A) McGraw Hill Companies, Inc 1998), pg. 68.
10Jocob E. Safra et al, The New Encyclopedia, pg. 877.
11Ibid pg. 877.
AKAEZE SOCIO-CULTURAL HISTORY 1929-2008
1. Where is Akaeze located?
2. What is the geology of Akaeze?
3. Who are the people Akaeze?
4. what language does the people of Akaeze speak?
5. Is the economy of Akaeze industrialize or an agrarian economy?
6. From where does the Akaeze people trace their origin and migration?
7. What type of religion are found both in the past present society of Akaeze?
2.4 Origin, migration and settlement
2.5 People and culture
2.6 Religion and belief
2.7 The economy
Akaeze occupies a land mass of 1.935 square kilometers, situated between latitudes of 5.40N and longitudes 7.30oE and 8.30oE Akaeze is bounded to East by Afikpo South L.G,A (Edda), to the West by Nzrem and Ishiagu both in Ivo L.G.A of Ebonyi State, to the north by Ohaozara L.G.A of Ebonyi State, Okpanku in Aninri South L.G.A of Enugu State, to the North East by Amasiri in Afikpo North L.G.A of Ebonyi State. To the South by Item, Nkporo and Ugwueke, all Bende L.G.A of Abia State.
Geopolitically, Akaeze is located in the South-East Zone of the country being one of thecommunr entirely in the Western Cross River as one of the Igbo group, Cross River Igbo which include Afikpo, Amasiri, Edda, Bende, Allie, Abam, Ohaofia, Abriba, Item, Ozuakoli, Nkporo, Uburu, Okposi and Ishiagu2. It occupies an area of moderate relief which is mostly lomey, clay, sandy soil.
The area is underlined by three major main formations, the Iyiakwa, Evu and Ezeiyieku shales of the Turorian age, with outcrops of other rock formations and mineral deposit to include lead, gypsum and industrial sand3. Ecologically, Akaeze lies in moderate wet humid tropics with a marked rainy season which starts from early April to October, and dry season which sets in from November to March annually. Nevertheless, during dry season, Harmattan normally starts from the month of November every year.
Significantly, the vegetation is a combination of savannah and forest stretches in the Eastern and Southern part of the community, that is, Aakeze Ukwu; Mgbede, Iyioji and Umobor communities respectively.
From the study of the Akaeze clan population distribution across the villages, as at 1927-1929, the population of Akaeze was presented by the colonial administrators as follows:
Village Family Adult Children Total Adult Children Total
M F M F M F M F
Akaeze Ukwu Akerwe 76
Ama Ube 179
Total 667 750
Umobor Umobor Ukwu 345
Amar amaze 110
Total 642 640
Ihent Iketaku 55
Total 165 167
Iyioji Ubegu & Obulo 300
Umulu & Amaudare 165
Total 421 465
Akaeze clan grand total1877 2022
(source: National Archives, Enugu) by
NUMBER 16th, 1930
According to the Assistance District Officer Afikpo Division, A.O IRE, the following table shows the distribution of the adult male through the villages. However, if the female as well as the children were counted the grand would have been more than figure above.
In respect to the 2006, National Population Census, Akaeze is about 120, 919 with an annual population growth rate of 2.35%. From the above number, the male numbered 59986, while the female numbered 609334. Hence the population of Akaeze is largely rural based. Also from the population census study, it has shown that 22.5% (5374.17) of the community is mostly people under the age of 15 to 55 years.
2.4 ORIGIN, MIGRATION AND SETTLEMENT:
As has been the case with many human settlement in the past, that the autochthons (aborigine) of any place migrated from some where to the place they occupy presently so also the case with Akaeze people.
Following the movement from Orlu in an Eastward direction soon met with challenge in the form of Westward expansion of the Benue-congo speaking people. According to prof. A. E Adigbo, this had the consequences for the Igbo. He said, “For one thing the Igbo expansion was ‘deflects’ northward leading to the foundation of the Ada group of the Cross River Igbo” (Aakeze, Edda, Nkporo, Afikpo, Amasiri etc.) and the large North Eastern group also known as Ogo-Ukwu. The traditions of these people indicated general Northward movement of population5.
However, the origin and migration of Akaeze people is traced to Nguzu Edda. The legend revolves around Oyiri who had three sons: Ezeoke Oyiri, Chima Oyiri and Obo Oyiri and one daughter called Oyiri. According to Mr. Isaac Uguru on his oral account, on one occasion. Ezeoke and Obo went to farm, the sons of Ezeoke and Chima were playing-boxing and wrestling in the compound. Chima’s son hit the son of Ezeoke heavily that he died. When Ezeoke returned he heard the sad and disastrous news. Meanwhile, he (Ezeoke) insisted that his brother must bring his son back to life or ideminify him, by giving him his son to replace his dead son. So, when Chima, the ancestral father of Edda people came back from his farm work, he pleaded with Ezeoke to forgive him of the incident, and that, that was an accident not advertently committed, but Ezeoke did not give heed to his plea. Using his ‘good offices’, Obo their third brother medicated in the dispute and a child must was given to Ezeoke, but on a strict condition that he must leave Nguzu Edda.
Consequent upon this, Ezeoke had to migrate to a place called Asi Eji6. But his sister Oyiri did bring him food in the evening secretly. Obo having noticed the nocturnal movement of Oyiri, followed her secretly and discovered where Ezeoke was taking refuge.
Thus, to this end, Obo launched attacks on Ezeoke. The Later’s house (i.e Ezeoke) was equally destroyed. Being that he built house modeled after the Edda peoples (square). Nevertheless, he again migrated again across a stream called Owu. There his father came to him, pleaded him to return, but Ezeoke refused. His father threw an Ngwo seed to him, to plant and earn a living from that. This Ezeoke threw back to his father saying, “I am on my own, hence I am no longer an Edda kinsman.
As earlier noted, he called the stream Owu for he has bath off all relationships he had with the Edda people. Thus, he again migrated to another place he called Oso (Run) which the Edda people today, call Oso (growth). This place, he named so because he was pursued after. In the course of his exile, he met various water-body, which eventually dried up in the dry season. This untold hardship and scarcity of water made him to continue to search for non-dryable water till he came to a River which he called Ezeiyieku (The king among all water wealth’s) which solved his problem of water scarcity; he also though retrospectively about his encounters with his enemy-brother and the destruction of his house. At this time, he built himself a conical house different from that of his brother Obo.
This is why the Edda people built square houses whereas Akaezeans built conical house in lieu of the Edda models, that is, before the invention of modernized building7.
Interestingly, Ezeoke finally settled at the Ezeiyiaku River which is today known as Akaeze Ukwu8. He begot four sons and one daughter whose names were Akawawri, Uno Ocha, Iveoke Nkalu, Ngwoke Okpara and Iyamba who was also called Oyiri named after and in remembrance of his sister Oyiri. These sons of Ezeoke Oyiri were the founders of other Akaeze villages-Iyioji, Umobor and Ihenta. Significantly, having seen that the Ezeiyieku River never dried up like other streams he had met, this prompted him to seek the course of the River. In the light of this, he met Okugo as he moved west of the River, who told him that he migrated from Nkporo. The two continued to seek for the course of the river, hence they met Unocha who said that he migrated from Item. Tracing the end of the River to the North East, they met Adu who migrated from Okpanku.
To Umobor ancestor, they found Amankanu, and lastly Oka. Therefore, they gathered, and named the place they found themselves Akaeze which Oka suggested. But Ezeoke being the first to arrive first at the place, today called Akaeze insisted that it must be called Akaeze Ezeokeiyiri. As Akaeze Ukwu being regard as the evolutionary community of Akaeze.
2.5 THE PEOPLE AND CULTURE
The people of Akaeze are pure Igbo. This follows the grouping of Igbo people into groups. Meanwhile they are under the Igbo group of East North of the Cross River. The predominant language spoken by them is Igbo, with minor dialectical differences and the group share common history of origin.
Akaeze is made up of seven (7) communities popularly called “Amala-asaa”, Akaeze Ukwu, the evolutionary community of Akaeze, Iyioji, Umobor, Mgbedes Amegbu, Ihenta, Amachi. Worthy of note is the point that the seven (7) communities are grouped into two for traditional purposes. Therefore, given rise to seven communities having two kings Akaeze Ukwu which comprises Iyioji and Mbge, while the other is Umuihe (ie Umobor and Ihenta) comprise Amaegbu, Amachi, Umobor and Ihenta.
2.6 RELIGION AND BELIEF
Man’s oldest philosophy is animism, the doctrine that every thing possesses mental faculties and is alive like those posed by man, desire, will, purpose, anger, love and like. This philosophy resulted from his own self psyche, into other things and beings, inanimate and living, without being aware of his projection. Alice Fletcher once wrote “nothing is without life8… According to Edward Burnett, the maximum detention of religion is “a belief in spirit’10
However, in the past 4-5 decades, 1958-1968, the religion in Akaeze was African traditional religion which revolved around the idols, ancestral spirits, and other gods and goddesses-ukwa for the married women, Aliezi, Njoba Kamalu for the men, Ali Aniyi,-the supreme shrine for the community is Christianity. About 75% of the population are Christians, many Akaezeans, men and women alike, presently are pastors, Rev. Priest of various churches. In fact, each of the seven communities had and some still exist up-to-date. They made appeal to these various gods, sought for help, solution in case anyone profaned the land; those gods were consulted during inter-community wars to include, Akaeze Edda war to include, Akaeze Edda wawr 1892, 1948, 1935, 1988, 2002, 2004, Akaeze Ishiagu war of 1949, 1988, 2000, Akaeze-Ugwueke war 1952 1993, 1980 Akaeze-item war 1978, 1981, Akaeze-Okpanku war 1935, 1935.
Furthermore, each kindred had its gods, totem likened to them. Moreover, their cultural heritage are both negative and positive effect. For instance they don’t kill green snakes, a kinsman will not sleep his kinsman’s wife (nyia noso) this kindred, hence any one who commits such act was deemed a forbidden person. They have rich cultural heritage to include festivals, new yam festival, Isheachera-masquarade festival.
2.7 THE ECONOMY
The major industrial sector of Akaeze had been agriculture. Significantly, the economy is characterized by primary production activities in agriculture to include yam, cassava, rich, and solid mineral excavation-sand, literate. Inlight of the economy, agriculture is the mainstay of the economy and constitute about 90% of the communities gross products, it does not mean that Akaeze is not endowed with other mineral resources that are of technological and international demand, but they are still unexplored for economic values and of course, yarning for exploration are lead, zinc ore11, Bauxite. Predominantly, added to the above is traditional craft pistle, motal, basket making, especially among the Mgbede people.
There is also strong tradition of commerce, with two great markets, Orie Akaeze Ukwu and Nkwobo in Umobor. There are also other small markets in the community like Nkwoiyioji and Afor Mgbede. The two major markets serve as outlet for agricultural products, famous and importance for inter-community and state relations.
From the angle of human resources Akaeze is blessed with sufficient human resource. Which if properly empowered, and natural resources if well harnesses, as well the rich cultural heritage could bring home the long expected development and social transformation vision. For instance, if the Ikeji (New yam festival), Isiechera-masquerade festival could be made open to people from the surrounding communities and states, and at the same time if well showcased would serve ass tourism attraction to the community thereby boosting the economic capacity of the of the community.
1Ebonyi State planning commission, Government and Administration, EB-SEEDS (Lagos, Mbeyi and Associates Nigeria Ltd, 2006) pg 3.
2Pro. A.E Afigbo, Ropes of Sand:Studies in Igbo History and Culture, (London, Oxford University press 1981) pg 14.
3EB-SEEDS pg 3
4Federal Republic of Nigeria, Offical Gazette, (No. 24, May 15th 2007) Vol 94 Pg 9.
5Prof A.E Afigbo, Ropes of Sand: Studies in Igbo History, pg 14
6Isaac Uguru 87, Civil Servant, Mgbede Akaeze 12th March, 2005.
7A.F.R Stoddart A.D.O, Intelligence Report on Akaeze clan, 1929-1930 (National Archives, Enugu) File No. NA 82A, Class mark: AFDIST 13/1/3, pg 16.
8A.F.R Stoddart A.D.O, Intelligence Report on Akaeze clan, 1929-1930 (National Archives, Enugu) OG: 666, Class mark: AFDIST 15/1/35, pg 2.
9Jacob E. Safra, S.Yaminias, James E. Goulka. “Socio-cultural System”, The New Encyclopadia Britaunica (Chicago 1768) 15th Ed, Vol. 16, Pg 876;1b.
10Richard T. Schaefer and Ribert P. Lamm, Sociology sixth edition (U.S.A, McGraw Hill Companies, Inc. 1998) Pg 68.
11EB-SEED pg 92
1. To whom can the evolution of Akaeze traditional political institution be traced to?
2. What is an institution?
3. What are the traditional political institutions of Akaeze
4. In what way has these institutions maintained law and order in the community?
5. Is there any weak point of those institutions?
6. What are the social and political important of these institutions?
7. Who are the members of those institutions?
EVOLUTION OF SOCIO-CULTURAL INSTITUTION IN AKAEZE
The origin of socio-cultural institution in Akaeze had always, and is still traced to the ancestral fathers of Akaezeans, particulary Ezeoker Oyiri, the first person to settle in Akaeze as indicate in chapter two. On that ground, he established these socio-cultural institutions to be discussed below, especially chieftaincy institution.
Meanwhile, the originator of these institutions had done that to showcase their wealth, influence, title acquisition and above all to see to the maintenance of law and order, peace and unity of Akaeze community.
Nevertheless, the various institutions indirectly constitute the various social stratification. Having traced the origin of socio-cultural institutions of Akaeze, it is pertinent to attain an understanding of what an institution is.
3.1 SOCIO-CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS IN AKAEZE
An institution is organ that is established with the aim of achieving specific purposes1. It is an organ of the society set with certain functions which are crucial for the wellbeing of the member. Scholars have outlines seven (7) types of institutions which are universally acceptable2. But for the purpose of this project, one would base his discussion on the following:
Marriage institutions: Marriage is the union between a man and a women or women. Therefore, there are various types of marriage to include Christian marriage, Islamic marriage, court marriage, traditional marriage etc.
This serves mainly the purpose of reproduction and procreation to see to the continuous existence of human race in general and family name in particular. This also ensures that a society’s kinsmen by way of giving birth to offsprings maintains its perpetual existence. Therefore, in Akaeze setting as obtained now and then, albeit some changes had taken place. For a man and a woman to be recognized as husband and wife, the two have to go through the acceptable marriage rites as provided by the custom.
As it is the case, marriage in Akaeze community started with what is called in Iri Ubu, pseudonically known and addressed as Ikpotu Mkpuma3. This was normally done shortly after the new yam festival celebration in the mid September. During this period young girls took care of themselves apply the best cosmetics, cloths and other fashion make up (camwood of both yellow and red colours and they would go to market square to brandish themselves, presumably to attract suitors. Would be husbands on seeing a lady of his interest and love could go to the family of his in-law and ask the hand of their daughter in marriage. If welcomed, he therefore started the marriage rites proper.
First, the husband brought 5 tubers of yam, 3 gallons of palm wine and one fowl, out of the three gallons of palm wine, the father had two, while mother had one. But the yam being the king of crops in Igboland the father took it alone4. The next stage comes the subsequent year, April. Before the day, the husband was given prior notice to buy something for his wife readily waiting for the procession March-Ifuavia, that is, marching to market. At this stage also the husband brought snuff for the kindred.
Nevertheless, in the past decades 1954-1960, some of these practices had been trashed out of the tradition. Therefore, marriage rites in Akaeze starts with the husband to the family members of his in-law. This has to do with presentation of cocoanut to the wife, ipe okp ukpo la eke, 1 gallon of undiluted palm wine called Igba nmanya ihe ahuru.
The subsequent stage is ibu ive la okwa albeit that is presently the third marriage rite because of many failed dating and engagements. Moreover, igba nmaya ikwu follows thus, and after that, Nkabu i.e payment of bride price (ikwu ugwi enwe). Note, after the payment the new couple would live for a month of which the bride still come to her parents. In addition, some portion of the bride price would be given back to the family members of the bridegroom to support the new couple. Marriage life and family take off. To this end, this marked the union of a man and woman in Akaeze community. Nevertheless, on the day of ibu eve la okwa, the kinsmen and kindred are invited to the marriage fest so also on the day of Igba Nmanya Ikwu. Significantly, in Akaeze of the past these practice was done in the evening and to some hours in the night basically due to the fact that was the time when people would have come back from farm and trade activities5.
As indicated earlier in chapter two, man’s oldest philosophy is religion. For man to keep in touch with the supreme being or deity, he had to devise various religious institutions to show reverence (worship) to their God. To some they worship gods, ancestral spirit etc.
Hence, in Akaeze, various religious practices and institution are inherent. As with the African traditional forest and specific clan gods arena in the community precisely Amiyi. As a matter of fact, there will always be people who run an institutions, the same thing is applicable to these religious places mentioned. It is the duty of the chief priest (Eze Ali, Onye isi Ali) to take people to the shrine and they would make request, solution, settlement of disputing parties either interpersonal inter-community.
As they made the request, they pledge what they would sacrifice or used to propitiate the gods as the case may be if by coincidence, response and solution were brought to the request. It is also worthy of note that there are western religious institutions church of various denomination of Akaeze today.
In the preceding paragraph, it is indicated that religions involves showing reverence to the ancestral spirit and dead persons, this the Akaeze like every other African society had done this through Okwalagu, Ibuji Isi- burring ones of father. For a man to do this and at the same time become a member of these groups he had to make some commitment so as to pave way for him.
In Okwalagu, the intending member who wish to bury his father with lion therefore, in the first instance, bought four (4) kolaunts, a 12 kegg of palm wine which he give to the eldest man in the kindred. Therefore, the elder would tell him to notify all, and invite those who have buried their father with lion.
On arrival, the invited member were welcomed by giving them kola, which encompassed four gallons of palm wine and meet, again he welcomed the seven communities on individual community basis. There is no gainsaying the fact that most crucial aspect of this programme was igheji (the cutting of yam) which the number was usually hundred tubers of yam. But then, in the actual sense the yams were never cut but refers to the untying of the tubers from the ban and sharing it among those who had done this in retrospect6. There were also gun shooting. So to bury the dead with the lion it was put in the deceased grave.
Exceptionally, if the person father had been buried for long ago, the skin of lion was used. The grave of the hero, the head part of it and the lion’s skin would be there.
Finally, the intending member by the fulfillment or this traditional obligation had buried his father with lion, hence, had also gained membership. However, when any member of this Okwalagu group died his burial rites lasted for Izu la esii (24 days)8.
TRADITIONAL POLITICAL INSTITUTION
This refers to the aspect of governance that have customary base, according Igba Daniel Igba (2004:28) it has traditional or primitive approach to leadership in our society. Using Nigeria as a case study, before the advent of the colonial master, hence, colonialism there was system of governance that existed in various societies and kingdoms in Nigeria, and this was tradition political institution.
Moreover, the Akaeze political institution has complete philosophical and structural relations with the Igbo tradition institution of government. The traditional government of Akaeze community was similar to J.C Anene General spectrum of Igbo political system. The traditional government of Akaeze community was wholly decentralized, political authority revolved around such institutions like the institution of the king, council of elders, Age grade, village Assembly, secret society, women Association. The traditional political institutions were also very much segmentary or fragmented. What this actually stressed above all, kinship was an important political factor in the political organization or system.
We shall now be considering the various traditional political institutions highlighted.
This is one of the influential traditional political institutions in Akaeze. For one to became a king in Akaeze must have come from kinship lineage, and this was from the Ndi-Akwawri. From the narrative of Mr. Mazi Nneju (Chukwu Mazi) the first king in Akaeze was from Ndi-Akwari Umuezeukwu, and he was Ngele Chukwu9. He was succeeded as Aka I, II, with the exception of Osoghi Ajali. Meanwhile, Ngele Chukwu and Okor Ivi were addressed as Aka I and II of Akaeze respectively.
Presently, Akaeze is ruled by two kings, by reason of the two autonomous communities, Akaeze, and Umuihe Akaeze. They are HRH Eze Joseph Okorie, the Ezeoke Oyiri 1of Akaeze and HRH Eze Emmanuel Ubani, the Enyinaogada 1 of Umuihe.
Coronation of king in Akaeze was done on communal agreement. Not only that the person must come from Ndi-Akwari Umuezeukwu, but also must be a responsible, industrious, affluent and of stewardship character. The king was crowed by the eldest man in Akaeze. The symbol of authority of the king include staff, Odu atu (tail of a buffalo) this was usually reinforced with a mental rod or stick, impregnated with Ogwu (magical preparations) and used as a whisk which came ready to hand for driving off flies and evil spirits, Odu atu (beed) which he put on his neck and wrist as bangle, jioji (wrapper) and befitting shirt, and above all, crown10. Nevertheless, the king adjudicated over cases of communal interest with the help of his cabinet, chiefs from the various communities.
The council of elders: This is made up of the eldest men from the various communities. The elders along side with the chief priest of Ali Amiyi, Judged, passed justice and imposed sanction on defaulters of the tradition and customs of the land.
Age grade: This is made of young men of the same a bracket, i.e people born in the same year in particular and those who were initiated into the men’s adulthood the same year in general. They served as soldiers of the communities, constructed bridges (Akwa) cleared stream path, and most importantly defend the communities from both internal and external aggression and threat.
For any one to be under an age grade he must be initiated the Eku society, through Ikinu. Therefore, the people who were initiated into the adulthood would be named-Isa evo (naming ceremony) however this involves all the age mates from the various communities. The elders were the people who named them, this marked their effective involvement in the traditional political administration of organization of the masquerade festival (isi echera) which is celebrated on June every year11.
The following is a list of the age grades that existed in Akaeze clan between 1929-1990
1. Isimanu … … … … 79 years
2. Biako … … … …76 ”
3. Igbere … … … …73 ”
4. Ahoffia … … … …70 ”
5. Eve Ekpo … … … …67 ”
6. Anyi Afo … … … …64 ”
7. Uke Nvaragidi … … …61 ”
8. Aka Ekwe … … … …58 ”
9. E b e m … … … …55 ”
10. Nkpu Agu … … … …52 ”
11. Eromini … … … …49 ”
12. Opuha … … … …46 ”
13. Akanu … … … …43 ”
14. Hausa … … … …40 ”
15. Nko Oro … … … …37 ”
16. Eve Akuko … … … …34 ”
17. Ezeanu … … … … …31 ”
18. Eririma … … … …28 ”
19. Akakata … … … …25 ”
20. Okpankpuma … … …22 ”
21. Mgbaleke … … … …19 ”
22. Onugwo … … … …16 ”
Table 3.1 showing the various age grades.
The clan council: This is the highest decentralized and segmented political organization in Akaeze traditional political organization.
This is constituted by the elders, Okpara from each family, hence, the kinship emphasis, and Age grades, and all adult men of the community. At the clan council the various kinship are represented by the Okpara. Here, issues of sundry importance-war, peace, development were discussed.
Secret society: The only secret society is the Eku society. The members of this institution are all the adult men of the various communities. Through the Eku society, sanctions had been imposed on people who brake the law, which excluded an excommunicated them from every other member of the society by not allowing them to interact with theirs kinsmen and women.
3.2 SOCIAL IMPORTANT OF THE SOCIO-CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS
As would always, would be expected of any institutions as an organ of governance, it performs various roles that are of social importance to the members of the community.
The marriage institution in Akaeze like any other society serves a link between people from different families. For instance, during and after marriage feast, people came together to exchange their children in marriage, hence, two different families were linked together. Marriage influenced one’s social status because chronic bachelors and spinsters were treated as irresponsible persons12. Marriage broadened friendship between groups and indeed bases of kinship.
Furthermore, the religious institutions on its side maintains religious unity among the people. Not only that priest of various divinities enjoyed special respect in the communities, religious festival also brought people of various kindred together13. For example, the isi echera (masquerade) festival, Ike ji (New yam)
Infact, the Akaeze traditional political in institution saw to the administration of the community. As pointed out in the area of religious institution under which is the Omezuo, and Okwalagu members, which has shown the social stratification of the community, the Akaeze people, like every Nigeria people believes in the importance of wealth. Wealth men (those who had many yams domestic animals, wives and children) were given respect.
To identify oneself with any of the political cadre had increased hardwork among the people, however, through various traditional political institutions law and order had been maintained.
Akaeze society was segmentary. Various traditional political institutions existed with much emphasis on kinship. Moreover, the highest level of political organization was the Village Council, Clan Council. Normally, decisions taken by the Clan Council i.e at the clan meeting were binding on all villages. Through the various traditional political institutions law and order were maintained by imposing sanction on those who contravened custom (nso ali).
Finally, traditional political institutions were democratic republican. Yet, some persons or groups of people enjoyed some social and political privileges because of reasons that had to do with membership of titled societies, religious status and wealth. This formed the weakness of the various socio-cultural institutions because they had misused the position.
1Igba Daniel Igba and Nweke Joshua Onuenyim, Man in His Environment: Social and Physical (Enugu, New generation book, 2004) pg 25.
3Abraham Chukwu, 98, farmer, Amaeke Akaeze 18th September, 2008.
4Prof, A.E Afigbo, Ropes of Sand: studies in Igbo History and Culture (London, Oxford University press, 1981) pg 127.
5Ogbuu Mazi, 60, farmer, Amaeke Akaeze Ukwu September 21st, 2008.
6Mazi Nneju 110, farmer, September 21st, 2008.
7Igba Daniel Igba and Nweke Joshua Onuenyim pg 32
8A.F.R Stoddart A.D.O, Intelligence Report on Akaeze Clan, 1929-1930 (National Archives, Enugu) File No. NA 82A, Class mark: AFDIST 13/1/3, pg 52.
10Prof. A.E Afigbo, Ropes, of sand: studies in Igbo History and culture. Pg 127.
11Alexander Nwabia, 80, civil servant, Amaeke Akaeze September 20th, 2008.
12T. Faloa et al, History of Nigeria I (Ikeja Lagos, Longman Nigeria 1998) pg 87.
SOCIO-CULTURAL HISTORY OF AKAEZE 1929-2008.
1. Who are the border communities with Akaeze?
2. To what extent have Akaeze interacted with her border communities?
3. What are the weakness of the relations and its impact on the constituent communities?
4. What are the basis for social unity in the Akaeze border communities relations?
AKAEZE BORDER COMMUNITIES RELATIONS
Akaeze –Item, Nkporo, Uguweke Relations.
Weakness of The Relations
Basis For Social Unity in The Akaeze Ties that Bind).
AKAEZE BORDER COMMUNITIES RELATIONS INTRODUCTION
In this chapter we shall discuss various factors, ways through which Akaeze had interacted with her border communities. It was neither possible nor realistic for a community to ignore its neighbors. Admittedly, economic and to some appreciable extent political survival of a community depend on relationship, be it friendly or volatile, which it had with its neighbors. Infact, community relations imply co-operation between different community. This could take the farm of diplomatic ties, management of boundaries and wars. For instances, all Nigeria groups took measures to foster good relations with one another.
Among the significant measures were the recognition of territorial integrity of other states, marriage and the establishment of diplomatic reactions.
It is against this background that Akaeze has rules and regulations (albeit unwritten) which were follower in dealing with her neighbours therefore, she has and still relates in various ways with her nieghbour to be discussed bellowed.
4.1 AKAEZE-ITEM, NKPORO AND UGWUEKE RELATIONS
As indicated in the geographical location of Akaeze in chapter two, it has been pointed out that Akaeze is bounded to the south by Item, Nkporo and Ugwueke both for merly in Bende Division, and presently in Ohaofia and Bende Local government Area of Abia State.1 Akaeze-item, Nkporo and ugwueke relations have has both economic, cultural, item and Ugwueke
On that note, taking Akaeze item relations, the two communities have interacted economically and also in war time. Economically, Akaeze clan-people attained market in item, Akanu item, Okai item so also do the people of item2 . through this trade relations, goods that are not common among the Akaeze clan vis-à-vis item are exchanged. This trade relations involve the sale of food stuff as the chief commodity.
Viewing the Akaeze -item relations from the angle of warfare and its management, the two communities has intermittently engaged each other in war. This was normally precipitated by filial land dispute. One of such wars occurred in the following years 1978 and 1981. In these wars, item contrived to surrender Igbere and pushed in between her and Akaeze; but this idea was not possible because the ties among Igbere, Amasiri, MPU and Akaeze cannot be manipulated by anyone.
In these war relations, wares, wealth, lives etc. were lost. It as an obvious fact that the catlysmic aftermath cannot be over emphasized.
Furthermore, Akaeze- Nkporo relations is that of friendly interaction. This was mainly economic.
Similarly, as in the case of Akaeze-ugwueke relations and war like. Economically, the people of ugwueke do come to Nkwobo maket to sell their palm product-oil and at the same time bought the main stay production of Akaeze economy.
Traditionally, Akaeze –Ugwueke relations, one of the cultural festival of Akaeze, Isi echera (Ojunkwu) that is, masquerade freast is trade to Ugwueke, was brought to Akaeze by an Ugwuekeman3 .
Nevertheless, Akaeze-Ugwueke, had also experienced a breakdown of friendly ties, hence wars relations. This was equally, causes by land dispute. Summarily, the relations between Item, Nkporo, Ugwueke have had both positive and negative effect as human beings are never static.
4.2 AKAEZE-ISHIAGU RELATIONS
geographical position has brought Akaeze and Ishiagu into close contact. To this end, Ishiagu, is Akaeze border community to the west; the two clams share the same local Government.
Akaeze-Ishiagu relation could be traced before and within the pre-colomical period. Evidently, in October 1927, when a Native court for the Akaeze clan was set up, and when Ishiagu were taken into Afikpo division from the Okigwue division, the Jurisdiction of Akaeze native court was extended to include Ishiagu4 . presently, Akaeze and Ishiagu share the same L.G.A, lvo (Ishiaka), hence the political relation of Akaeze and Ishiagu.
Moreover, economic ties exist between Akaeze and Ishiagu- the exchange of economic products. Akaeze-Ishiagu relation had also been necessitated by language. On this ground, an outsider of the two communities would hardly decern the linguistic difference in the two dialects. This fact, language had made members of the two communities to see each other as brothers and sisters.
It is worthy of note that Akaeze- Ishiagu relations has also witnessed volatile trend. This stated explicitly by them colonial assistant district officier of Afikpo division, A.F.R. stoddert, 1930 in his intelligence report on Akaeze clarn. It arose out of triting incident- a small girl letting ababy fall.
The accomer have it that an Akaeze woman was married to an Ishiagu birth to ababy intuited her younger to be taking of the baby in case of her absence. Being too little, the girl wandered inside the bush in course of that, she toned on thorn which calumniated in fall of the young baby, hence his death. Out amongance, the father of the death child slew his witers sister. The new on reaching Akaeze, led to represisial action against Ishiagu that is, the mass killing of all the Ishiagu women married in Akaeze. This inhuman experience the Ishaigu level against all the Akaeze women marred in the communities5 .
Still on the negative trend in the relationship, it had been recorded that the Government force (colonial)s averment came up the cross River in 1902, a depatution from Akaeze met it on its landing in uwana and intimated that Akaeze would…. “When eventually the expedition arrived in the neighbour hood of Akaeze via Uburu… Akaeze supplies carriers and generally rendered asstance in the expedition on Okpanku and Ishiagu”6 .
4.3 AKAEZE-OKPANKU RELATIONS
Okpanku is in Ali Nri L.G.A community of akaeze-Okpanku relation is sub summed inder the following paragraphs
E –economically, people of Opkanku do come to sell their ware at Nkwobo market in Akaeze visa-vis Apkaeze people at Afor Opkanku market. This shows that no community is economic independent of the other.
Moreover, Akaeze Okpanku relation has been given more power and confidence through inter-community marriage. Nevertheless, due to the dynamics of human beings, and society, Akaeze Okpanku relations. For one reason being swe is that this volatile relations were triggered off by land dispute; This was between the umosoro and ihenla in Akaeze versus Amo Ogudu and Amaeze communities in Okpanku respective. There is no gain saying the tact that vics, property of both economic and social importance were not destroyed.
On the historical limehime, Akaeze and Opanku are related. (SGD) Waddington in his intelligence report on Akaeze 1929-1930, has pointed out that ezeoke Oyiri, with time, due to shortage of food began to welcome people from other clans to include Okpanku, Item, Isu etc.7 . This is observable in the uiguistic similarity between greetings- wel done –Akaeze=mahu,Okpanku=makwarahu.
Culture has promoted the Akaeze Okpanku neighbour hood. Quite explicit in the celebration of new yam festival is the same thing, which involves EKU(Ekpe) secrete society. To this end, members from Okpan could travel and receive kind treatment from colleagues in Akaeze.
4.4 AKAEZE-EDDA RELATIONS
Edd is one of the communities in the former Afukpo division. However, presently, it is still addressed as Afikpo south. However, it is Akaeze border community to the East. In the same vein, it have had relationship of various rind with Akaeze both economic, political and even war, and above all historical relations.
Historically, the Akaeze people trace they origin, to Edda, this has been highlighted so for in chapter tow.
On the basis of economics, Akaeze and Edda have had peaceful relationship leading to exchange of Economic products from each community. In his finding, stodd out A.f.R said, “the market was attended by people from Igbere, Item, Okpanku and a few from Edda8 .
Politically, Akaeze and Edda people by reason of the creation of Ebonyi State on 1 October 1,1996, have been under one umbrella by way of administrative and structural arrangement engineered by the state creation. So they treat together matters that are of common political interest to the political zone, that is Ebonyi South senatorial zone.
There is no doubt that no state of the world that would boast of perfect rift-free relation with her neighbours, the Akaeze-Edda relations is the most volatile among all the relations. It is a self specking fact that the two clans have engaged each other in an internecine war. The cause still being a disputed portion of land, Igboro Akaeze.
This wars started before the pre-colonial days. Moreover, such wars were recorded in the recent past decades to the present. This took place in 1988, 2002, 2005 respectively.
4.5 WEAKNESS OF THE RELATIONS
From the study of Akaeze border communities relation, It is doubtless that, the study has provides a mine of information showing that the trend of this is that of warfare. Meanwhile, regardless of both economic, social, cultural interactions, the relation still has suffered a look down. However, war has been a recurrent phenomenon through out human history,9 but the effect being much more virulent, is not of abstract, but realistic. To this end, the no-love aspect of this relationship had brought untold hardship and traumatic condition to the communities.
War needs no documentation to prove its horrors. it destroyed and ruined lives beyond number; it made anything like normally existence impossible; it imposed burden on inter- community economies and imperiled the freedom of everyone; it endangers man’s existence in these communities.
4.6 BASIS FOR SOCIAL UNITY IN THE AKAEZE BORDER COMMUNITIES RELATIONS (TIES THAT BIND)
Given the plain no-love relationship, if not resolved, is likely to increase conflict in the inter-communities relations. What then are the possible sources of unity in a hostile neighbourhood relations which would affirm, rather than deny, its communal unity? Again what are the conditions that help stabilize multinational states? One suggestion is that social unity depends on ‘shared values’.10 clearly the citizens of any modern democracy do not share specific conception of the good life, but may share certain political values. For instance, one government commission in Canada developed a list of seven such values which Canada shared: (1) a belief in equality and fairness; (2) a belief in consultation and dialogue; (3) the importance of accommodation and tolerance; (4) support for diversity; (5) compassion and generality; (6) attachment to natural environment; (7) a commitment to freedom, peace and non-violent change. It is true that there often are shared values within multinational states, including a shared conception of liberal justice, however, it is not clear that these values themselves provide a reason for two or more national groups to stay together on one country. For examples there was a remarkable convergence of values between citizens of Norway and Sweden, but is this any reason for them to reunite? I don’t think. The fact they share values, does, not by its elf explain their reason to reunite.
This suggests that shares values are not sufficient for social unity following the trend in Akaeze neighbourhood relations. What more or what else is required for social unity in the Akaeze border communities relations? The missing ingrident seems to be the idea of ‘shared identity’. What holds American together, despite their lack of common values, is the fact that they share an identity as Americans.11
Where does this shared identity come from? The answer is simple, shared identity is derived from commonality of history, language and maybe religion. Obviously, looking to patriotic but culturally diverse countries like the United States or Switzerland national identity often seem to be pride in certain historical achievement (eg the founding of American Republic)
Above all, given the account of the origin of Akaeze people which is traced to Edda (i.e Oyiri who lived in Nguzu) and the other sons of Ezeoke Oyiri, Okpu and Agu who were founders of Okpanku and Ishiagu should form a historical background for the social unity of the Akaeze border communities relations. Moreover, the relevance on history often requires a very selective approach and skill.
Ernst Renan once claimed that National identity involves forgetting the past as much as remembering it.12 To build a sense of shared identity in the Akaeze- border communities relations probably requires an even more selective memory of the past. What is clear, I think is a viable way to promoting a sense of solidarity and common purpose in Akaeze border community relations involves accommodating each other and above all, shared identity.
1A.F.R. Stoddart, Intelligence Report on Akaeze clan, 1929-1930 (National Archives, Enugu), File No NA 82A, class mark AFDIST 13/1/3, Pg 2.
2Ibid Pg 54.
3Obasi Amokovia Ferdinand and Ani Nnamdi Stephen, Time to Rejoice: Mpu Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, (Enugu, our saviour press Ltd, 1997) Pg 94.
4A. F.R Stoddart Intelligence Report on Akaeze clan, Pg 8-9.
5Ibid. Pg 39.
6Ibid Pg 8.
7Obasi Amokovia Ferdinand and Ani Nnamdi Stephen, Time to Rejoice Pg 2.
8(sgd) L.H Shelton, Acting Resident, Ogoja Province, Intelligence Report on Akaeze clan, 1929-1930 (National Archives, Enugu), File No. NA 82A, Class Mark: AFDIST 13/1/3, Pg 54.
9Palmer and Perkins, International Relations-Third Edition (India A. I.T. B.S publishers and Distributors, 2005) Pg XXV
10Will Kymlicka, multicultural citizenship, (New York, USA Oxford University Press Inc. 1996) Pg 187.
11Ibid Pg 189.
Socio-cultural History Of Akaeze From 1929-2008
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