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IBIBIO PEOPLE:THE MOST ANCIENT NIGERIAN ETHNIC GROUP AND THEIR ...

 

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER ONE

  • General introduction

1.1    Background information

1.2    Statement of the problem

1.3    Research objectives

1.4    Research Questions

1.5    Significance of the study

1.6    Delimitation of the study

1.7    Research Methodology

1.7.1  Research population

1.7.2  Sampling procedure

1.7.3  Methods/tools of data collection

1.7.4  Procedure for data Analysis

 

CHAPTER TWO

  • Literature Review

2.1    Theoretical Framework

2.2    Review of concepts – including the meaning of myths,  mythology and culture.

2.2.1  Myths versus Superstition

2.2.2  Myths versus Legend

2.2.3   Myth versus folktales

2.3     Review of related works

CHAPTER THREE

  • Data presentation

3.1  Eka Abasi-Mother gods

3.2  UdΛk Nkpn, uwuo, ukpon ukpδgho ukpon – soul affinity and metamorphosis

3.3  The man in the moon

3.4  The origin of death

3.5  Ekp ńkaowo

 

CHAPTER FOUR

  • Data analysis and discussion of finding – these includes, assigning categories or types to all the myths mention in chapter three.

4.1  Functions of myths in Ibibio culture

4.2  Characteristics of myths

4.3  The influence of Christianity, Western education and modernity on myths in Ibibio culture.

 

CHAPTER FIVE

  • Summary

5.1  Conclusion

5.3  Recommendation

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

  • GENERAL INTRODUCTION

Myths come from the Greek word “myths” which is translated as story. It is a prose narrative which has some deep symbolism that tell some piece of truth for those who listen and convey them. Although it is not entirely real occurrences, some myths may have been influence by real account but these have been remade to become more symbolic with time or location shifts. Because of the nature of myths, it has been accepted on faith, taught to belief, and cited as authority in answer and cited as authority in answer to ignorance, doubt or disbelief.

The collection of mythic stories is called mythology and culture is simply the system of knowledge shared relatively by a large group of people. Myths therefore, tries to resuscitate the history and mythology of cyclic power and processes of nature and equally invoking the inseparable relationship of an identity which cannot be erased but longed buried in the mores of a given society.

The Ibibio’s just like the other Africans live in a comprehensive world of myths and this deepened their intents, imagination and belief system and therefore, propelled them (the Ibibio’s) into; incantation, invocation, sacrifices and other ritual practice in order to sustain cordial relationship with the unknown world. Since the Ibibio’s by nature sees themselves as spiritual beings who are also superstitious and therefore, projects their identify and consciousness into nature. The Ibibio’s anthromorphizes and deifies forces and imagination which they cannot control and which they imagines brings death, disappointment or success to their anxiety laden life.

The Ibibio people are very nice breeds of story tellers, they device various Prowess and dexterity to explicate the mores of their natural environment. They put forward some stories to explain certain event, phenomenon and equally improvised with the aid of the intuition of the immediate environment, some religious and natural phenomenon which they cannot explain.

The stories showcase more richly, the implicit aspect of the cumulative deposits of knowledge and values of the Ibibio people and is pass on from generation to generation through oral propensity.

Although science and technology today has provide answers to some of these mythic questions and equally debunked their belief in certain occurrence like Eka abasi and soul affinity/metamorphosis, or even the image of a mans working in the moon. This study therefore attempts to resuscitate the mythology and processes of nature and equally invoking the inseparable relationship of an identity which cannot be erased but longed buried in the culture o the Ibibio people of Akwa Abasi Ibom State.

1.1  BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The Ibibio people are the fourth largest ethnic group in Nigeria. according to Essien (1990:IX), the Ibibio people numbered about four million and speak Ibibio language as their first language (Li). Hence, the word “Ibibio” is used to refer to the people as well as their language ranking fourth after the three major ones namely; Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo.

Though the Ibibio people live and occupy what is politically known as Akwa Ibom State today, an area of land in the extreme south – eastern corner of Nigeria and are regarded as the most ancient of all ethnic groups in Nigeria, oral tradition, spiced up with the available written evidence today suggest that the Ibibios once lived and developed the town called Ibom in Arochukwu, the present day Abia State but before coming to Ibom Village, Ukpong E. (2007:2) traces the history of Ibibio speaking people from “Usakedet” and further assets that the core of Ibibio people is the Afagha lineage and that they had their original home at Usakedet in Cameroon where the Ibibio language and some of their customs evolved while they lived in Usakedet in Cameroons before their migration to their various locations today. It is believed that the Ibibios had been the original aborigines of Ibom settlement founded by their forefathers “IBOM” whom they name the village after.

According to some views expressed by scholars like; Greenbergs (1963), Udo (1983) which are very plausible, they opine that the Ibibios migrated from the central Benue valley which is the ultimate home of the Bantu of which also the Ibibio speaking people form  a part. It is from here that Ibibios migrated through Imo State to a place called Arochukwu where they settled for a very long time and wroshippped the God of the Sky called “Abasi Ibom enyon”. They also worshipped “Ibritam” – the Aro long juju. The Ibom settlement was later invaded by the Igbos who was later invaded by the Igbos who where expanding southwardly since they were speaking Sudanic language which was quite different from the Ibibio language as such they could not understand each other. War broke out between the Aro-Igbo and Ibibio people. As a result, the Ibibios were expelled from their aboriginal home and the Igbos took over the long juju popularly called “Ibritam” by the Ibibio’s.

Similarly, David Ukpong et al (2001:2-8) accepted the postulation made by Greenbergs (1963) and Udo (1983) and indeed others who point to Ibom-Arochukwu in the Orient as the original home of the Ibibios but with marginal degree of variation. David Ukpong posited that the Ibibios are the lost Israeli jews who migrated to Africa during the great depression, some of them moved to Southern Sudan where they were called “Abaibo”. He further pointed out that the Ibibio’s had long co-existed with the Igbos right from their stay in Nubi hills in sourthern Sudan when trouble erupted between the Ibibios, the Igbos left with them while the Ibibios founded Ibom settlement, the Igbos settled in the neighbourhood around Nri, Onitsha, Orlu and it environs.

Following the Aro-Igbo-Ibibio war of 1550AD, the Ibibio’s moved southwardly and found a virgin and empty hand, their present place of aborigine. The Ibibios first settled in Ikono where they first migrated or dispersed to various places of aborigines that make up the present Ibibio land. It is at this junction that Ikono Ibom moved to Ikot Oku Ikono village now in Uyo Local Government Area, which according to David Ukpong (2001:191) referred to as Ikono Ibom Uyo, a clan carved out of the main Ikono Ibom of the Eastern Ibibio Ikono for administrative convenience. Iman Ibomo moved to Ekom Iman, now in Etinan Local Government Area and Nsit Ibom moved to Afia Nsit now in Nsit Ibom. Worthy of note here is that, the three of them were blood brothers and children of “IBOM”. The brothers settled close to each other and formed pact and ally or a affinity with each other and had children and device a through – going mechanism for self rule, maintenance of law and order and effective political organization. Using some elements of culture and socio-religious organizations such as Ekpo, Ekpe, Ebre, Ibaan Isong, Akata, Nnabo, Ekong, Ikpa—udoh and many others to enforce law and order and to put the masses of the population under control. Some of the these festival and ceremonies are mythic in nature since point to the primordial time for origin. They may tend to be religious yet they performed certain judicial as well as the legislative functions such as Ekpo, Ekpe etc while Ekong represents the god of war and Akata acted as the village radio station to disseminate the latest information necessary for the growth and moral inclination of a given society and usually functions at night where everything is quiet, Akata sings the names of the offender and the nature of offense committed so as to serve as a deterrent to others in that community.

The Ibibio people are very hard working, they engage more into farming and fishing and craft making they have administrative unit ranging from the family unit – “Ufok”, extended family – Ekpok, village and the larger society. The Ibibio’s are very religious people with simple pragmatic religious philosophy and belief system. To them, “Abasi Enyon” is the creator of heaven and earth, abasi isong – the earth gods (Ibok or Mbiam). The way of worship of the Ibibios is deeply rooted in their belief in ritualistic sacrifices to all these gods for specific functions. Ekong E. (2001). Hence, they attribute every occurrence and phenomenon to be caused and controlled by god and attempted to work towards, maintaining a cordial relationship with the unknown. The Ibibio’s device means and improvised ideas from their physicals environment to inculcate morals and use stories as repositories of traditional knowledge and a way of affirming their fundamental spiritual, philosophical can cultural principles which have been handed down by words of mouth over hundred down by words of mouth over hundreds of years since man by nature is a story telling being, the Ibibios device various Prowess and dexterity to tell stories of immense benefit to their culture and society.

The three children of IBOM upon their final aboriginal settlement, Etefia who is the principal actor in Ikono Ibom Uyo clan, settled in Ikot Oku Ikono and founded the Ikono Anyaan and Ikot Ekpeyak Ikono are stock and children of Ikono Ibom, they have shared and similar social, traditional and cultural Milieu. Ekom Iman is a place which Iman Ibom settled and planted the Ekom  tree (coula edulis) from which the name of the settlement is derived, Ekom (coula edulis) planted by Iman one of e sons of Ibom. Iman had children and some of them migrated to and expand the Iman Ibom clan such villages like Ikot Obioinyang, Afagha Effiate and the entire Iman Ibom clan. Upon the death of Iman Ibom, his spirit metamorphose into the Iman Ibom clan deity “The Itina Iman deity” and oyot is the clan deity – totem hence it is a taboo to kill or eat such mythical beast and Ebre is the totem of Ikono Ibom clan, they forbid the killing or maiming of this mythical animal. Nsit Ibom moved to Afia Nsit where there was water and settled there, and his children spread to Mbak Nsit and other places of that clan. The Nsit Ibom totem is Iyak Anyan – the Anyan Nsit deity. They all have shared an similar characteristics of social, traditional as well as cultural Milieu and formed the centre of this study.

1.2  STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

       The Ibibios live in a comprehensive world of myths, history and mores in such a social context, Ibibio society, or culture problems. Myths often play significant religious, philosophical, cultural and social roles in the ancient period and today, people have scientific answers and theories for may such question about the world around its. Hence, to gain the basic knowledge and understanding of myths in Ibibio culture is as good as under standing the mores of such people themselves.

However, the researcher, discovered the many problems in relation to the study of myths in Ibibio culture strictly and pure by Ibibio speaking area to include the inability of the Ibibios to differentiate myths from legend and other folksong, while some myths involves ritual and sacrifices but due to the advent of Christianity. Modernization and civilization some of these mythic practice hardly survived or take place example; that of Eka Abasi. Also due to the transition of the elderly people who were the custodian of such stories in it original tenets and values. Also, in some of the villages visited, the informants were so demanding. Perhaps due to his financial constraints, the researcher could not comply with their high demands. Though a selected number of them were picked by their leader for the purpose of this exercise a good number of them could not decipher between myths and other stories.

1.3  RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

       This work, critically examines some of the ancient stories and repository of knowledge of the Ibibio people and their culture, a broad spectrum which has enabled them to survive for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years, though, handed down from one generation to another through oral traditional which explain and append cumulative ideas and values to the unknown event thereby depicting the Ibibio people and culture as highly religious, spiritual superstitious and mythical in nature.

This work also attempts to throw more light on the human experience and spiritual values which is inherent in their views and belief in the mythical stories or event such as Ekpo as Ekpo Nka-owo, Eka Abasi, Ukpogho Ukpong/udΛkukpong- soul affinity/metamorphosis and showcase, the origin of death in Ibibio society and how a mans image got to the moon etc. And also aimed to ascertained if the daily life of an Ibibio ascertained if the daily life of an Ibibio culture and create understanding of the extent and impact created by myth in the culture of the Ibibio people with a view to incorporate it into a body called mythology. To enunciate, why the Ibibio people hold their belief in myth very tenaciously and evaluate the influence of Christianity, western education and modernization on myths in Ibibio culture.

1.4  RESEARCH QUESTIONS

1.4.1       What are myths, mythology and culture

1.4.2       Is the daily life of an Ibibio person regulated by the tenets of his belief, religion and culture?

1.4.3       What impact does myth has on the Ibibio people

1.4.4       What are the views of the Ibibio people about Eka Abasi, Soul affinity, Ekpo Nkaowo etc, are these belief read?

1.4.5       How do they relate with nature and reconcile themselves to the inevitability of death.

1.5  SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The work tries to capture the interest of its readership with the intent to create a lasting awareness to people about myth in Ibibio culture and document such repository of knowledge inherent in Ibibio mores with a view to creating myriad of information to people and other culture.

It also sets out to unravel the mystery buried in the worldview of the Ibibio culture, their religious practice and ritualistic activities geared towards maintaining and sustaining a cordial relationship with the known and the unknown. And to delineate in a narrative sequence, the myths and mythology which tries to resuscitate the history and mythology of cyclic power and processes of nature and equally invoking the inseparable relationship of an identity which cannot be erased but long buried in the culture of the Ibibio people.

The study is significant as it aims to help people of diverse  cultural and religious background to gain ample and appreciable knowledge of the importance of myths to the development and sustenance of culture and religion.

And finally, to provide an indelible foot print and blue-print for cultural transmission and preservation of Ibibio culture.

1.6  DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The research is not only restricted to scholarly works, understudy or providing the meaning of myths and mythology in a broad spectrum but extend to the field where people’s opinion as regards the mythical stories was sampled in purely Ibibio speaking areas.

This work covers only three Local Government Areas of the state being purely Ibibio speaking area, they include; Uyo, Etinan and Nsit Ibom. Selected villages in Uyo include; Ikot Ekpeyak Ikono. Those in Etinan are; Ekom Iman, Ikot Obio-inyang and Afagha Effiat. Those in Nsit Ibom include; Afia Nsit, Mbak Nsit and Ikot Ntan Nsit.

1.7  RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

The study of myths/mythology in Ibibo culture in this contemporary society where knowledge is gainfully the increase in Ibibio people and culture. This work will use both primary and secondary sources of data collection. The primary sources of data collection will include information gathered by the researcher through oral or face to face interview with the knowledgeable men and women of the selected villages in Uyo, Etinan and Nsit Ibom local government Areas of Akwa Ibom State. The researcher also applied his own knowledge as a native of one of the villages under-study. The secondary sources of data collection include: the many published and unpublished books, articles from journals, the internet and magazines on the subject matter.

1.7.1    Research Population

The population of the study consisted of adult (men and women) who speak the native language. The researcher personally met with five speakers in each of the villages understudy, or which the researcher’s work covers. The informants have been chosen based on the duration that they have stayed in the area.

 

1.12              SAMPLING PROCEDURE

The sampling technique adopted in this research project was a conversation and interview method. This was done with the aim of achieving qualitative data on the myths and mythology in Ibibio culture. On this platter, the Elders were asked questions and also using the informal conversation to elicit data. What was put into consideration was the age, the number of years the informant had stayed in that village and their knowledge of the mores. This was done to ensure that data gathered for the analysis of myths/mythology in Ibibio culture is valid. They were selected based on random selection.

1.7.3      METHOD/TOOLS OF DATA COLLECTION

The method used in collecting data for this work was oral interview with the informant – elicitation method and instrument used include:

  1. Note pads
  2. Hard cover note book
  • Pencil, eraser, pen, highlighter pen
  1. Mobile phone with recording capacity

1.7.4      PROCEDURE FOR DATA ANALYSIS

The nine village visited were drawn from the three major clans in Ibibio Land, and three Local Government Areas that are purely on Ibibio speaking area, the researcher while on an important quest of this nature, did not hesitate to consult all the village heads of this villages visited. Also noted were the elderly men and women who were of immense help to him by way of organizing themselves in a relax mood to supply the researcher with the needed information about myth/mythology in Ibibio culture.

This was done through a face to face interview with the informants and the response was recorded and vital point written.

 

 

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