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Igboscholars International Journal                                                                                                                                                  OF IGBO SCHOLARS FORUM, NIGERIA

Volume 5 No 1, June, 2018

















Igboscholars International




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IGBOSCHOLARS JOURNAL OF IGBO SCHOLARS FORUM Nigeria calls for well researched papers from authors in areas that borders on Igbo in relation to other people’s cultures. We welcome articles or proposals from all perspectives and on all subjects pertaining to Igbo, Igbo/African people’s and others’ relations on Public policy, Language, Religion, Philosophy, Education, Medicine, History, Economy, Sociology, Culture, Engineering, Business relations, Comparative politics, strategy and environment, etc. Submit manuscripts as e-mail attachment to the Editorial Office at: igboscholarsforum@yahoo.com or send two hard copies of your papers to any of the editors. Referencing style is MLA or APA. The Journal wishes to publish the results of her researches annually.


Onukwube Alex A. Anedo                                                                                                                                                                  Editor                                                                                                                                                                                           IGBO SCHOLARS FORUM NIGERIA                                                                                                                        Department of African & Asian Studies,                                                                                                                             Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka,                                                                                                                                   Anambra State – Nigeria                                                                                                                                                                                                         Phone: +2348037859249, +23481492257                                                                                 e-mail:igboscholarsforum@yahoo.com;                                                                                                                                          web: http://wwwigboscholarsforum.com.ng


Vol.5 No.1 June, 2018                                                                                                                                                               ISSN: 2476-843x




Igboscholars International Journal is one of the brain children of Igbo Scholars Forum born out of the zeal to get the young Igbo scholars together so as to start thinking like Igbo sons and daughters through paper publications, meetings and symposia. As a matter of fact, Igbo Scholars Forum was founded by Dr. Onukwube Alexander Alfred Anedo and Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Thecla Udemmadu (Nee Obiora) and born at the launching of a festschrift in honour of their life patron, Prof. Obed Muojekwu Anizoba (Ozonwa) on the 15th day of December, 2012. In his kind gesture, Prof O. M. Anizoba therefore established a website http://www.igboscholarsforum.com.ng   for them to use in telling the world who the Igbo people are, about their life, what they believe in and their relationship with people and other cultures of the world outside theirs. Other journal outlets through which this Forum wants to let Igbo people and their culture out to the world are Ideal International Journal and Ekwe International Journal which is solely written only in Igbo language.

Onukwube A. A. Anedo, Ph.D.







Consulting Editors:

Dr Mrs Lizzy Anizoba                                                                                                                                                        Department of English and Literature, Paul University, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria

Prof. Sam Uzochukwu                                                                                                                                                     Department of Linguistics, African & Asian Studies                                                                                                       University of Lagos, Nigeria

Prof Sheng Jia                                                                                                                                                                    Department of Chinese Culture & Anthropology        ,                                                                                                         Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian Province, P. R. China

Prof Yuhua Ji                                                                                                                                                                           Department of English language & Linguistics,                                                                                                                  Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian Province, P. R. China

Prof B. Okolo                                                                                                                                                                   Department of Languages & Linguistics,                                                                                                                       University of Benin, Edo State, Nigeria

Dr. Gamini Ranasinghe                                                                                                                                                  Department of Archaeology & Anthropology,                                                                                                                    Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences                                                                                                                    University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka

Prof. Paul Oguguo                                                                                                                                                           Department of Philosophy, faculty of Arts,                                                                                                                       Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria

Dr Babette Zoumara                                                                                                                                                                   Bank for Seeds and Solar Energy,                                                                                                                                       Atlanta, Georgia, United, States of America

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  1. Problems of African Communalism, Igbo Inclusive As Illustrated In Two Igbo Literary Works                                                                                                                                                                        Nsolibe, Obiageli Theresa Ph.D                                                                                                                 Department of linguistics/ igbo                                                                                                                             Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam                                                                   okehindeo@yahoo.com 08035795591
  2. Hunting and Hunting Poetry of Igbo People-Nigeria                                                                                Nebolisa Oluchi .E.                                                                                                                                                   Department of Linguistics and Other Nigerian Languages Alvan Ikoku,                                                            Federal College of Education, Owerri Imo State of Nigeria. 08067998641                                                                     Chira Aaron Ekwenze                                                                                                                                     Department of Igbo & Other Nigerian Languages                                                                                                   Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe
  3. Semiotic of Igbo Symbols: A Cultural Emblem For the Igbo Race.                                                      Anyanwu Princewill Uzochukwu                                                                                                                       Department of Igbo, Federal College of Education, Yola                                                                                                  P.M.B. 2042, Yola                                %                                                                                                               Adamawa State.   uprincewill@rocketmail.com 08069411793
  4. Ịgbandụ As A Traditional Method Of Conflict Resolution In Igbo Land                                                 Ayozie, Chioma Rosemary                                                                                                                                Directorate of General Studies, Federal university of technology, Owerri, Imo State ayoziechioma2014@gmail.com
  1. Poetry: An Instrument of Advocacy as Exemplified in the Poems Ụkọ N’uju and Ndị Ọchịchị                                                                                                                                                                              Nsolibe, Obiageli Theresa Ph.D.                                                                                                                     Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam.
  1. Modernity versus Tradition: An Insight into the Cultural Conflict in Some Selected   Igbo and Yoruba Literature                                                                                                                                              Ekwenze Aaron Chira                                                                                                                                                 Department of Igbo & Other Nigerian languages                                                                                                    Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe Anambra State














Problems of African Communalism, Igbo Inclusive As Illustrated In Two Igbo Literary Works


Nsolibe, Obiageli Theresa Ph.D                                                                                                                                           Department of linguistics/ igbo                                                                                                                                               Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam                                                                               okehindeo@yahoo.com 08035795591



Communalism was a deliberately derived social structure which was established and zealously sustained by a people’s will and desire to survive under the most certain and tried condition. Communalism as a political philosophy was first coined by the well-known libertarian socialist, author and activist, Murray Bookchin as a political system to complement his environmental philosophy of social ecology.

Communalism is also used to refer to a system that integrates communal ownership and federations of highly localized independent communities (Wikipadia). Therefore, communalism can be defined as, “A theory of government or a system of government in which independent communes participate in a federation,” as well as, “the principles and practice of communal ownership.”

This usage of communalism appears to have emerged during the late 20th century to distinguish commune based systems from other political movements and/or governments espousing (if not actually practicing%2ing (if not actually practicing) similar ideas. According to Morgan (1972), the term “communalism” was first used by the British Colonist to describe the situation of colonies like India and Malaysia where religious minority existed alongside a religious majority. The colonial use of the term gave it a negative connotation of bigotry, divisiveness and parochialism, thus helping to justify the colonial civilization mission. It was also a way of understanding Indian history as the colonists saw and lived in it. In the Indian sub-continent today, like South Asia, communalism denotes attempt to promote primarily the religious stereotype between groups of people identified as communities. The sense given to communalism in South Asia is presented by the word “sectarianism” and it exists between the Hindus, the Muslims, the Sikhs and the Christians. In contemporary India, communalism not only designates the conflicts between extremist religious communities, but also between people of the same religion but from different regions and states. In many parts of the world, communalism is used to describe a broad range of social movements and social theories, which are in some ways centered on the community.

The community spirit in African theory and practice is philosophically concentrated in the notion of communalism. The concept of communalism is explained in the context of the political philosophy of Leopold Sedar Senghor and other political leaders of African countries in the struggle for independence (Senghor, 1964).                          Communalism is used to denote a way of life which is distinctly African. It is a system of life whereby the individuals focus their interests, activities and loyalties on the group’s cause and well-being. Tunde Obadinan (2016) posits that communalism is based on the assumption of common identity-belief that people belong to specific groups, sharing history, language, culture and historic space (online). The communes consist of males and females who live together and do things together. African society of which Igbo in particular and Nigeria in general belong is partriachial in nature. The features of Africa communal societies in the past are the existence of classes which are social stratifications, trust, security, communion and the fact that strong family and kinship ties for the basis of social life. The lives of peoples are profoundly interpenetrated by others with mutual influences and corresponding rights and obligations. That is why communalism has its strength in the family and cultural values, which are sustained through communal bonding.    Onwubiko (1991) outlines core value indicators to the elements of communalism to include: the sense of community life, sense of good human relations, sense of sacredness of life, sense of hospitality, sense of sacredness of religion, sense of time, sense of respect for authority and elders and sense of language and proverbs as cohesive forces of the community based on truth. However, core values and their indicators are sometimes questionable when subjected to the principle of non-existential transcendental truth.

The African traditional communities, the Igbo inclusive are presented as now steadily changing from spheres of trust, security and communion to suspicion, danger and bitter conflict. These are threatening to rip the entire system apart. Diverse social behaviours range from mutual constant suspicion, aversion, and demonization of others to a total withdrawal. African traditional communalism for which the Africans were initially lauded thus stands in a precipice of crises particularly in Igbo communities. There are conflicts everywhere in homes, among siblings, between husbands and wives; in the society between the rich and the poor, the males and females, the free born and the marked/out castes.

 Literature Review

Ngugi (2005) states that the African communalism could be defined in terms of “negritude philosophy from the point of view of Leopold Seder Senghor (Senegal); Julius Nyerere (Tanzania) looks at it on the philosophy of Ujama or African family-hood; while Kenneth Kaunda (Zambia) describes it in his notion of “African humanism and Kwameh Nkrumah (Ghana) called it ‘conscienism’. All these are ways of saying that Africans live together, share together, do things together and care for one another.

The early Christian communities practiced communal sharing. In Acts of the Apostles 5:1-11 of the Holy Bible, we read about Ananias and Saphira (husband and wife) who sold their portion of land and withheld some monies instead of bringing the whole amount to the Christian community. They are punished for it by being struck dead. When people join the community, they would bring whatever wealth they had individually acquired and would put it into the common holding. This would become communal property and then it would be distributed according to the needs of different individuals in the community Aviakan (2007) points out that early Christians tried to have a communal or communistic distribution system among them while leaving intact the larger production relations that ultimately shaped social relations in their own communities and in the larger societies in which their members were embedded and took part.

Communalism and communism are sometimes misconstrued to mean the same because both have the community as the focal point. Whereas communalism can take the form of communal living of communal property in some cases, communism is a social structure in which classes are abolished and property commonly controlled. It can also mean a political philosophy or social movement that advocates and aims at creating a classless society (Whitefield, 2003). In the Marxist sense, communalism refers to “classless, stateless and oppression free society where decisions on what to produce and what policies to pursue are made democratically, allowing every member of the society to participate in the decision making process in both the political and economic spheres of life” (Marx, 1988:79). From the ongoing, the communes have to perceive or participate in activities going on in their respective communities. According to Odumegwu (2007;5) “Communalism is one of the most frequently used term to describe traditional African socio-political, cultural and economic system”. It is taken to be special and original characteristics of traditional Africa. Communalism could be understood as the supremacy of the community over the individual. Communalism above all implies a quality of life made possible by common attitude and loyalties.

In African communalism, Igbo inclusive, the community assumes an overwhelming importance and this attitude filters into daily life: The spirit of communalism is manifested in different aspects of the African life: economic, social and political. Looking at communalism from the economic plane, land is of utmost importance since traditional Africa was largely agrarian. Land is principally collectively owned by the community but the individual could use land for productive endeavour. Socially, communalism is manifested in the feeling of oneness exhibited by the members of the community, such that they all share the failure and success of one another as if these were success or failure of the community. Political aspect of communalism is seen in prefixes to the names of villages which often bear names which means children ‘x’ where ‘x’ is the name of the founder of the village. For instance,   Umunze ‘children of a titled man’ and Umudioka ‘children of a great carver’ are good examples of such. Political power is for all but the elders are given more power because they are seen as the custodian of the customs and traditions of their villages.

According to Locke (1989), communalism creates a zeal for social justice and ecology to facilitate oneness with others and the earth and not individualism which speaks more forcefully of the need for freedom or liberty of the individual and the natural striving for the separations necessary to progress.

Communalism has its strength in the family and cultural values which are sustained in communal bonding. Since humans never live in isolation, the nourishing capacity of relationships that makes a person and part of personal identity stems from communal bonding (Ikuenobe, 2006:37). Groups or individuals making up communities consists of the males and the females who co-exist to produce communal bonding and each group behaves true to type, but when there is deviation in the behaviour of each, problem occurs.

Problems of African Communalism, Igbo Inclusive

Before Africa was colonized, the continent was characterized by a large degree of pluralism and flexibility. The continent consisted not of closed reproducing entities, equipped with unique unchanging culture, but of mere fluid units that would readily incorporate outsiders (even whites) into the community as long as they accepted its customs and where the sense of obligation and solidarity went beyond that of the nuclear family. An example of such inclusiveness was the South African Xhosa who limited Xhosa Dom not along ethnic or geographical lines but along political. All persons or groups who accepted the rule of the paramount Chief become Xhosa. Pre-colonial African societies were of a very high varied nature. They could be either stateless, state run or Kingdoms, but most were founded on the principles of communalism in that they were self-governing, autonomous entities, and in that all members took part, directly or indirectly, in the daily running of the tribe.

While the pre-colonial indigenous African systems had many appealing qualities, something that has been widely advocated if not practiced by many post-independence African leaders and Africanists, generally, they have some obvious weaknesses. The fact that chieftancy is mostly based on kinship, for instance, is problematic because of the exclusive nature of leadership that this entails, which is especially problematic in countries with ethnic antagonism. In many Igbo societies in the past, Kingship run in families. It is genealogical. This is problematic. The family may not have a male child who will succeed the throne on the death of the current king and female children are not made kings to ensure continuity, the king in question can go to any length to beget a male child. In Nwozuzu (2005), Eze Onye Kwere resorts to polygamy which brought untold hardship to his family. His first wife, Ugochi, had only female children and is moving up and down in the bid to have a male child. His second wife, Achalu thought that she will beget a male child. Unfortunately, she had a female child and is sent back to her parents’ house for that. Even the king himself, Eze Onyekwere suffers in the process in the bid to protect the tradition of his people as well as have a male child, who will succeed his throne. Ugochi his wife joins the white man’s religion then was a taboo coupled with the fact that Eze Onyekwere her husband is the king and chief custodian of their culture and tradition. So the onus lies on him to protect their culture. To call his wife, Ugochi to order, he resorts to manhandling her. God answers Ugochi her prayers by giving her twin sons. But then to have twin is a taboo. To cleanse the land of this abomination, Eze Onyekwere and his people go and dump the twins in the evil forest and also he orders the destruction of the Whiteman’s church. He is sent to jail for arson and attempted murder. He becomes converted in the jail; his people abandon him and install a new king.

Some of the customs of indigenous African society might have been effective in relatively smaller-scale societies but are less likely to be so in the larger states of present day Africa. An example of this is that of the consensus that in a larger –scale modern African State, the political process would invariably be slow in some parts, as well as prone to conformity and authoritarianism that could effectively silence dissent and result in uncontroversial and un-lightened decisions. Nigeria for instance, is made up of large-scale modern states even with diverse culture and languages. Political processes either by omission or commission are slow in some states as well as prone to conformity and authoritarianism. In some quarters like the Niger Delta region and Igbo States there are serious agitations of marginalization. The colonial era in Africa is seen to have eroded and corrupted the African culture, way of life and therefore identity. The period at and after the independence was dominated by a neo-communal spirit as an attempt by Africans to restore their traditional values and ways of life, their dignity and as a way of facing up to the challenges of the new era. Onyekaonwu (1982) paints the picture of the Igbo society trying to restore their traditional values, way of life, and dignity when they try to stop carrying out the Whiteman’s order to stop killing twins and throwing into the evil forest people with protruding stomach. They did this because, calamity started befalling the people of Isuebu, their land and this they attribute to anger of the gods against them for disregarding their customs and tradition. This attempt brought dire consequences to them. Some titled Chiefs were fined, the Chief priest jailed while, Ukaoha was hanged for killing two court messengers out of eight sent by the Whiteman to stop their meeting. These court messengers stormed where they were having a meeting to discuss way forward after dumping Mgbogo’s twins and Ekweribe with swollen stomach into the evil forest. The community as a whole bore the consequences. They did not leave the families of their members who were victims to suffer alone. Collectively, they strategized and sent delegates to the Whiteman to plead for leniency and or possibly forgiveness. Onyekaonwu (1982) also showcases the problem of communalism when, the people of Isuebu through their vote denied Chief Ugonna his heart’s desire of becoming their king despite all his philanthropic gestures to them. They gave their mandate to Mr. Ezenwa, the late king’s son. This buttresses the fact that in Igbo land in the past, Kingship is hereditary. The people want their culture and tradition to continue.

The urbanization of the developing world has been rapid and dramatic. In 1975, it was estimated that only 23.4 percent of the population of Nigeria lived in cities (United Nations Development Programme, 2001). By 2001, the percentage of Urban dwellers had increased to 44.9 (The world Bank Group, 2002). People leave rural areas either because of the push of harsh conditions in the countryside or because of the pull of opportunities in the cities. This urbanization deals hard blow on communalism McCatty (2004) states that migration occurs because of economic considerations, typically with migrants moving to an urban region for employment and for infrastructural facilities. This urban rural migration helps to destabilize rural communities which in our case are the bedrock of communalism. Our farm lands are left uncultivated except for few people who, cannot work on all the farm lands. This necessitated low food production. Standard of ethical behaviour is eroded. There is no respect for elders anymore. In the urban, kinship relationship is broken. Individualism is the order of the day because, urban is the conglomeration of people from different localities where one minds ones business. Individualism is the principle of social ordering and mode of social living in the urban, a situation that privileges the individual to the determent of communalism. Communalism has the difficulty of taking the individual seriously. This is not to say that the individual does not count in communalism. No, the issue is that in communalism the individual focus his interests, activities and loyalties on the groups cause and well-being. In communalism there is the virtue of extended family, assuming the burdens of being one another’s brother’s keeper, taking care of their old, thereby, debunking the idea of old people’s homes etc. The problem confronting these qualities now is that there is the argument that with communalism as a system of life that, an individual is not considered a person.

The single-family residence is now the dominant, often preferred, definitely much sought after context in which we lead our lives in both urban and rural areas. This constitutes a problem to the continuous existence of communalism. The attainment of single-family residence is now the icon of success in our collective imagination that one aspired to by lettered and unlettered rural and urban folks alike. In some perverse way, when we elect to accommodate the so-called extended family, in some cases, we relegate them to the “Boys Quarters” that our former colonial masters, in their vicious racism, reserved for their African servants who were not permitted to share the same space with them.

Like individuals, African Governments too, Nigeria and Igbo inclusive are not noted for pursuing policies that are designed to enhance Africa’s communalist values and enable Africans who so desire to realize their desires for communalist living with very low associated transaction costs. Incidentally, most of them are run by intellectuals and academics. By contrast, by mortgage, deductions to deductions for costs of self-improvement, governments in countries dominated by individualism make bearable the cost of individualist living. Such preferences are based on the discourses of their intellectuals regarding conceptions of the best life for humans.

Communalism in Africa is completely sundered from the reality of the contemporary situation across the continent and in the global African world. In the area of politics, the arrangement is unlikely to be compatible with the growing tendency towards urbanization. It is now predicted that we have more than sixty percent of the African population living in cities and other urban conglomerations. It is even less plausible when it is ethnics that are at issue.

In Africa, communalism is lauded, praised and recognized by many political thinkers as the main foundation of traditional society. But in spite of this, it is one of the most important obstacles to Africa’s economic successes, and as well as clashes with the mobilization of labour and capital which are important factors of production that contribute to economic growth.

Outsiders within the communal communities are viewed as enemies. That though these strangers are well joined into their community, they are not integrated or assimilated, no matter how long they stay. For instance, in our Igbo rural communities, strangers from other communities are never well integrated. Any misdeed they make, elicit severe punishment like, ostracizing or exile. But if the misdeed is by a member of the community, the punishment if must, will be mild. For such reasons therefore, people are not inclined to do more or to stay in places where the locales have a strong sense of communalism. This is so because; they do not want to be treated as second class citizens or denied the possibilities of integration. This lack of internal integration is a major obstacle to economic development. Etinan Local Government Area of Akwa-Ibom State in Nigeria is an example where non-indigenes are not allowed to invest in their economy. They still remain under-development since they refuse to open up for others to come in (Etta, E .F et. al, 2016).

Communalism is instrumental to much of the recent bloody ethnic conflicts between indigenes and settlers in many parts of Nigeria and these are people who have lived alongside each other for generations.


Looking at this work critically, some salient points are raised which will enhance argument, about communalism. It is pertinent to say that this analysis is mindful of the merits and criticisms for or against African communalism.          The write-up shows that communalism has its basic ideology in community identity with the aim of producing and presenting the individual as a community and a culture bearer. It is acknowledged that African communalism guarantees individual responsibility within the communal ownership and relation. But today, individualism resulting from migration and urbanization has almost replaced the sense of community, mutual antagonism and that of suspicion have replaced unity of purpose. This is a destructive divisive element in African society and promotes many of our problems. This is why individualism as an ideology and principal of life is not encouraged in Africa.

However, communalism co-exists with individualism as they turn out to be the basic component of human life in society. Hence, they constitute a dichotomy, without any essential opposites. This is because both concepts exist in the particular epoch of a peoples’ existence theory in subtly different relationships. Sociological study of rural communities shows that even in Africa that is proclaimed as being communalistic, individualistic orientation is still noticeable in their lifestyle.

Whatever may be the effect of urbanization and migration on communalism, the fact remains that changes are inevitable. Today’s Africa has been influenced culturally through cultural diffusion. This is healthy because since culture is dynamic, those obsolete aspects of culture like killing of twins and throwing away of people with certain sicknesses like leprosy and swollen stomach into the evil forest have been removed and new ones put in place. All the same, African communalism remains original to Africa and is foundational to our development and would always be fundamental for the future survival of Africa in general and Igbo people in particular.


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Nebolisa Oluchi .E.                                                                                                                                                                     Department Of Linguistics and Other Nigerian Languages                                                                                                        Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education,                                                                                                                                   Owerri, Imo State of Nigeria.                                                                                                                                                08067998641


Chira Aaron Ekwenze                                                                                                                                                                         Department of Igbo & Other Nigerian Languages                                                                                                                       Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe


Poetry is a distinct type of literary composition in which words are arranged in a specific metrical patterns or any other tightly organized way to evoke sentiments, ideas, or emotions, hidden behind the words. The readers derive pleasure when he discovers the ideas or emotions hidden behind the words. Hunting poetry is a poetry performed by hunters for hunters and by which hunters are identified. Paradoxically, this is a time when hunting poetry are rapidly vanishing and politics is the watchword of the age. Hunting poetry with all its riches in literary and aesthetic expression that evokes an aesthetic response is going into extinction. This research aimed at drawing people attention to Igbo hunt and hunting poetry for the purpose of preserving hunting activities. The major data for this study were sourced from researchers’ field of observation and reading many materials that are connected with poetry. It was observed that there are many types of hunting which include the following day hunting, night hunting, short term hunting and long term hunting. It was also realized that in Igbo traditional society, hunters are regarded as the following the protector and saviour of his community, pride and boastful people, as an entertainer etcetera. Hunting if learn from the childhood ages would contributed a lot towards making people morally upright.


The history of poetry began where the history of all literature begins, with the oral tradition, in a time before literacy and printing press; the oral tradition was relied upon as a way of preserving stories, histories, values and beliefs. These stories were usually put in form of poems with repeated words and sounds used to make the poem easier to memorise and remember. Oral tradition existed long before the advent of writing or printing in 1495 which made possible the tradition and forms of printed literature.

Poetry according to Bush (1952: Vii) “…is the distillation of man’s experience in society and in solitude, of his joys and visions, his suffering and despair, his wisdom and fortitude, his efforts to grasp the burthen of the mystery’ ’Due that poetry is all these, starting from who sings song and listened to them, writes and reads poems, spirit in poetry is always changing with changing experience in a changing world, good poetry remains always alive and always true. Poetry also serves as an aesthetic expression that evokes an aesthetic response. Poetry is mainly aesthetic, formal and technical, it is believed that the elementary motives of both poets and the audience spring from their total feeling, emotion and things that happened to them that influence the way they do things and behave. The oral narrator or individual writer’s vision of order may mean acceptance of nature or denial of nature. According to Olu et al (2002:2), poetry is a piece of writing arranged in patterns of lines and stanzas, expressing some thoughts, feelings or human experience in imaginative language.” Poetry is usually understood as thought expressed in fewer words and always entails the concentration of mood, emotion and experience. The art of poetry is perhaps the oldest of the genres of literature, starting originally as incantation and singing, through the folklore traditions of rural people. Poetry according to Brereton (2008:719) “… is strongly felt experience that has been artfully shaped. Its subject matter is often deep emotion, vividly felt, but the emotion appears with a package that deliberately draws attention to its own artifice and to its verbal complexity.” To listeners and readers of poetry, poem presents both strong feelings as if the poet is telling one something pressing and at the same time, giving one a good made gift.

When art and statement combine and everything worked delightfully, one pays equal interest to both, that is when one makes poem of ones’ own.

Many listeners and readers found poetry difficult, may be by the strong feeling or by the presentation. Many things about poetry can keep readers away, preventing them of great fun involved in poetry and also cutting them off from a key component of culture. According to Brereton (719 & 720), which there are many reasons why many listeners or readers ignore or avoid poem some of which are:

  • The language is often old fashioned
  • The sense is frequently difficulty to understand.
  • A poems’ “hidden meanings” seem like traps for the unwary
  • Poets   sometimes seem to focus on insignificant situations and feelings.
  • In a media age, it’s hard to appreciate a poet’s verbal skill.
  • Poetry is often hard to read aloud.

People experience these complaints about poetry due to their lack of exposure or lack of practice in listening and reading poetry. Poems, due to that they are constructed with such highly condensed, its language, call for more active participation and concentration then short stories or plays.

According to Desmet (2007:358-36) opined that those who enjoy listening and reading poetry view difficulties in poetry as positive strengths: They assumed that

  • The out-of-the ordinary language sound is special.
  • Understanding a complex piece of art is a worthy challenge for listeners and readers.
  • It’s enjoyable to tease out how a poem makes its meaning (or multiple meaning).
  • Poets make us see things we often overlook or ignore.
  • It is a challenge to try to read poems aloud.

The way to change those supposed problems into pleasure is through more experience with poems, listening and reading them, seeing how they are composed, talking about and realizing what other people have to say about them. Within a short period of time, listener or readers will not be afraid of poetry and their newly developed ideas will help to greater understanding and enjoyment of poetry. Poetry can be oral or written. In them, one can see the types of poetry such as; war poem, death poem, lullaby, marriage poem, title poem, incantation, worship poem, work poem, satire, and hunting poem.


Igbo hunters are the first hunters in around the world. This research is to draw peoples’ attention to the poetic importance in hunting activity in Igbo land and as a means of preserving hunting activity of the Igbo people been affected by western civilization.

According to Okoye (2009:23) hunting “…is to run after animals with the intention of killing them.” Hunting could be done individually or collectively.

Children are equally hunters, they hunts for animals like lizard, birds, and rats while adult hunters hunt for big animals like lion, grass cutter, antelope, and elephant etcetera. According to Nneke (2011:10), Hunting “…is the act of going into the forest, with weapons for the purpose of killing wild lives of various types and kinds.” Hunting is one of the noble professions of Igbo people in the olden days. It is an economic activity in which a man can earn his living through hunting in order to satisfy the societies need of meat as well as earning his living by using the hunted animals as food or selling them to make money.

Hunting contributed a lot in the development of agriculture. Meat and other materials from hunting are used as protein, calcium, and fur, feather and leather for clothing. Hunting can be combined with other occupation like farming. According to Idigo, (2002:18) says “Eri in addition to farming becomes a great hunter, who would go to the bush every night to search for prey, which took him several kilometers away from his house.” In the same vein Achara, (1989:3) says “Both fish and animal were sold to, Amaghighi Ihe Qma the leader of the community.”   Hunting helped a lot in the development of the economy. Hunting also can play entertainment functions.

This is achieved by putting up hunters’ activity in a much literary, creative, artistic, and in a poetic manner through the act of reenactment and representation of the hunting activity in a poetic performance. Hunting can be performed as rituals, entertainment and for enjoyment purposes. In the day of performance hunters will make a mock hunt with their gun, machetes. They put their hunting dress on with feathers and skulls of the games they had earlier killed. They shoot into the air and on, the ground for a short period of nine as if they are targeting on animals, came the poems.


Types of Hunting in Igbo Land

There are four types of hunting in Igbo land and they include the following

Day Hunting – In the day hunting, hunters’ go into the forest with every necessary item like matchet, hunting dogs, gun, and drinking water etcetera. In the day hunting there is no head lamp or torchlight because the light of the day gives enough light for the hunter to carry out his exercise.

Night Hunting- In the night hour like about 10.Oclock pm. The hunters start setting off to the forest with the necessary items like headlamp, torchlight, matchet, gun, drinking water and rain coat if it is raining. In the night hunting, light is a necessary item that helps the hunter to perform during his hunting exercise.

With light, the hunter makes his movement into the forest easy. By focusing the light on the animal sight, some animals go blind immediately light flashes into their eyes and cannot make any move again; by this the hunter will shoot the animal. Indeed, light is one of the necessary weapons for night hunting.

Short Term Hunting – Short term hunting which could last from one hour to one day either by the day or at night. According to Nneke (2011:15) “The period of time in the forest by hunters, depend on their arrangement and the information they made available to their relations.” The relations of this type of hunter are always in a suspense each time the hunter fail to come back at the proposed time. They always suspect that the hunter may meet dangerous animal or kill bigger animal which him alone cannot carry.

 Long Term Hunting – In this type of hunting, the hunter spends more than a day in the forest busy carrying out his hunting exercise. His coming back from the forest could be on the four market days Afo, Nkwo, Eke, and Orie for the easy exchange of his animals.

Hunting Poetry

Hunters is everywhere in every society especially in traditional societies. According to Okebalama (2007:188) hunting poetry is defined “as poetry performed by hunters for hunters and by which hunters are identified.’’ Hunters’ music and song composition amongst the hunters is observed during their socio-cultural activities. The musical instrument produced their desired sound and rhythms to rhyme with the occasion.

Hunters are people with many gifts of nature. Many of them sing lot and some of them can perform the role of a praise singer.

Hunters have their association and they can come together and learn a special dance.

According to Okoye (2012:233) ‘’… the special song for hunters is called Egbenuoba.” In the day of performance, the hunters make mockery of hunt with their materials which they used for hunting such as headlamp, torch light, hunting bags etcetera. They also wear their hunting dresses, pointing their guns into the air and on the ground as if there are targeting at the animals.

In Igbo traditional society, hunters are regarded as the following; the protector and saviour of his community especially during wars with another community, as pride and boastful people, are also regarded as entertainers. Other activities which hunters can display their performances are during the burial ceremony of follow hunters, when their follow hunter killed prestigious animal, during festivals.

Hunters as Protector and Saviour of his Community

Hunters willingly do things which are difficult, dangerous and painful.   They are the group of people that are not easily afraid. Being courageous as one of the features of the hunters makes them the potential soldiers of their communities. Carrying gun, headlamp only, is a bravery act. Hunters knew that some animals like leopard, lion are very dangerous to human beings but hunters keep negative thinking aside and hunt for such animals even at night. Hunters due to that they are bravery people, there are always at the war front singing this song.

Gbuoro m oja –            Blow the trumpet for me
Dike si na ya bu dike puta n’ogbo Any other hero besides me let that hero come out on the wrestling ground
Ka aja banye ya n’anya So that sand will be poured into his eyes.
0 bu m bu dimgba

Oji aka gbajie pdum ukwuI am a great wrestler

He who used hand to break the lion’s waist.

                                                 By Chukwuezi (1988:41)

This song when it is been sing to the hunters, there moral are always high, charged and they are ready to face and challenge or battle.

Hunters as Pride and Boastful People

Hunters are pride people due to the economic important attached to their value. Hunting occupation is not out of peoples’ minds. In Igbo land, hunger is never in any hunters house hold. Hunters’ wife and children always have enough to eat. As a hunter, not all the animals they killed are to be sold for money, at times they purposely keep animals for their family consumption. Many hunters are farmers, they cultivate major crop like yam, cassava, vegetables etcetera. Some hunter has killed prestigious animals like lion, and such hunter is crowned Ogbuagu (lion killers).

Furthermore, in any village meeting in case of any fund rising, hunters are the first people to pay their own.   Hunters are regarded as wealthy people. In Igbo land all these achievements of hunters make them proud. One can see how boastful hunters are in these songs.

Otha nwa Njoku Otha son of Njoku
Umu Nkachi Ukpo Children of Nkachi Ukpo
O kaa O mee He that pronounces and it happens
Omere nkwu na-achi Ukpo Omere nkwu na-achi Ukpo

O gbuo o buruHe that kills and carries awayO luo o laaHe that fights and escapes unhurtNwa Nkachi UkpoSon of Nkachi UkpoMapiara mma imiAn epitome of eleganceMu akpowa nwa Ubi AruI beckon on son Ubi AruOgba aka achu onye ji egbeMan that chases an armed ma

Oziza: “O wee – e – e , O bu mResponse: “Yes, it’s meAna m akpoku nwa Nkachi Ukpo       I am calling on son of Nkachi UkpoMu akpokukwa nwa Ekworonye     I also call on son of EkworonyeO kaa o meeHe that pronounces and it comes throughMu akpo Edwin QnuI call on Edwin OnuOmere nne na nwaHe that deals with mother and childOgbara Qwychie uzo bu diHe that shoots and blocks the wayA na-akpo onye la nke o ma emeOne is called for what one is good atA nwa nna ya na-eme hu pguIf a warrior’s son arrives, the handleE meturu ya aka nisi mmaOf the knife is dangled at himDi Enyidiya!Husband of EnyidiyaUmu Erum unu nokwa e-e?Children of Erum, are you there?Oji egbe ego ivuHe that acquires wealth with gunOo nna anaghu n’uhwu?Does it mean you are not at home?Okaa omeeHe that orders and it must be obeyed

Ogba aka aga mgbamgba lee-e!He that fetches melon without a containerOmere anu na-ata mgbamgba!The doer of animals that eat melonOpi adịghị akpọ onye nke

nke n’ ukporoThe flute never calls on the stout man for naught!Ọchi agha gwụrụ ụmụ anụ n’ọhịa

Commander of the war that Eliminates game in the bushO kaa O buru uzoHe that gives order and takes the leadI nokwa n’ulo e-e-eAre you in the house?Ochu iyi oguHe that fetches war as if it were waterI nokwan’ulo e-e-eAre you in the house?Nwakamma olu aguNwakamma the leopard archerOji egbe akpa akuThe one that makes wealth with gunBia kelee m nwa nwa ukwu!Come and greet great maternal grandsonNwa nwa ukwu!Great maternal grandsonOgbuo obitere ibe nne ya!The one that kills and brings to his                                     maternal unclesOtha nwa NjokuOtha son of NjokuNwokhe otubeMan with a prominent archerEgbuole me ele n”ọhịaI have killed an antelope in the bushEgbuole m ele mgbe murani m soI killed an antelope while aloneKpowa nwanne m nwoke EkwurigwoI called on my brother EkwurigwoEgburu m ya kpo umunna mI killed it and called my kinsmenUmunna m zuo            Ekwurigwo!My kinsmen assembled       Ekwurigwo-e!Adu ala Erum Orie OderuI am retiring to Erum Orie OderuMu aga kpo ogbuo onye nnuLet me all here that kills and

shares to four hundredMu akpo nwa Ubi AruLet me call the son of Ubi AruNke mere anu ji agba aku ekweThe one that deals with the animals that beats the gong with the jawMere anu na-ata mgbamgbaThe one that deals with animals that eat melon under impenetrable grassOgbaa onye nnu nwanne ukwuHe that kills and shares to four hundred, big maternal grandson

Ndi Erum Orie OderuPeople of Erum Orie OderuNdj Omeru nnekwu ndi odo chekwaa nde haPeople who snatch other people’s wives while guarding theirs jealouslyNwa Nkachi UkpoSon of Nkachi UkpoNke mapiara mma imiThe epitome of eleganceUmu ibe -e-e-eComrades!Erum Orie OderuErum Orie OderuAnyi mere ndi oga aga aga agaWe caused people departing nMeekwanu ndi Ola ala ala alaAnd caused people arriving not to arriveEhi anyi garu QzaraThe day we went to OzaraOzara kwusi anyi,Ozara stopped usSi anyi abyalaAnd welcomed usN’ihi la anyi na-agbata maBecause we can shoot down birds in nuunu no n’efeAnyi si ha la ohiere ehiIt is an inherited natural giftAdughu agwo ya agwoIt’s not a product of concoction By Okebalama (2007:91-93)

         In this poem, one can see that hunters are boastful people. They talk so much about their achievements strength and what they have. The language of this poem is the language of Umuhie-Umuopara in Abia state in Igbo land.


Hunters as entertainers

Hunters sometimes interest and amuse people with their hunting activities. Hunters make fun from the dramatic process involved in the act of hunting animals. Hunters as the entertainer can be seen in this song.

Ogba n’ufe          2  – Shooter of flying birds

Qgba n’ikuku               – Specialist in air shooting

Anu dinta na-ede         – After running up and down

I ga-akwuriri n’ite ofe             – Must end in the hunters’ soup pot.

Okoye (2012:233).

Hunters interest and amuse people with their song. This can last for hours. Their purpose is to interest and inform people with their hunting activities.

Hunters during the funeral ceremony of a follow hunter

During the funeral ceremony of a fellow hunter, the hunters would assemble to the dead member to pay him their last respect. On such situation, they will appear in their hunting items, with the skulls and bones of animals which they have killed. They would walk around the community and enter their dead member compound at the end to perform their hunting activity in memory of their member with this song.

Gini mere dike What happen to the hero?
Gini mere dike What happen to the hero?
Oke osisi oji adaruola ala The great iroko tree has fallen down
Dike agbaala mgbada, gbakwasa ogwumagala He has killed antelope, and chameleon.
Dike gbara agu, gbaa odum The hero has killed lion and leopard
Dike bata ohia egwu aburu nke umuanumanu When the hero enters into the forest, the animal will be filled with fear.
O too o gbajie The one who pointed and killed
Burukwa dinta n’uwa gi ozo Be a hunter in the next world to come
Biakwa biakwa uwa ozo dika dinta Come back again to the world like a hunter.

When a fellow hunter killed a prestigious animal

Hunters have their honour amongst their members.   The hunters’ honour and prestige depend on how often he killed the prestigious animals.

Animals like lion, leopard, python, elephant et cetera, are regarded as prestigious animals in Igbo land, The hunter who killed these animals are crowned the following title.

Ogbuenyi                     –           The killer of elephant

Ogbuagu                     –           The killer of leopard

Ogbuodym                 –           The killer of lion

Ogbueke                      –           The killer of python

On the day of the title, the hunters are to crown their member with the following song.

Ogbu anu ukwu The killer of biggest animal
Ogbu anu ukwu The killer of biggest animal
Anu ukwu huru gi buru ozu The biggest animals saw you and became dead
Isokpokoro isi di n’uko The skulls is now under the roof
Enyi a huola ya n’oku dika okuko Elephant is roasted like chicken
N’ubochi laa, o buzi ogbuenyi From today you are crown Ogbuenyi

In this poem, the hunters use it to appreciate their fellow hunter that killed the prestigious animal. Because they believe that if the man that killed the prestigious animal is honoured he will struggle to kill more. As the saying goes that when one is praised for his good conduct he will do more.


Hunters can be called upon to perform during festival

During festival like new yam festivals, the hunters are called to perform with following song.

Gbaa ya, gbaa ya                     – Shoot it shoot it

0 banye ohia                            – If it runs into the bush

Gbaa ya                                   – Shoot it.

O ria elu                                   – If it climbs

Gbaa ya                                   – Shoot it.

Dinta anaghi abanye ohia        – A hunter does not enter the bush

Gbara aka anu                         – Without killing a game.

                                                   By Okoye (2012:235)

In this poem the hunters will demonstrate how they chase after animals in the forest by shooting on the trees, on the ground and will assume that animal is being killed by putting in their hunting bag. With this, the audience will be very excited and the festival will be a colourful one.


A look at the hunting and hunting poetry, shows very clearly that hunters contribute a lot to the economic development of the society. Igbo traditional hunting is going into extinction due to civilization. No one is paying attention to hunting activities any longer.

     Igbo traditional hunters are hardworking, brave people and always contented with themselves. Hunting if learned from the childhood would contribute a lot towards making people morally upright.   This is because each of the hunting poems portrays moral act of hunters. The Igbo traditional hunting activity become a poetic piece when all the activities during actual hunting expedition are mimic, repeated and depicted for the purpose of entertainment or relaxation, reward of successful hunters and restore of hunters personalities. Also the hunter who killed the prestigious animal are crowned. If the people of this new generation can be hunters again, nefarious acts such as stealing, hunger, laziness and unsatisfaction will be reduced because hunters are known for self-satisfaction.


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Anyanwu Princewill Uzochukwu                                                                                                                                     Department of Igbo,                                                                                                                                                                        Federal College Of Education,                                                                                                                                                           Yola P.M.B. 2042, Yola                                                                                                                                                     Adamawa State.                                                                                                                                                               uprincewill@rocketmail.com 08069411793


Symbols are part and parcel of every culture. So infused together that without symbols there would be no culture. The totality of Igbo man’s life, both physical and spiritual reams of existence involves symbols. These symbols represent Igbo ideas, emotions, thoughts, beliefs, knowledge and technology which help man to adapt peacefully into his environment. Therefore, this paper aims to highlight the semiotic of Igbo symbols, as a cultural emblem for the Igbo race. The paper concludes that out of ignorance and the effect of colonization and urbanization, there is a continuous gradual decline by most Igbo people in recognizing the meaning or appreciating the values and relevance of Igbo symbols as an Igbo identity.


The interaction of people living in a community is made easy through the understanding of the meaning of different symbols in their society. Individuals and communities uses symbols as a sense of identity. Giving the nature of man as a cultural animal, man is able to make representations of his cultural identity through symbols in form of artifacts, language, religious beliefs, names, sounds and gestures.

In Igbo daily life, we are surrounded by these cultural representations that remind us that we are Igbo people of a particular community. These symbols give us instructions on what to do and what not to do, it instructs the public the activities going on in the community and also showcases the type of occupation community engages into which may be in concrete or abstract form. The meaning of these symbols may manifest itself either in negative or positive forms. For example, when a group of people in a particular place speak Igbo language, Igbo language identifies the group as Igbo people. Symbols also determine one’s action, for instance, when one sees an area surrounded by a tender palm tree leave (Ọmụ) or pieces of red and black cloths, hears a sound of a wooden or metal gong (Ikoro, Ekwe or Ogene) from a village squire. Even, the rhythm of wooden or metal gong informs the community of the next line of action. From the sound of the gong, one determines the community that owns the gong. When one flag you down, clap hands, blink eyes, seating, kneeling or standing positions. For example, one determines the status of an individual through the position of his ‘Ikenga’ either seating or standing positions. Understanding the semiotic meaning of these symbols give Igbo man the ability to adapt into his environment and a sign of identity.

To White, “culture originated when our ancestors acquired the ability to use symbols, that is, to originate and bestow meaning on a thing or event and correspondingly, to grasp and appreciate such meanings” (White, 1959). Symbol instructs, informs, teaches, directs and makes one to behave in a desired way within the community. As when one showcases such symbol outside his community, people identify him by such symbol. In the same way, strangers coming in to the community will know everything about the community, such as their foods, occupations, visions, missions and their philosophy through the symbols within the said community. But in recent times, may be due to influence from other cultures, urbanization and colonization some individuals or groups in Igbo community pay less attention to Igbo symbols within their community, thinking that the reflection of these symbols are fuddy-duddy, fogey, crude, primitive, ancient, old-fashion, outdated, traditional and uncivilized. These laser-affair attitude practices on Igbo symbols which are demonstrated by some individual or group in Igbo communities have gradually lead to the erosion of Igbo identity in Igbo communities. This paper aims to highlight the semiotic of Igbo symbols as one the catalyst to the recovering of the lost Igbo identity which is the emblem for the Igbo race.

What is Semiotic?

The Longman dictionary of contemporary English (2007) defines semiotics as ‘’the way in which people communicate through signs and images.’’ Hence, Saeed (2003) sees Semioticians as those who investigate the types of relationship that exist between a sign or symbol and the object it represents or between a ‘signifier’’ and its ‘’signified’’. There are key basic concepts that unify the semiotic tradition. Littlejohn and Foss (2008) identify ‘sign’ or ‘symbol’ as a basic concept of semiotic tradition and define it as “stimulus designating or indicating some other condition – just as when smoke indicates the presence of fire.’’ They further assert that semiotics refer to “how signs come to represent objects, ideas, situations, feelings and conditions outside of themselves.

Such representation is often mediated by the conscious interpretation of the person, and any interpretation or meaning for a sign will change from situation to situation”. Yina (2011) states that symbol is where there is neither connection nor resemblance between sign and object. According to him, a symbol communicates only because there is a conventional agreement among people that it shall stand for what it does. A symbol is therefore, a concrete event, object or mark that stands for something relatively abstract. Explicating this, Yina illustrates with the use of cross (+), which stands for the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ, i.e. his suffering and death on the cross. Most Christian churches therefore, bear the sign of the cross ((+), indicating Christianity). That is why Dukor in Ngangah (2013:117) defines symbols as:

           The cultural realities imbued with cultural meaning and any suggestive symbol … is epistemic and thematic. It is an overt expression of the reality behind any direct act of perception and apprehension, which really possesses scientific connotation outside its normal, obvious or conventional meaning.

Symbols in general, in Dukor’s view, refer to that which expresses, represents, stands for, reveals, motivates, and makes known another reality. In other words, symbols are tools employed by man for the purpose of understanding the world, himself and his environment, and usually characterized by communicative and cognitive qualities. Evolutionists define symbols as “information capable of affecting individual’s behaviour that they acquire from other members of their species through teaching, imitation and other forms of transmission” (Richerson & Boyd, 2005). Isiguzo. (2012) in his article, “African culture and symbolism: a rediscovery of the seam of a fragmented identity” defines symbol is something such as idea, object, conventional or non-conventional that is used to represent something else. He went further to say it could be abstract or not. Abstract symbols are symbols that do not depend on their concrete material substance. While Kottak (2011) sees symbol as something verbal or nonverbal, within a particular language or culture, that comes to stand for something else. A symbol is seen as any material or non-material substance that gives commands which portrays specific meaning to members that share them. There is no obvious, natural or necessary connection between the symbol and what it symbolizes. For example, in Igbo culture, a young palm tree leaves (Ọmụ) used to surround a place or tied on a particular thing signifies danger. Here, there is no relationship between the symbol ‘Ọmụ’ and what it symbolizes ‘danger’. Understanding symbol in a particular context is only attributed to human being. Crapo (2002) accepted this assertion when he says:

Symbolism communication is the most distinctive of all human behavioural attributes. It is the use of symbols in communicating that sets us apart from other animals and serves as the foundation for the extremely complex ways of life found in all human groups.

Symbols are objects such as national flag, cross or spoken word that have no inherent significance and whose meanings exist only because their users have agreed that they will represent certain objects or events. Symbols may be in concrete form such as sculptures, carved or molded forms such as cross, ikenga, ọfọ, or animals or human shapes. It could be drawn or weaved by craft men on papers, cloths or in form of pictures such as flag, logos, nsịbịdị and secrete society signs. It could be in form of sounds and gestures such as the sound of wooden and metal gongs and membrane (Ikoro, Ekwe, Ogene and Ịgba) and gestures such as seating, standing and kneeling positions, or pointing to a particular direction. These symbols may mean different things to different people and in different situations which may produce or portray caution, danger, loyalty, peace, mourn, sacred, love and even hospitality. For example, the young palm tree leaves (Ọmụ) symbolizes sacred, while the seating position of Ikenga status symbolizes “Ọgaranya” (those who by wealth and influence have ascended the ladder of a recognizably respected socio-political rank and have taken title to show for it). While blinking of an eye may mean love or hostility and white colour symbolizes peace and black colour symbolizes mourning in Igbo context.

Language as a symbol of identity

Language as part and parcel of symbol is the major symbolic system use in human society. The behavior and perception of individual or group in a community depends on their language. Language is essential hence it gives members of ethnic group a sense of identity. A group is said to be an ethnic group when they speak one significant language; any time that language seizes to be spoken, that ethnic group has lost her identity. That is why Maduekwe (2007) believes that:

           Language is the most sophisticated communication tool of life and what it means to be human. It is that distinctive human reality which serves as the means and end of behavior ordered and achieved within any given community, society or nation at large. . . language is the tool for processing information and for organizing personal perceptions of self in relation to one’s surroundings

From her view, language determines how individuals in a particular community behave, perceive things around them and interpret other people’s expressions of ideas. Meanwhile, Lyons in Syal and Jindal (2012) see language as “the principal system of communication used by particular groups of human beings within the particular society (linguistics community) of which they are members.” The words of a language are used to symbolize specific concepts, ideas or objects. Concrete objects like “ọjị” (kola nut), “Ọmụ” (tender palm leave), “ọfọ” (traditional mace), “ikenga” and others, are given names with the words of a language generally accepted and understood by people who use them and they are used to connote specific meanings. Language is therefore, a symbol system, though different languages use different symbols. No doubt, language makes man unique in his communication because it enables him to capture his social complexities in their various unique forms and manners of occurrence.

But during the time of colonialism, Europeans knew that the identity of any group or nation is imbedded in its symbols; when they colonize Africa, they destroyed African symbols and replace them with European symbols. For example, English and French languages being used as lingua-franca in African continent today. Colonial masters forced Igbo people and other ethnic groups in Africa to abandon their languages and embrace their own languages which have remain the only way to create, share, preserve and transmit their cultural symbols to the next generations. Till now, they are working hard to eradicate African symbol of identity so that Africans and Igbo people shall remain captive in their hands.

Igbo language is part and parcel of Igbo symbols which is fused together into Igbo culture. Without symbols there would be no culture. It is through the symbol such as language, Igbo people are able to create, share, preserve and transmit cultural meanings such as emotions, thoughts, values, norms, knowledge, artifacts, and beliefs. Any ethnic group that allows her language to disappear or dies, will no longer create, share, preserve and transmit her cultural meanings to the next generations; thereby making the ethnic group to lost her identity. Language is like a national flag to those that use it. For example, wherever Igbo language is spoken, it reminds the society about this ethnic group called Igbo, her culture, belief, technology, business, food, religion and their total way of life.


Other Igbo symbols and what they represent

Igbo symbols represent different Igbo ideas which are the source of insights into Igbo orientations of life. Igbo man decorates his environment with different signs and artifacts which symbolize specific meaning to communities that share it. These symbolic signs and artifacts could be in form of carved or molded sculptures or chorographic representations in scripted on walls and doors of traditional Igbo man. For example, an agricultural based community may carve or mold farm implement on different strategic positions in the community; which symbolizes farming as their major occupation and a source of income to members of the community. It may be a molded or carved fish to indicate that members of such community are predominantly fisher men.

Shrines and the houses of traditional medicine men are decorated to symbolize as being sacred. Different sizes of “ọmụ” (tender palm leaf) which is the symbol of peace and sacred and pieces of clothing materials ranging from red, black and white is hung at the strategic place of the shrine. Different choreographic representations are drawn on the walls and doors of houses in the shrine. Carved and molded human and animal images are placed around the shrine. This type of environment symbolizes ‘sacred’ in Igbo traditional setting.


Ikenga symbol

The carved statue of Ikenga in Igbo traditional setting symbolizes the strength and power of a man. The position of Ikenga either sitting or standing, determines the height the owner has attended in the community and his economic wealth. Ikenga statue in sitting position indicates that the individual who owns the Ikenga has attended to the highest level in the community. He has made wealth and power in the community which the community justifies by conferring on him “Nze” or “Ọzọ” title holder as a reward of what he has achieved in the community. Ekwuru (2009:326) says that:

Ikenga-Ọgaranya is the type of Ikenga that belongs to the socio-political hierarchies of the titled men: The Nze na Ọzọ societies, the Ichie or Ndịiche groups in their different ranks and files. These people, in the traditional context, were known and respected as the Ọgaranya (those who by wealth and influence have ascended the ladder of a recognizable respected socio-political rank and have taken titles to show it). They are said to have earned, with their wealth and influence, the natural concomitant acquisition of wisdom and socio-political power and respect that accompany and characterize hard work and eldership.

           But the standing position of Ikenga indicates that the owner of the Ikenga is still in the process of attaining a greater height in the community. In the same vain, Ekwuru (2009:323) says that: Ikenga-nwaonye is not only reserved for those who have arrived at the zenith of social achievements, but it is also owned and possessed by individuals, newly initiated into adulthood as beginners in the race for success in life. Other symbols Igbo man uses to show his power, wealth or height he has attained in the community, for example, somebody who wants to express his power, could choose to draw, carve, mold a lion on his house or hang a lion skin on his house. For the person who wants to show how wealthy he has attained in the community, could draw or carve an eagle which symbolizes his bright position before the rest of the people. Just as the eagle is the best highly placed before other birds, to show its strength and power of flying highest of all birds?

Symbol of Ọfọ

“Ọfọ”, is god of justice and truth in Igbo traditional political setting. “Ọfọ” is seen as a male spirit and is used in the trial of cases to ensure the prevalence of right judgement. Ekwuru (2009:163) says:

Ọfọ is primarily known as a ritual powerful instrument of communication, a channel through which the “powers” of the human words are communicated to the rest of the universal beings. Thus the ritual striking of the Ọfọ on the ground identifies the triggering of the spiritual machinery to actualize the human intentionality or the ritual purpose.

In any Igbo traditional meeting deliberation, any time the Ọfọ is strikes on the ground, it shows the agreement of the decision reached, and it is final. Nobody can deliberate on that issue again and who so ever works against such decision, shall receive the wrath of gods.

Kola nut symbol (Ọjị Igbo)

The symbolism of kola nut in Igbo culture cannot be over emphasizing. Ọjọ Igbo (Kola acuminata) is symbolic when presented to a visitor. Different cotyledons of kola acuminata (Ọjọ Igbo) are also symbolic in the life of Igbo people. Igbo kola nut symbolizes life, because he who brings kola nut brings life. Whenever kola nut is presented to guest (s), it signifies hospitality which calls for prayer of abundant of life and everything that makes life sweet; for both the guest and the entertainer. Nnamdi-Eruchalu (n.d:173) stated that:

           The prayer usually offered whenever kola nut is presented is a prayer of life and the good things that go with it. Kola nut, when presented, symbolizes unity, friendship, love, and acceptance, and all these make life worth living. Partaking of it is like sharing in a communion of the living. Consequently, its presentation is likened to the gift of life.

Kola nut connotes many ideas in the minds of Igbo people. It could signify hospitality, prosperity, completeness, love, peaceful or cordial relationship, unity, friendship, joy, etc. Igbo kola nut (cola acuminata) always has many cotyledons, each cotyledon having a symbolic meaning in the lives of Igbo people. According to Okoye and Okoye (2009), mythical explanation also surrounds the number of lobes a kola nut has after breaking it. The Igbo kola nut may have up to seven cotyledons. A kola nut with one cotyledon is frowned at because of their cultural belief that it signifies barrenness.

Different number of cotyledons and their symbolic meaning

Two cotyledons Is evil and bad kola nut which may be thrown away or be eaten by the elders and will not be used for any traditional functions.
Three cotyledons Is a good kola nut depicting good omen, though not a complete kola nut, but meant for exceptional people, those who have contributed to the peace and development in the community partake in this kola nut. It is called ‘Ọjị Dike / Ọjị Ikenga.
Four cotyledons This signifies completeness, having equal value to both men and spirits. It indicates equal share of the blessings of the day; because, gods representing four market days (Eke, Orie, Afo, and Nkwo) which makes Igbo week is represented.
Five cotyledons It signifies productivity in all facet of life (Ọjị Ọmụmụ). this kola nut, depicts extra blessing in areas of life; such as good health, wealth, and protections.
Six cotyledons Symbolizes the communion between the living and the dead, (Ọjị ndị mmụọ na ndị mmadụ jiri gbaa ndụ). both the living and the dead most partake in this kola nut.
Seven cotyledons This signifies bundles of blessings (Ugwutugwu ihe ọma) which implies great wealth, productivity and great abundance to those who partake in it.


White clay (nzu) symbol

This is another significant Igbo cultural object which has some symbolic or mystical meaning and functions like the Igbo kola nut. This object which is made of white clay substance is a symbol of purity, passport for good luck as man involves in relationship with others and with the spirits.

Ọmụ (Tender leaves of palm tree) symbol

“Ọmụ” is traditionally used in Igbo land for different purposes. In other words, it has different connotations depending on the context where it is used to communicate meaning. When tender leaves of palm tree (ọmụ) are tied round a tree, it is simply used to warn that nobody should neither touch nor destroy it. The same thing applies when it is placed on a land where two people or villages claim ownership of the same land. Tender leaves of palm tree in such context symbolize that nobody should transgress on the land until peace is restored to avoid out-break of war. “Ọmọ” is also used to symbolize sacredness; for instance, if it is tied to a shrine, it indicates that non-worshipers should keep off and avoid trespassing.

Adibe (2008) declares that ‘ọmụ nkwụ’ (tender leaves of palm frond) is a mystical symbol of the presence of ancestral spirits and Ala deity in their meditational role as peace makers. He went further to say “when one out of two communities engaged in a communal clash sends emissaries to the other community on a peace mission, the host community can now tie the ọmụ in a particular way to denote the community’s willingness to enter into peace negotiations”

Black and Red symbol

In the same vain, colours have symbolic meaning in Igbo culture where each colour conveys specific message when displayed at significant places or situations. Red colour in Igbo context is a spiritual colour which has a powerful religious significance. Red clothing material is used to decorate tables or environment of the shrines and also worn by deity’s chief priest. It symbolizes sacred and danger in Igbo traditional setting.

Black colour is a symbolic colour for funeral in all parts of Igbo land. It is the official mourning cloth at funerals worn by the bereaved family especially by the husband of wife of the deceased. This colour of cloth worn by the bereaved symbolizes sacred. There is a limited co-operation between sacred and profane. The black cloth remains the mourner’s official cloth which he or she wears always. Any person in mourning condition will not have a free relationship with people, he or she will not marry or be married; should not have any sexual relationship with anybody until after one year when the mourner will be lifted from this condition.

Sound symbols (wooden and metal gongs)

The sound of Igbo wooden and metal gong, membrane and flute such as the sound of (Ịgba, Ekwe, Ogene and Opi) have significant meaning to the Igbo user. Among the Igbo group of Nigeria for example, when the wooden or metal gong is sounded repeatedly in high degree, it symbolizes danger. This type of sound would alert the community that shares this symbol to take caution. It could be used to inform the community that shares this symbol about the danger in the community which could be thieves or wide animals terrorizing the community. Okodo (2013:101) agrees with this assertion that:

Ikoro can be sounded when something unusual that has a great significance happens, for example, in the situation of emergency, like wild animals attacking people in the community etc, when a festival is being celebrated, it is also sounded in honour of deities and so on and so forth.

The meaning of nonverbal symbols may depend on the users. For example, giving or collecting something from anyone with left hand is a taboo and symbolizes disrespect. It is also a taboo to shake hands with someone or even wave hands with your left hand, in Igbo context, it shows arrogance. Nodding your head in Igbo context symbolizes acceptance, while shaking your head symbolizes non acceptance. Another gesture in Igbo cultural context is pointing to the location of something with the finger closest to the thumb, symbolizing the direction of something

The effect of Colonization on Igbo symbols

Notwithstanding that European Colonialism and Christianity are among the factors that ignited the fire of positive change in Igbo cultural, social, political, economic and religious life. The European colonization and Christianization also affected the Igbo culture and its identity. The signs and symbols embodied in Igbo culture as Igbo symbol of identity were affected in the process of change. Proficiency in our language is declining because we are compelled to embrace Western culture and language. Most of our artifacts are either destroyed by them or replaced by their own symbols. For example, “Ọmụ” (tender palm leaf), which symbolizes danger in Igbo context is replaced by a pieces of red material which also symbolizes danger in European context. Ikenga and Ọfọ are completely destroyed. Black cloth for mourning is replaced by white cloth which indicates a different meaning in Igbo culture.


This paper has succeeded in discussing the semiotic of Igbo symbol as a cultural emblem for Igbo race. In our daily lives, we interact with different symbols which give our neighbours and those that come across us the insight to identify us as Igbo people. Igbo symbols as part and parcel of Igbo people which represented their ideas, emotions, thoughts believe knowledge, and technology which has become the source of insight into Igbo orientations of life. Symbols infused into Igbo culture that without it, there would be no culture. Igbo symbols as concrete part of Igbo culture have remained the identity of Igbo people. But out of ignorance and the effect of colonization and urbanization, there was a gradual decline by most Igbo people in recognizing the meaning or appreciating the values and relevance of Igbo symbols as Igbo identity. There is ethnic group called Igbo today because we still have remnants of Igbo symbols in the society which this paper is calling to uphold.                                                               This paper concludes that, what Igbo are known for should remain their own, and it is their symbol of identity. Igbo symbols are part and parcel of Igbo culture which tells the whole world whom we are, where we come from and the type of life we live in. When we borrow other people’s culture, and abandon our own, it makes us not to uphold our identity.


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AYOZIE, CHIOMA ROSEMAR                                                                                                                                Directorate of General Studies                                                                                                                                             Federal university of technology,                                                                                                                                         Owerri, Imo State                                                                                                                                                               080379752 ayoziechioma2014@gmail.com



As long as human beings live there must be conflicts that arise because of greed, hatred, wickedness, selfishness, jealousy, gossip etc. This brings about unhealthy competitions, fight, killings etc. The need to reduce it to a more tolerable level or complete eradication may be too difficult to achieve. This prompted this research. The study is set to investigate Ịgbandụ as a traditional method of conflict resolution in Igbo land, its meaning, types, and reasons, how it is administered, how it is used to achieve peace etc. The data is collected through observations and intuitive knowledge as Igbo indigenes. The theory of culture based of (1981) propounded by Ury, William, Fisher, Roger was adopted. It is found that Ịgbandụ promotes healthy living, peaceful co-existence and sustainable development; it is also found that Ịgbandụ controls to an extent greed, killing etc. It is suggested that Ịgbandụ be extended to every establishment, in the formal settings in other to promote a healthy society.

Key words: Tradition, Ịgbandụ, Conflict and Resolution.


            Mishnah (1982:86) in his work notes that tradition is the handing down of information beliefs and customs by words of mouth or by example from one generation to another within the society. According to Mba et al (2013:288) “tradition is a transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation. Tradition is therefore a custom or an old acceptable way of doing things in a society. In Igbo land, Igbo people are well known for their tradition which they use to guide themselves in all the affairs of their lives. They measure up in everything they do such as trade, politics, education et cetera. They are the type that strive so hard to be in an environment where they will abstain from being bound by their fellow human being either by dominating, displaying of superiority, cheating, exhibiting of class or level. These acts result in a highly competitive environment and these can lead to quarrel, misunderstanding, dispute and other evil plans which can eventually result to conflict. Conflict is a natural thing. Is something or an act that comes most of the times unexpected? Conflict exists between two individuals, groups or communities that are not able to work live or share ideas together. Consequently, conflicts are in the magnitude of rage, rift, misunderstanding, family and market brawls, skirmishes and wars, public insurrections and assaults. It also includes chieftaincy and boundary disputes (Olaoba in Ajayi and Buhari, 2014:140). From the definition above, it means that conflict results when two or more parties could not agree on an issue. This leads to hate, taking of lives, mistrust and so on. In other to resolve all these, human beings strive to come into agreement or dialogue with Igbandu. Also, Igbo people are the people in Nigeria who have taken Igbo land as their ancestral home land and also speak Igbo language as their mother tongue. Igbo people are the predominate tribe in Anambra, Enugu, Abia, Imo, Ebonyi and some parts of Delta, Akwa-Ibom and Rivers states.

            Igbo people are well known for migrating to other lands. It is with a spirit of hard work that Igbo people move from place to place in search of greener pasture. There is no place in the world you will not find an Igbo person resident there, also it is very difficult to find an Igbo family without at least business. In order to cement relationship in business Ịgbandụ comes to be.

            In this paper, we are going to focus on the concept of Igbandụ, types of Igbandu, objects for Igbandu and how Igbanduis administered, the reason why people enter into Igbandu, the consequences one encounter for not keeping to the rules of Igbandu, the concept of conflict resolution and how Igbandu is used to resolve conflict in Igbo land.

The Concept of Igbandu

            Igbandu which is known as covenant literarily means to bind life. In otherwords hand, Igbandu is an agreement between individuals or groups. According to Duru (2009) Igbandu is a covenant between individuals or groups. In the same vein Mezie-Okoye (2016:27) posits that Igbandu is a covenant between two or more individuals or a group of persons. Igbandu is a bind of life that exists between two or more people or a group of persons in Igbo land. In Igbo setting good human relationship and peaceful co-existence are always deemed necessary in other not to reap evil. For this reason, Igbo people take it upon themselves to seek peace for the good of all. Anyone that hates peace is seen as a devil. Despite the above, there are individual differences; everybody has their interest that sometimes brings about conflict between spouses, kinsmen, business partners etc. The most common causes of conflicts in the society are disputes over land, money, titles and so on. These conflicts between families, groups or communities brings about hatred, quarrel, wars, loss of lives and properties, misunderstanding, cheating, stealing, maltreatment, betrayal, wickedness, poisoning, mistrust and other vices in Igbo land. To make people have relaxed and settled mind in Igbo society, Igbandu becomes necessary.

            Igbandu exist in other to ensure uprightness, protection, relaxed mind, foster peace and unity, leave without fear and have trust on the other party. According to Odo (2007:1);

When people are involved in a conflict situation and want to create or rebuild broken relationship, they invariably want a guaranteed atmosphere of safety and goodwill. They want an environment of trust to give effect to their willingness to belong to a common family-hood. Such goodwill on the part of person or groups or families involved is normally symbolized by a covenant ceremony within the family circle.

In a family, group or community where Igbandu has taken place, there is always peace, unity and people feel secured. There is always sincerity. Igbandu as a way of finding trust, peace, security and a promise not to deviate from agreement reached and as a result of this, peace is maintained and security is assured. Duru in Mezie-Okoye (2016:27) ascertain that:

People involved in the covenant prepare a mixture with blood of each person involved in the pack and every member drinks. It goes to mean that none of these people should harm each other or see anything that will harm any member of such group and allow such to happen.

            It is observed that whenever a conflict is resolved and cemented with Igbandu, peace reign and the people will always avoid going contrary to that which may attract the wrath of God or the gods. Anybody that fails to adhere to the rules of Igbandu, which are clearly spelt out during the process attracts the punishment from the gods upon whose names the covenant was done.

            In Igbandu, people concerned may consult deities or God. A deity may be human or non-human that are acknowledged within a particular environment while the spirits could be human or non-human that interacts between the body and the souls. They could be the souls of dead people. In Igbo land, there are many deities that are involved in Igbandu, it depends on the one the people may want to choose. Deities like Amadioha, Igwekala, Ogwugwu, Ibiniukpabi etc are always called to witness covenant and people believe that these deities avenge for the upright by killing the defaulter. In the process of Igbandu, people state the penalty for going against the rules of Igbandu. With this stated penalty, no one will like to deviate from the rules. With this, there will be no more fear from both parties because trust is now built among both parties that took part in Igbandu.

            Igbandu are not only meant for unbelievers. Christians do their covenant with Bible, holy water and other sacramental’s or they swear in the church before the altar. When the Christians encounter problems such as violation of agreement, poisoning of person, accusation of all kinds, land disputes, they cry out to a spiritual priest who will organize the covenant for the parties involved. The spiritual priest invites both parties and provides bible, holy water or any sacramental for them to swear with. While swearing, they will say what will befall them when any of them go contrary to the agreement.

Types of Igbandu

            For the benefit of this study there are three types of Igbandu:

1)         Igbandu between man and man/human beings.

2)         Igbandu between gods (deity) and human beings

3)         Igbandu between God and man (human beings)

  • Igbandu between man and man (human beings): Igbandu can exist between two families that are having problems; they go in for Igbandu in order to trust each other and for peace to reign. Igbandu can exist between two communities that are having problem like land dispute, they go into agreement in order to establish peace.
  • Igbandu between God and man (human beings): Igbandu can exist between an individual and God, examples are the covenant God entered with Abraham (Gen 15:18), God entered with David (2 Ch. 21:7). The Reverend Fathers, the religious enter into covenant with God. A non-religious can also enter into covenant with God by strongly deciding right inside him/her not to break God’s law no matter what happens.
  • Igbandu between gods (deity) and human beings: Igbandu can exist between an individual, families or community and the gods or deities. Most of the time, an individual, family or community can go in for Igbandu with deity for protection or long life in return to serve the deity.

Objects that are always used for the Administration of Igbandu:

            In Igbo society, some objects like: palm-bud frond (omu), ogirisi leaf, white fowl, kolanut, chalk (nzu), palm wine, blood of the covenanting partners, qfq staff, sand, bible, water, holy water, sacramental etc. The priest or the chief priest that will do the incantation will accompany them. In the case of a boy and a girl who are in love but not yet ready to marry or they want to avoid disappointing each other, they want to go in for Igbandu, can use kolanut. Kolanut is a symbol of life and for this reason may profound mysterious interpretations. It is taken as spiritual communion with the ancestors using it as a remembrance. The kolanut is put into the place containing their blood and are given to two of them to chew and pronounce what will happen to anyone that defaults the covenant. They can call on any deity they believe that is powerful to be their witness and the chief priest will help them by interceding for them to the gods. Sometimes they pronounce what will happen to anyone without inviting the chief priest because we believe that there is power in the spoken words. In the case of land dispute between two families or communities that are concerned in the land dispute, will invite their elders, they will gather on the fixed day before the shrine or oracle. The priest will administer the Igbandu by making some incantations. The priest will go ahead by telling the gods to eat the kolanut and drink some palm wine, thereafter the priest will call the gods to come and witness the covenant. In this type of Igbandu, both families and communities involved are to swear that they will not harm each other or see anything that will harm any family or anybody from any community and allow it to happen. The chief priest will pronounce the calamities that will befall anyone who goes contrary to the Igbandu. Thereafter, the chief priest will call the gods to be their witness. The object use in this type of Igbandu can be palm bud frond (omu). The priest will dip the palm bud frond into the plate containing the blood of an animal and spread it on the ground and the two families or two communities are to jump over it and declare that whosoever breaks the covenant will suffer a great deal. The Igbo people have serious belief in the role which animals can play in the lives of human beings. Animals can connect both man and spirit together (Akidi, 2012:46). Nwala (1985:50) in the same vein holds that:

Animals occupy an important place in Igbo traditional thought with regard to certain things, animals are accorded special respect, for it is believed that they may know things human beings do not know and see things that are not seen with human eyes. They act as agents of spirits and gods.

The appearance of strange animals after Igbandu usually, is a bad omen; signaling calamity befalling the defaulter. It is believed that either gods or spirit that appeared signal the punishment coming soon. Spirits can equally appear in form of animals before Igbandu to signal to their loved ones not to go ahead with the Igbandu to avoid calamity that may follow it; more especially where their loved ones are on the wrong side.

The Reason for Igbandu:

            It is always disagreement, land dispute, mistrust, wars, conflict that brings about Igbandu especially where there is no trust. Igbandu can be for prevention of mistrust, or for reconciliation after conflict. The reason why people enter into Igbandu is to:

  • have relaxed and settled mind
  • ensure uprightness
  • leave without fear
  • establish peace and unity
  • rebuild broken relationship
  • settle disputes
  • Remove the minds of people from evil deeds or plans against their fellow human being.

The Concept of Conflict Resolution

            Conflict is an inevitable part of life. It erupts whenever there is disagreement between two individuals, groups or communities. The major cause of conflict is “individual differences”. Everyone possesses different family background, opinion, needs, values, ideas, beliefs etc. These differences often lead to conflict. Rahim (1992:16) described conflict as the interactive process manifested in incompability, disagreements or dissonance within or between social entities. It shows that conflict bob up whenever there is disagreement between persons, groups or communities. Uchendu (2010;11-12) opined that conflict occurs when there are fighting struggle or quarrel. Conflict is a natural disagreement that results from differences in attitudes, beliefs, values or needs of individual or groups. There is a conflict when disagreement between parties degenerate to fighting, quarrels and struggle for selfish interests. Nmah (2009:28) argued that conflict is a process that erupts when a group sees that another has damaged or about to destroy something that is important to them. Conflict arises usually from three factors

Economic factor: This is seen when there are limited resources. The individuals, groups or communities involved come into conflict in order to obtain most of the resources either by trick or for, more especially where there is insufficient land, resources etc. an individual, group or community tries to take the lions share or all of them. Greed can also lead to conflict even when there is enough.

Value factor: This is concerned with the beliefs and ideologies of a person or social group in which they have emotional investment. This type of conflict is demonstrated in wars where separate parties have sets of beliefs they maintain

Power factor: This arises when parties involved intend to maximize the wealth and power they have in the social setting. Such situation can equally arise among individuals, groups or communities. All these boil down to say that conflict exist in situations where there is selfish desire, greed, mistrust, misunderstanding, quarrel, false practice against each other. When conflict begins to reduce productivity, giving way to more conflict, then a third party from different party will be needed to come up with a solution.

            Conflict resolution is the process of trying to find a solution to a conflict. Udezo (2009:149) contends that resolution is a variety of approaches aimed at determining conflicts through the constructive solving of problems, distinction from management or transformation of conflict.

            Conflict resolution is the process of solving the differences between two parties. There is no way conflict can be resolved without first getting to the root of the conflict. This means that resolution is the total means of wiping away conflict so that it will not resurface again. Ikoku in Anidobe (2014:114) maintain that conflict resolution is conceptualized as the method or processes involved in facilitating the peaceful ending of social conflict. Often, committed group members attempt to resolve group conflict by actively communicating information about their conflicting motives or ideologies to the rest of the group (e.g. intentions, reasons for holding certain beliefs) and by engaging in collective negotiation.

            Anyacho (2005:69) said that the society employs institutionalized rules such as legislatures, courts; tribunals, arbitration, committees for the resolution of conflicts. According to Ogundabe in Okoli (2012:21) conflicts can be resolved by surrendering running away, over powering your opponent with violence and filing your case in a law suit. Other major ways of resolving a conflict are negotiations, mediation and mediator – arbitration.

Negotiation is a discussion among two or more people with the goal of reaching an agreement. Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process in which a neutral third party facilitator helps people discuss issues and negotiate an agreement. Parties in mediation does not have any decision making power over the outcome. Arbitration is a process in which a third party, after reviewing evidence and listening to the arguments from both sides, issues a decision to settle the case. Arbitration is often used in commercial and labour/management disputes. Mediation-Arbitration is a hybrid that combines both mediation and arbitration processes. Prior to the session, the disputing parties agree to try mediation first but given the neutral third party the authority to make decision if mediation is not successful. Igbandu can be applied in all of the above forms of conflict resolution to make them faster and easier.


            The theory adopted in this study is culture based by Ury, William, Fisher and Roger (1981) states that conflict resolution usually involves fostering communication among disputants, problem solving and drafting agreements that meet underlying needs. In these situations, conflict resolvers often talk about finding a mutually satisfying (win-win) solution for everyone involved.

Steps by which Igbandu is used for Conflict Resolution

            Settling a conflict without getting mad, sad, or anxious generally involves the following steps:

Step I: Inviting both parties that are involved

Step II: Recognition of the problem that needs to be solved.

Step III: Creation of a mutually agreeable solution. Before a conflict is resolved, there must be a gathering. Both parties gather together on a scheduled date and place. The people called to settle the conflict (neutral third party) will hear from the first and second party one after the other to know the origin or the cause of the conflict and find out the truth, apportion blames to the defaulters and finally resolve the conflict between the two parties.

Practical Examples to analyze how Context can be used to Achieve Conflict Resolution with Igbandu in Igbo land

Context I:

Nature of Communication: Conflict between two intimate friends over a joint business they enter into

Discourse Participants: Two intimate friends

Setting: Nnewi

Audience: The market master and their friends in the market

In a conflict between two intimate friends who established a business that will yield money for them, they agreed among themselves that whatever business both have to set up, they have to contribute equal amount; they negotiated and agreed between them that after their first business operation, they will keep the capital and use only the interest for the next business. The business was done as agreed. After some years one of them travelled and returned, when he tried to know how far they have gone with the business but what he got in return was the business could not be joint again. This brought about a big fight between them that could have taken their lives. The market master and some of their friends who were present when they made the agreement tried to settle the conflict but to no avail. But the market master and some of their friends came to the conclusion after judging it from different angle, that the two friends will enter into a covenant saying that no one should habour evil against each other. They also pronounce the punishment that will befall anyone that will default the covenant. The covenant is used here to resolve the conflict, to sustain their business and relationship.

Context 2

Nature of Communication: Conflict between King’s son and the uncle over the throne

Discourse Participants: The King’s son and the uncle

Setting: Oguta

The late king was severely ill and it was done on him that he is losing his life. He summoned his brother as someone he could trust to assist him in holding his throne, knowing that his son who is supposed to take over the throne is still tender. This reason made the king and his brother to enter into covenant, where the brother agreed on handing over the throne to his son when he is of age.

            After the death of the king, years later the king’s son met his uncle requesting for the throne as agreed on their binding agreement, but he refused releasing the throne, this brought conflict between the late king’s son and his uncle as to nobody even the late king’s cabinet who were there when they had the covenant could resolve the conflict. It happened that the Amadioha which they used as their witness struck him with a strange sickness. When the chief priest came, he ascertained that it was due to the covenant he made with his late brother which he failed to keep made him to fall sick. He had no option than to release the throne and after handing over the throne to the late king’s son on his sick bed, he died as a result of not keeping to the covenant.

            In this context, Igbandu is used to resolve conflict and to release what rightfully belongs to the king’s son. Power is one of the factors that erupts conflict. The late king’s brother thought with power, he had everything. But with the help of covenant the conflict was resolved and the throne was given back to the rightful owner.


Context 3

Nature of Communication: Conflict between Adindu and Okoro on land dispute

Discourse Participants: Adindu and his Nephew

Setting: Umuokparaku in Obokwe Community

Adindu refused to release the land inherited by Okoro from his late father Nwadike which was under his custody. There arose a conflict between Okoro and Adindu over that piece of land. Okoro now a matured adult called on the kinsmen of the community and tabled the issue in the presence of the oldest man of the community, at that time Nze Orimmuo the chief priest that handled the issue with the kinsmen reminded Adindu to accept the truth otherwise the gods of their land, the spirit of their ancestors will judge against him because they were spiritually present the day the kinsmen gathered after the burial of late Nwadike and convened that the land of late Nwadike be in Adindu’s custody till the son Okoro matures enough to manage his father’s inheritance. So it will be better for you to accept the truth and be alive or refuse the truth and die. It was then that Adindu realized himself and accepted the truth. Formal handover was made and Igbandu was renewed by the kinsmen and Nze Orimmmuo warned Adindu not to think of taking the land again from Okoro or think of any evil against Okoro and family which Adindu accepted and there was peaceful settlement.

From the context, it shows that Igbandu is used to resolve conflict and the land was returned to the rightful owner.

Consequences for not adhering to the rules of Igbandu

            Those who enter into Igbandu really need to be careful due to the punishment attached to defaulting it. The violation of covenant has serious consequences and if proper attention is not given to it, it attracts curses on the defaulter or the family and his generation. The defaulter is usually exposed by the deity. In this way, strange things will begin to happen. Such strange things could be incessant death, strange sickness, infertility and so on. The punishments befall the defaulter as a result of the Igbandu entered into without uptightness and the gods in turn pay him back. The punishment receive differs, depending on the type of Igbandu one entered into.

            In the case of two individuals, the punishment for defaulter could be death, swollen stomach, blindness etc. In the case of two lovers, the punishment for the defaulter who abandons the relationship could be barrenness, death, strange sickness or madness could befall the defaulter. The process of appeasement by the defaulter is tedious; this is so as people will not want to associate with such person for fear of reprisal attack on them from the gods. It is only when a clearance is gotten from the gods through divination on how to appease the deity and also on how to reintegrate the person into the society before he/she is allowed access to people. The gods determine the items for appeasement which most of time are enormous. It is the chief priest of the deity and the dibia will handle such appeasement rites.



  • Any Igbandu entered into should be kept no matter how difficult it is. It will help to restore and sustain peace, security and discard conflict.
  • We should go back to those traditional methods of resolving conflict in Igbo land because it is more effective than the contemporary method of resolving conflict.
  • Further studies on the traditional methods of resolving conflict should be made because it will serve as a way of documentary and preserving the Igbo cultural heritage.
  • Government should introduce traditional education in our institutions like preliminary course in Igbo land, this would enable the younger generations understand that this type of tradition exists in Igbo land.
  • The traditional methods of conflict resolution should be revived in order to achieve peace and good human relationship.


            From the discussion, it is proved that Igbanduis found worthy of resolving conflict among individuals, groups or communities in the Igbo society. Because as far as man lives there must be conflict which results from the desire for survival and control over the environment. Conflict exists as a result of individual differences among human beings. But the preventive measures and control over it is usually {gbandx.

            Igbandu is one of the traditional method of resolving conflict. It is seen as the powerful bond undertaken by two or more individuals, groups or communities who hope to set up lasting relationship. The punishment for breaking or violating a covenant is death. To avoid shameful death, people strongly keep the rules stated in Igbanduby maintaining good relationship, do their business with uprightness and avoid every sort of vices.

            Again, in order to ensure peace, security of lives and properties and to avoid the anger of the gods, covenant must be kept.


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Okoli, G.N. (2012). Igbo proverbs as a means of conflict resolution. In Oja an international journal of Igbo. (1) Akwa: Department of Igbo, African and Asian studies, Nnamdi Azikiwe university.

Rahim, M.A. (1992). Managing conflict in Organization (2nd ed.) Ulestport, C.T. Praeger.

Uchendu, S.A. (2010). Conflict management and resolution. Enugu: Zubik printers.

Udezo, B.O.S. (2009). Concepts and methods of conflict resolution and peace building: Imperatives for religious leaders in Nigeria. Journal of religion and human relations. Ugwueye L.C. (ed)(1)2 Awka: Department of religion and human relations, Nnamdi Azikiwe university.

Mishnah, N. (1982). A new translation with commentary. New York: Mesorah publishers.



NSOLIBE, OBIAGELI THERESA Ph.D.                                                                                                           Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam..



Literature speaks reality through the use of language. It enriches the necessary competence that daily life requires and provides. It tries to correct anomalies found in human existence in the areas of leadership and followership style.
Poetry as a unique aspect of literature uses language to advocate for proper conduct of the individual members of thesociety from which it emanates. This study, therefore, concerns itself with the role of poetry as an instrument of
advocacy using these two Igbo poems, “ụkọ N’Uju” and “Ndị Ọchịchị“as data for illustration. The study examines the aims of advocacy in these poems as to how they affect the leadership and followership in our contemporary society. Attempt is made in the study to analyse the poems with their language use to express and expose the realities of our time, using the functionalist theory. The study identifies that the concept of advocacy is a product of functionalism or social commitment. Functional literature is better expressed in poetic form because poetry lends itself to the compact use of language through rhetorical questions, repetitions and metaphors in capturing realities or situations highlighted in the poems of study. The findings also reveal that advocacy uses satire, lament and protest to lend itself to revolution and the poets urge the citizenry to avail themselves of the opportunity of bettering their lots. The problem of our country does not only hinge on the leadership style but also on the followership, hence the poets advocate for true democratic governance.


Prior to the advent of the white man’s system of governance, African people had piloted their affairs with the help of the village elders. The communal leadership, which was transparent, commanded considerable respect and influence from the followership. This type of governance demonstrated commitment and justice to the people. Past literatures like Omenụkọ. Ala Bingo or Things Fall Apart demonstrated advocacy and corrective measures for good communal living. To that extent, literature does not only add to reality but simply describes it. It irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become (Holman, 1960:62). Literature, especially poetry, provides guiding principles of life and tries to correct the anomalies found in society by advocating for a change.

         By advocacy, we mean that which represents the designed, actions taken and solutions proposed to influence decision-making at the local, state and national levels in order to create positive changes for the people and their environment (Obar, 2002:81). It is also a process by which an individual or group aim to influence public policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic and social systems or institutions. It concerns itself with a means by which public decisions have sway over and above any issues for the masses’ interest.

         The introduction of western political system(s) of governance and its attendant leadership and followership styles in Nigeria came with a lot of problems as a result of the selfish and corrupt nature of our people. Advocacy is a subtle weapon used by non-governmental bodies and concerned individuals to give rescinding voices to the mirage of vices in society. This resistant movement has been lent credence to by voices or pens of literary artists who are sensitive to the happenings of their societies. This movement is known as ‘social commitment’ in literary studies, and it has given birth to many works of arts like the poem “Paths of Thunder” by Okigbo (1968), the novel Anthill of the Savana by Achebe (1987), The Man who came from the back of beyond by Biyi-Bandele (1991) and a host of others.

         Literature is communicated basically via oral and written modes. In this study, we are concerned with the written mode and will look at two poems by two different sets of poets. Other works of literature or their cultures, no matter their modes of rendition in this work is made reference to when they serve to illustrate our points. We used the principles of functional literature in advocacy to analyse the poems “ụkọ n’uju” by Emenanjo and “Ndị Ochịchị” by Ikeokwu and Onyejekwe. The work intends to point out the relevance of advocacy in correcting societal ills as manifested by the leaders and the led.

Literature Review

         Here literature is reviewed under theoretical and empirical studies.

Theoretical Studies

         Functionalism refers to a school of thought within psychology that examines mental processes and how they relate to human behavior. The functionalist theory claims that literature plays a major role in the social and intellectual change in a community. To the functionalists, a literary piece is a potential weapon to bring about change in the community that engenders it, hence advocacy poetry. It is an approach of literary criticism, which contends that literature is and ought to be relevant to the society that has given birth to it and as well as nurtures it. That is why functional literature is based on the principle of “social commitment”. Finnegan (1977), notes that the role of literature can be either reflective or upholding its society’s status quo. Functionalists also believe that any cultural phenomenon that does not have any use in the society will not endure. Lostraco and Wilkerson (1979:8) corroborate Finnegan’s view when they note that “literature distills life and condenses human experience. It has to proffer solutions to the problems in society.

         Advocacy is all about the sensitization of members of society, especially the uninformed to the marginalization of the down trodden members of society. It helps the people to realize their power and use it to participate effectively in making and shaping public decisions. To be involved in advocacy, citizens or groups should have a fair course they are fighting for and struggle to address as a starting point or a platform to achieve social justice (Cohen, 2001: 121). Cohen further argues that those involved in social justice advocacy should be aware of their values as they determine the issues and advocacy strategies. From the realities of “what is,” social justice advocates around the world have created different visions of “what should be” in a just, decent society. Such societies include those that respect and protect human right, preserve human dignity, eradicate cruelty, engage people in decision making processes, provide public space for people to challenge unjust behaviour (Watson, 2001:76).

         Power is an important factor, if not the most important concept in advocacy. According to Veneklasen & Miller (2002:61) “advocacy is a power game in which the powerless gain enough power to influence the power holders”. When we do advocacy, we certainly need to analyse the power structure and design strategies that should allow citizens, especially the powerless to balance out the power holders. Veneklasen and Miller (2002:62) also contend that advocacy has to do with influencing policies or public decisions. They say that those who do advocacy like the literary artists should always seek to influence the decision-makers, be them official decision makers or unofficial power holders, or even public opinion leaders who can influence the attitude of people towards an issue involving these decision-makers and power holders. They should work with the grassroots and also ensure that issues are systematically addressed at both the macro as well as micro levels.

         Based on the above mentioned characteristics in reshaping power balance and influencing and involving decision-makers, advocacy almost by default engages in politics in the sense of influencing public decision-making
processes. Advocacy involves a situation where the masses have to affirm any course or policy for it to be acceptable. It concerns itself with a means by which public decisions are swayed on any issue for the masses’ interest by the individual or group. That is why Loue (2003:47) defines advocacy as “a political process by an individual or group which aims to influence public policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic and social system or institutions”. Effective implementation and enforcement of policies and not only creation and reform of policies should also be the function of advocacy (Mansfield 2003: 141). Mansfield goes on to explain that policy as “a plan, course of action, or set of regulations adopted by government or an institution is designed to influence and determine decisions or procedures” (2003: 141).

         Governmental system in Nigeria since the advent of colonial masters and subsequent gaining of independence (and power changing hands from the colonial masters to our people) has continued to short change the common man and intensified in the leadership by Nigerians. Our kit and kin who took over from the colonial masters soon realized to their shock that they will be left out in the scheme of things in the new dispensation hence bad governance began to take its toll. Consequently, the previous literary and cultural sympathizers to the cause of independence struggle turned sharply and uncompromisingly against their earlier bed-fellows (Udenta1993:7).

         There is scramble for power by so many interested elites of the society who saw the resources in Nigeria as national cake and wanted their share. The military cease power from the civilian resulting in coups and counter coups; politicians rig elections in the name of democratic governance to get the mantle of leadership with the ideology of a “better Nigeria”. These are all lies and deceit for they are interested in enriching themselves while the masses find themselves in desperate and depressing conditions that bring untold hardship, suffering and sorrow.

         The literary artists, particularly the poet has to communicate these problems and displeasures through the means of literature. Looking critically at the literary artist’s role in a democratic society, Achebe (1972) in Ikeokwu (2007:23) observes that … what one does as a writer depends on the state of one’s society. So, the state of Nigerian polity this time is the problem of leadership and followership and our literary artists are reacting to it. The poets and other artists through their works as exemplified in “Ụkọ N’Uju” and “Ndị Ochịchị” advocate for a change in the socio-political condition of the Nigerian society as well as satirize the activities of the leaders and the followers.

2.2    Empirical Studies

         Studies have been done in the area of functional literature. The study of Obi (2006), clearly shows that “literature vis-a-vis its different genres has become an important means of understanding and interpreting human feelings and aspects of society such as politics, religion, economics, social conflicts, class struggle and human conditions through the medium of language.” This illustrates the saying that literature is language well used for the understanding of the audience according to the message passed across.

         There are literary works of art in English as well as in Nigerian indigenous languages about Nigerian society portraying advocacy functions. Ogunpitan (1990:171) notes in his study that “arts in both traditional and modern African society are socially relevant and functional.” Ezejideaku (1996:2) studies the functions of the poet in society using the poems of Obienyem in Akpa Uche, and concludes that the poet is “a visionary, a reformer, a political watch-dog, a satirist, a praise singer, a chronicler of events, a teacher and the people’s spokesman.” Ikeokwu (2002) in a study of the literary artist as a mirror of his society notes that the artist regards himself as duty bound to sensitize his people to the socio-cultural issues created or recreated, formulated or reformulated through spokesmanship. Continuing, he notes that the artist employs certain instruments of visioning and prophecy to warn, reflect, ridicule, satirize or caricature the characters implicated in the literary genre.

         Poetry to the extent of the use of the afore-mentioned instruments performs advocacy function. The study of lkwubuzo (2002) corroborates those of Ezejideaku (1996) and Ikeokwu (2002) as he observes that the literary artist usually functions as a repository of his people’s cultural heritage. In other words, he acts as the spokesman of his society through his creative imaginations, which could be in form of prose, drama or poetry. Also, judging from Ezejideaku’s (1996:2) definition of a poet and Ikeokwu’s (2002:167) idea about a poet’s role in society, lkwubuzo’s (2002:176) assertion becomes valid in the literary advocacy movement when he notes that:

A poet, a novelist or a playwright is not insensitive to the socio-political realities of his time. He is affected by them like any other member of his society. During the apartheid era in South Africa for instance, a number of independent African countries identifies with its liberation struggle. Literary artists participated in the fight like the famous lady singer – Miriam Makeba who used satirical music to agitate for political and social changes. The lyrical content of her music disparaged the white minority regime and reflected the political aspiration of her people.

         Poetry, however, as a literary genre makes use of compressed form of language to express intense powerful emotions. Supporting this view, Madụakọ (1991:72) sees poetry as functioning as “a charged utterance at a particular moment in time” This may be why Esiaba lrobi in an e-conversation with Nnọrọm Azuonye (2009) defines poetry as, “the energy that moves the world”. For example, in Nigeria, during the period of hue and cry at the assassination of
Dele-Giwa as to who killed him, a famous Nigerian musician, Fela Anikulapo Ransom Kuti used his satirical music to tell the nation who killed Dele-Giwa.

         Also, a female activist, and the one time Minister for Education as well as the immediate past World Bank Vice president, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, prays that Nigerian oil wells dry up so that our leaders will develop visionary attitude instead of corruptive one. She made this agitation known at the Success Digest Enterprise Award at Sheraton Hotel, Lagos on November 3, 2012 when she was delivering a talk. She attributes the poor state of the nation’s citizenry to having insensitive leaders who remain complacent in the face of the stark reality of very poor and declining performance of natural productivity and competitiveness indices (The Sun Newspaper, Nov. 16, 2012: Awoyinfa, M.). She strongly feels that Nigerian leaders lack the political will to diversify the nation’s economy. Nigeria depends solely on petroleum for her economy and this call for a change of attitude. A famous poet E.S Coleridge writes of, “water, water everywhere but not enough to drink.” In the case of Nigeria, it is “oil, oil everywhere but not enough for use as scarcity of petroleum products has become the order of the day. To capture the yearnings and aspirations of the masses, the poet goes where the ordinary legs cannot go, sees what the ordinary eye cannot see, and hears what the ordinary ear cannot hear and uses same to sensitize the masses, hence functional literature.

  • Text Analysis

3.1    Ụkọ N’Uju

L1: Kedụzi ka a ga-esi nọdụ n’anyịm

Were asọ na-akwọ aka

Kedụ kwanụ ka a ga-esi nọdụ n’iyi

Kwere ncha ọ baa anyị anya.

How can we be in the river

And be washing hands with spittle?

How then can we be in the stream

And allow soap lather to enter our eyes?

L5:Nkenu bi n’ala na-apịta mmanụ karịa

Ọsa bitọ n’eluNkenu (bird) that lives on the ground Gets more oil than the squirrel that

Lives up.

Kọọrọ m ihe kpatara na mmadụ ga-enwe mgbuli ma mgbuli ana-agụ ya.Tell me why one should have porridge Yet one would be hungry of porridge.


L10:Ego a Asị na anyị nwere n’ijeli n’ijeli

Bụ n’ikuku ka ọ dị

Ego a

A sị anyị na ọ bughị ya bụ okwu
Bụ naanị n’akwụkwọ ka ọ dị

This money We are told that we have in billions
Is only in the air

This money

We are told that is not the problem
Exist only on paper

L15:Kọọrọ m ihe kpatara na mmadụ

Ga-enwe egbugbereTell me why one should

Have lips






Ma anwu ana-ama ya n’eze

Nri a

A sị anyị na ọ bụ atụrụ tawa

Ezugbị atụrụ ga-ata

Nke ọ na-afọdụrụ mmadụYet one’s teeth are beaten by the sun?

This food

That we are told is surplus

Is not even enough for the sheep
Let alone for human beings.L25:Ugbu a

Mmirii na-afanyezi anyị n’eze

Ebe anyị na-achọ mmiri a ga-aṅụ

Anyị na-elozi ụkwara taa

Na-atụzi anya erimeri nwanne echi


We toothpick when we drink water

While looking for water to drink

We now swallow sputum

While expecting food a day after tomorrow

         This is an example of poetry advocating for effective budgetary implementation for the citizenry. In lines 9 – 14, the poet is sensitizing the Nigerian populace to the fact that our leaders are corrupt and greedy. They read out in the air large sums of money running into billions and trillions as annual budgets over the years. Yet, the country cannot show anything for it in terms of human capital development. One wonders why the citizens of this country, Nigeria, should wallow in poverty and want while people of less wealthy countries are living in comfort. One wonders why countries like Ghana, South Africa with less gross domestic product (GDP) than Nigeria in the seventies and eighties have a higher gross domestic product than us thereafter (Ezekwesili 2013). The poet, as it were, questions and demands for accountability in the wake of financial mismanagement by the leaders since the leaders do not use the billions and trillions budgeted annually effectively.

  • Ndị Ọchịchị
L1 :




L5:Ọ bụghị naanị ikwu n’ọnụ

Mezuonu nkwa ụnụ

Ndị bianyere aka

Ebe e sere ncheanwụ

E kwu ekwu

E mee eme bụ ọrịa mmịnwụ


Ga-ebi n’aja ọcha


Ndị ọchịchị Naịjiria

A na-achụkwanụ awọ n’ikpo

It is not only smooth talking

Fulfill your promises

To electorate who voted

Where the umbrella logo is


And not fulfilled is

HIV/AIDS (a killer diseases)

That ends in the grave.


Nigerian rulers

If a toad is pursued in a stone quarry

L10:Nkume, a na-arx ya aka


Xnx ekwela nkwa

Out abxgh[ n’ezi

E kwu eme, ndị ọchịchị

You point at it (for the colour of the toad blends with that of the stone)

Stop making promises

False promises

Fulfil your promises, rulers.







L20:Ndị ọchịchị

Achịala Naịjiria

Mana o nweghị nkwa

Ha mezurula

Qkwụrụ ọ na-aka

Onye kụrụ ya?

E kwu ekwu

E me eme


Have ruled Nigeria

But none have fulfilled

Their promises

Can the okro plant grow taller than the planter?

Smooth talks

Without actions




L25:Mgbe o ruru na vootu

E jiri ire ụtọ na bụrị bụrị

Kwe nkwa elu na ala

Ekwu ekwu eme eme

Dobere Naịjiria n’ọnọdụ

Ejeghị ihu, ejeghị ọzụ.

When it comes to voting

Smooth talks are employed

To promise heaven on earth

Smooth talks without action

Have placed Nigeria in the position of

Not progressing, not retrogressing







L35:Eke kere ụwa

Mere Naịjiria ebere

Ndị ọchịchị emeela

Obodo ị gọziri

Ọ bụrụ obodo a bụrụ ọnụ

Naanị otu ụbọchị

Agaghị ekweta nke a

The Creator

Have mercy on Nigeria

Our rulers have made

The country you blessed

To become a cursed country

Just one day

Will not allow this to continue


         “Ndị Ọchịchị” is another poetry of advocacy, where the poets see the governance of this country in the hands of a particular political party (People’s Democratic Party) as being a deadly killer disease( HIV/AIDS). As HIV/AIDS is a killer disease that leads to death, so also will the governance of PDP lead this country to destruction due to their recklessness and insensitivity if not checked. To the poets, one of the ways to checkmate the ruling party is through the third item of Marxist’s revolutionary proposal, which is advocacy as shown in lines 6, 9, 10 and 25 – 27 of the poem. However, the poets warn the leaders and politicians in lines 34 and 35 to beware of the last item of Marxist’s revolutionary proposal, which is violence or civil disobedience. The masses’ violent reaction to the removal of fuel subsidy is an example of the implication of the poets’ caution.

         The poets see an individual who has HIV/AIDS as one who has unguarded behaviour in terms of one’s sexual recklessness in contacting the dreaded disease, to the reckless behaviour of the political characters implicated in the poem. The choice of “rulers” (Ndị ọchịchị) as opposed to leaders in this poem by the poets is deliberate, because in the contemporary times, political office holders that emerge are not democratically elected either at the party primaries or general elections. They emerge through selection method tagged “consensus candidate” or “rigging”.

Advocacy Devices in the Poems under Study

         One of the qualities that make a work of art outstanding is its style in content and language. Style, then is “the way in which a writer selects and arranges words to say what he or she wants to say” (Kirszner and Mandell, 1997:242). The poets’ styles in the poems involve the use of literary devices such as rhetorical question, repetition and metaphor to elevate their linguistic standard as well as express in an in-depth manner their feelings and emotions. According to Leech (1969:79), “man finds outlet to his suppressed intense feeling about gamut of corporate beliefs and emotions which find expressions in the manner artistic fabrics are expressed’. Repetition, rhetorical question and metaphor fulfil a number of advocacy functions not only in the poems under study but also in their relevance to the aspirations and needs of the society they emanate. Basically, they are used to emphasize issues that needed urgent attention and to enunciate effective corrective measures for a change.

Rhetorical Question

         Rhetorical questions convey information to the addressee. They do not elicit new information, but rather evoke sympathy or empathy in a new manner about a pre-existing knowledge or information. They convey personal information such as emotion and or attitude. The poets make copious use of rhetorical questions in the two poems. In Ụkọ N’Uju for example, there are two rhetorical questions in the first four lines:

Kedụzi ka a ga-esi nọdụ n’anyịm

Were asọ na-akwọ aka?

Kedu kwanụ ka a ga-esi nọdụ n’iyi

Kwere ncha ọ baa anyị anya?How can we be in the river

And be washing hands with

How then can we be in the stream
And allow soap lather into our eyes

         Here the poet uses series of rhetorical question as introductory speech to dramatize in a vivid manner, the incredulity and the unacceptability of the situation of lack in the midst of plenty. The second rhetorical question addresses the masses to see what he (poet) has seen and implicitly beckons the masses to revolt against their unending plight. The variation in language use of the wh- marker, keduzi (How is it …?) and kedu kwanu (How come that…?) shows the gravity of not only the dilemma the masses face but also their endless suffering. The nu enclitic is used to lend credence to the unacceptability of the situation.

The following rhetorical questions lament the fact that the country is the sixth world largest producer of petroleum, yet suffers scarcity of its products as well as the country’s wealth, yet the masses are hungry.

Kọọrọ m ihe kpatara na

Mmadu ga-enwe mgbuli

Ma mgbuli ana-agụ ya?

Tell me why one should have porridge

Yet hungers for porridge?                                                                          Kọọrọ m ihe kpatara na mmadụ ga

Enwe egbugbere ma anwụ ana-ama ya n’eze?Tell me why one should have lips

Yet one’s teeth are beaten by the sun?

         In the poem, “Ndị ọchịchị,” the rhetorical questions use the content of lament through the metaphorical use of mgbuli and egbugbere ọnụ to express the dilemma and

unacceptability of the sorry situation, which the poets capped up with the theme of protest, when in lines 34 and 35 they say, Naanị otu ụbọchị agaghị ekweta nke a, ‘Just only one day will not allow this to continue’.

         A critical look also at the following rhetorical question will further buttress our point here:

Ọkwụrụ ọ na-aka onye kụrụ ya? Can the okro plant outgrow its planter?

         Here, the poets lament over why the masses cannot understand that they are the people who gave the politicians or the political party indicted in the poems, their mandate and as such, can as well withdraw it. In a subtle manner, the poets advise the masses to shun all forms of distractions and vote correctly during elections so as not to give their mandate to the wrong candidates.

         Comparing the rhetorical questions in the two poems, which basically are saying the same thing, we observe some similarities as well as differences. In the poem, “Ụkọ N’Uju”, the rhetorical questions address the inappropriate implementation of budgetary allocations. According to the poet, misappropriation of the nation’s wealth leads to lack of basic necessities of life in the midst of plenty. In the poem “Ndị Ọchịchị”, the rhetorical questions point at the failures of politicians in fulfilling promises made during electioneering campaigns, and this lends credence to the concern of “Ụkọ N’Uju”.

         The poet in Ụkọ N’Uju generalizes his views without specifying any particular political party while the poets in Ndị Ọchịchị” address the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as rulers not leaders in power when they mention Ndị mbịanye aka ebe esere ncbeenwụ “Those that thumb print where the umbrella is”. Both poems use rhetorical questions to lament over suffering in the midst of plenty as well as the use of protest to advocate for revolution.


         Repetition is a structural feature of literary language. It is an attempt by an artist to aim at emphasis, clarity or aesthetic variation in carrying out advocacy function. The following excerpt from “Xkq N’Uju”, illustrates:

         Keduzi…?                                               How can…?

         Kedu kwanx…?                                     How then can…?

         Keduzi and Kedu kwenu expressions in a repeated manner lament the incredibility in reading out the huge sums of money on air and nothing will be shown for it – the deceit of the ruling party, which “Ndị ọchịchị” reechoes. Ego a “This money” is also repeatedly used to show that these monies are just mentioned and there it ends while the masses continue to wallow in poverty. Kọọrọ m “Narrate to me” dramatises in a detailed form that will convince the masses why they should not suffer in the midst of plenty. Secondly, the dilemma over the impunity with which the political class handles the affairs of this country is highlighted. The questions, though rhetorical, beckon for immediate answers as to why the people should suffer scarcity in the midst of plenty.

         In the poem “Ndị Ọchịchị” the poets use repetition to lament the themes of deceit, recklessness and high handedness of particular leadership in the contemporary time. Repetition is also used to clarify the theme of scarcity in the midst of plenty, which is occasioned by the activities of the politicians who make false promises. The following excerpt explains:

                                                                          E kwu ekwu                                   only promises

                                                                          E me eme                                         and not fulfilling

                                                                          Ndị ọchịchị                                   Rulers

         In lines 8, 14 and 30, Ndị Qchịchị occupies the subject position unlike in line 13 where it is in the object position. The movement of Ndị Qchịchị from the subject position to the object position shows the heightened degree of the poets; lament over the level of corruption in the country as well as the impunity with which public funds are misappropriated daily by the politicians. This is revolutionary advocacy. The poets use revolutionary advocacy not only to intimate the ruling class that they (poets) are aware of their deceit and high handedness but also they should be careful (Ikeokwu 2012). The similarity in the use of repetition in the two poems is that they are both pointing at scarcity in the midst of plenty but they differ in the sense that in “Ndị Qchịchị“, the particular political party implicated is mentioned while in “ụkọ N’Uju”, there is no mention of any political party.


Metaphor is a term, which is found in grammar as well as works of style (Ikeokwu 2008). It transfers meaning based on a seeming natural relationship between primary and secondary referents. The primary referents relate to humans while the secondary referents relate to objects, concepts or entities. Since simile, symbolism and metaphor have common referential points in terms of effecting meaning; we for the purpose of this study define all of them within the umbrella of metaphor.

The poets make use of metaphor, which according to Procter (1978:73) is “the use of a phrase, which describes one thing by stating another thing, which it can be compared to without using the comparative word.” There is the use of metaphor to compare the leadership and followership styles in Nigeria so as to expose the shortcomings of each of them, which in turn triggers off advocacy for a change. In “ụkọ N’Uju,” a lot of metaphors are used. For instance:

Keduzi ka a ga-esi nọdụ n’anyịm
Were asọ na-akwọ aka?
How can we be in the river

And be washing hands with spittle?

Kedu kwanụ ka a ga-esi nọdụ n’iyi

Kwere ncha ọ baa anyị anya?How, then can we be in the stream

And allow soap lather in our eyes?

         The metaphorical use of being in the river and be washing hands with spittle and being in the stream and allowing soap to enter our eyes is questioning why Nigerians should suffer in the midst of plenty. Why should we experience the scarcity of petroleum products when we have plenty of petroleum in the country? Or why should we be hungry when we get billions of dollars daily from petroleum? The second illustration is questioning the rationality in accepting the situation as such instead of seeking for a change.

         The following example illustrates further, thus:

Nkenu bi n’ala na-apịta mmanụ


Karịa ọsa bitọ n’eluNkenu (bird) that lives on the ground
gets more palm oil

Than the squirrel that lives up

Nkenu bi n’ala is used to compare to either the people from less wealthy countries or non-oil producing states while Qsa be n’elu is used to compare to people from Nigeria or oil producing states. The squirrel is supposed to get more palm oil than the Nkenu because the palm oil is up in the domain of the squirrel. Ironically, Nigeria, an oil producing country yielding huge sums of money daily, experiences scarcity of fuel and her citizens are also hungry. The metaphor that the billions budgeted for implementation is only on air and on paper shows that these monies are only read out but not used for the purpose they are meant for.

         In “ọchịchị metaphor is also used for advocacy. Ndị bịanyere aka ebe e sere ncheanwụ is symbolic in the sense that ncheanwụ is the logo of the political party in power (PDP). The poets are calling on the leaders of the party in power to fulfil the promises made to the people during electioneering campaigns. Qrịa mịnwụ ga-ebi n’aja ọcha is used to show the relationship between HIV/AIDS, which is a terminal disease, and the braze with which the politicians handle the affairs of this country, which if not checked will lead to the death of the country. Ire ụtọ na bụrị bụrị– smooth talk is used to x-ray the rhetorical devices employed by the politicians to deceive the people into voting for them.

         Ọkwụrụ ọ na-aka onye kụrụ ya? – “Can the okro plant outgrow its planter?” This is rhetorical as well as metaphorical. It is metaphorical in the sense that ọkwụrụ “the okro plant” is “the politicians” (the rulers) while Onye kụrụ ya “the voters” (the masses) who gave them mandate. The poets advocate for a change of attitude by the politicians or else the masses will withdraw their mandate.

Findings and Conclusion

Poetry as shown in this study is a veritable tool for advocacy. Our choice of advocacy devices of repetition, rhetorical question and metaphor predicates on the assumption that the highlighted devices have greater bearing on advocacy than other literary devices not highlighted. Emenanjq, and Ikeokwu and Onyejekwe use their poems to advocate a change of leadership and followership styles by the politicians as well as the masses for a better Nigeria.

         Poetry of advocacy is a universal phenomenon and it uses satire, lament and protest as essential tools of advocacy. The rhetorical questions, and repetitions, even the metaphors express lament and protest in a bid to dramatise the suffering of the citizens. Universality of poetry of advocacy could be linked with the fight against a popular saying which is “man’s inhumanity to man”. This saying stems from the fact that man on the top has the tendency of maltreating the man below him. So, the leaders in most cases subjugate their subjects and who in turn advocate a change of attitude of their leaders. No society thrives in an unhealthy environment hence the advocacy for a better society.


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Modernity versus Tradition: An Insight into the Cultural Conflict in Some Selected   Igbo and Yoruba Literature


Ekwenze Aaron Chira                                                                                                                                                        Department of Igbo & Other Nigerian languages                                                                                                              Nwafor Orizu College of Education                                                                                                                                      Nsugbe Anambra State


This paper entitled “Modernity versus Tradition: An insight into the cultural conflict in some selected Igbo and Yoruba literature (or as perceived by Igbo and Yoruba writers” is a modest attempt to bring out how Wole Soyinka’s play The lion and the Jewel is characterized by culture conflict, where the old culture is represented by the uneducated people in Ilujunle, led by Baroka, Sidi and the rest, clashes with the new culture, led by Lakunle, who is educated. A school teacher by profession is influenced by the western ways. And also, how Nwokelue Prose Onyebuchi is characterized by culture conflict, where the old culture is represented by Igwe Akubueze, his other three wives, Ezemmuo and the people of Umueke clashes with the new culture, represented by Ndidiamaka (one of the Igwe’s wives) and Ukochukwu Wintabota. The critical analysis of the points generated in the course of investigation adopts qualitative description, and conclusions arrived at includes that: Sidi’s perception about her marriage with Baroka, which is not as a convenience, but more as her being famous and happier with Baroka made it possible for tradition to triumph over modernity (which is accepting polygamous marriage Whole-heartedly).


            Wole Soyinka is Africa’s most distinguished playwright, winning the Nobel Prize for literature in 1986. Wole Soyinka has been recognized as one of the most talented of twentieth century writers. Soyinka’s most popular play, The Lion and Jewel, was published in 1959, just before Nigeria became independent. Set in the Nigerian village of Ilujinle, it takes place over the course of a day and is divided in morning, noon and night. It is major themes constitute of the notion of progress in an African setting, tradition, synchronism, love and marriage, and the conflict between traditional Nigerian Yoruba values and the western influence of Nigeria’s colonizers. In the play there is a constant confrontation between tradition and modernity to the influence of British culture during 1940s and 1950s on Nigerian way of life. It also relates tradition to Nigeria’s traditional Yoruba culture.

The main characters of the drama -Sidi, Lakunle and Baroka – all exhibited internal and external conflicts with modernity and tradition. The battle between Lakunle and baroka for Sidi’s hand in marriage is the main plot of the play and reveals a confrontation between their two ways of life. The confrontation between Yoruba tradition and modern civilization is evident through the characters, plot and structure of the drama. The play’s most modern and westernized character is Lakunle, a school teacher who is determined to rid himself and others around him of traditional ways of life. The village belle, Sidi and the village Bale, Baroka stand for tradition. In Yoruba culture, the belle is the popular, attractive girl amongst the village, and the Bale is the ruler of Chief over the people. Several researchers like: Ashli-Watts, Thirumalai et al and Reddy P.S. have written papers in relation to Wole Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel, but none of them has done a work on “Modernity versus Tradition: An insight into the cultural conflict in some selected Igbo and Yoruba literature (or as perceived by Igbo and Yoruba writers”. Therefore, the need to carry out this investigation in-line with the topic of the paper emerges.

Definition of Terms

Here the paper takes a closer look at certain terminologies which are related to this work such as:


Using UNESCO’s general definition, the domains of culture includes distinctive spiritual material, intellectual, and emotional features of a society or group, in addition to its art and literature, lifestyles, ways of livings together, value systems, traditions, and beliefs. In other words, culture is life, it defines a people and an identity in disaksing identity, Falola (2003) opines: “culture shapes the perception of self and interaction between people and their environment. Culture explains habits… and defines norms of behaviour … boundaries among people … it is the basis of identify and ultimately of development”. Culture is the pulse of a living society. A “living” society is one that is conscious of its beginning, its present location among a comity of societies, and one that progressively and determinedly charts its self-defined purpose and course that ultimately guarantees an ideal future – a future strengthened by meaning.

Culture defines a people’s civilization and determines its identity. Narriott (1963) puts it more succinctly: “No state, not even an infant one is willing to appear before the world as a bare political fame. Each would be clothed in a cultural garb symbolic of its aims and ideal being”. By implication, while it is generally believed that so-called “modern” western civilization serves as the apogee of cultures, I must add that a society which handles the affairs of its culture with levity, or unwittingly leaves its culture unprotected in the hands of uncultured politicians, all in the name of some covert globalization risks cultural denigration (and subsequent miscegenation), decay, and imminent extinction. Also, Margaret et al (1948) sees culture as the custom and belief, art, way of life and social organization of a particular country or group: European, Islamic/African/American etc.

Concept of Conflict

            According to Margaret, D. et al (1948) conflict is a situation in which people, group or countries are involved in a serious disagreement or argument: a conflict between two cultures. It is a situation in which there are opposing ideas, opinions, feelings or wishes; a situation in which it is difficult to choose: The story tells of a classic conflict between love and duty.

Empirical Studies

            Many scholars have taken account of the cultural conflicts displayed in Wole Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel such as: Reddy (2013) in his paper entitled “cultural Conflict in Wole Soyinka’s play, The Lion and the Jewel, with the objective to bring out how his play The Lion And The Jewel is characterized by culture conflict, ribald comedy and love, where the old culture is represented by the uneducated people in Ilujunle, led by Baroka, Sidi and the rest, clashes with the new culture led by Lakunle, who is educated, school teacher by profession is influenced by the western ways.

Concludes that:

  • The most prominent theme of the play is the rapid modernization of Africa coupled with the evangelization of the population. And this has driven a wedge between the traditionalists, who seek to nullify the changes done in the name of progress due to vested interest or simply not liking the result of progress and the modernists, who want to see the last of outdated traditional beliefs at all cost.
  • Another core theme is the marginalization of women as property. Traditionally, they were seen as properties that could be brought, sold or accumulated. Even the modern Lakunle in the play, also falls victim of this by looking down on Sidi for having a smaller brain and later by wanting to marry her after she lost her virginity since no dowry was required in such a situation.

The educated people seek to spread their knowledge to the tribal people in an attempt to make them more modern. This presents research work and Reddy (2013). Researches are related to each other in the sense that both papers considered the culture conflict in written literature.

Also, Fariha (2011) in his research work entitled “Sidi’s Choice of Baroka and the victory of Traditional values over Western ones in Wole Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel, having adopted a critical analysis of certain main characters in the play with references to their activities and their possible interpretations in order to highlight the unpredictable ending of the play delineating tradition’s triumph over modernity. Concludes as follows that:

  • The Lion and the Jewel is titled in faviour of the mature and discriminating Baroka and against the shallow and boyish Lakunle.
  • Through the plot of The Lion and The Jewel, Soyinka deliberately has put a riddle which gives much audience a headache on analyzing the victory of Baroka over Lakunle in which many of the audience would like to apply ethnic issues as a soothing balm.

Sidi is then quite right to uphold her own racist vanity by marrying old Baroka. Both present research paper and Fariha (2011) research work considered the conflict between tradition and modernity in selected literary works.

Furthermore, Ashli Watts (2008) in his research paper entitled “Tradition vs. modernity: Wole Soyinka’s The Lion and The Jewel, with a focus to explain how Soyinka uses character, plot, and structure, including pantomime, to investigate the Nigerian conflict between modernity and tradition concludes that:

  • Lakunle and Baroka display external conflicts in their battle for Sidi’s love. The characters also display internal conflicts when they use both tradition and modernity to their own advantage.
  • The overall plot and structure of the play are indications of this constant conflict. Although this conflict is not the only theme of the play, Soyinka thoroughly incorporates the theme of tradition and modernity. Both the present paper and Ashli Watts (2008) research paper are similar to each other based on the fact that they used characters to investigate the conflict between modernity and tradition.

Theoretical Framework

            Some of the theories in relation to the topic of the paper will be discussed vividly.

  1. cultures As Adaptive systems

Most scholars or theorists who propounded the theory such as: Harris, Marxist, Vayda and Rapport, with the view to clarify the terminological, philosophical, and substantive issues that divide major theorists and to consider the implications of these rethinking for a number of classic anthropological questions: How have cultures developed and what forces shape them? Agree on some broad assumptions like:

  • Cultures are systems (of socially transmitted behaviour patterns) that serve to relate human communities to their ecological settings. These ways – of – of life of communities include settlement patterns, modes of social grouping and political organization, religious belief and practices and so on. Culture is all chose means whose forms are not under direct general control …, which serves to adjust individuals and groups within their ecological communities. The culture concept comes down to behavior patterns associated with particular group of people that is to customs or to a people’s way of life.
  • Cultural change is primarily a process of adaptation and what amounts to natural selection. Man is an animal, like all other animals, must maintain an adaptive relationship with his surroundings in order to survive. Although he achieves this adaptation principally through the medium of culture, the process is guided by the same rules of natural selection that govern biological adaptation.
  • Technology, subsistence economy, and elements of social organization directly tied to production are the most adaptively central realms of culture. It is in this realm that adaptive changes usually begin and from which they usually ramify. However all the theorists (except perhaps the Rappaport of most recent vintage), would view economies and their social correlates as in some sense primary, and ideational systems – religion, ritual, world view – as in some sense. Secondary, derived, or epiphenomenal.
  • The ideational components of cultural systems may have adaptive consequences in controlling population, contribution to subsistence, maintaining the ecosystem.

Tradition versus Modernity: An Insight

So many discussions have been done regarding the conflict between tradition and modernity in this play wherein tradition wins over modernity through the final action of Sidi. Now, if the play reflects a conflict between old ways and new ways, then who is the winner? One cannot answer this very easy, if Sidi is the prize, then it can be concluded that she has been won by Baroka. And thus victory may seem to go to the older way of life and then older beliefs he represents.

Now, this paper will consider in detail those issues (culture conflicts) that led to tradition’s triumph over modernity which are thus:

  • Traditional Bride Price

The overall plot of the play, Lakunle and Baroka’s fight for Sidi’s love, displays confrontation between tradition and modernity. Lakunle refuses to pay Sidi’s bride price because he thinks it is uncivilized outrageous custom. Considering his speech thus:

Lukunle:      Ignorant girl, can you not understand?

To pay the bride price would be to

buy a heifer off the market stall.

You will then be my chattel, my mere

property (pg.8).

Sidi responds to one of Lakunle’s many proposals stating;

Sidi:    I have told you, and I say it again I

shall marry you today, next week or any

day you name. but my bride price must

be paid…, but I tell you, Lakunle, I

must have the full bride-price. Will you

make me a laughing stock? Well, do as

you please but Sidi will not make

herself a cheap bowl for the village spit.

They will say I was no virgin that I was

forced to sell shame and marry you

without a price. (pg.6)

The above passage is an obvious indication that if Lakunle will only stuck to the traditional bride – price, “the modern man” could have had his bride. Lakunle’s choice for modernity leaves the door open for Baroka to enter, knowing the rules of traditional and using Sidi’s ego against her. Sidi is the needle of the pendulum; she wavers from end to end confused, before finally settling on the traditional side. This is the battle which induces tradition to triumph over modernity.

Polygamy versus Monogamy

            Polygamy is a familiar tradition in older, backward society whereas monogamy is a modern phenomenon. There are many inconsistencies in Lakunle which also may irritate Sidi. Although, Lakunle claims to detest Baroka’s habits and power, infact Lakunle secretly envies Baroka and Sidi. As observed in one speech he wished if he had the Bale’s privilege of marrying many wives. Lakunle is contradicting himself here by trying whole-heartedly to uphold modernity but ironically he cannot obviate his native identity and demands. Even he seems to forget his principles at the end of the play when he eagerly embraces the thought that since Sidi is no longer a virgin now, he cannot be asked to pay a bride-price for her before marriage. As seen in the passage below:

Lakunle: “Man takes the fallen women by the hand” And ever after they live happily. Moreover, I will admit it solves the problem of her bride-price too (pg. 61)

Not minding Lakunle’s present thought, in the beginning, Lakunle is madly in love with Sidi and offers her a “Western” monogamous marriage, but Sidi exhibits her traditional views in her rejections of Lakunle’s many modern advances toward her. She is aware of Lakunle’s desire to court her in a modern fashion, but will not put aside her values to allow Lakunle do so. Sidi is most adamant about Lakunle paying her bride-price in order to marry her. In the other end, Baroka request that Sidi becomes his youngest wife. But Sidi declines the more traditional choice of being his last wife (and later the senior wife after Baroka’s death), instead she demonstrated modern thoughts by saying that Baroka is too old and unattractive. She does not look more as her being famous and happier with Baroka. This Sidi’s perception about fame and happiness induces tradition to triumph over modernity (that is total acceptance of polygamous marriage).

Christianity versus Traditional Religion

            Lakunle forgets in his agitation that he is a Christian opposed to the village religion and appeals to the God of thunder and lightning. He declares that “my love is selfless – the love of spirit. Not of flesh” but if it is so, then how can he be so concerned of “bride-price” even when he is about to lose the beloved? Lakunle himself is deliberately insincere and that it would be perfect to say that he is too weak to recognize his own inconsistencies.

            As a result of his (Lakunle) speech calling himself a “beloved of the village deity (the spirit) because of bride-price issue, it shows submitting oneself to the traditional religion. Therefore, it indicates tradition’s triumph over modernity.

            In the other hand, in Nwokelue’s prose Onyebuchi, the conflict between Christianity and traditional religion can be observed in the passages below:

            Ndidiamaka so Akụbụeze (Igwe Ụmụeke) ekpere Ikenga mana ugbu a ụka batara obodo ha bụ Ụmụeke ha ọ hapụrụ Ikenga kpewere Chineke nke bi n’igwe. Ebe Akụbụeze na ndị Oriakụ ya ndị ọzọ kwenyere n’Ikenga nke obodo ha. (pg. 11)


            Ndidiamaka was worshipping Ikenga (the village deity) with Akubueze (king of Ụmụeke) but now Christianity arrived their town called Ụmụeke, she abandoned Ikenga and stated worshipping the Almighty God. But Akubueze and his other wives believed in Ikenga, the village deity. (pg. 11)

            In the passages above, it is observed that Igwe Akubueze together with all her wives including Ndidiamaka were worshipping the village deity (Ikenga) but because of the arrival of Christianity in the village, Ndidiamaka repented and become a Christian convert but the king (Igwe Akụbụeze) and his other wives including the villagers and the Chief priest (Ezemmụọ) were still worshipping the village deity (Ikenga).

            Again, the passage below helps in the analysis of the data collected.

Akụbụeze malitere gawa ụka n’ụlọụka onyeọcha Wintabota. Obi dị nwoke a bụ Wintabota ụtọ n’ihi otu onye chegharịrị n’etiti ha, malite oge ahụ gawa, o nweghị ihe dịka arụsị n’obodo Ụmụeke ma ya fọdụ Ikenga. Onye ọbụla malitere gawa ụka ma nwoke ma nwaanyị. Mgbe Ezemmụọ bụ onye na-enye arụsị obodo ha nri hụrụ na ọ dịghị onye ya na ya kwụ. O kpebiri na ọ ga-amalite gawa ụka n’ihina ndị be anyị kwuru okwu sị na otu osisi anaghị eme ọhịa. Igwe Akụbụeze kwere Ụkọchukwu Wintabota nnukwu nkwa pụrụ iche. Ọ sịrị na ya ga-ewu ụlọụka buru ibu maka ndị obodo ha na kwa ụlọ ebe obibi maka Ụkọchukwu Wintabota. (pg. 58).


Akubueze started attending church in the white man’s church, Mr. Wintabeta was happy because one person has repented among them, from that time onward, there is nothing like deity in Ụmụeke talk more of Ikenga. Everyone started going to church including men and women. When Ezemmụọ, who is the leader of the village deity found out that nobody was with him again. He decided to join other villagers in attending the church, this goes along to our people’s say, that one tree cannot make a forest. King Akụbụeze made a special promise to Rev. Wintabota. He said he will build a mighty church for the villagers and another house for Rev. Wintabota. (pg.58).

Based on the above passages, we observed that Ndidiamaka, one of the wives of king Akụbụeze (the king of Ụmụeke) abandoned the worship of Ikenga (the village deity) and became a Christian convert when Christianity arrived the town. As a result of Ndidiamak’s action, she was sent out of the town. King Akụbụeze has a problem of no male child in his family, but as a result of Rev. Wintabota prayer, Ndidiamaka became pregnant and delivered a baby boy. This now gave king Akụbụeze an apparent heir to his throne.

            In appreciation, king Akụbụeze became a Christian convert together with the villagers including Ezemmụọ (the chief priest of Ikenga deity). By this action of the king and his subjects there is a strong indication of modernity triumph over tradition.


            In consideration of the different cultural conflicting issues (such as issue of traditional bride price), this paper concludes that Lakunle’s choice for modernity leaves the door open for Baroka to enter, and knowing the rules of tradition and using Sidi’s ego against her, Sidi wavers from end to end confused, before finally settling on the traditional side (that accepted to marry Baroka). This now becomes the battle which causes tradition to triumph over modernity.

            Again, Sidi’s perception about her marriage with Baroka, which is not as a convenience, but more as her being famous and happier with Baroka made it possible for tradition to trump over modernity (which is a total acceptance of polygamous marriage).

            Finally, in Nwokelue’s prose Onyebuchi, in appreciation for the miracle of a male child into the king’s family, king Akubueze became a Christian convert together with the villagers including Ezemmuo (the chief priest of Ikenga deity). By this action of the king and his subjects, there is a strong indication of modernity triumph over tradition.



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