Igboscholars InternationalJournal OF IGBO SCHOLARS FORUM, NIGERIA Volume 10. No 1, September, 2018

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Igboscholars International
OF IGBO SCHOLARS FORUM, NIGERIA
Published by:
©Igbo Scholars Forum Nigeria
All rights reserved.
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Editor:
Onukwube Alex Alfred Anedo
+2348037859249
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CALL FOR PAPERS
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,+2348149225739
e-mail:igboscholarsforum@yahoo.com;
web: http://wwwigboscholarsforum.com.ng
Vol.10. No.1 September, 2018
ISSN: 2476-843x
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FROM EDITORIAL DESK
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.
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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 ,
XiamenUniversity, 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 Archeology & 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
©Igbo Scholars Forum, Nigeria 2018
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Disclaimer of Warranties
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be liable for any special, incidental, indirect, or consequential
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the articles or other material derived from the JISFN, whether or not
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This publication is provided “as is” without warranty of any
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implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular
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Forum, Nigeria to see that no inaccurate or misleading data, opinion
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that the data and opinions appearing in the articles and
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make no warranty of any kind, either express or implied, regarding
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it may be linked.
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CONTENTS and CONTRIBUTORS
1. The Effect of Prohibition of Speaking of Igbo Language
on the Performance of Students in Igbo Language in
Secondary Schools
Chinenye Anthonia Ezema Ph.D
School of General Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka
chinnyzemsfour@gmail.com +2348037728086 P.09

2. Ethical Norms in Igbo Traditional Religious Society
Charles Ogbuchukwu Okeke, Ph.D.¹
Department of Christian Religious Studies, Nwafor Orizu,
College of Education, Nsugbe
Harriet Nwando Okoye²
Department of Christian Religious Studies,
Nwafor Orizu,
College of Education, Nsugbe P.17

3. Political Education and Resource Control in Nigeria:
An Overview
Anyabolu I. O.
Department of Political Science,
Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe P.32

4. The Impact of Economics Recession on Human
Resource Management in Nigeria
Anyabolu i. O.
Department of Political Science
Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe P.43

5. Human Rights Versus Cultural Rights: The Reality of
Feminist Empiricism in Igbo Culture, South East
Nigeria
Patricia Ogugua Anwuluorah (Ph.D)¹
Department of Religion and Cultural Studies, NwaforOrizu
College of Education, Nsugbe,
An Affiliate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Ogugua.patricia@yahoo.com; *234-708-641-5562
Jude ChinwubaAsike (Ph.D)²
Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities,
University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria
E-mail: asikejude@yahoo.com; *234-703-433-2569 P.54
8

6. Need to Incorporate Computer Technology into Music
Education in Nigeria
DR. A. O ACHU
Department of Music, Nwafor Orizu College of Education
Nsugbe.
07031008014, aliceobiageliachu2020@yahoo.com P.72

7. The Problems of Dance Education in Tertiary
Institution in Nigeria
DR. A.OACHU,
Nwafor Orizu College of Education Nsugbe P.82

8 .Afrikanische Literatur in Deutschsprache: Die
Unterdrückung der Frauen in Buchi Emechetas
Nnu Ego Zwanzig Säcke Muschelgeld
Obodoeze Nkechi J.
Department of Modern European Languages, Faculty of
Arts, Nnamdi Azikiwe University,
Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria
obodoezenkechigog@gmail.com, 08039328555 P.91

8. Bai Guo Miao in Quanzhou: South China Port City
Dr.Gamini Ranasinghe
Department History and Archaeology, University of Sri
Jayewardenepura. gaminir76@yahoo.com P.111
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The Effect of Prohibition of Speaking of Igbo Language on the
Performance of Students in Igbo Language in Secondary
Schools
By
Chinenye Anthonia Ezema Ph.D
chinnyzemsfour@gmail.com
08037728086
Abstract
The study investigated perception of students on the effect of
prohibition of speaking of Igbo Language on their performance in
Igbo Language in secondary schools. One research question guided
the study. Descriptive Survey design was employed for the study.
The instrument for data collection was 8-item questionnaire on
Perception of Students on the Effect of Prohibition of Speaking of
Igbo Language on Students Performance (PSEPSILSP). The
instrument was validated by experts in Language Education and
Linguistics departments from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
The data collected were analyzed using mean and standard
deviation. The findings indicated that students who are prohibited
from speaking of Igbo language in their schools do not perform well
in Igbo language in their schools. Based on the findings and
conclusion, it is recommended among other things that state and
local governments in South Eastern Nigeria should abolish the
prohibition of speaking of Igbo language in their primary and
secondary schools.
Introduction
Language plays an important role in teaching and learning
situations. It is man’s exclusive means of communicating with each
other using symbols and sounds to express emotions and wills.
Azikiwe (1998) views language as, “… a means of social control, it
is a collection of motor responses; it functions symbolically and so
is used for verbal communication.” Language performs the
functions of transferring societal values from one generation to the
10
other. It is indeed a necessary or an essential aspect of education. It
is for this reason that language has from the beginning occupied an
important position in the National Policy on Education and hence
the National Language Policy.
Prior to the introduction of formal education in Nigeria,
Language like other aspects of education was informal. Formal
western type of education was introduced into the country by the
Christian Missionaries in the nineteenth century. According to
Odadele (2006), for about four decades after that initial date, both
the nature and main thrust of language education in the country was
left to those missionaries to decide. The missionaries whose sole
aim was to spread the gospel felt that the African child was best in
his indigenous language. This made them to emphasize the native
language. It is not surprising that the teaching and learning of
indigenous languages received a much genuine attention in those
early days of western type of education in the country.
Education which involves the principles and practices of
teaching and learning is the aggregate of all the processes by which
a child develops his ability, attitudes and other forms of behaviour in
practical values that cannot be provided without language. It is very
necessary that secondary school students are allowed to express
their ideas, thoughts and views in their indigenous languages. But
due to the prohibition of the speaking of Igbo Language in many
schools, students are denied the opportunity of using their
indigenous language (Igbo Language) freely.
Despite that these students were not allowed to speak Igbo
language in their various homes; they are equally prohibited from
speaking it in schools except during Igbo lessons. For example, it is
always written conspicuously on the walls of classrooms, “Speaking
of Igbo language is prohibited in this class”, “Vernacular is highly
prohibited in this class”, and “Igbo speaking is not allowed in this
class”, “Speak Igbo language and pay fine. This tends to be one of
the major reasons why students achieve poorly in Igbo language in
schools and in external examinations like West Africa Senior School
Certificate Examination.
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Students are always flogged, punished or fined for
speaking or conversing with friends and colleagues in Igbo language
in the classroom and within school compound. Nwadike (2002) and
Eme and Nkamigbo (2009) supported the above view when they
said that in many schools in Igbo land, the authorities debar their
students from speaking their mother-tongue even up to imposing
fines on students who speak their indigenous language. When a
student cannot express his feelings during interaction with his peers
in his indigenous language orally, how can he have interest in
writing that language?
The guideline of Federal Government of Nigeria in
National Policy on Education (2004) states that Igbo language
should be used as a medium of instruction in nursery to first three
years in primary schools, and as a subject in secondary schools.
Government at different tiers should ensure that the laws prohibiting
the speaking of Igbo language in our schools are abolished
especially in Igbo land. This mars the objectives of National
Language Policy in making Igbo language one of the three major
languages accepted in Nigeria.
Due to prohibition of speaking Igbo language in classes,
schools and homes, students do not develop interest in learning,
speaking and studying of Igbo language. During Igbo language
periods, students are seen leaving their classes for irrelevant things.
This hatred towards Igbo language by students is due to the poor
perception they have about Igbo language.
Equally, the students also perceive that their teachers have
no interest and respect for the subject (Igbo language). Ohiri-
Anichie (2010) said that prohibition of speaking of Igbo language in
many schools has made many students to neglect Igbo language.
Many of them see Igbo language as a subject for the weak students.
Likewise, Ejiofor (2010) asserted that students’ poor perception
towards Igbo language arises from the restriction of their parents
and prohibition of speaking Igbo language in their various homes
and schools.
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This study therefore, was to find out the perception of
students on the effect of the prohibition of speaking of Igbo
language on their performance in Igbo language in secondary
schools. Specifically, the study sought to:
1. Investigate the effect of prohibition of speaking of Igbo
language on the performance of students in Igbo language
in secondary schools.
Research Question
1. What are the effects of prohibition of speaking of Igbo
language on the performance of students in Igbo language
in secondary schools?
Method
The study was a descriptive research. Specifically, a
descriptive survey design was used for the study. This study was
carried out in Nsukka Education Zone. Three Local Government
Areas make up this zone. They are Nsukka, Igbo-Etiti and Uzo-
Uwani. The population for the study consists of all the SS II
students in government- owned secondary schools in the study area.
Stratified random sampling technique was used. The sample consists
of 2,288 students drawn from thirty schools in Nsukka Education
Zone of Enugu State. Sixteen, eight and six schools were selected
from Nsukka, Igbo-Etiti and Uzo-Uwani respectively.
The researcher constructed an 8-item questionnaire on
Effect of Prohibition of Speaking of Igbo Language on Students
Performance (EPSILSP) which was used for data collection. The
instrument had four response options of strongly agree, agree,
strongly disagree and disagree with weights of 4, 3, 2 and 1
respectively. The instrument was validated by experts in the
departments of Language Education and Linguistics from the
University of Nigeria, Nsukka. The reliability of the instrument was
tested in another Education zone different from the area of study.
The Cronbach Alpha was used to calculate the reliability of the
instrument (0.78).
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The data pertaining to the research question was analyzed
using descriptive statistics. The result was presented in Table 1.
Result
Research Question 1:
What are the effects of prohibition of speaking of Igbo
language on the performance of students in Igbo language in
secondary schools?
Table 1: Mean ( ) and Standard Deviation (SD) Score on
Perception of Students on the Effect of Prohibition of
Speaking of Igbo Language on their Performance in
Igbo Language in secondary Schools
S/N Item
1. Non speaking of Igbo language in schools make students to perform poorly
in Igbo essay
2. Non speaking of Igbo language in schools make students to perform poorly
in Igbo grammar
3. Non speaking of Igbo language in schools make students to perform poorly
in comprehension passages in Igbo
4. Non speaking of Igbo language in schools make students to have poor
grades in Igbo language as a subject
5. Non speaking of Igbo language in schools make students to perform poorly
in Igbo literature
6. Non speaking of Igbo language in schools make students unable to spell
Igbo words correctly
7. Non speaking of Igbo language in schools make students unable to write
Igbo words correctly
8. Non speaking of Igbo language in schools make students unable to write
words in sentences correctly
Total
Data in Table 1 shows the mean and standard deviation of
perception of students on the effect of prohibition of speaking of
Igbo language on their performance in Igbo language in secondary
14

schools. From the table, items 1, 2, 3 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 with mean
score of 2.88, 2.65, 2.60, 2.51, 3.33, 3.39, 3.60 and 3.52 respectively
were accepted likewise the total with 3.00 mean score.
Discussion
In this study, the students perceived that the prohibition of
speaking of Igbo language in schools had bad effect on their
performance in Igbo language. None speaking of Igbo language in
schools by students have strong effect on them. It makes them to
have poor scores and grades in Igbo essay, grammar, comprehension
and literature. After getting good grades in other subjects, the
students will have poor grades in Igbo language. Students were
unable to spell, write and use Igbo words correctly. Students were
not allowed to discuss, converse and express themselves in Igbo
language. Any student that speaks Igbo will be punished, flogged or
fined as the case may be. Nwadike (2002) strongly supported this
view that students who speak Igbo language are fined.
Most students do not want to be termed or regarded as
unintelligent or illiterates because they speak Igbo language in
schools and hence will prefer speaking English language to speaking
of Igbo language. These attitudes and behaviours toward Igbo
language make students not to have interest in Igbo language, since
they believed Igbo language will never give them dignity and
respect they wanted in the society.
As one of the elements of Bandura’s theory, schools have
effect on a child’s language development. The school attended by a
child shows the type of teaching and knowledge the child will get or
have. If a child attends a school that prohibits him/her from speaking
Igbo language, he/she will never have interest to speak Igbo
language let alone writing it.
Conclusion/ Recommendations
Based on the findings, it is a fact that the perception of
students on the prohibition of speaking of Igbo language in their
schools affects their performance in Igbo language. None speaking
of Igbo language amongst students in the schools made them not to
15

be proficient and fluent thereby not writing coherently. Based on the
findings and conclusion, the following recommendations are made:
1. States and local governments in South Eastern Nigeria
should abolish the prohibition of speaking of mother
tongue (Igbo language) in primary and secondary schools
and impose sanctions against schools that continue the
prohibition.
2. States and local governments in South-Eastern States
should encourage students to write and pass Igbo language
in external examinations by giving them scholarship to
study Igbo language as a course of study in higher
institutions.
3. A credit pass in Igbo language in S.S.C.E. should be made
a compulsory prerequisite for admission into higher
institutions for every course in Federal, State and Private
Institutions in South-Eastern States of Nigeria.
4. Igbo language should be done as a course in General
Studies Programme (GSP) in all the higher institutions
especially in the ones in Igboland.
References
Azikiwe, U. (1998). Language Teaching and Learning. Onitsha:
Africana Feb Publishers Ltd.
Ejiofor, P. (2010). Ibeku Ndi Igbo Maka Asusu Igbo. Awka: Valid
Publishing Company.
Eme, C. A. and Nkamigbo, L. C. (2009). Asụsụ Dị ka Ngwa Ọrụ
Ndị Igbo Ji Anabata Mgbanwe Ngwa Ngwa: Otu Ọnịcha Dị ka
Mgbakwasa Ụkwụ. Jonal Mmụta Igbo (Journal of Igbo
Studies). 4(1)
Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004). National Policy on Education.
Lagos: NERDC Press.
16

Kendra, V. W. (n.d.) Social Learning. An Overview of Bandura’s
Social Learning Theory. Website:
http://psychology.about.com/od/developmentalpsychology/
a/sociallearninghtm. Retrival date 17/12/2010
Nwadike, I. U. (2002). Igbo Language in Education: An Historical
Study. Uruowulu-Obosi: Pacific Publishers.
Odadele, A. (2006). Language Education in Nigeria. Theory, Policy
and Practice. In Fafunwa Foundation Internet Journal of
Education: Language Education in Nigeria.
Ohiri-Aniche, C. (2010). A Survey of Awareness of Language
Endangerment in Nigeria. Endangered Languages in
Nigeria. M &J Grand Orbit Commiunications Ltd.
17

 

Ethical Norms in Igbo Traditional Religious Society
Charles Ogbuchukwu Okeke, Ph.D.¹
Department of Christian Religious Studies,
Nwafor Orizu College of Education,
Nsugbe
And
Harriet Nwando Okoye²
Department of Christian Religious Studies,
Nwafor Orizu College of Education,
Nsugbe

Abstract
In Igbo traditional religious society there are certain norms the
traditional man and woman have lived with and practiced long
before the advent of Christianity. Those norms were developed to
guide and shape their social life in particular and their world-view in
general. The sacred, for instance, is something that is set apart for
religious reverence, while profanity is opposite of the sacred, the
profane keep their distance from the sacred so as to avoid risk of the
two coming in contact. Prohibition (nsọ) is something that is
avoided; once committed it becomes abomination (arụ), and it
usually attracts the wrath of the spirit or deity. Certain taboos are
attached to these norms. Should anyone go against any of them he or
she must appease the spirit to avoid impending calamities. But with
the coming of Christianity to Igbo land, the period of enlightenment
came and there came a remarkable shift by many from traditional
practice to Christianity. Many people became converted to
Christianity, although one may say that the people are not yet
holistically converted to Christianity as some still indulge in
traditional practices. This study, therefore, explored the concept of
the sacred, profanity, prohibition (nsọ) and abomination (arụ) as
well as their various types as understood and established by
traditional Igbo. The study was carried out in Anambra State. To
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avoid falling victim to error of overgeneralization, the study adopted
subculture area approach. This approach is necessary because of two
main reasons. First, what obtains in one subculture may not be the
same in another subculture. Second, the researchers are from central
Igbo and are very well at home with the culture of the people,
therefore, the study focused on Idemmili North and South,
Dunukofịa, Njikoka and Anaọcha subculture axis.
Key Words: Sacred, Profanity, Prohibitions, Taboos, Nsọ,
Arụ
Introduction
The word ethics is derived from the Greek ēthos, which
means custom, a habitual way of acting, character (De Finance,
1991). In Latin, the words mos and moris are derived from
ethos. From moris, the word mores and the adjective moral are
derived. Etymologically, ethical and moral are synonymous, and
for this reason, their substantive form, the two words are used
interchangeably. From philosophical point of view, ethics means
science or philosophy of human action(s). That is, what a person
is expected or ought to do and what he or she should avoid.
Ethics is that science or philosophy which guides human
action(s).
Every society has its own set of rules or norms which
its members are expected to abide by and adhere to. Those
norms are societal ēthos, or norms of the society. A society
without norms is like something standing on a vacuum. And, of
course, no society exists on nothing. There must be certain rules
set down to guide its members. Social norms are developed with
the age of a society. This means that as a society grows and
develops its norms that will help it in keeping and maintaining
social order.
African traditional societies are among the societies that
have from ages developed the norms that have helped and
continue to help in guiding and shaping their social order.
People are expected to live by those norms. In Igbo traditional
society, for instance, certain norms have helped and continue to
help in maintaining social order. There are certain norms that if
one goes against, one is said to have committed an abomination
and that that abomination must be appeased. Those norms
19

include, for instance, having sex with a biological relation,
cutting tendril of yams, committing adultery with a woman in
her husband’s house, a woman passing urine on a bed, among
others.
There are also certain trees set apart for religious
reverence such as iroko (ọjị), silk cotton plant (akpụ), detarium
senegalense (ọfọ) among others. These trees are not cut or felled
at will. They are set aside as sacred. They have religious value
and significance attached to them by traditional Igbo man and
woman. They are not treated or tampered with just like any
other tree. Certain taboos are attached to these sacred trees, that
if any of them is abused, certain rituals must be performed to
calm or ward off impending calamities that would befall the
individual as well as the community (Okeke, 2012).
It is against the above background that the researchers
have decided to embark on the above topic. The objectives
which the study is set to achieve are the following: the role of
the sacred in socio-cultural life of the traditional Igbo, why the
traditional Igbo attach so much importance on the things sacred;
how the traditional Igbo see prohibitions (nsọ) and taboos or
abomination (arụ) and what must be done when one has
committed an abominable act.
Conceptual Clarifications
· Sacred in Igbo Society
In traditional Igbo society, the terms ‘sacred’ and
‘profane’ throw some light of the attitude the people adopt
towards the world and other material things. This is also evident
in other religious societies like Christianity, Islam, and Judaism
and so on. Among the traditional Igbo, things are regarded as
sacred if they are appropriated or dedicated to a deity or for
some religious intent. Things which are held dear to deity or
appropriated to some persons; made holy by religious
associations; which are safeguarded by tradition or made
inviolable or held sacrosanct are sacred. And these sacred things
says Durkheim in Robertson (1971) “are to be treated with a
certain specific attitude of respect” (p. 55). The implication of
this statement by Durkheim can better be appreciated as they
apply to the cultural axis understudy.
20

The term ‘sacred’ to traditional Igbo, includes the
untouchables and the taboos of the people. As Durkheim in
Robertson puts it, “… that which par excellence the profane
should not touch or cannot touch with impunity” (p. 49). Sacred
are things forbidden; they have indwelling being or force, which
is represented in the object. This means that those things we see
and call sacred are mere symbols of the reality of the unseen.
For instance, there are sacred bushes dedicated to certain deities
in some Igbo land. It is not the bushes or the trees that are
sacred but the deities to which they are dedicated. Achebe
(1998) made this observation in Things Fall Apart when he
narrated the wrestling tournament that was to take place on the
ilo of Ụmụọfịa. According to him, “The whole village men,
women and children assembled at the ilo, behind them was the
big and ancient silk-cotton tree, which was sacred. Spirits of
good children lived in that tree waiting to be born” (p. 33).
In the above sense, what makes the tree sacred is the
spirit that lives in it. In Eziowelle, for instance, there are bushes
dedicated to some deities just as in other towns and villages
understudy. There are ọfịa Udike (the bush dedicated to Udike
deity), ọfia Arọ (the bush dedicated to Arọ deity). In Abatete,
there is ọfịa Ọmaliko (the bush dedicated to Omaliko deity). In
Umunnachi, there is ọfịa Okpimodu (the bush dedicated to
Okpimodu deity) and so on. Some animals are also dedicated to
one deity or another. Such animals include the python, goat, and
cow sheep and so on. Some waters, streams, rivers and lakes are
also dedicated to one deity or another. Thus Idemili river in
Nnobi is dedicated to Idemili, so also Agulu lake; Ụlasị river in
Okija/Ihiala is dedicated to Ụlasị. These objects like animals
dedicated to a particular deity are not touched since they are
mere symbols of the indwelling forces of their respective
deities.
Helen Hemingway (1984) sees sacred as “power, being,
or realm understood by religious persons to be at the core of
existence and to have a transformative effect on their lives and
destinies” (p. 755). On sacred places, Helen Hemingway (1984)
describes them as ‘sites where the divine or sacred is especially
present, a point of juncture between the transcendent and earthly
21

spheres. They are places where heaven and earth meet, whereby
apprehension of ordered cosmos becomes possible’ (p. 756).
On the other hand, sacred can represent persons or
things, which are protected and, therefore, isolated from the
profane. Hence, Boyle (1981) says “Sacred is separated from the
common profane world; it expresses ultimate total value and
meaning of life. It is that which is protected, whether or not by
religion, against violation, instruction or defilement” (p. 217).
On this note, for instance, priests are separated as holy persons,
responsible for the temple, shrines and rituals, which are
separated as holy places or things where men and women could
worship and behold the divine presence. Thus sacred could be
found both in animate and inanimate things.
Going further, the kings, chiefs and titled men
(especially the ọzọ titled men) in their respective positions are
sacred and are protected from other people. They are given
special honour, and are not buried in the same way as the
ordinary man is buried. These sacred persons avoid certain food
and actions in order to protect their sacred position. They do not
eat food prepared by women who are in menstrual period; as
such women at their period are regarded as profane. Sacred
persons or things are held in veneration as servants of gods, or
possessing god-like properties and, therefore, have affectual
protection against molestation and harm. In this sense, osu
(outcast) or ohu (slave) is held sacred; hence he is dedicated to a
deity. Okeke (2012) explains that “the fact that certain animals
(or persons or things) are dedicated to a deity or another confers
the quality of sacredness to such animals” (p. 12).
Among the traditional Igbo, certain words are not
pronounced freely. For instance, the names of the sex organ are
not freely used. Besides, children would not mention the name
of the male or female organs to the hearing of others; if one
does, one receives the challenge and shun by others. Names of
deities are not freely shouted. The sex organs are sacred because
life comes through them and life is sacred in Igbo society. Life
is the highest good, Summum Bonum (Ilogu, 1974; Arinze,
1970). The people detest the destruction of life or spilling of
blood, hence a person who commits murder performs
22

purification of ostracisation (ịgba ọsọ ọchụ). In his Things fall
Apart, Achebe (1998) narrated how Okonkwo’s gun exploded at
the funeral of Ezeudu and a piece of iron pierced a boy’s heart.
The only course open to Okonkwo was to flee from the clan. It
was a crime against the earth goddess to kill a clansman, and
who committed it must flee from the land. Achebe (1998)
further describes the consequence of Okonkwo’s action:
As soon as the day broke, a large crowd of men
from Ezeudu’s quarter stormed Okonkwo’s
compound, dressed in garbs of war. They set
fire to his houses, demolished his red walls,
killed his animals and destroyed his barn. It
was the justice of the earth goddess, and they
were merely her messengers. They had no
hatred in their hearts against Okonkwo. His
greatest friend, Obierika, was among them.
They were merely cleansing the land which
Okonkwo had polluted with the blood of a
clansman (p. 87).
The above scenario depicts the fact that among the
traditional Igbo, blood is sacred and life is blood. And for this
reason, even when animals are killed for ritual purposes the
blood is sprinkled on the carved images, stones and deities.
Profanity
The word ‘profane’ comes from two Latin words pro
and fane. Profane is opposite of sacred. To traditional Igbo,
profanities are those things that are not set apart as sacred.
Helen Hemingway (1984) defines profane as the “irrelevant use
of names, or irrelevant reference to attributes or qualities of God
or of holy persons or things held in esteem because of the
relationship to God” (p. 826). Helen Hemingway further states
that “profane, however, involves no positive intent to show
contempt for holy things. Rather, it does them less honour than
is their due by careless, or too frequent, or inappropriate
reference to them” (p. 826).
One of the essential characteristics of the sacred would
be its superiority over the profane. The sacred are considered
relatively superior in dignity and power to things profane and
23

particularly to man, when he is only a man and has nothing
sacred about him. Superiority of the sacred, implies that a thing,
in order to be sacred must almost in all cases be superior to
profane. This is very remarkable. For instance, the sacred cow
belonging to the deity Arọ in Eziowelle or Ọmaliko in Abatete
would enter a man’s farm to eat up the crops, without offending
the man. Whereas the domestic animal of a neighbor enters the
same man’s farm to pluck a few leaves of the crop, he takes a
serious offence and would if possible kill the animal. The reason
for this is that sacred and non-sacred are conceived as two
distinct classes, having such demarcation that there is nothing in
common (Okeke, 2012).
Generally, there are laws or taboos (iwu) which are
made so that the profane keep their distance from the sacred so
as to avoid risk of the two coming in contact. Okeke (2012)
clearly explains that “the profane things whether animals or
plants have no divine nature in them. But once a thing is
dedicated to a deity, it becomes sacred, and it is then turned to
the priest of the deity” (p. 14). The profane object can be passed
to the rank of the sacred through initiation rites. For instance, an
ordinary man can pass into the sacred rank of ọzọ after the
process of initiation. Arazu (2005) states that “what makes ọzọ a
special title distinct from others is the rite or ritual of initiation”
(p. 185). Similarly an ordinary man can pass into the rank of a
priest. The ordinary goat, cow, ram, and so on, can pass into the
rank of the sacred animal by presentation or dedication to a
deity. For instance, in lower animals or objects, the sacrelization
or making of profane things sacred takes place in a lesser
degree. In higher animals and objects, it involves the
performance of rituals and ceremonials, which may take a lot of
money and weeks to accomplish. Obinwa (personal interview,
November 23rd 2007) emphasizes that the traditional Igbo man
is very sensitive to whatever that is sacred. Thus he says,
Due to the taboos attached to the sacred, the
traditional Igbo make every effort to avoid any
action that may lead to profanation of the
sacred. For instance, it is an act of profanation
of the scared kolanut, or for a woman to climb
24

the tree or pluck the fruit, or for an ọzọ titled
man to defecate beside sacred kolanut leaves. It
is an act of profanation for someone to harm a
sacred animal dedicated to a deity.
In Igbo religion, each of the profanation is attached
with some kind of rituals for cleansing, since it is akin to
abomination (arụ/alụ), although abomination has a stronger
character. However, Metuh (1987) states “In the first place, it is
normal conscience that pronounces judgments on the goodness
and/or the badness of any action regardless of whether the
norms governing such actions are in fact, taboos, customs,
social, religious or moral” (p. 235). Elaborating on profanity, A.
Ikemelu (personal interview, November 27, 2007) submittes,
To the Igbo, profanity is ihe rụrụ arụ that is,
separated from the sacred. It is abuse. It is
opposite of sacred. Sacred has a link with God,
while profanity has no link with God. It is not
abomination however, because abomination is
stronger. Profanity comes from abomination
but abomination has stronger character. For
instance, to curse a person by word of mouth or
to say Chukwu anọzikwọ is a profane language,
but they are not abomination. Profanity is ihe
na-enyesighi Chukwu nsọpụrụ (disrespect to
God), whereas abomination has to do with evil
or crime.
Considering the above statement, the researchers think
that Ikemelu explained the concept of profane from Christian
point of view. If profanity is ihe rụrụ arụ, what about a woman
who is in her menstrual period? Can one say that she is profane
(ọ rụrụ arụ)? Again, the statement Chukwu anọzikwọ does not
always seem to be a profane language, though it appears to be.
But in one sense, it does not imply positive intent to dishonor
God. Rather, it implies a type of prayer of an anguished person
who invokes or beckons on God for help, a prayer of anguish.
The researchers think that the fuller meaning of
profanity as Ikemelu submitted is ihe na-enyesighi Chukwu
25

nsọpụrụ (disrespect to Go) or okwu rụrụ arụ (irrelevant use of
language against God, sacred object or person).
However, in the course of this investigation, the
researchers discovered that the traditional Igbo have the sense of
profanity, but clear-cut demarcation is lacking between the
concept of profanity and abomination or taboo. Hence one is
akin to the other. Take for instance, a woman in her menstrual
period, in Igbo traditional society must purify her body after her
period, in order to become clean again. And it is a taboo for her
to cook for her husband during her menstrual experience. The
questions are: should a taboo be attached to this kind of natural
experience since taboos are attached to abomination or crime? Is
it an abomination for a woman to see her period at the time she
is supposed to see it? If a menstrual woman should cleanse or
purify her body after her normal menstrual period, then it is
understood that she is profane. That is, ọbụ onye rụrụ arụ and
so, it is a taboo or an abomination for her to cook for her
husband. Is it reasonable to say that a woman in her menstrual
period is profane?
The above questions explain the reason the researchers
hold that traditional Igbo have no clear-cut demarcation between
the concept of profanity and abomination and same questions
led the researchers to investigate the concept of prohibition,
which in Igbo implies nso (ihe a na-asọ nsọ) and therefore, must
be avoided. It is abomination (arụ) or taboo to commit it.
· Prohibitions and Abominations Nsọ and Arụ
Concept of Nsọ and Arụ
Among the beliefs that influence the socio-moral life of
the traditional Igbo of the central area is nsọ and arụ, which
may be categorized into collective and individual
responsibilities (Isizo, 1998), all aimed at the establishment of a
moral community. The term nsọ emphasizes that the prohibition
is total and absolute. It is, therefore, abomination (arụ) to
infringe on any of them. Metuh (1987) describes nsọ and arụ as
“ritual or religious offences believed to disrupt relationship with
the supernatural forces” (p. 240).
Furthermore, the word nsọ, according to Metuh (1985),
may mean two different correlated things: one negative and one
26

positive. Nsọ means literally, ‘avoidance’ or ‘prohibition’, that
is, what one must avoid, or what one is prohibited to do. This is
the negative sense. In some other context, the same word nsọ
means ‘holy’. It would appear that prohibitions create or
preserve the status of holiness (nsọ), while the breach of
prohibitions results in pollution or ungodliness. Nsọ are
therefore, ‘sacred prohibitions’.
In Igbo land, each deity has its own prohibition and
taboos attached to it. The most serious taboos are those against
the earth deity. These, more than others, are believed to threaten
the stability of society itself as well as that of nature. Ikemelu
(2005) enumerated some of these prohibitions as:
Having sex with another man’s wife, having
sex with a biological relation, having sex with
an animal or a mad person, having sex with a
sister’s husband, having sex with a brother’s
wife, having sex with a husband’s brother,
having sex with a father’s wife, having sex
with a mother’s sister, woman having sex with
woman, man having sex with man, having
extra-marital sex and so on (p. 14).
Other instances of nsọ and arụ include:
Cutting tendril of yams (omeji) and cocoyams,
or digging of crops before fruition, or maturity,
setting ablaze farm, leaving a goat or other
animal to birth in tetters, robbery, murder,
disinheriting of legitimate property, being
wicked to domestic pets or caricaturing a
handicapped because of natural impairment or
deformity (Ikemelu, 2005).
Other realities of nsọ and arụ are: ịkọ mmadụ ọgwụ, itọlụ
mmadu nsị (sending poison to another person), ime mmadu ọgwụ
(charming a person), ịta mmadụ amusu (being wicked to another
person) and telling a deliberate lie against a person (Ikemelu,
2005).
Furthermore, it is nsọ and arụ to kill a sacred python,
cow, or goat; committing suicide, stealing of yam, revealing the
27

secrets of the masquerade cult, having sex with animal and so
on. For married women, it is abomination to climb a palm tree
with rope, or top of a house, kick yam, push down a standing
wall, cook for an ọzọ titled man. Nsọ and arụ are meant for
everybody irrespective of age, sex or status. Often taboos (iwú)
are broken but once broken, immediate actions are taken to
cleansing them in the acceptable way of the community. In some
occasions, Nri priest would be invited to perform the cleansing
ritual (Arinze, 1970). One may hide a taboo broken, but an
untreated case may be unearthened by future misfortune. On
this, Ikemelu (2005) observes,
Every custom has inbuilt consequences and
repercussions for fouling or desecrating it,
whether secretary or publicly committed. It is
not, therefore, an enactment or sentence to say
evil shall overtake those who foul custom and
tradition, sooner or later; it is merely stating a
fait accompli (p. 8).
So the traditional Igbo of central subcultural zone and
by extension, every Igbo man and woman, see nsọ (prohibition)
and arụ (abomination) as norms (iwú), the breach of which,
whether voluntary or involuntary unleash some mystical
sanctions not only on the individual but also on the entire
society. An abomination can be contained only by physically or
ritually removing the cause of the breach or pre-empting its
effects.
Categories of Nsọ and Arụ
There are different kinds of nsọ. There are personal nsọ,
nsọ of the different deities, and spirits (alụsị). Personal nsọ are
those observed by an ordinary individual. Some of them may be
natural, others are acquired. For instance, certain foods or
activities persistently avoided by a person since birth are his
natural nsọ. Other prohibitions could be acquired on the advice
of a priest or diviner. Metuh (1985) enumerates some categories
of nsọ and arụ as:
1. Sex Prohibitions:
28

· Having sexual relations with certain categories of kin
(distant kin)
· Adultery with non-relatives
· Having sex in the bush even with one’s wife, or on the
bare ground
· Having sex with a menstrual woman
· No woman should have intercourse while cooking, even
with her husband.
· Adultery with a woman in her husband’s house may
cause the death of the husband and her children if not
confessed and purified.
2. Food Prohibitions
· To eat horses; certain parts of the internal chest organs
may cause madness.
· To eat animals prohibited by custom.
· To eat food prepared or touched by a menstrual
woman.
· No body may eat new yams until sacrifices are made to
the ancestors and Ala (earth goddess). Breaches of this
was punishable by one year exile and sacrifice of a ram
to Ala and ancestors.
3. Death Prohibitions
· To bury a woman with an unborn child in her womb.
· To bury those who died during the month sacred to Ala
(Bury here means traditional funeral rites).
· To mourn those who die of infectious diseases
especially smallpox, leprosy, or elephantiasis of the
scotrum.
· Violent death by accident (ọnwụike).
· For a woman to go outside the compound during
mourning period.
· For a woman to visit the shrine of Ala before the
completion of funeral rites of her husband.
The above are minor prohibitions against earth mother.
They are not abominations. They become abominations once
breached. However, the state of pollution and punishments
resulting from their breach are less severe than those of
29

abominations or major pollutions. This is probably because they
are not believed to pose a grave threat to the cosmic and social
order. In most cases, culprits are not ostracized. Infections of
defilement are in some cases limited to those who have intimate
contact with the culprit, for instance, the husband of an
adulterous woman. The mystical sanctions may be delayed. It
may even affect the culprit’s relatives after his death. And the
costs of the items for the purification rites are less expensive.
Other minor prohibitions according to Metuh (1985)
include matrimonial prohibitions and, place and time
prohibitions.
4. Matrimonial Prohibitions
· For a woman to declare herself widow while her
husband is alive
· If a woman pushes her husband down.
· To have sex with a girl before her first menstruation
· For a member of the family to sell any part of the
family land without the consent of the living members
and the ancestors.
· Adultery of the wife not involving incest threatens the
life of the husband and the child born after it.
5. Place and Time Prohibitions: A house is deemed unclean if
the following take place in it:
· Birth of a child; menstruation; if a woman cries in it.
· A compound is considered unclean before a festival and
must be ritually cleansed.
· A bed is unclear if a woman passes urine on it.
As sexual offences affecting women are believed to
cause difficulty at childbirth, or serious illness and frequent
deaths in the family, confessions are encouraged and sometimes
demanded. A woman is obliged to confess all sexual offences on
arrival at her husband’s home, before childbirth, and sometimes
during her husband’s illness (Metuh, 1985).
In case of time and place, any offence against these
must be purified. However, there is no prohibition to
menstruate, or to cry in a house, but there is an obligation to
avoid persons and places affected by these activities. Persons
30

and things affected by pollution must be purified, failure to do
so is believed to herald misfortunes attributed to the anger of the
earth mother and the ancestors who are protectors of the home
and family (Metuh, 1985).
Conclusion
This study has to some extent dealt with the concept of
the sacred, profanity, and prohibitions in Igbo traditional
religious society, particularly among the central Igbo. Among
the people of this subculture, certain objects and persons are set
aside as sacred and are reverenced as such. The sacred objects
and persons have indwelling force which is represented in them.
Certain taboos are also attached to these objects. And because
certain taboos are attached to them, the traditional Igbo man and
woman make every effort to avoid any action that may lead to
profanation of the sacred. Sacred and profane are among the
beliefs that influence the traditional Igbo man and woman of
this subculture.
Nsọ and arụ are also among the beliefs that influence
the traditional Igbo of this axis. Metuh (1987) describes nsọ and
arụ as “ritual or religious offences believed to disrupt
relationship with the supernatural forces” (p. 240). They have to
be avoided, shunned, because committing them tantamount to
violation of the moral order guiding the society. Ikemelu (2005)
confirms this when he says:
Both nsọ and arụ disorganize, pollute, defame
in dignify, dehumanize, demonize,
immortalize, and destroy the sacredness of man
and society. Both may occur by omission or
misbehavior or misdeed, hence they may also
be termed or described as nsọ anị and
alụlụmanị (p. 14).
31

 

References
Arazu, R. C. (2005). Our religion past and present. Awka:
Martin-King.
Arinze, F. A. (1970). Sacrifice in Ibo religion. Ibadan:
University Press.
Achebe, C. (1998). Things fall apart. Ibadan: Heinemann.
Boyle, A. O. (1981). New Catholic encyclopedia. Washington:
Jack Heraty.
De Finance, J. (1991). An ethical inquiry. Rome: Gregorian
University.
Helen Hemingway, B. (1984). Encyclopedia Britannica.
Chicago: The University Press.
Ilogu, E. (1974). Christianity and Igbo culture. Onitsha:
University Press.
Ikemelu, A. F. (2005). Tumtum gemgem: A valedictory
testimony. Nimo: RexCharles & Patrick.
Ikemelu, A. F. (2005). Today through yesterday and tomorrow.
Onitsha: Creative Forum.
Isizo, D. C. (1998). The attitude of the catholic church towards
African traditional religion and culture. Rome:
Ceedee.
Metuh, E. I. (1985). African traditional religion in western
conceptual scheme: Studies in Igbo religion.
Bodija: Pastoral Institute.
Metuh, E. I. (1987). Comparative studies of African traditional
religion. Onitsha: Imico.
Okeke, C. O. (2012). The phenomenology of sacred trees in
traditional Igbo society: a theological dialogue.
Onitsha: St. Stephen’s.
Robertson, R. (1971). Sociology of religion. Britain: The
Chancer.
32

 

 

 

Political Education and Resource Control in Nigeria: An
Overview
By
Anyabolu I. O.
Department of Political Science
Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe
Abstract
Resources control system in Nigeria is not having a positive impact
on the lives of the people and that forms the basis for most resource
conflicts in the country. There is a strong indication that things have
gone absolutely wrong with the way resources are being controlled
in Nigeria. But there can be a turn around when there is an
integrative action towards achieving democratic goals for the local
communities. The problem is not bearing from the revenue
generated from oil sales neither is it bearing from the death of
resources. The problem is hinged in the negligence of the people by
the government, mal-administration, waste of resources, exploitation
of the common purse, looting of the revenue by public officials,
corruption etc. These factors cumulatively occasion the conflict and
glitches which are experienced in the resources control system in
Nigeria. This paper addresses the issue of political education
towards solving resources control problems in Nigeria.
Conclusively, it is recommended that there is need for the masses to
be educated politically so that they will resort to other ways such as
negotiation, dialogue etc in solving their problems other than
violence, vandalization, bombing etc.
Keywords: Resource control, conflict, political induction, Nigeria,
mal-administration.
Introduction
Resources control is a germane issue in Nigerian
government and politics. This is largely because of the value
attached to resources by the government and the people whose land
33

and resources are domiciled. The fact that huge benefits are reposed
in resources is self evident. There are two sides of debate over
resource control in Nigeria. On one side is the government and the
other is the people. The government argues that Nigerian state needs
resources to sustain the daily administration of the government and
by the exploitation and the sale of resources; the government
acquires some income with which to state without loss and deficit in
the democratic space, as Parkinson (2012) noted, government is
expected to provide for its people and must utilize every income
made from resources exploration to the best interest of the people.
The state is also expected to furnish an arena suitable
enough to host its human society without glitches and catastrophe by
allocating the right values and privileges to- the people living in the
various sections and regions of the state. This cannot be done if the
state is in chaos and /or is witnessing an instable peace in its
resources administration process. The other side of debate features
the people whose land and the resources belong. They lay claim to
the fact that, since the resources are domiciled in their land, that they
have every right of decision regarding its exploration and usage. To
express and achieve this, the people who claim to be in ownership of
the resources, form fraternities and groups to champion their
agitation over the resources control system. For instance, in the
Niger Delta region of Nigeria, there are movement for the survival
of Ogoni people, Ijaw Youth Council, committee of Oil producing
Areas, the Oloni Bill of Rights, the Ikwere Charter of Demands, the
movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta etc. these groups
and their activities are all connected to influencing resource control
in that region. Most times, their agitations are reflected when they
make strict demands from the government, by issuing threats and
sanctions to the government.
These two contrasting viewpoints- from the government
and from the people -regarding how resources should be allocated
make resource control a critical issue in Nigeria. The spirit of this
debate has resulted to several conflicts and tragedies in Nigeria
owing to disagreements from both sides on whose argument to yield
to. But most scholars have argued that, regardless of the control
issue of resources control there are complementary factors which
34

affect and influence the way in which resources are controlled in
Nigeria. These factors are politics conflict and law. This research
work seeks to find possible ways through which political education
will ameliorate the problem of resources control in Nigeria.
Conceptual Clarifications
Resource Control
Scholars disagree as par the exact meaning of resource
control. Roberts and Oladeji (2005), pointed out that, while one
group conceives it as the total takeover of the resources located in
the resource producing states by the people of those states, others
understand it to mean that the stakeholders in the resource bearing
area should manage greater proportions of the resources harnessed
in those areas. This implies that scholars and even agitators define
the concept largely from different and individualistic perspectives.
Ifedayo (2010) cited in Dickson and Asua, (2016) affirms that
resource control involves the access of communities and state
governments to natural resources located within their boundaries
and the freedom to develop and utilize these resources without
reference from the federal government.
Henryik (2009), defined resource control as the control and
management of resources by state or local governments from whose
jurisdiction the resources are extracted. The state or local
governments would manage the resources from their territories
under federal guidelines (especially, environmental ones), and then
remit prescribed percentage to the federal centre. Ofeimum (2005),
cited in Dickson and Asua, (2016) further opined that resource
control is the principle that every federating unit must be
empowered to be self-governing. It amounts to an expression of
self-determination by the zone which places a collaborative duty on
other parts of the country to assist the zone in the realization of their
objectives.
Afoyemi (2013) , cited in Dickson and Asua (2016) asserts
that resource control is the way and manner the government revenue
is shared among the various tiers of government the federal, state
35

and local government, as well as how resources available are
harnessed and determined Yau (2001), cited in Dickson and Asua
2016, resource control may be taken to mean the substantive power
for the community to collect monetary and other benefits accruing
from the exploration, exploitation and use of resources in their
domain and deploy same to its developmental purposes. The
seventeen Southern Governors forum as cited in Dafinone (2001),
explicitly defined resource control as the practiced of true
federalism and natural law in which the federating units express
their rights to primarily control the natural resources within their
borders and make agreed contribution towards the maintenance of
the common services of the government at the centre. From the
definitions above, it is obvious that resources producing areas ought
to have control over resources located in their areas, with minimal
intervention from the federal government, as it is practiced in the
United states of America, Canada and Switzerland amongst others.
Concept of Political Education
Political education is a form of socialization that enables
the citizens of a country to adapt in their society through the
provisions made adequate by governments. Political education is the
process of educating citizens on their rights, duties and
responsibilities in order to empower and motivate them to influence
positively on governmental processes towards improving the quality
of governance at both local and national level.
According to Easton, in Oriaku (2000), political education
is the study of political ideas, facts, theories, values orientations,
political institutions and agencies and all the related disciplines that
affect political attitudes and behaviours. Nnamdi (2003) states that a
“universal political education must be affordable, effective and
sustainable to prepare people to be informed voters, to participate in
public discussions and to work across ethnic boundaries. In the view
of Ball (1984), political education refers to the establishment and
development of attitudes and beliefs of the people about the political
system. Following the same view, John (1991) defines political
education as all the learning processes that equip one into political
life, and make one literate and good citizen.
36

Political education is the best educational set up that can
ever bring development and educate those in power how to manage
the limited resources equitably without fear or favour. Considering
Godwin’s definition political education can eliminate today’s
bribery and corruption, ethno-religious cultural barriers practices etc
in Nigeria, which will lead to peace and unity and also promote
national development in Nigeria with the knowledge of political
education, Nigeria government has tried to build peace and resolve
conflicts in the country through the entrenchment and protection of
the fundamental human rights in the constitution, and no segregation
in that respect is condoned.
The Concept of Conflict
A dominant view in peace and conflict studies is that
conflict is inevitable in human societies (Akinwale, 2009). Conflict
is a state of anarchy. It features a chaotic situation within the
society. Various factors lead to conflict. Jackson and Jay (1993),
Baumeister and Vohs (2007) and Sidanius and Pratto (1999) argues
that in any human society, inter-group hostility and competition can
result to conflict involuntarily (Shepsle and Boncheck, 1970). These
values were fortified by men as social mechanisms to serve their
interests these could include democratic, administrative, religious,
philosophical systems of values which are consolidated and pursued
by groups and individuals. Even though men have ideological
identities with these systems of values, they are less likely to agree
within themselves, thus generating conflicts also. Groups are made
up of people with both common and individual interests and it is
normal that “people who live in the nearly 200 states of the globe
want their independence, separate cultures and different languages”
(Nye and Welch, 2007) and this quest for independence results to
conflict.
Apart from the constant violation of the constitution which
conflicts portray, it does, to a large extent consume some good time
and fund form the state often channeled to resolving it. It sprinkles
some flakes of trauma in the polity and of course to no one’s
advantage. It fixes the entire state into a whole-new mould; a mould
37

which certainly will reshape the socio-political order and inflict fear
of survival, terror and tremor.
Also group integration is a feature of the state which
bequeaths segregation and much contest within the society. Groups
segregate against one another, both as individuals belonging to
different groups and as groups with individual interests. Groups
bring segregation between its people and the society where its
people belong. It is certain that by creation of group’s identity,
groups give an impression which ends up making its members
mildly different from others within the same society. And because
of the constant competition, conflict is occasioned.
Sidanius (1999) identified two types of conflict: In-group
conflict and Out-group conflict. In-group conflict occurs within the
members of a group, while out-group conflict occurs between two
groups; one group against another. So whether it is between
individuals or groups, conflicts must be experienced in the society.
Resources control in Nigeria has had conflict cases attached to it
especially as it has to do with “who gets what”. Evidences abound.
Kidnapping of oil workers, the vandalization of pipelines with
explosives, massive killings of community residents and security
officials by the militants. These are initiated by groups and
individuals who claim that they were short-changed by the
government in the sharing formula of the benefits from oil
resources.
Theoretical Framework
This study adopts the Realist Group Conflict (RGC) theory
to explain the relationship between Resource control and conflict.
The realist group conflict (RGC) theory saw its first debut in the
work of Cambel (1965), titled: Ethnocentric and other Altruistic
motives. Realist theory is built on the logic that, considering the
complexity of human society, conflict is inevitable. And considering
the quest to get what he wants, man is bound to make constant
negative encounters with his fellow man, by act and means of
conflict.
38

Scott (1992) and Esses et al (1998) argue that the society is
a competitive one. One that is replete with multiple interests by
many. Most times, the level of competitiveness is not persuaded by
individuals alone but groups. Also individuals and groups seek to
maximize their skills and potentials, collectively and with joint
force, improving on them, as much possible in order to achieve their
aims.
The realistic theory correspond with the Hobbesian
demonstration of man’s natural state of anarchy which, it believes
never seizes to exist wherever man is found. The theory advocates a
steady and never ending competition within the human society in the
contest for supremacy. In line with the realist thesis, we see the
tendency for acquisition of power and dominance by one man
against the other. We see the natural tendencies of man and his quest
to obtain strategies requisite to compel obedience of his fellow man
by any possible means. Here we see politics being a major tool of
control. So, in securing an edge over others, men utilize the veracity
and omnipotence of political power to rule the world of men around
them.
The Realist theory has no room for cooperate social
existence within the society. It believes that humans may , most
likely be made to conflict with themselves, by means of their
conflict of identities and fraternities and quest for acquisition of
power.
The Nexus between Resource Control and True Federalism
There exist a significant relationship between resource
control and true federalism. These two concepts mutually
complement each other. A true federal state practices resource
control, while resource control functions vibrantly in a true federal
state. Put together, resource control is an indication of the practice
of true federalism (Odje, 2000).
Azaiki (2003) opined that one key trait of the Nigerian
union which was to persist for many years was that the three regions
of the North, West and East retained control of their natural
39

resources. This was one positive aspect to the practices of
federalism in Nigeria. Azaiki went further to say that while resource
control is a basic economic theory grounded in the fact that land
(rent) labour (Wages), capital (interest) and entrepreneurship (profit)
are factors of production within the context of federation, it implies
that the component states within a federation have a sight to
primarily control the natural resources within their borders and to
make an agreed contribution towards the maintenance of common
services at the center. This was the case with Nigeria until the
military struck in 1966. With the advent of the military in 1966,
federalism suffered in Nigeria. The independence of the regions was
compromised as a hierarchical command structure, emerged. A very
powerful central government came into being and it only encourages
promotes and sustains subservience and domination of the
component strata by the centre.
The failure of Nigeria state to uphold the principles of time
federalism is responsible for the persistent call for resource control.
This is because true federalism guarantees resource control. True
federalism protects the fundamental rights of both the individuals
and the federating states. It affords states the benefits of deploying
their resources for their own development.
Recommendations
Resource control should transcend the narrow confines of
crude oil to include coals, hides and skin, tin, limestone, groundnut,
rubber, cotton, palm oil and solid minerals on earth. Consequently
any state that is endowed with any of these resources will be
empowered to control and manage same upon payment of taxes to
federal government. Above all, resource control will stimulate
healthy competition among the component states and eventually
lead to even development of the country.
When barriers are broken, more resources will be
discovered and managed for the benefit of the Nigerian state. The
fact is that resource controls will lead to diversification and
revamping of solid minerals sector which has been neglected. To
this end, the belief is that the practice of resource control will
40

improve the pace of economic development of the whole country in
general and particularly make the respective states to identify their
comparative advantages which best serves the country.
Conclusion
For an effective and efficient resources control to emerge
in the Nigerian polity, there is need for a democratic resource
control measure, which should create attraction for what we need in
resource control. A democratic agenda is one which seeks to
engender democratic dividends by promoting cooperate
participation in governance and patriotism of the citizenry. A
democratic resource control should have a good thirst and identity of
the people. This means that government and politics should be
targeted at the welfare of the masses. The citizen should be properly
informed through political education, that violence, vandalism,
massive killings, kidnapping, bombing is not the best ways of
resolving confliction any given society.
The citizenry should be made to understand through
political education to surrender their loyalty to the nation state and
also to defend the territorial integrity of their nation. Finally, there is
need that resource control should shift emphasis on crude oil to
other areas, such as hide and skin, tin, limestone, groundnut, rubber,
cotton, palm oil and solid minerals on earth. The citizenry should be
politically educated to see themselves as people from one common
entity in spite of their different cultural religious backgrounds.
References
Akinwale, K. (2009). Curtailing conflicts in the resource endowed
Niger delta communities of Nigeria. Ibadan: Macmillan
Azaiki, S. (2003). Iniquities in Nigerian politics. Yenagoa: Treasure
Communication Resource limited.
Ball. (1984). The role political education in the sustenance of
national development. New York: NY University Press
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Baumeister & Vohs, (2007). Realistic group conflict theory.
Encyclopedia of social psychology.
Dafinone D (2001). Resource control: The economic & political
dimensions. A text of the communiqué issued at the end of
the Third Summit of Southern States’ Governors held in
Benin City, Edo State on March 27, 2001. Retrieved from
http://www.waado.org/nigerdelta/essays/resourcecontrol/D
afinone.html.
Dickson, M. & Asua, (2016). The politics of resource control in
Nigeria: agitation and innovation. International journal of
politics and good governance, 8, 72.
Henryik, B. (2009). Resources control in Nigeria. Retrieved from
http://www.henryiks
Jackson, J. W. (1993). Realistic group conflict theory: A review and
evaluation of the theoretical and empirical literature. The
Psychological Record, 43(3), 395-413.
Nnamdi, A. (1959). Political discourse. Onitsha: Innoson
publications limited.
Nye S. & Welch, D. A. (2007). Understanding global conflict and
cooperation, an introduction to theory and history (8th ed).
United States: Person education inc.
Odje,A. (2000). The challenges of true federalism and resource
control in industrial and contemporary conflicts in the oilrich
Niger delta region. International Journal of Minority
and Group Rights, 1 (1), 53-65.
Oriaku ,k.k. (2000). Introduction to political science. Onitsha: West
and Solomon Publishing co. Limited.
Parkinson, I. (2012). Democracy and public space, the physical sites
of democratic performance. Oxford: Oxford University
press.
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Roberts, F.O.N & Odadeji, A. (2005). Federation and resources
control Government in Nigeria: The resources control
palaver. In: W. O. Ali (ed.) Political Perform Conference,
Federation and the National Question in Nigeria. Nigeria:
the Nigerian Political science in Association, Review 10
(2), 247-292.
Shepsle & Bonclek (1997). Analyzing politics, rationality, behavior
and institutions. United States: Norton and company inc.
Sidanius, J. & Prato, F. (1999). Social dominance: an intergroup
theory of social hierarchy and oppression. London:
Cambridge University Press.
Yau, Y. Z. (2001). Resource control and social justice in Nigeria. In:
U. Sam (ed.) federalism. Resource control and social
justice in Nigeria.
John, E (1999). Newspaper written by Richard garner, Saturday 23
April. 2011. European scientific journal (ESJ) ISSN 15-
7881
43

 

 

 

The Impact of Economics Recession On Human Resource
Management In Nigeria
by
Anyabolu i. O.
Department of Political Science Nwafor Orizu College of
Education, Nsugbe
Abstract
Economic Recession has sent tsunami, ripples and wave shocks
across the different socio – economic and political institutions in the
present Nigerian environment. Recession is characterized by its
length, abnormal increases in unemployment, fall in the availability
of credit, shrinking output and investment, numerous bankruptcies,
reduced amounts of trade and commerce, as well as highly volatile
relative currency value fluctuations mostly devaluations, financial
crisis and bank failure. Tension is mounting everywhere as job cuts
are on the increase, while many corporate organizations are shutting
down their operations and a few are declaring bankruptcy. This
paper tries to discuss the impact of economic recession on human
recession management. This paper reviews the concept of economic
recession, human resource management and suggests some
measures through which the problem of human resource
management can be curbed to the barest minimum. The paper
recommends that the staff should be encouraged to objectively give
their assessment of where the organization was, where it is and
where they believe the organization should be and what should be
done to survive the recession.
Keyword: – Economic recession, human resource management,
unemployment, meltdown, Nigeria.
Introduction
The Nigeria economy faces the rippling effect of the global
economic crises resulting to breakdown and decline in economics
vigor. The effects find expression in downsizing, mass
unemployment, and crashes in the money market. Thus there is need
44

to understand the dynamics of the present global economic
meltdown with careful study and examination of the issues involved.
The Nigerian economy has continued to witness renewed
and sustained recession, characterized by galloping, inflation,
unemployment and declining business. The general business cycle
of recession’s effect human resource management. Such factors as
interest rates, inflation and economic growth help determine the
availability of workers and figure into organizational; plans and
objectives. Decision on wages, overtime and hiring or laying off
workers all things on economic conditions. The Nigerian situation
has been tagged feeble due to the negative effects the global
economic meltdown has had its fair share of the troubles and
companies are licking their sores with resultant effect on the masses.
While retrenchment and downsizing appear to be a way out, there is
no sense in making it massive. This contributes to the growth of
jobless individuals will find themselves attached when retrenched in
one.
Therefore, the thrust of this study investigates the impact of
economics recession on human resource management. It will also
proffer strategies how to curb the problems of human resource
management to the barest minimum level.
Conceptual Clarifications
Economic Recession
According to Farabiyi (2016), “economics recession is a
period of economic recession slowdown featuring low output
liquidity and unemployment”. On the other hand, Onuchukwu
(2016), opined that “recession is characterized by its length,
abnormal increases in unemployment, fall in the availability of
credit, stinking output and investment, numerous bankruptcies,
reduced amounts of trade and commerce as well as highly volatile
relative currency value fluctuations, mostly devaluations, financial
crises and bank failures”. The World Bank and the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) in the 1980s offered the free market doctrine
to many African countries through the Structural Adjustment
45

Programme (SAP) introduced and enforced on these country.
Though the failure of the SAP in most African countries is still
visible till today in form of increasing poverty, its free markets
doctrine persist in the form of flexible exchange rates, market
determined interest rates in the financial sector and ongoing
privatization of hitherto public owned enterprises. For over three
years now, the global economy has experienced the most traumatic
moments in many decades. Although in some quarters, there seems
to be a glimmer of hope, the dimensions in which the crisis
manifested itself have made analysts to describe the situation as
perhaps the worst economic recession since the great depression of
the 1930s. Indeed, for the first time, the world economy has
witnessed stagnation or minimal growth since more than seven
decades. At the root of the recent financial crisis was the “search for
yield” by financial institutions and investors. The increasing
integration of financial markets and the apparent relative stability of
advanced economies, led investors and financial institutions to begin
to search for profitable investment opportunities which resulted in
over optimism, speculation and leverage.
Human Resource Management
Effective human resource management has become a
serious issue especially in views of the present global economics
crisis. Human Resource management refers to the management of
people at work in organization. It is concerned with the development
and effective utilization of human resources to achieve organizations
goals and objectives. It is the management function through which
managers recruit, select, train and develop organization members.
French (1998) affirms that human resource management refers to
the philosophy, policies, procedures and practices related to the
management of people within an organization. It is that part of
management which is concerned with people at work and their
relationships within an enterprise. It consists of the design and
implementation of policies and all the practices that can assist in
promoting efficient utilization of human resources. Long before the
question of global economic meltdown, the management of human
resources in Nigeria has witnessed stories of pathetic modulations.
Human resource management specialist determine the number and
46

type of employees that a business will need. They are then
responsible for recruiting new employees to replace those who leave
and for filling newly created positions. With the ills of man – know
– man there is no gain saying the fact that the practice of authentic
human resource management has been more of a fable than a reality.
Theoretical Framework
In this study our analysis will be anchored on
Modernization Theory, presented by Toye (1994). According to
him, the main plank of the modernization theory is that the present
state of the Less Developed Countries (LSCs) is an original state,
through which the developed countries passed through. Therefore
for them to develop means they must move away from their
traditional society and follow the path of modernity. Simply
translated, this means they should struggle to imitate and look like
the west. Development in this instance is equated with
westernization. As they move away from the traditional society,
they develop purely western features of a modern society these are;
social patterns of demography, urbanization and literacy,
investment, trade and government finance, and economic patterns of
production and consumption, psychological attributes of
nationality/calculability, ascriptive identity and achievement
motivation.
For countries that are desirous of developing therefore,
efforts should be made to bring about the above features. However,
it was observed that the present traditional state of these societies
meant the prevalence of certain features and attitudes which acted as
an obstacle to the process of development. These obstacles were
identified by Szentes (1971) as (a) capital shortage (b) prevalence of
crude technology (c) high birth rates and hence high proposition of
dependents per adult, (d) high rate of illiteracy (e) insistence on
traditions and the attitude of the population towards necessary
changes (f) lack of modern industries and low capitalization on land.
Based on the above obstacles, some solutions were
proffered, which was felt would automatically transform the
traditional societies into modern ones. These solutions were: import
47

substitution, industrialization, population control, capital
accumulation, human resource development among others.
Human resource managers create workers compensation
plans and benefit packages for employees, but when thorough
scrutiny is made it will only reveals that this is farfetched for some
organization in Nigeria and the result has been the placement of
mediocre instead of professionals or capable hands to handle jobs.
Globenock (2006) holds that “businesses rely on effective human
resource management to ensure that they hire and keep good
employees and that they are able to respond to conflicts between
workers and management”.
Yinusa (2004) opines that “there are so many factors
militating against effective human resource management in the
country, for instance, it could be blamed on history if we relate it to
the colonial experience, and if we probe into poor political
leadership and ineffective manpower planning by organizations, the
answer will not be farfetched”. In truth, poor leadership is closely
related to the problem of human resources development in Nigeria.
There are indices that show that the problem can be blamed on
economic recess and the global meltdown in world economy. The
ripples of financial crisis is experienced not only by financial
houses, but also by blue chip organizations around the world and
also on.
Causes of Economic Recession in Nigeria
In Nigeria, it is important to state that the following are the
major causes of economic recession:-
– Fall in crude oil price
– Infavourable exchange rate policy
– Removal of fuel subsidy
– Late passage and signing of appropriation bill
– Introduction and implementation of TSA
– Suspension of Amnesty Program and stoppage of Pipeline
Contracts.

48

Fall in Crude Oil Price:
The recent economic recession witnessed in Nigeria under
the present administration is traceable to the fall in crude oil prices
in the global market. For instance, crude oil price slumped from
over 100USD per barrel during past administration to less than
60USD per barrel towards the end of immediate past administration
and the fall in price of crude oil continued till the present
administration took oath of office on 29th May, 2015. A monoproduct
dependent economy like Nigeria is easily influenced by this
fluctuation in the global market. Based on this, the shock emanating
from the fall in crude oil price leads to the inability of almost all the
states of the federation to pay workers salaries while some
experience delay in salary payment. In fact, banks, oil servicing
companies, manufacturing firms, construction companies and other
multinational firms have to lay off some staff and this worsens the
unemployment situation in the country.
Unfavourable exchange rate policy:
The replacement of fixed exchange rate with the floating
rate increased the foreign exchange rates in the country and led to a
situation where dollars are sold at different prices in both the official
market and the parallel market. With this situation on ground and
considering the fact that Nigeria economy is import dependent, this
activity results in high commodity prices and a fall back effect on
the standard of living of Nigerian masses. (Farayibi, 2016).
Removal of fuel subsidy:
Subsidy is a form of financial aid or support extended to an
economic sector (institutions, business firm or individual) generally
with the aim of promoting economic and social policy. Put
differently, it is a form of price manipulation whereby the
government fixes the price for sale to consumers and pays the
retailer the difference between the actual market price and the
regulated or official price per liter. The removal of fuel subsidy
ushered in the regime partial deregulation in the downstream sector
of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria. Through the policy was
49

intended to remove the cabals in the petroleum industry but its
effects on the economy were very severe. This is because in Nigeria
everything revolves around oil. That is why each time the pump
price increase, like recent time where the pump price increased from
N87 to N145 per litre, this caused serious inflationary pressure in
the economy
Late Passage and Signing of Appropriation Bill:
The present administration’s first two years in office, they
witnessed a delay in passage and signing of the 2016 appropriation
bill into law. According to Farabiyi (2016), “this delay suffocates
economic activities in Nigeria due to zero-based budgeting
technique adopted by the managers of the economy which has
rendered ministries, departments and agencies/government
parastatals (MDA’S) inactive since there were no capital votes for
project implementation”. The lateness in passage of the
appropriation bill generated other attendant problem such as budget
padding which hindered the full implementation.
Late Formation of Cabinet:
The delay in forming the cabinet by the present
administration also contributed to the economic recession
experience in Nigeria in 2016. This is evident in the first eleven
months of the present administration, when it was running like a
sole administration against the international best practices of
forming cabinet within the first three months in offices (Farabiyi,
2016). The absence of the cabinet creates vacuum in decision claim
which gave room for leakages in the economy.
Introduction and Implementation of TSA:
In an attempt to bring sanity, block loopholes, stop
corruption, mop up liquidity in circulation and to consolidate all
revenue accruing to federal government, president Buhari mandated
all MDA’S of the government to, henceforth, transfer all funds with
commercial banks, together with revenue accruing to federal
government to the central bank of Nigeria. The withdrawal of huge
50

deposits from commercial banks stifled credit creation ability of
commercial banks and general economic activities in the country.
This is because government deposits with commercial
banks form a very reliable source of deposit to banks in the country.
This policy of federal government had to stop some banks from
funding projects halfway thereby stymied its full completion. The
grave effect of the withdrawal of t6he federal government huge
deposit from banks led to the sacking of bank workers.
The Impacts of the Recession on Human Resource Management
Prior to the impact of the meltdown in Nigeria, the banking
sector was swimming in a pond of false confidence in the financial
policies. There was a crash in the stock market, the prices of oil skyrocketed
and left many financial homes depressed with the fears of
an impending crunch. The crash affected the economy. It reduced
the ability of the economy to fight off the underlying sicknesses of
unevenly distributes wealth, agricultural depression and banking
problems. With the crash, it was apparent that the Nigerian economy
faces the crippling effects of global economic crisis resulting to
breakdown and decline in economic vigor. Opeyemi (2008)
observes that “there are cases of unemployment, retrenchments,
downsizing and layoffs, which served as indications to a troubled
economy”. According to her, “what is worse is that individuals have
nowhere to turn to, except indulging in misconduct and societal
condemned activities such as militancy, armed robbery, advanced
fee fraud, ritual practices for fetish money among other things and
our leaders sit almost helpless”. In her words, “there has become a
wide spread of distrust in the competency of the financial sectors as
the question of fund availability in banks pervades the minds of
right thinking Nigeria.
There is a season of job losses as the Nigeria economy is
playing host to the visit of the economic slowdown. For instances,
the manufacturing sector in the country is already affected by
massive decline in capacity utilization resulting from high exchange
rate of the naira and congestion at the ports. The crisis has
compounded the challenges faced by the manufacturing sector. In
51

2008, Dunlop Nigeria Plc the tyre manufacturing only surviving
company, shut down its plants and laid off hundred of its workers
and put some others on half remuneration. In the textile sector,
about 5,000 workers were forced out of job in late 2008. Recently,
the Nigerian auto assembly company, Peugeot Automobile Nigeria
(PAN), sacked 565 workers of its 753 workforce and placed the
remaining staff on half salary. Similarly, the confectionery maker,
Cadbury Nigeria Plc has fired 300 staff, while in the banking sector,
which seemed to be the worst hit, massive sacks have been carried
out and is still ongoing. The International Labour Organization
(ILO) recently revealed that as many as 51 million workers were
fired in 2011 globally, while 30 million more jobs are at risk
(www.askgeeves.com).
Conclusion
Every organization has the right to protect its interest and
thus create modalities is for time survival in a harsh economic
condition Nigeria contemporary development has been sustained by
extreme dependence on one single primary commodity, that it oil,
and it account for more than 95% of the export earnings. Crude oil
also contributes more than two –thirds of government revenue and
12% of the GDP (UNDP), 2001). Extreme dependence of the
Nigerian economy on crude oil has rendered it most vulnerable to
the instability of market forces with grave implications to foster
economic stability and become a full partner in the global economy
of the 21st century, Nigeria must embark on export diversification
and take advantages of this huge stock of natural resources.
Nigeria’s diversification approach should cover production and
export, including agro-processing, manufacturing and services. It
should also extend to nontraditional agricultural goods and
eventually non-traditional industrial products (World Bank 2000).
Recommendation
Based on the findings of this work, the following recommendations
were made:-
52

1. There is need to create new job functions. Job creation
should be primary; employment should be taken as
important and vital. Sahdev (2003) observes that
“companies are not expected to employ for the sake of the
word, rather adequate assessments should be done.
Organizations should proactively employ good hands to
make their relations better and effective”.
2. There should be genuine reasons to layoff or downsize,
preserve staff or employ more.
3. Human resource practitioners must dedicate time to
positive reasoning. This involves holding town hall
meetings with staff and management on ways to tackle the
challenges of the downturn. This gives room for sincere
invectives and inputs, which may turn the organization
around for good.
4. Staff should be encouraged to objectively give their
assessment of where the organization was, where it is and
where they believe the organization should be and what
should be done to survive the recession.
5. There is need for effective and efficient
leadership/governance which will ensure adequate and
proper administration of the entire society financially wise.

 

References
Farabiyi, A. O. (2016). Perspective on the Nigeria economic
recessions policy briefs. Ibadan: Center for Allied Research
and Economic Development.
French, W. L. (1998). Personnel management process, 5th edition.
Houghton: Muffin Company.
Globenock, J. (2006). The core values of human resources
management. London: George Allen Ltd.
Onuchukwu, O. (2016). War for supremacy between unemployment
and inflation in Nigeria: Who is the Actual loser? An
inaugural lecture series No. 133 Department of Economics,
53

Faculty of Social Science. University of Port Harcourt,
Nigeria.
Oyesiku, (2009). Global economic recession, the environment and
sustainable development in Nigeria. Annual lecture series,
college of management and social science, Osun State
University, Osegbo held on 28th April, 2009.
UNPP (2001). Human development report 2001: Making new
technologies work for human development. New York:
Oxford University Press
World Bank (2001). Attacking poverty. New York: Oxford
University Press
Yinusa (2004). Managing the essence of ideas in an innovative
world. For progressive entrepreneurs. New York:
Appleton Century Croft Inc.
Toye, J. (1994). Dilemmas of development. Ibadan: Basil Blackwell
limited
Szentes, T. (1971). The political economy of underdevelopment.
_______:Budafeast
Opeyemi, M.G. (2008). The restiveness of the Nigerian youth and
the problems of unemployment in the new dispensation.
Ohio: Laramaid Publications.
Sadhev, K. (2003). Survivors reactions to downsizing the
importance. Human Resource Management Journal 1(4),
56-74.
54

 

Human Rights versus Cultural Rights: The Reality of Feminist
Empiricism in Igbo Culture, South East Nigeria
Patricia Ogugua Anwuluorah (Ph.D)
Department of Religion and Cultural Studies
Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe,
An Affiliate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Ogugua.patricia@yahoo.com; Tel: *234-708-641-5562
Jude ChinwubaAsike (Ph.D)
Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities
University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria
E-mail: asikejude@yahoo.com; Tel: *234-703-433-2569

Abstract
This paper uses the concept of feminism to explore the expressions
of conflicts of identity between culture and human rights- on the
avalanche of stigmatization of women in Igbo culture, Nigeria.
Under the concept of feminism, the stewardship of nature here is
understood as integral to the renewal of culture rather than being
constructed as a program of human rights global watch for the
protection of women across the globe. To validate this paradigm of
“Social Re-constructionism” of feminism in Igbo culture, this
research provides the theoretical and epistemic framework of gender
parity underlying in the Igbo ontology between male and female
gender. This is very essential because the concept of human rightsrightly
or wrongly- is often seen as a western import. To precipitate
this, it has to show that the African indigenous sources have to be
available to prove the authenticity of feminism in Africa. The paper
provides comments on some of the social, religious, national and
political nuances involved in modernity generally. Modernity with
its reorganization of institutions of state in Africa, most especially in
Igbo culture, brought new sets of cultural and institutional changes.
It usurped the power of the old Igbo indigenous culture and changed
the role of women. Hence, at the period of modernity women were
55

highly discriminated upon the grounds of the cultural and biological
differences.
Introduction
This work draws from the general data on the concept of feminism
in Igbo culture, South East Nigeria. It examines the cultural
inhibitions on the part of women, in the Igbo society and explores
the genuineness of human rights in the interventions of the cultural
orientations of feminism in Igbo culture. Among the more
compelling reasons for embarking upon the study of feminism in
Igbo, Nigeria is to underlie their socio-political and economic
importance in pre-colonial period. Studies have generated a variety
of accounts of women’s economic and social roles in national
development. Indeed, detailed studies of women’s political and
economic roles began to appear in the avalanche of their
stigmatization at the colonial and post-colonial periods. Prior to that,
although gender differences in political matters were said to be
unnoticed, there were no real differences in their gender. The system
at that period was holistic, reciprocal and collaborative. The system
relates to the networks of civic engagement that foster sturdy norms
of generalized reciprocity. It encouraged the emergence of social
trust among members of the community; and embodied the spirit of
collaboration with others, which serve as a cultural unity and
political democratization of the people (Nmah, 2003). Principally, it
allowed women in the building of socio-political capital with men
on the basis of equality before the law.
Nonetheless, feminism is indicative when the social, cultural and
political make-up of the post-colonial administration is critically
assessed on the basis of differences in the employment rolls. Thus,
women were consented to leave their pre-colonial traditional roles to
compete with men in the labor force (McMichael,2000). Family
patterns were altered by change in the reproductive technology as
well as by alterations in divorce laws and mobility of labor. These
developments took place against a backdrop of increased access to
education, longer life expectancies, better standards of health and
child care; and increased general prosperity.Thus, it is in the light of
this consideration that modernity has led to the re-organization of
56

institutions and social conditions of state in Africa. It brought a lot
of changes in the African socio-political system. There were
changes in marriage and family institutions; and their significances
were rehabilitated by employment outside the home, by rising
divorce rates and decreasing family size. At the same time the
families became more dependent upon the earning powers of both
spouses, and women became less dependent upon men.
In fact, such improvement was in part a reflection of the dynamism
of a general social progress made possible by the human rights
activists who utilized the exigencies of the character in United
Nation, to empower women in Africa. If this had not been realized,
the African women would have been locked up in the patriarchal
infusion of colonialism in Africa, which replaced their pre-colonial
model.

Theoretical Framework
The work is based on the cultural theory of social construction
which envisages the differences in cultural heritage; it supports the
convergence in the issue of gender parity. Thus, the central concern
of this study is the political roles it aggravated in the feminist gender
politics in Nigeria. Ryan (1999) corroborated this by saying that
“men hold almost all positions of political and economic power, and
economies work in such a way that women are more likely to be
rich” (p. 101). The assumed norms in the role functions, have
recalibrated the Igbo traditional institutions into this concept of male
domination and such continue male dominance is a consequence of
male violence against women, and other social vices that inhibit
them in Igbo culture. McMichael (2000) accepted this idea by
saying that:
When we trace the development of feminism,
we find that it has circled back toward recovery
of this sense of the commons. The journey has
been practical and theoretical – moving from
bringing women into development to an
alternative conception of the relationship of
women to development. It began with the
57

movement to integrate women into
development to an alternative conception of the
relationship of women to development (p. 260).
Thus, it is in the light of this background that feminist empiricism is
an idea of social constructions theory, to challenge both the idea and
the possibility of a separate realm or identity based on women’s
experience. It is aimed to reduce the hiatus between the two genders
and enhance productivity and economic growth in Nigeria.

 

Conceptual Clarifications

Feminism: The Oxford Advance Learners Dictionary of Current
English in Wehmeier (1998)defines “feminism”, as “the belief and
aim that women should have the same rights and opportunities as
men; the struggle to achieve this aim”(p. 430).According to
Chukwuma (1990) in Odinye (2010), “feminism is a rejection of
inferiority and striving for recognition. It seeks to give women a
sense of self as a worthy, effectual and contributing human
being”(p. 40). Feminism as a social theory and movement is a
reaction to such stereotypes of women, whereby women are seen as
indeterminate human beings, vulnerable, dependent, gullible,
voiceless, meant to bear children and to take care of the family; all
these deny them a positive identity and fulfillment of what they
want to become in life. Kiura (1991) observes that nowadays
women always try to reassert themselves.
Empiricism: Empiricism in the philosophy of science emphasizes
evidence, especially as discovered in experiments. It is a
fundamental part of the scientific method that all hypotheses and
theories must be tested against observations of the natural world
rather than resting solely on ‘a priori’ reasoning, intuition, or
revelation. Empiricism, often used by natural scientists, says that
“knowledge is based on experience” and that “knowledge is
tentative and probabilistic, subject to continued revision and
falsification” (Wikipedia free encyclopedia, 2017). One of the
epistemological tenets is that sensory experience creates knowledge.
Thus, it is not by reason that we know the existence of the female
and male gender, but experience gives us the rationale of human
58

understanding, it shows that the female gender can compete with the
male gender in the society, and as such the Nigerian women have
the potentials as men in political, social and economic matters.
Feminist Empiricism: Feminist Empiricism focuses on the real
issues of women in the real world including the effects of war,
globalization, cultural inhibitions, religious beliefs, slavery, and
prostitutions etc. In many countries in Africa in general and Igbo
culture in particular women are faced with the greatest barriers of
becoming self-fulfilled. This is experienced in socio-cultural sphere
where women are quiet members of the community and their homes.
They are financially dependent on their husbands and at the same
time bear children and care for their families. Women traditionally
had been regarded as being inferior to men, physically and
intellectually. In Igbo culture, the strengthened element of
indigenous male dominance or patriarchy has a great effect to the
development of Nigeria. Gordon (2007) argues that: “since
independence, Africa’s male leaders have continued to add
lamination to the patriarchal structures which they inherited from
their colonizers”(p. 294). Hence, this is an expression of
anthropological structure of male dominance in Africa, and how it
became prominent in the continent. Feminist empiricism is a form of
social constructionism or women’s empowerment for their genuine
rights in the society. The emergence of feminism in Nigeria has
helped in the economic development of the country. It also
empowered women to the status of political process and high
mobility of labor for national productivity. It is an avalanche of
rights of women in the society to live as human and protect
themselves from the male dominated world. It focuses on the real
issues of women in trying to emancipate from the stigmatization in
the society and liberations from the world of men.
Cultural Rights: InEncyclopedia.com (2017),the term “cultural
rights” refers to a claimed entitlement on the part of identity
groups—typically based on religion, ethnicity, language, or
nationality—to be able to express and maintain their traditions or
practices. Such an entitlement usually implies some form of political
or legal recognition.
59

Cultural rights are also rights that relate to art and culture, an under
developed category or human rights that relates to a particular
culture. It is a right that relates to a group in cognizance of respect
of one’s culture. It means the right to preserve ones cultural identity,
for example, the cultural preservation of the female vaginal
mutilation in Igbo culture, is the passage rites of female gender.
Furthermore, in pre-colonial period, the Igbo women were endowed
in feminism as part of their cultural rights, but with the emergence
of the European patriarchy, the situation changed into being
dependent on men.
Human Rights: Human rights are the inalienable rights to which all
human beings are entitled, irrespective of race, nationality or
membership to particular social group. They specify the basic and
minimum conditions for human dignity and outline the basic
conditions for human existence (Francis, 2006).The African Charter
on Human and Peoples Rights on their eighteenth Conference of
States and Government of Organization of African Unity (OAU)on
June 1981, in Nairobi Kenya, proclaim equal rights of both sexes as
well as of nations, Article II states that:
Every individual shall be entitled to the enjoyment
of the rights and freedoms recognized and
guaranteed in title in the present Charter without
distinction of any kind such as race, ethnic
group/colour, sex, language, religion, political or
any other opinion, national and social origin,
fortune, birth or other status (Olakanmi, 2007, p.
28).
Presumably, there are critical issues in the concept of human rights
over the universalistic and cultural relativistic conceptions of human
rights. Thus, under the feminist ideologies, there is obvious clash
between the cultural rights and the universalistic rights. The
ideological and cultural specific conceptions of human rights have
conflicted with the universalistic conception of rights. The African
systems emphasize duties of community, while the western
approach to human rights stresses individualism; and this affects the
positions in their relative approaches to feminism. In Igbo culture,
60

feminist interpretations are beclouded in the general well-being of
the society instead of the individual personal interests.
Normative and Institutional Changes in Igbo Culture: A
Consideration for Feminism
The colonial structures with its reorganization of institutions and
social conditions of states in Africa brought some changes in the
African ontology. The colonial division of labor lopsided women a
lot; brought drastic changes on the pre-colonial structure and
devastated the African socio-economic and political growth. It also
affected the producing communities; their craft, and agriculture
based systems. With the colonial conquest, the African economic
production was mainly on production for export of cash crops.
McMichael (2000) expresses it thus: The shift of males into cash
cropping disrupted formerly complementary gender roles of men
and women in traditional cultures. Women’s traditional land-user
rights were often displaced by new systems of private property (p.
13).
The colonial structure in fact, led to the removal of the African
people from their communities and their dispersion to the urban
areas to resolve the labor shortages in the colonial metropolitan
cities. This had a great effect in the already existing gender parity in
pre-colonial period.
More so, during the pre-colonial period, the institutional structure in
the Igbo culture embodied a lot of concepts which explains the
hiatus between the male and the female genders. Presumably, the
system has a lot of cultural inhibitions which were not visibly
identified as discrimination or marginalization of women in the precolonial
era. Thus, modernity with its concomitant impact has
helped in throwing more lights on feminism. Perhaps, under it, some
normative questions arose as why do sexual difference in behavior
and sexual inequality exist? What really accounts for these
differences among the two genders? Is it as a result of the cultural,
psychological and the biological differences?
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Alternatively, our point at this juncture is that there are numerous
variables that support the emergence of feminism in Igbo culture. In
Igbo culture, certain factors manifest themselves from which
implicit origins of the phenomenon of sex discrimination can be
adduced. Subsequently, it corroborates the reason for the intense
desire for the rise of feminism in colonial and post-colonial periods.
These factors include: the ontological conceptions, patrilineal
heredity and communal living.
Perhaps, the above factors embody both the social behavior,
psychological and cultural attitudes toward the reason for intense
desire for feminism in colonial and post-colonial periods. It
envisages the true nature of marginalization and lopsidedness of
women in the Igbo culture before colonialism. It also reveals that
there is practice of patriarchy in Igbo culture.
The Paradigmatic Design of Patriarchy in the Igbo World View
In the Igbo culture, patriarchal practices shape and perpetuate
gender inequality and strip women of any form of equality with men
due to the following:
The Ontological Conceptions
All social structures, legal society like the one before us, are
manifestations of that society’s ontology or their concept of being.
This is the meaning of existence. Beings are in ontological
relationships with each other, that is, that they interact and influence
one another. They see themselves in similar relationships with other
forces namely, ancestors, spirit, the dead, the living, animal,
vegetables and minerals and above all, the supreme being (Chukwu).
In fact, they conceive the entire world as one fluid, coherent unit in
which all these forces interact. There is a thin line between any two
sections of reality.
Man as the Igbo conceives him is the center of the universe. Lower
down the ladder are innumerable spirits and forces, which are under
man’s control. Man is the visible realm of nature (Uwa). Man is in
the center of creation. They are the main actors in the drama of
existence and life. Their actions evoke reactions from gods and have
62

deep implications for other lower beings like women, animals’
vegetables, minerals and gases. In the drama of life, man is the actor
while pure spirits “Chukwu” (the Great God) and lower forces
including women are the agents. Reporting the situation among the
Igbo’s, Nwala (1985) opined that, “if life’s drama is a game, then
chessman is the chess player, the disembodied spirits of the rank of
deities and ancestors are the referees while the animals, birds and
other animate and inanimate beings are pawns” (p. 150).
On a related note, the evidence shows that the women in their
ontological hierarchy have not been accorded the same rights with
men. Although, they are structurally in the same ontological level
with man, but then are still inferior to men; and this demands a
resurgence of feminism in Igbo culture, which will re-affirm them to
their rightful position in the society. A radical change in patriarchy
will resuscitate to feminism which just commenced in the postcolonial
period.

Heredity
The patrilineal form of organization is a system whereby every form
of inheritance and control is on the male line, which is the male head
of a family. The entire human race is considered as anthropocentric,
hence the concept of mankind, or human race is represented by the
term “real man” (Madubuike). Reporting this situation among the
Greeks, the Sophist, Democritus asserts that, “man is the measure of
all things” (Sahakian, 1968, p. 26).
The patrilineal form of organization has some unfavorable effects to
the position of women in the Igbo culture. One vital problem for this
is that women are treated as objects rather than as subjects with
rights and obligations. They have no property inheritance rights and
no civil rights or the entrance into any important family lineage
meetings such as “Umunna” (kindred). In fact, the only important
rights accorded to them are things like protection, virtues, behaviors
and goddess of divinities, (“Agbara”). “The rights of women are
infringed in areas of property and land holdings especially with
regard to married women. The property of a married woman
63

including her good self-belong to her husband” (Chukwuma, 1994,
p. 156).
The authors of this paper contend that women are engaged in
cultural inhibitions, which put them into low self-esteem in the
society .Chukwuma (1994) reiterated further that:
Most African women are trained and oriented
from infancy to realize themselves and their true
worth outside themselves, thereby negating any
knowledge of self. This is so when we consider
the essence of women’s fulfillment. A woman’s
greatest aspiration is finding a mate and
thereafter bearing children. Every other thing is
secondary. All these are sub- summated to
marriage and motherhood (p. x).
This very factor accounts for the reason women have inferiority
syndrome. Thanks to the Nigeria national policy on women, that has
started to give support for the emancipation of the female gender
discrimination. Now women are taking up challenge and projecting
their feminism properly to the standard of the national policy goals.

Communalism
Igbo traditions allow dilemmas of collective action to be resolved
peacefully in a rational order through a democratic process. It is a
human dialogic arrangement which ensure that all members in the
community are in existential relationship. Thus, within this realm of
societal culture, everything is in the order of seniority or superiority
cum inferiority. There are fathers-mothers, sons-daughters, unclesaunts,
males-females, etc. Each has his or her own proper place in
the society. Just as there are hierarchies of beings or forces, so is
there a natural suppression in the human hierarchy, all working in an
interconnected way to achieve social harmony. It is a form of social
construction where every member unites in unison for the benefit of
the community. Generally speaking, it is in this manner that every
individual Igbo citizen upholds his virtue altruistically. An action is
good or bad, not in reference to selfish interest but by the love of
64

others in the political community. The position of women in the
Igbo society is always lower than men in the affairs of the
community. A woman is always in subordination to a man, wife to
husband, and sons and daughters to parents. The true picture of this
was expressed by Ruch (1981) who sees the communal relationship
between man and woman in this way: It is a kind of power-grid
connected to a distant power station with no component independent
of the others, in which the various beings neither play equal part or
equally in the overall forces available(p. 151).
Every person and forces are connected to each other. In fact, this
reveals the extent the Igbo women are lopsided in the society, since
they are not in the same level with men. They are very inferior to
men in all respects and as such were not accorded the same
privileges in the colonial institutions. Corroborating this,
Chukwuma et al (1994) opined that: This includes female
differences, lack of brown brute force and their periods of incapacity
as their monthly cycle, pregnancy and lactation. These are
interpreted as nature’s way of inflicting inferiority on the female (p.
150).
The physical difference interpreted as weakness on the part of the
female has led to the exclusion of women in decision-making
positions.
Patriarchy and Feminism: Theory and Practices in Igbo Culture
The greatest problem to feminism in Igbo culture today is the
strangle-hold of patriarchy. Generally, the most striking thing about
this issue of patriarchal practices is patrilineal inheritance. It is
inheritance according to the line of fathers. If you say that every
inheritance is patrilineal then does it mean that everything that is
owned by the father is inherited by the son? There are certain things,
which must be allocated to the daughter as well. For example, in the
Igbo culture, the cocoa-yam farms are normally given to daughters,
also when animal is killed; there are certain portions to women.
However, this notwithstanding, the succession line of inheritance
right is always for exclusive right of the male gender and not the
65

female gender. This shows that patrilineal nature in Igbo culture,
indirectly excludes the females from their linage, and from active
participation in the political affairs of the community. Women were
only involved in the socio-economic activities like trade, farming,
and domestic activities. Hence, it is against these backdrops that we
should discuss the rise of feminism in the Igbo kingdoms and the
roles they played in the nation building in Nigeria.
Prospects for Feminism in Igbo Culture, Nigeria
Feminism is understood as the fight for rights and self-affirmation
by women. It is not an end in itself but a means to an end
(Chukwuma, 1994, p. 150). Feminism in actual sense amounts to a
form of class struggle by women to change their situation in their
respective society. It is an act of consciousness and a reaction for
change into something better and perhaps similar to men in all
respects. On a related note, regarding this very fact, feminism in the
Igbo culture, resumed in respect with the various normative and
institutional changes in Igbo culture during the period of modernity
in Africa. It began with the revolutionary women to move out from
their burden, and discriminations in the society. Thus, it was a
reaction to the traditional and cultural inhibitions in pre-colonial era;
and for the emancipation of the pervasive and harsh colonial laws
which have adverse effects on the colonial subjects, and most
especially women. Presumably, women’s intensity to feminist
ideology has been strongly influenced by their activism against
colonial rule. Nmah (2003) observes that:
Agents, traders and missionaries mostly from the
Western world, consciously or unconsciously,
introduced their own definitions of the roles of
women. These to some extent have contributed to
women loss of status. For instance, the Igbo
women war of 1929 was a turn of reaction to
colonial administrators who throughout Africa
sought “spokesmen and headmen” but never
“spokes women” and “headwomen” (p. 153).
66

Hence, the impact created by the ‘Aba women riot’ in 1929 led to
dismantle of colonialism in Nigeria. The ‘Aba women riot’
illegitimated the colonial system of taxation; and properly engenders
women into the right epistemic framework to react for other
injustices against the female gender.
In actual fact, at colonial and post-colonial periods, modernity
interfaces with the principles of social activism and individual
consciousness for the justifications of human rights advocates for
the self-realization and preservation of life all over the world. This
attitude brought a lot of changes in the institutions and social
conditions of the individuals in their respective states. Thus, in this
regards, there was an integration of cultural values to transformation
of the development model into the universalistic conception of
feminism. It involved a redefinition of feminism from cultural rights
to human rights. The redefinition symbolizes a movement from the
negative atavistic cultural practices to universal human rights.
Interestingly, this cynosure of proposition has some elements of
conflict. It explores the conflict of identity between the cultural
rights and human rights – on the nature of stigmatization of women
in Igbo culture. Relating this proposition to the feminist struggle in
the Igbo culture, there is an indication of social conflict on the right
ethical process to the concept of feminism. Gender is about socially
and culturally defined sex roles, attitudes and values which
communities and societies ascribe as appropriate for one sex in
his/her cultural community. Thus, in the Igbo culture, the issue of
the ritual female genital mutilation formerly known as female
circumcision retains prominence in the Igbo culture in spite of their
feminist struggle to remove it. It is often seen as ‘a culture’ and
nothing else. It is a rite of passage from young to females. Global
opposition to the ritual in the name of human right is defended as a
valued culture and ritual. It is generally accepted in the Igbo
kingdom as a form of cultural rights. The justifications for the ritual
include a custom originating in religious practice.
On the other hand, the human rights activists view female genital
mutilation as a violation of the rights of women. They claimed that
its pain and harm to women’s sexual pleasure, physical and
67

psychological health is cruel and unnecessary. Actually, different
Non Governmental organization (NGO’s) and power groups have
tried to change women’s attitudes towards these practices, but were
met with stifle opposition as cultural imperialism.
The incentive for ending this has been credited to the feminist group
who bridged the hiatus with such a mere symbolic rituals. To
validate cultures and their practitioners, alternative ceremonies have
evolved with the use of symbols in the correction of these
anomalies. This was as a result of the numerous health hazards
associated with such practices. It could expose them to Human
Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency
Syndrome (AIDS), and can compromise childbirth later in life. The
insensitivity of the African feminists to focus on the individual
rights of the females has some negative effects on them. The
problem with feminists in Africa is that they were faced with the
different task of finding an activism that turns the existing gender
hierarchy into something that is at the same time liberating for
women to offer a valid political alternative.
Moreover, in this contest of African feminism, there is a problem of
validation of the cultural norms over its interpretation to the concept
of human rights. The hermeneutics understanding of this is real
problem for the feminist struggle in Nigeria. There are critical issues
of universalistic concept of human rights over the cultural
relativistic concept of human rights, which need to be properly
evaluated to give face to the right interpretations of feminism in
Africa. The African feminist agenda emphasize the duties of the
community, whereas the western approach to feminism sees their
rights from the individual aspect. Thus, for them human rights on
feminism stresses on the amelioration of individualism. In Igbo
culture, feminists’ struggles are beclouded in the democratic
dispensation of civil responsibility to the duties of the community. It
embodies the spirit of collaboration, collectivity and reciprocity with
others. In other words, it engenders women into building of social
capital with men on the principles of equity and need. Thus, it is in
this consideration, that the feminist struggle in Africa is a renewal of
consciousness and a restructure of institutional order for the benefits
of all in the society
68

 

Conclusion
The discussion of this paper basically focused on the importance of
feminist empiricism from the colonial to the post-colonial periods. It
emphasized on the real issues of women, in trying to emancipate in
the avalanche of the stigmatization in Nigeria. Thus, it is on this
consideration that the African women have been adumbrated to take
their lives back on the concerns of legal and political rights,
violence, reproductive rights and abortion, sexual liberty,
employment and discrimination, political participation and
representation. Formally, in pre-colonial period, there were no
issues of sex and sexism as a form of discrimination in Africa. It
was the western gender ideology at the colonial period that
promoted the male dominance in Africa, and since then the African
women’s movement has been strongly influenced and shaped by
activism against colonial rule and racist ideologies. African
women’s activism cannot be seen separately from the larger context
of repression and exploitation of both men and women. Thus, it is in
this light that it has given rise to feminism and activism primarily
aimed at changing their social and humanitarian conditions.
However, as part of this debate, in being part of it in the real sense
of the word, the authors are of the view that the female gender was
highly marginalized not only in colonial and post-colonial periods,
but also at the pre-colonial period. In fact, of great significance is
the height of marginalization of women in the pre-colonial period.
The obvious question therefore is: what is really the epistemic
framework, empirically understood as feminism in African culture?
As the Igbo culture is part of the African essence, what is their
orientation to the concept of feminism at post-colonial period?
Should it be cultured towards the classical version of the western
model or could it be reverted back to the pre-colonial time?
Amadiume, is a feminist scholar who has joined in this debate. She
is of the view that the theoretical misadventures of the western
scientific investigation, with the use of theories in academics do not
allow them to see reality in another form. According to Amadiume
(1997):
69

It has become increasingly clear that there is a
major point of difference between Eurocentric
scholarship and an Afrocentric scholarship
perspective… It is these key differences in the
understanding of matriarchy that I am attempting to
highlight… and I shall, hopefully establish the
possibilities for creative theoretical formulation of
gender and empowerment in African social
histories (p. 71).
With specific reference to the African situation, Acholonu (1988)
argues that this represents:
An obvious distortion of relationships between
men and women in traditional Africa where
gender inequality did not exist. Women’s roles
were complementary to those of
men…colonialism and the development of the
capitalist system of production demobilized
women and placed them further below their male
counterparts (p.14).
There is no doubt that women are part of national development
because; there can be no development in a nation where half of the
population is subjugated and disaffected. This work is important,
because it explored the ethical and political dimensions of feminism
in the Igbo culture, Nigeria. It covered a wide range of areas in the
social change dynamics of the structure of pre-colonial, colonial and
post-colonial period in Nigeria.
Recommendations
The paper makes the following recommendations.
· Many women in Africa in general and Igbo
culturespecifically have actually provided the labor,
productivity and dignity of womanhood in national
development,yet efforts on women empowerment should
continue.
70

· Feminist Non-Governmental organizations (NGO’s) should
be better organized and coordinated to be able to mobilize
women for more positive actions in all spheres of social,
political, and economic development.
· Women should organize themselves from community,
village, local government, and state levels in their struggle
against critical issues such as leadership discrimination of
females, harsh widowhood practices, wife beating, rape,
sexual abuse, prostitution, women trafficking, rights of
inheritance; and same sex marriage.
· In fact, one prevalent disturbing issue in some parts of Igbo
culture is the high cost of traditional marriage in general
and high ‘bride price’ in particular. Women should also rise
up to the challenge by creating awareness and getting
stakeholders find ways of making costs affordable to
enable those who are ripe for marriage to achieve their aim.
· Finally, government at all levels should be more disposed
in assisting feminists on their quest, especially for
empowerment of women for political posts and leadership
positions in the country.

 

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72

 

Need To Incorporate Computer Technology into Music
Education in Nigeria
by
DR. A. O ACHU
Department of Music
Nwafor Orizu College of Education Nsugbe
07031008014, aliceobiageliachu2020@yahoo.com

 

Abstract
The crawling nature of music as a discipline in Nigeria is not an
over statement. It is a global fact that needs radical attention by the
stakeholders. There is need for a radical change from informative to
the transformative scholarship. Drastic steps need to be taken by the
policy makers if we are to move forward and the only way is
positive transformation. Music is a flexible art of which technology
can contribute both positively and negatively to the development of
a nation. The computer technology for instance operates on the
bases of garbage in garbage out. For music technology to contribute
positively to national development of Nigeria the transformation of
the musician’s mind who is the manipulators of the technology is
imperative. Information and communication technology involves the
utilization of GSM, computer, internet and their likes to gather
information on a meaningful manner in one form or the other. In the
past, the expertise of integrating modern technology into every
aspect of music was a problem to every educator in Nigeria. In
recent times some have acquired computer literacy thereby
improving their technological skill, while one is over whelmed by
the challenges of notation, software, internet and digital media, the
need to incorporate technology unto music is much felt now than
before. Against this backdrop, this paper aims at examining the use
of computer technology in the enhancement of music education in
the teaching and learning process as well as in music composition,
music production, preservation and performance. It also highlighted
the various impacts of computer technology in music education. The
paper concluded with suggestions on improving the quality of music
education through the inculcation of computer technology.
73

 

Introduction
This paper needs to explain some key words that form the
topic of this study. Such words are incorporate, computer,
technology and music education. Incorporate is to form into the
body, to combine into one mass or embodied, to take or put into
ratio.
Computer is a machine which primary purpose is to
compute data and store information. Nwajiobi (2005:2) views
computer as “… an electronic machine that is capable of accepting
in a specified format and following a sequence of instruction given
to it and processes the data to produce desired output.” He further
explains that
Computer receives a data through the input devices
such as the keyboard and after processes or
manipulates the data achieved according to
prescribed instruction or programs already stored
in. It produces result called information or output
devices which is communicated to the user through
output device like monitor or printer
Technology: A definition of technology is necessary here to assist
us in our focus. It may be defined as the discovery and usage of
tangible and intangible tools, materials and techniques to control
environment and to carry out necessary tasks and to improve various
human conditions and standard of living and make things easily
done as challenges of development increases. Another definition of
technology is the exploitation of the scientific study for the
betterment of human race.
According to Liddell and Robert (2013), technology refers to The
making, modification, usage and knowledge of tools,
machines, technology techniques, crafts systems and methods of
organization in order to solve a problem, improve a pre-existing
solution to a problem, achieve a goal handle an applied input
relation or perform a scientific function.
74

Olaniyan (2006) says that a computer is an electronic or
electro-mechanical device that accepts, stores and processes data to
produce useful information under the control of step by step
instruction called programme.
Music Education:
Music in its simplest form is the organization and
combination of sounds that is pleasing to the ear. According to
Liddle and Robert (2013), music is not just a combination of sounds
but a mysterious force which throughout ages exerts a powerful
influence on man.
Education:
Education in its general sense is a form of learning in
which knowledge, Skills and habit of a group of people are
transferred from one generation to the next through teaching and
learning. The first word educate means “to lead out” while educate
means to form or train or mould” (Igboabuchi and Ofojebe) (2010:
3).
Federal republic of Nigeria (2004: 4) sees education as “…
an instrument par excellence for effecting national development.”
Dewey, 2013 says “Education as a process of teaching, training and
learning especially in Schools or Colleges to improve knowledge,
develop it, is worthy to know that music education involves a
deliberate effort to educate people in music as a specialization. It is
a field of study associated with the teaching and learning of music.

From all these definitions that are related to the topic, we
now see that there is need to incorporate computer technology into
music Education. That is the incorporation of computer and its
associated hardware and software to assist study.
The effect use of computers in music technology practical
classes, recordings, performances, compositions, music type-setting
and online exchange of musical materials and ideas and are possible
even in Nigeria but the question is “have our music educators
75

considered it necessary and are ready to utilize these facilities
properly?. To some Nigerian music educators, this computer
technology is strange to them as pianos, organs and other musical
instruments.
There is need to properly apply and utilize computer
technology in Nigeria music education as it will also be beneficial to
Nigerian music students and teachers at various levels. It is very
necessary that the students and teachers be physically involved in
teaching before learning can take place. It is a common knowledge
that the mode of presentation is the power of understanding”
considering the importance of music education in the nation’s
development. There is need for a professionally trained music
teacher to disseminate theoretical skills meant to equip learner’s
worthwhile music knowledge with computer technology to sustain
student’s interest in the materials presented during teaching.
The use of machines, computer programme instruction etc
has made it possible ‘for learners to learn without the human music
teacher. Music education should not lag behind making use of
related information technology in enhancing the teaching and
learning of music.
Music Educator and the Computer
Rudolph (1996) in Olasumbo Loko (2013) says that there
exist two types of technology devices for music. Passive and
interactive devices are those technology devices that provide the
user with some useful perceptive with materials or information but
do not allow or permit interaction with device e.g. Listening to
music in such situations is passive exercise because the listener only
perceives the sound of the music as it is being relayed by the
cassette player but does not have further interaction with the player.
On the other hand, interactive devices are those udevices that allow
interaction between the user and the device itself e.g. using a
computer. For the purpose of this study; discussion will be based on
interactive music technological devices, with special reference to
computer.
76

The importance of computer technology general can
easily be witnessed and understood by many in all areas of life
endeavour in .Nigeria today. On the side of music education, it is
important to find the place of computer technology in music
education from these three perspectives. According to
Olasumbo (2013), they are:
1. Teaching and study of music
2. Composition, production and preservation of music
3. Performance of music
The Teaching and Study of Music ,
Chamberlain, Clark and Svengalis (1993) state that if
music is to stay as a viable part of the school curriculum and meet
the needs of the students, it must combine technology with,
traditional skills as other subjects are doing with good intention not
to discourage or eliminate traditional method of teaching and
studying music. Proper incorporation of computer technology in the’
teaching and learning of music will go a long way to enhance the
entire system of music education for greater and more productive
teaching and learning experiences.
Byrne and MacDohald (2002) emphasized how the
new technologies have been particularly influential within
educational environment and in the music classroom for example,
the uses of keyboards, computers and recording technologies. This
enhancement will be evident in the teachers’ sense of professional
development and personal growth as computer technology provides
the music teachers with tools for the development of skills and
knowledge. Such tools include various software and hardware that
satisfy diverse needs; in almost every aspect of music education a
million times faster than as it used to be as music educations in the
21st century. We need to prepare students better to become selfdirected
learners and to create situations that will make them apply
higher levels of thinking and learning to music. Teaching students
using technology as a tool facilitates problem solving and develops
social and collaborative skills that are necessary in the 21st century.
77

In these enhancements, students are not left behind with the
computer. A student can easily compose and document his or her
own original work, record them with ease and modem ways of
making music faster than they have ever done before. Students also
have enhanced level of comprehension of musical concept as a
result of the computer ability to interact with the user and a picturing
example and analysis of concept under study.
Composition, Production and Preservation of Music
In these areas of music making the usefulness and
importance of computer technology is clear and overwhelming.
Computer technology is very essential to the composer from the
time she conceives her ideas till when he round off her creative job.
The computer makes the’ composer easier by enabling her to listing
to her work as she notates them by using the computer as opposed to
the initial reliance on practice or rehearsal as the only means of
having a feedback on her work. It enables the composer achieves
easy, faster, and cleaner scoring and arranging works directly into
the system and record immediately without looking for any
instrumentalist during music production at the recording studies this
is very necessary especially when the composer is not a multiinstrument,
it also provides the studio engineer with ways of
correcting mistakes without tempering with the entire work that is
being recorded.
In the area of music preservation the computer allows and
ensures easy, faster, and neater scoring and typesetting of music and
even better finishing’ touches for the publisher. Example of such is
the women in colleges of education anthem printed in staff notation
with computer.
Performance of Music
The computer stands as an important device in the
contemporary Nigerian performance scene. Computer makes it
possible for few individuals to play roles that would have acquired a
large number of performers or even an orchestra under normal
circumstances. This may be done with the use of sequencer as a
78

device that records and plays back. Performing information
sequences make it possible to save or store performance information
usually on a computer disk.
The storage capability will allow one to retrieve the data
and play back any song at a later time without having to re-record,
edit, store and play back digital data that represent a musical
performance.
The computer also helps to improve and control texture of
sound and the accuracy of pitches in our performances. Kristen
(2002) recognized the potential that exist when one applies
computer technology to music instruction in the area of performance
as developing more capable performers and also improving students
skills in listening to, analyzing, describing, and evaluating music
and music performance.
The question now is whether Nigerian music educators are
utilizing these possibilities or not? It is very discouraging that many
Nigerian music educators are yet to be computer literate. There has
not been significant evidence of adequate use and proper utilization’
of our computers for musical purposes. Researchers have shown that
apart from word processing and other common computer
programmes used by every computer literate person, only a few
Nigerian music educators have made effort to delve into the use of
computer music programmes and applications. However, Raymond
and Charles (2002) gave some reasons for resistance to the use of
computer technology in the classroom. “Fear of unknown, lack of
proficiency in using the technology, none perceived benefits and
insufficient understanding of its potentials”.
Negative Impact of Computer Technology
Whatever that have advantages often have lateral
disadvantages. Computer technology is not left out of this. The
following are some of the side effects of either the extreme use and
application of computer technology or its improper application.
1) It is very possible for computer to replace various
individual roles and inputs in a performing group thereby,
79

rendering those concerns useless in such groups. This
creates unemployment for musicians who make live shows
and performance, their means of livelihood.
2) Teachers and learners of life musical instruments
are being discouraged to put on more time and effort,
since what they spend much time ‘and energy to acquire
through practice and rehearsal can be achieved, using
computers in few minutes.
3) Finally, most composers now depend wholly on
the computer for a good composition since the
computer has made it possible, for a composer to get an
instant play back of what he writes and changes area he
feels that do not agree or rhyme with what he has in mind
at the moment of writing.

Recommendations
Having discussed the place of computer technology in the
enhancement of music education in Nigeria and its negative impacts,
the following suggestions are made to improve the standard of
music education in Nigeria. Njoku (2006) explained that in
developed countries, the classroom is simply a let centre, virtually
every teacher has a computer and one or two students own a
computer, right there in the classroom. The entire syllabus runs life
on the internet. In line with this, standard, the Nigerian music
education should be reviewed in order to make provision for the use
of computer technology in music education as technology continues
to grow and evolve. It is ‘incumbent on music educators to ensure
that their knowledge and teaching skills are current with music
teaching in the 21st century, computer technology is making’
demands on the educator while creating new and exciting
opportunities for teaching and learning. Music educators are
implored to equip themselves with the tools and skills to be able to
make the most of these opportunities.
The music institutions in Nigeria need to be
properly equipped in the area of computer technology and
increase the number of good and competent music educators. Every
music educator should strive hard to become computer literate to be
80

relevant to the profession in its present technological standard. With
various possibilities brought about by computer technology, one
explores the need to make positive move and enjoy its use.

 

Conclusion
The impact of modem technology has been particularly
influential within educational environment and in the music
classroom. For example, the range of possible uses of keyboards,
computers and recording technologies is extensive. It has been
observed that proper incorporation and utilization of computer
technology at all levels of Nigerian music education will surely
enhance the teaching and learning of music in Nigeria. In view of
this, Nigerian music educators should work hard to lift music
education to the level of those developed countries through
computer technology.
Finally, computer technology should not be seen as
solution to all our problems in Nigerian music education but should
be seen as an enhancement. Nwamara (2006) opines that it merely
contributes to competence through instructions, study and practice.
Therefore, computer technology should be seen as an effective way
of supplementing what has been in existence.

References
Alvan-Ikoku, (2006) The Nigerian Musicologist Social Commitment
and Computer Technology Paper Presented at the
6th annual Conference of the Musicological
Society of Nigeria.
MSN at NnamdiAzikiwe University, Awka, Anambra
State.Chamberlin et al (1993) Success with
keyboard in middle school.Music educators
Journal.
Dewey, J. (2013). Democracy and Education. The free press,
retrieved AprilS, 2013, from
http://www,wikipedia.
81
Igboabuchi, B.O and Ofojebe, W.N (2010) Philosophy and Theories
of Education. Onitsha, Lince! publishers.
Kristen, A. Albert (2002): Using Educational Technology to
enhance Music Learning. Journal of the
international society for music education.1 pp. 57-
67.

Liddell H.G and Robert S (2013).A Greek English lexicon at
Perseus. Retrieved March 22, (2013) from
http://www.en. Wikipedia.org/wiki/music. Muro.
D. (1993) the art of sequencing fl, Miami, Belwin,
Njoku, Steve (2006) ‘Teachers, ICT and the Challenge oj the zr
century, 2sfAOCOED.Distinguished lecture series.
AdeniranOgunsanya College of Education,
ato/ijanikan, Lagos State.
Nwajiobi, E,N (2005) Basic Computer Knowledge, Onitsha.
NextGen computer Press.
Olanitan, A.0.(2006). Computer Appreciation and use of
Application Packages.
OlasumboLoko (2013): Journal of Nigeria, music education in
Nigeria (COMEN).
Raymond, A.R and Charles.Byne (2002) Teaching Strategies in the
classroom; Impact of Information and
Cornmunication: Technologies. Journal of the
International society music Education.No 1.
Pp.44-53
Rueliuph, T.E (1996) Teaching Music with Technology Chicago,
GIA. The National policy on Education FRRN,
2004.
82

 

The Problems of Dance Education in Tertiary Institution In
Nigeria
by
DR. A. O ACHU,
Nwafor Orizu College of Education Nsugbe

 

Abstract
In Nigeria society as in other African societies, dance is an integral
part of the culture of her various language groups. In African, it
forms part of her indigenous religion which is characterized by
magic and rituals used in communicating with the super natural;
disseminating massages from the gods or goddesses and spirit
societies therefore, having dance to reflect their culture belief and
practice. This is dramatized in their dance movements and steps.
Every society therefore has religion and ritual dance as well as
social dance. In the social dance, it is expected that every member of
that society should practice as it is a medium for communal
entertainment as well as solidarity display. The aim of this paper is
to look into dance as a very important aspect of our culture by
explaining what dance is, dance education, types of dance,
classification of dance, problem facing the teaching .of dance and
leaning of dance education in tertiary institutions and why there is
need to include dance in music education, to identify these problems
and to give recommendation on the situation.

Introduction
Attempts have been made by many historians at unraveling
the origin of dance. The origin of dance is speculative more so when
it is not really known when man began to dance, or when dance
started or began to be the culture or part of culture of the human
race. Dance has been described as a non verbal communication
between ethnologists. As a non verbal communication between
humans, it is said to be as old as man. Dance as a statement
of the life of the people explains its role as reaction to life as social,
cohesion of the life of society it reflects and expresses the belief
system, as it is fully done in the performance of rites of message and
83
dance of different peoples of the world to the world in general and
to Nigeria in particular.
In Africa, music is inseparable from dance but music can
go on without dance. Dance in African societies is of the most
important elements of social entertainment. In the present day
Nigeria, dance is regarded as the most trivial of the performing art
and dance typifies specific purposes in the society. This could be
during festivals, burial ceremonies, and marriage ceremonies,
farming season, birth ceremonies and other occasions. The writer is
keen in studying the problems of Dance Education in tertiary
institution in Nigeria because of its important to our music and
dance education.
Dance Education
This is simply the teaching and learning of dance in tertiary
institutions in Nigeria. It is pertinent to note that dance, as an art in
the present Nigerian society, has been unable to tackle some of the
social problems through its medium like music and drama. The
dance expresses human thought and value. The art of dance
permeates all important events in the society be it political,
religious, social or economical. It features in most prominent
occasions, communicating, and various contexts of performance.
The tone of the society affects the state, forms and types of dance.
Nigeria has been under great influence of powerful foreign
culture on dance in Nigeria Amaechi (2006) observed that the
colonial masters titled the ground of change with religion, planted
for man education and are watering it through the electric and
media. Through religion, people were convinced to go to school.
The elites were molded at the school. The European saw our dance
as primitive expression of child like joy or fertility rites, based on
the premise that most of the dance was either religious or cultic.
This resulted to the disregard for the traditional dances and music by
school pupils. The writer is still bent on the problems of teaching
dance in tertiary institutions in Nigeria. This can be found by the
poor performance of students, to find out the cause and to address
how to effect desirable improvement on the prevalent situation. We
84

have seen that dance is the hall mark of entertainment in modern
African culture.
In another development the term dance education has been
described by various schools Okwesa quotes Haper (1967) as
explaining it with five basic senses thus:
Assimilate new members into a society by educating them
in knowledge, attitude, emotions and goal appropriate to
that society.
To educate children in traditional behaviour and standards
of conduct and warn them of the consequences of deviating
from the accepted forms.
To educate adolescent during periods of initiation into adult
fertility and child bearing, teaching proper conduct during
courtship or prepare for parental role.
As a method of keeping young men physically fit of
teaching them the control and discipline necessary in
occupational and warfare and inculcating patriotic
attitudes.
To teach historical and mythological traditions with
reference to the first basic sense:
“Dance is an important medium of education in traditional societies,
of black African- one of the ways by which culture is disseminated
within a generation and transmitted from generation to generation.
In other words, dance steps help African societies to perpetuate
themselves’. According to Doubler (1962), Dance in education does
not exist just for pleasure of dancing but through creative effort in
giving aesthetic forms to significant experiences; it is hoped that
student will develop their creative powers in turn to improve
themselves as persons. Creative ability has much application to life,
and can contribute much to improve the quality of living.
From the foregoing, it can be seen that dance is a very
important dimension of dance education that serves to bring together
such aspects as, African performance and theoretical study. It then
implies that the student can be offered a comprehensive dance
education as earlier described through dancing studies. In other
85

words, dancing, on the other hand is an essential part of education
through which dance is not only taught and learnt, but also applied
or performed as a functional and purposeful career in the society.
These are the forms of dances that Colen – Strayer (2001) referred to
as folk dance or dances “of the people” which predate the colonial
and independent periods.
Classification of Dance
Gorer (1983) one of the early British explorers also
attempted a classification of some African dances he encountered
during his trips to the continent in the colonial era. He came up with
five basic forms which include stylization/human sacrifice dance
form, fertility dance form, hunting dance form, totem dance form
and virtuosity dance form. The dance covers the different aspects of
African lifelike rituals, occupations masquerades which he says,
were mainly in the form of acrobatic movements. JANIMNO.6
(2012) pg 100.
Felix Begho (1978) who also was a research fellow,
dancer, scholar and choreographer with the institute of African
studies, focused on Nigeria dances. In his article on dances in
contemporary Nigerian theatre he took a critical look at how dance
deployed in the evolution of Nigerian theatre.
Types of Dance
From the classifications identified above, particularly that
of Edith Enem and Felix Begho what comes across is the fact that
Nigerian dance types or forms were classified based on:
Movement style
Sex of participants
Age group of participants
Purpose that the dance serves
Context of performance
Social class Hierarchy and
Period/time of performance
Thus: we find in the categorization as follows:
86

Ceremonial, social Entertainment Ritual, war,
occupational-purpose of the dance.
Age-Grade initiation, elders dance, Age of participation
Maidens dance, male adolescent, sex of dancers
Acrobatic Dance creative puppet, popular, folk movement
style of dance
Royalty, Chieftaincy-class of Hierarchy of participants
Theatre-content of performance
Contemporary theater period of performance
Problems of Teaching Dance Music Education in the Nigerian
Tertiary Institutions
From the findings of some available studies, dance as a
medium of education in our system still faces an uphill task.
Most serious problem is:
The general problem of our policy makers in educational
matters who continue to discriminate against the art
Dance is not taught as a full-fledged course in the
institution or scheme of work for dance studies in the
institutions.
There is no standard curriculum or scheme of work for
dance studies in the institutions.
There are no standard text books on dance which are
recommended for use in the institutions.
Government support financially is not encouraging
Why Dance Education should be incorporated in the school
System especially at the tertiary Level: the role
The encyclopedia of Education research lists the following as the
criteria for the inclusion of dance education
Dance is concerned with bodily movement as a primary
focus and means of personal expression. In general, dance
promotes the overall goals of physical education. As a
vigorous form of activity, it promotes organic health and
the learning of neuro musical skill. It contributes to the
87

balance grace; co-ordination and rhythmic development. It
provide a direct opportunity through the exploration of
chore graphic problems, the student is encouraged to
produce imaginative and inventive solution. The body is
the instrument with which the dancer works and physical
movement constitutions them. The performer learns
specific concept or skill such as musical theory or the
manipulative skills required to play free and vital
opportunity for self expression.
In addition to its values, dance helps participants become
more perceptive and responsive to an esthetic experience both in
terms of reacting to the working of others and being involved
directly in performance. Dance education generally believes that this
field should not be restricted to a few highly gifted individuals but
all who may take it with satisfaction.
For the academic involvement which stresses competitive
individual performance, dance is highly social experience. It
involves sustained and intensive involvement with others in the
process of choreographic development production; group
rehearsals and performance. It also demands a strong sense of
discipline and self control. A good example of a country where it
has been incorporated in the educational Institution is Nigeria
Colleges and Universities. In Nwafor Orizu College of Education,
dance education” is well performed with good qualified teachers.
The role of dance is greatly enhanced as a result of its
adaptability to many roles. Peggy (2008) opined that dance usually
fulfills several functions simultaneously with main overt functions
which may need explicit expressions or reflections of the structure
are the society and way of life. The multiplicity of functions is often
reflected in the variety of occasions on the dance being performed.
Peggy outlined the principal over functions of dance to include.
Expression of a pattern of social organization
Expression of political hierarchy organization
Economic of history or mythology
Education
88

Recreational
Entertainment
The above typologies indicate that Nigerian communities
placed vital emphasis on the employment of the dance art in other to
fulfill the enjoyment of communal patronage. Haper (2002) noted
that several dances convey culture through the capacity of dance to
project value. It carries along the value system in the sense that what
makes that dance important is neither the form of movement nor the
music but what reminds people which they revere.
Walter (2001) observed that ethnic dance express a way of
life, the belief, attitudes and habits of such people living within a
homogenous community. Culture as a way of life of people is the
key to life and dance keeps it alive. Culture is an identity mark of a
people. A new value system can be introduced through dance. This
in turn can change people’s culture, thereby giving rise to new
identity.

Conclusion
This paper took a look into teaching of dance at Tertiary
institutions. The available writings of different scholars considered
relevant to this topic were mentioned. The term dance and dance
education were examined, defined and explored for purposes of the
study whereas dance is defined as series of movements and steps
that march the speed and rhythm of music. To Onwuka (2013) and
Hornby (2000), Dance is said to be culture bound. This means that
the values traditionally attached to them produce forms with the
intent to expressing its impression on the environment.
One can now conclude that dance has contributed
immensely to the growth of dance Education as seen at the Nwafor
Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe. Therefore there is need for its
incorporation to the music Education in Nigerian Tertiary
institutions.
Educational Implications.
At this juncture, it implies that:
89

Dance can be used to improve the standard of dance
education at other Tertiary institutions.
Through dance, graduates of the departments of music all
over will be equipped with more dance knowledge.
Finally this write up will help the institutions of higher
learning and those committed to the educational process to
identify and remedy the anomalies involved in the process.

Recommendations
In order to improve and maintain the study of dance
education at all Tertiary institutions in Nigeria the following
recommendations were made:
Dance should be allotted more time in the lecture time table
of the department to help students gain more knowledge in
the course.
The salaries of lecturers teaching dance should be made
attractive to encourage better head in the field of dance
education.
More qualified lecturers should be employed to teach dance
in the institutions.
Students should be exposed to do more of the practical than
theoretical aspect ofdance.
Apart from departmental dance, the lecturers in charge
should organize the students to visit and observe some
other peoples work in dance and criticize them.
It is necessary to carry out a comparative study on the
teaching of dance in all Tertiary institutions in Nigeria. When the
problems pointed are solved, the incorporation of dance in the
institution of higher learning will be fruitful.
90

 

References
Amaechi (2006). Every One Can Dance Owerri: Divine Mercy
Publication.
Beghon, F. (1978). ””Dance in Contemporary Nigerian Theater a
Critical Appraisal” Nigerian Journal of the Humanities,
No 2, Sept university of Benin.
Cohen, R. (2011).The Clement of Dance Fundamental of Move
http:wwwdanceanddrummar.com/articlefundamentals. htm.
Doubler, W.M.H. (1962). African Creative Art Expression Madson:
university of Wisconsin press.
Goerer, G. (1983). “African Dance” Magazine.No.l 19
Harper (1966) Dance Studies Africa Note Ibadan Institution of
African Studies.
Harper, P. (1970). “Role of Dance in the Gelede Ceremonies of the
Village of Ijio”, Odu, No.4 October pp.67-93
Hornby, A.S. (2000). Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary of
Current English Sally Wehneir (Ed.)
Janin (2012) Association of Nigerian Musicologists No.6
Onuuka, U. and A. (2012) A Basic Text of Dance Education in
Nigeria: Jennison Publishing Company.
91

 

Afrikanische Literatur in Deutschsprache: Die Unterdrückung
der Frauen in Buchi Emechetas Nnu Ego Zwanzig Säcke
Muschelgeld
von
Obodoeze Nkechi J.
Department of Modern European Languages,
Faculty of Arts,
Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria
obodoezenkechigog@gmail.com, 08039328555
92

Abstrakt
In diesem Artikel wurde die Unterdrückung der Frauen vom
Patriarchat und die Konsequenzen für das weitere Leben der Frauen
skizziert. Feminismus wird betrachtet, weil es das Ermächtigen der
Frauen in der Gesellschaft ermutigt. Der betrachtete Roman zeigt,
wie Frauen in vielen afrikanischen Gesellschaften unterdrückt und
marginalisiert wird. Es fällt auf, dass viele psychische, seelische
und interpersonale Probleme, die aus der Unterdrückung der Frauen
resultieren, marginalisieren die Kreativität der Frauen.
Schlüsselwörter: Feminismus, Frauen, Gesellschaft, Igbo, Opfer,
Patriarchat, Unterdrückung, Vergewaltigung
Zur Einführung
Dieser Artikel stellt eine Analyse der Unterdrückung der Frauen
in der Gesellschaft in Buchi Emechetas Nnu Ego Zwanzig Säcke
Muschelgeld dar. Eine drastische Umwandlung der
gesellschaftlichen Werte im 19. Jahrhundert in Europa
hervorgerufen durch soziale Umbrüche brachte mit sich eine
kritische Haltung in Bezug auf die gesellschaftliche Stellung der
Frau. Zu Beginn des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts war eine Zunahme
in der Geschichte der Frauenliteratur, was zu ein Wanken des
gesellschaftlichen Gleichgewichts beziehungsweise der
Geschlechtsgleichheit geführt hat. Die Betonung auf die Stellung
der Frauen in der Gesellschaft wurde dann eine wichtige Frage.
Marilyn French untersucht die Lebensumstände der verheirateten
Frauen im 20. Jahrhundert in Amerika und stellt fest:
Feminism is the only serious, coherent, and universal
philosophy that offers an alternative to patriarchal
thinking and structures (…). Feminists believe that
women are human beings, that the two sexes (at least)
are equal in all significant ways and that this equality
must be publicly recognized (7).
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Im gleichen Sinne bemerkt Odinye Ifeoma wie folgt:
“feminism is a social theory and movement primarily motivated by
the experiences of women in the society.” (40) Die Kämpferinnen
des Feminismus wollten die Unterdrückung der Frauen in der
Gesellschaft abschaffen. Sie hofften auf eine Gesellschaft ohne
Unterdrückung der Frauen. Ralf Schnell notiert in der Geschichte
der deutschsprachigen Literatur seit 1945:
Die männlich beherrschten Diskussionsstrukturen und
Entscheidungsmechanismen gaben den Anstoß, aus
der gemeinsamen Fronde des antikapitalistischen
Aufbegehrens und der sozialistischen
Strategiedebatten auszuscheren, um, inmitten
programmatischer Emanzipationsbestrebungen, der
besonderen Unterdrückungssituation der Frauen zu
entkommen. (375)
Dennoch ist es den Feministinnen in den
verschiedenen Ländern noch nicht gelungen, die völlige
Gleichberechtigung zu erkämpfen. Es ist wichtig in dieser Zeit
der Frauenemanzipation, ein Thema zu behandeln, das sowohl
konkreten Bezug zur Lebenswirklichkeit von Frauen in Nigeria hat
und als auch gesellschaftliche Relevanz besitzt, mit dem Ziel die
Situation der Frauen in der Gesellschaft darzustellen.
Die Emanzipation und die Verbesserung der sozialen
Situation der Frauen ist zugleich notwendig und wünschenswert. In
vielen traditionellen Gesellschaften werden die Frauen zuerst als das
reproduktive Geschlecht betrachtet, während die Männer die
Führungsrolle spielen. Ekwunife bemerkt in dieser Richtung wie
folgt: “Throughout man’s chequered history, society has always
been concerned with defining roles for individuals” (427). Diese
Rollenverteilung datiert aus der biblischen Zeit. Man notiert durch
die Erzählung der Bibel, dass Gott nach dem Erschaffen von Adam
und Eva ihnen verschiedene Rollen im Garten Edens zugeteilt hat.
Die Geschlechter werden auch in der Gesellschaft verschiedenen
sozialen Status zugeordnet. Das Bild der Frau hat sich von dem
traditionellen Bild zu einem modernen Bild verändert und eine
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zusätzliche Bedeutung erhalten. Sie ist nicht nur ein reproduktives
Geschlecht sondern auch ein Mensch, der ein sinnvolles Leben
führen und Karriere in jedem Lebensbereich machen kann.
Das Leben der Frau wird von gesellschaftlicher
Unterdrückung geprägt. Es ist aber offensichtlich, dass das Wohl der
Frauen einen positiven Effekt auf das Wohl der Rest der
Gesellschaft hat. Deswegen haben Schriftstellerinnen versucht, mit
ihren Werken zur Bekämpfung dieser Unterdrückung beizutragen.
Die Frage nach der Stellung der Frau in der Gesellschaft,
insbesondere was Sexualität, Erziehung von jungen Mädchen und
Unterdrückung der Frau betrifft, bildet einen thematischen
Schwerpunkt in diesem Roman.
Vorstellung des Romans
Der Roman Nnu Ego Zwanzig Säcke Muschelgeld handelt
von den gesellschaftlichen Unterdrückungen der Frauen in einer
traditionellen Igbo Gesellschaft angesichts der Normenstellungen
des patriarchalischen Systems. Die Handlung spielt in einem Igbo
Dorf namens Ibuza in Ostnigeria und teilweise in Lagos in
Westnigeria kürzlich vor dem zweiten Weltkrieg.
Im Mittelpunkt des Geschehens steht Nnu Ego, die einzige
Tochter einer unverheirateten Frau namens Ona, die eine uneheliche
Beziehung mit einem Igbo Chief Agbadi hat. Ona konnte Agbadi
nicht heiraten, weil ihr Vater keinen Sohn hatte. Deshalb wurde es
erwartet, dass sie einen Sohn für ihren Vater gebärt. Aus der
Beziehung zwischen Agbadi und Ona ist eine Tochter
hervorgegangen. Nnu Ego wuchs unter der Erziehung ihres Vaters
und mit fünfundzwanzig Jahr gab Agbadi den Amatokwus seine
Tochter zur Frau. Nnu Ego erlebt jedoch großes Unglück in der Ehe.
Sie konnte keine Kinder sofort für ihren Mann gebären. Sie verlass
ihren Mann nach er eine andere Frau nahm. Agbadi arrangierte kurz
daraufhin eine zweite Ehe für die Tochter. Sie verließ ihre Heimat
Ibuza, um mit ihrem neuen Mann, Nnaife, in Lagos zu leben. Nnu
Ego heiratete einen anderen Mann und bekam sieben Kinder. Aber
sie war enttäuscht, dass Nnaife nicht ihr Traummann war. Er war
irrational, sexuell unersättlich und zynisch. Nnu Egos Hoffnung bei
ihrem Kehrung nach Lagos erfüllt nicht, denn das Leben in Ibuza
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und Lagos ist nicht gleich. Das Leben war für sie ein konstanter
Kampf ums Überleben.
Ein wichtiger Wendepunkt in Nnu Egos Leben geschah, als
ihr Mann, Adaku die jüngste Frau seines gestorbenen Bruders zur
Frau übernahm. Nnu Ego musste ihren Mann mit Adaku teilen.
Nach einer schwierigen Leben in Lagos fuhr Nnu Ego zurück nach
Ibuza und starb unter einem Baum.
Der Status der Frauen in der Igbo-Gesellschaft
Dieser Abschnitt wirft einen Blick auf die Rollen der Frau
in der Igbo- Gesellschaft. Die Frage nach der Stellung der Frau in
der Igbo-Gesellschaft ist in dem ausgewählten Roman Emechetas
ein Thema. Die Igbo Leuten schätzen noch ihre Frauen. Und doch
wird eine Frau in der Igbo -Kultur nicht gewährt, wenn sie nicht
verheiratet ist. Die Igbo-Frauen haben sehr wichtigen und
entscheidenden Beitrag, um ihre zugeschriebene Rolle in ihrer
Gesellschaft zu machen. Die Igbo Frauen werden in Rollen sichtbar,
die über Ehe und Mutterschaft hinausweisen. Emenanjo (z.n.
Anyanwu) definiert Kultur wie folgt: the totality of the ways of life
evolved by a people in their attempts to meet the challenges of
living in their environment, which gives order and meaning to their
social, political, economical, aesthetic and religious norms (…).
114. Jedoch haben einige Igbo-kulturelle Normen die Freiheit der
Frauen beschränken. Die Igbo- Gesellschaft ist eine von Männern
dominierte Gesellschaft. Es überrascht nicht, dass die Geburt von
Mädchen weniger gefeiert wird als die Geburt von Jungen. Die Igbo
gesellschaft bevorzugt die Jungen vor den Mädchen. Die
Ausbildung der Jungen wird von den Mädchen vorgezogen. Die
Frauen ist es nicht erlaubt aus der Familie ihres Vaters, Besitz zu
erben. Ein Mann kann so viele Frauen heiraten wie er möchte, aber
eine Frau muss einem Mann treu sein. Der Igbo-Mann glaubt noch,
dass der Platz einer Frau zuhause ist. Nach Anyanwu ist: “African
cultural practices have been weapons for enforcing women’s
obedience…. Culture has been seen as an edifice of unchanging
institution, traditions and identities….” (114) Einige kulturelle
Normen gegen die Frauen in Emechetas Roman sind die Vorliebe
des männlichen Kindes, früher Ehe für die Mädchen, weibliches
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Opfer, weibliche Sklaverei, Polygamie, Ehe zu einem gestorbenen
Verwandten.
Eine Untersuchung der Frauenfiguren im Roman
Die Frauen in Nnu Ego Zwanzig Säcke Muschelgeld
stellen im allgemeinen die Erfahrungen bzw. die Unterdrückung
der Frauen in der Igbo Gesellschaft dar. Es gibt zwei Gruppen von
Frauenfiguren im Roman. Frauen, die rebellieren und kämpfen.
Beispiele sind Agunwas Sklavin, Ona und Adaku und solche, die
durch ihre Unwissenheit dem Mann und seinen Werten absolut
ergeben sind und missbraucht werden. Beispiele sind Nnu Ego und
Agunwa.
Die ideale Mutter – Nnu Ego
An erster Stelle kommt die Protagonistin, die ideale Mutter
in der Igbo Gesellschaft. Die Darstellung der Mutterrolle von Nnu
Ego zeigt deutlich die Freuden der Mutterschaft in der Igbo
Gesellschaft, wenn sie sagt: “Ich kann mir gar nichts anderes
vorstellen, als Mutter zu sein.” (256) Bei ihrer ersten Ehe wird Nnu
Ego als eine Jungfrau von ihrem Mann gefeiert, deshalb dankt die
Amataokwu Familie Chief Agbadi für seine wertvolle Tochter. Dies
tun sie mit sechs Fässern Palmwein. Buchi Emecheta stellt Nnu Ego
als eine typisch traditionelle Mutter dar, die streng nach den Sitten
und Gebräuchen der Tradition leben will. Sie leidet unter der
dominierenden Rolle der Männer und gleicht ihrer Mutter Ona
nicht, die ausdrücklich mutig war. Im Gegensatz zu ihrer Mutter
schweigt sie und leidet allein.
Nnu Ego möchte hoffnungslos einem traditionellen Leben
folgen. Sie will als eine gute Frau in der traditionellen Richtung
angesehen werden, weil sie die Belohnungen einer traditionellen
Igbo Mutter ernten möchte. Obwohl sie schwer gearbeitet hat,
wurde diese Erwartung nicht erfüllt.
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Nnu Ego kämpft auch zwischen den modernen und
traditionellen Werten des Lebens. Im Roman heißt es:
In Ibuza arbeiteten auch die Frauen und trugen zum
Einkommen bei, aber im städtischen Lagos waren die
Männer Alleinverdiener; durch diese neuen
Lebensbedingungen ging den Frauen das Wissen,
nützlich zu sein, verloren. Nnu Ego sagte sich, daß ihre
Lebensweise mit dem kleinen Ngozi sehr riskant
gewesen war: sie hatte versucht, in einer modernen
städtischen Umgebung ihrer Tradition treu zu bleiben
und weil sie in einer Stadt wie Lagos wie eine Frau aus
Ibuza sein wollte, hatte sie ihr Kind verloren. Dieses
Mal würde sie sich an die neuen Regeln halten. (Nnu
Ego Zwanzig Säcke Muschelgeld 90)
Leider wohnt Nnu Ego in Lagos, einer Stadt, die durch die westliche
Kultur beeinflusst wird. Sie scheint so fest in ihrer traditionellen
Igbo Kultur verwurzelt. Deshalb versucht sie ihre Kinder nach den
traditionellen Werten zu erziehen. Sie bemüht sich so gut wie
möglich für ihre Kinder zu sorgen. Schließlich hat sie keine
Belohnungen von ihren Söhnen für ihre Bemühungen als eine
Mutter. Vor ihrem Tod wurde ihr deutlich, dass sie Opfer ihres
Mannes und ihrer Söhne war. Nnu Ego druck ihre Leiden im
Roman aus:
Ich bin eine Gefangene meines eigenen Fleisch und
Blut. Ist das wirklich so beneidenswert? Die Männer
stellen es so hin, als waren Kinder unser einziger
Lebensinhalt. Darum wollte ich auch sterben, als ich
meinen ersten Sohn verlor. Denn ich war den
Erwartungen der Männer in meinem Leben, meines
Vaters und meines Mannes, nicht gerecht geworden –
und jetzt kommen auch noch meine Sohne hinzu. (Nnu
Ego Zwanzig Säcke Muschelgeld 213)
Frustration und ein unerfüllt bleibendes Bedürfnis nach
Lebensfreiheit führen zu ihrem tragischen Ende. Nnu Ego stirbt in
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ihrer isolierten Welt in ihrer Heimat. Ihre Hoffnung auf eine
glückliche Zukunft scheint sich mit der Abreise ihrer Söhne nach
Ausland verabschiedet zu haben. Nach einer schwierigen Leben in
Lagos fuhr Nnu Ego zurück nach Ibusa und starb unter einem Baum.
Nnu Egos tragisches Schicksal ist eine Folge der Unterdrückung des
Patriarchats. Am Ende steht sie als Verliererin nach der Erziehung
ihrer Kinder, die sie viel geopfert hat.
Die traditionelle Frau -Agunwa
Agunwa repräsentiert eine normale traditionelle Frau, die
streng nach den Sitten und Gebräuchen der Tradition leben will. Als
die erste Frau von Agbadi wird sie von den anderen jungen Frauen
der Familie respektiert. Agunwa stellt die Position der älteren Frau
in einer polygamischen Familie dar. Sie sollte ein beispielgebendes
Muster für die jungen Frauen sein. Über seine verstorbene
Hauptfrau sagt Agbadi zu ihren Söhnen: “Eure Mutter ist eine gute
Frau. So bescheiden, so ruhig. Ich weiß wirklich nicht, wer nun auf
meine jungen Frauen und meinen Haushalt aufpassen soll”. (Nnu
Ego Zwanzig Säcke Muschelgeld 23)
Als die Hauptfrau von Agbadi sollte sie eine bessere
Beziehung zu ihrem Mann haben. Im Gegenteil führt sie ein
einsames Leben, denn Agbadi zieht es vor, Zeit mit Ona zu
verbringen. Agunwa befindet sich in einer Lage, denn es ist für sie
schwer dem Verhalten ihres Mannes zu kritisieren.
Agunwas tragisches Schicksal (Tod) ist einerseits eine Folge ihrer
“Schwäche”, andererseits ein Resultat von Umständen, auf die sie
keinen Einfluss hat. Sie starb an Schlaganfall in der Nacht, als ihr
Mann in aller Öffentlichkeit Geschlechtsverkehr mit Ona hatte. Sie
konnte die Schmerzen nicht ertragen. Buchi Emecheta stellt
Agunwa als ein Vorbild der Frauen, die unter der Polygamie leiden.
Agunwa akzeptiert die Polygamie, obwohl sie unter der Beziehung
zwischen Ona und ihrem Mann leidet. Sougou kommentiert über
Agunwa: “Agbadis senior wife is a conformist, and typifies another
type of traditional women. She accepts husband-sharing, even
though she suffers from it”. (96) Sougous Kommentar zeigt
deutlich, dass die Frauen in der Polygamie leiden und nicht frei
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sind, ihre Leiden auszudrücken. Nnu Ego gleicht Agunwa in ihrer
Rolle als eine Mutter. Sie ist eine jüngere Version von Agunwa.
Die selbstsichere Frau — Ona
Ona macht es sich sehr schwer, sich von den
traditionellen Normen frei zu machen, denn die Erziehung und die
Sozialisation, die sie als ein Mädchen in einer traditionellen Igbo-
Familie erfahren hat, sitzt tief. Es wird erwartet, dass Ona einen
Sohn für ihren Vater gebärt, um “damit das Versagen der Natur
auszugleichen.” (Nnu Ego Zwanzig Säcke Muschelgeld 11) Ona
lebt zwischen zwei Männern, ihrem Vater, Obi und ihrem
Liebhaber, Chief Agbadi. Diese Männer wollten aus ihren
persönlichen Interessen Ona behalten, um ihre eigenen Wünsche zu
erfüllen. Ona macht deutlich, dass sich eine junge Frau in ihrem
Alter ein “Lebensstil” (das ist ihr persönliches Leben) aufbauen
sollte. Buchi stellt Ona als eine Figur dar, die ihre Meinung auf
jedem Fall frei äußert. Sie antwortet auf Agbadis boshafte
Bemerkungen: “ Wer sollte mich aufhalten? Wer wird das wagen?
Du? schrie sie überreizt. Bah! Du glaubst, du hast das Recht, dich
wie ein Gott aufzuführen, nur weil du Agbadi bist?” (Nnu Ego
Zwanzig Säcke Muschelgeld 16)
Onas Beziehung zu Chief Agbadi stellt die Würde der
Weiblichkeit in Frage. Ona ist es klar, dass ihr Liebhaber viele
Frauen hat und keine Absicht hat, sie zu heiraten. Ihrerseits wollte
Ona Chief Agbadi nicht heiraten.
Eine dieser Geliebten war eine ebenso schöne wie
eigensinnige, arrogante junge Frau, so eigensinnig, daβ
sie sich weigerte, mit Agbadi zusammen zu leben. Wie
Männer so sind, war er ausgerechnet bei dieser Frau am
liebsten, obwohl sie ihren Spaß daran hatte, ihn durch
die Verweigerung einer Heirat zu kränken. (Nnu Ego
Zwanzig Säcke Muschelgeld 10)
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Ona versucht eine Balance zwischen den traditionellen
Werten und ihrer eigenen Lebensabsicht zu finden. Sougou
beschreibt Ona folgendermaßen:
Ona is depicted as a woman dedicated to asserting
herself according to her own principles; she is strong
and arrogant enough to match the boisterous and witty
Agbadi. Ona embodies the high value placed on
womanhood and freedom. (96)
Genaugenommen äußert Ona ihre Meinung zur Befreiung
der Frauen aus dem Patriarchat, wenn sie vor ihrem Tod sagt: ‘Bitte
trauere nicht lange um mich. Und so du unsere Tochter Nnu Ego
auch liebst, vergiss nicht, ihr ihr eigenes Leben zu lassen. Sie soll
heiraten, wenn sie will. Gestatte ihr, eine Frau zu sein.‘ (Nnu Ego
Zwanzig Säcke Muschelgeld 30) Ona behauptet ihren Standpunkt
trotz ihres Leidens in der patriarchalischen Gesellschaft. Sie mußte
ihre Leute verlassen wegen der Anforderung Agbadis nach dem
Tod ihres Vaters.
Bald darauf wurde Ona wieder schwanger. Sie war von
Anfang an so krank, daß die vorzeitigen Wehen
niemanden in Agbadis Hauswesen überraschten. Nach der
Geburt war Ona schwach, aber klar im Geist. Sie wußte,
daß sie im Sterben lag. (Nnu Ego Zwanzig Säcke
Muschelgeld 29)
Ihr wurde nicht erlaubt zu heiraten, weil ihr Vater keinen
lebendigen Sohn hat. Vor ihrem Tod sagt sie: “Agbadi, rief sie
heiser,”du siehst, es war mir nicht bestimmt, mit dir zu leben. Doch
du bist dickköpfig, mein Vater war dickköpfig , und ich auch
dickköpfig.” (Nnu Ego Zwanzig Säcke Muschelgeld 31) Ihr wurde
nicht gestattet ihr eigenes Leben zu führen, sondern sie musste die
Anforderung ihres Vaters erfüllen. Sie ist gegen das bestehende
System, aber nicht bereit, es revolutionär zu bekämpfen.
101

Die willensstarke Sklavin
Die Figur von Agunwas Sklavin stellt die Unterdrückung
der Sklavinnen in der dargestellten Igbo- Gesellschaft dar. Als ihre
Herrin starb, musste sie lebendig mit ihrer Herrin begraben werden.
Nach der Tradition von Ibuza sollte eine gute Sklavin glücklich ins
Grab springen. Laut der Tradition und Erwartung der Männer, sollte
die persönlichen Sklavin Agunwas mit ihr begraben wird: “Am
Grab von Agunwa rief der Medizinmann die Sklavin: Der
Medizinmann rief feierlich und laut nach ihrer persönlichen Sklavin:
sie musste vor dem Sarg ins Grab gelegt werden.” (Nnu Ego
Zwanzig Säcke Muschelgeld 24)
Leider wollte die Sklavin nicht bereitwillig in das Grab
gehen. Sie wollte noch leben. Sie bittet um ihr Leben leider zum
Ärgernis der Männer. Die Frauen standen weit entfernt und konnten
nichts machen. Diese böse Tradition gegen die Frauen ist
schrecklich, wie es im Roman dargestellt wird. Die Frauen hielten
sich weit entfernt, weil sie diesen Brauch abstoßend fanden. ( Nnu
Ego Zwanzig Säcke Muschelgeld 24)
Als die Sklavin nicht willig ins Grab ihrer Herrin steigen
wollte, wurde sie darin gestoßen. Sie revoltierte und bat Agbadi
um Hilfe. Dann rief Agbadis ältester Sohn zornig:
Verdient meine Mutter nicht einmal ein ordentliches
Begräbnis? Sollen wir ihr die Sklavin nur deshalb
nicht mitgeben, weil das Mädchen schön ist? Mit
diesen Worten versetzte er der Frau einen scharfen
Schlag mit der Klinge seines Buschmessers. Hinunter
mit dir, wie es sich für eine gute Sklavin gehört! (Nnu
Ego Zwanzig Säcke Muschelgeld 24)
Die Sklavin wandte ihm ihren trüben, schon vom Tode
gezeichneten Blick zu und sagte: ,, Dank dir für diese Güte,
Nwokocha. Sohn des Agbadi. Ich werde in dein Haus
zurückkehren. Aber als legitime Tochter. Ich komme wieder…,,
(Nnu Ego Zwanzig Säcke Muschelgeld 24)
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Wegen ihres Aufstands gegen diesen Brauch in Ibuza stieß
ein anderer Verwandter die Sklavin und sie fiel in das Grab. Mit
dem bedrohlichen patriarchalen Verhalten gegen die Sklavin stellt
Buchi Emecheta die Tatsache dar, dass weibliche Autonomie in der
Öffentlichkeit bedroht wird. Die Sklavin erscheint als Objekt der
männlichen Unterdrückung und Brutalität. Wegen des Schweigens
der anderen Frauen unweit von dem Grab setzt sich diese
patriarchalische Brutalität durch. Deborah Tannen äußert sich über
die möglichen Gründe für ihr Verhalten:
Throughout history, women have been punished for
talking too much or in a wrong way. Linguist Connie
Eble lists a variety of physical punishment used in the
Colonial North America: Women were strapped to
ducking tools and held underwater until they are nearly
drowned, put into the stocks with signs pinned to them,
gagged, and silenced by a cleft stick applied to their
tongues. (zit. nach Damian Opata, 380)
Okoye beschreibt folgendermaßen diesen Aspekt der
Unterdrückung der Frauen, indem sie zum Schweigen gebracht
werden:
The patriarchal system imposes silence on women
and women are deemed so powerless that they do
not even have any access to language. Patriarchy
holds that language is a male artifact, an aspect of
male culture which has been shaped to meet man’s
needs. Men’s language is said to be language of law,
authority and of power while women’s language is
generally emotional, full of non-rational utterance,
grunts, groans and moans. (334)
Die Frauen konnten nicht gegen diesen Vergewaltigung des
Patriarchs widerstehen. Sie schweigen und stehen weit von dem
Grab.
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Die mutige Frau – Adaku
Nach dem Tod ihres Mannes verlässt Adaku Ibuza und
fährt nach Lagos. Nach der Tradition von Ibuza übernimmt Nnaife
die Frauen und Kinder seines älteren Bruders. Adaku kommt nach
Lagos und zieht mit Nnu Ego und Nnaife ein. Nnu Egos Reaktion
auf Adaku als die zweite Frau ihres Mannes, zeigt klar die Leiden,
die Frauen in polygamischen Ehen erfahren. Buchi Emecheta
beschreibt Nnu Egos Gefühle wie folgt:
Verzweifelt versuchte sie, ihre Gefühle zu
beherrschen, ein freundliches Gesicht aufzusetzen
und als die erfahrene Frau aus Ibuza eine neue Frau
in ihrem Haus willkommen zu heißen: aber es
gelang ihr nicht. (Nnu Ego Zwanzig Säcke
Muschelgeld 134)
Adaku bedeutet “Tochter des Reichtums” und ihr Name ist ein
passender Titel für ihr Benehmen in Lagos. In Lagos ist sie
enttäuscht von ihren Hoffnungen über das Leben. Sie muss eine
Alternative für ein besseres Leben für sich und ihre Tochter
schaffen. Sie erkennt ihre Stellung als eine zweitklassige Bürgerin
in der Ehe und lebt als eine allein erziehende Mutter. Emecheta
beschreibt Adakus Stellung, wenn Adaku sagt: “Nnaife mag mich
nicht, seine Leute mögen mich nicht, warum sollte ich hierbleiben?
(…) So war mein Bett für ihn nur zweite Wahl. Das machte mir
nichts aus, weil ich von ihm nur einen Sohn wollte. Aber ich wurde
nicht schwanger.” (190) Adaku wird respektlos behandelt, weil sie
Nnaife nur Mädchen gebärt. Sie entscheidet sich dafür, die
Beschränkungen des Patriarchats zu widerstehen und schickt ihre
Töchter zur Schule. Sie entscheidet sich das System zu übertölpeln,
anstatt sich irgendwie beschränken zu lassen.
Im Gegensatz zu Nnu Ego, die eine Vorliebe für die
Tradition hat, hat Adaku viel Voraussicht, um ihr persönliches
Leben zu verbessern. Sie liest die Zukunft und schickt ihre Töchter
zur Schule, damit diese gleiche Gelegenheit mit den Männern
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haben und ihr eigenes Leben unabhängig von den Männern führen
können.
Sougou stellt Adaku als eine doppelte Frau dar, “Adaku the
double” (107), die eine Befreiung aus dem Patriarchat schafft.
Sougous Aussage zeigt deutlich, dass sie eine Doppelmoral hat. Sie
befindet sich in einer schwierigen Lage, aus der sie einen Ausweg
suchen muss. Diese Nebenfrauenfigur steht als eine alternative
Figur zu Nnu Ego. “The alternative discourse of liberation in The
Joys of the Motherhood is conducted through Adaku, who is
constructed as Nnu Ego’s co-wife” (Sougou, 107) Sougou
kommentiert weiter über Adaku: “Adaku is shown as a dignified
woman with the will to alter the order of things in a gendered world.
She uses her wealth to enroll her daughters in the good schools so
that they can take their own chances in the world.” (111) Sie will
ihren traurigen Zustand in der neuen Stadt nicht akzeptieren. Im
Streit zwischen Nnu Ego und Adaku beschimpfen Nwakusor und
Ubani Adaku und meinen, dass sie kein Recht hat, weil sie keinen
Sohn für die Familie geboren hat. Im Roman heißt es: “Sie trug
ihnen den Vorfall vor, statt Nnu Ego die Schuld zu geben, ließen die
beiden Adaku spüren, dass sie kein Recht habe, sich über Nnu Egos
Benehmen zu beschweren, wo sie doch der Familie keinen Sohn
geschenkt habe.” (Nnu Ego Zwanzig Säcke Muschelgeld 187) Es ist
ihr klar, dass ihre Stellung im Nnaifes Haushalt nicht gesichert
ist. Das Verhalten der Männer führt zu Adakus Rebellion gegen die
Norm, wenn sie sagt:
Vielleicht hast du mal wieder recht, ältere Frau. Je
mehr ich darüber nachdenke, desto klarer wird mir,
dass wir Frauen uns unmögliche Maßstäben setzen.
Und uns das Leben zur Hölle machen. Ich kann nicht
nach deinen Maßstäben leben, erste Frau. Ich muss
mir eigene setzen. (Nnu Ego Zwanzig Säcke
Muschelgeld 192)
Sie wehrt sich gegen die Tradition, um ein besseres Leben zu
haben. “Diese Frau (Adaku) weiß gut Bescheid, dachte sie. Sie war
so unabhängig in ihrem Denken”. (Nnu Ego Zwanzig Säcke
105

Muschelgeld 142) Sie bemüht sich darum, ihre Individualität zu
suchen. Sie zieht aus dem Haus aus, um ihre Freiheit zu haben.
Durch ihre neugewonne Freiheit in Lagos findet Adaku ihre
Autonomie. Sie beschließt, ihren Weg zu gehen, als eine starke
unabhängige Frau, die nicht davon zurückscheut, ihre erotischen
Kräfte zu ihren Gunsten einzusetzen.
Die willenlosen Mädchen (die Zwillinge –Taiwo und Kehinde)
Nnu Ego hat zu viel für die Ausbildung ihrer Söhne
geopfert. Sie weiß, dass Ausbildung wichtig ist und will ihre
Töchter auf ein besseres Leben vorbereiten. Allerdings bekommen
nur die Söhne eine gute Ausbildung, weil sie gemäss der Tradition
die Erben der Familie sind. Sie haben also gewisse Vorrechte im
Vergleich zu den Töchtern, die nur ermutigt werden, mit ihrem
Geschäft fortzufahren. Nnu Ego glaubt also, dass das Geschäft die
beste Art ist, die Töchter auf das Familienleben vorzubereiten. Wir
sehen hier den Unterschied in der Art und Weise, wie Nnu Ego ihre
Söhne und ihre Töchter auf die Zukunft vorbereitet. Die Söhne
werden durch die gute Ausbildung gut auf das moderne Leben
vorbereitet, während sich die Töchter damit zufrieden geben
müssen, Marktfrauen zu sein. Unsere Protagonistin ist nämlich der
Meinung, dass gute Ehemänner das wichtigste für ihre Töchter sind.
Sie werden sehr früh auf eine Zukunft als Mütter und Hausfrauen
vorbereitet. Wie ihre Mutter hinterfragen die Zwillinge die
traditionelle Rolle des Mädchens oder der Frau in der Igbo-
Gesellschaft nicht. Sie lassen sich in die Rolle als Marktfrauen
einzwängen und werden auf diese Weise als zukünftige Ehefrauen
vorbereitet. Sie wehren sich gegen diese Tradition nicht.
Die Unterdrückung der Frau in einer patriarchalischen Igbo-
Gesellschaft
Die Pionierinnen der afrikanischen Frauenliteratur in
Nigeria haben viel durch ihre Literatur für die Emanzipation der
Frau geschrieben. Buchi Emecheta hat sich einen Namen als eine
zeitgenössische Autorin in Nigeria und auch in der Welt
gemacht. Buchi Emecheta gehört zu den Intellektuellen, die sich mit
106

ihren Schriften dem Freiheitskampf der Frauen angeschlossen hat.
Der Erfolg ihres Romans The Joys of Motherhood über die
traditionellen Unterdrückung der Frauen in Igbo- Gesellschaft
brachte ihr den Status einer Pionierin der Frauenemanzipation ein
und ein breites Echo Weltweit.
Ihre Werke fokussieren auf sexuelle Politik, Rassismus,
Frauenunterdrückung, traditionelle Herausforderungen an die
Frauen in der Gesellschaft. Ihre literarischen Werke sind aus ihren
persönlichen Erfahrungen in der Gesellschaft, in der sie geboren
wurde, entstanden. In ihrem Roman The Joys of Motherhood wurde
das Leben der Frauen durch sehr ausführliche Verordnungen
kontrolliert. Verschiedene Formen der patriarchalischen
Unterdrückung der Frauen werden im Roman dargestellt.
Polygamie, Kinderlosigkeit, die Vorliebe für Sohne zu Mädchen und
Körperliche Unterdrückung von Frauen.
Im Roman werden Frauenfiguren in der traditionellen
konservativen Gesellschaft eine große Rolle zugeschrieben. Nnu
Ego lebt in einer Polygamie, in der ihr Vater viele Frauen hat. Diese
waren für sie ideale Mütter. Es heißt im Roman: “Die meisten seiner
(Agbadi) schon älteren Frauen waren verständnisvoll (…).” (Nnu
Ego Zwanzig Säcke Muschelgeld 38)
Agunwa, die erste Frau von Chief Agbadi wird als eine
traditionelle Frau dargestellt. Sie ist “Agbadis ranghöchste” Frau.
(Nnu Ego Zwanzig Säcke Muschelgeld 21) Sie ist ein gutes Vorbild
für Agbadis jüngere Frauen. Agbadi preist nach dem Tod seiner
Frau ihre gute Eigenschaft an: “Eure Mutter ist eine gute Frau. So
bescheiden, so ruhig. Ich weiß wirklich nicht, wer nun auf meine
jungen Frauen und meinen Haushalt aufpassen soll.” (Nnu Ego
Zwanzig Säcke Muschelgeld 23) Dazu bemerkt Sougou wie folgt:
Agunwa is represented in a manner converse to the
opinion generally held about the freedom of the precolonial
women. Agbadi´s senior wife is a
conformist, and typifies another type of traditional
women. She accepts husband-sharing, even though
107

she suffers from Ona´s presence in the household,
and suppresses her feelings. (96)
Agunwa wird als eine gehorsame Frau in Nnu Ego
Zwanzig Säcke Muschelgeld dargestellt, die für ein harmonisches
Familienleben sowie das Zusammenleben ihrer Mitfrauen sorgt.
Leider starb Agunwa wegen der unehelichen Beziehung zwischen
ihrem Agbadi und Ona. Rose Mezu in Women in Chains:
Abandonment in Love Relationships schreibt folgendes über die
Polygamie: “polygamy is man’s prerogative to be catered for by
several women and the competition arising therefrom.” (132)
Weiter heißt es bei ihr: “ polygamy consists in female debasement
and abandonment of women.” (9) Agbadi verachtet und
vernachlässigt seine Frauen. Im Roman heißt es:
Natürlich verlässt Nwankwo Agbadi seine Frauen,
als er sie in Mutterschaft versinken sah. Einige
Frauen heiratete er nach traditioneller Weise, aber
wenn er sie in Häuslichkeit und Mutterrolle versinken
sah, ödeten sie ihn an und er sah sich nach einer
neuen, aufregenden und großgewachsenen stolzen
Ehefrau oder Geliebten um. (Nnu Ego Zwanzig Säcke
Muschelgeld 9)
Die Polygamie wird hier als ein Mittel der Unterdrückung
der Frauen angesehen bzw. verwendet. Polygamie wird hier als eine
Form der Sklaverei vieler Frauen unter einem Dach und einem
Mann. Agunwa hat keine Stimme, wenn sie bemerkt, dass ihr Mann
mit einer junge Frau eine sexuelle Beziehung neben ihrem Haus
hat. Frauen in Polygamie haben meistens ihren eigenen Haushalten.
Die Frauen sind mehr „Nachbarn“ als „Familie“.
Sexuelle Unterdrückung ist ein Thema in diesem Roman.
Die Frau wird hier als ein sexuelles Objekt der Männer dargestellt.
Buchi Emecheta beschreibt Ona als ein Gegenstand von dem
selbstsüchtigen und egoistischen Interesse der Männer, nämlich Obi
Umunna und Chief Nwankwo Agbadi. Sougou stellt fest, dass der
108

Wert einer Ehefrau in der traditionellen Igbo-Gesellschaft von ihrer
Fähigkeit abhängt, Jungen zu gebären:
Ona’s personality is defined in terms of her father’s
wish for a male child in accordance with social
views that predicate a woman’s value on mothering
male children. The text attacks this notion right from
the beginning in the metaphysical explanation for
Nnu Ego’s birth, which is metonymic of their fate
under patriarchy. (95)
Die Frauenbefreiung ist nur ein Aspekt der Notwendigkeit, die
gesamte Gesellschaft zu befreien. Es ist das soziale System, das sich
ändern muss. Die Männer werden aber zu Unterdrückern, wenn sie
versuchen, diese notwendigen Veränderungen zu blockieren. Buchi
kritisiert alle Formen der Unterdrückungen, weil sie die Prinzipien
der Geschlechtergleichheit der Frauen verletzt und bremst die
Frauen in ihrer Entwicklung aus. Frauen sind in allen Bereichen
benachteiligt. Diese Verbrechen gegen die Frauen in der
Gesellschaften bleiben zum großen Teil unbestraft. Die Freiheit und
rechte der Frauen werden eingeschränkt.
Zusammenfassung
Der Roman, den in dieser Arbeit analysiert wurde, steht
exemplarisch als Anklage gegen die patriarchalen
Familienstrukturen und die Unterdrückung der Frauen in allen
Gesellschaftsschichten. Die Emanzipation der afrikanischen Frauen
sei weiter durch die patriarchalische Ordnung verhindert. Die von
Männern bestimmende soziale und traditionelle Gesellschaft
betrachtet die Frauen immer noch als Eigentum der Männer. Trotz
einigen Emanzipationsbestrebungen werden die Frauen in dieser
Gesellschaft oft hilflose Opfer, deren Versuche scheitern, ein selbstbestimmendes
Leben zu führen und sich den traditionellen
patriarchalen Regeln zu widersetzen. Die Analyse des Romans hat
gezeigt, dass die Gesellschaft die Frauen sowohl psychisches als
auch physisches Leid zufügt. Die Frauen leiden unter etablierten
Sitten und Gebräuchen der Gesellschaft.
109

Bei der Analyse zeigte sich, dass die dominierende Männerwelt die
Frauenautonomie verhindert hat. In dieser Analyse möchte ich
feststelle, dass keine der Protagonistinnen sowie die anderen
Frauenfiguren mit ihrem Leben zufrieden ist. Manche erleben zwar
kurze Glücksmomente, doch sind sie im großen und ganzen
unglücklich. Die Frau setzt sich mit der Gesellschaft auseinander,
die meistens traditionell-patriarchalisch aufgebaut ist und versucht
gleichzeitig sich von der Unterdrückung der Gesellschaft zu
emanzipieren.
Literatur
Anyanwu, Princewill. “Igbo Women: Veritable Tool for Sustenance
of Culture and Moral Development” in Ideal Igbo
Scholars Journal, Vol. 1. No 1, ed. Anedo et al. Awka:
Besing Books Multipurpose Publications. 2013. S. 113 –
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Buchi, Emecheta. The Joys of Motherhood, Ibadan: Heinemann
Educational Books Ltd Irepo Press, 2004.
——————. Nnu Ego Zwanzig Säcke Muschelgeld. Aus dem
Englischen von Helmi Martini-Honus und Jürgen Martini
Weismann Verlag. München: Frauenbuchverlag GmbH,
1983.
Ekwunife, Christian. “Feminism in Nigerian Drama: Femi
Osofisan’s Tegonni, An African Antigone as a paradigm”.
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edited Joy Eyisi et al., Awka: FAB Educational Books,
2008. S. 427-442
Emenanjo, E.N. “Culture, Nigeria Languages and National
Development. Journal of Nigerian Languages and Culture.
Vol. 2. Owerri: Assumpta Press. 2000
French, Marilyn. Beyond Power: On Women, Men and Morals.
New York: 1985.
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Mezu, Rose U. Women in Chains: Abandonment in Love
Relationships in Fictions of Selected West African Writers.
Maryland: Black Academy Press, 1994.
Odinye, Ifeoma. “Feminism and self Assertion of Female Characters
in Buchi Emecheta’s Second Class Citizen and Zaynab
Alkali’s The Stillborn”. Unizik Journal of Arts and
Humanities. Vol 11. No. 1. 2010. S. 40-53.
Okoye, Justina.“Cracking the Eggshell, Infiltrating Patriarchy:
Nafissatou Diallo’s de Tileène au Plateau and Aminata
Sow Fall’s La Greve des Bàttu” In African Literature and
Development in the Twenty-First Century. Proceeding of
Ezenwa-Ohaeto International Memorial Conference.
Faculty of Arts, Unizik , 2009. S. 333-341.
Opata, Damian. “African Humanities and the Woman Question: A
Preliminary Investigation of the Igbo Case”. in Paradise in
the Arts Celebrating Prof. C. C. Agbodike. Awka: Fab
Educational Book, 2008. S. 377-387.
Schnell, Ralf. Geschichte der deutschsprachigen Literatur seit
1945.2., überarbeitete und erweiterte Auflage, Stuttgart:
J.B. Metzlerische Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst
Poeschel Verlag GmbH. 2003.
Sougou, Omar. Cross/Cultures. Readings in the Post/Colonial
Literatures in English. 51, Writing Across Cultures. Gender
Politics and Difference in the Fictions of Buchi Emecheta.
Amsterdam. 2002.
Tanne, Deborah. Women and Men talking: An International
Sociolinguistics Approach, in Women, Men and Gender:
Ongoing Debates, New Haven and London: Yale
University Press, 1997.
111

 

Bai Guo Miao in Quanzhou: South China port city
Dr.Gamini Ranasinghe
Department History and Archaeology
University of Sri Jayewardenepura
gaminir76@yahoo.com

Abstract
This study presents Bai Guo Miao (White Dog Temple) in
Quanzhou (South China), its background, and impotence as a
heritage which is linked to the history of Sri Lanka. The White Dog
Temple is a tangible heritage which elaborates the Sino-Sri Lanka
relationship, Sri Lanka history as well as evidence for the adaptation
to the Chinese culture by lesser known prince of Kotte kingdom.
The Quanzhou city has been a multination, multicultural, multireligious,
and multi-lingual city from the Tang Dynasty (618-
907AD) to Qing Dynasty (1644-1911AD). A Sri Lankan prince who
is supposed to be a relative or high officer of king Parakramabahu
VI, who maintained close diplomatic relationships with China,
visited the Ming court of China as an envoy. However since he
could not come back to Sri Lanka due to an intrigue in the palace of
Kotte created by Sapumal Kumaraya (Buvanekabahu VI-11472-
1480AD) , he settled in China and got married to a girl named Pu
then made The clan, Shi. While in very short period he received
honour of the emperor and became a wealthy officer. Eventually, the
prince absorbed the culture of Quanzhou and he donated land and
money to the Buddhist temples as well as other religious places. The
objective temple was built by assistance of the prince. In general,
dog is not considered as a god or respectable animal in the Sri
Lankan context. Yet, the prince donated money to built and develop
the White Dog Temple in Quanzhou. The findings of the study
depict that, although there are numbers of dog temples in South
China, White Dog Temple in unique because the dog is venerated as
the main deity. But in other temples, it is considered as a lesser
deity. This is only one temple which is reserved to a dog as a god.
Further, the dog has a white, slim body, calm look with off mouth
and open rounded eyes, straight sitting position, and it is established
on a special pedestal.
112

Keywords: Shi family, white dog, Quanzhou
Introduction
Bai Guo Miao (White Dog Temple) (Fig.1) is situated in the
Quanzhou city of Fujian province, China. The temple is dedicated to
a white dog, therefore is termed the White Dog temple. The temple
is a very important heritage for the Sri Lankan history, because it
was constructed with assistance of a Sri Lankan prince who
migrated to China during the Kotte kingdom. Name of the prince
reported as Ba-lai-na who was an envoy to Ming court and was the
founder of the Shi Family (Sri Lankan royal family in China).
However, the legend of the prince has disappeared in the chronicles
of Sri Lanka. Fortunately, Chinese sources such as tombstones,
writing records, ethnological remains and White Dog temple have
given enough details to study the story of Shi Family. Dog is not a
god in Sri Lankan context but Ba lai na donated assets to build a
temple for a dog god. The reason which forced the donation of Ba
lai na, should be studied to understand his situation in China.

Objectives
The main objective of this study is to identify the significance of the
White Dog temple as a heritage which is linked to the Sri Lankan
history particularly in the kingdom of Kotte. The next is to identify
the reasons behind the stature to be white, the intention of the king
who was a Sri Lankan to dedicate the temple to a dog, who
considered as a very low kind of creature in the Sri Lankan context.
Dog is worshiped as a god in the Chinese society but the dog god in
this temple is totally deferent from dogs in other temples.

Methodology
Data was mainly collected through participatory observation the
researcher has travelled to the most of parts of Southern China for
archaeological excavations and explorations and visited a large
number of museums. Specially, the study is concerned on the
evidence in China on the cultural interaction with Sri Lanka from
the period of Han Dynasty to Qing Dynasty and used historical
documents and artefacts which were related to the study area in
113

China. Two of inscriptions were found in the temple yard that
described the founders and their origins. The evidence from written
documents and folklore has been used to carving the inscriptions
which placed in1998. Finally, personal interviews have been
conducted with selected persons who hold responsibility regarding
the dog temples as well as met the members of the research project
on Shi Family in China that was appointed by maritime
transportation museum of Qunazhou. The data gathered from the
above method helped in answering the problems of the study

Study directions
The Shi Family in China was a very important topic among the
researchers in South China in 1990s (Ranasinghe 2013). Some Sri
Lankan researchers have also touched on the story of the Shi family
(Rohanadeera 1997, Wimalarathne 2002, Perera 2002). But they
could not continue their studies because they could not completely
use of the Chinese sources. Except professor Hettiarachchi, other
researchers were not able to comprehend any architectural remains
of the Shi family but they studied a few tombstones of the family.
Professor Hettiarachchi conducted an investigation on Shi Family in
China and Taiwan as well as Zheng He who visited several times to
Sri Lanka during the Ming dynasty (Hettiarachchi 2014). Somehow,
they have made a pathway to the study about Shi Family for the
later researches. Professor Chen Hsin hsiung (2010) spent long time
to understand history of Shi Family from Taiwan. Ranasinghe and
Wu Chunming composed a paper titled ‘ The Last Sri Lankan
Princess in Quanzhou (A Study of Sri Lankan Royal Family Tombs
in Quanzhou, South China)’. They were able to present several
evidences on the Shi Family (Gamini and Wu Chunming 2012). A
research on Pedigree of Shi Clan found in Taiwan was presented in
2015. They concentrated on the founder, the members the family,
tombstones in China and Taiwan of the Shi Clan (Gamini and Chen
Hsin hsiung 2015).

Results and findings
The present researcher visited a number of temples in the Fujian
province of China which have been dedicated to various kinds of
114

gods such as devil, god warriors, animal and natural forces. The
Chinese society is multi religious and therefore, the environment
had allowed freedom to worship any kind of god on their beliefs.
Several temples were dedicated to the god and dog. Dog was the
closest animal for the human since it was domesticated in the
Neolithic era. Since then, the dog was a friend, guard and a helper
for the daily life, and at the end, dog became a god or sacred animal
in some of societies. Dogs and horses were sacrificed as main
victims by Shang Dynasty of China for their daily rituals
(Ranasinghe 2011). Song Gong Gong temple (Fig.2) and Yu Feng
Song Gong Zun Wang temple (Fig.3) in Louyuan in the Fujian
province are the places where the dog is worshiped as a god. All
those temples were the dog appearing as a god who is under another
powerful god. However, the dog in White Dog Temple (Fig.4), is
presented as the main god. In addition, it is only one temple, which
presents a dog as a main god in China. On the other hand, this is
only one place where can see white dog among the dog gods. This
temple is very important for the history of Sri Lanka because the
temple was built with the assistances of a Sri Lankan prince who
founded the Shi clan in South China. It is quite complicated why he
gave assistances for a dog temple, because dog is not a god or sacred
animal in the Sri Lankan society. Dog occupies the lowest position
in the kingdom of animals in Sri Lanka. According to the
inscriptions, which carved during the 8-11 centuries in Sri Lanka? It
was mentioned that the person who steal the properties of the temple
deserved to be born as a dog (Kulathunga 2005, Amarawamsa
1969).
Tombstone of Shi Family found in 1996 and then attention of the
local government turned to the White Dog Temple. They appointed
a committee to reconstruct the building in the same year and it
opened to the public in 1988. Finally, two inscriptions (Fig.5) were
erected there, which gave a brief history of the temple that being the
references in government reports and legends. According to the
inscriptions, the temple was built with the assistance of founder of
the Shi Family. Moreover, the local government reconstructed the
temple because it is a landmark for the Sino-Sri Lanka cultural
relations. Some folktales state that the prince has given assistances
for constructing a lion temple but not a dog temple, however as the
115

result of diminishing power of the Family with the time, the lion
stature was changed in to a dog (Liu Zhi Cheng
2013,per.Comm.,11January).
During the construction of the temple, a lion figure with human
body (Narashimha?) and Chochchiengana panel (Elephant worship
linga) has been found in the premises of the temple. Although
Narashimha caving had disappeared, other two carvings are
displayed in the national museum in Beijing. Nevertheless, carvings
may not belong to the temple context. The most probably those
carvings might have been brought from Siva temple in Quanzhou
because there is recorded four places where can be seen carving of
Siva temple, such as Kiyuan temple, Tianhougonhg temple, Xingsi
pavilion and Xiamen university. Numbers of Hindu carvings had
used for the construction of the above building. Those carvings were
originally used for the Siva temple and after destroying the temple
most remains had been used for another religious propose to signify
cultural interaction in the late period (Lee 2012). On the other hand,
lion is not considered as a god in the Sri Lankan or Chinese context
It only symbolizes the Sinhalese nation. However, any tangible
evidence to prove this fact has not been unraveled. The story of lion
was linked to the temple because of the Sri Lankan relations. The
temple developed with the power and high social status of the Shi
members but gods and structures were changed as the result of
diminishing power. Even the temple has been used as a factory in
the later period. At the end, local government noticed the temple as
a very important heritage and ritual center. Therefore, they
appointed an officer and well monitoring system for twenty-four
hours (Wanglian Mao et al 2004).
Dogs in other temples are very rough and black or brown colored
with sharp eyes, and not calm looking. They are portrayed as
ferocious and in an attacking position. Moreover, they have always
been placed under a god or goddess. Artists never gave any special
attention for the finishing of the statues and their background. The
devotees are hanging foods and drinks on the neck of the dog gods.
But the dog in White dog temple is white shown with a slim body
but strong and looking calm, off mouth, open rounded and clear
eyes (Fig.6) and shown in a straight sitting position, bereave and
116

kind as well as established on a special pedestal which gives high
respect for the statue. The location of the statue is in the middle of
the temple. Bundle of printed bank notes which is considered as a
high respective offerings in the Chinese society, had hung on the
neck of the White Dog but foods and drinks are not been hung. Very
valuable and decorative silk clothes have also covered the statue.
Another noticeable feature is that the color of the clothes is yellow
like Buddhist temples in China and Sri Lanka. The local government
has conserved the temple and opened it to the public for worships
and rituals. Gradually structure of the temple was changed and four
human gods were included, and then it became the main temple of
the area. However, the new gods are not highlighted alms with white
Dog. The name ‘White Dog’ has given by Linsao in the end of Qing
Dynasty (Xu Shi Yi ne 2013, pers.Comm., 10 January). Not only
Shi Family but also numbers of devotees come regularly to worship
the dog god with offerings and asking help to their lives.

Conclusions
The legends, government documents and tomb inscriptions prove
the relation between White Dog temple and Shi Family in Quanzhou
as visible evidence of Sino-Sri Lanka cultural relations in the Kotte
era. The prince got adopted to the Chinese culture and respected all
the believes in that culture. Since he was a Buddhist and wife being
a Chinese Muslim woman, he might have understood the importance
of multi religious background of the area. Since dog worship was
more popular in the region, he might have donated a dog temple
with the intention of getting the attention of the neighbors. In
addition, he may have wanted to help the religious places that
followed tradition of the royalties of Sri Lanka. On the other hand,
he could not go back to motherland because of his risk life.
However, he has adapted as soon as possible to the mass culture. If
he wanted to play the role of royalty in foreign country that was the
most popular way for him. According to records, he continues as
high officer for Ming court and his son became a translator for the
government. Besides numbers of the Shi, members held high
positions in the government and were rich. The donation for many
temples may have helped them to get attention from local people
and government. The dog became white and very different from
other dog gods because of the influence of the Sri Lankan prince.
117

Eventually, the family members have given more attention for the
rituals and festivals in the temple up to eighteen generations as their
family responsibility. On the other hand, the royal palace is close to
the White Dog Temple. The local government of Quanzhou has
given particular status to the temple and royal palace as intangible
heritage of Shi Family to get tourist attraction and memories of
Sino-Sri Lanka cultural ties. The important point is the immigrant
prince and his generation had played a very significant role in
Chinese society. The temple discussed in this paper is a great
witness for the social activities, rest, sacrifice, respect, and well
adaptation of the Shi Clan in to the Chinese culture.
(Fig.1) (Fig.2)
(Fig.2)
(White dog temple, Song Gong Gong temple, Yu Feng Song Gong
Zun Wang)
118
(Fig.4) White dog (Fig.5) inscriptions of the temple (Fig.6)
Face of the god

 

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