Igboscholars InternationalJournal OF IGBO SCHOLARS FORUM, NIGERIA Volume 5 No 1, June, 2018

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IGBOSCHOLARS JOURNAL OF IGBO SCHOLARS FORUM Nigeria calls for well researched papers from authors in areas that borders on Igbo in relation to other people’s cultures. We welcome articles or proposals from all perspectives and on all subjects pertaining to Igbo, Igbo/African people’s and others’ relations on
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Onukwube Alex A. Anedo
Department of African & Asian Studies,
Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka,
Anambra State – Nigeria
Phone: +2348037859249, +23481492257
web: http://wwwigboscholarsforum.com.ng
Vol.5 No.1 June, 2018 ISSN: 2476-843x


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


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

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

Prof Sheng Jia
Department of Chinese Culture & Anthropology ,
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 SriJayewardenepura, 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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1. Problems of African Communalism, Igbo Inclusive As Illustrated In Two Igbo Literary Works
Nsolibe, Obiageli Theresa Ph.D                                                                                                                                          Department of linguistics/ Igbo                                                                                                                                         Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam
okehindeo@yahoo.com 08035795591

2. Hunting and Hunting Poetry of Igbo People-
NigeriaNebolisa Oluchi.E.
Department of Linguistics and Other Nigerian Languages
Alvan Ikoku, Federal College of Education, Owerri Imo
State of Nigeria. 08067998641
Chira Aaron Ekwenze
Department of Igbo & Other Nigerian Languages                                                                                                             Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe

3. Semiotic of Igbo Symbols: A Cultural Emblem For the Igbo Race.
Anyanwu Princewill Uzochukwu
Department of Igbo, Federal College of Education, Yola
P.M.B. 2042, Yola
Adamawa State. uprincewill@rocketmail.com

4. Ịgbandụ As A Traditional Method of Conflict Resolution In Igbo Land
Ayozie, Chioma Rosemary
Directorate of General Studies,                                                                                                                                              Federal university of technology, Owerri, Imo State
08037975253. ayoziechioma2014@gmail.com

5. Poetry: An Instrument of Advocacy as Exemplified in the Poems Ụkọ N’uju and Ndị Ọchịchị
Nsolibe, Obiageli Theresa Ph.D.
Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam.

6. Modernity versus Tradition: An Insight into the Cultural Conflict in Some Selected Igbo and Yoruba
Ekwenze Aaron Chira
Department of Igbo & Other Nigerian languages
Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe Anambra State

Problems of African Communalism, Igbo Inclusive As Illustrated In Two Igbo Literary Works
Nsolibe, Obiageli Theresa Ph.D
Department of linguistics/ igbo                                                                                                                                    Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam
okehindeo@yahoo.com 08035795591
Communalism was a deliberately derived social structure which was established and zealously sustained by a people’s will and desire to survive under the most certain and tried condition. Communalism as a political philosophy was first coined by the wellknown libertarian socialist, author and activist, Murray Bookchin as
a political system to complement his environmental philosophy of social ecology. Communalism is also used to refer to a system that integrates communal ownership and federations of highly localized independent communities (Wikipadia). Therefore, communalism can be defined as, “A theory of government or a system of government in which independent communes participate in a federation,” as well as, “the principles and practice of communal ownership.” This usage of communalism appears to have emerged during the late 20th century to distinguish commune based systems from other political movements and/or governments espousing (if not actually practicing) similar ideas. According to Morgan (1972), the term “communalism” was first used by the British Colonist to describe the situation of colonies like India and Malaysia where religious minority existed alongside a religious majority. The colonial use of the term gave it a negative connotation of bigotry, divisiveness and parochialism, thus helping to justify the colonial civilization mission. It was also a way of understanding Indian history as the colonists saw and lived in it. In the Indian sub-continent today, like South Asia, communalism denotes attempt to promote primarily the religious stereotype between groups of people identified as communities. The sense given to communalism in South Asia is presented by the word “sectarianism” and it exists between the Hindus, the Muslims, the Sikhs and the Christians. In contemporary
India, communalism not only designates the conflicts between extremist religious communities, but also between people of the same religion but from different regions and states. In many parts of the world, communalism is used to describe a broad range of social movements and social theories, which are in some ways centered on the community. The community spirit in African theory and practice is philosophically concentrated in the notion of communalism. The concept of communalism is explained in the context of the political philosophy of Leopold Sedar Senghor and other political leaders of African countries in the struggle for independence (Senghor, 1964). Communalism is used to denote a way of life which is distinctly African. It is a system of life whereby the individuals focus their interests, activities and loyalties on the group’s cause and well-being. Tunde Obadinan (2016) posits that communalism is based on the assumption of common identity-belief that people belong to specific groups, sharing history, language, culture and historic space (online). The
communes consist of males and females who live together and do things together. African society of which Igbo in particular and Nigeria in general belong is partriachial in nature. The features of Africa communal societies in the past are the existence of classes which are social stratifications, trust, security, communion and the
fact that strong family and kinship ties for the basis of social life. The lives of peoples are profoundly interpenetrated by others with mutual influences and corresponding rights and obligations. That is why communalism has its strength in the family and cultural values, which are sustained through communal bonding. Onwubiko (1991) outlines core value indicators to the elements of communalism to include: the sense of community life, sense of good human relations, sense of sacredness of life, sense of hospitality, sense of sacredness of religion, sense of time, sense of respect for authority and elders and sense of language and proverbs as cohesive forces of the community based on truth. However, core values and their indicators are sometimes questionable when subjected to the principle of non-existential transcendental truth.
The African traditional communities, the Igbo inclusive are presented as now steadily changing from spheres of
trust, security and communion to suspicion, danger and bitter conflict. These are threatening to rip the entire system apart. Diverse social behaviours range from mutual constant suspicion, aversion, and demonization of others to a total withdrawal. African traditional communalism for which the Africans were initially lauded thus
stands in a precipice of crises particularly in Igbo communities. There are conflicts everywhere in homes, among siblings, between husbands and wives; in the society between the rich and the poor, the males and females, the free born and the marked/out castes.

Literature Review
        Ngugi (2005) states that the African communalism could be defined in terms of “negritude philosophy from the point of view of Leopold Seder Senghor (Senegal); Julius Nyerere (Tanzania) looks at it on the philosophy of Ujama or African family-hood; while Kenneth Kaunda (Zambia) describes it in his notion of “African humanism and Kwameh Nkrumah (Ghana) called it ‘conscienism’. All these are ways of saying that Africans live together, share together, do things together and care for one another.
          The early Christian communities practiced communal sharing. In Acts of the Apostles 5:1-11 of the Holy Bible, we read about Ananias and Saphira (husband and wife) who sold their portion of land and withheld some monies instead of bringing the whole amount to the Christian community. They are punished for it
by being struck dead. When people join the community, they would bring whatever wealth they had individually acquired and would put it into the common holding. This would become communal property
and then it would be distributed according to the needs of different individuals in the community Aviakan (2007) points out that early Christians tried to have a communal or communistic distribution
system among them while leaving intact the larger production relations that ultimately shaped social relations in their own communities and in the larger societies in which their members were embedded and took part. Communalism and communism are sometimes misconstrued to mean the same because both have the
community as the focal point. Whereas communalism can take the form of communal living of communal property in some cases, communism is a social structure in which classes are abolished and property commonly controlled. It can also mean a political philosophy or social movement that advocates and aims at creating a classless society (Whitefield, 2003). In the Marxist sense, communalism refers to “classless, stateless and oppression free society where decisions on what to produce and what policies to pursue are made democratically, allowing every member of the society to participate in the decision making process in both the
political and economic spheres of life” (Marx, 1988:79). From the ongoing, the communes have to perceive or participate in activities going on in their respective communities. According to Odumegwu (2007;5) “Communalism is one of the most frequently used term to describe traditional African socio-political, cultural and economic system”. It is taken to be special and original characteristics of traditional Africa. Communalism could be understood as the supremacy of the community over the individual. Communalism above all implies a quality of life made possible by common attitude and loyalties.
            In African communalism, Igbo inclusive, the community assumes an overwhelming importance and this attitude filters into daily life: The spirit of communalism is manifested in different aspects of the African life: economic, social and political. Looking at communalism from the economic plane, land is of utmost
importance since traditional Africa was largely agrarian. Land is principally collectively owned by the community but the individual could use land for productive endeavour. Socially, communalism is manifested in the feeling of oneness exhibited by the members of the community, such that they all share the failure and success of one another as if these were success or failure of the community.
          Political aspect of communalism is seen in prefixes to the names of villages which often bear names which means children ‘x’ where ‘x’ is the name of the founder of the village. For instance, Umunze ‘children of a titled man’ and Umudioka ‘children of a great carver’ are good examples of such. Political power is for all but the elders are given more power because they are seen as the custodian of the
customs and traditions of their villages. According to
Locke (1989), communalism creates a zeal for social justice and
ecology to facilitate oneness with others and the earth and not
individualism which speaks more forcefully of the need for freedom
or liberty of the individual and the natural striving for the
separations necessary to progress.
Communalism has its strength in the family and cultural
values which are sustained in communal bonding. Since humans
never live in isolation, the nourishing capacity of relationships that
makes a person and part of personal identity stems from communal
bonding (Ikuenobe, 2006:37). Groups or individuals making up
communities consists of the males and the females who co-exist to
produce communal bonding and each group behaves true to type,
but when there is deviation in the behaviour of each, problem
Problems of African Communalism, Igbo Inclusive
Before Africa was colonized, the continent was
characterized by a large degree of pluralism and flexibility. The
continent consisted not of closed reproducing entities, equipped
with unique unchanging culture, but of mere fluid units that would
readily incorporate outsiders (even whites) into the community as
long as they accepted its customs and where the sense of obligation
and solidarity went beyond that of the nuclear family. An example
of such inclusiveness was the South African Xhosa who limited
Xhosa Dom not along ethnic or geographical lines but along
political. All persons or groups who accepted the rule of the
paramount Chief become Xhosa. Pre-colonial African societies
were of a very high varied nature. They could be either stateless,
state run or Kingdoms, but most were founded on the principles of
communalism in that they were self-governing, autonomous
entities, and in that all members took part, directly or indirectly, in
the daily running of the tribe.
While the pre-colonial indigenous African systems had
many appealing qualities, something that has been widely
advocated if not practiced by many post-independence African
leaders and Africanists, generally, they have some obvious
weaknesses. The fact that chieftancy is mostly based on kinship,
for instance, is problematic because of the exclusive nature of
leadership that this entails, which is especially problematic in
countries with ethnic antagonism. In many Igbo societies in the
past, Kingship run in families. It is genealogical. This is
problematic. The family may not have a male child who will
succeed the throne on the death of the current king and female
children are not made kings to ensure continuity, the king in
question can go to any length to beget a male child. In Nwozuzu
(2005), Eze Onye Kwere resorts to polygamy which brought untold
hardship to his family. His first wife, Ugochi, had only female
children and is moving up and down in the bid to have a male
child. His second wife, Achalu thought that she will beget a male
child. Unfortunately, she had a female child and is sent back to her
parents’ house for that. Even the king himself, Eze Onyekwere
suffers in the process in the bid to protect the tradition of his people
as well as have a male child, who will succeed his throne. Ugochi
his wife joins the white man’s religion then was a taboo coupled
with the fact that Eze Onyekwere her husband is the king and chief
custodian of their culture and tradition. So the onus lies on him to
protect their culture. To call his wife, Ugochi to order, he resorts to
manhandling her. God answers Ugochi her prayers by giving her
twin sons. But then to have twin is a taboo. To cleanse the land of
this abomination, Eze Onyekwere and his people go and dump the
twins in the evil forest and also he orders the destruction of the
Whiteman’s church. He is sent to jail for arson and attempted
murder. He becomes converted in the jail; his people abandon him
and install a new king.
             Some of the customs of indigenous African society might
have been effective in relatively smaller-scale societies but are less
likely to be so in the larger states of present day Africa. An
example of this is that of the consensus that in a larger –scale
modern African State, the political process would invariably be
slow in some parts, as well as prone to conformity and
authoritarianism that could effectively silence dissent and result in
uncontroversial and un-lightened decisions. Nigeria for instance, is
made up of large-scale modern states even with diverse culture and
languages. Political processes either by omission or commission
are slow in some states as well as prone to conformity and
authoritarianism. In some quarters like the Niger Delta region and
Igbo States there are serious agitations of marginalization. The
colonial era in Africa is seen to have eroded and corrupted the
African culture, way of life and therefore identity. The period at
and after the independence was dominated by a neo-communal
spirit as an attempt by Africans to restore their traditional values
and ways of life, their dignity and as a way of facing up to the
challenges of the new era. Onyekaonwu (1982) paints the picture
of the Igbo society trying to restore their traditional values, way of
life, and dignity when they try to stop carrying out the Whiteman’s
order to stop killing twins and throwing into the evil forest people
with protruding stomach. They did this because, calamity started
befalling the people of Isuebu, their land and this they attribute to
anger of the gods against them for disregarding their customs and
tradition. This attempt brought dire consequences to them. Some
titled Chiefs were fined, the Chief priest jailed while, Ukaoha was
hanged for killing two court messengers out of eight sent by the
Whiteman to stop their meeting. These court messengers stormed
where they were having a meeting to discuss way forward after
dumping Mgbogo’s twins and Ekweribe with swollen stomach into
the evil forest. The community as a whole bore the consequences.
They did not leave the families of their members who were victims
to suffer alone. Collectively, they strategized and sent delegates to
the Whiteman to plead for leniency and or possibly forgiveness.
Onyekaonwu (1982) also showcases the problem of communalism
when, the people of Isuebu through their vote denied Chief Ugonna
his heart’s desire of becoming their king despite all his
philanthropic gestures to them. They gave their mandate to Mr.
Ezenwa, the late king’s son. This buttresses the fact that in Igbo
land in the past, Kingship is hereditary. The people want their
culture and tradition to continue.
          The urbanization of the developing world has been rapid
and dramatic. In 1975, it was estimated that only 23.4 percent of
the population of Nigeria lived in cities (United Nations
Development Programme, 2001). By 2001, the percentage of
Urban dwellers had increased to 44.9 (The world Bank Group,
2002). People leave rural areas either because of the push of harsh
conditions in the countryside or because of the pull of opportunities
in the cities. This urbanization deals hard blow on communalism
McCatty (2004) states that migration occurs because of economic
considerations, typically with migrants moving to an urban region
for employment and for infrastructural facilities. This urban rural
migration helps to destabilize rural communities which in our case
are the bedrock of communalism. Our farm lands are left
uncultivated except for few people who, cannot work on all the
farm lands. This necessitated low food production. Standard of
ethical behaviour is eroded. There is no respect for elders anymore.
In the urban, kinship relationship is broken. Individualism is the
order of the day because, urban is the conglomeration of people
from different localities where one minds ones business.
Individualism is the principle of social ordering and mode of social
living in the urban, a situation that privileges the individual to the
determent of communalism. Communalism has the difficulty of
taking the individual seriously. This is not to say that the individual
does not count in communalism. No, the issue is that in
communalism the individual focus his interests, activities and
loyalties on the groups cause and well-being. In communalism
there is the virtue of extended family, assuming the burdens of
being one another’s brother’s keeper, taking care of their old,
thereby, debunking the idea of old people’s homes etc. The
problem confronting these qualities now is that there is the
argument that with communalism as a system of life that, an
individual is not considered a person.
          The single-family residence is now the dominant,
often preferred, definitely much sought after context in which we
lead our lives in both urban and rural areas. This constitutes a
problem to the continuous existence of communalism. The
attainment of single-family residence is now the icon of success in
our collective imagination that one aspired to by lettered and
unlettered rural and urban folks alike. In some perverse way, when
we elect to accommodate the so-called extended family, in some
cases, we relegate them to the “Boys Quarters” that our former
colonial masters, in their vicious racism, reserved for their African
servants who were not permitted to share the same space with
            Like individuals, African Governments too, Nigeria and
Igbo inclusive are not noted for pursuing policies that are designed
to enhance Africa’s communalist values and enable Africans who
so desire to realize their desires for communalist living with very
low associated transaction costs. Incidentally, most of them are run
by intellectuals and academics. By contrast, by mortgage,
deductions to deductions for costs of self-improvement,
governments in countries dominated by individualism make
bearable the cost of individualist living. Such preferences are based
on the discourses of their intellectuals regarding conceptions of the
best life for humans.
           Communalism in Africa is completely sundered from the
reality of the contemporary situation across the continent and in the
global African world. In the area of politics, the arrangement is
unlikely to be compatible with the growing tendency towards
urbanization. It is now predicted that we have more than sixty
percent of the African population living in cities and other urban
conglomerations. It is even less plausible when it is ethnics that are
at issue.
           In Africa, communalism is lauded, praised and recognized
by many political thinkers as the main foundation of traditional
society. But in spite of this, it is one of the most important
obstacles to Africa’s economic successes, and as well as clashes
with the mobilization of labour and capital which are important
factors of production that contribute to economic growth.
Outsiders within the communal communities are viewed as
enemies. That though these strangers are well joined into their
community, they are not integrated or assimilated, no matter how
long they stay. For instance, in our Igbo rural communities,
strangers from other communities are never well integrated. Any
misdeed they make, elicit severe punishment like, ostracizing or
exile. But if the misdeed is by a member of the community, the
punishment if must, will be mild. For such reasons therefore,
people are not inclined to do more or to stay in places where the
locales have a strong sense of communalism. This is so because;
they do not want to be treated as second class citizens or denied the
possibilities of integration. This lack of internal integration is a
major obstacle to economic development. Etinan Local
Government Area of Akwa-Ibom State in Nigeria is an example
where non-indigenes are not allowed to invest in their economy.
They still remain under-development since they refuse to open up
for others to come in (Etta, E .F et. al, 2016).
                 Communalism is instrumental to much of the recent bloody
ethnic conflicts between indigenes and settlers in many parts of
Nigeria and these are people who have lived alongside each other
for generations.

        Looking at this work critically, some salient points are
raised which will enhance argument, about communalism. It is
pertinent to say that this analysis is mindful of the merits and
criticisms for or against African communalism. The
write-up shows that communalism has its basic ideology in
community identity with the aim of producing and presenting the
individual as a community and a culture bearer. It is acknowledged
that African communalism guarantees individual responsibility
within the communal ownership and relation. But today,
individualism resulting from migration and urbanization has almost
replaced the sense of community, mutual antagonism and that of
suspicion have replaced unity of purpose. This is a destructive
divisive element in African society and promotes many of our
problems. This is why individualism as an ideology and principal of
life is not encouraged in Africa.
           However, communalism co-exists with individualism as
they turn out to be the basic component of human life in society.
Hence, they constitute a dichotomy, without any essential opposites.
This is because both concepts exist in the particular epoch of a
peoples’ existence theory in subtly different relationships.
Sociological study of rural communities shows that even in Africa
that is proclaimed as being communalistic, individualistic
orientation is still noticeable in their lifestyle.
Whatever may be the effect of urbanization and
migration on communalism, the fact remains that changes are
inevitable. Today’s Africa has been influenced culturally through
cultural diffusion. This is healthy because since culture is dynamic,
those obsolete aspects of culture like killing of twins and throwing
away of people with certain sicknesses like leprosy and swollen
stomach into the evil forest have been removed and new ones put in
place. All the same, African communalism remains original to
Africa and is foundational to our development and would always be
fundamental for the future survival of Africa in general and Igbo
people in particular.

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Thomas, N. (1979). The Holy Bible: New King James Version. Wisconsin U.S.A.: National Publishing Company.
Whitefield, P. (2003). Communalism in K. Mclean & B. Macmillan (Ed).The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics (Pp.125- 127). London: Oxford University Press.


                                                                          Nebolisa Oluchi .E.                                                                                                                                                  Department Of Linguistics and Other Nigeria Languages                                                                                                    Alvan Ikoku nFederal College of Education, Owerri,                                                                                                                          Imo State of Nigeria. 08067998641
                                                                        Chira Aaron Ekwenze                                                                                                                                        Department of Igbo & Other Nigerian Languages                                                                                                                          Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe

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

         The history of poetry began where the history of all literature begins, with the oral tradition, in a time before literacy and printing press; the oral tradition was relied upon as a way of preserving stories, histories, values and beliefs. These stories were usually put in form of poems with repeated words and sounds used
to make the poem easier to memorise and remember. Oral tradition existed long before the advent of writing or printing in 1495 which made possible the tradition and forms of printed literature. Poetry according to Bush (1952: Vii) “…is the distillation of man’s experience in society and in solitude, of his joys and visions, his suffering and despair, his wisdom and fortitude, his efforts to grasp the burthen of the mystery’ ’Due that poetry is all these, starting from who sings song and listened to them, writes and reads poems, spirit in poetry is always changing with changing experience in a changing world, good poetry remains always alive
and always true. Poetry also serves as an aesthetic expression that
evokes an aesthetic response. Poetry is mainly aesthetic, formal and
technical, it is believed that the elementary motives of both poets
and the audience spring from their total feeling, emotion and things
that happened to them that influence the way they do things and
behave. The oral narrator or individual writer’s vision of order may
mean acceptance of nature or denial of nature. According to Olu et
al (2002:2), poetry is a piece of writing arranged in patterns of lines
and stanzas, expressing some thoughts, feelings or human
experience in imaginative language.” Poetry is usually understood
as thought expressed in fewer words and always entails the
concentration of mood, emotion and experience. The art of poetry is
perhaps the oldest of the genres of literature, starting originally as
incantation and singing, through the folklore traditions of rural
people. Poetry according to Brereton (2008:719) “… is strongly felt
experience that has been artfully shaped. Its subject matter is often
deep emotion, vividly felt, but the emotion appears with a package
that deliberately draws attention to its own artifice and to its verbal
complexity.” To listeners and readers of poetry, poem presents both
strong feelings as if the poet is telling one something pressing and at
the same time, giving one a good made gift.
When art and statement combine and everything worked
delightfully, one pays equal interest to both, that is when one makes
poem of one’s’ own.
Many listeners and readers found poetry difficult, may be
by the strong feeling or by the presentation. Many things about
poetry can keep readers away, preventing them of great fun involved
in poetry and also cutting them off from a key component of culture.
According to Brereton (719 & 720), which there are many reasons
why many listeners or readers ignore or avoid poem some of which
• The language is often old fashioned
• The sense is frequently difficulty to understand.
• A poems’ “hidden meanings” seem like traps for
the unwary
• Poets sometimes seem to focus on insignificant
situations and feelings.
• In a media age, it’s hard to appreciate a poet’s
verbal skill.
• Poetry is often hard to read aloud.
People experience these complaints about poetry due to
their lack of exposure or lack of practice in listening and reading
poetry. Poems, due to that they are constructed with such highly
condensed, its language, call for more active participation and
concentration then short stories or plays.
According to Desmet (2007:358-36) opined that those who
enjoy listening and reading poetry view difficulties in poetry as
positive strengths: They assumed that
• The out-of-the ordinary language sound is special.
• Understanding a complex piece of art is a worthy
challenge for listeners and readers.
• It’s enjoyable to tease out how a poem makes its
meaning (or multiple meaning).
• Poets make us see things we often overlook or
• It is a challenge to try to read poems aloud.
The way to change those supposed problems into pleasure
is through more experience with poems, listening and reading them,
seeing how they are composed, talking about and realizing what
other people have to say about them. Within a short period of time,
listener or readers will not be afraid of poetry and their newly
developed ideas will help to greater understanding and enjoyment of
poetry. Poetry can be oral or written. In them, one can see the types
of poetry such as; war poem, death poem, lullaby, marriage poem,
title poem, incantation, worship poem, work poem, satire, and
hunting poem.

Igbo hunters are the first hunters in around the world. This
research is to draw peoples’ attention to the poetic importance in
hunting activity in Igbo land and as a means of preserving hunting
activity of the Igbo people been affected by western civilization.
According to Okoye (2009:23) hunting “…is to run after
animals with the intention of killing them.” Hunting could be done
individually or collectively.
Children are equally hunters, they hunts for animals like
lizard, birds, and rats while adult hunters hunt for big animals like
lion, grass cutter, antelope, and elephant etcetera. According to
Nneke (2011:10), Hunting “…is the act of going into the forest, with
weapons for the purpose of killing wild lives of various types and
kinds.” Hunting is one of the noble professions of Igbo people in the
olden days. It is an economic activity in which a man can earn his
living through hunting in order to satisfy the societies need of meat
as well as earning his living by using the hunted animals as food or
selling them to make money.
            Hunting contributed a lot in the development of agriculture.
Meat and other materials from hunting are used as protein, calcium,
and fur, feather and leather for clothing. Hunting can be combined
with other occupation like farming. According to Idigo, (2002:18)
says “Eri in addition to farming becomes a great hunter, who would
go to the bush every night to search for prey, which took him several
kilometers away from his house.” In the same vein Achara, (1989:3)
says “Both fish and animal were sold to, Amaghighi Ihe Qma the
leader of the community.” Hunting helped a lot in the development
of the economy. Hunting also can play entertainment functions.
This is achieved by putting up hunters’ activity in a much
literary, creative, artistic, and in a poetic manner through the act of
reenactment and representation of the hunting activity in a poetic
performance. Hunting can be performed as rituals, entertainment
and for enjoyment purposes. In the day of performance hunters will
make a mock hunt with their gun, machetes. They put their hunting
dress on with feathers and skulls of the games they had earlier
killed. They shoot into the air and on, the ground for a short period
of nine as if they are targeting on animals, came the poems.

Types of Hunting in Igbo Land
        There are four types of hunting in Igbo land and they include the following:
Day Hunting – In the day hunting, hunters’ go into the forest with
every necessary item like matchet, hunting dogs, gun, and drinking
water etcetera. In the day hunting there is no head lamp or torchlight
because the light of the day gives enough light for the hunter to
carry out his exercise.
Night Hunting- In the night hour like about 10.Oclock pm. The
hunters start setting off to the forest with the necessary items like
headlamp, torchlight, matchet, gun, drinking water and rain coat if it
is raining. In the night hunting, light is a necessary item that helps
the hunter to perform during his hunting exercise.
With light, the hunter makes his movement into the forest
easy. By focusing the light on the animal sight, some animals go
blind immediately light flashes into their eyes and cannot make any
move again; by this the hunter will shoot the animal. Indeed, light is
one of the necessary weapons for night hunting.
Short Term Hunting – Short term hunting which could last from
one hour to one day either by the day or at night. According to
Nneke (2011:15) “The period of time in the forest by hunters,
depend on their arrangement and the information they made
available to their relations.” The relations of this type of hunter are
always in a suspense each time the hunter fail to come back at the
proposed time. They always suspect that the hunter may meet
dangerous animal or kill bigger animal which him alone cannot
Long Term Hunting – In this type of hunting, the hunter spends
more than a day in the forest busy carrying out his hunting exercise.
His coming back from the forest could be on the four market days
Afo, Nkwo, Eke, and Orie for the easy exchange of his animals.
Hunting Poetry
Hunters is everywhere in every society especially in
traditional societies. According to Okebalama (2007:188) hunting
poetry is defined “as poetry performed by hunters for hunters and by
which hunters are identified.’’Hunters’ music and song composition
amongst the hunters is observed during their socio-cultural
activities. The musical instrument produced their desired sound and
rhythms to rhyme with the occasion.
Hunters are people with many gifts of nature. Many of
them sing lot and some of them can perform the role of a praise
Hunters have their association and they can come together and learn
a special dance.
According to Okoye (2012:233) ‘’… the special song for
hunters is called Egbenuoba.” In the day of performance, the hunters
make mockery of hunt with their materials which they used for
hunting such as headlamp, torch light, hunting bags etcetera. They
also wear their hunting dresses, pointing their guns into the air and
on the ground as if there are targeting at the animals.
In Igbo traditional society, hunters are regarded as the
following; the protector and saviour of his community especially
during wars with another community, as pride and boastful people,
are also regarded as entertainers. Other activities which hunters can
display their performances are during the burial ceremony of follow
hunters, when their follow hunter killed prestigious animal, during
Hunters as Protector and Saviour of his Community
Hunters willingly do things which are difficult, dangerous
and painful. They are the group of people that are not easily afraid.
Being courageous as one of the features of the hunters makes them
the potential soldiers of their communities. Carrying gun, headlamp
only, is a bravery act. Hunters knew that some animals like leopard,
lion are very dangerous to human beings but hunters keep negative
thinking aside and hunt for such animals even at night. Hunters due
to that they are bravery people, there are always at the war front
singing this song.
Gbuoro m oja – Blow the trumpet for me
Dike si na ya bu dike puta
Any other hero besides me let
that hero come out on the
wrestling ground
Ka aja banye ya n’anya So that sand will be poured into
his eyes.
0 bu m bu dimgba
Oji aka gbajie pdum ukwu
I am a great wrestler
He who used hand to break the
lion’s waist.
By Chukwuezi (1988:41)
This song when it is been sing to the hunters, there moral are always
high, charged and they are ready to face and challenge or battle.
Hunters as Pride and Boastful People
Hunters are pride people due to the economic important
attached to their value. Hunting occupation is not out of peoples’
minds. In Igbo land, hunger is never in any hunters household.
Hunters’ wife and children always have enough to eat. As a hunter,
not all the animals they killed are to be sold for money, at times they
purposely keep animals for their family consumption. Many hunters
are farmers, they cultivate major crop like yam, cassava, vegetables
etcetera. Some hunter has killed prestigious animals like lion, and
such hunter is crowned Ogbuagu (lion killers).
Furthermore, in any village meeting in case of any fund
rising, hunters are the first people to pay their own. Hunters are
regarded as wealthy people. In Igbo land allthese achievements of
hunters make them proud. One can see how boastful hunters are in
these songs.
Otha nwa Njoku Otha son of Njoku
Umu Nkachi Ukpo Children of Nkachi Ukpo
O kaa O mee He that pronounces and it
Omere nkwu na-achi Ukpo Omere nkwu na-achi Ukpo
O gbuo o buru
He that kills and carries away
O luo o laa He that fights and escapes
Nwa Nkachi Ukpo Son of Nkachi Ukpo
Mapiara mma imi An epitome of elegance
Mu akpowa nwa Ubi Aru I beckon on son Ubi Aru
Ogba aka achu onye ji egbe Man that chases an armed ma
Oziza: “O wee – e – e , O bu m Response: “Yes, it’s me
Ana m akpoku nwa Nkachi
I am calling on son of
Nkachi Ukpo
Mu akpokukwa nwa Ekworonye
I also call on son of Ekworonye
O kaa o mee He that pronounces and it comes
Mu akpo Edwin Qnu I call on Edwin Onu
Omere nne na nwa He that deals with mother and
Ogbara Qwychie uzo bu di He that shoots and blocks the
A na-akpo onye la nke o ma eme One is called for what one is
good at
A nwa nna ya na-eme hu pgu If a warrior’s son arrives, the
E meturu ya aka nisi mma Of the knife is dangled at him
Di Enyidiya! Husband of Enyidiya
Umu Erum unu nokwa e-e? Children of Erum, are you there?
Oji egbe ego ivu He that acquires wealth with gun
Oo nna anaghu n’uhwu? Does it mean you are not at
Okaa omee He that orders and it must be
Ogba aka aga mgbamgba lee-e!
He that fetches melon without a
Omere anu na-ata mgbamgba! The doer of animals that eat
Opi adịghị akpọ onye nke
nke n’ ukporo
The flute never calls on the stout
man for naught!
Ọchi agha gwụrụ ụmụ anụ
n’ọhịa Commander of the war that
Eliminates game in the bush
O kaa O buru uzo He that gives order and takes the
I nokwa n’ulo e-e-e Are you in the house?
Ochu iyi ogu He that fetches war as if it were
I nokwan’ulo e-e-e Are you in the house?
Nwakamma olu agu Nwakamma the leopard archer
Oji egbe akpa aku The one that makes wealth with
Bia kelee m nwa nwa ukwu! Come and greet great maternal
Nwa nwa ukwu! Great maternal grandson
Ogbuo obitere ibe nne ya! The one that kills and brings to
maternal uncles
Otha nwa Njoku Otha son of Njoku
Nwokhe otube Man with a prominent archer
Egbuole me ele n”ọhịa I have killed an antelope in the
Egbuole m ele mgbe murani m
I killed an antelope while alone
Kpowa nwanne m nwoke
I called on my brother
Egburu m ya kpo umunna m I killed it and called my kinsmen
Umunna m zuo Ekwurigwo! My kinsmen assembled
Adu ala Erum Orie Oderu I am retiring to Erum Orie
Mu aga kpo ogbuo onye nnu Let me all here that kills and
shares to four hundred
Mu akpo nwa Ubi Aru Let me call the son of Ubi Aru
Nke mere anu ji agba aku ekwe
The one that deals with the
animals that beats the gong with
the jaw
Mere anu na-ata mgbamgba The one that deals with animals
that eat melon under
impenetrable grass
Ogbaa onye nnu nwanne ukwu He that kills and shares to four
hundred, big maternal grandson
Ndi Erum Orie Oderu People of Erum Orie Oderu
Ndj Omeru nnekwu ndi odo
chekwaa nde ha
People who snatch other
people’s wives while guarding
theirs jealously
Nwa Nkachi Ukpo Son of Nkachi Ukpo
Nke mapiara mma imi The epitome of elegance
Umu ibe -e-e-e Comrades!
Erum Orie Oderu Erum Orie Oderu
Anyi mere ndi oga aga aga aga We caused people departing n
Meekwanu ndi Ola ala ala ala And caused people arriving not
to arrive
Ehi anyi garu Qzara The day we went to Ozara
Ozara kwusi anyi, Ozara stopped us
Si anyi abyala And welcomed us
N’ihi la anyi na-agbata ma Because we can shoot down
birds in nuunu no n’efe
Anyi si ha la ohiere ehi It is an inherited natural gift
Adughu agwo ya agwo It’s not a product of concoction
By Okebalama (2007:91-93)
In this poem, one can see that hunters are boastful people. They talk
so much about their achievements strength and what they have. The
language of this poem is the language of Umuhie-Umuopara in Abia
state in Igbo land.
Hunters as entertainers
Hunters sometimes interest and amuse people with their
hunting activities. Hunters make fun from the dramatic process
involved in the act of hunting animals. Hunters as the entertainer can
be seen in this song.
Ogba n’ufe – Shooter of flying birds
Qgba n’ikuku – Specialist in air shooting
Anu dinta na-ede – After running up and down
I ga-akwuriri n’ite ofe – Must end in the hunters’ soup pot.
Okoye (2012:233).
Hunters interest and amuse people with their song. This can last for
hours. Their purpose is to interest and inform people with their
hunting activities.
Hunters during the funeral ceremony of a follow hunter
During the funeral ceremony of a fellow hunter, the hunters
would assemble to the dead member to pay him their last respect.
On such situation, they will appear in their hunting items, with the
skulls and bones of animals which they have killed. They would
walk around the community and enter their dead member compound
at the end to perform their hunting activity in memory of their
member with this song.
Gini mere dike What happen to the hero?
Gini mere dike What happen to the hero?
Oke osisi oji adaruola ala The great iroko tree has fallen
Dike agbaala mgbada, gbakwasa
He has killed antelope, and
Dike gbara agu, gbaa odum
The hero has killed lion and
Dike bata ohia egwu aburu nke
When the hero enters into the
forest, the animal will be filled
with fear.
O too o gbajie The one who pointed and killed
Burukwa dinta n’uwa gi ozo Be a hunter in the next world to
Biakwa biakwa uwa ozo dika
Come back again to the world
like a hunter.
When a fellow hunter killed a prestigious animal
Hunters have their honour amongst their members. The hunters’
honour and prestige depend on howoften hekilled the prestigious
Animals like lion, leopard, python, elephant et cetera, are regarded
as prestigious animals in Igbo land, The hunter who killed these
animals are crowned the following title.
Ogbuenyi – The killer of elephant
Ogbuagu – The killer of leopard
Ogbuodym – The killer of lion
Ogbueke – The killer of python
On the day of the title, the hunters are to crown their member with
the following song.
Ogbu anu ukwu The killer of biggest animal
Ogbu anu ukwu The killer of biggest animal
Anu ukwu huru gi buru ozu The biggest animals saw you
and became dead
Isokpokoro isi di n’uko The skulls is now under the roof
Enyi a huola ya n’oku dika
Elephant is roasted like chicken
N’ubochi laa, o buzi ogbuenyi From today you are crown
In this poem, the hunters use it to appreciate their fellow hunter that
killed the prestigious animal. Because they believe that if the man
that killed the prestigious animal is honoured he will struggle to kill
more. As the saying goes that when one is praised for his good
conduct he will do more.
Hunters can be called upon to perform during festival
During festival like new yam festivals, the hunters are called to
perform with following song.
Gbaa ya, gbaa ya – Shoot it shoot it
0 banye ohia – If it runs into the bush
Gbaa ya – Shoot it.
O ria elu – If it climbs
Gbaa ya – Shoot it.
Dinta anaghi abanye ohia – A hunter does not enter the bush
Gbara aka anu – Without killing a game.
By Okoye (2012:235)
In this poem the hunters will demonstrate how they chase after
animals in the forest by shooting on the trees, on the ground and will
assume that animal is being killed by putting in their hunting bag.
With this, the audience will be very excited and the festival will be a
colourful one.
A look at the hunting and hunting poetry, shows very
clearly that hunters contribute a lot to the economic development of
the society. Igbo traditional hunting is going into extinction due to
civilization. No one is paying attention to hunting activities any
Igbo traditional hunters are hardworking, brave people and
always contented with themselves. Hunting if learned from the
childhood would contribute a lot towards making people morally
upright. This is because each of the hunting poems portrays moral
act of hunters. The Igbo traditional hunting activity become a poetic
piece when all the activities during actual hunting expedition are
mimic, repeated and depicted for the purpose of entertainment or
relaxation, reward of successful hunters and restore of hunters
personalities. Also the hunter who killed the prestigious animal are
crowned. If the people of this new generation can be hunters again,
nefarious acts such as stealing, hunger, laziness and unsatisfaction
will be reduced because hunters are known for self-satisfaction.
Achara, D.N (1989). Elelia Na ihe o mere Nigeria.Longman press.
Anasiudu, B.M., Nwaozuzu, G.I. & Okebalama, C.N.
and Literature in a Developing country. Onitsha: Africana
Brereton, J.C. (2008). Living Literature. An Introduction to Fiction,
Poetry and Drama
Bush, D. (1952). English Poetry Britain.Butler Press.
Croft, S. (2001), A Level English Literature.London. Starfish Desing
Desmet C., Han, A.D. & Miller, D.C. (2007).Prentice Hall
Portfolio.London-Pearson Education Press.
Nneke, C.A. (2011). Aspects oflgbo traditional hunter.A study of
hunting occupation in Aguleri and Anam.
Unpublished Thesis in the Department of lgbo, African & Asia
Studies,UNIZIK Awka.
Okoye, P.I.N. (2009). Igbo-speakingpeople.Awka: Amaka Dreams
Olu, O., Bodunde, C., Egbagha, H. & Ododo, S. (2002). Round up
Literature.Ikeja: Printech Press.


                                                   Anyanwu Princewill Uzochukwu
                                    Department of Igbo, Federal College Of Education, Yola                                                                                                                                          P.M.B. 2042, Yola
                                                                           Adamawa State.
                                                     uprincewill@rocketmail.com 08069411793
Symbols are part and parcel of every culture. So infused together that without symbols there would be no culture. The totality of Igbo man’s life, both physical and spiritual reams of existence involves symbols. These symbols represent Igbo ideas, emotions, thoughts, beliefs, knowledge and technology which help man to adapt
peacefully into his environment. Therefore, this paper aims to highlight the semiotic of Igbo symbols, as a cultural emblem for the Igbo race. The paper concludes that out of ignorance and the effect of colonization and urbanization, there is a continuous gradual decline by most Igbo people in recognizing the meaning or appreciating the values and relevance of Igbo symbols as an Igbo identity.

      The interaction of people living in a community is made
easy through the understanding of the meaning of different symbols
in their society. Individuals and communities uses symbols as a
sense of identity. Giving the nature of man as a cultural animal, man
is able to make representations of his cultural identity through
symbols in form of artifacts, language, religious beliefs, names,
sounds and gestures.
         In Igbo daily life, we are surrounded by these cultural
representations that remind us that we are Igbo people of a particular
community. These symbols give us instructions on what to do and
what not to do, it instructs the public the activities going on in the
community and also showcases the type of occupation community
engages into which may be in concrete or abstract form. The
meaning of these symbols may manifest itself either in negative or
positive forms. For example, when a group of people in a particular
place speak Igbo language, Igbo language identifies the group as
Igbo people. Symbols also determine one’s action, for instance,
when one sees an area surrounded by a tender palm tree leave
(Ọmụ) or pieces of red and black cloths, hears a sound of a wooden
or metal gong (Ikoro, Ekwe or Ogene) from a village squire. Even,
the rhythm of wooden or metal gong informs the community of the
next line of action. From the sound of the gong, one determines the
community that owns the gong. When one flag you down, clap
hands, blink eyes, seating, kneeling or standing positions. For
example, one determines the status of an individual through the
position of his ‘Ikenga’ either seating or standing positions.
Understanding the semiotic meaning of these symbols give Igbo
man the ability to adapt into his environment and a sign of identity.
To White, “culture originated when our ancestors acquired
the ability to use symbols, that is, to originate and bestow meaning
on a thing or event and correspondingly, to grasp and appreciate
such meanings” (White, 1959). Symbol instructs, informs, teaches,
directs and makes one to behave in a desired way within the
community. As when one showcases such symbol outside his
community, people identify him by such symbol. In the same way,
strangers coming in to the community will know everything about
the community, such as their foods, occupations, visions, missions
and their philosophy through the symbols within the said
community. But in recent times, may be due to influence from other
cultures, urbanization and colonization some individuals or groups
in Igbo community pay less attention to Igbo symbols within their
community, thinking that the reflection of these symbols are fuddyduddy,
fogey, crude, primitive, ancient, old-fashion, outdated,
traditional and uncivilized. These laser-affair attitude practices on
Igbo symbols which are demonstrated by some individual or group
in Igbo communities have gradually lead to the erosion of Igbo
identity in Igbo communities. This paper aims to highlight the
semiotic of Igbo symbols as one the catalyst to the recovering of the
lost Igbo identity which is the emblem for the Igbo race.

What is Semiotic?
        The Longman dictionary of contemporary English (2007)
defines semiotics as ‘’the way in which people communicate
through signs and images.’’ Hence, Saeed (2003) sees Semioticians
as those who investigate the types of relationship that exist between
a sign or symbol and the object it represents or between a ‘signifier’’
and its ‘’signified’’. There are key basic concepts that unify the
semiotic tradition. Littlejohn and Foss (2008) identify ‘sign’ or
‘symbol’ as a basic concept of semiotic tradition and define it as
“stimulus designating or indicating some other condition – just as
when smoke indicates the presence of fire.’’ They further assert that
semiotics refer to “how signs come to represent objects, ideas,
situations, feelings and conditions outside of themselves.
Such representation is often mediated by the conscious
interpretation of the person, and any interpretation or meaning for a
sign will change from situation to situation”. Yina (2011) states that
symbol is where there is neither connection nor resemblance
between sign and object. According to him, a symbol communicates
only because there is a conventional agreement among people that it
shall stand for what it does. A symbol is therefore, a concrete event,
object or mark that stands for something relatively abstract.
Explicating this, Yina illustrates with the use of cross (+), which
stands for the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ, i.e. his suffering and
death on the cross. Most Christian churches therefore, bear the sign
of the cross ((+), indicating Christianity). That is why Dukor in
Ngangah (2013:117) defines symbols as:
The cultural realities imbued with cultural meaning
and any suggestive symbol … is epistemic and
thematic. It is an overt expression of the reality
behind any direct act of perception and
apprehension, which really possesses scientific
connotation outside its normal, obvious or
conventional meaning.
Symbols in general, in Dukor’s view, refer to that which
expresses, represents, stands for, reveals, motivates, and makes
known another reality. In other words, symbols are tools employed
by man for the purpose of understanding the world, himself and his
environment, and usually characterized by communicative and
cognitive qualities. Evolutionists define symbols as “information
capable of affecting individual’s behaviour that they acquire from
other members of their species through teaching, imitation and other
forms of transmission” (Richerson & Boyd, 2005). Isiguzo. (2012)
in his article, “African culture and symbolism: a rediscovery of the
seam of a fragmented identity” defines symbol is something such as
idea, object, conventional or non-conventional that is used to
represent something else. He went further to say it could be abstract
or not. Abstract symbols are symbols that do not depend on their
concrete material substance. While Kottak (2011) sees symbol as
something verbal or nonverbal, within a particular language or
culture, that comes to stand for something else. A symbol is seen as
any material or non-material substance that gives commands which
portrays specific meaning to members that share them. There is no
obvious, natural or necessary connection between the symbol and
what it symbolizes. For example, in Igbo culture, a young palm tree
leaves (Ọmụ) used to surround a place or tied on a particular thing
signifies danger. Here, there is no relationship between the symbol
‘Ọmụ’ and what it symbolizes ‘danger’. Understanding symbol in a
particular context is only attributed to human being. Crapo (2002)
accepted this assertion when he says:
Symbolism communication is the most distinctive
of all human behavioural attributes. It is the use of
symbols in communicating that sets us apart from
other animals and serves as the foundation for the
extremely complex ways of life found in all
human groups.
Symbols are objects such as national flag, cross or spoken
word that have no inherent significance and whose meanings exist
only because their users have agreed that they will represent certain
objects or events. Symbols may be in concrete form such as
sculptures, carved or molded forms such as cross, ikenga, ọfọ, or
animals or human shapes. It could be drawn or weaved by craft men
on papers, cloths or in form of pictures such as flag, logos, nsịbịdị
and secrete society signs. It could be in form of sounds and gestures
such as the sound of wooden and metal gongs and membrane
(Ikoro, Ekwe, Ogene and Ịgba) and gestures such as seating,
standing and kneeling positions, or pointing to a particular direction.
These symbols may mean different things to different people and in
different situations which may produce or portray caution, danger,
loyalty, peace, mourn, sacred, love and even hospitality. For
example, the young palm tree leaves (Ọmụ) symbolizes sacred,
while the seating position of Ikenga status symbolizes “Ọgaranya”
(those who by wealth and influence have ascended the ladder of a
recognizably respected socio-political rank and have taken title to
show for it). While blinking of an eye may mean love or hostility
and white colour symbolizes peace and black colour symbolizes
mourning in Igbo context.
Language as a symbol of identity
Language as part and parcel of symbol is the major
symbolic system use in human society. The behavior and perception
of individual or group in a community depends on their language.
Language is essential hence it gives members of ethnic group a
sense of identity. A group is said to be an ethnic group when they
speak one significant language; any time that language seizes to be
spoken, that ethnic group has lost her identity. That is why
Maduekwe (2007) believes that:
Language is the most sophisticated communication
tool of life and what it means to be human. It is
that distinctive human reality which serves as the
means and end of behavior ordered and achieved
within any given community, society or nation at
large. . . language is the tool for processing
information and for organizing personal
perceptions of self in relation to one’s
From her view, language determines how individuals in a
particular community behave, perceive things around them and
interpret other people’s expressions of ideas. Meanwhile, Lyons in
Syal and Jindal (2012) see language as “the principal system of
communication used by particular groups of human beings within
the particular society (linguistics community) of which they are
members.” The words of a language are used to symbolize specific
concepts, ideas or objects. Concrete objects like “ọjị” (kola nut),
“Ọmụ” (tender palm leave), “ọfọ” (traditional mace), “ikenga” and
others, are given names with the words of a language generally
accepted and understood by people who use them and they are used
to connote specific meanings. Language is therefore, a symbol
system, though different languages use different symbols. No doubt,
language makes man unique in his communication because it
enables him to capture his social complexities in their various
unique forms and manners of occurrence.
But during the time of colonialism, Europeans knew that
the identity of any group or nation is imbedded in its symbols; when
they colonize Africa, they destroyed African symbols and replace
them with European symbols. For example, English and French
languages being used as lingua-franca in African continent today.
Colonial masters forced Igbo people and other ethnic groups in
Africa to abandon their languages and embrace their own languages
which have remain the only way to create, share, preserve and
transmit their cultural symbols to the next generations. Till now,
they are working hard to eradicate African symbol of identity so that
Africans and Igbo people shall remain captive in their hands.
Igbo language is part and parcel of Igbo symbols which is
fused together into Igbo culture. Without symbols there would be no
culture. It is through the symbol such as language, Igbo people are
able to create, share, preserve and transmit cultural meanings such
as emotions, thoughts, values, norms, knowledge, artifacts, and
beliefs. Any ethnic group that allows her language to disappear or
dies, will no longer create, share, preserve and transmit her cultural
meanings to the next generations; thereby making the ethnic group
to lost her identity. Language is like a national flag to those that use
it. For example, wherever Igbo language is spoken, it reminds the
society about this ethnic group called Igbo, her culture, belief,
technology, business, food, religion and their total way of life.
Other Igbo symbols and what they represent
Igbo symbols represent different Igbo ideas which are the
source of insights into Igbo orientations of life. Igbo man decorates
his environment with different signs and artifacts which symbolize
specific meaning to communities that share it. These symbolic signs
and artifacts could be in form of carved or molded sculptures or
chorographic representations in scripted on walls and doors of
traditional Igbo man. For example, an agricultural based community
may carve or mold farm implement on different strategic positions
in the community; which symbolizes farming as their major
occupation and a source of income to members of the community. It
may be a molded or carved fish to indicate that members of such
community are predominantly fisher men.
Shrines and the houses of traditional medicine men are
decorated to symbolize as being sacred. Different sizes of “ọmụ”
(tender palm leaf) which is the symbol of peace and sacred and
pieces of clothing materials ranging from red, black and white is
hung at the strategic place of the shrine. Different choreographic
representations are drawn on the walls and doors of houses in the
shrine. Carved and molded human and animal images are placed
around the shrine. This type of environment symbolizes ‘sacred’ in
Igbo traditional setting.
Ikenga symbol
The carved statue of Ikenga in Igbo traditional setting
symbolizes the strength and power of a man. The position of Ikenga
either sitting or standing, determines the height the owner has
attended in the community and his economic wealth. Ikenga statue
in sitting position indicates that the individual who owns the Ikenga
has attended to the highest level in the community. He has made
wealth and power in the community which the community justifies
by conferring on him “Nze” or “Ọzọ” title holder as a reward of
what he has achieved in the community. Ekwuru (2009:326) says
Ikenga-Ọgaranya is the type of Ikenga that
belongs to the socio-political hierarchies of the
titled men: The Nze na Ọzọ societies, the Ichie or
Ndịiche groups in their different ranks and files.
These people, in the traditional context, were
known and respected as the Ọgaranya (those who
by wealth and influence have ascended the ladder
of a recognizable respected socio-political rank
and have taken titles to show it). They are said to
have earned, with their wealth and influence, the
natural concomitant acquisition of wisdom and
socio-political power and respect that accompany
and characterize hard work and eldership.
But the standing position of Ikenga indicates that the owner
of the Ikenga is still in the process of attaining a greater height in the
community. In the same vain, Ekwuru (2009:323) says that: Ikenganwaonye
is not only reserved for those who have arrived at the
zenith of social achievements, but it is also owned and possessed by
individuals, newly initiated into adulthood as beginners in the race
for success in life. Other symbols Igbo man uses to show his power,
wealth or height he has attained in the community, for example,
somebody who wants to express his power, could choose to draw,
carve, mold a lion on his house or hang a lion skin on his house. For
the person who wants to show how wealthy he has attained in the
community, could draw or carve an eagle which symbolizes his
bright position before the rest of the people. Just as the eagle is the
best highly placed before other birds, to show its strength and power
of flying highest of all birds?
Symbol of Ọfọ
“Ọfọ”, is god of justice and truth in Igbo traditional
political setting. “Ọfọ” is seen as a male spirit and is used in the
trial of cases to ensure the prevalence of right judgement. Ekwuru
(2009:163) says:
Ọfọ is primarily known as a ritual powerful
instrument of communication, a channel through
which the “powers” of the human words are
communicated to the rest of the universal beings.
Thus the ritual striking of the Ọfọ on the ground
identifies the triggering of the spiritual machinery
to actualize the human intentionality or the ritual
In any Igbo traditional meeting deliberation, any time the Ọfọ is
strikes on the ground, it shows the agreement of the decision
reached, and it is final. Nobody can deliberate on that issue again
and who so ever works against such decision, shall receive the wrath
of gods.
Kola nut symbol (Ọjị Igbo)
The symbolism of kola nut in Igbo culture cannot be over
emphasizing. Ọjọ Igbo (Kola acuminata) is symbolic when
presented to a visitor. Different cotyledons of kola acuminata (Ọjọ
Igbo) are also symbolic in the life of Igbo people. Igbo kola nut
symbolizes life, because he who brings kola nut brings life.
Whenever kola nut is presented to guest (s), it signifies hospitality
which calls for prayer of abundant of life and everything that makes
life sweet; for both the guest and the entertainer. Nnamdi-Eruchalu
(n.d:173) stated that:
The prayer usually offered whenever kola nut is
presented is a prayer of life and the good things
that go with it. Kola nut, when presented,
symbolizes unity, friendship, love, and
acceptance, and all these make life worth living.
Partaking of it is like sharing in a communion of
the living. Consequently, its presentation is
likened to the gift of life.
Kola nut connotes many ideas in the minds of Igbo people. It could
signify hospitality, prosperity, completeness, love, peaceful or
cordial relationship, unity, friendship, joy, etc. Igbo kola nut (cola
acuminata) always has many cotyledons, each cotyledon having a
symbolic meaning in the lives of Igbo people. According to Okoye
and Okoye (2009), mythical explanation also surrounds the number
of lobes a kola nut has after breaking it. The Igbo kola nut may have
up to seven cotyledons. A kola nut with one cotyledon is frowned at
because of their cultural belief that it signifies barrenness.
Different number of cotyledons and their symbolic meaning
Two cotyledons Is evil and bad kola nut which may be thrown
away or be eaten by the elders and will not be
used for any traditional functions.
Three cotyledons Is a good kola nut depicting good omen, though
not a complete kola nut, but meant for
exceptional people, those who have contributed
to the peace and development in the community
partake in this kola nut. It is called ‘Ọjị Dike /
Ọjị Ikenga.
Four cotyledons This signifies completeness, having equal value
to both men and spirits. It indicates equal share
of the blessings of the day; because, gods
representing four market days (Eke, Orie, Afo,
and Nkwo) which makes Igbo week is
Five cotyledons It signifies productivity in all facet of life (Ọjị
Ọmụmụ). this kola nut, depicts extra blessing in
areas of life; such as good health, wealth, and
Six cotyledons Symbolizes the communion between the living
and the dead, (Ọjị ndị mmụọ na ndị mmadụ jiri
gbaa ndụ). both the living and the dead most
partake in this kola nut.
Seven cotyledons This signifies bundles of blessings (Ugwutugwu
ihe ọma) which implies great wealth,
productivity and great abundance to those who
partake in it.
White clay (nzu) symbol
This is another significant Igbo cultural object which has
some symbolic or mystical meaning and functions like the Igbo kola
nut. This object which is made of white clay substance is a symbol
of purity, passport for good luck as man involves in relationship
with others and with the spirits.
Ọmụ (Tender leaves of palm tree) symbol
“Ọmụ” is traditionally used in Igbo land for different
purposes. In other words, it has different connotations depending on
the context where it is used to communicate meaning. When tender
leaves of palm tree (ọmụ) are tied round a tree, it is simply used to
warn that nobody should neither touch nor destroy it. The same
thing applies when it is placed on a land where two people or
villages claim ownership of the same land. Tender leaves of palm
tree in such context symbolize that nobody should transgress on the
land until peace is restored to avoid out-break of war. “Ọmọ” is also
used to symbolize sacredness; for instance, if it is tied to a shrine, it
indicates that non-worshipers should keep off and avoid trespassing.
Adibe (2008) declares that ‘ọmụ nkwụ’ (tender leaves of
palm frond) is a mystical symbol of the presence of ancestral spirits
and Ala deity in their meditational role as peace makers. He went
further to say “when one out of two communities engaged in a
communal clash sends emissaries to the other community on a peace
mission, the host community can now tie the ọmụin a particular way
to denote the community’s willingness to enter into peace
Black and Red symbol
In the same vain, colours have symbolic meaning in Igbo
culture where each colour conveys specific message when displayed
at significant places or situations. Red colour in Igbo context is a
spiritual colour which has a powerful religious significance. Red
clothing material is used to decorate tables or environment of the
shrines and also worn by deity’s chief priest. It symbolizes sacred
and danger in Igbo traditional setting.
Black colour is a symbolic colour for funeral in all parts of
Igbo land. It is the official mourning cloth at funerals worn by the
bereaved family especially by the husband of wife of the deceased.
This colour of cloth worn by the bereaved symbolizes sacred. There
is a limited co-operation between sacred and profane. The black
cloth remains the mourner’s official cloth which he or she wears
always. Any person in mourning condition will not have a free
relationship with people, he or she will not marry or be married;
should not have any sexual relationship with anybody until after one
year when the mourner will be lifted from this condition.
Sound symbols (wooden and metal gongs)
The sound of Igbo wooden and metal gong, membrane and
flute such as the sound of (Ịgba, Ekwe, Ogene and Opi) have
significant meaning to the Igbo user. Among the Igbo group of
Nigeria for example, when the wooden or metal gong is sounded
repeatedly in high degree, it symbolizes danger. This type of sound
would alert the community that shares this symbol to take caution. It
could be used to inform the community that shares this symbol
about the danger in the community which could be thieves or wide
animals terrorizing the community. Okodo (2013:101) agrees with
this assertion that:
Ikoro can be sounded when something unusual
that has a great significance happens, for example,
in the situation of emergency, like wild animals
attacking people in the community etc, when a
festival is being celebrated, it is also sounded in
honour of deities and so on and so forth.
The meaning of nonverbal symbols may depend on the users. For
example, giving or collecting something from anyone with left hand
is a taboo and symbolizes disrespect. It is also a taboo to shake
hands with someone or even wave hands with your left hand, in
Igbo context, it shows arrogance. Nodding your head in Igbo
context symbolizes acceptance, while shaking your head symbolizes
non acceptance. Another gesture in Igbo cultural context is pointing
to the location of something with the finger closest to the thumb,
symbolizing the direction of something.
The effect of Colonization on Igbo symbols
Notwithstanding that European Colonialism and
Christianity are among the factors that ignited the fire of positive
change in Igbo cultural, social, political, economic and religious life.
The European colonization and Christianization also affected the
Igbo culture and its identity. The signs and symbols embodied in
Igbo culture as Igbo symbol of identity were affected in the process
of change. Proficiency in our language is declining because we are
compelled to embrace Western culture and language. Most of our
artifacts are either destroyed by them or replaced by their own
symbols. For example, “Ọmụ” (tender palm leaf), which symbolizes
danger in Igbo context is replaced by a pieces of red material which
also symbolizes danger in European context. Ikenga and Ọfọ are
completely destroyed. Black cloth for mourning is replaced by white
cloth which indicates a different meaning in Igbo culture.
This paper has succeeded in discussing the semiotic of Igbo symbol
as a cultural emblem for Igbo race. In our daily lives, we interact
with different symbols which give our neighbours and those that
come across us the insight to identify us as Igbo people. Igbo
symbols as part and parcel of Igbo people which represented their
ideas, emotions, thoughts believe knowledge, and technology which
has become the source of insight into Igbo orientations of life.
Symbols infused into Igbo culture that without it, there would be no
culture. Igbo symbols as concrete part of Igbo culture have remained
the identity of Igbo people. But out of ignorance and the effect of
colonization and urbanization, there was a gradual decline by most
Igbo people in recognizing the meaning or appreciating the values
and relevance of Igbo symbols as Igbo identity. There is ethnic
group called Igbo today because we still have remnants of Igbo
symbols in the society which this paper is calling to uphold.
This paper concludes
that, what Igbo are known for should remain their own, and it is
their symbol of identity. Igbo symbols are part and parcel of Igbo
culture which tells the whole world whom we are, where we come
from and the type of life we live in. When we borrow other people’s
culture, and abandon our own, it makes us not to uphold our
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Directorate of General Studies
Federal university of technology,
Owerri, Imo State
PHONE NO: 08037975253
E-MAIL: ayoziechioma2014@gmail.com
As long as human beings live there must be conflicts that arise
because of greed, hatred, wickedness, selfishness, jealousy, gossip
etc. This brings about unhealthy competitions, fight, killings etc. The
need to reduce it to a more tolerable level or complete eradication
may be too difficult to achieve. This prompted this research. The
study is set to investigate Ịgbandụ as a traditional method of conflict
resolution in Igbo land, its meaning, types, and reasons, how it is
administered, how it is used to achieve peace etc. The data is
collected through observations and intuitive knowledge as Igbo
indigenes. The theory of culture based of (1981) propounded by
Ury, William, Fisher, Roger was adopted. It is found that Ịgbandụ
promotes healthy living, peaceful co-existence and sustainable
development; it is also found that Ịgbandụ controls to an extent
greed, killing etc. It is suggested that Ịgbandụ be extended to every
establishment, in the formal settings in other to promote a healthy
Key words: Tradition, Ịgbandụ, Conflict and Resolution.
Mishnah (1982:86) in his work notes that tradition is the
handing down of information beliefs and customs by words of
mouth or by example from one generation to another within the
society. According to Mba et al (2013:288) “tradition is a
transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation.
Tradition is therefore a custom or an old acceptable way of doing
things in a society. In Igbo land, Igbo people are well known for
their tradition which they use to guide themselves in all the affairs of
their lives. They measure up in everything they do such as trade,
politics, education et cetera. They are the type that strive so hard to
be in an environment where they will abstain from being bound by
their fellow human being either by dominating, displaying of
superiority, cheating, exhibiting of class or level. These acts result in
a highly competitive environment and these can lead to quarrel,
misunderstanding, dispute and other evil plans which can eventually
result to conflict. Conflict is a natural thing. Is something or an act
that comes most of the times unexpected? Conflict exists between
two individuals, groups or communities that are not able to work
live or share ideas together. Consequently, conflicts are in the
magnitude of rage, rift, misunderstanding, family and market
brawls, skirmishes and wars, public insurrections and assaults. It
also includes chieftaincy and boundary disputes (Olaoba in Ajayi
and Buhari, 2014:140). From the definition above, it means that
conflict results when two or more parties could not agree on an
issue. This leads to hate, taking of lives, mistrust and so on. In other
to resolve all these, human beings strive to come into agreement or
dialogue with Igbandu. Also, Igbo people are the people in Nigeria
who have taken Igbo land as their ancestral home land and also
speak Igbo language as their mother tongue. Igbo people are the
predominate tribe in Anambra, Enugu, Abia, Imo, Ebonyi and some
parts of Delta, Akwa-Ibom and Rivers states.
Igbo people are well known for migrating to other lands. It
is with a spirit of hard work that Igbo people move from place to
place in search of greener pasture. There is no place in the world
you will not find an Igbo person resident there, also it is very
difficult to find an Igbo family without at least business. In order to
cement relationship in business Ịgbandụ comes to be.
In this paper, we are going to focus on the concept of
Igbandụ, types of Igbandu, objects for Igbandu and how Igbanduis
administered, the reason why people enter into Igbandu, the
consequences one encounter for not keeping to the rules of Igbandu,
the concept of conflict resolution and how Igbandu is used to
resolve conflict in Igbo land.
The Concept of Igbandu
Igbandu which is known as covenant literarily means to
bind life. In otherwords hand, Igbandu is an agreement between
individuals or groups. According to Duru (2009) Igbandu is a
covenant between individuals or groups. In the same vein Mezie-
Okoye (2016:27) posits that Igbandu is a covenant between two or
more individuals or a group of persons. Igbandu is a bind of life that
exists between two or more people or a group of persons in Igbo
land. In Igbo setting good human relationship and peaceful coexistence
are always deemed necessary in other not to reap evil. For
this reason, Igbo people take it upon themselves to seek peace for
the good of all. Anyone that hates peace is seen as a devil. Despite
the above, there are individual differences; everybody has their
interest that sometimes brings about conflict between spouses,
kinsmen, business partners etc. The most common causes of
conflicts in the society are disputes over land, money, titles and so
on. These conflicts between families, groups or communities brings
about hatred, quarrel, wars, loss of lives and properties,
misunderstanding, cheating, stealing, maltreatment, betrayal,
wickedness, poisoning, mistrust and other vices in Igbo land. To
make people have relaxed and settled mind in Igbo society, Igbandu
becomes necessary.
Igbandu exist in other to ensure uprightness, protection,
relaxed mind, foster peace and unity, leave without fear and have
trust on the other party. According to Odo (2007:1);
When people are involved in a conflict situation
and want to create or rebuild broken relationship,
they invariably want a guaranteed atmosphere of
safety and goodwill. They want an environment
of trust to give effect to their willingness to
belong to a common family-hood. Such goodwill
on the part of person or groups or families
involved is normally symbolized by a covenant
ceremony within the family circle.
In a family, group or community where Igbandu has taken place,
there is always peace, unity and people feel secured. There is always
sincerity. Igbandu as a way of finding trust, peace, security and a
promise not to deviate from agreement reached and as a result of
this, peace is maintained and security is assured. Duru in Mezie-
Okoye (2016:27) ascertain that:
People involved in the covenant prepare a mixture
with blood of each person involved in the pack
and every member drinks. It goes to mean that
none of these people should harm each other or
see anything that will harm any member of such
group and allow such to happen.
It is observed that whenever a conflict is resolved and
cemented with Igbandu, peace reign and the people will always
avoid going contrary to that which may attract the wrath of God or
the gods. Anybody that fails to adhere to the rules of Igbandu, which
are clearly spelt out during the process attracts the punishment from
the gods upon whose names the covenant was done.
In Igbandu, people concerned may consult deities or God.
A deity may be human or non-human that are acknowledged within
a particular environment while the spirits could be human or nonhuman
that interacts between the body and the souls. They could be
the souls of dead people. In Igbo land, there are many deities that
are involved in Igbandu, it depends on the one the people may want
to choose. Deities like Amadioha, Igwekala, Ogwugwu, Ibiniukpabi
etc are always called to witness covenant and people believe that
these deities avenge for the upright by killing the defaulter. In the
process of Igbandu, people state the penalty for going against the
rules of Igbandu. With this stated penalty, no one will like to deviate
from the rules. With this, there will be no more fear from both
parties because trust is now built among both parties that took part
in Igbandu.
Igbandu are not only meant for unbelievers. Christians do
their covenant with Bible, holy water and other sacramental’s or
they swear in the church before the altar. When the Christians
encounter problems such as violation of agreement, poisoning of
person, accusation of all kinds, land disputes, they cry out to a
spiritual priest who will organize the covenant for the parties
involved. The spiritual priest invites both parties and provides bible,
holy water or any sacramental for them to swear with. While
swearing, they will say what will befall them when any of them go
contrary to the agreement.
Types of Igbandu
For the benefit of this study there are three types of
1) Igbandu between man and man/human beings.
2) Igbandu between gods (deity) and human beings
3) Igbandu between God and man (human beings)
 Igbandu between man and man (human beings):
Igbandu can exist between two families that are having
problems; they go in for Igbandu in order to trust each
other and for peace to reign. Igbandu can exist between two
communities that are having problem like land dispute,
they go into agreement in order to establish peace.
 Igbandu between God and man (human beings):
Igbandu can exist between an individual and God,
examples are the covenant God entered with Abraham
(Gen 15:18), God entered with David (2 Ch. 21:7). The
Reverend Fathers, the religious enter into covenant with
God. A non-religious can also enter into covenant with God
by strongly deciding right inside him/her not to break
God’s law no matter what happens.
 Igbandu between gods (deity) and human beings:
Igbandu can exist between an individual, families or
community and the gods or deities. Most of the time, an
individual, family or community can go in for Igbandu with
deity for protection or long life in return to serve the deity.
Objects that are always used for the Administration of Igbandu:
In Igbo society, some objects like: palm-bud frond (omu),
ogirisi leaf, white fowl, kolanut, chalk (nzu), palm wine, blood of
the covenanting partners, qfq staff, sand, bible, water, holy water,
sacramental etc. The priest or the chief priest that will do the
incantation will accompany them. In the case of a boy and a girl
who are in love but not yet ready to marry or they want to avoid
disappointing each other, they want to go in for Igbandu, can use
kolanut. Kolanut is a symbol of life and for this reason may
profound mysterious interpretations. It is taken as spiritual
communion with the ancestors using it as a remembrance. The
kolanut is put into the place containing their blood and are given to
two of them to chew and pronounce what will happen to anyone that
defaults the covenant. They can call on any deity they believe that is
powerful to be their witness and the chief priest will help them by
interceding for them to the gods. Sometimes they pronounce what
will happen to anyone without inviting the chief priest because we
believe that there is power in the spoken words. In the case of land
dispute between two families or communities that are concerned in
the land dispute, will invite their elders, they will gather on the fixed
day before the shrine or oracle. The priest will administer the
Igbandu by making some incantations. The priest will go ahead by
telling the gods to eat the kolanut and drink some palm wine,
thereafter the priest will call the gods to come and witness the
covenant. In this type of Igbandu, both families and communities
involved are to swear that they will not harm each other or see
anything that will harm any family or anybody from any community
and allow it to happen. The chief priest will pronounce the
calamities that will befall anyone who goes contrary to the Igbandu.
Thereafter, the chief priest will call the gods to be their witness. The
object use in this type of Igbandu can be palm bud frond (omu). The
priest will dip the palm bud frond into the plate containing the blood
of an animal and spread it on the ground and the two families or two
communities are to jump over it and declare that whosoever breaks
the covenant will suffer a great deal. The Igbo people have serious
belief in the role which animals can play in the lives of human
beings. Animals can connect both man and spirit together (Akidi,
2012:46). Nwala (1985:50) in the same vein holds that:
Animals occupy an important place in Igbo
traditional thought with regard to certain things,
animals are accorded special respect, for it is
believed that they may know things human beings
do not know and see things that are not seen with
human eyes. They act as agents of spirits and
The appearance of strange animals after Igbandu usually, is a bad
omen; signaling calamity befalling the defaulter. It is believed that
either gods or spirit that appeared signal the punishment coming
soon. Spirits can equally appear in form of animals before Igbandu
to signal to their loved ones not to go ahead with the Igbandu to
avoid calamity that may follow it; more especially where their loved
ones are on the wrong side.
The Reason for Igbandu:
It is always disagreement, land dispute, mistrust, wars,
conflict that brings about Igbandu especially where there is no trust.
Igbandu can be for prevention of mistrust, or for reconciliation after
conflict. The reason why people enter into Igbandu is to:
– have relaxed and settled mind
– ensure uprightness
– leave without fear
– establish peace and unity
– rebuild broken relationship
– settle disputes
– Remove the minds of people from evil deeds or plans
against their fellow human being.
The Concept of Conflict Resolution
Conflict is an inevitable part of life. It erupts whenever
there is disagreement between two individuals, groups or
communities. The major cause of conflict is “individual
differences”. Everyone possesses different family background,
opinion, needs, values, ideas, beliefs etc. These differences often
lead to conflict. Rahim (1992:16) described conflict as the
interactive process manifested in incompability, disagreements or
dissonance within or between social entities. It shows that conflict
bob up whenever there is disagreement between persons, groups or
communities. Uchendu (2010;11-12) opined that conflict occurs
when there are fighting struggle or quarrel. Conflict is a natural
disagreement that results from differences in attitudes, beliefs,
values or needs of individual or groups. There is a conflict when
disagreement between parties degenerate to fighting, quarrels and
struggle for selfish interests. Nmah (2009:28) argued that conflict is
a process that erupts when a group sees that another has damaged or
about to destroy something that is important to them. Conflict arises
usually from three factors
Economic factor: This is seen when there are limited resources.
The individuals, groups or communities involved come into conflict
in order to obtain most of the resources either by trick or for, more
especially where there is insufficient land, resources etc. an
individual, group or community tries to take the lions share or all of
them. Greed can also lead to conflict even when there is enough.
Value factor: This is concerned with the beliefs and ideologies of a
person or social group in which they have emotional investment.
This type of conflict is demonstrated in wars where separate parties
have sets of beliefs they maintain
Power factor: This arises when parties involved intend to maximize
the wealth and power they have in the social setting. Such situation
can equally arise among individuals, groups or communities. All
these boil down to say that conflict exist in situations where there is
selfish desire, greed, mistrust, misunderstanding, quarrel, false
practice against each other. When conflict begins to reduce
productivity, giving way to more conflict, then a third party from
different party will be needed to come up with a solution.
Conflict resolution is the process of trying to find a solution
to a conflict. Udezo (2009:149) contends that resolution is a variety
of approaches aimed at determining conflicts through the
constructive solving of problems, distinction from management or
transformation of conflict.
Conflict resolution is the process of solving the differences
between two parties. There is no way conflict can be resolved
without first getting to the root of the conflict. This means that
resolution is the total means of wiping away conflict so that it will
not resurface again. Ikoku in Anidobe (2014:114) maintain that
conflict resolution is conceptualized as the method or processes
involved in facilitating the peaceful ending of social conflict. Often,
committed group members attempt to resolve group conflict by
actively communicating information about their conflicting motives
or ideologies to the rest of the group (e.g. intentions, reasons for
holding certain beliefs) and by engaging in collective negotiation.
Anyacho (2005:69) said that the society employs
institutionalized rules such as legislatures, courts; tribunals,
arbitration, committees for the resolution of conflicts. According to
Ogundabe in Okoli (2012:21) conflicts can be resolved by
surrendering running away, over powering your opponent with
violence and filing your case in a law suit. Other major ways of
resolving a conflict are negotiations, mediation and mediator –
Negotiation is a discussion among two or more people with
the goal of reaching an agreement. Mediation is a voluntary and
confidential process in which a neutral third party facilitator helps
people discuss issues and negotiate an agreement. Parties in
mediation does not have any decision making power over the
outcome. Arbitration is a process in which a third party, after
reviewing evidence and listening to the arguments from both sides,
issues a decision to settle the case. Arbitration is often used in
commercial and labour/management disputes. Mediation-Arbitration
is a hybrid that combines both mediation and arbitration processes.
Prior to the session, the disputing parties agree to try mediation first
but given the neutral third party the authority to make decision if
mediation is not successful. Igbandu can be applied in all of the
above forms of conflict resolution to make them faster and easier.
The theory adopted in this study is culture based by Ury,
William, Fisher and Roger (1981) states that conflict resolution
usually involves fostering communication among disputants,
problem solving and drafting agreements that meet underlying
needs. In these situations, conflict resolvers often talk about finding
a mutually satisfying (win-win) solution for everyone involved.
Steps by which Igbandu is used for Conflict Resolution
Settling a conflict without getting mad, sad, or anxious
generally involves the following steps:
Step I: Inviting both parties that are involved
Step II: Recognition of the problem that needs to be solved.
Step III: Creation of a mutually agreeable solution. Before a
conflict is resolved, there must be a gathering. Both parties gather
together on a scheduled date and place. The people called to settle
the conflict (neutral third party) will hear from the first and second
party one after the other to know the origin or the cause of the
conflict and find out the truth, apportion blames to the defaulters and
finally resolve the conflict between the two parties.
Practical Examples to analyze how Context can be used to
Achieve Conflict Resolution with Igbandu in Igbo land
Context I:
Nature of Communication: Conflict between two intimate friends
over a joint business they enter into
Discourse Participants: Two intimate friends
Setting: Nnewi
Audience: The market master and their friends in the market
In a conflict between two intimate friends who established a
business that will yield money for them, they agreed among
themselves that whatever business both have to set up, they have to
contribute equal amount; they negotiated and agreed between them
that after their first business operation, they will keep the capital and
use only the interest for the next business. The business was done as
agreed. After some years one of them travelled and returned, when
he tried to know how far they have gone with the business but what
he got in return was the business could not be joint again. This
brought about a big fight between them that could have taken their
lives. The market master and some of their friends who were present
when they made the agreement tried to settle the conflict but to no
avail. But the market master and some of their friends came to the
conclusion after judging it from different angle, that the two friends
will enter into a covenant saying that no one should habour evil
against each other. They also pronounce the punishment that will
befall anyone that will default the covenant. The covenant is used
here to resolve the conflict, to sustain their business and
Context 2
Nature of Communication: Conflict between King’s son and the
uncle over the throne
Discourse Participants: The King’s son and the uncle
Setting: Oguta
The late king was severely ill and it was done on him that
he is losing his life. He summoned his brother as someone he could
trust to assist him in holding his throne, knowing that his son who is
supposed to take over the throne is still tender. This reason made the
king and his brother to enter into covenant, where the brother agreed
on handing over the throne to his son when he is of age.
After the death of the king, years later the king’s son met
his uncle requesting for the throne as agreed on their binding
agreement, but he refused releasing the throne, this brought conflict
between the late king’s son and his uncle as to nobody even the late
king’s cabinet who were there when they had the covenant could
resolve the conflict. It happened that the Amadioha which they used
as their witness struck him with a strange sickness. When the chief
priest came, he ascertained that it was due to the covenant he made
with his late brother which he failed to keep made him to fall sick.
He had no option than to release the throne and after handing over
the throne to the late king’s son on his sick bed, he died as a result
of not keeping to the covenant.
In this context, Igbandu is used to resolve conflict and to
release what rightfully belongs to the king’s son. Power is one of the
factors that erupts conflict. The late king’s brother thought with
power, he had everything. But with the help of covenant the conflict
was resolved and the throne was given back to the rightful owner.
Context 3
Nature of Communication: Conflict between Adindu and Okoro
on land dispute
Discourse Participants: Adindu and his Nephew
Setting: Umuokparaku in Obokwe Community
Adindu refused to release the land inherited by Okoro from
his late father Nwadike which was under his custody. There arose a
conflict between Okoro and Adindu over that piece of land. Okoro
now a matured adult called on the kinsmen of the community and
tabled the issue in the presence of the oldest man of the community,
at that time Nze Orimmuo the chief priest that handled the issue
with the kinsmen reminded Adindu to accept the truth otherwise the
gods of their land, the spirit of their ancestors will judge against him
because they were spiritually present the day the kinsmen gathered
after the burial of late Nwadike and convened that the land of late
Nwadike be in Adindu’s custody till the son Okoro matures enough
to manage his father’s inheritance. So it will be better for you to
accept the truth and be alive or refuse the truth and die. It was then
that Adindu realized himself and accepted the truth. Formal
handover was made and Igbandu was renewed by the kinsmen and
Nze Orimmmuo warned Adindu not to think of taking the land again
from Okoro or think of any evil against Okoro and family which
Adindu accepted and there was peaceful settlement.
From the context, it shows that Igbandu is used to resolve
conflict and the land was returned to the rightful owner.
Consequences for not adhering to the rules of Igbandu
Those who enter into Igbandu really need to be careful due
to the punishment attached to defaulting it. The violation of
covenant has serious consequences and if proper attention is not
given to it, it attracts curses on the defaulter or the family and his
generation. The defaulter is usually exposed by the deity. In this
way, strange things will begin to happen. Such strange things could
be incessant death, strange sickness, infertility and so on. The
punishments befall the defaulter as a result of the Igbandu entered
into without uptightness and the gods in turn pay him back. The
punishment receive differs, depending on the type of Igbandu one
entered into.
In the case of two individuals, the punishment for defaulter
could be death, swollen stomach, blindness etc. In the case of two
lovers, the punishment for the defaulter who abandons the
relationship could be barrenness, death, strange sickness or madness
could befall the defaulter. The process of appeasement by the
defaulter is tedious; this is so as people will not want to associate
with such person for fear of reprisal attack on them from the gods. It
is only when a clearance is gotten from the gods through divination
on how to appease the deity and also on how to reintegrate the
person into the society before he/she is allowed access to people.
The gods determine the items for appeasement which most of time
are enormous. It is the chief priest of the deity and the dibia will
handle such appeasement rites.
– Any Igbandu entered into should be kept no matter how
difficult it is. It will help to restore and sustain peace,
security and discard conflict.
– We should go back to those traditional methods of
resolving conflict in Igbo land because it is more effective
than the contemporary method of resolving conflict.
– Further studies on the traditional methods of resolving
conflict should be made because it will serve as a way of
documentary and preserving the Igbo cultural heritage.
– Government should introduce traditional education in our
institutions like preliminary course in Igbo land, this would
enable the younger generations understand that this type of
tradition exists in Igbo land.
– The traditional methods of conflict resolution should be
revived in order to achieve peace and good human
From the discussion, it is proved that Igbanduis found
worthy of resolving conflict among individuals, groups or
communities in the Igbo society. Because as far as man lives there
must be conflict which results from the desire for survival and
control over the environment. Conflict exists as a result of
individual differences among human beings. But the preventive
measures and control over it is usually {gbandx.
Igbandu is one of the traditional method of resolving
conflict. It is seen as the powerful bond undertaken by two or more
individuals, groups or communities who hope to set up lasting
relationship. The punishment for breaking or violating a covenant is
death. To avoid shameful death, people strongly keep the rules
stated in Igbanduby maintaining good relationship, do their business
with uprightness and avoid every sort of vices.
Again, in order to ensure peace, security of lives and
properties and to avoid the anger of the gods, covenant must be kept.
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Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam..
Literature speaks reality through the use of language. It enriches the
necessary competence that daily life requires and provides. It tries to
correct anomalies found in human existence in the areas of
leadership and followership style.
Poetry as a unique aspect of literature uses language to advocate for
proper conduct of the individual members of the
society from which it emanates. This study, therefore, concerns
itself with the role of poetry as an instrument of
advocacy using these two Igbo poems, “ụkọ N’Uju” and “Ndị
Ọchịchị“as data for illustration. The study examines the aims of
advocacy in these poems as to how they affect the leadership and
followership in our contemporary society. Attempt is made in the
study to analyse the poems with their language use to express and
expose the realities of our time, using the functionalist theory. The
study identifies that the concept of advocacy is a product of
functionalism or social
commitment. Functional literature is better expressed in poetic form
because poetry lends itself to the compact use of language through
rhetorical questions, repetitions and metaphors in capturing realities
or situations highlighted in the poems of study. The findings also
reveal that advocacy uses satire, lament and protest to lend itself to
revolution and the poets urge the citizenry to avail themselves of the
opportunity of bettering their lots. The problem of our country
does not only hinge on the leadership style but also on the
followership, hence the poets advocate for true democratic
Prior to the advent of the white man’s system of governance,
African people had piloted their affairs with the help of the village
elders. The communal leadership, which was transparent,
commanded considerable respect and influence from the
followership. This type of governance demonstrated commitment
and justice to the people. Past literatures likeOmenụkọ. Ala Bingo or
Things Fall Apart demonstrated advocacy and corrective measures
for good communal living. To that extent, literature does not only
add to reality but simply describes it. It irrigates the deserts that our
lives have already become (Holman, 1960:62). Literature, especially
poetry, provides guiding principles of life and tries to correct the
anomalies found in society by advocating for a change.
By advocacy, we mean that which represents the designed,
actions taken and solutions proposed to influence decision-making
at the local, state and national levels in order to create positive
changes for the people and their environment (Obar, 2002:81). It is
also a process by which an individual or group aim to influence
public policy and resource allocation decisions within political,
economic and social systems or institutions. It concerns itself with a
means by which public decisions have sway over and above any
issues for the masses’ interest.
The introduction of western political system(s) of governance
and its attendant leadership and followership styles in Nigeria came
with a lot of problems as a result of the selfish and corrupt nature of
our people. Advocacy isa subtle weapon used by non-governmental
bodies and concerned individuals togive rescinding voices to the
mirage of vices in society. This resistant movement has been lent
credence to by voices or pens of literary artists who are sensitive to
the happenings of their societies. This movement is known as ‘social
commitment’ in literary studies, and it has given birth to many
works of arts like the poem “Paths of Thunder” by Okigbo (1968),
the novel Anthill of the Savana by Achebe (1987), The Man who
came from the back of beyond by Biyi-Bandele(1991) and a host of
Literature is communicated basically via oral and written
modes. In this study, we are concerned with the written mode and
will look at two poems by two different sets of poets. Other works
of literature or their cultures, no matter their modes of rendition in
this work is made reference to when they serve to illustrate our
points. We used the principles of functional literature in advocacy to
analyse the poems “ụkọ n’uju” by Emenanjo and “Ndị Ochịchị” by
Ikeokwu and Onyejekwe. The work intends to point out the
relevance of advocacy in correcting societal ills as manifested by the
leaders and the led.
Literature Review
Here literature is reviewed under theoretical and empirical
Theoretical Studies
Functionalism refers to a school of thought within
psychology that examines mental processes and how they relate to
human behavior. The functionalist theory claims that literature plays
a major role in the social and intellectual change in a community. To
the functionalists, a literary piece is a potential weapon to bring
about change in the community that engenders it,hence advocacy
poetry. It is an approach of literary criticism, which contends that
literature is and ought to be relevant to the society that has given
birth to it and as well as nurtures it. That is why functional literature
is based on the principle of “social commitment”. Finnegan (1977),
notes that the role of literature can be either reflective or upholding
its society’s status quo. Functionalists also believe that any cultural
phenomenon that does not have any use in the society will
notendure. Lostraco and Wilkerson (1979:8) corroborate Finnegan’s
view when theynote that “literature distills life and condenses
human experience. It has to proffer solutions to the problems in
Advocacy is all about the sensitization of members of society,
especiallythe uninformed to the marginalization of the down trodden
members of society. It helps the people to realize their power and
use it to participate effectively in making and shaping public
decisions. To be involved in advocacy, citizens or groups should
have a fair course they are fighting for and struggle to address as a
starting point or a platform to achieve social justice (Cohen, 2001:
121). Cohen further argues that those involved in social justice
advocacy should be aware of their values as they determine the
issues and advocacy strategies. From the realities of “what is,” social
justice advocates around the world have created different visions of
“what should be” in a just, decent society. Such societiesinclude
those that respect and protect human right, preserve human dignity,
eradicate cruelty, engage people in decision making processes,
provide public space for people to challenge unjust behaviour
(Watson, 2001:76).
Power is an important factor, if not the most important
concept in advocacy. According to Veneklasen & Miller (2002:61)
“advocacy is a power game in which the powerless gain enough
power to influence the power holders”.When we do advocacy, we
certainly need to analyse the power structure and design strategies
that should allow citizens, especially the powerless to balance out
the power holders. Veneklasen and Miller (2002:62) also contend
that advocacy has to do with influencing policies or public
decisions. They say that those who do advocacy like the literary
artists should always seek to influence the decision-makers, be them
official decision makers or unofficial power holders, or even public
opinion leaders who can influence the attitude of people towards an
issue involving these decision-makers and power holders. They
should work with the grassroots and also ensure that issues are
systematically addressed at both the macro as well as micro levels.
Based on the above mentioned characteristics in reshaping
power balance and influencing and involving decision-makers,
advocacy almost bydefault engages in politics in the sense of
influencing public decision-making
processes. Advocacy involves a situation where the masses have to
affirm any course or policy for it to be acceptable. It concerns itself
with a means by which public decisions are swayed on any issue for
the masses’ interest by the individual or group. That is why Loue
(2003:47) defines advocacy as “a political process by an individual
or group which aims to influence public policy andresource
allocation decisions within political, economic and social system or
institutions”. Effective implementation and enforcement of policies
and not only creation and reform of policies should also be the
function of advocacy (Mansfield 2003: 141). Mansfield goes on to
explain that policy as “a plan, courseof action, or set of regulations
adopted by government or an institution is designed to influence and
determine decisions or procedures” (2003: 141).
Governmental system in Nigeria since the advent of colonial
masters and subsequent gaining of independence (and power
changing hands from thecolonial masters to our people) has
continued to short change the common manand intensified in the
leadership by Nigerians. Our kit and kin who took over fromthe
colonial masters soon realized to their shock that they will be left
out in the scheme of things in the new dispensation hence bad
governance began to take its toll. Consequently, the previous literary
and cultural sympathizers to the cause of independence struggle
turned sharply and uncompromisingly against theirearlier bedfellows
There is scramble for power by so many interested elites of
the society who saw the resources in Nigeria as national cake and
wanted their share. The military cease power from the civilian
resulting in coups and counter coups; politicians rig elections in the
name of democratic governance to get the mantleof leadership with
the ideology of a “better Nigeria”. These are all lies and deceit for
they are interested in enriching themselves while the masses find
themselves in desperate and depressing conditions that bring untold
hardship, suffering and sorrow.
The literary artists, particularly the poet has to communicate
these problemsand displeasures through the means of literature.
Looking critically at the literaryartist’s role in a democratic society,
Achebe (1972) in Ikeokwu (2007:23) observes that … what one does
as a writer depends on the state of one’s society. So, the state of
Nigerian polity this time is the problem of leadership and
followership and our literary artists are reacting to it. The poets and
other artists through their works as exemplified in “Ụkọ N’Uju” and
“Ndị Ochịchị” advocate for
a change in the socio-political condition of the Nigerian society as
well as satirize the activities of the leaders and the followers.
Empirical Studies
Studies have been done in the area of functional literature.
The study of Obi (2006), clearly shows that “literature vis-a-vis its
different genres has become an important means of understanding
and interpreting human feelings and aspects of society such as
politics, religion, economics, social conflicts, class struggle and
human conditions through the medium of language.” This illustrates
the saying that literature is language well used for the understanding
of the audience according to the message passed across.
There are literary works of art in English as well as in
Nigerian indigenous languages about Nigerian society portraying
advocacy functions. Ogunpitan (1990:171) notes in his study that
“arts in both traditional and modern African society are socially
relevant and functional.” Ezejideaku (1996:2) studies the functions
of the poet in society using the poems of Obienyem in Akpa Uche,
and concludes that the poet is “a visionary, a reformer, a political
watch-dog, a satirist, a praise singer, a chronicler of events, a
teacher and the people’s spokesman.” Ikeokwu (2002) in a study of
the literary artist as a mirror of his society notes that the artist
regards himself as duty bound to sensitize his people to the sociocultural
issues created or recreated, formulated or reformulated
through spokesmanship. Continuing, he notes that the artist employs
certain instruments of visioning and prophecy to warn, reflect,
ridicule, satirize orcaricature the characters implicated in the literary
Poetry to the extent of the use of the aforementionedinstruments
performs advocacy function. The study of
lkwubuzo (2002) corroborates those of Ezejideaku (1996) and
Ikeokwu (2002) as he observes that the literary artist usually
functions as a repository of his people’s cultural heritage. In other
words,he acts as the spokesman of his society through his creative
imaginations, which could be in form of prose, drama or poetry.
Also, judging from Ezejideaku’s (1996:2) definition of a poet and
Ikeokwu’s (2002:167) idea about a poet’s role in society, lkwubuzo’s
(2002:176) assertion becomes valid in the literary advocacy
movement when he notes that:
A poet, a novelist or a playwright is not insensitive to
the socio-political realities of his time. He is affected
by them like any other member of his society. During
the apartheid era in South Africa for instance, a
number of independent African countries identifies
with its liberation struggle. Literary artists
in the fight like the famous lady singer – Miriam
Makeba who used satirical music to agitate for
political and social changes. The lyrical content of
her music disparaged the white minority regime and
reflected the political aspiration of her people.
Poetry, however, as a literary genre makes use of compressed
form of language to express intense powerful emotions. Supporting
this view, Madụakọ (1991:72) sees poetry as functioning as “a
charged utterance at a particular moment in time” This may be why
Esiaba lrobi in an e-conversation with Nnọrọm Azuonye (2009)
defines poetry as, “the energy that moves the world”. For example,
in Nigeria, during the period of hue and cry at the assassination of
Dele-Giwa as to who killed him, a famous Nigerian musician, Fela
Anikulapo Ransom Kuti used his satirical music to tell the nation
who killed Dele-Giwa.
Also, a female activist, and the one time Minister for
Education as well as the immediate past World Bank Vice president,
Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, prays that Nigerian oil wells dry up so that our
leaders will develop visionary attitude instead of corruptive one. She
made this agitation known at the Success Digest Enterprise Award
at Sheraton Hotel, Lagos on November 3, 2012 when she was
delivering a talk. She attributes the poor state of the nation’s
citizenry to having insensitive leaders who remain complacent in the
face of the stark reality of verypoor and declining performance of
natural productivity and competitiveness indices (The Sun
Newspaper, Nov. 16, 2012: Awoyinfa, M.). She strongly feels that
Nigerian leaders lack the political will to diversify the nation’s
economy.Nigeria depends solely on petroleum for her economy and
this call for a change of attitude. A famous poet E.S Coleridge
writes of, “water, water everywhere but not enough to drink.” In the
case of Nigeria, it is “oil, oil everywhere but not enough for use as
scarcity of petroleum products has become the order of the day. To
capture the yearnings and aspirations of the masses, the poet goes
where the ordinary legs cannot go, sees what the ordinary eye
cannot see, and hears what the ordinary ear cannot hear and uses
same to sensitize the masses, hence functional literature.
Text Analysis
Ụkọ N’Uju
L1: Kedụzi ka a ga-esi nọdụ How can we be in the river
Were asọ na-akwọ aka
Kedụ kwanụ ka a ga-esi
nọdụ n’iyi
Kwere ncha ọ baa anyị
And be washing hands with
How then can we be in the
And allow soap lather to enter
our eyes?
L5: Nkenu bi n’ala na-apịta
mmanụ karịa
Ọsa bitọ n’elu
Nkenu (bird) that lives on the
ground Gets more oil than the
squirrel that
Lives up.
Kọọrọ m ihe kpatara na
mmadụga-enwe mgbuli ma
mgbuli ana-agụ ya.
Tell me why one should have
porridge Yet one would be
hungry of porridge.
Ego a Asị na anyị nwere
n’ijeli n’ijeli
Bụ n’ikuku ka ọ dị
Ego a
A sị anyị na ọ bughị ya bụ
Bụ naanị n’akwụkwọ ka ọ
This money We are told that
we have in billions
Is only in the air
This money
We are told that is not the
Exist only on paper
L15: Kọọrọ m ihe kpatara na
Ga-enwe egbugbere
Tell me why one should
Have lips
Ma anwu ana-ama ya n’eze
Nri a
A sị anyị na ọ bụ atụrụ
Ezugbị atụrụ ga-ata
Nke ọ na-afọdụrụ mmadụ
Yet one’s teeth are beaten by the
This food
That we are told is surplus
Is not even enough for the
Let alone for human beings.
L25: Ugbu a
Mmirii na-afanyezi anyị
Ebe anyị na-achọ mmiri a
We toothpick when we drink
While looking for water to
Anyị na-elozi ụkwara taa
Na-atụzi anya erimeri
nwanne echi
We now swallow sputum
While expecting food a day
This is an example of poetry advocating for effective
budgetary implementation for the citizenry. In lines 9 – 14, the poet
is sensitizing the Nigerian populace to the fact that our leaders are
corrupt and greedy. They readout in the air large sums of money
running into billions and trillions as annual budgets over the years.
Yet, the country cannot show anything for it in terms ofhuman
capital development. One wonders why the citizens of this
country,Nigeria, should wallow in poverty and want while people of
less wealthy countries are living in comfort. One wonders why
countries like Ghana, South Africa with less gross domestic product
(GDP) than Nigeria in the seventies and eightieshave a higher gross
domestic product than us thereafter (Ezekwesili 2013). Thepoet, as
it were, questions and demands for accountability in the wake of
financial mismanagement by the leaders since the leaders do not use
the billions and trillions budgeted annually effectively.
Ndị Ọchịchị
L1 :
Ọ bụghị naanị ikwu
Mezuonu nkwa ụnụ
Ndị bianyere aka
Ebe e sere ncheanwụ
E kwu ekwu
E mee eme bụ ọrịa
Ga-ebi n’aja ọcha
Ndị ọchịchị Naịjiria
A na-achụkwanụ awọ
It is not only smooth talking
Fulfill your promises
To electorate who voted
Where the umbrella logo is
And not fulfilled is
HIV/AIDS (a killerdiseases)
That ends in the grave.
Nigerian rulers
If a toad is pursued in a stone
L10: Nkume, a na-arx ya aka You point at it (for the colour of
thetoad blends with that of the
Xnx ekwela nkwa
Out abxgh[ n’ezi
E kwu eme, ndị ọchịchị
Stop making promises
False promises
Fulfil your promises, rulers.
Ndị ọchịchị
Achịala Naịjiria
Mana o nweghị nkwa
Ha mezurula
Qkwụrụ ọ na-aka
Onye kụrụ ya?
E kwu ekwu
E me eme
Have ruled Nigeria
But none have fulfilled
Their promises
Can the okro plant grow taller than
Smooth talks
Without actions
Mgbe o ruru na vootu
E jiri ire ụtọ na bụrị bụrị
Kwe nkwa elu na ala
Ekwu ekwu eme eme
Dobere Naịjiria n’ọnọdụ
Ejeghị ihu, ejeghị ọzụ.
When it comes to voting
Smooth talks are employed
To promise heaven on earth
Smooth talks without action
Have placed Nigeria in the
position of
Not progressing, not
Eke kere ụwa
Mere Naịjiria ebere
Ndị ọchịchị emeela
Obodo ị gọziri
Ọ bụrụ obodo a bụrụ ọnụ
Naanị otu ụbọchị
Agaghị ekweta nke a
The Creator
Have mercy on Nigeria
Our rulers have made
The country you blessed
To become a cursed country
Just one day
Will not allow this to continue
“Ndị Ọchịchị” is another poetry of advocacy, where the poets
see the governance of this country in the hands of a particular
political party (People’s Democratic Party) as being a deadly killer
disease( HIV/AIDS). As HIV/AIDS is akiller disease that leads to
death, so also will the governance of PDP lead this country to
destruction due to their recklessness and insensitivity if not checked.
To the poets, one of the ways to checkmate the ruling party is
through the thirditem of Marxist’s revolutionary proposal, which is
advocacy as shown in lines 6,9, 10 and 25 – 27 of the poem.
However, the poets warn the leaders and politicians in lines 34 and
35 to beware of the last item of Marxist’s revolutionary proposal,
which is violence or civil disobedience. The masses’ violent reaction
to the removal of fuel subsidy is an example of the implication of
the poets’ caution.
The poets see an individual who has HIV/AIDS as one who
has unguarded behaviour in terms of one’s sexual recklessness in
contacting the dreaded disease, to the reckless behaviour of the
political characters implicated in the poem. The choice of “rulers”
(Ndị ọchịchị) as opposed to leaders in this poem by the poets is
deliberate, because in the contemporary times, political office
holders that emerge are not democratically elected either at the party
primaries or general elections. They emerge through selection
method tagged “consensus candidate” or “rigging”.
Advocacy Devices in the Poems under Study
One of the qualities that make a work of art outstanding is its
style in content and language. Style, then is “the way in which a
writer selects and arranges words to say what he or she wants to
say” (Kirszner and Mandell,1997:242). The poets’ styles in the
poems involve the use of literary devices suchas rhetorical question,
repetition and metaphor to elevate their linguistic standardas well as
express in an in-depth manner their feelings and emotions.
According to Leech (1969:79), “man finds outlet to his suppressed
intense feeling aboutgamut of corporate beliefs and emotions which
find expressions in the mannerartistic fabrics are expressed’.
Repetition, rhetorical question and metaphor fulfil a number of
advocacy functions not only in the poems under study but also
intheir relevance to the aspirations and needs of the society they
emanate.Basically, they are used to emphasize issues that needed
urgent attention and toenunciate effective corrective measures for a
Rhetorical Question
Rhetorical questions convey information to the addressee.
They do not elicit new information, but rather evoke sympathy or
empathy in a new manner about a pre-existing knowledge or
information. They convey personal information such as emotion and
or attitude. The poets make copious use of rhetorical questions in the
two poems. In Ụkọ N’Uju for example, there are two rhetorical
questions in the first four lines:
Kedụzi ka a ga-esi nọdụ n’anyịm
Were asọ na-akwọ aka?
Kedu kwanụ ka a ga-esi nọdụ
Kwere ncha ọ baa anyị anya?
How can we be in the river
And be washing hands with
How then can we be in the
And allow soap lather into our
Here the poet uses series of rhetorical question as
introductory speech to dramatize in a vivid manner, the incredulity
and the unacceptability of the situation of lack in the midst of
plenty. The second rhetorical question addresses the masses to see
what he (poet) has seen and implicitly beckons the masses torevolt
against their unending plight. The variation in language use of the
wh- marker, keduzi (How is it …?) and kedu kwanu (How come
that…?) shows thegravity of not only the dilemma the masses face
but also their endless suffering.The nu enclitic is used to lend
credence to the unacceptability of the situation.
The following rhetorical questions lament the fact that the
country is the sixth world largest producer of petroleum, yet suffers
scarcity of its products as well as the country’s wealth, yet the
masses are hungry.
Kọọrọ m ihe kpatara na
Mmadu ga-enwe mgbuli
Ma mgbuli ana-agụ ya?
Tell me why one should have
Yet hungers for porridge?
Kọọrọ m ihe kpatara na mmadụ ga
Enwe egbugbere ma anwụ ana-ama
ya n’eze?
Tell me why one should have
Yet one’s teeth are beaten by
the sun?
In the poem, “Ndị ọchịchị,” the rhetorical questions use the
content of lament through the metaphorical use of mgbuli and
egbugbere ọnụto express the dilemma and
unacceptability of the sorry situation, which the poets capped up
with the theme of protest, when in lines 34 and 35 they say, Naanị
otu ụbọchị agaghị ekweta nke a, ‘Just only one day will not allow
this to continue’.
A critical look also at the following rhetorical question will
further buttress our point here:
Ọkwụrụ ọ na-aka onye kụrụ ya? Can the okro plant outgrow its
Here, the poets lament over why the masses cannot
understand that they are the people who gave the politicians or the
political party indicted in the poems, their mandate and as such, can
as well withdraw it. In a subtle manner, the poets
advise the masses to shun all forms of distractions and vote correctly
during elections so as not to give their mandate to the wrong
Comparing the rhetorical questions in the two poems, which
basically are saying the same thing, we observe some similarities as
well as differences. In the poem, “Ụkọ N’Uju”, the rhetorical
questions address the inappropriateimplementation of budgetary
allocations. According to the poet, misappropriation of the nation’s
wealth leads to lack of basic necessities of life in the midst of plenty.
In the poem “Ndị Ọchịchị”, the rhetorical questions point at the
failures of politicians in fulfilling promises made during
electioneering campaigns, and this lends credence to the concern of
“Ụkọ N’Uju”.
The poet in Ụkọ N’Uju generalizes his views without
specifying any particular political party while the poets in Ndị
Ọchịchị” address the People’sDemocratic Party (PDP) as rulers not
leaders in power when they mention Ndịmbịanye aka ebe esere
ncbeenwụ”Those that thumb print where the umbrella is”. Both
poems use rhetorical questions to lament over suffering in the midst
of plenty as well as the use of protest to advocate for revolution.
Repetition is a structural feature of literary language. It is an
attempt by anartist to aim at emphasis, clarity or aesthetic variation
in carrying out advocacyfunction. The following excerpt from “Xkq
N’Uju”, illustrates:
Keduzi…? How can…?
Kedu kwanx…? How then can…?
Keduzi and Kedu kwenu expressions in a repeated manner
lament the incredibility in reading out the huge sums of money on
air and nothing will be shown for it – the deceit of the ruling party,
which “Ndị ọchịchị” reechoes. Ego a “This money”is also
repeatedly used to show that these monies are just mentioned and
there it ends while the masses continue to wallow in poverty.Kọọrọ
m “Narrate to me” dramatises in a detailed form that will convince
the masses why they should not suffer in the midst of plenty.
Secondly, the dilemma over the impunity with which the political
class handles the affairs of this country is highlighted. The
questions, though rhetorical, beckon for immediate answers as to
why the people should suffer scarcity in the midst of plenty.
In the poem “NdịỌchịchị” the poets use repetition to lament
the themes of deceit, recklessness and high handedness of particular
leadership in the contemporary time. Repetition is also used to
clarify the theme of scarcity in the midst of plenty, which is
occasioned by the activities of the politicians who makefalse
promises. The following excerpt explains:
E kwu ekwu only promises
E me eme and not fulfilling
Ndị ọchịchịRulers
In lines 8, 14 and 30, Ndị Qchịchị occupies the subject
position unlike in line 13 where it is in the object position. The
movement of Ndị Qchịchịfrom the subject position to the object
position shows the heightened degree of the poets; lament over the
level of corruption in the country as well as the impunity withwhich
public funds are misappropriated daily by the politicians. This is
revolutionary advocacy. The poets use revolutionary advocacy not
only to intimate the ruling class that they (poets) are aware of their
deceit and highhandedness but also they should be careful (Ikeokwu
2012). The similarity in the use of repetition in the two poems is that
they are both pointing at scarcity in the midst of plenty but they
differ in the sense that in “Ndị Qchịchị”, the particular political party
implicated is mentioned while in “ụkọ N’Uju”, there is no mention
of any political party.
Metaphor is a term, which is found in grammar as well as
works of style (Ikeokwu 2008). It transfers meaning based on a
seeming natural relationshipbetween primary and secondary
referents. The primary referents relate to humans while the
secondary referents relate to objects, concepts or entities.Since
simile, symbolism and metaphor have common referential points in
termsof effecting meaning; we for the purpose of this study define
all of them within the umbrella of metaphor.
The poets make use of metaphor, which according to
Procter (1978:73) is “the use of a phrase, which describes one thing
by stating another thing, which it can be compared to without using
the comparative word.” There is the use of metaphor to compare the
leadership and followership styles in Nigeria so as to expose the
shortcomings of each of them, which in turn triggers off advocacy
for a change. In “ụkọ N’Uju,” a lot of metaphors are used. For
Keduzi ka a ga-esi nọdụ n’anyịm
Were asọ na-akwọ aka?
How can we be in the river
And be washing hands with
Kedu kwanụ ka a ga-esi nọdụ
Kwere ncha ọ baa anyị anya?
How, then can we be in the
And allow soap lather in our
The metaphorical use of being in the river and be washing
hands with spittle and being in the stream and allowing soap to
enter our eyes is questioning why Nigerians should suffer in the
midst of plenty. Why should we experience thescarcity of petroleum
products when we have plenty of petroleum in the country? Or why
should we be hungry when we get billions of dollars daily from
petroleum? The second illustration is questioning the rationality in
accepting the situation as such instead of seeking for a change.
The following example illustrates further, thus:
Nkenu bi n’ala na-apịta mmanụ Nkenu (bird) that lives on the
Karịa ọsa bitọ n’elu
gets more palm oil
Than the squirrel that lives up
Nkenu bi n’ala is used to compare to either the people from
less wealthy countries or non-oil producing states while Qsa be
n’elu is used to compare to people from Nigeria or oil producing
states. The squirrel is supposed to get more palm oil than the Nkenu
because the palm oil is up in the domain of the squirrel. Ironically,
Nigeria, an oil producing country yielding huge sums of money
daily,experiences scarcity of fuel and her citizens are also hungry.
The metaphor thatthe billions budgeted for implementation is only
on air and on paper shows thatthese monies are only read out but not
used for the purpose they are meant for.
In “ọchịchị metaphor is also used for advocacy.Ndị bịanyere
aka ebe esere ncheanwụis symbolic in the sense that ncheanwụis the
logo of the political party in power (PDP). The poets are calling on
the leaders of the party in power to fulfil the promises made to the
people during electioneering campaigns. Qrịa mịnwụ ga-ebi n’aja
ọcha is used to show the relationship between HIV/AIDS,which is a
terminal disease, and the braze with which the politicians handle the
affairs of this country, which if not checked will lead to the death of
the country. Ire ụtọ na bụrị bụrị- smooth talk is used to x-ray the
rhetorical devices employed by the politicians to deceive the people
into voting for them.
Ọkwụrụ ọna-aka onye kụrụ ya?- “Can the okro plant outgrow
its planter?” This is rhetorical as well as metaphorical. It is
metaphorical in the sense that ọkwụrụ”the okro plant” is “the
politicians” (the rulers) while Onye kụrụ ya “the voters” (the masses)
who gave them mandate. The poets advocate for a change of attitude
by the politicians or else the masses will withdraw their mandate.
Findings and Conclusion
Poetry as shown in this study is a veritable tool for
advocacy. Our choice of advocacy devices of repetition, rhetorical
question and metaphor predicates on the assumption that the
highlighted devices have greater bearing on advocacy than other
literary devices not highlighted. Emenanjq, and Ikeokwu and
Onyejekwe use their poems to advocate a change of leadership and
followership styles by the politicians as well as the masses for a
better Nigeria.
Poetry of advocacy is a universal phenomenon and it uses
satire, lament and protest as essential tools of advocacy. The
rhetorical questions, and repetitions, even the metaphors express
lament and protest in a bid to dramatise the suffering of the citizens.
Universality of poetry ofadvocacy could be linked with the fight
against a popular saying which is “man’s inhumanity to man”. This
saying stems from the fact that man on the top has the tendency of
maltreating the man below him. So, the leaders in most cases
subjugate their subjects and who in turn advocate a change of
attitude of their leaders. No society thrives in an unhealthy
environment hence the advocacy for a better society.
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Modernity versus Tradition: An Insight into the Cultural
Conflict in Some Selected Igbo and Yoruba Literature
Ekwenze Aaron Chira Department of Igbo & Other Nigerian
languages Nwafor Orizu College of Education
Nsugbe Anambra State
This paper entitled “Modernity versus Tradition: An insight into the
cultural conflict in some selected Igbo and Yoruba literature (or as
perceived by Igbo and Yoruba writers” is a modest attempt to bring
out how Wole Soyinka’s play The lion and the Jewel is
characterized by culture conflict, where the old culture is
represented by the uneducated people in Ilujunle, led by Baroka,
Sidi and the rest, clashes with the new culture, led by Lakunle, who
is educated. A school teacher by profession is influenced by the
western ways. And also, how Nwokelue Prose Onyebuchi is
characterized by culture conflict, where the old culture is
represented by Igwe Akubueze, his other three wives, Ezemmuo and
the people of Umueke clashes with the new culture, represented by
Ndidiamaka (one of the Igwe’s wives) and Ukochukwu Wintabota.
The critical analysis of the points generated in the course of
investigation adopts qualitative description, and conclusions arrived
at includes that: Sidi’s perception about her marriage with Baroka,
which is not as a convenience, but more as her being famous and
happier with Baroka made it possible for tradition to triumph over
modernity (which is accepting polygamous marriage Wholeheartedly).
Wole Soyinka is Africa’s most distinguished playwright,
winning the Nobel Prize for literature in 1986. Wole Soyinka has
been recognized as one of the most talented of twentieth century
writers. Soyinka’s most popular play, The Lion and Jewel, was
published in 1959, just before Nigeria became independent. Set in
the Nigerian village of Ilujinle, it takes place over the course of a
day and is divided in morning, noon and night. It is major themes
constitute of the notion of progress in an African setting, tradition,
synchronism, love and marriage, and the conflict between traditional
Nigerian Yoruba values and the western influence of Nigeria’s
colonizers. In the play there is a constant confrontation between
tradition and modernity to the influence of British culture during
1940s and 1950s on Nigerian way of life. It also relates tradition to
Nigeria’s traditional Yoruba culture.
The main characters of the drama-Sidi,Lakunle
and Baroka – all exhibited internal and external conflicts with
modernity and tradition. The battle between Lakunle and baroka for
Sidi’s hand in marriage is the main plot of the play and reveals a
confrontation between their two ways of life. The confrontation
between Yoruba tradition and modern civilization is evident through
the characters, plot and structure of the drama. The play’s most
modern and westernized character is Lakunle, a school teacher who
is determined to rid himself and others around him of traditional
ways of life. The village belle, Sidi and the village Bale, Baroka
stand for tradition. In Yoruba culture, the belle is the popular,
attractive girl amongst the village, and the Bale is the ruler of Chief
over the people. Several researchers like: Ashli-Watts, Thirumalai et
al and Reddy P.S. have written papers in relation to Wole Soyinka’s
The Lion and the Jewel, but none of them has done a work on
“Modernity versus Tradition: An insight into the cultural conflict in
some selected Igbo and Yoruba literature (or as perceived by Igbo
and Yoruba writers”. Therefore, the need to carry out this
investigation in-line with the topic of the paper emerges.
Definition of Terms
Here the paper takes a closer look at certain terminologies which are
related to this work such as:
Using UNESCO’s general definition, the domains of
culture includes distinctive spiritual material, intellectual, and
emotional features of a society or group, in addition to its art and
literature, lifestyles, ways of livings together, value systems,
traditions, and beliefs. In other words, culture is life, it defines a
people and an identity in disaksing identity, Falola (2003) opines:
“culture shapes the perception of self and interaction between
people and their environment. Culture explains habits… and defines
norms of behaviour … boundaries among people … it is the basis of
identify and ultimately of development”. Culture is the pulse of a
living society. A “living” society is one that is conscious of its
beginning, its present location among a comity of societies, and one
that progressively and determinedly charts its self-defined purpose
and course that ultimately guarantees an ideal future – a future
strengthened by meaning. Culture defines a people’s
civilization and determines its identity. Narriott (1963) puts it more
succinctly: “No state, not even an infant one is willing to appear
before the world as a bare political fame. Each would be clothed in a
cultural garb symbolic of its aims and ideal being”. By implication,
while it is generally believed that so-called “modern” western
civilization serves as the apogee of cultures, I must add that a
society which handles the affairs of its culture with levity, or
unwittingly leaves its culture unprotected in the hands of uncultured
politicians, all in the name of some covert globalization risks
cultural denigration (and subsequent miscegenation), decay, and
imminent extinction.Also, Margaret et al (1948) sees culture as the
custom and belief, art, way of life and social organization of a
particular country or group: European, Islamic/African/American
Concept of Conflict
According to Margaret, D. et al (1948) conflict is a
situation in which people, group or countries are involved in a
serious disagreement or argument: a conflict between two cultures.
It is a situation in which there are opposing ideas, opinions, feelings
or wishes; a situation in which it is difficult to choose: The story
tells of a classic conflict between love and duty.
Empirical Studies
Many scholars have taken account of the cultural conflicts
displayed in Wole Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel such as:Reddy
(2013) in his paper entitled “cultural Conflict in Wole Soyinka’s
play, The Lion and the Jewel, with the objective to bring out how
his play The Lion And The Jewel is characterized by culture
conflict, ribald comedy and love, where the old culture is
represented by the uneducated people in Ilujunle, led by Baroka,
Sidi and the rest, clashes with the new culture led by Lakunle, who
is educated, school teacher by profession is influenced by the
western ways.
Concludes that:
– The most prominent theme of the play is the rapid
modernization of Africa coupled with the evangelization of
the population. And this has driven a wedge between the
traditionalists, who seek to nullify the changes done in the
name of progress due to vested interest or simply not liking
the result of progress and the modernists, who want to see
the last of outdated traditional beliefs at all cost.
– Another core theme is the marginalization of women as
property. Traditionally, they were seen as properties that
could be brought, sold or accumulated. Even the modern
Lakunle in the play, also falls victim of this by looking
down on Sidi for having a smaller brain and later by
wanting to marry her after she lost her virginity since no
dowry was required in such a situation.
The educated people seek to spread their knowledge to the
tribal people in an attempt to make them more modern. This
presents research work and Reddy (2013). Researches are related to
each other in the sense that both papers considered the culture
conflict in written literature.
Also, Fariha (2011) in his research work entitled “Sidi’s Choice of
Baroka and the victory of Traditional values over Western
ones in Wole Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel, having
adopted a critical analysis of certain main characters in the
play with references to their activities and their possible
interpretations in order to highlight the unpredictable
ending of the play delineating tradition’s triumph over
modernity. Concludes as follows that:
– The Lion and the Jewel is titled in faviour of the mature
and discriminating Baroka and against the shallow and
boyish Lakunle.
– Through the plot of The Lion and The Jewel, Soyinka
deliberately has put a riddle which gives much audience a
headache on analyzing the victory of Baroka over Lakunle
in which many of the audience would like to apply ethnic
issues as a soothing balm.
Sidi is then quite right to uphold her own racist vanity by marrying
old Baroka. Both present research paper and Fariha (2011) research
work considered the conflict between tradition and modernity in
selected literary works.
Furthermore, Ashli Watts (2008) in his research paper entitled
“Tradition vs. modernity: Wole Soyinka’s The Lion and The Jewel,
with a focus to explain how Soyinka uses character, plot, and
structure, including pantomime, to investigate the Nigerian conflict
between modernity and tradition concludes that:
– Lakunle and Baroka display external conflicts in their
battle for Sidi’s love. The characters also display internal
conflicts when they use both tradition and modernity to
their own advantage.
– The overall plot and structure of the play are indications of
this constant conflict. Although this conflict is not the only
theme of the play, Soyinka thoroughly incorporates the
theme of tradition and modernity. Both the present paper
and Ashli Watts (2008) research paper are similar to each
other based on the fact that they used characters to
investigate the conflict between modernity and tradition.
Theoretical Framework
Some of the theories in relation to the topic of the paper
will be discussed vividly.
a) cultures As Adaptive systems
Most scholars or theorists who propounded the theory such as:
Harris, Marxist, Vayda and Rapport, with the view to clarify the
terminological, philosophical, and substantive issues that divide
major theorists and to consider the implications of these rethinking
for a number of classic anthropological questions: How have
cultures developed and what forces shape them? Agree on some
broad assumptions like:
(i) Cultures are systems (of socially transmitted behaviour
patterns) that serve to relate human communities to
their ecological settings. These ways – of – of life of
communities include settlement patterns, modes of
social grouping and political organization, religious
belief and practices and so on. Culture is all chose
means whose forms are not under direct general
control …, which serves to adjust individuals and
groups within their ecological communities. The
culture concept comes down to behavior patterns
associated with particular group of people that is to
customs or to a people’s way of life.
(ii) Cultural change is primarily a process of adaptation
and what amounts to natural selection. Man is an
animal, like all other animals, must maintain an
adaptive relationship with his surroundings in order to
survive. Although he achieves this adaptation
principally through the medium of culture, the process
is guided by the same rules of natural selection that
govern biological adaptation.
(iii) Technology, subsistence economy, and elements of
social organization directly tied to production are the
most adaptively central realms of culture. It is in this
realm that adaptive changes usually begin and from
which they usually ramify. However all the theorists
(except perhaps the Rappaport of most recent vintage),
would view economies and their social correlates as in
some sense primary, and ideational systems – religion,
ritual, world view – as in some sense. Secondary,
derived, or epiphenomenal.
(iv) The ideational components of cultural systems may
have adaptive consequences in controlling population,
contribution to subsistence, maintaining the ecosystem.
Tradition versus Modernity: An Insight
So many discussions have been done regarding the conflict
between tradition and modernity in this play wherein tradition wins
over modernity through the final action of Sidi. Now, if the play
reflects a conflict between old ways and new ways, then who is the
winner? One cannot answer this very easy, if Sidi is the prize, then it
can be concluded that she has been won by Baroka. And thus
victory may seem to go to the older way of life and then older
beliefs he represents.
Now, this paper will consider in detail those issues (culture
conflicts) that led to tradition’s triumph over modernity which are
– Traditional Bride Price
The overall plot of the play, Lakunle and Baroka’s fight for Sidi’s
love, displays confrontation between tradition and modernity.
Lakunle refuses to pay Sidi’s bride price because he thinks it is
uncivilized outrageous custom. Considering his speech thus:
Lukunle: Ignorant girl, can you not understand?
To pay the bride price would be to
buy a heifer off the market stall.
You will then be my chattel, my mere
property (pg.8).
Sidi responds to one of Lakunle’s many proposals stating;
Sidi: I have told you, and I say it again I
shall marry you today, next week or any
day you name. but my bride price must
be paid…, but I tell you, Lakunle, I
must have the full bride-price. Will you
make me a laughing stock? Well, do as
you please but Sidi will not make
herself a cheap bowl for the village spit.
They will say I was no virgin that I was
forced to sell shame and marry you
without a price. (pg.6)
The above passage is an obvious indication that if Lakunle will only
stuck to the traditional bride – price, “the modern man” could have
had his bride. Lakunle’s choice for modernity leaves the door open
for Baroka to enter, knowing the rules of traditional and using Sidi’s
ego against her. Sidi is the needle of the pendulum; she wavers from
end to end confused, before finally settling on the traditional side.
This is the battle which induces tradition to triumph over modernity.
Polygamy versus Monogamy
Polygamy is a familiar tradition in older, backward society
whereas monogamy is a modern phenomenon. There are many
inconsistencies in Lakunle which also may irritate Sidi. Although,
Lakunle claims to detest Baroka’s habits and power, infact Lakunle
secretly envies Baroka and Sidi. As observed in one speech he
wished if he had the Bale’s privilege of marrying many wives.
Lakunle is contradicting himself here by trying whole-heartedly to
uphold modernity but ironically he cannot obviate his native identity
and demands. Even he seems to forget his principles at the end of
the play when he eagerly embraces the thought that since Sidi is no
longer a virgin now, he cannot be asked to pay a bride-price for her
before marriage. As seen in the passage below:
Lakunle: “Man takes the fallen women by the hand”
And ever after they live happily. Moreover,
I will admit it solves the problem of her
bride-price too (pg. 61)
Not minding Lakunle’s present thought, in the beginning, Lakunle is
madly in love with Sidi and offers her a “Western” monogamous
marriage, but Sidi exhibits her traditional views in her rejections of
Lakunle’s many modern advances toward her. She is aware of
Lakunle’s desire to court her in a modern fashion, but will not put
aside her values to allow Lakunle do so. Sidi is most adamant about
Lakunle paying her bride-price in order to marry her. In the other
end, Baroka request that Sidi becomes his youngest wife. But Sidi
declines the more traditional choice of being his last wife (and later
the senior wife after Baroka’s death), instead she demonstrated
modern thoughts by saying that Baroka is too old and unattractive.
She does not look more as her being famous and happier with
Baroka. This Sidi’s perception about fame and happiness induces
tradition to triumph over modernity (that is total acceptance of
polygamous marriage).
Christianity versus Traditional Religion
Lakunle forgets in his agitation that he is a Christian
opposed to the village religion and appeals to the God of thunder
and lightning. He declares that “my love is selfless – the love of
spirit. Not of flesh” but if it is so, then how can he be so concerned
of “bride-price” even when he is about to lose the beloved? Lakunle
himself is deliberately insincere and that it would be perfect to say
that he is too weak to recognize his own inconsistencies.
As a result of his (Lakunle) speech calling himself a
“beloved of the village deity (the spirit) because of bride-price issue,
it shows submitting oneself to the traditional religion. Therefore, it
indicates tradition’s triumph over modernity.
In the other hand, in Nwokelue’s prose Onyebuchi, the
conflict between Christianity and traditional religion can be
observed in the passages below:
Ndidiamaka so Akụbụeze (Igwe Ụmụeke) ekpere Ikenga
mana ugbu a ụka batara obodo ha bụ Ụmụeke ha ọ hapụrụ Ikenga
kpewere Chineke nke bi n’igwe. Ebe Akụbụeze na ndị Oriakụ ya ndị
ọzọ kwenyere n’Ikenga nke obodo ha. (pg. 11)
Ndidiamaka was worshipping Ikenga (the village deity)
with Akubueze (king of Ụmụeke) but now Christianity arrived their
town called Ụmụeke, she abandoned Ikenga and stated worshipping
the Almighty God. But Akubueze and his other wives believed in
Ikenga, the village deity. (pg. 11)
In the passages above, it is observed that Igwe Akubueze
together with all her wives including Ndidiamaka were worshipping
the village deity (Ikenga) but because of the arrival of Christianity in
the village, Ndidiamaka repented and become a Christian convert
but the king (Igwe Akụbụeze) and his other wives including the
villagers and the Chief priest (Ezemmụọ) were still worshipping the
village deity (Ikenga).
Again, the passage below helps in the analysis of the data
Akụbụeze malitere gawa ụka n’ụlọụka onyeọcha
Wintabota.Obi dị nwoke a bụ Wintabota ụtọ n’ihi
otu onye chegharịrị n’etiti ha, malite oge ahụ
gawa, o nweghị ihe dịka arụsị n’obodo Ụmụeke ma
ya fọdụ Ikenga.Onye ọbụla malitere gawa ụka ma
nwoke ma nwaanyị. Mgbe Ezemmụọ bụ onye naenye
arụsị obodo ha nri hụrụ na ọ dịghị onye ya na
ya kwụ. O kpebiri na ọ ga-amalite gawa ụka
n’ihina ndị be anyị kwuru okwu sị na otu osisi
anaghị eme ọhịa. Igwe Akụbụeze kwere Ụkọchukwu
Wintabota nnukwu nkwa pụrụ iche. Ọ sịrị na ya gaewu
ụlọụka buru ibu maka ndị obodo ha na kwa
ụlọ ebe obibi maka Ụkọchukwu Wintabota. (pg.
Akubueze started attending church in the white
man’s church, Mr. Wintabeta was happy because
one person has repented among them, from that
time onward, there is nothing like deity in Ụmụeke
talk more of Ikenga. Everyone started going to
church including men and women. When
Ezemmụọ, who is the leader of the village deity
found out that nobody was with him again. He
decided to join other villagers in attending the
church, this goes along to our people’s say, that one
tree cannot make a forest. King Akụbụeze made a
special promise to Rev. Wintabota. He said he will
build a mighty church for the villagers and another
house for Rev. Wintabota. (pg.58).
Based on the above passages, we observed that Ndidiamaka, one of
the wives of king Akụbụeze (the king of Ụmụeke) abandoned the
worship of Ikenga (the village deity) and became a Christian convert
when Christianity arrived the town. As a result of Ndidiamak’s
action, she was sent out of the town. King Akụbụeze has a problem
of no male child in his family, but as a result of Rev. Wintabota
prayer, Ndidiamaka became pregnant and delivered a baby boy.
This now gave king Akụbụeze an apparent heir to his throne.
In appreciation, king Akụbụeze became a Christian convert
together with the villagers including Ezemmụọ (the chief priest of
Ikenga deity). By this action of the king and his subjects there is a
strong indication of modernity triumph over tradition.
In consideration of the different cultural conflicting issues
(such as issue of traditional bride price), this paper concludes that
Lakunle’s choice for modernity leaves the door open for Baroka to
enter, and knowing the rules of tradition and using Sidi’s ego against
her, Sidi wavers from end to end confused, before finally settling on
the traditional side (that accepted to marry Baroka). This now
becomes the battle which causes tradition to triumph over
Again, Sidi’s perception about her marriage with Baroka,
which is not as a convenience, but more as her being famous and
happier with Baroka made it possible for tradition to trump over
modernity (which is a total acceptance of polygamous marriage).
Finally, in Nwokelue’s prose Onyebuchi, in appreciation
for the miracle of a male child into the king’s family, king
Akubueze became a Christian convert together with the villagers
including Ezemmuo (the chief priest of Ikenga deity). By this action
of the king and his subjects, there is a strong indication of modernity
triumph over tradition.
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Fariha, I.C. (2011). Sidi’s choice of Baroka and the victory of
traditional values over Western ones in Wole Soyinka’s
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Falola, T. (2003).The power of African cultures. Rochester Ny:
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Marriot, M. (1963), “Cultural policy in New states” . In (Ed.) old
societies and New states”. In Clifford, G. (Ed.).Old
societies and New states: The quest for modernity in Asia
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Nwokelue, R. M. (2010). Onyebuchi. Onitsha: Noble Resource.
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