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Traditional Institutions

Author: nick on 13-09-2013, 19:00, views: 8 282


Societies played an important role in the traditional government of Ikot Abasi. Every free born citizen of Ikot Abasi belonged to a society and depended on that membership for the right to harvest palm fruits from a particular palm grove allocated to the society. The well-known societies included, Ekpo, Ekong, Atat, Ekpe and Idiong.

Category: Tradition and Culture


Traditional Institutions For Men

Author: nick on 13-09-2013, 18:00, views: 12 657


Last remains of Akai Ekpo grove at EsseneLast remains of Akai Ekpo grove at EsseneEkpo Institution


The Ekpo society is probably the most popular traditional society in Ibibio and Anaang communities of Akwa Ibom State. There appears, however, more awe attached to the Ekpo masquerade and the entire practice of the society in Ikot Abasi than what obtains in other places. Firstly, the membership of the society is restricted to mature and older men of proven integrity and valour. Secondly, one has to spend greatly to get fully initiated into the society. Thirdly, the Ekpo society was regarded as the highest law-and-order enforcement agency in the area before the advent of colonial rule. No woman was supposed to set her eyes on an Ekpo masquerade, and doing this without the masquerade knowing about it might result in the woman giving birth to a monster that would look like the masquerade. The Ikot Abasi Ekpo masquerade carries a very sharp machete, which can be readily used in dealing deadly blows on women coming his way, or, at times, on men non-initiates of the society. Because of the fear, reverence and awe, attached to the society and the barring of women from seeing Ekpo, the masquerades were restricted to certain areas of the town or village, and completely banned from wandering into the major trunk roads (usung ukwak) or market area. This is very much unlike what happens in some other LGA's of the state where Ekpo masquerades wander about everywhere, terrorising people.


Ekpo Nyoho ceremonies are performed at certain times of the year and during the death of any of the members. The monument, called the Eka Ekpo, is erected every seventh year, and during this period, which extends up to one month, the whole town is under the siege of the Ekpo masquerade. Many sacrifices in appeasement of the gods are carried out during the ceremonies.


Category: Tradition and Culture


Traditional Institutions For Women

Author: nick on 13-09-2013, 17:00, views: 8 725


Ibibio women had their autonomous organisation, parallel to that of the men (Noah, 1985; Akpan & Ekpo, 1988: Ekpo). In the Ibibio section of the local government, there are some traditional institutions which are mainly for women. Such institutions include Ebre, Ibaan Isong, Nkerebe, Asian Uba Ikpa.


Ebre Society


The word ebre means water yam. This food crop is cultivated by the women, in contrast with the other kinds of yam, which are planted and owned by men in the family. Why the traditional play ebre was so called, is not clearly understood. Some authors have suggested that the name given to the most important women cultural society, was chosen to check the stealing of this particular women's crop. The society was restricted to married women of proven integrity. It had the mandate to maintain and regulate the conduct of the members, ensuring proper discipline and good behaviour of the members.


Ibaan Isong Society


Ibaan Isong (the women of the land) was the most potent women organisation, used for winning political, economic and social privileges for women. The organisation could move and attack a man, who maltreated his wife. The sit in on a man by the Ibaan Isong, as reported by Noah (1985), amounted to declaration of war with the man. All the women in the village would gather together and lay siege at the man's compound. Crops found in the compound would be harvested and consumed for as long as the matter remained unresolved. The man would be abused with every kind of offensive language and the women would tell all kinds of rumour against him, whether true or false, just to provoke him. Such rumours included the man's lack of virility, inability to cater for his family or his being a known thief. The women could go in large numbers and almost completely naked, to register their protest against any wrong doing visited on them, or on any of them.


Category: Tradition and Culture


Judicial Instruments

Author: nick on 13-09-2013, 16:00, views: 9 621


In the pre-colonial Ikot Abasi society, there was no distinction between criminal and civil matters. Most actions which caused damage to individual could be condoned, provided that the injured parties were sufficiently compensated.


The major or criminal offences were those ones which, it was thought, would bring disaster on the community as a whole by insulting the gods, particularly the fertility god, or which endangered the community. They included murder, witchcraft, sexual intercourse with a woman in the bush, with a twin mother, or with a woman in mourning, theft, wilful destruction of property (Ibid: 34-35). In most cases, convicted criminals were killed or sold into slavery, depending on the gravity of the offence.


Civil offences were those which did not adversely affect the society. They included land disputes, ordinary adultery, debt, marriage disputes and false accusations or defamation of character (Ibid.).


Cases were judged in ekpuk, village, village group or clan meetings, depending on their seriousness. Petty matters, such as minor stealing for the first time, marriage matters, plain adultery, debt or land disputes concerning people of the same ekpuk were judged in the ekpuk meeting. The sale of a man into slavery was a matter for the village meeting and all the serious matters were settled there first. If the village meeting decided it was a case which deserved death, it had to be taken to the group meeting place, where the decision of the village was ratified. There was no difference between the administrative and judiciary, and the same people settled each with similar procedure.


Category: Tradition and Culture


Marriage Customs

Author: nick on 13-09-2013, 15:00, views: 10 106


Mboppo girl in seclusion. Note the body painting designs. (Courtesy: Theresa I. Iwok)Mboppo girl in seclusion. Note the body painting designs. (Courtesy: Theresa I. Iwok)Preparing Girls for Womanhood


The young, growing-up girls were well cared for in the traditional way before they reached womanhood and got married to raise children. This was done by fattening them in stages, in confinement, while placing them on special sumptuous diet during the period. Ability to feed well and put on excessive weight testified to her parents' wealth and her healthy disposition. The girls were completely naked during the period and were supposed to be virgins before and during the period of confinement. Their bodies were rubbed with palm oil and they slept on bare bamboo beds. Specially trained women would come every morning and evening to massage their bodies with oil, ensuring that there is fat at the right places of the body. The following categories of traditional stages of seclusion and training were practised in the local government area:




This was the first stage the young girl underwent at about twelve years of age. In this case, the seclusion period lasted for about a period of one to two weeks.


Category: Tradition and Culture


Traditional Religion

Author: nick on 13-09-2013, 14:00, views: 7 268


Iko Ute Shrine of Owok ute village, EsseneIko Ute Shrine of Owok ute village, EsseneIbibio Prayer to Abasi Isua
(the god of the year):


Our father's god, boundaries. Let no crop make our farms clean, purify people's farms. Drive evil things outside our of ours fail to harvest. Let no leopard harm our animals. (Talbot, 1923: 267)


The people's belief in life after death and in a power greater than man (Akpabio, 1991: 13-20) lies in the basis of traditional religion in Ikot Abasi. This was expressed in the worship of the Heavenly God (Abasi Ibom), the deities (mme ndem, abasi isong, abasi isua, abasi inwang, etc.), and the ancestors (mbukpo ikaan). For the Obolo, the supreme God is Yok Obolo, which possesses attributes similar to Abasi Ibom. As with Africans elsewhere, religion pervaded the lives of the peoples of Opobo Division. As far as the traditional religion was concerned, the principal features, as Professor Bolaji Idowu has indicated, are belief in God, belief in the divinities, belief in spirits, belief in the ancestors, and the practice of magic and medicine, each with its own consequent, attendant cult (Idowu, 1973: 139).


The Ibibio supreme God is Abasi Ibom, identified also with Abasi Enyong (God of the firmament or universe), creator and ruler of the universe, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. The Ibibio lesser divinities, which are reflections of Abasi Ibom, include abasi isong (goddess of the earth), responsible for the fertility of crops, abasi ekong (god of war), ebe abasi (a deified husband).


Category: Tradition and Culture



Author: nick on 12-09-2013, 23:00, views: 6 701


Physical Map of Ikot Abasi Local Government Area (with Eastern Obolo)Physical Map of Ikot Abasi Local Government Area (with Eastern Obolo)Ikot Abasi Local Government Area (LGA), one of the 30 local government areas of Akwa Ibom State, is located on the south-western part of Akwa Ibom State. It is bordered by Oruk Anam Local Government Area in the north, Mkpat Enin Local Government Area in the west and the Eastern Obolo LGA on the Atlantic Ocean in the south. The Imo River forms the natural boundary in the east separating it from Rivers State. (Fig. 1). It covers an area of approximately, 451.73 sq. km.

Category: Physical Features and Natural Resources


Topography and Drainage

Author: nick on 12-09-2013, 22:00, views: 10 821


The region is flat and low-lying, but three major physiographic units can be identified from the terrain, the alluvial plains (mangrove and flood plains), the beach ridge sands and the rolling sandy plains.


The alluvial plains comprise mangrove swamps and fresh water flood plains. The mangrove swamps, which are drained by tidal brackish water, are found in the estuaries of Imo River, Uta Ewa (Jaja), Shooter and Qua Iboe Creeks and along the coastal fringes, separating the beach ridge sands from the upland coastal sandy plains. The fresh water flood plains are formed by the upper reaches of Imo River and a large network of creeks, the major ones being Essene, Uta Ewa (Jaja), Shooter and Qua Iboe Creeks. The area of alluvial plains is quite extensive, forming about 40 % of the total land mass of the LGA.


The beach ridge sand zone reaches from the mangrove mudflats towards the shoreline. The zone with its beautiful scenery is quite extensive around Okoroete, creating an attractive tourist resort. In the forties and early fifties, it used to attract a good number of Europeans from the upland areas to Ikot Abasi (Opobo). The tourist potential of the beautiful scenery of the beach sands needs to be explored.


The rolling sandy plains are located in the upland areas of the local government area, the topography is gently undulating plains, being part of the coastal plain sands of Calabar Formation. It occupies about 50 % of the land mass of the LGA. The area is drained by the Imo River and its tributaries, principally Essene Creek and numerous streams and rivulets. The Essene Creek is the most important physical feature in the area. It comes from the northern part, passing through Mkpat Enin LGA and moving southwards. Another creek (Ete Creek), which passes through Ukpum Ete and Okon territory, joins it near Urua Essen, at a confluence, usually referred to as Mkpat Ete - Mkpat Aya. The creek then flows into the Imo River at a point near Ikot Abasi. The tidal creek is navigable by launch at high tides and was a major transport route for the early European trade into the hinterland.

Category: Physical Features and Natural Resources


Geology and Soils

Author: nick on 12-09-2013, 21:00, views: 6 183


(a) The geological formations in the area consist of the Quaternary sedimentary deposits, and the Tertiary Coastal Plain Sands, generally referred to as Calabar Formation.


The Quaternary sediments give rise to alluvial plains as well as the beach ridge sands. The alluvial plains include the mangrove mudflats, which are under the influence of tidal brackish waters along the coast and in the estuaries of rivers and creeks, and the fresh water flood plains and swamps which form the wetland environments found along the upper reaches of rivers, creeks, tributaries and meander belts. The beach ridge sands form some raised portion of land between the mangrove swamps and the shoreline. The mangrove mudflats contain strata of mixed inorganic matters and plant debris.


In the water courses of the freshwater alluvium, the sandy materials consist of yellow/milky white silt to fine-grained sand particles that are sub-angular to sub-rounded.


The flood plains and inter tributary areas have light grey to dark carbonaceous mud and clay.


The Tertiary Coastal Plain Sand, or Calabar Formation is older and consists of beds of unconsolidated coarse textured sandstones, inter-bedded with layers of fine grained massive clay.


Category: Physical Features and Natural Resources



Author: nick on 12-09-2013, 20:00, views: 4 755


The climate of the area is that of humid tropic. Temperatures are high, lying between 26 °C and 28 °C, rainfall is heavy and the mean annual rainfall lies between 2,000-4,000 mm. Rain falls throughout the year. The rainy season lasts from April to November and is characterised by high relative humidity and heavy cloud covers. The area may experience a short break, generally known as August Break, during the long rainy season. This is a short period of dryness of about two weeks, usually occurring in August. The dry season proper begins in November and ends in March. Harmattan is experienced in December and January. The harsh hot tropical climatic conditions are moderated by the coastal location of the area.

Category: Physical Features and Natural Resources