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Political Awareness: Ethnic Improvement Unions

Author: smith on 17-09-2013, 21:00, views: 2 091

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In spite of its educational backwardness, Opobo Division did produce its educated elite-persons trained in educational institution in or outside the Division, or who had acquired some aspects of European civilisation while serving the colonial government or the European missionary and trading enterprises. They were the houseboys, clerks, catechists, preachers, teachers, court messengers, interpreters and the like. As from 1940's they included persons who had studied abroad in Europe or America, the first and best known of whom is Sir Udo Udoma.

 

Young men attempted to dominate the Ikpa Nnung Assang and Ikpa Nnung Esetang Councils and the District Officer had to settle disputes several times.
 
(Ann. Rep. 1934)

 

By the 1940, the British held exclusive presence in the top level of the expatriate administration, economic and social hierarchical structure. The Africanisation of the civil service and the trade came through the necessity to cut down expenses on European staff during the 1930's economic slump, and the availability of qualified educated African elite, and the heavy pressure by educated Nigerian elite.

 

It was these educated elite, more or less supported by the traditional leaders - the village and clan heads and elders, who organised self-help and improvement unions for their communities as from 1920's. The unions aimed to effectuate modernisation and development by building schools, promoting education and literacy, improving farming techniques, and organising co-operative societies (Abasiattai, 1994: 33-44). The unions included the Andoni Progressive Union (APU), the Obolo State Union (OSU), the Opobo Improvement Union (OIU), and the Ibibio State Union (ISU).

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Category: Ikot Abasi in the Socio-Political Development

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