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Author: smith on 17-09-2013, 18:00, views: 5 444


Following the NA reforms of the 1930's, the Ogoni were organised into one Superior Native Authority (SNA or Tribal Council) which met at Yeghe, and five Clan Councils (or Subordinate Native Authorities-SUNA) which met at Tai, Gokana, Eleme, Southern and Northern Kana. A Native or Clan Court was also established for each clan, and, in 1936, a Tribal Native Treasury.


British colonial officials, who lived or worked with the Ogoni invariably described them as a spirited, virile race (Smith, 1937), possessing great vigour and less culture, and the least exposed to European influence of all the peoples in Opobo Division (Dewhurst, 1938). All this portrayed their true spirit of independence and virility, derived from the resilience of their traditional institutions against injustice or external colonial domination.


Despite their late start in Western education, some progress was eventually made. As from late the 1930's, several Ogoni youths trained at the T. T. C, Uyo, returned to teach in the NA, Methodist and Roman Catholic schools, in which position they contributed significantly to social change (Gibbons, 1935). In December 1937, of the 24 members of the Executive Committee of the Tribal Council, about one-quarter were literate and the rest were influential chiefs. Thus, in Ogoni, enlightenment on the part of the few educated elite combined with shrewd common sense on the part of the non-literate chiefs to motivate social, economic and political development (Dewhurst, 1938). A government report in 1938 described the Executive Committee as a vigorous, progressive body which has done most useful work.


In 1944 the Ogoni were excised from Opobo to Degema Division during an adjustment of divisional boundaries. In the new Division, the Ogoni continued to make steady progress. By the early 1950's, an Ogoni Union had been formed comparable to the improvement unions in Obolo and Opobo Town, and poised to participate in the late colonial and post independence development of Nigeria.

Category: Ikot Abasi in the Socio-Political Development


Ibibio and Anaang

Author: smith on 17-09-2013, 17:00, views: 12 950


Chief Ntuen Ibok with his MBE medal, 1954. Source: NM, CalabarIn the struggle to uplift the status and preserve the dignity of the African manhood and heritage. (Motto of the Ibibio State Union)


As elsewhere in Opobo Division, prior to the NA reforms, the Ibibio and the Anaang were organised into Native Court Areas, with little regard for clan boundaries, and with the Native Courts performing executive, legislative and judicial functions. By the NA reforms of the 1930's, executive and legislative functions were separated from judicial: a Clan Council, serving as Subordinate Native Authority (SUNA) and a Native Court were established for each clan; the first one performed executive and legislative, and the other, judicial functions. Thus, as in Ogoni, a Clan Council and a Native Court were established in 1934 for each of the Ibibio clans of Ibiaku, Ikpa and Ukpum. Additionally, in 1935, an Ibibio Central Council and a Central Ibibio Native Treasury were established, constituting the Ibibio NA of Opobo Division. The Central Council, comprising 100 members elected by the SUNA's, served as Superior Native Authority. It had a strong Executive Committee similar to the Ogoni's, which met monthly at Ikot Akan (Dewhurst, 1938; Smith, 1940). Similar administrative bodies were established for the Anaang in Opobo Division. The Central Ibibio Council at Ikot Akan became the organisational centre for political and educational upliftment of the Ibibio and Anaang areas in Ikot Abasi.


The Ibibio Treasury
Ikot Akan Council Hall was the seat of the Central Ibibio Council, which, with the support of the Ibibio Union, became the power in the land, the group council simply complying with its decisions. The Ibibio Treasury, which opened with big celebrations on 30th Nov. 1935, had Chiefs Ntuen Ibok of Essene and Umo Idem Umo Eren Akpata of Ikot Ekpo (persons whom we know will be faithful to all), elected as key-holders to the safe room lock keys. They employed an educated young man to accompany them for the monthly receipts and payments, who carefully scrutinised the vouchers and kept records of each spending. (Gibbons, 1934)
In August 1944, Chief Umo Idem was made Ohong hong of the two Ukpum clans.
(Ann. Rep. 1944)


Category: Ikot Abasi in the Socio-Political Development


Resistance to Colonial Rule

Author: smith on 17-09-2013, 16:00, views: 9 196


Notice of the ISU Deputation Visit. (Source: Prof. M.E. Noah)The Man Leopard Murders


In the social sphere, a major achievement by the ISU was the Union's undertaking, when government efforts failed, to suppress man-leopard murders that occurred in the 1940's in some areas of Opobo, Abak and Uyo Divisions among the Ibibio and the Anaang. The man-leopards (Ekpe owo or ekpe ikpa ukod), simulating leopards in their dress and manner of killing, were hired to commit the murders by aggrieved persons seeking vengeance over matrimonial or land disputes, default or misuse of osusu (co-operative) payments, etc. which the Native Courts failed to settle impartially. Partial or non-refund of dowry, desertion or adultery by a wife, or rejection of a suitor could motivate the aggrieved man to revenge through man-leopard murder (Udo-Affia, 1947; Anon, 1946). The practice of child marriage further exacerbated the situation. Additionally, cheap or so-called one-manilla divorce, instituted by the District Officer F. R. Kay in Abak Division, whereby only a very small portion of the dowry (one manilla) was refunded to the husband in some cases of divorce6, motivated many husbands to take the law into their hands. In Opobo Division, murders occurred at Ibesit Okpokrok, Ikot Ukpong Eden, Ibesit Anwa, Ikot Ikpene, Idung Ntuk Uma, Ikot Akama, Eteben, Ikot Idem, Ikot Udoro (Anaang), and Essene, Ikot Akpa Obong, Ibekwe Akpan Nya, and Ikot Obio Okoi (Ibibio), among others. By May 1947, when an ISU delegation toured the Leopard Area with a view to stopping the murders, over 100 persons had been killed by man-leopards, especially in the Anaang areas, where the murders originated (NAE ABAKDIST. 1/2/92).


The tour of the ISU delegation undertaken with approval by the Government, lasted from May 27 to July 31, 1947. It was a tremendous undertaking. Government provided several lorries and a police escort, proclaimed the affected area a Man-Leopard Area on which it billeted 300 police men, and imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew (Udoma, 1987: 117-120). A police force headquarters for the Leopard Area was established at Egwanga under I. E. Hodges, Superintendent of Police. The delegation itself comprised 52 prominent men representing the ISU and the NA's drawn from all the six Ibibio districts (Schofield, April 1947).


Category: Ikot Abasi in the Socio-Political Development


Anti-Tax Wars: The Women's War of 1929

Author: smith on 17-09-2013, 15:00, views: 12 437


Chief Ntuen Ibok and DO Murphy. Source: Otung Ntuen Ibok, Ikot OsukpongBesides the man-leopard menace, other challenges to the colonial government included the resistance against certain colonial policies and practices, particularly taxation. Since the imposition of British colonial rule, the people of Eastern Nigeria had been obliged to provide unpaid labour for public works, but had not been taxed, the Native Courts deriving their revenue mostly from court fines. Indeed, the people had no tradition of regular taxation. In 1927, Government decided to impose a tax on able-bodied adult males as a more systematic source of revenue.


Tax assessment of each adult male, carried out in the Division in 1927/28, involved the counting of property like food crops, palm produce, crafts and livestock. In the end, a flat rate tax of seven shillings per adult male was imposed, excepting Ogoni, where the rate was six shillings, as its resources were considered underdeveloped and the people, poorer in consequence (Whitman, 1928). Significantly, District Officer G.E. Murphy, who did the assessment in Opobo Division, noted that among the Ibibio and the Ogoni there was:

... passive opposition of every kind. There was no case of natives pressing forward to give information as to the number of wives, sheep etc. they had and how much land they farmed. In some towns... the people had even removed the livestock; in others they stood apart in suddenly (sic) hostile groups. The chiefs were generally reluctant to give any open assistance even in cases where they were not themselves hostile to the tax; none of them would show me round more than their own compounds and they were obviously afraid of their own people (Murphy, 1927).


In spite of the passive resistance to the assessment, the tax itself was paid in 1928 without problems. However, when re-assessment was carried out in some areas in December 1928 to rectify errors in the very rough assessment of 1927/28, opposition to it and actual violence occurred on December 4 at Ikot Obio Itong: the assessing team of officials was assaulted; and at the adjacent village of Ukam, the people destroyed the Native Court buildings, staff quarters and court records, and forcibly released the prisoners in the lock-up, which they also destroyed, along with two miles of telegraph lines and several road bridges. On December 6, however, colonial troops sent from Calabar at lightning speed, some of which got stuck on the muddy road and were also assaulted by the villagers, burnt down Ikot Obio Itong which had started the resistance, and imposed a fine on Ukam, and on neighbouring Minya for obstructing the troops marching to Ukam (Falk, 1929).


Category: Ikot Abasi in the Socio-Political Development


Politics and Nigeria's Independence

Author: smith on 17-09-2013, 14:00, views: 5 054


The period from the 1940's onward witnessed the rise of Nigerian nationalism, constitutional development, the formation of political parties, enfranchisement and mass political participation, in all of which Ikot Abasi and its citizens were actively involved.


The Richard's Constitution of 1946, although vehemently criticised by Nigerian nationalists as a colonial imposition and a far cry from democracy, did provide for persons nominated from the Native Authorities to meet as a Provincial Council to select some of the members of the newly created Regional Houses of Assembly. The Houses, in turn, selected several of their members to the Legislative Council in Lagos. Members of the Calabar Provincial Council from Opobo Division, who, participated in the rudimentary elections of 1947 and thus became the Division's pioneer modern politicians, were based on their NA's:


Andoni: Rev. John B. Ikuru (Niger Delta Pastorate pastor and petty trader);

Ibibio: W. A. Meyen (Methodist teacher);

Opobo Town: Solomon S. A. Pepple (Produce trader);

Anaang: Thomas Udofia (Qua Iboe teacher, and member, Ibesit Nnung Ikot Council) OPOBODIST, 1/1/63.


They were, in a sense, bridgers of gap between colonial autocracy and national democracy.


Category: Ikot Abasi in the Socio-Political Development


State Creation Movements

Author: smith on 17-09-2013, 13:00, views: 13 958


PHOTOGRAPHS: Dr. Udo Udoma William E. Ufot Harry Ekanem Dennis Udo-lnyangPHOTOGRAPHS: Dr. Udo Udoma William E. Ufot Harry Ekanem Dennis Udo-lnyangFrom the early 1950's to 1987, the fundamental public issue for the people of the Old Calabar Province - if not for Nigeria as a whole - was state-creation. Since this was realised by the Ibibio only as late as September 23, 1987, the issue is discussed in the close of this chapter as the culmination of the people's desire for self-determination and the beginning of a new vista of promise and fulfilment.


The roots of the movement for state creation in Nigeria, unquestionably, lie in the formation of the Ibibio Welfare Union in 1928. By September 1987, when Akwa Ibom State was created, the movement in the Old Calabar Province had gone through seven phases, the first one of which was the formation of the Union in 1928.


The second phase commenced in 1935, when, as part of its concern with welfare, the Union moved to influence - indeed re-shape - the colonial political and administrative system. In doing so, the Union pressed the colonial government to create a unified and uniform Native Administration Service scheme for the Ibibio to be known as Ibibio Native Administration with a Central Office at Uyo, in place of the existing clan-based Native Authorities (or Clan Councils), which tended to be divisive by fostering clan, rather than pan-Ibibio loyalties. By the unified service scheme, an NA employee could be transferred from one NA to another so far as the person is a native of Ibibio, no matter which district he comes from. Recruitment to the clerical cadre of staff was to be by a competitive examination, and not on the basis of origin from the NA area. The Unified Administration was to have a Central Treasury for the whole Ibibio Tribe, at the commencement controlled by the Resident and later by a Supreme Ibibio Council (Ikpe, 1942). This Council would plan, and allocate the NA funds, centrally and, therefore, efficiently for the entire Ibibioland in order to achieve balanced development. There were to be also an Ibibio Appeal Court (from the Clan Courts), an Ibibio Conference of Chiefs, and the like. Characteristically, the Draft Scheme embodying the Unified NA Service Scheme was signed on September 13, 1937 by representatives of the six Ibibio districts to reflect the pan-Ibibio approach (Resident, 1937).


Category: Ikot Abasi in the Socio-Political Development



Author: smith on 16-09-2013, 23:00, views: 3 992


Ikot Abasi was formerly administered as part of the Opobo District established in 1892. The district initially comprised Opobo and Ikot Abasi. But by the second decade of the 20th century, it had been extended to include Andoni and Ogoni areas. Consequently, Opobo District was divided by the Imo River into two halves - the Opobo and the Ogoni to the west, the Ibibio of Ikot Abasi to the east while the Andoni occupied the fringes along the seaboard (Lovering, 1915).


This category examines and analyses the advent of colonial rule; the establishment of colonial administration; the political, social and economic development; and the infrastructure provided in Ikot Abasi in the period 1900 to 1960. All these developments are dealt with in four broad periods: the Advent of Colonial Rule, dating roughly from 1850 to 1899; the Establishment and Consolidation of Colonial Administration, 1900 to 1929; the Native Authority (NA) Era, 1931 to 1950; and the period of Collapse and Rejuvenation 1950 to 1960.

Category: Colonial Experiences


Colonial Advent

Author: smith on 16-09-2013, 22:00, views: 4 243


Let it be admitted at the outset, that European brains, capital and energy have not been, and never will be expended in developing the resources of Africa from motives of pure philanthropy; that Europe is in Africa for the mutual benefit of her own industrial classes.
(Lord F. D. Lugard, The Dual Mandate, 1926: 617)

The period 1850-1899 witnessed the advent of British colonial rule in Ikot Abasi. From 1850 to 1884 the British colonial agents - traders and consuls - introduced a foreign court and a foreign legal system in Ikot Abasi and imposed informal British colonial hegemony on the area through the presence of gunboats along the coast (Ina, 1989). After the declaration of the Niger District Protectorate in 1885, which was defined as the territories on the lines of the coast between the British Protectorate of Lagos and the right or west bank of the Rio del Rey, as well as the territories of both banks of the Niger from its confluence with the River Benue at Lokoja to the sea, as well as the corridor on both banks .of the Benue, from the confluence up to and including Ibi (London Gazette, June 5, 1985), Britain became more interested in the whole of the Oil Rivers area. Under the Oil Rivers Protectorate (1891-1892) and the Niger Coast Protectorate (1893-1899), a systematic subjugation and administration of the area was undertaken.


Category: Colonial Experiences


The Establishment of Colonial Administration

Author: smith on 16-09-2013, 21:00, views: 7 394


Amalgamated Protectorates (Source: Nigerian Historical Atlas)Amalgamated Protectorates (Source: Nigerian Historical Atlas)Administrative Boundaries


On December 31, 1899, owing to its flagrant mismanagement of the affairs of its assumed territories, the Niger Company lost its charter. And on January 1, 1900, its more southerly territories were combined with the territories of the Niger Coast Protectorate to form the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria with headquarters at Calabar. The new Protectorate was divided into four administrative divisions: Western, Central, Eastern and Cross River (Afigbo, 1980).


In 1906, the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria was amalgamated with the Colony and Protectorate of Lagos to form the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria with headquarters at Lagos. The new protectorate was divided into the Colony, Western, Central and Eastern Provinces. Later in 1914, the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria was amalgamated with the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria to form one country, Nigeria (Nicolson, 1969: 180).


Map of Boundary Adjustments of Opobo Division/lkot Abasi LGA, 1932-1989Map of Boundary Adjustments of Opobo Division/lkot Abasi LGA, 1932-1989In all these changes and developments, Opobo remained consistently in Calabar Province. Within the district itself, Andoni was conquered and merged with it in 1904 (Ejituwu, 1991: 168-170) and so was Ogoni land in 1913-1914 (Cheesman, 1931). These boundaries were further enlarged with addition of some of the Ngwa Igbo and were constantly corrected in the 1930's and 1940's through the adjustment of tribal boundaries of the eastern Ikpa to the east and the Anaang groups to the north1. The headquarters of the district had been transferred from Norah Beach to Egwanga in Ikot Abasi in 1902.


Category: Colonial Experiences


The Native Administration Era 1931-1950

Author: smith on 16-09-2013, 21:00, views: 19 740


The period 1931-1950 is described in this study as the Native Administration Era. This is because all the developments that took place in Ikot Abasi or Opobo division during the period, be they political, social or economic, were tied up with the policy of Native Administration.


The system of Native Administration resulted from the reforms of the local government system in South-eastern Nigeria, introduced by Sir Donald Cameron, Governor of Nigeria from 1931 to 1935 (Nicolson, 1969: 24), after the collapse of the Warrant Chief system in the Women's War of 1929.


The Native Administration had three arms, namely, Native Authority, Native Court and Native Treasury (Ejituwu, 1991: 201), a division, which attempted to separate the legislative and executive from the judicial organs of government. Thus, while the Native Court exercised the judicial power and the Native Authority welded legislative and executive power, the Native Treasury ensured that money was available for the running of the system (Ibid.).


Native Authority


In Ikot Abasi or Ibibio area of Opobo District clan councils, village group councils and town councils comprising traditional rulers and educated elite were recognised as the Native Authorities (Kirk-Greene, 1965: 212). The Andoni Native Authority was the Oru, a council which consisted of the Otoko or heads of the extended families (Cheesman, 1931). In Ogoni the gazetted Native Authorities were four clan councils, composed of the traditional heads of the component villages and a number of educated young men (Cheesman, 1934). The Opobo Native Authority was more aristocratic. It comprised the Amanyanabo (the king) as permanent president and the heads of 66 main and branch Houses (Hunt, 1937).


Category: Colonial Experiences