Any historical study on Ekwe society, without credible attention first to the earliest period of Ekwe as an independent culture based Igbo Community, is apt to be an exercise in futility. The present study examines the level of development in Ekwe in 1960 and after the colonial rule. This work unveils the extortion and underdevelopment the British people led Ekwe people into. This work reveals the unity of Ekwe people both male and female, home and abroad and how their leaders provided unity and development. The work highlights the continuity of some indigenous customs and traditions and the adoption and continuity of British-imposed customs in Ekwe. The researcher stressed and went extra-miles to show the relationships between Ekwe and other neighboring communities, especially Okwudor. Moreover, this work examines the customs and traditions of Ekwe, the History, norms and post-colonial period in Ekwe, Chieftaincy, Ozo, Ezeship titles, festivals, roles of her women in Nigeria/Biafra Civil War, Infrastructures and the women. In order to achieve viable results, extensive use of both primary and secondary sources of materials was done. Subsequently, qualitative and quantitative approach were adopted during sieving of the enormous information available, in order to aid historical objectivity.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title page i
Table of Contents vii
List of illustrations ix
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Study 1
1.2 Statement of Problem 3
1.3 Purpose of the Study 3
1.4 Significance of the Study 3
1.5 Methodology, Sources and Organization 4
1.6 Scope of the Study 4
1.7 Literature Review 5
End Note 8
CHAPTER TWO- THE LAND AND ITS PEOPLE (POST-COLONIAL)
2.1 Location and Geography 9
2.2 Origin, Migration and settlement 16
End Note 20
CHAPTER THREE- CULTURAL AND SOCIO-POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS
3.1 Taboos and Abominations 22
3.2 Kolanut among Ekwe People and Igbo People at Large (Oji) 25
3.3 Festivals in Ekwe 32
3.6 Kindreds in Ekwe Community 44
3.7 Political and Traditional Institutions 46
3.9 Ezeship Stool and Covenants in Ekwe 50
End Note 52
CHAPTER FOUR- POST-COLONIAL EKWE TOWN
4.1 Brief History of Ekwe from 1960-2000 54
4.2 Ekwe Development Union (EDU) 1963 55
4.3 Roles of Igbo/Ekwe women in Nigeria/Biafra war 1967-1970 57
4.4 Brief Crises of 1996-2000 63
4.5 Infrastructural developments 63
End Note 66
CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
5.1 Summary 67
5.2 Conclusion 68
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS, TABLES AND PLATES
Map of Imo state 12
Intensive political map of Ekwe 13
Map of major Road in Ekwe 14
The picture of Ekeleke 39
The picture of Oghu 42
Kindreds in Ekwe 43
Warrant Chief and kindreds 43
1.1 Background of Study
Ekwe is a community in Isu Local Government Area, Imo State, Nigeria.
In Igboland, Ekwe people work mostly as craftsmen, farmers and traders. The most important crop is the yam. Other staple crops include cassava, three leaf yam and cocoyam. The Igbos are also highly urbanized, with some of the largest metropolitan areas, cities and towns in Igboland being Onitsha, Enugu, Aba, Owerri, Orlu, Okigwe, Asaba, Awka, Nsukka, Nnewi, Umuahia, Abakaliki, Afikpo, Agbor and Arochukwu.
Ekwe people have similarities and continuities from prehistory to contemporary time. Before British colonial rule in the 20th century, the Igbo were a politically fragmented group, with a number of centralized chiefdoms such as Nri, Arochukwu, Agbor and Onitsha. In the wake of decolonisation, the Igbo developed a strong sense of ethnic identity which Ekwe was one of the communities.1
After the colonizing from Ekweland, the community is mostly interested in human relationships and cooperation. They have the zeal of coming together and doing things as one body. The colonial era did more harm than good. The old nature of Ekwe Ancient Kingdom some years ago did not allow them to know what to do. It has been a burden of knowing what they can do to come together after the British exit. It is also a tough task on how to reason together and their self-questioning led to these questions.
1. How can they make laws that will be guiding the community?
2. How can they stop ills and evil deeds that are becoming too many?
3. How can they join the race for development and modern civilization?
4. What is their work?
It was the inquisitive minds of many illustrious sons and daughters of Ekwe that made them consider togetherness which led to what they know today as the Ekwe Town Union.
Town unionism was very important during the post-colonial period in Ekwe because it solved the problem of leadership which the colonizer were not interested in Nigerians, but they were interested in exploiting natural resources.
Community Development is not left out.
However, a thorough research into the Ekwe ancient Kingdom starting from Ekwe in time and space through the origin till the achievements of the town union will show the level of development Ekwe had attained. There was very rapid development counting from the independence period which was from 1960 to 2000 compared to the colonial era. Ekwe has not been fully developed; therefore, one cannot say it is developed. Rather it has passed the formal stage of its old and is pursuing modern civilization in a great way. Based on this fact, it is concluded that Ekwe is developing.
The kind of development that helped Ekwe to attain the height it has today started immediately after her freedom from colonial rule. There were in two ways:
– First, Infra-Human Development
– Second, Infrastructural Development.
Infra-Human Development: Ekwe first started its development with human beings believing that when produced, capable beings will help in contributing to the infrastructural development.
Infrastructural Development: Economic development during that period improved in no small measure. The Colonial era was a fraud because the Europeans dominated the economic sector. They chose to exploit her natural resources for their own selfish gains and also refused to use them to develop Ekweland. It is after their exit that Ekwe citizens started enjoying their resources and many markets were established in Ekwe in order to boost economic activities.
1.2 Statement of problem
This work seeks, among other things, to discover the key elements that shaped Ekwe society and its people prior to the colonial period. It identifies Ekwe as one of the Igbo communities that have similarities in culture, leadership system, festivals and traditions. Also, it seeks to analyse the impact of British colonial rule in Ekwe to identify how it caused the society more harm than good. It will also analyse how the post-colonial leadership in Ekwe, in ignorance, allowed the errors of colonial legacies as a reflex which hindered development in the society.
1.3 Purpose of study
The purpose of this study is to, among other things situate Ekwe in the historiography of micro societies in Igboland. It will also provide a platform for the furtherance of academic research on Ekwe community.
1.4 Significance of the study
This work seeks to provide knowledge that will not only break Ekwe society out of the liabilities of colonial legacies, but also to improve the quality if leadership synonymous to the development of an African society. It also seeks to identify the post-colonial development stage in progress and the indicators for their sustainability. It will be an important source material both to academics and political leaders of Ekwe society.
1.5 Methodology, Sources and Organisation of the study
Qualitative and quantitative methods were adopted in the course of the study. Primary and secondary sources constitute most data for historical reconstruction. Primary sources include oral tradition granted by reliable informants through the random sampling mode. Also Intelligence Reports and other valuable documents collected from the National Archives, Enugu. Secondary sources include books, journal articles, and other relevant works both within and outside the study area. Available facts will be analyzed historically using qualitative research methodology. The work is organized in five chapters, Chapter one introduces the research study and presents the preliminaries, theoretical background, statement of the problem, purpose of study, significance of the study, scope of the study, Literature review, organization of the research and definition of terms. Chapter Two focuses on the land and its people, location and geography, History of Ekwe, the traditional Ekwe society. Chapter Three highlights cultural, socio-political Ekwe society, which includes the taboos and abomination, kola nut, tourism and hospitality, age grades, festivals, kindreds, political and traditional institutions. Chapter Four presents the History of Ekwe from 1960-2000, Roles of Ekwe women during the Nigeria Civil War and the Infrastructural developments at the time of research. Chapter Five contains the summary and a conclusion before the relevant Bibliography.
1.6Scope of study
The scope of this work is fourteen villages that make up Ekwe community in the Isu Local Government Area of Imo State. Though this work appear to begin in 1960, sincere efforts has been made to uplift and mirror Ekwe’s past and continuities, with the aim of side tracking, uplifting and bringing forward those vital condiments that has continued to give Ekwe community it’s robust identity over the years. Year 2000 was chosen as the terminal year as it marked the end of the twentieth century and the end of leadership turtles in Ekwe hence peace was restored.
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