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History & International Studies

The Socio-Economic History And Activities Of Eziowelle From Pre Colonial, Post Colonial Up Till Recent Times

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ABSTRACT

This research work examines the socio-economic history and activities of Eziowelle from Pre colonial, Post colonial up till recent times. This research work gives an insight on the socio-economic history of the people of Eziowelle as well as laying emphasis on the substance of the people’s distinctive identity and also the preservation of their cultural heritage and values. The people of Eziowelle from inception, just like other Igbo communities, have many cultural practices. The fundamental social and economic organization is the extended family. One of the most important institution of Eziowelle community is the institution of marriage, because of the fact that it helps to bring different villages together in other words expanding and maintaining the strong ties that binds different villages and communities together. The study of the socio-economic history of eziowelle would have an impact on the people of Eziowelle, it would also highlight some factors obviously affecting the study of the igbo race of Nigeria. This is why the study of this nature is essential. This work thus is a contribution to the history of the igbo speaking nation of Nigeria. Another important bonds that hold the people together is the cultural festivals which also has some sacred religious connotations such as the Elimede, Ilu-Muo and the Itolu Okenye festivals, which were touched in this study and how it shapes the belief system of the people of Eziowelle. By adopting simple historical and analytical research methodologies, this work examines the various facet of political administration in Eziowelle community as well as the effort of the Eziowelle Improvement Union (E.I.U) at bringing development to the community. The study adopts inter disciplinary approach and relied on oral interviews, government documents, archival materials and relevant secondary text for information. In the end, the work provides a launching pad for assessing the socio-economic history of Eziowelle as well as opens up door for further important but yet to be studied area of Eziowelle history.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.0 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

“I SI EBE” in Igbo language literally means, “where do you come from?” But the question, means much more than an inquiry where somebody comes from. The deep structure meaning of the question includes a spurn, a scorn, a belittling of a person, a challenge to the person to prove that he or she is worth any respectable attention, to show his antecedent, to prove his comparative social structure. Individually and collectively as an Igbo person we have been asked this question severally either directly or obliquely in Nigeria, in the world and often we shy away or evade the question asked. This research study of the socio economic history of Eziowelle tends to answer the Igbo question of “I SI EBE?” through the history of Eziowelle people and their socio economic strides, viz a viz, to the development of the Igbo people of south east Nigeria.

Eziowelle is one of the developed towns in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State South-East Nigeria. It is a town endowed by nature with a wonderful scenery and environmental beauty, hills alternating with valley and flat landscapes situated at the centre of six towns. It lies about 15km east of Onitsha, It is bounded in the south by Abatete and Abacha, in the east by Nimo and Abagana, in the north by Umunnachi and finally in the west by Ogidi town. Eziowelle covers an area of thirty to thirty five square kilometers with a population of 1,519,250 (1983 census). It is said that a people with no knowledge of their past would suffer collective loss of memory, groping blindly into the future without guide post of precedence to shape their course. Today as in ancient times, the life of a community is affected by the areas into which the people as a group are born and nurtured. The life of such a people would be a by-product of its relationship with the environment, whether objectively or subjectively placed. Man as an intelligent being is aware of the symbiosis of existence around him. Thus for a man’s life to be truly beneficial, he must moderate and attune himself to the various forces and aspect of life around him. Development in this degree is therefore contingent upon nature and nurture. Nature here entails all the primitive and undomesticated condition of things which man finds himself, the entire geography of it. Nurture as distinguished from nature represents all upbringings, rearing and training e.t.c; given to an individual who enhances life in its experience, while recognizing time as having objective reality. It is important to note that man as well as time affects historical changes. Clifford Geerts (1975)” reminds us that the image of a constant human nature, independent of time, place and circumstances of studies and professions, transcient fashions and temporary opinion may be an illusion that what man is maybe so entangled with, where he is, who he is and what he believes, that it is inseparable from them”. History shows how man in time has been able or unable to harness his natural endowment through persistent earnest seeking, through chance encounter with forces and through imitation of values.

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Eziowelle town like all Igbo race evolved in an area of peculiar environment with its marked terrain, climate and vegetation. This area according to geography is within the forest belt of Nigeria, West Africa with well defined climate seasons of rainfall from April to October and dry season from November to April the following year. This research in its own little way throws more light about the history of Eziowelle and Igbo speaking people of south east Nigeria in general. This researcher is aware of the present state of Igbo studies and how few historians would yet undertake to write a comprehensive history of the Igbo speaking people. The best one can hope for is to write it in part as is the case with this research study, in order to show how far we have advanced or how much we have lagged behind in the attempt to extend to the Igbo field the revolution of African studies. Also no matter what contributions outsiders might make, recent events teach that Igbo history has to be written by the Igbos as few opinions of others can take precedence over what one thinks of or believes about oneself.

1.1 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The overall objectives of this study, is to find out the Socio-Economic history of Eziowelle people in general. Specifically the objectives of the study, includes:

  1. To understand the various concept association with the socio-economic history of Eziowelle community.
  2. To ascertain the basic uniformity of Eziowelle culture and its neighbouring villages in spite of certain differences in social institution and dialect.
  3. To identify, analyze and access the relative importance of internally and externally induced changes in Eziowelle.
  4. To attempt to find out the lack of interest in the grand history of Eziowelle among its youth and delineate the characteristic of each stages of development in Eziowelle culture.
  5. To delimit the main phases of Eziowelle culture evolution and isolate the factors responsible for the emergence of each phase.
  6. To show evidence of deep consideration of Eziowelle which points to a greater Igbo relevance to Nigeria and mankind.
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1.2 SCOPE OF STUDY

This study will basically cover the socio economic history of Eziowelle people of Anambra state Nigeria from the perspective of the Owelle who is the traditional ruler of Eziowelle community, Ndichie Eziowelle (These are people chosen by their different kinsmen of the five villages that makes up Eziowelle community). The president of the women group (umuada), The president of Eziowelle Improvement Union, The 23 registered age grade in Eziowelle community. The views of all categories of people would be sought about Eziowelle from 1970-2020. A sample size of 100 persons would be used according to groups mentioned above.

1.3 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM

It is said that a people with no knowledge of their past would suffer collective loss of memory groping blindly into the future without guide post of precedence to shape their course. Knowledge of history brings a feeling that we are part of a fellowship that runs through ages, long before our birth.  History opens our mind to past civilizations, amazing discoveries, fascinating people and different ways of looking at things. The lack of interest in our tradition by this generation, the recent insecurity in Anambra State and Eziowelle in particular, with its subsequent killings and kidnapping going on and being perpetuated by the youth (unknown gun men) has shown a sharp disconnect from what was obtainable during the times of our forefathers and their value for the sacredness of human life and community living, as opposed to what this generation stands for. This lack of interest by this generation toward the history of who they are and the values their forefathers stood for are some of the answers, that this research work seeks. This research work answers many unanswered question about Eziowelle and its internal workings with their relationships with neighboring communities and Igbo race in general, this research study seek to bridge these gaps in knowledge and create an awareness of the important of one’s culture.

1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

Eziowelle community has a significant place in the history of the Igbo people as the community which produced the first Igbo cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church (Cardinal Arinze). It is expected that this study would be particularly relevant in building a tentative framework of Eziowelle history through the following:

  1. Scholars/Researcher: This study will serve as a tentative framework which scholars could put to test as they uncover more materials relating to Eziowelle past and Igbo race at large.
  2. Eziowelle youth: This study will help Eziowelle youth reaffirm their commitment to their culture and to answer the question of – To what past, present or future they would commit themselves.
  3. Eziowelle community: This study puts her in the map of documented communities with a rich cultural heritage.
  4. General public: This study is relevant to the society at large because it would enlighten the public about the socio-economic history of Eziowelle people in the growth and development of the Igbo race.
  5. To the Researcher: This study serves as a pre-requisite for the partial fulfillment of the requirement for the award of a Bachelor of Arts (B.A) Degree in History and International Studies.

1.5 CONCEPTUAL CLARIFICATION

  1. Eziowelle: Is one of the big towns in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State in Nigeria.
  2. Culture: Culture is a way of life of a group of people their behaviors, beliefs, values and symbols that they accept generally without thinking about them and that are passed along by communication and limitation from one generation to the next.
  3. Kinship: Kinship is one of the main organizing principles of society also of the basic social institutions found in every society. This institution establishes relationships between individuals and groups.
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4 .Tradition: The transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way.

  1. Traditional ceremony: An event of ritual significance, performed on a special occasion.
  2. Festival: A festival is an event ordinarily celebrated by a community and centering on some characteristic aspect of that community and its religion or culture. It is often marked as a local or national holiday.

1.6 LITERATURE REVIEW

In this research work the views of adverse authors, authorities and literature on the socio economic history of Eziowelle people shall be reviewed and utilized as such contribution will help in the compilations of this research work. In his work titled “The Igbo And Their Neighbor”, Prof. A.E Afigbo stated that our country Nigeria has many ethnic groups, states, local government, towns communities and villages. And that each of these groups has an identity or characteristics of people governed by language, culture and mode of dressing.

The Eziowelle people identify themselves with some cultural features such as kolanut (Iwa ojii), Omugwo(child birth ritual), Ikwa Ozu(final burial ceremony), ILI-EDE or Elimede (Harvest thanksgiving to the gods), Egwu Eke Festival(celebrated in honor of Eke goddess for protection given in the year) Eke is the greatest goddess of Eziowelle. The traditional Eziowelle socio-economic and cultural settings: The Extended family concept and the marriage institution, which is also an important social bond between each village and other village community, remains till today a primary feature in Eziowelle even during the colonial period.

As we all know most communities, and Eziowelle in particular, resisted the colonial rule and viewed it as a key destroyer of the culture value system of the people. Religion played and still plays a vital role in the daily life of Eziowelle people. It is the hub on which the social affairs revolved. As such their way of life “Omenala” or “Omenani” is highly influenced by their religion, Eziowelle people has a strong belief in the traditional religion and anything connected with any god was highly respected. The personal god of a man was his “Ikenga”, the god of luck, this was represented in a carving wood called “Ikenga” and that of a woman was simply called “Chi”. As cultural history encompasses the sum total of how people were living, it is pertinent to note that the effort and socio economic organization were created for the promotion of peace, love, unity, development and progress in Eziowelle.

1.7 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

This research work is basically concerned with the socio-economic history of Eziowelle people, the researcher will employ simple historical and analytical presentation of ideas in this research work. In achieving this, the research shall adopt primary and secondary sources of data, primary sources of data shall include; oral interviews with the indigenes of Eziowelle community and secondary sources shall include materials both softcopy and hardcopy ranging from textbooks, internets, articles and journals. e.t.c.

1.8 ENDNOTES

  1. Online sources: The history of Eziowelle https://wikipedia.org
  2. Arinze Francis .A. (1970). Sacrifice in Igbo Religion – Ibadan University Press.
  3. Emelungini P.C (2021). A Compendium Knowledge of Eziowelle.
  4. Onwuejogwu M.A – A brief survey of Anambra civilization in the Igbo culture area about A.D 850-1937 – Tabansi Press Onitsha.
  5. Sunday Iherue Ph.D Dynamics of Research Methodology (2019).
  6. U.D Anyanwu The origin of Igbos: A handout on history of the Igbo people before 1900, (1990).
  7. Ujah Chalres (2006) – The origin of Ibo’s. published by Ezbon communications ltd.

    Pages:  62

    Category: Project

    Format:  Word & PDF               

    Chapters: 1-5                                          

    Source: Imsuinfo

    Material contains Table of Content, Abstract and References.

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