Cultural Conflicts and Resolution Mechanisms in Ibibio, South-South Nigeria

Cultural Conflicts and Resolution Mechanisms in Ibibio, South-South Nigeria

Stella Patrick Essien (Akwa Ibom State University, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2574-6.ch009

Abstract

This work posits that in most cases conflicts help to build a stronger bond of unity because we agree to disagree. The chapter seeks to demonstrate that African peacebuilding poses great challenge to what looks like a complex, standardized, and globalized understanding of peacebuilding of the international community propelled mainly by achievement of justice. Using the Ibibio of South Nigeria as a case study, the researcher shows that religion, culture, and morality are inseparably bound together and pragmatic. The researcher here presents and discusses the socio-political system in Ibibio land in order to expose the structures therein that invariably ensures a return of peace after relationships have been disrupted by strife. From this investigation, one notices the expression of commitment to peacebuilding through forgiveness, reconciliation, sound teaching, dialogue, which go hand in hand with reconciliation sacrifice. This work recommends the development of a comprehensive healing programme for traumatized people towards sustainable peacebuilding.
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Cultural Conflicts During The Colonial Era In Nigeria

Culturally, the African chiefs had double personalities which capacitated them with the ability to migrate between the spiritual and physical universes. However, the pacification of South Eastern Nigeria by British colonial powers from 1900 to1910 and the sacking of the traditional political rulers and their reduction to mere servants of the colonial rule, destabilized agencies of social order which got their mandate from the spiritual world. Thus, the centre of their familiar world could no longer hold and things simply fell apart (Achebe, 1958) as the power of traditional rulers and spirits came to a jarring halt and bred conflict.

Ignorant of the African culture, the colonial masters considered Nigerians barbarians who had to be protected from themselves (Barret, 1968) and they based their assumption on the conviction that everything that the Nigerian did or thought was evil (Kenyatta, 1938). For example, the existence of witchcraft is very real in Southern Nigeria. In fact, it is a thorn in the flesh of individuals and of society. That is the reason why there had always been moves in the society to eradicate it. It was therefore not surprising that in the 1950s a witch-hunting group known as Atinga or Anatinga flourished in West African Countries (Apter, 1993). But in Nigeria it did not go through as smoothly as the one here reported because the movement was proscribed by the colonial administration (Apter, 1993). The proscription, however, was met with opposition in certain quarters with the plea that the government should leave “our God-sent Antigas to continue their work (Nigerian Tribune 1951, cited in Igenoza, 1985). Of course, the government turned down their plea; consequently there was conflict.

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