Because of the larger population of the Ibibio people, they hold political control over Akwa-Ibom State , but government is shared with the Anaangs, Eket and Oron. The political system follows the traditional method of consensus. Even though elections are held, practically, the political leaders are pre-discussed in a manner that is benefiting to all. Prior to the existence of Nigeria as a Nation, the Ibibio people were self-governed. During the Nigerian Civil War, the Eastern region was split into three states.
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Origin[ edit ] The Ibibio people are reputed to be the earliest inhabitants of the south eastern Nigeria. It is estimated that they arrived at their present home around B.
In spite of the historical account, it is not clear when the Ibibio arrived at state. According to some scholars, they might have come from the central Benue valley, particularly, the Jukun influence in the old Calabar at some historical time period.
Another pointer is the wide-spread use of the manila , a popular currency used by the Jukuns. This was corroborated by oral testimonies by field workers who say that the core Ibibio people were of the Afaha lineage whose original home was Usak Edet in the Cameroon.
After the first bulk of the people arrived in what later became Nigeria, they settled first at Ibom then in Arochukwu. The Ibibio must have lived in Ibom for quite some time. Because of the larger population of the Ibibio people, they hold political control over Akwa-Ibom State , but government is shared with the Anaangs, Eket and Oron. The political system follows the traditional method of consensus.
Even though elections are held, practically, the political leaders are pre-discussed in a manner that is benefiting to all. Prior to the existence of Nigeria as a nation, the Ibibio people were self-governed. During the Nigerian Civil War, the Eastern region was split into three states. Southeastern State of Nigeria was where the Ibibio were located, one of the original twelve states of Nigeria after Nigerian independence.
On 23 September , by Military Decree No. Cross Rivers State remains as one of neighbouring states. During the then Eastern Region of Nigeria it got partitioned into Cameroon in a plebiscite. Political system[ edit ] Traditionally Ibibio society consists of communities that are made up of large families with blood affinity each ruled by their constitutional and religious head known as the Ikpaisong.
The decisions of the Obong Ikpaisong were enforced by members of the Ekpo or Obon society who act as messengers of the spirits and the military and police of the community. Ekpo members are always masked when performing their policing duties. Although their identities are almost always known, fear of retribution from the ancestors prevents most people from accusing those members who overstep their social boundaries, effectively committing police brutality.
Membership is open to all Ibibio males, but one must have access to wealth to move into the politically influential grades. The main purpose of Ekpo is to protect its people and act as a defense against potential attackers. They are concerned with issues and emergencies that pertain to the safety of the town as a whole.
In addition, it serves as an outlet for men to productively use energy to benefit everyone. Many activities such as farming, shopping, and obtaining food and water are prohibited on days in which the masks are out and being performed. Crimes also carry heavier consequences during this time period. It is known as a secret society despite the fact that the purpose and activities are widely known by the village.
This is due to the fact that everyone must abide by certain laws during Ekpo season. The most important secrets are a series of code words and dance steps taught to initiates and used by members. Knowing these secrets allows members to travel freely during the season, and being caught traveling without knowing the secret terms and dance will result in being arrested. A particular Ibibio Division could consist of many interrelated autonomous communities or kingdoms ruled by an autonomous Priest-King called Obong-Ikpaisong, assisted by heads of the various large families Mbong Ekpuk which make up the Community.
These have been the ancient political and religious system of Ibibio people from time immemorial. In reference to the Head of the various societies - e. Sacred Lands Akai Scattered throughout each village were sacred lands, akai forest. They were called akai because no one was permitted to clear them for cultivation. All burial grounds, shrines for the village deities and spots for secret societies such as Ekpo Onyoho, Ekpe, Ekoong, Idiong, Ekong, and Obon, were sacred.
Everything in these places were equally sacred. Non-members of the secret societies were not permitted to enter the spots set aside for such secret societies, even for the collection of firewood, sticks, fruits like mkpook , vegetables like afang and odusa or snails, or to hunt the animals which abounded in the forests.
The explanation is simple. If non-members were allowed to enter any secret society akai they might in due course discover the secrets of their time-honoured society, and wicked people might even desecrate the graves of their ancestors hence the ban. First, ethereal body, secondly, soul, thirdly, spirit, and fourthly, over-soul; the last always lives in the house of Abasi Ibom and it is quite separate from the individuality which between incarnations stays in the country of the dead.
Though over-soul and spirit are combined, much of the Spirit is contained in that portion of the ego which is incarnated.
According to Talbot, it is the soul proper that spends part of its time as a were-animal or in a bush-beast in the forest or water and is called Ukpong Ikot, or bush-soul. The shadow is not thought to be connected with the ethereal body but to be an emanation of the soul and therefore to be directly affected by any action on it. The shadow is then speared, his blood is seen in the water in the basin and the man dies. The Ibibio believe that after death the same kind of existence is led as during life on earth; for example, farmers, blacksmiths, hunters, and fishermen will continue with their former occupations while social intercouse and amusements will also proceed as before.
The scenery, houses, crops and animals of the next world have the same appearance as in this world but only those beasts, plants and foodstuffs which have been sacrificed in honour of the dead are transported there.
The land of the dead, like that of the living, is believed to be divided into various countries, towns, villages and lineages where different communities of people live as on earth. At death every man goes to the particular part inhabited by his people. Obot Nature The Ibibio believe in obot, that is, the individual creation of persons by God.
If someone is wild, they say he was created that way; if he is kind, again that is how he was created by God to be; if he is poor or rich, that was his lot, etc. Essien Emana destiny. The Ibibio also believe in the same way in destiny, essien emana or uwa.
For instance, if a person died accidentally, this was how he had died in his previous incarnation and therefore he had to die that way. If he was rich, he was so in his previous incarnation and must be so now; if he was brilliant, that was how he was destined to be, etc.
He could, however, reverse the situation if he consulted the Mbia Idiong, who alone could tell him what to do. The diviners could help him pin-point what it was he had done in his previous incarnation which was affecting his present life. They could then prescribe to him what to do to remedy the worsening situation. If the instructions were strictly followed, the position could be reversed, they believed. For instance, if a person had no issue a diviner might tell him that he had killed innocent children in his previous incarnation, and that the parents of the deceased and the general public had cursed him, saying that he would not have any issue and would continue to kill innocent children throughout his incarnations unless he gave certain things as sacrificial offerings.
When the Mbia Idiong told him what the things were and he had offered them as sacrifices to Mother Earth, the Ibibio believed the situation would be reversed; otherwise, he would remain childless. Colonial and Post-Colonial Era[ edit ] The Ibibio were introduced to Christianity through the work of early missionaries in the nineteenth century.
Samuel Bill started his work at Ibeno. He established the Qua Iboe Church which later spread places in the middle belt of Nigeria. Later, other churches were also introduced e.
The Apostolic church. Independent churches such as Deeper Life Bible Church , came into the area in the second part of the twentieth century.
Today Ibibio people are predominantly Christian. Masks[ edit ] An intentionally "ugly" mask of the Ekpo society with an articulated jaw. The masks and accoutrements of the Ekpo society make up the greatest works of art in Ibibio society. Ibibio often purposefully play with proportions in their masks to distort the face. These masks are not always performed together, but there is a general understanding of their opposing relationship. Feminine masks are decorated with light colors such as white.
Their features are delicate to emphasize their femininity. On the other hand, masculine masks use dark colors to represent the mystic forces of the forest. These masks often have large features and are created to be intentionally ugly. They achieve this by distorting the features in unnatural manners such as having bulging eyes or misplaced mouths.
Many deformities present in the masks come from naturally occurring human diseases and illnesses. One that is often depicted is gangosa - a part of yaws. The affect of the masks and their intimidating quality is part of what gives them their power, in addition to the long history of the Ekpo. To put on an Ekpo mask is to surrender earthly identity and assume an ancestral one. Masks used may be ones owned by deceased ancestors, ones made to look like ancestors, or ones made to resemble to village heroes.
This makes them easier to wear and move around in. In addition to the raffia on the mask itself, performers also wear a knee-length raffia skirt. The lower legs, arms, and hands are painted with charcoal.
Ekpo society mask with attached raffia fringe Most metalwork objects produced have a practical purpose rather than a decorative one. Despite this, Ibibio coffins tend to be highly decorative. They feature ornamental painted metal motifs, colorful plastic sheets, and glass panels on the sides. Rhythm and nature are both considerable motifs at play in the designs. Intentional fattening of young women is another culturally important aspect of the Ibibio.
The symbol of the dot plays a key role in the understanding of beauty. Members of a ritual may wear it to symbolize peace, humility, as well as acceptance. Odung is a type of body painting that is used for events such as marriage, childbirth, coming-of-age, and death. It is often done after the birth of a child. The stains that are left afterwards can stay on the skin for up to three months. Professionals are typically the ones who paint others, and the process may take from five to eight hours to complete.
The pigment is taken from crushed camwood and then added to water which produces a red substance. The Ibibio use it partially for its bleaching effect.
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