The Igbo Race And World Theology Religion

essay B
  • Words: 8555
  • Category: Theology

  • Pages: 32

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all the help you need with your essay and educational goals.

Get Access

The Igbo cultural group is one of the many cultural groups in Nigeria, and represent one of the three bulk groups – Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo- in Nigeria. The Igbo are found partially on the litoral of the South-East of Nigeria, covering “ the whole of Southeast, some portion of Rivers, Delta, Benue and Akwa Ibom States ”[ 1 ]and are preponderantly found in the Eastern Nigeria. However, it is non most appropriate, as some people have done, to label the Igbo as Easterners for that would intend that “ the Igbo in western Nigeria, totaling about 2.5 million, … are non Igbos… , ‘the Igbo come from Southern Nigeria ‘ ”[ 2 ]. Some noteworthy Igbo societal anthropologists, particularly Victor Uchendu, Pauline Aligwekwe and Augustine Okwu, in their positions, show a much unified history on the geographics of the Igbo land. From the position of Uchendu, the Igbo land lies “ between latitude 5 to 7 grades north and longitude 6 to 8 grades east, they occupy an country of some 15, 800 square stat mis ”[ 3 ]. In a much more recent idea, though similar to Uchendu ‘s, Aligwekwe and Okwu severally present a incorporate history of the Igbo land as representing “ a kind of four-sided between 5o and 7o latitude North and between 6o and 9o longitude. The Igbo district covers superficies estimated at over 40, 000 square kilometers… ”[ 4 ]

The Igbo are dumbly populated. It might be hard to give an exact figure of their population owing to the fact that the Igbo have permeated other parts of Nigeria and many have settled in different parts of the Earth. However, the apparently acceptable and much recent record is that given by Chukwukodinaka Ilona and Ogaranya Uju Nkwocha Afunezi, which rates the Igbo population at about 40 million[ 5 ]. Due to the rise in population, the Igbo expand their district and remain in different topographic points in Nigeria and beyond in hunt of greener grazing lands and land. Known for their difficult work and wisdom, pride, antipathy to idleness and imploring[ 6 ], but can be astute[ 7 ], the Igbo excel in concerns, trade, instruction, agribusiness with small or no involvement in the national political relations until really late that the consciousness of the national bar began to click on them that they started developing in involvement in national political stations. The generation of the Igbo backdown from the national political phase is rooted in the effects of civil war which has remained unerasable in them. Harmonizing to Godfrey Uzoigwe “ since the terminal of the civil war ( in 1970 ) , the Igbo by and large have been in retreat in national personal businesss and are engaged in serious soul-searching sing what they have done incorrect and reevaluating their dealingss with their countrymen ”[ 8 ]. Further, Uzoigwe expresses how deep-rooted the choler still remains in the uterus and bowels of the Igbo adult females and work forces. he states, “ Although the Igbo seem to hold forgiven their countrymen for what they did to them, the cicatrixs of the pogrom and the desolation of the civil war will stay with them for a really long clip… .The other Nigerians, ..have ne’er shown any compunction about what amounted to genocide against the Igbo. There seems to be a general consensus among them that the “ chesty ” Igbo got what they deserved ”[ 9 ]. Therefore, the Igbo are a people who have passed through midst and thin in life, an experience that constitutes do-in attitudes amongst themselves that they seem to respond alternatively of reacting to events. We shall see subsequently.

Historically, The Igbo have a really complex, ‘bizarre ‘ and interesting histories of beginning. Due to the Igbo cultural traits, commercial, socio-political, spiritual worldview, “ ( ‘one of the most unusual peoples in Africa ‘ ) ”[ 10 ], etc, which run parallel with the Judaic civilization, guesss point the Igbo beginning enormously to the lost folk of Judah on one count and in another count, it points to Egypt[ 11 ]. Many bookmans are in different cantonments every bit far as the Igbo hereditary beginning is concerned. While a greater figure of bookmans trace the Igbo lineage to the Jews, few others trace it to the local folklores around Nri and Mbaise countries of Igbo land[ 12 ]. Unfortunately, the history of the Judaic lineage seems to be the general belief among many Igbo people today. It is interesting the historical history given by an Igbo erudite bookman, Okwu, an history that has remained a mention point to many bookmans today. Chronicling the historical scholarships of historiographers ‘ , colonialists ‘ and missionaries ‘ histories, Okwu obliges his audience with some inside informations. He narrates,

Astonished by the Igbo socio-political agreements, the freedom and autonomy of the person in a high denseness environment and economic achievements without a history of a common putative ascendant and without a centralised authorities authorization, most of the European authors theorized that the civilization could non hold originated from within the society but have stemmed from some advanced foreign civilisations. Dr Percy Amaury Talbot suggests that the migrations in 1870 B.C that began in Egypt led some Egyptians to settle in parts of… Igbo lands. Eliot Smith like Talbot sees some similarities between the ancient Egyptian and Igbo imposts such as Circumcision, scratch, … snake and Sun worship. Egypt was hence harmonizing to him the beginning of the Igbo civilization. Harmonizing to Rev. George T. Basden, the indefatigable author of Igbo history and civilization and one of the early missionaries in Igboland, ‘the Ibo people, … at some distant clip either really lived near, or had really close association with Semitic Races… the Ibos came to rest where we find them today and throughout the ages, they have retained thoughts and imposts handed down from coevals to coevals ‘ . He went on to clearly sketch singular affinities between the ‘Ibo Native ‘ Law and the Mosaic System and to propose that any one ‘contemplating abode in Ibo state ‘ should carefully analyze the Levitical Law. He so cited legion similarities among which were Lex Talionis ( The Law of Revenge or Equalization ) , Emee Emegwuru, ( harmonizing to the Igbo apprehension and of pattern of the principle, emee emegwuru anagh ebute okwu/anagh bustle ogu, revenge does non convey a wrangle ) ; the Law of Sanctuary, … levirate… Feast of tabernacles/New Yam Festival and Death punishment for Witches and Wizards, isugbu ndi Amusu. The Hagiographas of Equiano in the 18th and Horton in the 19th centuries, suggested that the Igbo civilization and faith contained clear grounds of “ Hebrewism ” and that the word, Ibo, spelt “ Heebo ” or “ Eboe ” was an elision consequence from the word, Hebrew. In clear footings Horton went on to depict the “ Eboe ” as a “ lost race of Israel who had occupied parts of Egypt during the yearss of Moses ‘ ”[ 13 ].

Okwu ‘s history is good elaborate and favours many Igbo cultural patterns, one of which is the motive of this paper, ‘Igba ndu ‘ , ( compact ) , which fascinatingly is rooted in the Lex Talionis, as a justness issue and the jurisprudence of the Sanctuary and which, in the Eucharistic repast is contextually and ceremonially situated. However, granted that there has been a strong nexus this position has initiated between the Igbo and the Israelis, we can non keep steadfastly to this history, it still remains a hypothesis, as none of the histories of beginning can be scientifically established because of the absence of any written records. However, Okwu ‘s history touches the nucleus and beam of Igbo political nature, a clear contemplation of the popular expression, “ Igbo enwe eze ” , the Igbo have no King. The principle behind this expression is both political and theological, and besides mirrors the magnetic spirit and the ostentation of the Igbo self-importance. Virtually every Igbo individual would non profess to get the better of easy nor bow to the authorization of anyone without questions. Egoistically, the Igbo is never-say-die,

For the mean Igboman… give him his due and he will be loyal to you. Deny him his due and he will grouch and contend you to decease. Humiliate him and castrate him and he will instead perpetrate suicide than unrecorded in ageless servitude. He is ferociously competitory and is, hence, disdainful of authorization or position that is non achieved. He believes that, given a just opportunity, he will be every bit good as and so even better than anyone, be he white, black, or mediate.[ 14 ]

This finds look in one of the Igbo Proverbs[ 15 ]therefore, “ do non make bold touch the tail of a king of beasts whether it is asleep or non ” . Uchendu Chigbu, presents a comprehensive position of the deduction of the ‘Igbo enwe eze ‘ as entire rejection of servitude of anyone by the Igbo individual, and absence of any human individual as a supreme crowned head whose reign extends all through the Igbo state. Politically and traditionally harmonizing to Chigbu,

… the Igbo traditional system of authorities was strictly republican in its construction and map. There was no kind of centralised political authorization or land… The Igbo have been known to plume themselves on democracy and freedom where consensus is the norm instead than bowing to the bids or wants of the “ male monarch ” . Olaudah Equino, a slave emancipationist who was Igbo but sold to slavery during his boyhood, confirmed this in his 1789 autobiography, titled ‘Gustavus Vassa, the African. ‘ It is by and large known that the individualistic and freedom-loving nature of Igbo people does non back up feudal or monarchal civilization -this is incompatible with monarchal civilization. Professor Onwumechili at the the 2000 Ahiajoku talk for Igbos, asserted this fact when he said that “ the pre-colonial traditional authorities of the Igbo without male monarchs imbued in them the characteristic traits that prompt the stating that ‘Igbo Enwe Eze ‘ … . “ The Igbo “ aˆ¦ can non digest anyone presuming the authorization of a captain over them. ” … The hunt to make a male monarch for the Igbo was a undertaking the colonialists embarked upon with the hope of making a centralised leading that could assist defend their imperialists ‘ aspirations… This gambit by the colonialist was non successful. Cardinal leading of the Igbo does non and has ne’er existed… .Beyond town or village the Igbo has no compelling traditional trueness ” to anyone[ 16 ].

Taking the statement farther, Chigbu avers,

Whether the Igbo have a male monarch is non a problematic issue because there is no such thing as “ king off Igbo land or Igbos ” but it can go extremely combative depending from what perspective 1 is doing the statement. Based on the facts available, and as Chigbu ( 2008: p.4 ) had one time, written, the stating, ‘Igbo enwe eze ‘ “ should non be taken literally as entire denial that any male monarch of all time existed within one of the Igbo parts or States. However, what the Igbo ne’er had was a cardinal male monarch exerting power and authorization over all Igbo land ” . Different parts of the Igbo land may hold had a kind of leader or ‘king ‘ ( as found in Nri, Aro, etc ) but it should be made clear that the entireness of the Igbo state is and was culturally subjected merely to a republican system of authorities termed ‘oha na eze ‘ -long before the theories, rules and patterns of democracy were discovered by the western universe. So, in general, the Igbo have no male monarch, they respect age but do non accept servitude to one cardinal figure. This is something the Igbo should be really proud and should non be excusatory in any manner for inheriting such a alone civilization[ 17 ].

That the Igbo have no male monarch, ( Igbo enwe eze ) , does non intend that the word, ‘eze ‘ ( king ) is foreign to them nor does it connote irreligiosity or deficiency of morality among the Igbo. Theologically and sacredly Chigbu explains that it connotes the fear the Igbo have of God, a true contemplation of their allegedly Semitic affinity. Harmonizing to him,

The word ‘eze ‘ was neither borrowed from any other linguistic communication, nor invented as a manner to enrich the Igbo linguistic communication, it does non intend ‘king ‘ in the context of kingliness as being used by European Monarchs. “ Eze, ” within the contexts of Igbo social-cultural life connotes three things – ” Chief Priest ” , “ King ” and “ God. ” The term “ Eze ” is used in the political sense to mention to Chukwu ( King of all or God ) , the lone King of the Igbo -this is why the general assembly of the Igbo, ‘oha na eze ‘ ( significance, the general populace and God ) is referred to as the supreme authorization of the Igbo. The lone king the generalization of Igbo accept and recognize is ‘God ‘ . So, from a strictly human position it is erroneous to state that the Igbo have King[ 18 ].

In the visible radiation of the above, it follows that faith is at the bosom of the Igbo worldview in a manner that it is hard to distinguish the layman from the sacred. Harmonizing toElizabeth Isichei, “ the Igbo were nil if non deeply spiritual, and all histories of their life reflect the fact ”[ 19 ]. Isichei ‘s history of the spiritual life of the Igbo makes much sense when one compares her positions with those of John S Mbiti who, kind of, gives a clear and deeper position on the spiritual nature of the Africans in general. In a much broader sense Mbiti declares,

Africans are notoriously spiritual, and each people has its ain spiritual system with a set of beliefs and patterns. Religion permeates into all the section of life so to the full that it is non easy or possible ever to insulate it… there is no formal differentiation between the sacred and the layman, between the spiritual and non-religious, between the religious and the material countries of life. Wherever the African is, there is his faith: he carries it to the Fieldss where he is seeding seeds or reaping a new harvest ; he takes with him to the beer party or to go to a funeral ceremonial ; and if he is educated, he takes faith with him to the scrutiny room at school or in the university ; if he is a politician he takes it to the house of parliament[ 20 ].

In fact, there is a popular stating amongst and about the Igbo that “ they eat sacredly and transgress sacredly ” . The spiritual nature of the Igbo helps one to understand why Christianity found its manner easy to the Igbo land more than any other parts of Nigeria and remains till day of the month, their overriding faith. Igba ndu as a covenant ritual therefore has both humanistic, political and theological semen spiritual dimensions. Hence, the complexness of the Igbo cosmology.

Some struggles among the Igbo: Root causes and effects:

In a part so dumbly populated like the Igbo and more so, coupled with their deep-rooted harsh experiences, reoccurrence of struggle is inevitable. However, the badgering concern is the velocity with which struggles rear up their ugly caputs with small or no clip for comparative and permanent peace in the Igbo communities, merely like their alleged Semitic relations. This concern carries with it some cardinal and brooding questions- are the Igbo conflictual by nature? Are they blood thirsty? Are they anti-progressives? Are they under generational and intergenerational expletives? Is peace or value-ethic non in their system? What is the kernel of their religionism and strong ties with the Ancestors? What regard has God in their relationships and life? Where lies their claim for deep regard for the sacredness of life? The inquiries could travel ad infinitum. However, many African bookmans, far from romanticising the African civilizations, are of the position that most of the struggles today in Africa is rooted in colonialism, which destroyed most of the African value systems that kept communities in peace. It appears colonialism merely left the scene for its progeny to take over- for neocolonialism, imperialism, paternalism and other… doctrines are worlds prevailing in Africa today due to poverty and power political relations. Elochukwu Uzukwu blames the causes of struggle among the Igbo on two pess, primordially to the Igbo yore, the past leaders who closed their eyes and sold off their blood into bondage, therefore the beginning of fright, intuition, “ witchery ” , “ condemnable carelessness ” and the quest to rule others[ 21 ]. Uzukwu dauntlessly and compactly calls it “ the offense of our ascendants ”[ 22 ]. It is like stating that the generation of Igbo struggle, by extension Africa, arises from deficiency of trust due to the wanton addition in slave trade that the ascendants ‘ greed and credulousness disposed them into releasing “ the value of values- human life- … ” and proverbially Uzukwu declinations, “ But when the worn is inside the bean the seed is destroyed with comparative easiness ”[ 23 ]. Uzukwu besides notes another offense the ascendants committed that set a incorrect precedency to their offsprings, “ the pattern… to bury heads with a few caputs ”[ 24 ]. Surprisingly this pattern is still in trend in some parts of Igbo land, and these are the heads who are meant to protect lives but are so buried with human caputs. One could inquire, those caputs used to bury the heads, whose caputs are they? The head ‘ relations? And who and who go after the snatch and violent death of those heads- the dead heads? Functionally it is the guards[ 25 ], and such dastardly Acts of the Apostless result in their continuously being practiced for privation of money- as in the bulwark snatch instances in the Igbo land today. Uzukwu, after giving the ascendants their lb of flesh over their actions inimical to traditional values, aligns himself with the other African bookmans on the immorality of colonialism which turned Africa upside down[ 26 ]. While Charles Villa-Vicencio blames it on pure political relations of the West, he argues that “ it is necessary to turn up current African struggles within the history of colonialism- which constitutes a dominant memory within African political relations ”[ 27 ]. As if this ugly tendency has become interiorized by the Africans unconsciously that it acts itself out on them, Villa goes on to state that “ The memory of colonialism continues to enforce itself on the African continent like a organic structure of decease. Too many Western bookmans and leaders fail to take this into history in offering their solutions to our jobs ”[ 28 ]. One may arguably inquiry that the logic of Villa is excessively general to the African continent, contracting it to the Igbo context in peculiar, what function did the Western invasion drama in the disorganisation of the Igbo values? To a simple head, it could be easy said that Africa is Africa whether Igbo or elsewhere. Assuming this place may intend irrigating down the issue and to disfigure the small aflicker beams of truth to the Igbo painful experiences in the Nigerian civil order that has non been decently addressed. Thankss to Martha Minow for indicating it out as a planetary world, who, in her list of those African folks that have truly witnessed race murder and anguish counted inter alia, “ the slaughter of the Ibos of Nigeria ”[ 29 ]as gruesome, which has psychologically destroyed the Igbo narrative and relationship with the British who ignited hatred of the Igbo among the Nigerians notably the Hausa and the Yoruba, “ who accuse them of holding a expansive design to rule Nigeria ” , for “ the British, in their portion, ne’er truly liked the Igbo… ”[ 30 ]. This atrocious experience has immense psychological and physical deductions on the Igbo, which mostly constitutes spirals of force, differences, retribution amongst the Igbo themselves. The truth is non far- struggle due to internalized operation, denial of justness and, worst, there was and is still no proper healing of the memory. This continues to linger boulder clay day of the month in the Igbo head and has formed portion of their narrative. Expressing this hurting, Uzoigwe says, “ I dare state that the Igbo believe that they are hated by their countrymen and they can non do out why. The pogrom unleashed against them that led to the Nigeria civil war and the subsequent inter-ethnic dealingss between them and other Nigerians clearly underscores their belief.[ 31 ]

That the British regulation in Nigeria dehumanised the Igbo and “ halted their territorial enlargement insofar as increasing the territorial extent of Igboland was concerned ”[ 32 ]is a clear fact on record. Tracing the same Igbo narrative of sufferings to the British who non merely caused land job for the Igbo but besides meddled with the traditional chieftainship ( Ezeship- royal stool ) , Francisca E. Nlerum notes that such indefensible invasion by the British has resulted in the batchs of struggles and security menaces to life. She writes,

The security of provinces is threatened by any alteration that might endanger its peace and stableness whether through external invasion or internal rebellion. Since 1945, many of the most important menaces to national security have been internal such as land and chieftainship differences which threaten the security of lives, belongings and the nation2. Historically in Nigeria, land was non of much economic value and the chieftainship stool was stable until the beginning of British regulation in the nineteenth century. The alloy of the British and native systems produced a confusion in the transportation of land and chieftainship rights. Land ownership and chieftainship stool has hence become the cause of rural and urban opposition and rebellion taking to household, communal, provinces and national differences[ 33 ].

One could be puzzled to inquire, what did the Igbo do to the British? Should a invitee putting to death his/her host? One ground, inter alia, for the British hatred on the Igbo is found in the history given by Godfrey Uzoigwe, that “ Of all Nigerian peoples, the Igbo had fought hardest and longest the constitution of British regulation… . the Igbo ne’er bowed or scraped before the white adult male in bootlicking weakness ”[ 34 ]. To this ferociousness, the guiltless voice calls out, where is justness?

Among the Igbo, land and territorial boundary differences and chieftainship stool remain conflictual issues that have claimed and maimed lives and cut off relationships. Due to the teaming population of the Igbo, they have limited parts of land for farming and significantly for colony. It is self-contradictory the relationship the Igbo have with land ( Ala ) . Among the Igbo bookmans, there is consensus that the Land/Earth[ 35 ], ( Ala- Earth goddess[ 36 ]) , ranks following to God in the hierarchy of being, and is revered as “ the constitutional divinity ”[ 37 ]and “ the keeper of morality ”[ 38 ]. Harmonizing to Therese Agbasiere “ Ala is the principal, approving authorization from which stems the impression of nsoala, ‘prohibition of Ala ‘ ”[ 39 ]. Ala is reverenced as a great and merciful female parent[ 40 ], “ hence the representation of her nursing a kid ”[ 41 ], whose maternal mildness is seen in the proviso of “ birthrate ” and “ productiveness of the land ” for her kids such that “ without her, life would be impossible for the Igbo who attach much sentiment to the land ”[ 42 ]. As the Igbo fear the land/earth as the 1 that holds life together, at the same clip land remains one of the major causes of struggle among the Igbo and is besides believed that any offense against the land threatens the full life of the community both animate and inanimate though it does non bust up mayhem without sounding cautions through the main priests who are the diviners that serve her[ 43 ]. There are many cases of land related struggles that have destroyed human lives and belongingss in Igbo land. For privation of infinite we consider merely the Aguleri- Umuleri land struggle as written by Raphael Chima Eke:

Despite their closeA historical ties, the people of the Aguleri and Umuleri communities have been at each other ‘s pharynxs for centuries. The two communities have for decennaries lived and farmed side by side but with common misgiving and hostility. In September 1995, the state of affairs exploded. That twelvemonth, public belongings including schools, Bankss, station offices, town halls and even churches were razed to the land, farther, some 200 private houses were destroyed and infinite people killed.A The recent clangs of April 1999 followed the decease of Mike Edozie, an Aguleri native, who was by the way the president of the local authorities council of the country during the 1995 crisis. During his funeral some immature work forces identified as Umuleri young persons swooped on the grievers. There was chaos as the Umuleri young persons allegedly dispersed grievers, gunning down some of them in the procedure. Exact casualty figures are disputed, but more than one 100 individuals were killed.A Such is the strength of the Aguleri-Umuleri struggle that both communities are deserted except for those really prosecuting the war. Most of the natives of the feuding communities are now refugees in neighboring small towns while infirmaries in Onitsha and environments are overruning with victims of the communal clang[ 44 ].

On the chieftainship ( Ezeship stool- royal male parent ) , there are tonss of struggles over the traditional stool in many communities in Igbo land which is more political and has far making effects now more than what the British did. It ranges from who is the heir apparent to the throne, the boy of the dirt, the small town whose bend it will be to bring forth the royal Highness to the financially floaty adult male, at times the morality and humane elaboratenesss are non considered while in some topographic points, they are considered peripherally owing to the corrupt patterns in the showing commission. For assorted histories of injury this tussles cause in communities, one could see the web, hypertext transfer protocol: // I prefer to mention the hassle traveling on in Lagwa Mbaise[ 45 ]community over a decennary now and which late, on Easter Sunday, happened once more taking to another loss of lives, destruction of house and people flying.

… . Monday, December 01, 2003 The aspiration of Cosmas Onyeneke to busy the traditional stool of his people suffers a setoff… The strife in Lagwa Okwuato Autonomous community over Ezeship tussle reached its extremum June 8 this twelvemonth, 2003, when a bloody clang erupted. For near to one hebdomad, the full community was turned to a war zone as violent deaths and devastation of belongingss became the order of the twenty-four hours. The flood tide of the struggle was the slaying of one Kelvin Nwachukwu.. ,[ 46 ]A

All these struggles account are rooted in the freak out of people ‘s values by foreign policy and besides to ‘the offense of the ascendants ‘ . Transportation of aggression or retribution is now on guiltless lives while the perpetrators have gone for good. Minnow observes right on this type of aggression that “ The danger is that exactly the same vindictive motivation frequently leads people to demand more than necessary, to be maliciously vindictive or perilously aggressive7, or to go hateful themselves by perpetrating the mutual act of force… get downing with something every bit fiddling as the accidental damaging of a bush, may intensify quickly to the trashing of vehicles and the practical destruction of houses ‘ ”[ 47 ].

To the Igbo, the British invasion ( custom invasion )[ 48 ]and its effects on their value system could be termed “ original wickedness ” due to its far making effects. Chinua Achebe distressingly laments over this mayhem faulting it now on the spiritual fast ones of the missionaries who were thought to be guiltless without political set but were Alliess to the British colonialists who severed the relationship that existed in the Igbo communal life. In his words, “ … The white adult male was clever. He came softly and peacefully with his faith. We were amused at his folly and allowed him to remain. Now he has won our brothers and our kin no longer acts like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart ”[ 49 ]. It is so a plaintive litany, the British freak out of the Igbo land. The result of this division Achebe calls against is obvious in many communities sing the batch of relationship barriers and struggles in Igbo land. However, it will be one sided to recognition every struggle in Igbo to the British invasion. Arguably, if there are traditional mechanisms for societal controls[ 50 ]and regulations or moralss of life in Igbo land, it means leading facie, that struggles are non foreign to the Igbo. Viewed this manner, it behoves ground to asseverate that the British did non learn the Igbo to be sexual criminal, to poison one another through nutrient, married woman banging or the witchery phenomenon bulwark in most countries in Africa, or “ the chitchat inclination ”[ 51 ]in most people that cause most struggles among people thereby making barriers in relationship and life in the society. Therefore, the Igbo are non angels as there are other things that cause struggles amongst them built-in in their nature – money as many of the Igbo are into concerns and trades. Anyacho E.O and Ugal David B, though still follow the Igbo struggles chiefly to the colonial times, observe that in Igbo land, among other causes of struggles are “ sex affairs, as the concern married woman or girl to household belongings… , slaying or toxic condition and marital radioactive dusts ( ill-treatment of married woman ) ( Nwolise 2004 ) . The continuum of struggles hence scopes between non-violent struggles affecting minor issues through public violences to limited war. The Igbo did non fight entire wars or pitched conflicts in the pre-colonial and did non observe war like most of Africa ( Nwolise 2004 ) ”[ 52 ]. The accent is that the consciousness of struggles over land and chieftainship hassle in the Igbo was heightened by the British policy, likely due to their deficiency of cultural cognition of the Igbo and linguistic communication disability. The British did besides something good- proviso of instruction, wellness attention system, evangelization, etc to the Igbo, which are non portion of this work to discourse.

The Dynamism of Igba Ndu Value as Conflicts Resolution Model

The Igbo, like any other African society, have different ways of puting differences which are rooted in the traditional values. Igba ndu is one of the ways the Igbo restore relationship between individuals and between communities. Puting acceptance to this, Uzukwu says, “ The Igbo people of Nigeria have a cultural-religious pattern of often regenerating relationships which are endangered by well-known human restrictions. Marriage in crisis and relationships between households, concern associates, kins and village-groups are ceremonially renewed when endangered by treachery or failure. The ritual for this is called igba ndu ( adhering life together, or doing a compact ) ”[ 53 ]. From its roots, following from the gait of Uzukwu, ‘Igba ‘ agencies to adhere while ‘ ndu ‘ agencies life. In its much more traditional intension and pattern, Felicia Ekejiuba defines the construct of Igba ndu as “ literally to adhere lives by agencies of an ageless bureau ( blood in most instances ) with a position to reinforcing and prolonging them ”[ 54 ]. Blood engagement in Igba ndu points to its ritual sacredness which relays its aura and the significance of the ceremonial[ 55 ], a clear indicant of the Igbo belief that blood is life. In its solemn sense, Ekejiuba expands Igba ndu among the Igbo as “ a ritual confederation between two or groups in which each party to the treaty swallows the blood of the other ”[ 56 ]. It is good to observe that the “ blood ingestion varies between communities ”[ 57 ]and points to the traditional manner Igba ndu had been conducted. However, some people still do it, particularly immature lovers for fright of dissolution and unfaithfulness. This is an facet of Igba ndu which has no struggle in it to decide. In holding with Ekejiuba ‘s position but ingestion of each other ‘s blood, Cletus Obasi modifies the human blood ingestion to “ the blood of animate beings ”[ 58 ]. Constantly once the animate being ‘s blood is consumed, the carcase is merrily feasted upon by the persons and the community. This demonstrates the dynamism of igba ndu, its ability to be modified to accommodate a peculiar mark of the times yet non losing its aims and significance. Situating the igba ndu rite in a much more modern-day clip and relevant to both the Christian pattern and non-Christian position, as Uzukwu justly notes that it has “ been Christianized and has been giving interesting consequences in the healing and reclamation of relationships of all types ”[ 59 ], Chibuike Ojilere, negotiations of igba ndu in a symbolic sense as “ an agape repast, a originative repast and re-creative repast ”[ 60 ], which goes beyond mere eating together to linking the person with the community to the Ultimate world. Ojilere ‘s position is really comprehensive of the incorporate manner the Igbo see life in the society. Pulling from the plants of Mircea Eliade, Ojilere, holds that igba ndu is “ in fact, a ‘sacramental ‘ world that allows the Igbo to detect a integrity of the universe, and at the same clip, to detect his proper fate as an incorporating portion of the universe ”[ 61 ]. The fact that portion of find, usually in life, leads to recovery points to the healing, animating, re-enacting and reconstructing dimensions of igba ndu.

Traveling farther, Ekejiuba adds that “ Igba ndu is an built-in portion of judicial system… employed to consequence echt rapprochement and therefore re-establishment of assurance between controversialists whose relationship had been so labored that normal intercourse was impaired ”[ 62 ]. As an built-in portion of the Igbo judicial system, it follows that Igba ndu extends to the length and comprehensiveness of life, it is used both in political, economical, societal, moral and even friendly, communal or cultural differences of grave and even traumatic affairs. Harmonizing to Obasi, “ Igba ndu ( compact ) , heals the injury caused by acrimonious struggle ”[ 63 ]. It follows that the primary end of Igba ndu is the Restoration of relationship, the healing of memory, edifice of love and good life between individuals and communities. The re-establishment of assurance attached to Igba ndu conjures the thought of common misgiving among controversialists therefore Igba ndu as a compact is validated.

Covenant is so cardinal in Igba ndu and as affair of fact, that is what igba ndu is. A transverse position of God ‘s compact with Abraham[ 64 ], with Gideon[ 65 ], both of which had to with the slaughtering of an animate being and call to journey with God with its mission jussive moods, sheds light to the apprehension of the genuineness of Igba ndu among the Igbo, as a ritual that re-enacts assurance between single with the society, with the Communion of the saints and with God, which indicates “ fresh committedness… , and a new beginning ”[ 66 ]. However, this position does non restrict compact to slaughtering of an animate being for the interest of fulfilling the human hungriness for meat. It is merely an outward mark of the mutual-mental consent/pact, which gives way and soundness to life. Covenant, like the Igbo pattern of igba ndu, could be solemnized with inanimate objects as a point of reminder of the treaty entered[ 67 ]. We can mention to this signifier as sacramental which forms portion of a individual ‘s or community ‘s narrative[ 68 ], an induction into a career to stay by the community ‘s moralss. This type of igba ndu is seen when a selected group of individuals is charged with the duty of heading a commission[ 69 ]to supervise the personal businesss of the full community or to look into affairs impacting some members of the community. In order to guarantee the community of equity in their traffics irrespective of whose ox is gored, they bond themselves plighting to stay faithful to their committedness.

Projecting a expression into John De Grunchy ‘s work, one sees the of import dimension of compact in the African context for ritual rapprochement. Igba ndu, as a rite of rapprochement into the communal life of the society, comfortably feats into De Grunchy ‘s thought of “ community sacrament ”[ 70 ], a manner of get the better ofing disaffection, which “ has far-reaching societal and political deductions ”[ 71 ]and is rooted in the power of compact as the exercising of love and power in a manner that heals relationship and physiques community. Seen in this manner as a compact, Igba ndu, for De Gruchy, seeks “ to adhere communities together in common attention and duty for each other and for the larger society ”[ 72 ].

A clearer expression at the Eucharistic shared repast from one home base makes it easier to understand the world of Igba ndu. It calls for deeper scrutiny to do certain one is at peace with one ‘s neighbor and with God before its response[ 73 ]. Both the blood ingestion of igba ndu in the traditional Igbo scene and its modified manner of utilizing material nutrient in the modern-day clip indicates a entire self-giving of oneself to the other and frailty versa, which runs analogue with the Eucharistic repast, “ Those who eat my flesh and imbibe my blood, live in me and I in them ”[ 74 ]. In the igba ndu ritual ingestion, symbolically the covenanting parties are believed to hold exchanged non merely their volitions but their critical force among themselves, with the community, the ascendants and the gods/God. In its spiritual sense, igba ndu is both a “ theophagy ”[ 75 ]and a homophagy ( to eat ‘God and human ‘ ) .

Igba Ndu and Just peacemaking, “ peacebuiding ”[ 76 ]: Retributive and Restorative Justice

The Igbo traditionally have neither constabulary that could implement Torahs in the society nor are at that place codified Torahs for perusing. Laws are embedded in the imposts believed to be in their interior Black Marias of the people which forms portion of their narrative from one coevals to the following. The Gods and the ascendants are instead the unseeable constabulary the Igbo have whose aid are sought in determination devising. Mbiti puts it clearly that the ascendants, ( the living-dead ) , “ are the defenders of household personal businesss, traditions, moralss and activities. Offense in these affairs is finally an offense against the sires who, in that capacity, act as the unseeable constabulary of the households and communities ”[ 77 ]. Crimes in Igbo albeit it single have cosmogonic deductions. Once a struggle occurs, the full universe is believed to be in confusion until justness and peace are restored. The Igbo belief in and pattern of igba ndu does non settle for mere pacificism, which harmonizing to Simeon O. Ilesanmi, “ seems to do a fetish of peace as the highest ethical good in a political society ”[ 78 ]. Chiefly, igba ndu is rooted in justness and peace- live and allow live, which sums up the Igbo belief that “ peace achieved at the monetary value of justness is worthless, in much the same manner that justness pursued in a non-peaceable spirit would be regarded as mean or cruel ”[ 79 ]. The justness of igba ndu is both retaliatory and renewing, owing to the matter-of-fact belief of the Igbo. It can be restitutive depending on what kind of struggle is being settled through igba ndu. However, it should be noted that the “ cardinal end ” of the justness of igba ndu is “ rapprochement and Restoration of societal harmoniousness ”[ 80 ].

Alluding to the weight of Igba ndu, Ekejiuba avers that it is “ sociologically of import for covering efficaciously with a state of affairs which endangered non merely the wellbeing of the persons but besides the peace of their line of descents or small towns ”[ 81 ]. The retaliatory justness of igba ndu can be so huffy for “ instant… harmful consequence of the divinities ‘ penalty was excessively floaty for anybody to make bold their wrath ”[ 82 ]. It is so due to the engagement of blood and “ the Igbo divinities… detested any blood spilling particularly Ala ( Earth goddess ) ”[ 83 ]much less arousing them on unfair issues like false oath-taking. It is based on this retaliatory justness of igba ndu that Igbo would state, “ Ala echele onye uru ” , ( may the land non protect an evil actor )[ 84 ]. Therefore, for the intents of determining the truth and therefore preventing requital from the divinities, which could either be “ sickness, accidents, dearth, sudden decease, poorness, wretchedness, barrenness, loss of children- to those imposed by the society such as expatriate, banishment, … sale into bondage, mulcts, damages, compensation, etc ”[ 85 ], series of biddings, listening, questions and probes in secret and opening are conducted by different patrikins and leaders within the community ( Internet Explorers ) and cautions are sounded before igba ndu commences. “ Peoples fixing for curse pickings were frequently advised non to eat toxicant out of shame ( iji ihere taa oji nsi ) and to seek their scruples ( iji anger agu eze onu ) . This meant that they should accept their guilt if they committed the offense, alternatively of maintaining deaf-and-dumb person and death in the command to avoid shame ”[ 86 ]. Igba ndu as a corporate matter, “ God, ascendants, deities ( particularly the powerful Earth Spirit ) , and the full community act together in the rite to re-create the society. The footings for reclamation are spelled out. The participants name on all the deities to bear incorporate informant of their committedness to the life-enhancing footings of behavior ”[ 87 ]. In other words, the rite of igba ndu is “ tied to the cognition of the being of a Supreme being or divinities who are really powerful as to step in in the personal businesss of work forces when they are invited and therefore dispense justness to defaulters who break the compact entered… . The parties to the compact while cursing will articulate penalties which the Gods are to strike on the defaulters ”[ 88 ]. Igba ndu becomes retributive in the instance of falsity, brazing rebelliousness to state the truth before the Gods and the community and breach of compact, for each would assure non to make anything “ harmful or damaging to the other ‘s advancement or wellbeing ”[ 89 ]. Army for the liberation of rwanda from being rhetorical, many Igbo bookmans agree based on practical worlds of the retaliatory effects of igba ndu[ 90 ]. In this instance, igba ndu serves as a hindrance to people and ends struggles.

The importance of the renewing justness side of igba ndu can non be overemphasized. It brings out the facet of the Igbo doctrine that “ mmekorita ahu bu uto ndu ” ( the beauty and sugariness of life prevarications in the close contact or common interaction of two organic structures ) . This belief is rooted in the Judaic civilization to which the Igbo allegedly trace their root[ 91 ]. Life for the Igbo, as any African society, is a famous person so that to be entirely or to be ostracized seems the terminal of the universe to the victim. It means entire cutting off from communal engagement, from the ascendants and the Earth/Land- the female parent Earth ( Ala ) . The Igbo moralss of life topographic points much accent on solidarity which finds look in one of the Igbo Proverbs that “ igwe bu Eisenhower ” or “ umunna bu Eisenhower ” ( solidarity is strength or patrikins are the beginning of one ‘s strength )[ 92 ]. In this respect, whatever affects single has effects to the community and the Land. It is as Anyacho and Ugal would state that “ Sin or offense of one individual could hold dashing effects on the whole community ”[ 93 ]. In other words, looks as “ it does concern you ” , go forth me entirely ” , I am on my ain and their likes do non practically use in the Igbo, African culture. “ Mbiti sheds light to the apprehension of African integrity therefore, “ Merely in footings of other people does the single become witting of his ain being, … When he suffers, he does non endure entirely but with the corporate group ; when he rejoices, he rejoices non entirely but with his kinsmen, his neighbors, and his relations whether dead or life… Whatever happens to the single happens to the whole group and whatever happens to the whole group happens to the person. The single can state: ‘I am because we are ; and since we are, hence, I am ‘ ”[ 94 ]. This corporate life holds in all facet of life. It is like a testament among the Igbo, or Africans in general which informs why frenetic attempts are made to reconstruct relationship in the community, to loathe retribution and punitory steps save in instances of adamance of persons in which instance the Igbo would state, “ ijiji adighi ege nti na esoro osu laa n’ili ” ( the fly that does non mind to advice/correction follows a cadaver to the grave ) .

However, Ojilere lists out four practical stairss that must take topographic point before renewing portion of igba ndu take topographic points, which are “ confession of guilt, which can be public or private ; audience of a traditional priest or swayer as the instance may be ; proviso of ritual stuffs and ritual proper of fixing and sharing a sacred communal repast on a fixed twenty-four hours ”[ 95 ]. Peacemaking and peace edifice among the Igbo therefore is non complete in isolation of any member of the community. Renewing justness of igba ndu is therefore a communal matter, a jubilation reminiscent of the fable of the profligate kid which Jesus illustratively uses to learn about forgiveness, rapprochement and reintegration. In its single and communal dimension, igba ndu is extremely antiseptic to the life in the Igbo society. It removes common intuition and fright, creates or makes Bridgess for inter and intra communal life and sustains the cosmic order. In other words, the joy and morality of the community is dependent on the consciousness of each community member to do peace, to construct peace, to woolgather peace and to dine and wine with peace, for each individual or community enters into a treaty non to harm the other in any manner. Okorocha sums it up good in his words that “ Igba- ndu is non merely used to beef up and perpetuate friendly relationships or relationships, it is… a agency of set uping a lasting armistice between warring communities ”[ 96 ].

The Relevance of Igba ndu to Communal morality

The inquiries that could easy strike the head here would be ; could at that place be morality in the absence of peace? Could a community stay and portion communal life where intuition, struggle, slaying, poisoning and nobbling overtly or covertly be? Probably communities are mussy today due to the absence of a adhering consciousness of relationality by blood or even by friendly relationship and regard for life and the Gods ( God ) . Modernism, globalisation with its double effects has non merely turned the universe into a little small town but has created planetary immorality that has destroyed the traditional music of regard for life amongst people. Eric Genuis, while citing a fellow instrumentalist said, “ to understand the morality of a people is to listen to their music ”[ 97 ]. It is a good known fact that most traditional values, and their morality are preserved and transmitted through music given the African narrative nature. Therefore, among the Igbo, music is life and life is music, for no 1 plays and dances for oneself, in it both the life and the dead are connected, re-created and life is celebrated and prolonged. Hence, it is a common apothegm among the Igbo therefore, “ Ka ogbugba ndua anyi gbarakoritara diri n’obi anyi dirikwa n’onu anyi herb of grace mgbe ebighe ebi ” , ( may this compact we have entered into remain in our hearts/minds and may it besides remain everlastingly on our lips, in the vocal we sing ) . A clear mark of this fact is seen when a adult female gives birth, during entombments, matrimonies, calling ceremonials traditional assemblages even in the farms and significantly during ritual pacts/covenant. In these ceremonials, the rite of igba ndu is renewed through the presentation and communal sharing of gifts, particularly “ kola nut, the greatest symbol of Igbo cordial reception ”[ 98 ]. In the rite of approval of goora nut nut, the full cosmic order is invoked while a ball of it is thrown on the land for the Gods and ascendants after which all nowadays is expected to partake of it. It is thrown on the land because of the Igbo belief that their morality stems from the land, hence the name omenala, tradition of the land[ 99 ]. Therefore, igba ndu binds the life of people together with the mores and ethos of the land and the Gods, a mark of Restoration, for cipher can dance nor observe with one ‘s enemy, small admiration Ojilere calls igba ndu a “ safety device ”[ 100 ]that creates room for relaxation and overcoming of disaffection. Igba ndu, reminds people or communities of the responsibilities they owe to each other. Harmonizing to Ekejiuba, this responsibility is spelt out in the footings of igba ndu therefore, “ If you or any of your people do or wish us any injury, our juju ( i.e. , the sacred object ) which in its retaliation is awful and lifelessly will most assuredly kill you even down to the first Born ; but if you do and wish good to us, may the longest life, combined with prosperity and felicity be yours ”[ 101 ]and frailty versa. The consciousness that people are related or bonded by blood which contains a critical force of life deters or restrains people from bring downing injuries or struggle to each other. Sing the responsibility consciousness igba ndu impacts on moral life of the people, Mbiti observes that “ The kernel of African morality is that it is more social than religious, it is a morality of behavior instead than a morality of being. This is what one might name dynamic moralss instead than inactive moralss, for it defines what a individual does instead than what he is ”[ 102 ]. Igba ndu therefore imposes on people the duty to be one ‘s brother’s/sister ‘s keeper, to watch one ‘s brother’s/sister ‘s dorsum, for this is a baronial responsibility delighting to the Gods and the community. Igba ndu guards single and communal scrupless and promotes the Igbo values of truth, life, peace, cordial reception and justness. Reflecting on the relevancy of igba ndu to the morality of the communities, Uzukwu calls it an “ Igbo paradigm ”[ 103 ]that binds people to each other.


The intent of this work has been to research the profusion of igba ndu in deciding struggles among the Igbo. The digression has featured the worldviews of the Igbo in their historical conditions both as in beginning and the base strata of struggles within their confines and how igba ndu serves a theoretical account to reconstructing of peace in the communities through ritual Communion and its relevancy to communal morality. In a theological idiom, igba ndu proves effectual in mending the lesions of division and reconstructing the stray back to the beat of communal life through blood treaty which is rooted in “ the belief that blood is thicker than H2O and is connected to a repast ”[ 104 ], which is a mark of integrity and sharing that strengthens relationship. The blood engagement may sound so eldritch to the modern-day head or an foreigner to the African society, but once more when viewed from the position of the forfeit of Jesus with his last bead on the cross and its cosmopolitan salvific effects which is day-to-day re-enacted at the Eucharistic tabular array, igba ndu becomes non merely to the Africans but to the universe a powerful agencies of struggle declaration which chiefly aims at Restoration. The blood treaty of igba ndu, is sacred and adhering. Harmonizing to Mercy Oduyoye, “ the action underscores the sacredness and earnestness of all compacts ”[ 105 ]. The beauty in igba ndu lies its dynamic nature and its footings that topographic point serious duties on those who partake of the repast.

Get instant access to
all materials

Become a Member