The Ebre Women Society And It’s Contributions To The Socio-Political Development

Project and Seminar Material for International Relations

The Ebre Women Society And It’s Contributions To The Socio-Political Development


Chapter One


Introduction

Mkpat Enin society in the pre-colonial era was a well ordered society in which women played significant roles in their age grade and exclusive societies which served as important arms of government in the land.1 The women exclusive societies were vocal, active and were organized to deal effectively with matters concerning women, maintaining good moral among women and protecting themselves against maltreatment by husbands or men generally. One of such societies was EBRE WOMEN SOCIETY.

Ebre women society was a ritual dance in honour of the ancestral mothers and was very popular in pre-colonial era because of its social, political, judicial and educational functions. Their contributions or influence was not limited to the village but extended to the village groups.2 They played important roles in moral education, political sensitization, sanction mutual aid and the preservation of the rights of the female sex.3 Moreso, it provided a forum for women to devise means of disciplining girls and training them on economic, moral and social ethics. They used this opportunity to formulate and discuss policies for the handling of girls during circumcision, fattening and during other significant events in their times.

Ebre music or songs articulated the hopes and aspirations of the women and their references were drawn from the day to day experiences. When the ebre women danced, it was not only for entertainment but also as an instrument of social control while some were a deliberate protest against what they regarded as male chauvinism.4 Moreso, the vulgarity of some of their song texts and ballads reflected their desire to inculcate moral discipline, obedience, respect in the youth and entire people. Ebre dance was accompanied by full orchestra of wooden drum, rattle and gong which were simple and locally made and were played by the members according to how each of them specializes on them.5

The Ebre women raised their fund through the initiation fees paid by new members, heavy fines imposed on men who abused their wives and though the donations of well wishers whenever the Ebre dance was staged and through the money charge by them whenever they were hired to play and dance on special occasion. A typical Ebre women was identified with 2 pieces of wrapper which the eye of the owner considered superior, blouse, headtie and a string of beads tied around their neck. Among the important paraphernalia of this group are the Ekuriku staff which was also used by members of Idiong and Ekong societies and symbolized authority as well as “akpan Udua” (traditional woven basket) which depicts their occupation of farming and trading.6

EBRE SOCIETY existed as a traditional forum for the political participation of women. Whereafter, this society was suppressed or restricted in scope by the colonial administration. This society, as a political structure enabled women’s voices to be heard, their opinion consulted and their participation guaranteed from the family households to the councils in the larger society.7

At the dawn of the contemporary period, Ebre society metamorphose into a political forum for women and are organized around definite political, social, economic, professional and class interest. They aspire for political development and representation as well as national development and they thrive alongside with male folk.8 They participate actively in politics by mobilizing and organizing women as interest groups, pressure groups and NGOs which helps in furthering the course of women9.


1.1 Statement Of Problem

The most outstanding problem that necessitate this research span from the total negligence of studies on Ebre women in the Nigerian historiography. It is observed that much has been written on the important role played by men in their various societies in pre-colonial era whereas “Ebre society” whose members form the bedrock of today’s women in politics have been neglected.

On the otherhand, majority of the people regard women as necessary appendages with clearly defined and circumscribed roles which were calculated at advancing the pervasive interest of the male without recognizing the potential powers of women.

On the whole, the researcher in carrying out this research, tries to demystify the conception that Ebre society was more of a fraternity than a social club.


1.2 Objectives Of The Study

The research is conducted to achieve the following:

  1. It is an attempt to examine the roles, contributions and status of Ebre women in the social development of Mkpat Enin L.G.A.
  2. It is the intension of this research to evaluate the extent of women’s involvement in the governance of the society in the pre-colonial period.
  3. This work also intends to bring to limelight the place of Ebre women in contemporary society-politically.

1.3 Significance Of The Study

This work is an attempt to stem the tide of negligence as far as the study of Ebre women society in Mkpat Enin L.G.A. is concerned.

This work will serve as a useful contribution to highlight that the women of Mkpat Enin L.G.A. has contributed substantially to the development of the area irrespective of their political affiliations.

This work being an academic inquiry on Ebre women will justify the vibrant role played by women in the political scene today.

This work will go a long way to boost the existing literature on women and thus fill the gap which exist on account of the death of written records about women.

The work will serve as an eye opener to the government on the need to recognize women and their groups, and thus help government to give women the recommended 30% of elective and appointive positions in government.


1.4 Scope Of Study

This research work covers a wide range of areas. It incorporates all the necessary facts about Ebre Women Society.

It discusses is full detail the activities and contributions of the society aimed at the socio-political development of Mkpat Enin society in pre-colonial time.

The study extends to examine the roles and place of Ebre women in contemporary society – politically.


The Ebre Women Society And It’s Contributions To The Socio-Political Development


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The Ebre Women Society And It’s Contributions To The Socio-Political Development


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