The Ebre Women Society And It’s Contributions To The Socio-Political Development
This study examines the contributions of Ebre women society to Nigeria socio-political development. It gives the detrimental effects which the colonialism have had on the status of Nigerian women. The challenges of women contributions to the development of the Nigerian nation are highlighted. And ameliorating these challenges recommendations are made which among others include the proper education of women, formation of more women, business cooperatives, enlightment campaigns in secondary and tertiary institutions as well as granting women their constitutional rights to effective participation in the affairs of the country
1.1 Background of the Study
The MkpatEnin 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.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. 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.
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 Ebrewomen 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 “akpanUdua” (traditional woven basket) which depicts their occupation of farming and trading.
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.
At the dawn of the contemporary period, Ebresociety 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 women.Women are the fundamental human reservoir of every society as they control most of the non-monetary economy (subsistence, agriculture, bearing children, domestic labour etc.) and play an important role in the monetary (training wage labour, employment etcYawa, (1995). Women in most societies, whether developed or developing are regarded as currency with which political and economic alliances are cemented. Thus in social anthropology, the transfer of women between lineages and clans is regarded as a medium of communication more potent and clearest than language itself (Coleman, 2007). The woman as a person is an agent of reproduction of life itself. This places her in the position of the life itself. This places her in the position of the life blood of the entire humanity. The industrial revolution in England and other parts of the western world in the 18th century drastically altered the primary role of women in the society. Women henceforth could be seen playing roles hitherto regarded as the exclusive reserves of men in the economic, political and social lives of the society in the African setting women have played the role of peace maker, the symbol of beauty and major moulder of the character of the children she is the first teacher, the sustained and maintainer of the home. Fasugba (2000) asserted that many women today are engaged in activities and jobs hitherto regarded as the exclusive reserve of men. He further states that since women have become conscious of their right, they have continued to slug it out with men in all areas of human endeavours. By their sheer psychological, physiological and intellectual make up they do perform more than mere complementary roles in the production process (Teminiwa, 1995).
1.2 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.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The research is conducted to achieve the following:
- It is an attempt to examine the roles, contributions and status of Ebre women in the social development of MkpatEnin L.G.A.
- 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.
- This work also intends to bring to limelight the place of Ebre women in contemporary society-politically.
1.4 Research Hypotheses
- H0: the Ebre women society of MkpatEnin does not play any role in the socio-political development of the region
H1: the Ebre women society of MkpatEnin does play a role in the socio-political development of the region
- H02: women do not actively involved in the governance of the society in the pre-colonial period
H2: women are actively involved in the governance of the society in the pre-colonial period
1.5 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 MkpatEnin L.G.A. is concerned.
This work will serve as a useful contribution to highlight that the women of MkpatEnin 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.
1.6 Scope and Limitation 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 MkpatEnin society in pre-colonial time. The study extends to examine the roles and place of Ebre women in contemporary society – politically.
a) Availability of Research Material:
The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
c) Organizational Privacy:
Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
A woman is a female human being. The term woman is usually reserved for an adult, with the term girl being the usual term for a female child or adolescent
Of or pertaining to a combination of social and political factors.
Political development, which is of recent origin in political science. The confusion is compounded because particular trends. in the social sciences inhibited explicit concern about political, as distinct from economic, development
1.8 Organization of the Study
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
- Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
- Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
- Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
- Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
- Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was on the Ebre women society and it’s contributions to the socio-political development of the state.
In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of employees moral in a profit driven organization.
There is overwhelming evidence from what have been discussed in this study that Embrewomen society are formidable productive force and a store of incredibly human resources which are required for national development. Their contributions cannot be discountenanced in household and national economies, the current role of women in national development is remarkable towards peace and direction of the economy and society. In order to identify and tap their resources so as to ensure optimal performance in national development efforts should be made for holistic development of women along the following lines.
A cursory look at the entire work especially at the findings made in the course of the study reveals that there is a yawning gap in the level of involvement of female gender in the development of the Nigerian society especially in the political economy of the country. This less involvement of the female folk has contributed in no small measure to the backwardness of the country despite the enormous resources with which the country is endowed. It has to a great extent slow down the pace at which the communities grow and develop. 76 Therefore if the Nigerian society should develop like other countries of the world, there is urgent need to get more Nigerian women involved in the development of every facet of the economy. This will help to pull all the human resources together for the up-liftmen of the society.
Based on the findings made in the course of the study, the researcher made the following recommendations: 1. To the curb the barriers to women participation in politics, the researcher makes the following recommendations:
- Cultural practices that denies women free access to land, relegates women to the background and regard them as second class citizens should be abrogated.
- Government in partnership with community development partners should not only provide modern farm implements such as tractor, planters, harvesters etc to the rural women farmers but also educate them on how to use these implements to enhance their production since the lives of millions of Nigerians depends heavily on proceeds from agriculture
- To improve the level of women education in the country, girl child education should not only be made free but also compulsory at secondary school levels and affordable at tertiary level. This will help to dig out those hidden potentials of the women which the Nigerian society has not actually started appreciating.
- In conjunction with the effort of the current first lady of the country, Dame Patience Jonathan and since some notable Nigerian women have achieved excellence in their various fields especially leadership, the researcher therefore recommend that more women should be absorbed in the leadership of this country not only at the local government level but also at the state and federal government. This will help to pull the various human resources which God has blessed the country with together for the upward growth and development of the entire country
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