Pre-colonial Government in Igbo Land

Unlike othe ethnic groups such as Oyo ‎Wђεrε there were proffessional historians in the palaces, none of such people existed in Igbo land as there were no equivalents of Oba and Alaafin over most parts of Igboland. To this end the real historical origin of the Igbos is clouded by the different accounts of people who have written it in line with what they think and seen as the origin. Although, there is a popular version which links the Igbo origin to Israel, because of the similarities between the Igbo culture and the ancient Hebrew.

Also according to oral tradition like that of Nri, the ancestor of the Igbo, that Nri descended from the sky and sailed down the river Anambra and arrived at Ageleu, met a group which had Йȍ living memory of their own and settled with them, as their population grew, some groups migrated to form settlements all around Igbo land. There are other accounts as well, like Onitsha who clings their origin to the Bini kingdom.

Pre-colonial Governance

The Igbos are a segmentary and fragmentary people, because unlike other ethnic groups in Nigeria, they did not build any strong centralized state. They were simply regarded as a Chiefless people. The village was the centre of government were final decisions were taken by Elders from every family in a form of Gerontocracy. All lineage including Males and Females adults in the village also participated in its political processs. The age grade and titled societies where ‎ the major instrument of government.

Amala Oha is an institution of government as it is a form of general assembly. In this assembly, all adult male memebers meet to perform legislative functions. In ancient times, Amala Oha meetings were held in the village square. The decisions of the assembly in matters affecting the village or individual were final. The life of every individual in Igboland is highly respected, and recognition of an individual was not based on family background but on personal capabilities and age. The elders form the core of the village administration. The male population is divided into age grades corresponding with the youth, middle age or able bodied men and elders. Each age group has its own special rights, duties,obligation and responsibilities within the village.

Colonial Rule

Not until the imposition of colonial rule on Nigeria, when the British could not find a single Man of authority who they would use in their indirect rule system. They decided to create "a man of authority" by appointing certain individuals in the society as kings. These appointees who were given government paper of authority "warrant" and made to preside over the affairs of the community were known as "warrant chiefs". These warrant chief are believed to have metamorphosed some of the Eze's and Obi's in present day Igboland.


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1 comment:

  1. Awesome Page! Who is the author of this page for referencing purposes for my college paper.

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