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Enugu, Nigeria
Enugu State

Traditional Government And Polities

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Chapter one of this project take over all view of statement of problem, research objectives, research significance, research hypothesis theoretical framework and operational definitions. Careful examination has been made in chapter two of this work, which deals on the literature review of Igbo traditional government and the political system. The third chapter featured the research design and methodology, sources of data were also rayed as well as the population of study and sample size. The sampling techniques were also part of the discussion simple random sampling was use to draw the sample size from the population of study. The data collected was presented and analyzed in chapter four simple percentage was used for the analysis various research findings were also put forward among other things. The Chiman being chapter five, made a summary of the research work, conclusion and recommendations were also done in this chapter. The erroneous view which people held about the Igbo society was disproved. It was established that the Igbos had a well structured government and political system. The major purpose of this research work is to investigate traditional government and politics in Igbo society. This is to confirm or refute the view that the Igbo society is stateless, lawless and acceplialous. Both local and foreign opinions were sampled in a bit to crate a comparison of views and the basis of such views.     









Tile page     -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        i

Certification page-        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        ii

Dedication  -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        iii

Acknowledgement          -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        iv

Abstract      -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        v

Table of contents  -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        vi


1.1     Background of the study         -        -        -        -        -        -       

1.2     Statement of problem     -        --       -        -        -        -       

1.3     Objective of the study     -        -        -        -        -        -       

1.4     Scope and limitation of study  -        -        -        -        -       

1.5     Significance of study      -        -        -        -        -        -       

1.6     Theoretical framework    --       -        -        -        -        -       

1.7     Statement of hypothesis-        -        -        -        -        -       

1.8     Definition of terms         -        -        -        -        -        -        -       

          References   -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -       


2.1     Literature review   -        -        -        -        -        -        -

          Reference    -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -       


3.0     Research Methodology   -        -        -        -        -        -       

3.1     Research Design   -        -        -        -        -        -        -       

3.2     Methods of data collection       -        -        -        -        -       

3.3     Sample size-        -        -        -        -        -        -        -

3.4     Sampling Techniques     --       -        -        -        -        -       

3.5     Data analysis techniques         -        -        -        -        -        -       


4.0     Presentation and Analysis of Data     -        -        -        -       

4.1     Data presentation           -       -        -        -        -        -        -       

4.2     Data Analysis       -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -       

4.3     Research findings-        -        -        -        -        -        -       


5.1     Summary    -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -       

5.2     Recommendation  -        -        -        -        -        -        -       

5.3     Conclusion-        -        -        -        -        -        -        -

Bibliography         -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -

Appendix    -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -       

Questionnaire       -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -









The Igbos are traditionally village people, with social system comprising hundreds of small clans and villages. Among than, it is the family, the title holders, the village head etc that carryout the administrative functions of the society (Okoye, 1980:4).

There have been many attempts to trace the origin of the Igbos, but none of than was very successful. In other words, where the Igbos migrated from has not been proved beyond reasonable double. The ancestry of the Igbos has bothered many people for a long time. Many historians, philosophers, sociologists, archaeologists and anthropologist have raised a lot of dust on this issue. A lot of views have been proffered but yet the origin of the Igbos remained a mirage.

The Igbo people occupy the southern part mid western and Delta regions of Nigeria. Their areas is bounded on the east by the Ibibio people, on the south west by the Ijaw, extending to the confines of Benin with Igbos as the out post. The northern boundary is Idoma in the Northem Nigeria.

What could be specially defined as the traditional government and politics in Igbo society comes on areas of over 15,800 square miles with a population of more than thirty (30) million (Anyanwu and Aguwa 1993:4). The Igbo land rises in the north to the Agwu-Uduka hills which runs in a south-north direction. There is no impenetrable mountain barriers or large expenses of water or desert through out the Igbo setting.

The Igbos inhabit Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo Abia, Ahoada area of River state as well on the account of their migratory behaviour, Igbo people are found all over the world where they settled, live and behave as son of the soil (Anyanwa and Aguwa 1999:5).

At this stage, we shall explore in all these areas of Igbo land, if there had existed traditional government and politics because the administrative system in Igbo society have been variously labeled as accephallous, stateless or republican. This implies that the Igbo communities do not have first person of the society entrusted with administrative functions, and equally lacks formal structures of government with a hierarchical organization based on bureaucratically and systematized administration.

Infact, the problem scholars have experienced in providing a simple characterization for the political culture of the Igbo underscores the complexities of the system as well as the fact that the Igbo culture area is not uniform. In terms of lie erogeneity or complexity, the Igbo culture area had been subdivided into five units with features of internal differentiations within each unit. Thus we have:

i.             Northern or Onitsha Igbo including Nri,Awka, Enugu and Onitsha.

ii.           Southern or Owerri Igbo including Isuma, Uratta, Ikwerre, Ohuhu, Ngwa and Isu.

iii.          Western Igbo including north and southern Ika, Kwala and River line Igbo.

iv.          Eastern or cross river Igbo including Abam, Ohafia and Ara.

v.            North-eastern Igbo or Ogu Uku including the Igbo of Abakiliki and Afikpo (Founde and James 1962:10) with the above, it remains unrealistic in terms of political culture to attempt a characterization of the entire Igbo linguistic and culture area. The three types of stateless structures distinguished by Horton of agricultural communities are to be found among the Igbos namely.

a.            Seminary: linage system among a few central Igbo communities.

b.           The dispersed territorially defined community.

c.            The large compact village type.

The prevalence of these forms of non-contrasted form of political system among the Igbo has given the false impression that the Igbo can be legitimately characterized as accephallous.

So this research work is aimed at studying the traditional government and political system of Okposi in Ohaozara, Ebonyi state so as to put forward the fact that the traditional government and politics in Igbo society is structural and can be studied via structural analytical approach which disproves the impression that traditional government and politics in Igbo society is generally stateless, accephallous or republican inn nature.


The issue of whether there exist any  traditional government and politics in Igbo society has remained a perplexing problem over the years.

The problem this work is out to look into therefore is the applications, difficulties faced as a result of the misperception and belief of many people today of Igbo society. There has been this belief that the Igbo of Nigeria has no unified and centralized form of politics and social organization.

Therefore, the various disturbing phenomena of the sociopolitical organization of contemporary Igbo society are some indication of some types of expedition or search for an equilateral position at which socio-political aspirations and programmes can fit into such socio-political structures and culture of the various Igbo system. In otherworld’s, all the phenomena put together shows that the problem lies in a search for socio-political identity and an enduring traditionally flavourfilled confidence which incidentally seem to include many Igbo societies.

This growing inconsistencies coupled with the ever constant perennial problem of social and political disillusionment in many Igbo societies shows how necessary a new approach to socio-political evolution really is.



The issue of the traditional government and politics in Igbo society has since been a subject of intense debate among contemporary historical and Igbo scholars. Following the multiplicity of opinion on this subject, it has become reasonable for the research to establish the fact that their existed to a great extent an element of socio politic organization in Igbo land. The overall objective of the study can then be stated as follows:-

1.           This study aims at re-assessing the nation widely held opinions about the traditional government and politics in Igbo land in general and Okposi Ohaozara in particular with a view to unreeling the truth about this.

2.           To make an enquiry into the contribution of some eminent scholars to the ungoing search for Igbo identity and organization.

3.           This study or research work also seeks to facilitate a comprehensive understanding of the indigenous socio-political organization of some Igbo communities, for instance Okposi in Ohaozara local government area of Ebonyi state, which will help scholars to analyzed and appreciate better the strains in Igbo socio-political system which seemed the emanate from the combination of two vastly differently political ideas of the European and Igbos. This also they will try to address.

4.           The study of Okposi socio-political organization will also contribute to the enrichment of studies in traditional government and political organization of Igbo in general.

5.           A study of this nature undertaken away from stresses of socio-political crises, such as marked some vital studies of the Igbo, hitherto picture of Igbo socio-political life and thus presents it for appraisal by scholars who may have maintained hardened attitude to it.




It is truism that there are many strategies and approaches for the study of traditional government and politics in Nigeria. However this study is limited to the traditional government and politics in Igbo society.

It focuses on knowing how indigenous government and politics have been upheld on the Igbo society (suing Okposi in Ohaozara as a case study), the problems militating against  the traditional government and politics in Igbo society and also the relevant solutions for addressing these problems.





As a matter of fact, the researcher did unavoidably encounter some setbacks in the course of this study. These militating factors are discussed here under.

1.           Finance: This is the life wire of anything one dos in life. The researcher lacked the funds needed in acquiring some materials for the study. Also the researcher faced the problem of finance during the preparation and administration of questionnaires.

2.           Time factor: As still a student of higher learning, the researcher had limited time to devote to both the research work and class studies at the same time.

3.           Paucity of materials: The researcher did not find it very easy to source for material which aided the research. This is because may author or scholars has not written much in the traditional government and politics in Igbo society.




The importance of this study can hardly be overemphasized. It is a truism that the Europeans who came to Nigeria and Igbo land in particular based their antecedence on the research topic on false and fictitious basics, so the work is aimed at providing every necessary and needed evidence to prove that Igbo traditional government and politics are structured as against the view of Europeans.

It is against this background that it has presently become timely to shot focus from alien writers. This will aim at distorting the widely accepted notion established by the Europeans on the Igbo political culture. It will go a long way to open the eyes of may Nigerians on the realities of traditional government and politics I Igbo society.

On a general note, the research is assumed to contribute much to the effort to develop a good politics system and a national political culture suitable for the twenty-first century and be able to face the challenges of centuries ahead.

1.6       THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK                                    

Basically for the fact that the study is based on traditional system of government and politics, the theory of decision making approach has been adopted as an appropriate theoretical framework. In this approach we consider the mixed scanning as a theory of decision making as it best suit the study in question. Mixed scanning as a theory of decision making represents a compromise position between the extreme nationalism and instrumentalism (okereke: 1999:44).

The theory is championed by Amitae Etzioni who argues that the decision maker should not limit himself to only one approach to solving a problem. The theory recognizes that decision making involve several stages and approaches. This is why it is essentially a plural activity. Etzioni identifies two sets of decision mechanism needed in the process of  societal decision making by saying. “at one extreme the problem is looked at generally and an attempt is made to see its outline and any clearly definable features. The selection of features for a detailed examination follows at a second level of scanning.

Thus, the basic isolation for detailed examination strategy is the isolation for detailed examination of the identifiable features of any problem as pertained in Igbo traditional government and politics. Mixed scanning has the capacity to explore alternatives and also utilizes what is best in both. It combines the advantage of what is good in rationalism and instrumentalism in decision making process. As spies put it, “the great advantage of mixed-scanning is that it permits the combination of rationalist and instrumentalist assumptions and in an extreme form could maximize either one or another in accordance with what the situation demand. Besides mixed-scanning recognizes and takes into account differing capacities of decision-makers, it has the recommending feature of flexibility which characterized the Igbo traditional government and politics. It also has the capacity to suit changing circumstances.

In this study of Okposi in Ohaozara in terms of traditional government and polities, the decision making approach is used because it best suit the Igbo case and Okposi in particular, in relation to its political system. This decision making approach has an in-built feature necessary for explaining Igbo political system and the capacity for adjusting to changing circumstances.



This research work will be based on the following hypotheses:

i.             That the pre-colonial Igbo traditional government and political system is not stateless and accephallous.

ii.           That in opposition to what European scholars said, our pre-colonial political system is organized and well structured

iii.          That the Igbo traditional government and political culture are built on democratic tenets.




Some concepts have been used for the purpose of this research work. For a better understanding, it becomes pertinent to define these research concepts as used here. They include the following:

·                  Tradition: This is a routine way of doing things usually handed down by the pre-decessors or fore-fathers.

·                  Government: This is a group or a body of persons that control the affairs of the state. According to Appadoral (1942:41). Government may be defined as the agency or machinery through which the will of the state is formulated, expressed andrealized properly speaking therefore, the term includes the sum total of the legislative, executive and judiciary functions in the state.

·                  Politics: This can be defined as the sum total of human activities that are directed towards acquiring, using and maintaining the power of government (Ofoeze, 2002:1)

·                  Republican: A system of government in which the elected representatives of the people are supreme, with a non-hereditary head and a non-hereditary privilege class or classes.

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