Accepted Paper:

Ibibio Oral Tradition, World View and Pop Culture: A Case of Pacifism in the Midst of Violence  


Friday Okon (University of Uyo)

Paper long abstract:

The Ibibio people are one of many smaller ethnic groups that occupy the South-South geo-political zone or Niger Delta region of Nigeria. In recent times, this oil rich region has caught news media headlines world wide for blood-letting, attrition, kidnapping and violence. Nevertheless, Akwa Ibom State (which is the home state of the Ibibio) seems to enjoy relative calm, an island of peace in a sea of violence, bloodshed and conflict. What seems responsible for this situation is the Ibibio oral tradition and world view which are equally expressed in Ibibio popular culture. This paper intends to examine modern Ibibio popular music with a view to analysing the lyrics of selected songs in order to distill the world view of the Ibibio (which is philosophically pacifist) to demonstrate that their world view is the informing spirit that has made the state to be calmer and less violent than its sister states in the Niger Delta region. This calm disposition has upset the other Niger Delta states in question, who have failed to understand why Akwa Ibom State has not imbibed and followed their violent dispositions. This paper is based on the on going research by the writer into the oral poetry of the Ibibio. The researcher is of the view that the Ibibio are less warlike and violent as a result of their oral tradition and worldview that abhor violence and destruction of human life in all its ramifications. This view can be extended to the rest of Africa (which is conflict ridden) to go back to its oral traditions as one of the viable sources for conflict resolution through dialogue.

Panel F2
Oral history