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Authors: RAJI, A.
Keywords: Ebiraland
Political rivalry
Clannish struggles
Masquerade thuggery
Islamic teaching
Issue Date: 2014
Abstract: Contemporary conflicts among the predominantly Muslim Ebira people could be traced to both the imposition of Ibrahim Onoruoiza Chogudo as the Attah of Ebiraland on the tribe in 1917 and the perennial clannish struggle in Ebiraland. Whereas studies on these conflicts have focused on Western and traditional procedures in resolving them, little attention has been paid to the Islamic approach which proved effective in resolving conflicts in the classical Islamic period. This study, therefore, investigated the causes and effects with a view to assessing the effectiveness of the resolution strategies adopted and recommending Islamic solutions to the crises. The study adopted Karl Marx’s Conflict Theory of Stratification. In-depth interviews were conducted with purposively selected academics (20), elders (nine) security agents (seven), and youths (14) with their ages ranging between 24-78 years. These respondents were sampled from all the five Local Government Areas in Ebiraland. Additional information was obtained from relevant texts on Ebira history, reports of the panels on the crises and newspaper reports. Supplementary information was sourced from the Qur’ān and Ḥadīth. Data were subjected to historical and critical analyses. Conflicts in Ebiraland had four historical phases. The 1917-1956 crisis was based on the imposition of Ibrahim Atta leading to loss of lives and property, Ebira revolution of 1951/52 and relocation of many indigenes. Between 1957 and 1976, there was a bitter political rivalry between Igbirra Tribal Union (ITU) and the Igbirra Progressive Union (IPU). Between 1977 and 1996, clannish clashes and political thuggery took place during masquerade festivals resulting in unprecedented destruction of lives and property. The interval between 1997 and 2010 witnessed Emani versus Ohonwan and Obehira intra-community re-generational political and clannish conflicts. The 1917-1956 crisis was resolved through the abdication of Ibrahim Atta, leading to further political complications. Islam could intervene in this situation by the adoption of Shūrah (Q42:38). The tension of 1957-1976 crisis was doused through the formation of factions of ITU and the unification of one of its factions and IPU/N.P.C (Northern People’s Congress), which were short-lived interventions. A more sustaining Islamic solution could be sought in the Prophet’s divine trust example. The resolution of 1977-1996 crisis, based on police arrests and suspension of cultural festivals, failed. Possible Islamic interventions could apply in terms of Tafawwuq and Khushū‘ (Q3:159, hadīth No 20698 and 20699 of Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhārī). The 1997-2010 crisis was suspended as a result of the intervention of security agents, the death of key actors and the rotational adoption of the Ohi stool. This crisis could benefit from Shūrah and forgiveness principle (Q42:40). Many of the interviewees believed that the workability of the Islamic models depends on the people’s proper understanding of Islamic teachings under the tutorship of indigenous Islamic scholars. Leadership tussles and clannish struggles launched Ebiraland into incessant re-generational socio-political crisis which proved resistant to resolutions between 1917-2010. Thus, an Islamic intervention, whose effectiveness rests on the proper understanding of Islamic teachings is considered the most suitable panacea for the crises.
Appears in Collections:Theses & Dissertations

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