Tag Archives: Nigerian History

The Benin Factor in the West Niger Igbo History: The Example of Ubulu-Ukwu (Published)

Against the background of scholarly debates and controversies on the subject, this micro study critically examines the much generalized and romanticized influence of the great Benin Kingdom on state formation among the west Niger Igbo. It thereby sets out to fill the gap in the historiography of state formation in the area, with the Kingdom of Ubulu-Ukwu as a case study. The study adopts the historical method of description and analysis, hinged on a chronological framework to posit the Nri-Awka area as the source of the initial stimulus for the peopling, kingship and title systems of Ubulu-Ukwu.  It argues that relations with Benin were stimulated by Benin’s needs for the vital services for which Ubulu-Ukwu was famous. These included the security of Benin coronations and the mystical protection of the Oba’s throne, state regalia and the magical paraphernalia necessary for his vitality and rejuvenation. Ubulu-Ukwu, being dynamic, through adaptation and emulation, effected adjustments to its monarchical system. Thus the Benin factor in political and cultural developments at Ubulu-Ukwu was not the result of conquest and imposition, despite a mid-18th century war between the two polities. The study concludes that the tendency to view west Niger Igbo history in the context of Benin domineering military influence and political tutelage which British imperialism encouraged is out of tune with historical reality.

Keywords: Benin kingdom, Nigerian History, Nri-Awka area, State formation, intergroup relations, west Niger Igbo

The Benin Factor In The West Niger Igbo History: The Example Of Ubulu-Ukwu (Published)

This micro study of the west Niger Igbo kingdom of Ubulu-Ukwu adopts the historical method of description and analysis to critically examine the much generalized influence of the great Benin Kingdom on its proximate and distant neighbours. It posits the Nri-Awka area as the source of the initial stimulus for peopling, kingship and title systems of Ubulu-Ukwu. Relations with Benin and the latter’s attendant influence were stimulated by Benin’s needs for the vital services for which Ubulu-Ukwu was famous. These included the security of Benin coronations and the mystical protection of the Oba’s throne, state regalia and the magical paraphernalia necessary for his vitality and rejuvenation. Ubulu-Ukwu, being dynamic, through adaptation and emulation, effected adjustments to its monarchical system. Thus the Benin factor in political and cultural developments at Ubulu-Ukwu was not all encompassing, nor the result of conquest and imposition, despite a mid-18th century war between the two polities.

Keywords: Benin kingdom, Nigerian History, Nri-Awka area, intergroup relations, west Niger Igbo

A CRITIQUE OF SOME OF THE AVAILABLE SECONDARY SOURCES ON NIGERIAN HISTORY (Published)

Trained historians reconstruct past human actions with the aid of available pieces or fragments of evidence from available sources. These could be primary or secondary. While none is infallible or can stand on its own without recourse to the others, secondary sources are ubiquitous and more readily accessible than the others. Newspapers, journals, theses and dissertations, conference proceedings, seminar reports, books, etc are more readily available and accessible to the researcher and less cumbersome than ancillary and allied disciplines like numismatics (the collection and study of coins); epigraphy (the study and deciphering of old inscriptions); linguistics (the systematic and scientific study of language); dendrochronology (the use of tree growth rings for dating historical events and changes in the environment) and archaeology (the study of ancient cultures through remains). Although, oral information are also always almost readily available, there are instances where custodians of vital historical information, eye witnesses of or dramatis personae in events being reconstructed live hundreds of miles away from the researcher. This is not the case with secondary sources. However, just as secondary sources are prevalent so are they replete with erroneous submissions. It is for this purpose that this paper attempts to correct some of the erroneous submissions in some of the available secondary sources on Nigerian (particularly political) history. The method of data analysis employed in this paper is the historical method – simple descriptive collation and analysis of historical data.

Keywords: Nigeria, Nigerian History, Secondary Sources