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Inter-group relation is not an entirely new field in historiography. Scholars of different backgrounds have expressed divergent views on changes that have occurred in this area of study. Investigations and findings on the theme differ from epoch to epoch. Historically, social, political, cultural and economic considerations, account for changes in the nature and form of inter-group relations in human society. Igbo culture, custom, tradition, and belief systems are dynamic and heterogeneous. Facts of history contribute either to a hostile or harmonious relationship among individuals or groups. The Mbano of Imo State, South-eastern Nigeria appears to enjoy some peaceful and harmonious relationship with their neighbours, through their social interactions and economic relations, especially, through cultural festival, marriage, trade and agriculture, though not without occasional skirmishes. Given the nature of their relationship, this study investigates the factors at play in the society in the face of growing conflict in Igboland and Nigeria at large. Two factors account for the changes in the contour and dynamics of relations between the people. These interalia include colonial rule in the area beginning from 1906-1960 and the Nigeria-Biafra war, 1967-1970. The study examines the issues intrinsic in the changes brought by the two episodes to the form of relationship existing between Mbano and its neighbours. It therefore argues that common claim to history, ancestry and cultural ties account largely for the mutual relationship existing between the people, the impact of the two episodes notwithstanding. The work concludes that, in spite of the marked changes wrought on the society mainly through colonial administrative reorganisation, Western education, Christianity and the Nigeria-Biafra war, the people have maintained mutual relationship as people that share common ancestry. They have also continued to emphasize umune as a bond of unity among them and their neighbours. The cordiality of relationship between the people demonstrates the Igbo saying that, indeed, ‘peoples’ neighbours are their brothers/sisters’ -‘agbata obi madu wukwa umunne ha’. The method adopted in the study combines both descriptive and historical narrative. Qualitative research methodology was used in the re-interpretation and analysis of verifiable information collected from different sources. The approach was interdisciplinary and presentation of findings was both chronological and thematic.

Table of Contents

Title page                                                                                                                   i

Approval page                                                                                                          ii

Certification page                                                                                                    iii

Dedication                                                                                                               iv

Acknowledgement                                                                                                    v

Abstract                                                                                                                   viii

List of abbreviations                                                                                                 x

List of maps and plates                                                                                           xii

List of Tables                                                                                                         xiv

Table of contents                                                                                                   xv

CHAPTER ONE: Introduction                                                                            1

Background of the Study                                                                                          1

Statement of the Problem                                                                                       14

Theoretical and Conceptual Framework                                                                17

Purpose of the Study                                                                                              24

Significance of the Study                                                                                       25

Scope of Study                                                                                                       26

Literature Review                                                                                                   29

Sources, Methods and Organisation                                                                       37

CHAPTER TWO: Mbano and its Neighbours Before 1906                             40

Origin, migration and settlement                                                                            40

Political and Social organization                                                                           63

Religious Belief Systems                                                                                       76

Cultural Practices and Festivals:                                                                            90

  • Nmanwu (masquerade)                                                                                       91

  • Nta Festival/Feast                                                                                              94

  – Ekweji festival/Ji Aro/Aruru                                                                              97

  – Mbom Uzo and Ikpo oku                                                                                  102

  – Iwa Akwa or nwam akwa                                                                                 106

Conflictual Aspects of their relations                                                                  111

Economic activities                                                                                           118

  • Farming and Land Tenure                                                                               118

–  Local Craft:                                                                                                    121

  • Blacksmithing,                                                                                                124

  • Carving                                                                                                            124

  • Pottery Making                                                                                                126

  • Weaving and Textile                                                                                       128

  • Trade and contacts                                                                                          131

Chapter Three: Mbano and its Neighbours under Colonial Rule, 1906-1960        137

Colonial conquest and occupation                                                                       137

Administrative reorganisation and infrastructure                                                 143

Road Transportation                                                                                             165

Christianity and Western education                                                                     170

Health and Water Supply                                                                                     188

Aspects of Changes in the Inter-group relations                                                  193

  • Political changes                                                                                                193

  • Socio-Cultural changes                                                                                      195

  • Economic changes                                                                                             203

  • Security and crime control                                                                                209

Mbano on the eve of Independence                                                                    210

Chapter Four: Post-Colonial Developments and Relations to 1970              211

 Road to the Nigeria-Biafra war, 1967                                                                 211

The war in Mbano and neighbouring communities                                             216

War time relations and refugee problems                                                            222

Biafran veterans’ experiences and Biafra made weapons                                    234

Socio-economic effects of the war                                                                       241

Chapter Five: Post-War Developments and Relations to 2006                      246

Self-help and survival efforts                                                                               246

Aspects of infrastructural reconstruction and developments:                              249

Education: reconstruction and building of new schools                                      250

Health institutions                                                                                                257

Water supply scheme                                                                                           260

Market Development and trade relations                                                             263

Roads, bridges and communication development                                                267

Rural Electrification                                                                                             275

Politics, people and changing relations                                                                278

Christianity and Inter-group relations                                                                  283

Contributions of Women to Intergroup relations and socio-economic development 286

Aspects of continuity and change in relations                                                      293

Chapter Six: Summary and Conclusion                                                           299

Summary                                                                                                               299

Conclusion                                                                                                            312

Sources and Bibliography                                                                                    314


            CHAPTER ONE


Background to the Study                           

            Study of pre-colonial and colonial African society emphasise isolation and the general hostilities of one ethnic group or polity against the other. Existing colonial literature in their assessments of Africa wrongly classified pre-colonial and colonial African indigenous communities as immobile, stagnant and averse to change. It is to be stressed that in pre-colonial Africa, inter-relations were not caste-like or closed. Rather, there existed amalgams of proximate towns and community groups that related through various ways. The fulcrum of this study, Mbano in Igboland, is one case in point. Igboland is a territory in the south-eastern part of Nigeria, surrounded by such landmarks as the Cross River at the foot of the Cameroon Mountain in the east, the Kukuruku Hills in the west, the Benue River, and the great Atlantic Ocean in the Bight of Biafra in the south. Most significantly, Igboland lies on the plain near the delta of the famous Niger River[1] .

Igboland has at its northern and northeastern borders, the Igala and the Idoma; in the west, the Edo; the Ijo in the south and the Ibibio in the east. Igboland includes the present Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo states and some parts of Delta, and a large part of what is today called Rivers State. In fact, Port Harcourt, by the Colonial Land Commission of 1952, was confirmed as in Igboland[2] . These different groups have had one form of interaction or another, especially in the area of economic pursuits, social-cultural and political relations. These relations, which go way back in history, manifest through marriages, cultural festivals and activities, and also wars. The interactions have been peaceful most times and hostile at other times. On inter-group relations, Afigbo argues that different Nigerian ethnic and cultural groups sought through their richly varied traditions of origin and migrations and through accounts of the rise and expansion of their socio political system, to preserve, interalia, their perceptions of the relationships which existed between them and their neighbours.[3]  In fact, relations among the Igbo have always been based on some factors either relating to common historical origins, ancestry or to a common language, tradition, and custom, religion, belief system, trade and festivals, among others. These factors tend to bind people closely together but can also lead to war. Wars are in themselves a form of inter-group relations. Most communities in Igboland came into contact through different movements, for instance, the Awka-Orlu movement in which people migrated and settled in different areas.  The Mbano people and their neighbours, the focus of this research, have benefited in the course of their socio-political, economic and cultural activities.             Mbano is found in Imo State. It appears to be the only community that shares boundaries with communities in Orlu, Okigwe and Owerri that constitute the three Geo-political zones of Imo State. Mbano is centrally positioned in Imo state, and is something of the Igbo heart land. The area embraces Isiala and Ehime Mbano local government areas. Geographically, Mbano occupies an expanse of land of more than 205.30 square kilometers. It is located approximately between latitudes 7 and 8 E4[4] . The map below shows the location of the area of study in Imo State.

Map no 1: Map of Imo State showing the area of study separated with a black line.

Mbano consists of Osu, Ehime, Mbama and Ugiri clans. These clans of Mbano and its neigbhours are as indicated in the map no 2

Map No 2: Map of Mbano showing its neighbours.

Map N0 3: Map of Isiala and Ehime Mbano showing their Neighbours



The people are predominantly farmers. They are known for the production of palm wine (mmanya-ngwo), from the raffia tree, and in much smaller quantity, (mmanya-nkwu), palm oil and kernels, cassava, yams, three-leaved yams (una), coco-yams (ede), native plantain (unyere ojii) and so on. They also keep live-stock such as goats, dogs, fowl, and pigs which provide them with a means of livelihood. Agriculture in the area fluctuates between subsistence and commercial production. Mbano people had been adherents of Igbo traditional religion until Christianity began to gain sway among the people. Mbano belief system tallies with those of other Igbo groups. That is, the belief in the sanctity of deities and pantheon of gods.                                                                                The name Mbano, like Nigeria, is said to be a colonial creation. The area was originally known as Mbasaa. The British colonial rule balkanized Mbasaa through its administrative creations. Mbasaa comprised seven clans namely, Ehime, Osu, Ugiri, Mbama, Isu, Ugboma and Obowo. According to S.A. Ike,

the origin of the name Mbano was during (sic) the British administration of Umuduru Native Court created in 1906. A separate native court was established to serve Obowo, Onitsha Uboma, Etiti clans and their neighbours. The Umuduru Native Court Jurisdiction served four clans; namely Osu, Ehime, Ugiri and Mbama. Thus, it was during the sitting of the court at Umuduru, that the name Mbano, meaning-four clans, naturally began to be used by the warrant chiefs in reference to the court’s jurisdiction[5] .

Mbano, according to records, had appeared extensively in British colonial records before it was recognized as Mbano Federated Native Authority in 19456[6] . Mbano was carved out of Mbasaa for easy administration by the British and most probably, due to the fact that the people constituting the Mbano Federated Native Authority are closely related.                                                                                                                                      As traditions of origin of Mbano indicate, the people migrated from the general area of Orlu and settled in their present location. Some neighbours of Mbano also share in this common ancestral origin and belong to the larger Isu-ama clan of Igboland. Hence, it is not uncommon to hear an Mbano elder say “anyi shi uzo orlu bia-ebea”, “we came here from Orlu area”. An Eziama Mbaise elder would say; “we migrated from Mbano area”. The same is said of Amaimo Ikeduru or by Inyishi elder. Adiele Afigbo appears to support this view stating that,

the tradition of the Isu-ama Igbo (meaning the Isu who had gone abroad –made up of Mbama, Mbieri, Ikeduru, Osu, Ehime, Uboma, Ugiri and  Mbaise) of the Ohuhu Ngwa and of many Cross River Igbo groups indicate that they migrated eastwards from the general area of Orlu. To many communities in this group of Igbo-speaking peoples Ama-igbo in Orlu is a sacred and revered spot. The name itself means the street, meeting place or headquarters of the Igbo[7] .

The saying that Mbano and its neighbours share a lot in common is a fact of history. Mbano and its neighbours fall within Afigbo’s description. The neighbours of Mbano are as follows: Ahiazu Mbaise on the West, Ikeduru/Mbaitolu on the South, Okwelle-Onuimu on the North and Agbaja-Isu in Nwangele on the eastern end[8] , in Orlu zone. The contiguous communities that form neighbours of Mbano are, Eziama in Ekwereazu Mbaise, Inyishi, Amaimo, Atta and Umudim in Ikeduru, Etiti, Abajah Isu, Ogwa, and Okwelle in Onuimo. The boundaries which supposedly divide Mbano and its neighbours are no ‘Berlin walls’ that could prevent interaction. There were considerable mutually interactive relationship and contact between them.                                                             Boundaries are said to be a thing of the heart; so it is with Mbano and its neighbours.  Some border villages in Mbano easily cross these boundaries for different purposes. These include trade, religious, cultural and educational activities, among many others. The relationships and interactions have been largely symbiotic and peaceful, though minor skirmishes and disagreements do occur occasionally. Most of these communities live in such close proximity that enables neighbours fetch amber from one another to make fire. For instance, a person from Umueze11 can do so from his Eziama Mbaise neighbour. This is also applicable between an Oka person and his Inyishi Ikeduru neighbour. The same close relationship exists between Amaraku and Agbaja-Isu, and between Osu Mbano and their Okwelle-Onuimo neighbours.                                            The people cooperate and interact through other ways: exchange of labour- igba onwo oru, youth activities, isusu contribution, cultural festivals such as traditional wrestling (ekeremgba), Ibo ama, mbom uzo, ikpo oku, nta and the new yam festival (ekweji/aruru/awa or ahajioku), dances like the Alija dance, uboogazi, nkwaotele, nkwa inwakiriinwa, masquerades (nmanwu), marriages and numerous other activities. Despite the mutuality existing between Mbano and its neighbours, there were occasional periods of misunderstanding arising from these activities. In some occasions, they led to conflict and skirmishes between the people. According to Marcel Ibe, in the 1950s, there was a boundary dispute between Osu and Okwelle that led to crisis that lasted till the colonial government intervened and settled the matter by placing the disputed portion of land under government control.”[9] Before then the crisis had claimed many lives.                                   Other sources of conflict between Mbano and its neighbours include marriages, burial rites, and cultural festivals, among others. Religious conflict has often arisen from the siting of churches. Such churches were usually near shrines or community sacred forest. In recent times, the pursuit of various political interests has been another harbinger of conflict. The creation of autonomous communities in Imo State has divided neighbours, leaving a backlog of unresolved conflict situations between individuals and communities. These conflict situations seem to be introducing new elements in the relationship and interaction between Mbano and its neighbours.                         Mbano, like most other Igbo communities, was organized on kinship, non-monarchical principle.[10] The people do not have a centralized polity; rather, they have many autonomous communities, each with its own traditional ruler. Some of these institutions are the off-shoot of colonial warrant chief creation. Besides, colonial boundary adjustments and administrative reorganisations placed Mbano in the midst of numerous neighbours who hitherto had been their kin.  Chidi Onwubuariri stated that,

Atta community now in Ikeduru Owerri zone used to be the head community for the Nta festival that heralds the ekweji for Mbama and Ugiri clans. Inyishi also used to be part of Ugiri clan in Mbano. Today colonial rule placed Atta and Inyishi administratively under Old Owerri District and they are today neighbours of Ugiri and Mbama clans in Mbano.[11]

These colonial situations contributed to the ever-changing nature of intra/inter group relations prevalent in the society today. The dialects of Mbano people and those of their neighbours are almost the same, with only minor differences in pronunciation and accent. Each of the groups in the course of their interaction has affected the other through its actions. As Adiele Afigbo observes, inter-group relationship properly understood pre-supposes contact and interaction between groups each of which has an identity, each of which has the capacity to make some inputs into the relationship, in short, each of which has some scope and area of autonomous action. Inter-group relationship thus involves giving and taking[12] . It is a truism that inter-group relations entails contact and interaction between groups or peoples. The forms in which relationships manifest notwithstanding, interactions between groups reflect of human actions. These actions are intrinsic in the process of existence and the uniqueness of identity of the interacting groups and the reciprocity of inter-group relations[13] .                                                                                            The Mbano and its neighbours, and the various groups inhabiting the area do not present such a complex network of contacts and interaction. The relationships embrace all aspects of historical development, viz, economic, social-cultural, political and religious, gender and so on. A good deal of the history of the contacts and interaction between the people is contained in oral tradition. The story of their migration from the general Orlu area appears to be in line with oral traditions regarding their origin, migration/dispersal and settlement. Afigbo is of the opinion that stories such as these are most likely to have arisen among peoples who were in meaningful contact with one another and who therefore were understandably anxious to build up a working theory of inter-group relationships.[14] Okpe O. Okpe thinks that contact and interaction between groups pre-supposes that each group must consciously or unconsciously, advertently or inadvertently, relate with other groups to survive[15] .  This makes contact, interaction and inter-dependence not just a fact but a necessity of life; universally constant and basic.[16] Obaro Ikime writes that no human groups are isolationist in orientation, but that the mundane needs of daily life bring diverse Nigeria peoples into close and continuous contact with their immediate neighbours[17] . Mbano and its neighbours were not strangers to one another, but lived in close affinity and co-operation. They also developed over time considerable historical commonalities arising from their contact and interaction.                Inter-group relation is dynamic and multi-dimensional. This reflects the mutational nature of man’s relationship with his environment. Hence, changes that occur are sometimes products of the nature of happenings at the material time. Inter-group relation is, therefore, a factor of the social, economic, cultural and political conditions and can be critically anchored on geography.[18] Colonialism was one monumental development that brought in its wake radical changes in the form of inter-group relations in Africa in general and Nigeria and Igboland, in particular. It introduced new dimensions of violence in interactions and all forms of endless struggles for political, economic and socio-cultural interests between groups. This in turn brought a number of consequences on the relationship between neighbouring groups and societies. According to Afigbo, relations between neighbours became modified.[19]     Isichei opined that “boundary creation brought a situation in which people were either confused about the actual boundaries or were forced to accept artificial boundaries.”[20] Over time, peace-loving generations appeared quarrelsome and boundary-conscious, resulting in avoidable inter-group skirmishes and a times even wars. Ethnicity and ethnocentrism became implanted in the minds of brothers who, through colonial political activities, began to be seen as neighbours. However, despite these changes, relationships between Mbano and its neighbours continued to be largely peaceful. But the changes brought by colonial rule are not without challenges to inter-group relations in the area. These problems, as discussed in this work, are considered shortly.                                                                  Statement of the Problem                                                                                                                                                       Mbano and its neighbours constitute a group of communities in Igboland located in present day Imo State, Nigeria. From remote antiquity, the different groups have co-existed, interacted and cooperated in various ways in their relationship. The age of their co-existence is difficult to establish because of the dearth of documentary and archaeological evidence that could provide possible and objective clue to the genesis of their contact.  Over time, certain events affected relations between the people. One of these is colonial rule that brought far-reaching changes in the area. The other factor was the Nigeria-Biafra War which affected the nature of relationship between the people. Unfortunately, there is no detailed research on the nature of changes brought by these events in the relationship and interaction between the people, during and after colonial era. The dynamics of the newly evolving relations are yet to be brought to historical understanding. There is therefore no literature on the area, with special regard to inter-group relations. Because of the absence of any serious research on inter-group relations for the period (1906-2006) in the area, knowledge of the relations between the people is lacking. This absence of research creates a knowledge gap about relationship between Mbano people and their neighbours at the time.                                                                                There are opinions among the elders and the people that Inyishi and Atta, now in Ikeduru, as neighbours of Mbano, were part of Ugiri group of villages before they were transferred to Ikeduru by the British colonial authority. In fact, Umudim and Atta now in Owerri were said to have been part of Ugiri Mbano. Even Agbaja-Isu town was also said to have been part of Ugiri clan. Intelligence reports in the National Archives, Enugu contain the view that these towns were formerly, either part of Ugiri clan or Mbama. Colonial administrative rearrangements thwarted the hitherto existing political structure and socio-cultural organization in the area. Hence, Atta and Umudim communities were transferred to Ikeduru Native Court which was closer to the people than Otanzu Otanchara at Okigwe. For instance, Bones Ojiah’s compilation of intelligence reports on Ugiri clan provides helpful clues yet to be investigated.  He writes that:

During the British colonial administrative reorganisation of Mbasaa, argument ensued on whether the town of Agbaja-Isu belonged to Ugiri. The Ugiri clan claimed that Agbaja-Isu was part of Ugiri. Also, the towns of Umudim and Atta in Owerri Division were visited. Umudim people were divided as to whether to remain as part of Okigwe or be grouped under Owerri Division. Atta was definitely against any change. The main reason expressed by the people was the distance they would cover to attend court at Provincial Headquarters of Otanzu Otanchara at Okigwe. Umudim looked amenable to transfer, but that in view of hostility of Atta to change, Umudim chose to attend court in Owerri Division.[21]

By this action, some Mbano communities were transferred to Owerri Division which was a different administrative unit. The implications of this colonial action on inter-group relations are yet to be examined. Ojiah provides a list of the original composition of Ugiri clan before colonial administrative re-organization in the following order of seniority: Ugiri, Obollo, Umuneke, Ogbor, Oka, Umudim, Atta, and Ibeme. Umudim and Atta are now part of Ikeduru in Owerri Division. Umudim used to be a quarter of Oka Ugiri in Okigwe.[22]                                                                                                                                 Inyishi in Ikeduru is also surrounded by a similar contention. Oka community in Ugiri clan speaks of Inyishi in Ikeduru as their brothers. Inyishi people again claim they migrated from Amuzari in Mbama clan who they claim to be their brothers. For instance, Onwubuariri of Umuoti Inyishi told the author that their brothers in Amuzari are still part of Mbano but Inyishi is part of Ikeduru. This problem was created by colonial rule that divided the land arbitrarily, thereby separating brothers, and making them administratively spatial neighbours[23] .                                                                                  Colonial advent and administrative reorganization compounded aspects of relations between these communities which have not been interrogated. The various towns were autonomous and claim almost common traditions of origin. However, due partly to the reorganization of the area for administrative convenience by colonial officials, some communities became neigbhours of Mbano. The changes had implications for inter-group relations in the area. The Nigeria-Biafra war was another event that affected peaceful and smooth relations in the area. The thirty-month war significantly affected political, socio-cultural and economic aspects of inter-group relations in the area. This research identified that the challenge of how the entity called Mbano related with the contiguous communities sharing boundaries with them as their neighbours is yet to be interrogated. Besides, studies in Igbo history have concentrated more on the Aro, Nsukka, Awka and Nri, among others. In fact, researchers have said nothing about inter-group relations in the area.  From the foregoing, it becomes increasingly necessary to investigate and understand the factors inherent in the relationship between Mbano and its neighbours from 1906-2006.

Theoretical and Conceptual Framework                                                                                       The study of inter-group relations presents a number of theoretical and conceptual issues among scholars, particularly, with regard to its nature and evolution as a human phenomenon. There is, for instance, the question of what inter-group relations is and how it has been viewed in human societies over time.[24] Human society in all of its forms of existence and nature is predicated on inter-dependence. This is anchored on the fact that human beings naturally are dependent creatures; they depend on their environment and other humans for food, shelter and clothing, all of which give them a sense of purpose.[25] The inter-dependent nature of human beings is as a result of the differentiating factors and the existing polarity in the unequal distribution of natural resources as manifested in boundary delineation and geography.[26]                                                            The Theory of Mutual Aid                                                                                                               The mutual aids theory is one of the contending theories of inter-group relations. The theory postulates that in the all-important question of struggle for the basic things of life, human beings co-operate not just for the sake of social community, but indeed out of necessity.[27] The proponent of the theory, John Locke, in his essay, Concerning Human Understanding, argues that necessity rather than mere social association/interaction is the driving force of the co-operation and association humans enter into with their fellow humans in a given society. Thus, human beings become “interest”-driven as they relate with their fellow humans. In other words, where human interest is not at stake or threatened, they tend to quickly dissociate themselves. Locke’s theory is predicated on his belief that, God made human beings, and naturally put them under strong obligation of necessity, convenience and inclination to make their choices. He drove them into the society and also endowed them with understanding and language to mutually continue to enjoy it.                                                                                                                       Theory of Natural Anarchy and Human Relations                                                          The theory was propounded by Thomas Hobbes. It sees humans originally as that which lived in a state of nature before the advent of civil society. This theory postulates that, “the natural state of man is one of unrestricted war and competition; a war of all against all; one based on continued unrest predicated on the survival of the strongest over and against the weakest”[28] . It rules out the possibility of any just action by human since nothing is naturally just in man’s life. The idea here is that human society is largely characterized by pandemonium and rancour, arising from belligerence, anarchy and mutual antagonistic awareness among groups and individuals. It thus assumed that since the group has different and conflicting interests, harmonious cohabitation was hardly a characteristic of the society. Hobbes explains man’s life as one in its natural state, deeply rooted in solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short episodes. In this state, it is only the fear of death that draws humans towards peaceful interaction with others.                     However, humans relate due to natural forces within their environment that inevitably bring them together. This tends to provide explanations for conflict in relationships between groups by exploring sociological, political, economic and historical factors that characterize such relationships.[29] Thus the belief here is that cultural and value differences as well as group interest all influence relationships between individuals and groups in different ways.[30] At the sociological level, the differences between cultural values pose challenges to individuals or group identity formation process. This creates the tendency to see other humans as intruders who should be prevented from encroaching upon established cultural boundaries.                                                                                          The theory of natural anarchy and human relations appear to perceive society from different narrow and rigid realms. In effect, consensus and conflict may assume bi-polar opposites, neither alone could offer full interpretations and explanations for the ever changing nature and scope of inter-group relations in Nigeria and indeed within Igbo society. Besides, human society is composed of economic, socio-cultural and political activities which grant them access to the basic needs of life. The inter-dependence arising as a result of the disparities in natural resources endowments and distribution between communities accounts for the context of inter-group interactions. It emphasizes that every human being largely becomes truly a human being by means of his/her relationship with other human beings. Okpe O. Okpe reasons alongside the mutual aid theory that, indeed, humans, by nature, are dependent creatures as they depend on their environment and others for food, shelter and clothing, all of which give them a sense of purpose here on earth[31] .                                                                                                                                              Human groups therefore, consciously relate with other human groups in their political, economic, and social activities. Most communities and groups in Nigeria and indeed Igboland have had a web of relationships that has already made life possible for them. Pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial Igboland, presented different forms of intra/inter-group relations between communities at different epochs. In relation to the nature of relations between Mbano and their neighbours, it should be borne in mind that intra/inter-group relationship is a multifaceted and dynamic concept. These facets, according to Afigbo, are:

…the political (which might be war-like or peaceful), the economic and technological; the cultural (which include arts, dance, music, marriage, custom and mode of dress etc.,). Other facets include interactions between legal and judicial systems, language and folklore, religion, philosophy and cosmology[32] .

Afigbo further explains that different communities in their actual day-to-day experiences have had to co-exist and interact in peace and in war[33] . Given this situation, therefore, it could be suggested that in the absence of war, peaceful co-existence becomes almost inevitable.                                                                                                                     Consequently, considering the study of inter-group relations as a “process within a broad continuum,” five stages could be identified in the process. According to Okpe O. Okpe, they include the stages of,

  1. contact and interaction,     b. compromise and cooperation,                                                                                                      c.    competition,                                                                                                                                  d.   conflict, and                                                                                                                                    e.          integration and assimilation.

He further explained these stages thus:

  1. a) In the first stage of contact and interaction, social groups evolve out of co-existence and isolation by making contacts with one another. This brings about interaction. These contacts could be by accident, political adventure, migration, trade or through war. This is usually, the threshold of interaction and leads to the second stage.
  2. b) In the second stage of compromise and cooperation, relations between social groups appear very complex but interdependence advance the course of compromise and cooperation. At this stage, social groups relate mutually and the nature of relationship is symbiotic. This brings about the process of giving and taking in inter-group relations.
  3. c) At the third stage of competition, each group attempts to appropriate the rewards of each interacting group. The mutual reciprocity ceases to be the guiding principle of inter-group relations but competition.
  4. d) The fourth stage is the stage of conflict. At this stage, competition heightens contradiction between the groups and such interaction fails to be resolved amicably, thereby giving rise to conflict. Each group tries to assert their claims to the detriment of others, by restricting access to the rewards arising from their interactions. This is usually achieved through warfare which involves the conquest and subjugation of the weaker group by the dominant ones.
  5. e) The last stage of integration and assimilation involves the gradual process, spanning decades if not centuries[34] .

These stages implicitly concern the relationship between Mbano and its neighbours. They are arguably, oftentimes over-lap; and so there is no hard and fast rule about the stages. Group interactions could occur in any form. These forms would provide a guide in assessing, within the confines of inter-group relations, Mbano and its neighbours in Igboland. Given the ever changing nature of inter-group relations, any serious attempt to study and understand the phenomenon in any society should, as a necessity, take into consideration, the depth and significance of the various interacting groups over time.[35] This study aligns itself with the Mutual Aid and the Hobbesian theories in human relations in its explanation. They would serve as a guide in the effort to study how Mbano and its neighbours conducted their relations over time.                                                 The concept of inter-group relations has various scholarly interpretations. The interpretations point to interaction between two or more groups. Afigbo writes of inter-group relations as one that presupposes contact and interaction between groups each of which has an identity to make some input into the relationship; in short each of which has some scope and area of autonomous action[36] . R.L. Ellis, M.J. Lipetz and M.J. Herskovits view inter-group relations in the light of the responsive behaviour and interaction of societies or groups towards one another.[37]             From the perspectives of M. Sheriff and G.W. Sheriff, inter-group relations is perceived as states of friendship or hospitality, co-operation or competition, dominance or subordination, alliance or enmity, peace or war between two or more groups and their respective members[38] . R.H. Bates, E. Bonacich, and D. Horowitz share a similar view of the concept of inter-group relations as a process within a broad continuum[39] . Hence, the concept of inter-group relations in the writer’s opinion is an embodiment of all aspects of peaceful and conflictual interactions between individuals, groups and their enlarged environment from the point of contact as its first process to the point of death of the individual or group. It is an endless form of relations in human nature borne out of necessity.                                                                                     Purpose of the Study                                                                                                                          There are no physical walls of demarcation between Mbano and its neighbours. However, colonial rule imposed new identities and boundary delineations within the area. Groups of clans and villages that had been closely knitted together as a people, now refer to themselves as neighbours. In this regard, Afigbo suggests,

It is now considered necessary to establish the existence of actual historical links to investigate how they operated. In other words, the focus of attention is now the network of links between actual historic cultures which the colonial rulers met in existence on their advent. This was a subject, whose scientific study, colonial writers and publicists shied away from, preferring to speculate freely instead.[40]

Some colonial reports nonetheless provide meaningful insight into the nature, structure and form of the relationship that existed between the people.                                                          The purpose of this research among other things is to examine the impact of colonial rule and balkanisation of the area formerly known as Mbasaa before its advent with regard to inter-group relations. The emphasis is on the socio-cultural, economic and political changes that occurred in aspects of their interactions over the years. Therefore, what this research examines are; the extent to which British colonial advent and administrative reorganisation affected relationship between Mbano and its neighbours; the factors that sustained the resilience and mutuality in their relations despite the balkanisation of Mbasaa during colonial rule; the effects of the Nigeria-Biafra war, 1967 to 1970, on relations between the people; how far Western cultural implements and infrastructure influenced socio-cultural, political and economic relations in colonial  post-colonial and the post-war era to 2006. This is with a view to determining inherent factors in both peaceful and antagonistic relationships in the area. This research is a modest attempt in that regard, to examine the contours and dynamics of inter-group relations in a historian’s perspective within a centenary, and to advance knowledge on the area as well as contribute to existing historical scholarship.                      Significance of Study                                                                                                                    The changes brought about by colonial rule and the Nigeria-Biafra war on inter-group relations in the area have hitherto not received any serious research attention in spite of their far reaching implications on inter-group relations. The history of many Igbo communities today like Mbano, still lives in the hearts of the elders and in oral tradition. This situation is not satisfactory considering the fact that life is transient. It is also an inevitable fact of history that, human memory with time loses count of some historical events. These elders, who are knowledgeable on aspects of the relationships in the past, will not live forever. If the area continues to suffer neglect by researchers, historians and scholars, such first hand information about their past may be lost. As the Igbo would say, o di nma ka ndi okenye fodu n’obodo ka umu aka ghara iri udele kpoo ya egbe, (it is good for elders to remain in the land so that children would not eat the vulture thinking it is the kite). The study would serve as a reference document for further researchers in the area.                                                                                                 . Though this work would not be a conclusion on further researches in the area, nevertheless, it endeavoured to shed some light on and contributed meaningfully to the study of inter-group relations, using Mbano and its neighbours as a model. This work is significant as it investigates, interprets and documents its findings for the use of future generations. It would help the young ones to understand their society and the dynamics of how their people related in the past.                                                                                        The findings would be useful to historians, tourists, anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists, missionaries and the academia. It is hoped that this research, which is the first of its kind, would advance knowledge on Mbano and its neighbours, especially, the nature and dynamics of relations about the people and their society. Through this research, Mbano and its neighbours would be positioned in the right historical perspective in the theme of inter-group relations. The number of Igbo communities whose histories have been reconstructed would increase, hence adding to the existing literature on Igbo, Nigeria and African history.                                              

Scope of Study                                                                                                                    This study essentially covers the two local governments that make up the entity known as Mbano: Isiala Mbano and Ehime Mbano created out of the old Mbano Local Government in 1991. It also considers aspects of their relationship with their neighbours such as Isu, Atta, Inyishi, Amaimo, Eziama Mbaise, Ihiteafoukwu, Okwelle and Ogwa, among others. The work begins in 1906 when the communities that comprised the old Mbasaa came under British rule. Umuduru Native Court was created in 1906 to administer what later became known as Mbano. The study terminates in 2006 which marked a century after the British had established their political, economic and cultural presence that gave birth to the name of the area known as Mbano today.

Map No 3: Isiala Mbano LGA created out of old Mbano LGA in 1991.

Map No 4: Ehime Mbano LGA created out of old Mbano LGA in 1991

Literature Review                                                                                                                             The dearth of written materials is a challenge and limitation to this work. There are no major researches conducted in our area of research. However, a few literatures exist on some communities within Mbano and its neighbours. The literature contributes to the study of the origins of contact and forms of relationships that existed between the people. Some pertinent literature on inter-group relations in Nigeria, and particularly Igboland are reviewed.                                                                                                            Adiele Afigbo in his Ropes of Sand: Studies in Igbo History and Culture mentions the historical origin, migration and settlement of Mbano and its neighbours. He states that, “the tradition of the Isu-Ama Igbo (meaning the Isu who had gone abroad –made up of Mbama, Mbieri, Ikeduru, Osu, Ehime, Ugboma, Mbaise of the Ohuhu, Ngwa and of many Cross River Igbo groups) indicate that they migrated eastwards from the general area of Orlu.”[41] Apart from the above passing comments, Afigbo’s book provides no details on the relationship that existed between these people. However, the book provides us with insights into the legends of origin, migration and settlement which reflect in the oral traditions of the peoples of the area.                                                                           In The Igbo and Their Neighbours: Inter-group Relations in Southeastern Nigeria to 1953[42] , Afigbo considers the nature and forms of relationship between the Igbo of southeastern Nigeria and their neighbours. Mbano is located in Southeastern Nigeria, in Igboland, but the book did not study the situation in the area. However, Afigbo gave some information concerning economic, religious, socio-cultural, and political factors intrinsic in the patterns of contact and relationship which also affect Mbano and its neighbours.                                                                                                                                  Tony Nwaezeigwe in his book, The Igbo and Their Nri Neighbours: A Study in the Politics of Igbo Culture and Origin, discusses the relationship between Nri and other Igbo communities. Nwaezeigwe observes that nearly every aspect of Igbo culture was linked by early European scholars to “Nri” culture complex.[43] He claims that ofo as a symbol of authority in many Igbo communities, and is mostly traceable to Nri. Though some Igbo areas may not share the view expressed by Nwaezeigwe, some Mbano communities and its Ikeduru neighbours, especially the Umuri community, claim the power of the ofo used by their nze and ozo titled men as having derived from Nri. Nwaezeigwe though is silent on the influence of Nri in our area of study. The book contains some details on the spiritual role of Nri oracle agents as a factor of contact and known form of relationship and interaction within Igbo communities. Nwaezeigwe states that “…the body of Nri ritual influence was therefore likened to that of the lord of a land using the Eze-Nri as the masquerade of his authority, and influence, the Adama was the power behind the mask of Nri influence in Igboland”[44] . How this played out within Mbano and its neighbours is not captured in the book. Hence, this research examines this claim and the situation in Mbano and tries to bridge the existing knowledge gap.                                   A few documents exist on the area that touches on inter-group relations which provides culture links and other factors of contact and interaction. One of such books is by C.O. Bones Ojiah, Early History of Ugiri Clan, 1900-1950[45] . The book is a collection of colonial records gathered from the National Archives, Enugu dealing on the people’s origins, migrations and settlements. It discusses some socio-cultural, political and economic activities between Ugiri clan of Mbano and its neighbours. It contains some details of British activities within Mbano and its neighbours. The information in the book though focuses on Ugiri clan remains relevant to our study, especially, on colonial administrative reorganisation and names of warrant chiefs appointed in some communities in Mbano. Some of the processes followed to establish native courts, schools and churches in the area are contained in the book.                                                  Nzewuba C. Ugwuh in his book Ihiteafoukwu; The Echo of Igbo Culture[46] discusses the history of Ihiteafoukwu in Mbaise which is one of the close neighbours of Mbano. The book touches on vital issues of origin, migration and settlement, some aspects of culture, religion, education, and politics in their relations with Mbano. The book is a reference material of the various aspects of relationships and factors of contact between Ehime Mbano and Ihiteafoukwu. P.A. Talbot in The Peoples of Southern Nigeria, (Vol.1) discusses the establishment of British administration in southern Nigeria. He described how the British colonial administration conquered and established a military post at Umuduru in Mbano which began the occupation of the surrounding territory[47] . Talbot did not study the enormous influence of the British administrative reorganisation on the relationship between the people and their new neighbours. This research considers the changes imposed on their relationship.                                                            A.E. Afigbo in The Warrant Chiefs, Indirect Rule in Southeastern Nigeria, 1891-1929,[48] gave a vivid account of the constitution of the warrant chief system in Igboland, including Mbano. However, the effects of the institutional reorganisation on the already existing political order are not captured. The attendant social, cultural and economic distortions it caused between Mbano and its neighbours were not discussed by Afigbo. This research investigates the impact of the Warrant Chief creation on the people’s relations with their neighbours.                                                                                Elizabeth Isichei in, A History of the Igbo people[49] , G.T. Baden in, Among the Ibos of Nigeria[50] , Edmund Ilogu in, Christianity and Igbo Culture; A study of the Interaction of Christianity and Igbo Culture[51] , provide relevant information on the Igbo people and their cultural heritage. Taken together, they discuss the forms of political, socio-cultural, religious and economic relations that existed between different Igbo communities and their neighbours. Ilogu writes that,

The area has shown the greatest evidence of the interaction of religions and cultures. Within this sub-cultural area are important clans like Isu- Ama, Oratta, Ikwerri, Ohuhu, Ngwa, and Isu-Item. Important towns in   his group are; Aba, Umuahia-Ibeku, Owerri, Ahoada, Okigwe, Orlu…[52] .

The book mentions clan names, but the micro communities that indeed carried these cultural traits and interactions are not discussed. Besides, a lot has happened in terms of change in the nature and form of interaction overtime. The changes in the form and nature of the interaction are the concern of this work.                                                              The book, NewBrides, More Hopes: Igbo Women in Socio-Economic Change[53] , edited by E.J. Otagburuagu and A.E. Afigbo, focuses on the changing roles and status of Igbo women in the socio-economic realm of the society. The contributors in the book treat various aspects of women’s role in change in Igboland including trade and religion. For instance, Ogbu U. Kalu, in “Gender Ideology in Religion; Changing Religious Role of Women in Igbo land”, discusses various aggressive feminists postures of female deity agents. He studies some of these agents in Orlu, Oru, Nkwere, Isu, Mbano, Etiti, Mbaise, and Ikeduru that constitute the nucleus of this study. He describes the workings of these ditties, but not how the activities enhanced or hindered relationship between the people. Kalu presents a table of some of the deities found in the area and acknowledges that, “the table could not provide a detailed analysis to indicate the interplay between ecology, dominant economic consideration and religious expression.”[54] Traditional religion, especially, oracle consultation, was an important aspect of inter-group relations among the Igbo in general. Kalu enumerates many of the deities consulted by the people. These activities constituted contact points and interaction between the people.                                              M.O. Ijere, in his Economic Development in Nsu,[55] discusses the various economic activities and internal migrations that occurred in Nsu in the pre-colonial times. He describes the people’s high level of attachment to agriculture as well as their land tenure system and location of farmlands. The farmlands are scattered far away from homes. Thus some Mbano people traveled as far as Onicha Uboma to farm. In the process, contacts were made and new relationships established. This aspect of the relationships and their impact on the people were not given detailed attention.                          V. Uchendu in his book, The Igbo of Southeast Nigeria,[56] considered the importance of land to agricultural production which created different forms of relationships between communities including inter-group wars. The effect of land disputes in Igboland, of course, on inter-group relations, can hardly be over emphasized. Some examples from Uchendu’s book would help explain situations in Mbano.                            In their respective books C.K. Meek in, Law and Authority in a Nigerian Tribe,[57] G.I. Jones in, Trading States of Oil Rivers,[58] C.C. Ifemesia in, Traditional Humane Living Among the Igbo: An Historical Perspective,[59] studies political, economic, and social-cultural aspects of Igboland. The factors the respective books discuss are inevitable aspects of interactions among the Igbo and largely contribute to the nature and form of relationships. Meek emphasized the interconnectivity between Igbo religion, law and most powerful legal sanctions as having derived from the gods. Jones noted the fact that Igbo villages were internally autonomous; no feuds or fighting was permitted within it, and the government consisted of its component sections. Jones’ assertion that “no fighting was permitted within it” seem not to be in agree with the multi-faceted forms of conflict that existed within the Igbo enclave. These conflicts formed part of relationships between groups or communities. Ifemesia commented on “the general expansion outward from Igbo heart-land in many cases due to population pressure, or people fleeing from injustice, or leaving to settle elsewhere after quarreling with their kinsmen[60] ”. The information contained in these books contributed substantially to this research.                          Nsu Past and Present[61] , edited by M.O. Ijere, provides relevant information on some aspects of internal migrations within Mbano. These migrations had readjusted and affected the relationships between the people in the course of settlements. Ijere stated that when the villages of Agbaghara, Ezeoke, Umunumu, Umuopara, Umuezeala, Umuduru, Umuanunu and Umuakagu migrated away from their Ehime brothers they first settled at a place called Umuota near Uboma. The reason for this migration, according to Ijere, was that the land was muddy and water-logged. The present location of Nsu, he said, was as result of the search for a more suitable environment to inhabit. Though the impact the movement had on the people’s relations and interactions was not studied, the book is useful to our study because migration is a process in inter-group relations.                                               Obaro Ikime, in “Inter-group Relations in Pre-colonial Nigeria: A Call for a Re-Examination of Political Relations Among Nigerian Peoples in the Period up to c.1850”62 highlights the various issues bordering on inter-group relations, particularly from the political perspective, which also touches on aspects of economic and social history of the relationship in Nigeria. Ikime explores various themes on the subject of inter-group relations relevant to this work.                                                                                                   Some relevant unpublished materials, such as first degree projects exist on our area of study. This aspect is very important to this research because most of the information they contain are from oral interviews and most of the informants were eye witnesses to events of the early 20th century. Unfortunately, very many of the informants died long ago, while some of those still surviving are too old to speak audibly. Therefore, it is only necessary that we attempt a review of some of these relevant projects concerning the topic.                                                                                                                       Duru Cecelia Ugochi in “Inter-group Relations in Mbano from the Earliest Times,”[62] discussed aspects of relations within Mbano. Ugochi limited herself to some aspects of relations such as internal migration stories, traditional and religious life, custom, economic affairs, military affairs, marriages and festivals within Mbano. The work provides information only on intra-group relations but not on interactions between Mbano and its neighbours who made important contributions to shape their society. However, the work is particularly relevant to this research as it contains some background information about some traditional practices that are almost extinct.                                    Some BA degree projects on aspects of the British colonial activities are considered. One of such projects is by Nwosu Ohanyirim with the title, “Christian Missions in Mbano, 1913-1950”. According to Nwosu, by 1918, Mbano, Nkwerre, Etiti and Orlu areas constituted one Protestant church district manned by Rev. J.E. Ibeneme, who lived at Arondizogu, about fifty kilometers away and who visited Mbano once in a while.[63] He did not discuss the nature of relationship between the people through these Christian church activities. Besides, the scope covers only a fraction of the colonial period-1913-1950.                                                                                                                Some projects also contain information considered relevant to this work. Egwim Pious, in his project work titled, “Aspects of the Pre-colonial History of Otanzu-Otanchara Communities in Okigwe Division,”[64] highlighted aspects of political structure in the area before colonial advent. Colonial rule distorted the pre-colonial political structure discussed in the work. Emmanuel Nnawuihe Onyeama in his work titled, “The Origins, Migrations, Settlement and Inter-Group Relations of Abajah People in Nkwerre /Isu Local Government Area of Imo State.[65] Abajah is one of the communities that share boundaries with Mbano and have maintained interactions over the years. However, there is a controversy surrounding the original political grouping of the area, which was said to be distorted under colonial rule. Also, Isu is now a local government area and no longer under Nkwere /Isu as used to be the case. The work provides some clues that would help our investigation concerning the original grouping of Abajah on the eve of colonial rule. Kenneth Chukwudi Iheanacho in, “The Phenomenon of Labour Migration in Abajah Nkwerre/Isu Local Government Area of Imo States”[66] discusses labour migration in Abajah which is an aspect in the process of inter-group relations. The work provides information on exchange of labour as a form of contact and interaction between the people. In fact, Iheanacho writes that “exchange of labour between Mbano and Isu was an intricate factor in their relations”. Charles Chidi-Obi Obasi in his work, “Origin, Migration, Settlement, and Inter-Group Relations in Amaimo,”[67]   examines some salient issues regarding legends of origin in Amaimo neighbours of Mbano. Obasi discusses aspects of their relations which are relevant to this research. For instance, he links Amaimo origin to Mbano area. Ukaegbu Adeline Chioma in her work titled, “Some Aspects of Pre-colonial History of Ezinihite Clan in Aboh-Mbaise LGA,”[68] discussed aspects of relations in the area on the eve of colonial rule. The work is of particular importance to this effort on aspects of relations between the people of Mbano and some parts Mbaise.                                                                                                                               A number of Bachelor of Arts projects such as “Nguru-Mbaise under the British 1909-1929: A Study in the Political, Social and Economic Changes,”[69] by Nwachukwu John Uzoma and Chileke Anthony Onyekachi in, “Some Aspects of the History of Mbaise 1970-1993,”[70] respectively, provides valid data on some socio-economic relations between Mbano and parts of Mbaise which are relevant to this discourse. Onuamechi Ahazuem in “Origin, Migration and Intergroup Relations in Pre-colonial Ohuhu”[71] discusses some factors inherent in inter-group relations that concern the study area, especially, the long distance trade routes used by Mbano and their neighbours. These projects contain relevant formation mainly on the neighbours of Mbano and aspects of their origin, migration and settlement linking the communities with Mbano and the Orlu legend of origin. This research incorporates, expands, re-interprets and analyzes the information retrieved from these projects, and presents results in a more detailed historical piece.                                                                                                                     In addition, there are some projects that discussed other aspects of relations in Mbano. Among these works are those of Ngozi Stanislaus Egerue -“Mbano Under the Warrant Chiefs”[72] , Uzoegbu Nkechinyere Veronica -“Local Craft in Mbano from The Earliest Times”[73] , Ugo Columba -“Some Aspects of Cultural and Political History of Ehime up to the Colonial Period”[74] , Amaechi Chidi Michael -“Oka-Isiala-Mbano: Politics and Society in the 20th Century.”[75] These projects, respectively, discusses some aspects of colonial political reorganisations and economic activities in some parts of Mbano that affected inter-group relations. They are useful in the understanding of some past events in the people’s relations. C.Y. Iwuh, in his project titled, “Iwa-Akwa Ceremony in Ehime-Mbano,”[76] exposes vital information on key cultural issues that indicate areas of common cultural interaction between the people. Besides, the present researcher’s work “Change and Continuity in Isiala Mbano, An Igbo Society, 1906-2007,”[77] serves as an eye opener to the neglect the area suffers due to lack of serious research. These projects complement other sources used in an attempt to bridge the existing knowledge gap in the reviewed literatures with a view to positioning Mbano and its neighbours in the right context of inter-group relations in Igboland.

Sources, Methodology and Organization                                                                                        Since the late 1950s, attempts at reconstructing the history of most pre-literate societies in Africa have been based on oral tradition/oral history, supplemented with archaeological data and other available sources. For this study, the main source of collecting data was primarily oral information from interviews conducted in our area of study, viz, Mbano and the contiguous Inyishi, Amaimo, Etiti, Abajah-Isu, Okwelle, Ogwa, Atta, and Umudim communities. All oral traditions collected from oral interviews were complemented with available written records. Intelligence and annual reports and government documents from National Archives, Enugu were used. All the evidence collated from primary and secondary sources were juxtaposed and analysed to ascertain their historical validity.                                                                                                       The secondary sources include literature articles, books, dissertations and unpublished degree projects on the area and Igboland in general are used. All primary and secondary literatures used are contained in the sources and bibliography. The method adopted in the study is both descriptive and historical narrative which makes for effective description of the inherent issues in their relations. The narrative method helps to ensure a chronological and sequential presentation of the evidence used. Qualitative research methodology was used in the analysis and re-interpretation of verifiable information collected from the different sources to ascertain their validity. The approach is interdisciplinary and presentation of findings is both chronological and thematic. Adequate care was taken to analyze how different events affected inter-group relations in the area.                                                                                                                                                   This work is organized into six chapters and is presented as sequentially and chronologically as possible. Chapter one is the introduction, which includes the background to the study, statement of problem, and theoretical and conceptual framework. It also contains the purpose of study, scope of the study, literature review and sources, methodology and organization. The second chapter examines Mbano and its neighbours on the eve of colonial role, that is, as a background to the central thrust of the work. The issues of origin, migration and settlements, cultural practices, customs and traditions are discussed as they provide the context for inter-group relations. Also, aspects of economic activities and socio-political organization during the period are investigated. The third chapter discusses relevant issues and trends in the various aspects of relations during the colonial rule. Chapter four focuses on the post-colonial relations up to the Nigeria-Biafra War, 1960-1970. It considers political relations after independence, the coming of the Nigeria-Biafra War to Mbano, war time relations, refugee problems, post-war developments efforts at survival and the impact of modern transportation as agent of inter-group relations.                                                                                                                               The penultimate chapter examines the post-war relations up to 2006. It also examines political expansion and participation, local government creation, the growth of Christian churches and schools. Other issues such as market development, autonomous community creation and traditional stool (Eze) tussles, clan associations and conflict resolutions are discussed. Political developments and changes in the culture of the people precede an assessment of the relations between Mbano and its neighbours in the present day Igboland. The sixth and last chapter is the summary and conclusion of the research which terminates in 2006, which marks the 100 years since colonial rule was set up in the area. The issues discussed herein showcase the contours and dynamics of inter-group relations within the scope of the study.

[1] E. Isichei, A History of the Igbo People, London: The Macmillan  Press Ltd., 1976, p. 100

[2] C.N. Ugwu, Ihiteafoukwu: The Echo of Igbo Culture, Ibadan: Cypress, 2004, p. xiii

[3] A. E. Afigbo, The Igbo and their Neighbours: Inter-Group Relations in Southeastern Nigeria to 1953, Ibadan: University Press Ltd., 1987, p.1

[4] TheStatesman, Owerri: 1987, p.12

[5] See C.TC Annals, District Officer Okigwe Division, Annual Report, 1945 ORLDIST 3/1/89. See also A. E Afigbo,                (ed.) Historic Events List of Local  and National Significance, Enugu: Government Printer, 1973, p.51

[6] Afigbo, Historic Event List…p. 53

[7] A.E. Afigbo, Ropes of Sand: Studies in Igbo History and Culture. Ibadan: University Press Ltd., 1981, pp. 12-13.

[8] Nigeria: Demographic and Health Survey 2003, National Population Commission, Federal Republic of Nigeria. ORC MACA, Calverton Maryland USA, 2004, p.16. See C. N Mbalisi, “Change and Continuity in Isiala Mbano, An Igbo society, 1906-2007.”  Unpublished MA Project Report, Department of History and International Studies, UNN. 2008, pp. 8-10.

[9] Chief Marcel  Ibe, Pensioner, 65 yrs, interviewed at Umuduru Iheoma na Ofenku, Okwelle, 24/8/2010

[10] A. E. Afigbo, Ropes of Sand…p.12

[11]   Chidi Onwubuariri, Pensioner, 72 years, interviewed at Amakpaka Umuoti Inyishi in Ikeduru, 24/8/2010.



[12] A.E. Afigbo, The Igbo and their Neighbours…, p. 18

[13]   Okpe, O. Okpe, “Conceptual and theoretical Issues of Studies in Inter-Group Relation”, in Okpeyemi Akinwumi etal (ed.),  Inter- Group Relations in Nigeria During 19th and 20th Centuries, Ibadan: Aboki Publishers, 2006, pp.12-13.

[14] A. E. Afigbo, “Pre-colonial Trade Links  Between Southeastern  Nigeria and the  Benue  Valley”, Journal of African Studies vol.4 No.2, 1977, p.123

[15] Okpe, “Conceptual  and Theoretical Issue…” p.6-7

[16] Okpe,  “Conceptual  and theoretical  Issues…” p.7

[17] Obaro Ikime, “History and the Problems of Nation-Building: The Nigerian Situation,” Bulletin of the Library Association Vol. 9. No. 3,1973, p. 116

[18] Okpe, “Conceptual  and Theoretical  Issues…”p.16

[19] A.E. Afigbo, IgboandTheir  Neighbours…p.5

[20] Elizabeth  Isichei, A History of the  Igbo  People, London: Macmillan Pres Ltd.,  1976, p.21

[21] Bones Ojiah, Early History of Ugiri Clan, 1900-1950, Owerri: Lutton Press Ltd., 1992, p. 21.

[22] Chidi Onwubuariri, Pensioner, 72 years, Akpakama Umuoti Inyishi in Ikeduru, 24/8/2010

[23] Bones Ojiah, Early  History of Ugiri Clan…p.21

[24] T. Teseror, Tiv and Their Neighbours, Jos: Pilha Printing Press, 1992, pp.10-11.

[25] Ali Mazuri, “Violence, Conquest and Politics of Detribalization in Africa” International Affairs, Vol. xxviii, No 1.1969. See also, J. I Elaigwe, “Nigeria’s  Federal  Balance, Conflict and Compromise,” in political System, Jos: University of Jos,  Post Graduate Open  lecturers Series Vol.  1.  No 4 January, 1984, pp. 30-42

[26] Karen, Mingst, Essential  of International Relations,  New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1998, p. 102-106

[27] P. Kropkin, Mutual Aid, London: Frank Class, 1910,  pp.10-20.

[28] Thomas  Hobbes, Leviathan, New York:  Maril Company  Ltd., 1988, pp.105-107

[29] Thomas  Hobbes, Leviathan,… p. 107

[30] Faleti, Stephen  Ademola, “Theories  of Social  Conflict” in  Shedrack, Gaya Best, (ed.) Introduction to Peace  and Conflict  Studies in West Africa, Ibadan: Spectrum  Books Limited, 2006, p.54

[31] Okpe O.  Okpe Jr.: “Conceptual and Theoretical Issues Arising from Studies in Inter-Group Relations in Nigeria in the 20th Century.” A Paper Presented at the first National Conference on Inter-Group relations in Nigeria in the 20th Century. Organized by the Department of History, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, 8-11th June, 2005, pp. 1-22.

[32] A. E. Afigbo, The Igbo and Their  Neighbours…pp. 19-24

[33] Afigbo, The Igbo and their Neighbours…p.24.

[34] Okpe O. Okpe, “Inter-Group Relations  in Nigeria…” p.17

[35] A.I. Onoja, Agila –Ezza Relations up to 1970: A Study in Inter-Group Relations in Nigeria”. A  Ph.D Proposal Presented to the                 Department of History and International Studies UNN, 2009, p. 22-24.

[36] A.E. Afigbo, The Igbo and Their Neighbours…p.18

37.R.L. Ellis  and M. J. Herskovits, Enculturation: The Study  of Contact, New York: np. 1969, p.50

  1. M. Sheriff and G.W. Sheriff: Social Psychology, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma, U.S. A, 1969, pp. 80-88.
  2. For the see, R. H. Bates, “Ethnic Group Edition and Modernization in Contemporary Africa”, in Comparative Political Studies, 6th January, 1974, pp.344-450. E. Bonacich “A Theory of Ethnic Antagonism: The Split Labour Market.” In American Sociological Review, 31st October, 1972, pp. 500-560, D. Horowitz, Ethnic Groups in Conflict, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.

[40] . A.E. Afigbo, The Igbo and Their Neighbours….4


[41] A. E. Afigbo, Ropes of Sand… pp. 34-45

[42] Afigbo, The Igbo and their Neighbours…pp.29-49

[43] N.T. Nwaezeigwe, The Igbo and their  Nri Neighbours; A Study  in the  Politics of Igbo Culture and Origins, Enugu: Snap                Press Ltd., 2007, pp. 66-67

[44] Nwaezeigwe, The Igbo and Their Nri Neighbours…pp.147-179

[45] Bones, Ojiah History of Ugiri Clan… The various chapters of the book provided various details including                                    letters written by the colonial administrators on issues as markets, building of churches and                                                     establishment of school etc.

[46] Nzewuba C. Ugwuh, Ihiteafoukwu: The Echo of Igbo Culture. Ibadan,  Cypress, 2004, pp. 1-160

[47] P. A Talbot, The Peoples of Southern Nigeria, vol. 1, London: Frank Cass and Company Ltd., 1981, p.315

[48] A.E. Afigbo, The Warrant Chief, Indirect Rule in Southern Nigeria, 1891-1929, London: Longman, 1972.

[49] Elizabeth  Isichei, A History of the  Igbo People, London: Macmillan  Press Ltd., 1976

[50] G.T Basden, Among the Ibos of  Nigeria, Alias The Igbo as seen by the Early  White  Man, Lagos: University Publishing Co. 1982

[51] Edmund Ilogu, Christianity and Igbo Culture;  A study  of the  Interaction of  Christianity  and Igbo Culture,  Enugu: Nok Publisher Ltd., 1974, pp.2-3

[52] Edmund Ilogu, Christianity and Igbo Culture…p. 2.

[53] E.J. Otagburuagu and A.E Afigbo (ed.), News Brides, More Hopes, Igbo Women in Socio-Economic Change, Nsukka:                               Institute of African Studies, University of Nigeria, 2008, pp. 136-154.

[54] Ogbu U. kalu “Gender Ideology in Igbo Religion; The  Changing Religious  Role  of Women  in Igbo land,” in E.J               Otagburuagu and A.E Afigbo, New Brides, More Hopes  Igbo women  in Socio Economic Change, pp 140-141

[55] M.O Ijere, Economic Development in Nsu, Nsukka: np. 1981, p.143

[56] V. Uchendu, The Igbo of Southeast Nigeria, New York: Holt Rinehart  and Winston, 1965, p.22

[57] C.K Meek, Law and Authority in a Nigerian Tribe, London: OUP, 1937, p.20

[58] G.I. Jones, Trading States of Oil Rivers, London: O.U.P, 1972,  p.17

[59] C. C.  Ifemesia, Traditional Humane Living among the Igbo: An Historical Perspective, Enugu: F.D.P. 1980.

[60] Ifemesia, Traditional Humane Living…p.22

[61] M.O Ijere, (ed.)  Nsu Past and Present, (Nsukka: University Press, 1965)

  1. Obaro Ikime, in “Inter-group Relations in Pre-colonial Nigeria: A Call for a Re-Examination of Political Relations Among Nigerian Peoples in the Period up to c.1850 in History, The Historian and the Nation: voice of a Nigerian Historian. Ibadan: HEBN Publishers Plc., 2006, 17 37.

[62] Duru, Cecilia Ugochi, “Intergroup Relations in Mbano from the Earliest Times.” An Unpublished  Projects Department of History, University of Nigeria Nsukka, 1984

[63] Obaro, Ikime, History, The Historian and the Nation: the Voice of a Nigeria Historian. Ibadan: HEBN Publishers Plc. 2006 pp. 17-37

[64] Duru, Cecilia Ugochi, “Intergroup Relations in Mbano from the Earliest Times.” An Unpublished  Projects Department of History, University of Nigeria Nsukka, 1984

[65] Bernard Ohanyirim Nwosu, “Christian Missions in Mbano, 1913-1950” B.A Project, Department of History and Archeology, UNN 1977. p.20

[66] Egwim, Pius, “Aspects of the Pre-Colonial History of Otanzu-Otanchara Communities in Okigwe Division,” B.A Project, Department of History and Archeology, UNN, 1978.

[67] Emmanuel Nnawuihe Onyeama, “The Origins, Migrations Settlements and people in Nkwere/Isu Local Government Area of Imo State,” B.A Project Department of History and Archaeology, UNN, 1979.

[68] Kenneth Chukwudi Iheanacho, “The Phenomenon of Labour Migration in Abajah Nkwere Isu local Government Area of Imo State” B.A Project Department of History, UNN, 1984.

[69] Charles Chidi-Obi Obasi, “Origin, Migration, Settlement, and Inter-Group Relations in Amaimo”, B.A Project, Department of History, UNN, 1984

[70] Chileke, Anthony Onyekachi, “Some Aspect of the History of Mbaise   1970-1993” B.A Project, Department of History, International Studies, UNN, 2000.

[71]  Onuamechi Ahazuem, “Origin, Migration and Intergroup Relations in  Pre-Colonial Ohuhu” B.A. Project Department of History, UNN 1974.

[72] Ngozi, Stanislaus Egerue, “Mbano Under the Warrant Chiefs”. B. A., Project Department of History, UNN, 1984.

[73]   Uzoegbu, Nkechinyere Veronica, “Local Craft in Mbano from Earliest Times”. B. A., Project, Department of History, UNN, 1984.

[74]   Ugo Columba, ”Some Aspect of Cultural  and Political History  of Ehime up  to the  Colonial”. B.A.  Project, Department of History, 1986

[75]   Amaechi, Chidi Michael, “Oka-Isiala-Mbano; Politics and Society in the 19th Century”. B.A., Project, Department of History, UNN, 1992

[76]   . Iwuh, C.Y. “Iwa-Akwa Ceremony in Ehime-Mbano”. BA Project, Department of History and International Studies, UNN, 2006

[77] . Mbalisi Chinedu N. in “Change and Continuity in Isiala Mbano, An Igbo Society, 1906-2007, MA Dissertation, Department of History and International Studies, UNN, 2008.



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