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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY (INTRODUCTION)
The administration of any state, society requires certain individuals to manage its affairs. The state realizes its objectives through the government which performs several functions which include maintenance of law and order, protection of the people’s lives and their property, defence of the territorial integrity of the state (Olu, 2006). However, the birth of democracy in Nigeria allows for the development of an equality driven society where the political ideals and rights of all citizens have legitimate voice and are guaranteed by the constitution. There are however, several of critical issues which have stemmed from the democratization and liberalization of the Akwa Ibom State political system, in particular, the practice of traditional institution in general.
The traditional authority is one of the oldest systems of government to the people of Nigeria (Essen, 1982). Traditional institution has survived the onslaught of colonialism, the intrigues of democracy and the autocratic antics of the military. Traditional institution is always perceived as a threat to the stability of any other form of government. Attempts therefore have always been made to reform traditional institution to conform with any other form of government which may be considered modern government which may be considered modern and superior.
In recent time, the traditional institution in Nigeria has performed vital role in democratic stability ranging from the use of traditional mechanism to resolve communal conflicts. These mechanisms include palm frond “Eyei” oath taking and pouring of libation. Traditional institution also helps in the area of security, community development, cohesion and unity among the people in the society. Nevertheless, Egwunebe 1982 argued that traditional institution have no role in modern Nigeria’s politics, this is because the traditional institution is patently undemocratic. Succession to the throne is done through ascription rather than popular election, achievement nor ability.
In colonial administration, the system concentrated too much power on the traditional rulers which made some of them to be dictatorial or become absolute monarchs rather than the constitutional monarch which they were before indirect rule was introduced. The traditional institution encouraged corruption and illegal wealth acquisition among some of the chiefs in the colonial period. Some warrant chiefs in the colonial rule are known to have abused their powers, extorting money from members of their communality.
It is against this background that this research is organized to find out whether traditional institution has roles to play within Akwa Ibom State politics and the development of sustainable and transparent democracy or whether the incorporation of traditional institution into the political system have caused more damages than before.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Since colonial time, the traditional institution has been involved in Nigerian politics especially in the days of Lord F. Lugard 1914-1919 when the indirect rule (Native Authority) as a system of administration was introduced in (Northern Nigeria). As a system of administration, it involved the use of traditional rulers and its institutions as agents or intermediaries to rule the native people. Where no traditional rulers existed as in the pre-colonial Igbo system, the colonial masters appointed warrant chiefs to ensure an effective and efficient local administration. The traditional rulers were closely supervised and advised by British Residents and were expected to take instructions from these residents and pass them to their people. In the protectorate where indirect rule was practised there were no legislative or executive councils but native councils, Udoekang (2006).
According to Malinowski, B. (1948) in his book, “The Magic, Science and Religion and other Essays” made it clear that traditional institution serve some peculiar functions in the society. The functions served are social integration, cohesion, social solidarity and unity among the people in a society.
Before colonization, the people were administered under the umbrella of large political organizations such as the Fulani emirate in the North, the kingdoms or empires in the Yoruba land and Benin, village system in the East of the Niger. The traditional institution in all these places mentioned governed and administered through the operation of customary laws.
According to Weinstein (1977) the traditional elite has continued to function, under government recognition, not as sovereign political authorities, but in support of aspiring political leaders and government administration, in a perceived protection of the interest of their indigenous ethnic communities.
Ukpong (2006) argued that, traditional rulers are only interested in amassing wealth; they liaise with political leaders to indulge in dubious act. They work desperately, though surreptitiously to deliver their domain to a political party that will best serve their own selfish interest; not minding the wishes of their subjects.
This study seeks to examine the role of the traditional institution in promoting political stability and sustainable democracy in Akwa Ibom State.
The problems of this study are:
1. Is there any significant relationship between oath taking and political stability in Akwa Ibom State?
2. Is there any significant association between the use of secret cult to enforce order and promotion of political stability and sustainable democracy in Akwa Ibom State?
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1. The main objective of this research is to examine the role of the traditional institution in promoting and sustaining political stability in Akwa Ibom State.
2. To examine the relevance of traditional institution Nigeria.
3. To suggest ways and strategies that would promote effective integration of traditional institution in Nigerian governance.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This work is a contribution to existing body of literature on the subject matter:
The findings of the study and the recommendations will provide effective framework for leadership that will be needed for democratic stability. The study will also serve as a reference document and guide to future researchers who may be interested in carrying out research on the subject matter.
Lastly, the study looks into the advantages and disadvantages of the traditional institution and makes useful recommendations.
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The hypotheses of this work are as following:
H0: There is no significant relationship between oath taking and political stability in Akwa Ibom State.
H1: There is a significant relationship between oath taking and political stability in Akwa Ibom State.
H0: There is no significant relationship between the use of secret cult to enforce order and promotion of political in Nigeria.
H1: there is significant relationship between the use of secret cult to enforce order and promotion of political stability in Nigeria.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study focused on “The role of traditional institution in promoting political stability and sustainable democracy in Akwa Ibom State”. The study was limited to data collected from questionnaires and textbooks, in the related area of study.
However, the primary data employed in this research involved’ observation, distribution of questionnaires and collection of respondents’ response on the subject.
References from periodical newspapers, magazines, journals and textbooks are the secondary data consulted in the course of this research.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
1. Finance: lack of adequate funding have a direct consequence on the quality of suitable materials, and cost of transportation to some areas, for purpose of accessing information that could have aided the progress of the research, constituted a major setback to the speedy completion of this work.
2. Time constraint: the research of this nature is often done with time frame, otherwise. The research would have been extended to other stages which without doubt would have improved the formulation made herein.
3. The inability of respondents scheduled for interview to keep to appointments with the researcher was another key challenge.
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research is divided into five chapters, chapter one examines the background of the study, statement of problem, objectives of the study, significance of the study, research hypotheses, scope and limitation of the study, research method and organization of the study.
Chapter two consists of literature review, the traditional institution in pre-colonial era, in colonial era, and in post independence era, theoretical, framework and definition of terms.
Chapter three comprises of historical survey of Akwa Ibom State, the people of Akwa Ibom State, political culture in Akwa Ibom State and evaluation of traditional governance in Akwa Ibom State.
Chapter four contains data presentation and analysis, research design, population of the study, sample and sampling technique, instrument for data collection, validity and the reliability of the study instruments, data analysis and testing of hypotheses.
Chapter five comprises of summary, conclusion and recommendations.
Awofeso, O. (2006). Traditional Rulers and Governance in Contemporary Nigeria’ Lisjohnson, Resources, Publishers.
Bakut, I. (2001). Traditional Institutions as agents of National Security in a Democratic Setting. An Essay for the Award of Mni.
Eberefiak, E. (20017). Politics and Tradition; Continuity and Change in Traditional Institution of Akwa Ibom State. Ekpeyak Venture Nigeria, Uyo.
Esen, A. J. (1982). The Ibibio Profile Paico Book Publishers Calabar.
Tamuno, T. N. (1993). Crime and Security in Pre-Colonial Nigeria: Policy Nigeria, Past Present and the Future. Lagos, Malthouse Press Ltd.
Udopkang (2006) Foundations to the Study of Government and Politics, Lagos Neutex Ventures Ltd.
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