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1.1 Background of the study
The Igbos are traditionally village people, with social system comprising hundreds of small clans and villages. Among than, it is the family, the title holders, the village head etc that carryout the administrative functions of the society (Okoye, 1980:4). There have been many attempts to trace the origin of the Igbos, but none of that was very successful. In other words, where the Igbos migrated from has not been proved beyond reasonable double. The ancestry of the Igbos has bothered many people for a long time. Many historians, philosophers, sociologists, archaeologists and anthropologist have raised a lot of dust on this issue. A lot of views have been proffered but yet the origin of the Igbos remained a mirage. The Igbo people occupy the southern part mid western and Delta regions of Nigeria. Their areas is bounded on the east by the Ibibio people, on the south west by the Ijaw, extending to the confines of Benin with Igbos as the outpost. The northern boundary is Idoma in the Northem Nigeria. What could be specially defined as the traditional government and politics in Igbo society comes on areas of over 15,800 square miles with a population of more than thirty (30) million (Anyanwu and Aguwa 1993:4). The Igbo land rises in the north to the Agwu-Uduka hills which run in a south-north direction. There are no impenetrable mountain barriers or large expenses of water or desert throughout the Igbo setting. The Igbos inhabit Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo Abia, Ahoada area of River state as well on the account of their migratory behaviour, Igbo people are found all over the world where they settled, live and behave as son of the soil (Anyanwa and Aguwa 1999:5). At this stage, we shall explore in all these areas of Igbo land, if there had existed traditional government and politics because the administrative system in Igbo society have been variously labeled as accephallous, stateless or republican. This implies that the Igbo communities do not have first person of the society entrusted with administrative functions, and equally lacks formal structures of government with a hierarchical organization based on bureaucratically and systematized administration. Infact, the problem scholars have experienced in providing a simple characterization for the political culture of the Igbo underscores the complexities of the system as well as the fact that the Igbo culture area is not uniform. In terms of lie erogeneity or complexity, the Igbo culture area had been subdivided into five units with features of internal differentiations within each unit. Thus we have:
i. Northern or Onitsha Igbo including Nri,Awka, Enugu and Onitsha.
ii. Southern or Owerri Igbo including Isuma, Uratta, Ikwerre, Ohuhu, Ngwa and Isu.
iii. Western Igbo including north and southern Ika, Kwala and River line Igbo.
iv. Eastern or cross river Igbo including Abam, Ohafia and Ara.
v. North-eastern Igbo or Ogu Uku including the Igbo of Abakiliki and Afikpo (Founde and James 1962:10) with the above, it remains unrealistic in terms of political culture to attempt a characterization of the entire Igbo linguistic and culture area. The three types of stateless structures distinguished by Horton of agricultural communities are to be found among the Igbos namely.
a. Seminary: linage system among a few central Igbo communities.
b. The dispersed territorially defined community.
c. The large compact village type.
The prevalence of these forms of non-contrasted form of political system among the Igbo has given the false impression that the Igbo can be legitimately characterized as accephallous.
So this research work is aimed at studying the traditional government and political system of Okposi in Ohaozara, Ebonyi state so as to put forward the fact that the traditional government and politics in Igbo society is structural and can be studied via structural analytical approach which disproves the impression that traditional government and politics in Igbo society is generally stateless, accephallous or republican inn nature.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The issue of whether there exist any traditional government and politics in Igbo society has remained a perplexing problem over the years.The problem this work is out to look into therefore is the applications, difficulties faced as a result of the misperception and belief of many people today of Igbo society. There has been this belief that the Igbo of Nigeria has no unified and centralized form of politics and social organization.Therefore, the various disturbing phenomena of the sociopolitical organization of contemporary Igbo society are some indication of some types of expedition or search for an equilateral position at which socio-political aspirations and programmes can fit into such socio-political structures and culture of the various Igbo system. In otherworld’s, all the phenomena put together shows that the problem lies in a search for socio-political identity and an enduring traditionally flavor filled confidence which incidentally seem to include many Igbo societies.These growing inconsistencies coupled with the ever constant perennial problem of social and political disillusionment in many Igbo societies shows how necessary a new approach to socio-political evolution really is.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The issue of the traditional government and politics in Igbo society has since been a subject of intense debate among contemporary historical and Igbo scholars. Following the multiplicity of opinion on this subject, it has become reasonable for the research to establish the fact that their existed to a great extent an element of socio politic organization in Igbo land. The overall objective of the study can then be stated as follows:-
1. This study aims at re-assessing the nation widely held opinions about the traditional government and politics in Igbo land in general and Okposi Ohaozara in particular with a view to unreeling the truth about this.
2. To make an enquiry into the contribution of some eminent scholars to the ongoing search for Igbo identity and organization.
3. This study or research work also seeks to facilitate a comprehensive understanding of the indigenous socio-political organization of some Igbo communities, for instance Okposi in Ohaozara local government area of Ebonyi state, which will help scholars to analyzed and appreciate better the strains in Igbo socio-political system which seemed the emanate from the combination of two vastly differently political ideas of the European and Igbos. This also they will try to address.
4. The study of Okposi socio-political organization will also contribute to the enrichment of studies in traditional government and political organization of Igbo in general.
5. A study of this nature undertaken away from stresses of socio-political crises, such as marked some vital studies of the Igbo, hitherto picture of Igbo socio-political life and thus presents it for appraisal by scholars who may have maintained hardened attitude to it.
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;
H0:Okposi socio-political organization does not contribute to the enrichment of traditional government and political organization of Igbo in general
H1: Okposi socio-political organization contribute to the enrichment of traditional government and political organization of Igbo in general
H02:there are no indigenous socio-political organizations of some Igbo communities
H2:there are indigenous socio-political organizations of some Igbo communities
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of benefit to the entire Nation. The study will also be of great benefit to the researchers who intends to embark on research on similar topics as it will serve as a guide. Finally, the study will be of great importance to academia’s, lecturers, teachers, students and the general public.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers traditional government and politics. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;
a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
c) Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
TRADITIONAL: Produced, done, or used in accordance with tradition.
GOVERNMENT:A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally referred to as a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislators, administrators, and arbitrators.
POLITICS: Politics is the process of making decisions applying to all members of each group. More narrowly, it refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance organized control over a human community, particularly a state.
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study
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