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Akwa Ibom People: Thier Societal Structure, Ethnic Stability, Language & Religion

 

Societal Structure

Over the years and armed with the intrinsic philosophy of promoting constructive societies and the ideology of self- determination Akwa Ibom ethnic groups have collectively metamorphosed into a fraternal benefit society that operates at many levels; within the state, nationally and globally. These societies started as Ibibio Stete Union formed in 1928, even before Akwa Ibom was created.

Generally, these benefit societies promote the ideal of service as the basis of enterprise, encourage high ethical standards in business and the professions, good citizenship, good government, and an active interest in civic service, local community projects ranging from fund-raising drives, building schools, providing water supply, to equipping hospitals.

Ethnic Stability

With heavy "free borrowing" and modernisation of cultural elements through western influence, there has never been reported strife among the people and the common denominator of cultures and ethnicity remain intact. This is due to the fact that Akwa Ibom ethnic groups support pluralism which generally makes for a combination of toleration and interdependence as well as a tradition that expunges separatism and cultures that promote interdependence.

Ethnic stability of the Akwa Ibom people have made it possible for citizens of neigbouring states to voluntarily relocate and adopt its language and cultural practices and enjoy the serenity of the state. Ethnic strife is further made difficult as the various ethnic groups at one time or the other have been cooperators in education or infrastructure development and therefore are co-owners of these resources.

Religion

The Akwa Ibom people being migrants have passed through challenging experiences in their sojourning, generally they tend to recognise that which is awesome and appealing, fearful and attractive and commanding of wonder, awe, and reverence. The exposure of traditional indigenous religion to western culture has given way to acculturation. Traditional religion of Akwa Ibom, never being a documented practice, means that authority of traditional religious sages has waned, group dynamics do not impose one religion over another on citizens.

The people believe in monotheism, their sense of worship is to one God. Typically, it is common belief that reality is not restricted to sense experience alone. The people are generally free to belong to any religion to which they share a common belief with its leader. Hence, many AkwaIbomites, from their days of migration, openly welcomed Christianity from its inception in Calabar.

They have used the platform of religion to ethnically close divides amongst them by ending forms of taboos that were against the interest of the people, such as human sacrifice.

As of now the major religions are Christianity, with many churches like the Roman Catholic Church, and Protestants being accepted. Pentecostalism has also penetrated many members of these orthodox churches as they seek deeper experiences.

Traditional religion places of worship has today become museum monuments as the lineage of leaders and worshippers have abandoned most of these institutions for want of successors. Most surviving traditional religion shrines are at their verge of going underground as people have moved and sometimes consider the shrines, its leaders and worshippers as derelicts.

Yet in some traditional functions, such as traditional marriages, some family meetings, and community functions libation is poured for the spirit of the ancestors. Also in public addresses, reference is sometimes made to ancestral spirits. These signify that with some people of Akwa Ibom there is still a form of somewhat less significant traditional pagan worship. However, individuals often regard participation in such gatherings as religiously optional and most times do not participate in such worship where it conflicts with their tenets.

Language

The people of Akwa Ibom State are blessed with language similarities . Even with minor dialectical differences there are still some common denominators in all languages spoken.

Akwa Ibom language is expressive of feelings. The people of the hinterland speak Ibibio or Annang and they generally understand themselves, while those in the coastal areas speak Oron, Ibeno, and Eket. The people, being moulded by a shared vision occasionally come together for the common good. At such functions, local languages are freely spoken and such gatherings are cheered with shouts of "Akwa Ibom Isongo" by anyone having an opportunity to address the people, meaning people of Akwa Ibom State be strong. This awakens the spirit of oneness among the people. However, cultural modernisation has promoted English as the official language spoken in government circles and in public functions.

Spoken Languages

There are 20 languages spoken as first languages in Akwa Ibom State. The major languages are Anaang, Ibibio and Igbo. The other languages are minority languages.
ANAANG Ikot Ekpene, Essien-Udim, Abak, Ukanafun, and Oruk-Anam LGA's

EBUGHU Mbo and Oron LGA's
EFAI Mbo LGA
EKIT Uquo Ibeno and Eket LGA's
ENWANG Mbo LGA
ETEBI Uquo Ibeno LGA
IBIBIO Itu, Uyo, Etinan, Ikot Abasi, Ikono, Ekpe-Atai, Uruan, Onna, Nsit-Ubium, and Mkpat Enin LGA's.
IBINO Uquo-Ibeno LGA
IBUORO Itu and Ikono LGA's
IDERE Itu LGA
IGBO Ika LGA
IKA Ika LGA
IKO Ikot Abasi LGA
ILUE Oron LGA
ITU MBON UZO Ikono and Itu LGAs
NKARI Ikono LGA
OBOLO Ikot Abasi LGA
OKOBO Okobo LGA
ORO Oron LGA
UDA Mbo LGA

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