ME AND MY SOCIETY, ILLUSTRATED FROM A SOCIOLOGY-POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE
The Etche person as an ethnic group in Rivers State, Nigeria is a people rich in traditional culture. The people occupy the south-south part of Nigeria. The Etche ethnic nationality has a common border with the Ngor-Okpala of the South East of Nigeria and other numerous communities of Ikwerre in Rivers State. In Etche land, marriage is highly valued and it is deemed as an indispensable obligation. Etche people see a man or woman who is of age and is not married as irresponsible. People that are of age are expected to get married to raise a new family. From there “the virtues and values of the society are primarily learnt” (Ezeanya 2010:173).
The Etche society is mostly patriarchal and patriarchal societies usually emphasize the superiority of the male over the female. Men are the head of the families while women are under them. Men dominate social reality. This cuts across other social institutions. The challenges of social and cultural globalization have not affected the status quo. By implication, the Etche society is male dominated and as such male chauvinistic ideology is prevalent.
This ideology is of preference for male child; which has helped in reinforcing and sustaining the patriarchal ideological status quo. This practice as it relates to the protection and application of human rights of woman in Etche in Rivers State will be examined
Rivers State, also known simply as Rivers, is one of the 36 states of Nigeria. According to census data released in 2006, the state has a population of 5,185,400, making it the sixth-most populous state in the country. Its capital, Port Harcourt is the largest city and is economically significant as the centre of Nigeria’s oil industry. Rivers State is bounded on the South by the Atlantic Ocean, to the North by Imo, Abia and Anambra States, to the East by Akwa Ibom State and to the West by Bayelsa and Delta states. It is home to many indigenous ethnic groups: Ikwerre, Ibani, Opobo, Eleme, Okrika, and Kalabari, Etche, Ogba, Ogoni, Engenni, Obolo and others. The people from Rivers State are known as “Riverians”
The culture of my people is so wide. we belief in a divine creator, choki and other lesser deities. The dominant ethnic groups are Ijwa, Ikwere, Etche, Ogoni, and Ogba/Egbema. Ijaw and Ikwerre are the most spoken languages although pidgin English (local English) is widely used in some of the radio and television broadcasts.
Male child preference is a phenomenon which is common among the Etche patrilineal communities of Rivers State. In Etche land, marriage is highly valued and the birth of a child is received with joy. Most times, the birth of a male child is particularly received with unprecedented joy and celebration than that of a female child. This is because; it is believed that through the male child/children, the family name is sustained while the girl child marries out to become part of another family. Though, she still belongs to the lineage of her father, she has no right of inheritance.
Family inheritance especially land and other property is from the father to the son(s). The daughters are thus disinherited. This has accorded a position of assertiveness and dominance to the males than females. In this paper, attempts will be made to explore how this practice impedes the implementation of human rights of woman in Etche in Rivers State, Nigeria. In carrying out this study, oral interview and in depth library research were used in collecting data. The paper brings to focus some of the human rights laws for the protection of the rights of women, which Nigeria is a signatory to. It further high lights the importance of implementing the laws as stipulated. It is believed that stringent enforcement of the existing women’s rights will bring a positive change to the present situation of women and girl child in Rivers state, Nigeria.
Rivers State with a population of about three million people occupies an area of 21,850 sq. km. With two thirds of it in the Niger Delta geographical terrain. The dominant ethnic groups are Ijwa, Ikwere, Etche, Ogoni, and Ogba/Egbema. Ijaw and Ikwerre are the most spoken languages although pidgin English is widely used in radio and television broadcasts.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS
Rivers State is currently made up of 23 local government areas and my elele community falls under the Ikwerre LGA. These are Ogba/Egbema, Ndoni, Ahoada, Ikwerre, Etche, Andoni/Opobo, Bonny, Okrika, Iyigbo, Ehana, Gokana Tai/Eleme, Obio/Akpor, Emohua, Degema, Aseri Toru, Akuku, Abua/Odial, Omumma, Opobo/Nkoro, Ogu/ BolRo, Ahaoda West, Ahoada East and Eleme.
The various peer groups in my community in Etche exist to effectively coordinate developmental needs and prospects. We have the Etche youth forum which is the driving force in our community.
FROM A SOCIO-POLITICAL PERSPERTIVE
My society is so complex and in this era of western civilization my community has grown into a moving community that has adopted most western cultures and life styles. We have the following;
We have a traditional council headed my the head of my community who act as the chief head of the community
In my society we don’t inter marry or sleep with Fellow kith and kins. it is a serious taboo in my society and we tend to interact with one another in the interest of love, unity and development.
We have a vigilante group who is charge with security issues in my community, this has gone a long way to effectively introduce the community policing we all glamour for.
My community is in the fore front of land acquisition and development. Lands are sold to would be developers who may use it for private or developmental purposes.
Though my community can be said to be Christian in nature but there still exist some form of traditional form of worship. This is also common when cases need to be consulted and decided in the traditional ways.
Beliefs and Norms
Various norms and belief exist in my community, which are strictly adhere to. The idea of not coming out during certain festive periods for the female are prohibited.
My society places great interest on festive period especially the new yam festival in September.
The profound impact of societal values and culture becomes most evident when we examine behaviors or conditions that, like kissing, are normally considered biological in nature. Consider morning sickness and labor pains, both very familiar to pregnant women before and during childbirth, respectively. These two types of discomfort have known biological causes, and we are not surprised that so many pregnant women experience them. But we would be surprised if the husbands of pregnant women woke up sick in the morning during their wives’ pregnancies or experienced severe abdominal pains while their wives gave birth. These men are neither carrying nor delivering a baby, and there is no logical—that is, biological—reason for them to suffer either type of discomfort.
See List of Governors of Rivers State for a list of prior governors
“C-GIDD (Canback Global Income Distribution Database)”. EIU Canback. Retrieved 2008-08-20.
“Nigeria: Administrative Division”. City Population. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
“Amaechi Catches Facebook Bug”. Daily Independent, accessed via HighBeam Research (subscription required). 10 August 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
“Rivers State government website”. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
“History of Rivers State”. Rsha.gov.ng. Retrieved 30 November 2014.