Theme: Celebrating Traditional Igbo Institutions and Leadership
Venue: Princess Alexandria Auditorium University Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria
Leadership question has recently become a major issue of discourse among scholars of different disciplines studying Igbo political culture and traditions. The saying "Igbo enwe eze", literally meaning “The Igbo have no Kings,” is used to buttress the assertion in many commentaries that the Igbo lacked a sophisticated political culture in pre-colonial times. The early ethnographers were particularly culpable in this regard, describing the Igbo as a people with acephalous, non-centralized and poorly organized political systems. Yet, this saying is never a complete representation of what the entire Igbo groups stand for. Subsequent researches have proved this position wrong. In actual fact, no society can exist without leadership. What appears to be in contention revolves around the nomenclature, structure of governance and the degree of evolution.
The Igbo are known to have had varied leadership systems which came under various names prior to colonisation. It is also true that some Igbo communities had more structured traditional institutions and leadership systems than others. The theocratic rulership of the Eze Nri has been variously recorded in anthropological studies. Also in the vicinity of Nri, archaeological records revealed a burial chamber believed to have been associated with a chieftaincy position, albeit theocratic. The site is Igbo Ukwu in core Igbo area. There was also the theocratic cum political leadership of the Eze Aro in Arochukwu area of southern Igboland. The institution of Obi in Onitsha and some west Niger Igbo areas also dates to the pre-colonial period. Nevertheless, many Igbo communities had gerontocratic leadership, with the council of elders holding sway before colonial rule. The fact that such words as Igwe, Eze, Obi, Ichie, Nze na Ozo, and others occur in Igbo lexicon is a strong indication that they had well organized political institutions in time past.
Since the kingship system in Onitsha represents one of the well organised traditional institutions and leaderships in Igboland, this conference is organized in honour of its Royal Monarch, Igwe Alfred Achebe, (Agbogidi) Obi of Onitsha, whose leadership and towering credentials have been popularly applauded. Contributors who are well informed about the life and times of Agbogidi are encouraged to write on such issues.
Scholars are invited to submit abstracts and papers for presentation at the conference on the theme, sub-themes or other aspects of Igbo life, including political and economic systems, language and literature, philosophy, medicine, theatre, arts, religion, agriculture, ethno-musicology, traditional dance, engineering, communication, political history, education etc.
Abstract should not exceed two hundred and fifty (250) words and must reach the conference secretariat on or before 30th April 2016.
Ndubuisi Ahamefula, Conference Liaison, +234-8034772290
Department of Linguistics, Igbo & Other Nigerian Languages, University of Nigeria, Nsukka