Evaluating the Place of the Ekpe Traditional Institution as a Tool for Nation-Building in Pre-Colonial Cross River Region

Inyang Bassey, Charles E. Ekpo


The Cross River region is a vast socio-cultural mosaic which accommodates peoples of distinct ethnic, religious, social, economic and political inclinations. Its northern half is infact, the birth place of the Bantu group who are known to speak over 200 related languages. Amidst this plurality in culture, a traditional institution played a crucial role in the amalgamation of political structures which, if not for colonial intervention, could have engineered a nation out of these different socio-cultural groups; that traditional institution was the Ekpe institution. Literature on the proliferation and indeed imperium of Ekpe abounds. Yet, none explicitly explain the confederation which the Ekpe was at the process of engineering in the Cross River region before colonialism interrupted such progress. This work examines the unsung attempt by the Ekpe traditional institution to forge a confederation across the segmented peoples of the Cross River region. Utilizing primary and secondary evidences, it has been shown in the work that such efforts at nation-building were yielding results and would have maturated into a formidable central political unit but for colonial truncation.

Keywords: Ekpe, Old Calabar, Nation-building, Ekpe confederacy, Cross River Region

DOI: 10.7176/HRL/49-02

Publication date: August 31st 2019

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3178 ISSN (Online)2225-0964

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