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SOCIO-ECONOMIC CONTRIBUTIONS OF EDEMAYA WOMEN IN THE PAST-INDEPENDENCE ERA
1.1 Background of the study
During the pre-colonial era, women in various tribes and kingdoms that made up the present day Nigeria contributed to the sustenance of the kings groups. Apart from being mothers and wives and taking charge of the domestic sectors, women contributed substantially to the production and distribution of goods and services, they also took part in the production of palm oil and palm kernels, they participated in local and long distance trade in different part of Nigeria and were fully involved in the procurement and sales of various food items and related commodities.
Women in Edemaya were fully involved in food processing and they had traditional ways of preservation for example fish drying (smoking) and food processing etc. Again they provided music, dance required during religious activities. Women also officiated as priestesses, divine healers, traditional birth attendance and oftentimes as costumes. Education in pre-colonial times was functional; it enabled women to obtain skills in other to earn a living. Ogunsheye observed that:
A woman who was without craft or trade, or
who was totally dependent on her husband
was not only rare but was not regarded without contempt.
During the colonial era, policies and states were clearly against the women. Colonial education curricular equally emphasized religious instruction and clerical skills for boys and domestic science for girls. In post-independence era, especially in the then cross River State and presently in Akwa Ibom State, the women have striven to make marks in the developmental quest of the state politically, economically, etc. It is in this vein that this study specifically focuses on women and socio-economic development in Edemaya from 1960 - 2016.
2.1 Statement of Research Problem
Women in traditional society have been repaired as always playing a second fiddle to her men. They have always been seen to be playing a supportive role to her men. This, contributing very little to the socio-economic well-being of the society. During the colonial period the role of women in Edemaya community rarely changed despite the confrontational role they played in the women’s war of 1929 that sparked off nationalism in Nigeria directly or indirectly.
Women’s contributions socio-economically to the development of Edemaya in the past independence era cannot be underestimated, though it is hardly appreciated. That women provide more than 95 percent of the food we eat in our country today is not enough justification to except their socio-economic contributions in modern times. This research work therefore affords the researcher the opportunity to expose the socio-economic contributions of Edemaya women in the past-independence era.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of this work are:
i. To trace the tradition of origin, migration and settlement of the Edemaya people
ii. To expose an overview of Edemaya women economic endowment in the pre-colonial period
iii. To examine how the women of Edemaya contributed to the socio-economic development of Edemaya between 1960-2016
iv. To highlighting it impacts of the women’s activities on modern Edemaya society
1.4 Significance of the Study
It is anticipated that the results of this projects will be significant in numerous ways. This study is relevant as it will contribute to literature on women to the development of Edemaya with repairs to. It brings to public knowledge the historical status of Edemaya, its migration and settlements. The work provides an in depth knowledge of Edemaya women socio-economic and cultural practices and how it affects the people. The work provides a reference point for researchers who are desirous of finding out the contribution made by the women of Edemaya and its developmental impacts.
1.5 Scope of the Study
The work centres on Edeemaya community because the researcher bails from there. The period 1960 – 2016 has been chosen to enable the researcher highlight the specific contributions made by the women socio-economically in the past colonial era which hither to has been regarded as nothing to write home about.
Data for the writing of this work were collected from both primary and secondary sources. The primary sources centered on oral tradition with emphasis on oral history. Oral tradition according to Jan Vansina is “the transmission of information by words of mouth from one person to another and from one generation to another”. Collaborating this was E. A. Udo when he said:
An attempt to write the history of a non-literate society is by no means an easy task to undertake. There is the is the problem of getting written records of history of the people conceived. And where no archaeological work has been carried out, the problem becomes acute. The only available source left open is oral tradition.
Oral tradition also has to do with oral literature including myth, poetry, epic, folklore, lepend, eye-illnesses accounts or oral History. Great wisdom in however continued in oral tradition and if carefully analyzed, can provide materials for the reconstruction of history extinct communities. Mention has already been of oral history. These are eye-witnesses accounts given by people about events in which they participated or observed.