CONFLICT RESOLUTION STRATEGIES IN IGBO RELIGION: THE OATH TAKING AND COVENANT MAKING PERSPECTIVES

Christian O. Ele

Abstract


The Thomas hobbesian mechanistic man in his state of nature who was ruled by his urge and quest to have his passions satisfied would in the absence of government, political or religious, wage war of all against all (bellum omnium contra omnes). This situation made his life in the hermeneutical categories of Thomas Hobbe solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”. The origin of conflicts is explainable by these pointers to man’s nature and his unavoidable yet insatiable aspirations and wants. This paper discusses conflict resolution strategies in Igbo Religion. The forebears of Igbo race took adequate measures to handle confrontations of social powers in their possibilities and actualities by evolving strategies that would prevent them and at conflictual situations, resolve them. In order to give these traditional methods super-human validity and permanent efficacy, they tied some of them such as oath taking (inu iyi) and covenant making (igba  ndu) to Igbo Religion and spiritual arbiters. Other styles are cared for by their social forms, political structures of gerontocracy and democracy. All these strategies, came from their fertile minds, executed within their rich cultural patterns and unaided by any Euro-American thoughts and schemes. The findings of this paper attest to the relevance and prevalence of these strategies from the ancient times till the present. However, this study subscribes to greater peace and social harmony in Igbo society through the integration of some western methods of conflict resolution into the native forms. The fetish elements in the traditional forms should be expunged for universal acceptance especially across religious affiliations. The conclusion is the resume of the entire discourse. The methodology employed in this paper is historic-descriptive which means that the practices of inu iyi and Igba ndu and their efficacy as conflict resolution mechanisms were studied and interpreted in the context of Igbo Religion.

Keywords


Conflict, Conflict Resolution, Igbo Religion, Oath taking and Covenant making.

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