PROJECT TOPIC- IMPACTS OF MISSIONARY EDUCATION ON THE CULTURE OF THE PEOPLE OF EFFIUM IN EFFIUM LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF EBONYI STATE
For the past few years, even now, the degenerating position of the culture of the people of Effium has given me much concern. The purpose of this research is to find out if the impacts of missionary Education contributed to the degeneration of our cultural heritage. The elders in Effium complained that the missionary educators do not promote the culture of the people. They attributed to the ills in the society which later result to the neglect of the peoples culture.
The investigator formulated the following research questions:
- Missionary Education caused disunity and discrimination among the communities.
- It was responsible for the destruction of some important culture.
- Missionary Education gave the women the opportunity of claiming equality with men.
- It might have helped to re-shape or shame our African marriage culture and styles.
- Missionary education might have help to suppress such bad culture of the people, such as killing of twins, cannibalism, village wars, witchcraft, slavery and servitude etc.
- Missionary Education might have caused lack of interest people have in the study of history of Effium.
To prove these, the researcher carried out an investigation by questionnaires and interviews in Effium local government Area of Ebonyi State.
Questionnaires were sent to the retired government officers, teachers and headmasters of some schools. But, more investigations are done by personnel interviews to the elders of the land. Because of the largeness of the Area, two persons were interviewed in each of fourteen villages that make up an entity known as Effium and Questionnaires were sent to several persons. The questionnaires were collected and tallied. Aggregate and percentage score of each question were found.
Responses to the questionnaires indicated that missionary education caused disunity. Important culture, which should be encouraged, was destroyed by the advent of the missionaries.
God is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of man and man is the head of woman but the missionary education preached equality of woman to man which invariably brought disrespect to men this nowadays. Discrimination is rife. Catholic discriminates against Protestants, brothers against brother if they are not in the same religious fold. Balanced of education should be regard as the process of transmitting the people’s culture.
1.1: BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
There can be no gainsaying the fact that before missionary advance to the entity later came to be called “Nigeria”, there had been a traditional education established by various groups, kingdom, empires and most of the democratic societies like Igbo, TIV, and so on. In this type of education, Igbo specifically the parents were the people who educate their children along the established line of our forefathers.
But following the European keen interest and later contact with the people of Africa, the need to know about the interior and obtain raw materials culminated to the coming of missionaries, which Effium as thematic of this course experienced with others.
According to Macgregor Laird (1976), the information brought back by the missionaries served peaceful ends; the promotion of trade and the opening up of the continent to Christian Missionary enterprise”, From this, the Methodist opened a station at Badagry in 1842, which marked the missionary influence that impacted a lot of changes both Socially, culturally, politically, economically and so on. Those impacts are to be highlighted below-
The primary objectives of missionary activity in Nigeria, Effium in particular was to evangelize the people, that is, to convert them from their traditional forms of religion to the Christian way of life and belief. In this, there have been successful to certain extent. According to Joseph .I. Odom, by 1982”, more than seven percent of the people of Effium had become Christian adherents. It is true that the large majority of people of Effium are still outside the Christian fold; the introduction of Christianity has had an almost universal good influence upon the society under review.
For instance, today life and property are more secure than under the traditional religion whose law of the jungle has been supplanted by the teaching of love of one’s neighbour.
Christian missionaries did not confine their activity to preaching and building churches. They have contributed to the social, economic and political advancement of Effium people.
The missionaries have by their teaching and activities tried to emancipate West Africa, Nigeria in Particular from the slavery of superstitions and disease.
According to Obaji Ogwale (2005), Christian teaching has destroyed the superstitions, which propped such evil customs and practices such as human sacrifice and the murder of twins.
The missionaries have also waged war against diseases among the people. For instance, the establishment of Effium maternity center helped much in relieving the storm and tempest of disease in Effium community. Note it is a very good significant that the history of medical services in Nigeria began with Rev father conquard who arrived at Abeokuta in 1890. Today, the high rate of our society has decreased appreciably, and disease is steadily retreating before the unrelenting assault of missionary medical work.
The missionaries have as well exerted a tremendous influence on our culture and social life by the introduction of European ways of life along with Christianity. For instance, the European system of marriage and styles of dress and architecture have been adopted by peoples of Effium community.
Above all, they have by their teaching and activities helped in bringing to an end the endemic inter-tribal or inter-village wars, which plagued our society before their coming. According to Nwefuru Ude (2005) Effium fought an unrelentless war with the people of Izzi, which culminated to their settlement in the area they are now. In this way, they have contributed to the establishment of a stable and peaceful society in Effium and its neighbors.
Their greatest and most spectacular achievement was in the field of education. The Christian missionaries regarded education as indispensable handmaid of evangelization and so promoted it right from the beginning.
Their first contribution in this sphere was the linguistic study and reduction to writing of many languages in West Africa and the translation of Bible into different languages. For instance, in Nigeria, Crowther reduced the Yoruba Language to writing words and translated several books of the Bible into that language. The missionaries also developed Nupe, Hausa, Kanuri, Ibo, and Efik in the same way. In this way, the missionaries were able to teach their converts how to read Bible in the vernacular and so produced the first wide – spread literate class in the society.
They also promote the study of West African languages; some of the missionaries established printing presses and published newspapers. The Rev. Townsead brought the first printing press to Nigeria in 1852, and started the first Yoruba newspaper in Nigeria known as ‘iwe Irohins’ in 1859.
Closely connected with the literary development of indigenous West African Languages is their second contribution. Namely, they promote education through the opening of primary schools and secondary schools as well as training colleges for the training of teachers and trade schools for the training of craftsmen.
For instance, the establishment of Effium High school and community secondary school Effium was the contribution of missionary workers.
In Effium, the work of Christian missionary education is no less spectacular. Of great significance in the development of education was the teaching of English and French languages in these schools by the missionaries.
Of great significance too was the contribution of the Christian missions to the political fortunes of West African State. The missionaries were to some extent bringing several religious in this country, Effium in particular under European rule. It has even been observed that the appointment of Chief Nwaonuewo Nweke in Ezza in the year 1920 became a set where both Ezza and Effium were brought under British administration.
According to .S. Coleman, “Without the Missionary enterprise both the timing and nature of the awakening of racial and national consciousness would probably have been different”.
Missionary influence on West Africa was not limited to the religions, social, education and political spheres only but also extended to the economic sphere.
Missionaries contributed in many ways to the material development. For instance, they showed a great interest in the development of agriculture and legitimate trade, which they used to supplant slave trade and raise the living standards of Effium people. New Crops were introduced, example, the introduction of cassava crop in Effium in the 16th century was the outcomes of Christian missionaries.
They also contributed to other ways like construction of roads and bridges to open up hitherto isolated areas. They also introduce new styles of architecture.
In all, missionaries have done a lot in the promotion of people’s welfare especially the Effium Community but this does not imply that the Christian missionary Journey to Effium was of greater advantages without disadvantages.
Yet, it must be admitted that missionary influence in West Africa has its shortcomings.
In the religions sphere, some of the missions that favoured Africanization of their clergy at the beginning, notably, the C.M.S who Later adopted a policy which sought to maintain European control over their churches in West Africa.
The catholic mission maintained a policy of European control until recently when some serious efforts were made to raise native clergy.
In the social sphere, the missionaries in their zeal to convert the people from their traditional religion and customs, acquired disclaim for everything in Africa such as African art, music, dancing and marriage customs which affected Effium in particular. They even rejected African names for Baptism. Some results of this negative approach were the retardation of the development of good African culture.
In educational field, it must be noted that the missionaries provided a one sided nature of education in most of their schools. They tended to concentrate on reading, writing, arithmetic and neglected technical education and industrial training. Again the education they introduced was oriented towards the needs of the time the production of teachers, catechists, and priests for the mission and clerks for the mercantile houses and interpreters and administrators for the colonial government.
In all, the missionaries have left a permanent influence for good on West Africa, Nigeria in particular.
1.2: STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Since the missionary workers introduced missionary education in form of Western culture, there has been a lot of conflict between elders – the custodian of the people’s culture and missionary educators.
Culture includes, the way of peoples behaviour, their methods of earning a living, kinship, family structure, mode of thoughts, values and as well as their attitude of life. People who are so involved in their own culture cannot easily accept a foreign culture that is unrelated to their needs and values. The elders do complain that since the introduction of missionary education. The culture of the people is no longer respected nor observed. They attributed to the moral decadence, loose discipline and other related ills in our society and lack of observation of the cultural activities of the people. The elders point accusing fingers at the early and present missionary educators whose dogma; the elder’s claim is against the promotion of the culture of the land.
They equally say that the culture of the land is not taught to their children in the schools.
Because of these complaints by the elders, the researcher has taken time to investigate those impacts that the missionaries has on the culture of the peoples of Effium Communities.
1.3: THE PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The investigator is a native of Effium and as well as student that want to find out what impacts missionaries made on the already existing culture of the peoples of Effium community. The researcher also find out if the missionary educators promoted the Western culture alongside with the people’s culture or if they promoted the Western culture at the neglect and condemnation of the people’s culture.
If such is the case, the investigator will find out if the foreign culture introduced by the missionary has succeeded in bringing peace and harmony in the community, in respect to the norms of the society, which the elders found very hard to maintain in Effium.
They researcher also find out if the people’s culture as alleged by the missionary educators is more heathen rituals, which gave the missionary educators nothing good to be studied and promoted.
The researcher also investigates on the bad aspect of the people’s culture that was suppressed by the missionary educators. He equally suggest ways to modify the existing culture where it tends to be heathen in outlook so that the Christian educators and their adherents will take part in the study, teaching and promotion of the culture in that very community known as Effium.
The study is also important to the elders, Christians, Youths, pupils and Government as well.
The researcher will make necessary recommendation to these bodies, which might help in one way or the other to stop any conflict and neglect between the elders and the Christians over the culture of the people. This could lead to a healthy interaction between the two groups. The end product of this researcher work will lead to the restoration of the culture of the land. The laws and customs of the people could be observed. This will consequently lead to the improvement of the morals and attitude of the present Youths who will be the elders of tomorrow. The government on her own part should be encouraged to promote the study of culture of the people in their schools and colleges. Thus, helping to preserve the cultural heritage of the people. Efforts so made in this direction may help to pass the culture of Effium to the next generation.
1.4: SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The research work was carried out in all the fourteen towns or villages in Effium Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
Questionnaires were given to all the principals, headmasters and their assistants, two teachers in each of the schools, the clergymen and the retired government officers. Oral interviews were equally conducted with the elders, who made up of three elderly men and two elderly women in each of the towns and as well each of these villages as mentioned below.
Sampling of the most elderly men and that of women selected the respondents. This project work covers only Effium community in particular.
1.5: DEFINITION OF TERMS
- Culture: Simply means the people’s ways of life, their mode of thoughts, methods of earning a living and their attitude of life. Culture pertains to law, custom, training, belief and habits as acquired by human being as a member of the society.
- Education: Is a process of training and instruction especially of children and young people in schools, colleges, which is designed to give knowledge and as well to develop skills.
- Formal Education: Is the consciously planned and systematic imparting or acquisition of knowledge.
- Informal Education: Is unplanned and unsystematic acquisition of knowledge that obtain outside the formal school system.
1.6: RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The researcher formulated the following research question stipulated as follows: –
- That missionary education might have cause lack of interest people have in the study of the history of Effium.
- Missionary Education might have helped suppress such bad culture of the peoples of Effium, such as murder of twins, cannibalism, village wars, witchcraft, slavery and as well servitude.
- It might have helped in causing the unpardonable neglect of Igbo language and culture of the people’s of Effium.
- It might have caused discrimination and disunity in Effium Community.
- That missionary education might have helped to re-shape our African marriage styles.
That missionary Education might have helped to cause lack of respect to the laws and customs of the people’s of Effium Communities.
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