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PROJECT TOPIC- TRADITIONAL CRAFTS AND TOURISM DEVELOPMENT AND PROMOTION IN ETIM EKPO LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF AKWA IBOM STATE, NIGERIA

PROJECT TOPIC- TRADITIONAL CRAFTS AND TOURISM DEVELOPMENT AND PROMOTION IN ETIM EKPO LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF AKWA IBOM STATE, NIGERIA

Abstract

Many Nigerian communities are richly blessed with their own indigenous crafts and industries, which could help them to grapple with their environment and progressively enhance their living. This paper seeks to identify and document some traditional crafts in Etim Ekpo, with a view to finding out how traditional crafts affects other aspects of the peoples’ culture. The paper further examines how best to harness these traditional crafts/industries
for tourism development in the area. Our interest on the study area arose due the fact that these traditional crafts/industries are fast being abandoned. It is our contention here that if these traditional crafts are not studied and documented, they will only be remembered in stories and myths as is obtainable in some African countries. Therefore, harnessing the potentials of Etim Ekpo traditional craft for tourism development will stimulate the growth of rural economy, serve as a vehicle for rural community development, create awareness of people’scultural heritage as well as generates employment.
Key words:Tourism, Development, Promotion, Crafts, Carving.

1. INTRODUCTION

The notion of authentic and viable cultural resources such as traditional crafts in Nigeria sound like a joke to most Nigerian communities. They are yet to understand the values of these cultural resources as well as the benefits of traditional crafts to the host community. Many Nigerian communities are richly blessed with their own indigenous crafts and industries, which could help them to grapple with their environment and progressively enhance their living. Among such notable industries/indigenous crafts and communities are the blacksmithing industry in Ogbomoso, Ebiraland, Ihima and Ekpedo communities; palm wine tapping industry in Umundu, Ukehe and Enugu-Ezike communities/towns; iron smelting/smithing in Opi, Orba, Owerre-Elu and lejja communities, among others. The basic truth is that, no organized society can thrive without indigenous crafts and industries.
Traditional craft will be seen here as a traditional branch of business, which embodies the knowledge acquired by a particular people or society in their struggle to adapt to the natural environment. It is pertinent to note that these traditional crafts are always an important aspect of culture, because they constitute viable cultural attractions.

PROJECT TOPIC- TRADITIONAL CRAFTS AND TOURISM DEVELOPMENT AND PROMOTION IN ETIM EKPO LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF AKWA IBOM STATE, NIGERIA

 

Okpoko and Okpoko (2002) noted that, cultural attractions are indispensable components of tourism development schemes, they provide foundation upon which tourist trade should be built. There is need therefore, to identify and document cultural heritage resources as a basis for sustainable tourism promotion. Our interests on the study area are due largely to the fact that the peoples’ way of life and their early history are fast being abandoned. It is our contention here that if these traditional crafts are not studied and documented, they will only be remembered in stories and myths as is obtainable in some African countries.

This paper seeks to identify and document some traditional crafts in Etim Ekpo, with a view to finding out how traditional crafts affect other aspects of the culture of the people. The paper further examines how best to harness these traditional crafts/industries for tourism promotion in the study area. To prosecute the study, the researchers used ethnographic research techniques relevant for the study. These include key informant interviewing, oral tradition, documentary sources among others. To effectively cover the entire study area, six communities: Ikot Udodia, Ikot Odogmo, Ntak Inyang, Nto Edet, Utu-Etim Ekpo and Nkwot were earmarked and studied. The selections were based on the communities’ key roles in aspects oftraditional technology, economic, political and socio-cultural activities in the local government council. 

1.1 The Study Area: Etim Ekpo

Etim Ekpo local government council occupying a definite geographical space, was formally known as Northern Annang during the divisional system of local administration, and was sub-summed under Abak Division. Etim Ekpo was one of the defunct local government areas created in 1961 during the civilian administration of Alhaji Shehu Shagari. Impressively, what is now known as “Etim Ekpo Local Government” was created out of Abak
Local Government Area in September 23rd, 1991 by the military regime of General Ibrahim B. Babangida (Essien 2010).
Etim Ekpo as a distinct geographical expression is located 50km from Uyo, the capital city of Akwa Ibom State. It is situated within 40 51/-50 03/ North of Equator and Longitude 70 44/ East of the Greenwich Meridian. Etim Ekpo is bounded on the North by Essien Udim Local Government Area, on the South by Ukanafun Local Government Area; on the East by Abak Local Government Area, and on the West by Ika Local Government Area. Etim Ekpo occupies 183.3 square kilometers with Utu Etim Ekpo town as its headquarters (Essien 2010). Statistically, Etim Ekpo has a population of over 105, 418 people of which males are 55,771 and females are 49,647 (National Population Census, 2006).
Topographically, the land is flat with no part of it rising beyond 180 meters above sea level. Even in view of the rather uniform aspect of the landscape, river valleys constitute the major relief features particularly around Utu Etim Ekpo; the nature of the landscape creates low lands (Talbot, 1969:24). There are rivers and streams in Etim Ekpo, which are found in various villages, these include Qua Ibo River known as Utu Etim Ekpo River, Obong Ikot Akpan River, Ntak Inyang Stream, Uruk Ata Ikot essemin stream and so on.

The rainy season in Etim Ekpo commences in late March and lasts till October while the hot dry season is usually in the month of February and March. The chilly harmattan weather is often associated with fog. The influence of harmattan is severe and it lasts only a few weeks in December and January (Udo 1970 and Esu 1992).
Etim Ekpo is one local government in Akwa Ibom State that is known to possess some socio-economic activities, which has remain distinct with them through time. They are enterprising not only in the field of land acquisition for agriculture, but also in traditional crafts; the people are resourceful and productive. The farmland is called Ekpene, while residential land is called Ndoon. Notable crops in Ekpene are yam (Dioscorea spp.), cassava (Manihot esculenta) and cocoyam (Colocasia esculent). Others are vegetables, fluted pumpkin (Telfairia occidentalis) pepper (Capsicum annuum), giant garden eggs (Solanum raddi), plantain (Musa sapietum), banana (Musa parasidisiaca), maize (Zea mays), among others.

1.2 Methodology of Research:

PROJECT TOPIC- TRADITIONAL CRAFTS AND TOURISM DEVELOPMENT AND PROMOTION IN ETIM EKPO LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF AKWA IBOM STATE, NIGERIA

 

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