1.1 Background of Study
Ekwe is a community in Isu Local Government Area, Imo State, Nigeria.
In Igboland, Ekwe people work mostly as craftsmen, farmers and traders. The most important crop is the yam. Other staple crops include cassava, three leaf yam and cocoyam. The Igbos are also highly urbanized, with some of the largest metropolitan areas, cities and towns in Igboland being Onitsha, Enugu, Aba, Owerri, Orlu, Okigwe, Asaba, Awka, Nsukka, Nnewi, Umuahia, Abakaliki, Afikpo, Agbor and Arochukwu.
Ekwe people have similarities and continuities from prehistory to contemporary time. Before British colonial rule in the 20th century, the Igbo were a politically fragmented group, with a number of centralized chiefdoms such as Nri, Arochukwu, Agbor and Onitsha. In the wake of decolonisation, the Igbo developed a strong sense of ethnic identity which Ekwe was one of the communities.1
After the colonizing from Ekweland, the community is mostly interested in human relationships and cooperation. They have the zeal of coming together and doing things as one body. The colonial era did more harm than good. The old nature of Ekwe Ancient Kingdom some years ago did not allow them to know what to do. It has been a burden of knowing what they can do to come together after the British exit. It is also a tough task on how to reason together and their self-questioning led to these questions.
1. How can they make laws that will be guiding the community?
2. How can they stop ills and evil deeds that are becoming too many?
4. What is their work?
It was the inquisitive minds of many illustrious sons and daughters of Ekwe that made them consider togetherness which led to what they know today as the Ekwe Town Union.
Town unionism was very important during the post-colonial period in Ekwe because it solved the problem of leadership which the colonizer were not interested in Nigerians, but they were interested in exploiting natural resources.
Community Development is not left out.
However, a thorough research into the Ekwe ancient Kingdom starting from Ekwe in time and space through the origin till the achievements of the town union will show the level of development Ekwe had attained. There was very rapid development counting from the independence period which was from 1960 to 2000 compared to the colonial era. Ekwe has not been fully developed; therefore, one cannot say it is developed. Rather it has passed the formal stage of its old and is pursuing modern civilization in a great way. Based on this fact, it is concluded that Ekwe is developing.
The kind of development that helped Ekwe to attain the height it has today started immediately after her freedom from colonial rule. There were in two ways:
Infra-Human Development: Ekwe first started its development with human beings believing that when produced, capable beings will help in contributing to the infrastructural development.
Infrastructural Development: Economic development during that period improved in no small measure. The Colonial era was a fraud because the Europeans dominated the economic sector. They chose to exploit her natural resources for their own selfish gains and also refused to use them to develop Ekweland. It is after their exit that Ekwe citizens started enjoying their resources and many markets were established in Ekwe in order to boost economic activities.