impact of osu caste system in nation building.
impact of osu caste system in nation building is a research work that focused on the nature of osu system and its impact on the nation with social stratification. It is also aimed towards exposing its implications and inhuman nature on the lives of people and reasons for people to do away with its practices in Igbo land.
The introductory part exposes the base backgrounds information of the concept and of the topic under study.
The history of Igbo society has been that of a race embedded in both cultural and religious traditions. A society where democracy and self determination has been the hallmark where freedom, equality and human dignity are much cherished.
Tropically it is the same society that has been witnessed class and social stratifications unique in human history as a result of practices of “Osu Caste System”. The origin of Osu institution is said to date back to the 13th century a per cod that witnessed charges in the traditional Igbo way of life. This period brought into existence and emergence of three distinctive social classes, the Nwa-diala (freedom) Ohu (domestic slave) and Osu (cult slave or outcaset) respectively. Both Ohu (domestic slave) and Osu (outcaste) are regarded as those in bondage and as a result were isolated, restricted and separated from the freedom (Nwa diala).
Though Osu (domestic slave) like Osu sort of freeboria its owners and conclude aspire for freedom, but Osu has no room for self aspiration, he is in perpetual services to the religious course being a person dedicated to a communal duty, through a religious ritual. Though the origin of the osu caste system is still a mystery, many reasons have been advianeed on how it came about, some were of the opinion that it started when human beings became objects of proportion to a duty for the purpose of averting misfortunes, disaster and to atone for among doings in Igbo communities.
As a result slaves were acquired from the slave markets or captured for the purpose of sacrificing” or dedicating them to the communal duty. In some instances oracles could demand for human sacrifice in such case, the family or clan would go to the slave markets and acquire slaves for the sacrifices. Consequently those scarified or dedicated automatically becomes or regarded as Osu (a thing owned by communal duty) his children became and regarded as Umuosu (descendants of Osu) being inherited stigma.
It’s relationship with other member of the community become a taboo, his socio-economic and political rights were denied him and as a result he became an outlaw in his community. This has brought a lot of upheavals in the society of Igbo communities, it has breed hatred, disillusions and has remanded social and economics development of Igbo communities and draw back to the nation buildings. This is a result of designating part of the community as a abominable class, sub-human in human community.
Irrespective of various legislations passed by the government, it stop this social anomaly nor much have been achieved in re-integrating them into the social life of Igbo communities. As such it has defiled all various and actions constituted to end its encourage.
1.1 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEMS ON IMPACT OF OSU CASTE SYSTEM IN NATION BUILDING
In Amandugba community various social, political and economical inequalities exists, as a result of the practice of osu caste system. These inequalities stem from the has that certain individuals are demed their rights and privileges and discriminated against, as a result of being regarded as descenblants of Osu that is people scarified and owned by the communality. In respect of this position, they became regarded as abomination, interaction between them and members of the community was seen as imbued with grave consequences.
They were castrated and rendered socially and politically impotent. This brought nothing other than disumly and dose effectives in the community as a result of classifying part of the community as undesirable unsurtables for human companionship, its offspring inherit this infamous stigma as a result their social, political and economic rights were denied them.
Has inhuman practices being tolerated in the Igbo communities as a result of the existence of the Osu caste system encumbers the achievement of the unity of this nation?
How exactly can marriage between osu and diala be possible in the Igbo communities for the enhancements of nation building?
1.2 RESEARCH AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF IMPACT OF OSU CASTE SYSTEM IN NATION BUILDING
A lot have been said in respect to the Osu concept particularly in relation to the problems associated with its practice to the nation buildings. This is because unlike other members of the community, the Osu have been isolated in the scheme of things on the community and Igbo land as a whole. This social stratification have generated a lot of questions with regards to its moral justification in a society that claims egalitarianism. As such it is the aim of the work is to examine the problems associated with “Osu Caste System” and its implications in Amandugba Community, Igbo society in general and to the nations building, with the purpose of proffering solutions on ways to bring the practices to an end, with these the researcher have probed into the following:
How exactly has Osu Caste System causes discrimination on the society especially in the Igbo Land?
To investigate if Osu caste system have been a problem to the nation building?
To find out crow to put the practice to end and make all men to be same?
1.3 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY ON IMPACT OF OSU CASTE SYSTEM IN NATION BUILDING.
This research work will help in empirically exposing the problems associated with the “Osu Caste system and its problem and prospects to the nation building.
Further knowledge obtained in this research will help in providing a theoretical premises upon which future researchers in the area could be based.
In essence this work will go a long way to generate curiosity that will inturn lead to the accumulation of sufficient knowledge on the topic of comparative of the Amandugba Autonomous community.
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES ON IMPACT OF OSU CASTE SYSTEM IN NATION BUILDING.
1) The poor and ill treatments to the Osu Caste in the society causes a draw back in the nation’s building.
2) The abolition of Osu Caste System in the society depends on the efficiency and effectiveness of the society.
1.4 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY ON IMPACT OF OSU CASTE SYSTEM IN NATION BUILDING
On the process of carrying out this research the researcher used two methods as means of gathering his information. The researcher used filed work and literature materials. In the filed work the researcher interviewed, traditional rulers, claries, individuals (both old and young) literates and illiterates, osu and diala for the purpose of gathering his informations. In the literature materials from various authors on the issue were consulted for the purpose of obtaining that relates to the topic under study.
1.5.1 RESEARCH DESIGN ON IMPACT OF OSU CASTE SYSTEM IN NATION BUILDING.
While exploring information and carefully selecting the problems of the study. The researcher must also choose a despite research design approximately for the study. This sit he stage of the study where the researcher asestcrsought to plan the entire research in order to ensure a thorough testing of hypotheses through the use of questionnaires and other means in this research. Sample method and observation method were chosen, having chosen sample survey and observation method. The researcher therefore plans establishing the modalities for the chosen design. This is the stage where data collected, is subjected to testing in order to ascertain its validity and reliability.
This is method design was chosen so as to enable the researcher complete this work.
1.5.2 METHOD OF DATA COLLECTION ON IMPACT OF OSU CASTE SYSTEM IN NATION BUILDING.
The method used in data collection for this work in order to achieve desired results includes:
The secondary sources of data which includes ways whereby already made informations is obtained by the researcher. In this study the main secondary sources are the use of textbooks, journals, newspapers, magazines that are related to the research topic.
The primary sources of data are:
i) Questionnaires: These are structured questions designed in such a way that the respondents can easily fill them. They were drawn up from all categories of individual in the community and the aim as to help the researcher get to the root of the topic on question.
ii) Personal interview: This study also made use of personal interview to support questionnaires especially where the researcher sought for additional clarification on important issues. Personal visit where made to Amandugba community where some individuals was interviewed, they were able to give a detailed pictures as regards to the Osu caste system to the nation building.
1.5.3 POPULATION OF THE STUDY ON IMPACT OF OSU CASTE SYSTEM IN NATION BUILDING.
The research population comprises of the male and female individuals by the Amandugba Autonomous Community in Isu local government council chosen whom the researcher believes can contribute effectively to the researcher topic.
1.5.4 SAMPLING SIZE ON IMPACT OF OSU CASTE SYSTEM IN NATION BUILDING.
A sampling size of two hundred and fifty (250) was choosen from Amandugb autonomous community, it comprises of the chairman of the community, traditional rulers, claries, individuals, Osu and diala from all works of life whom the researcher believes known the extent of Osu caste system in Amadugba Autonomous Community, in Isu Local government of Imo State.
1.5.5 METHOD OF DATA ANALYSIS ON IMPACT OF OSU CASTE SYSTEM IN NATION BUILDING.
So as to present an objective analysis of relevant data for this study, the researcher used both qualitative and quantitative method of data analysis to analyses his data collected.
1.6 SCOPES AND LIMITATIONS OF IMPACT OF OSU CASTE SYSTEM IN NATION BUILDING.
The work under study is aimed at evaluating the historical origin of Osu caste system on Igbo land and its problem san prospects in the nation’s building but as it relate to Amandugba Autonomous Community in Isu local government council. As a result the study limits itself to Amandugba Autonomous Community, in terms of origin and implications in the socio-economic and political life of the community. This has become necessary in relation to primary positions “Osu Caste System” has acquired in the social life of the community and Igbo societies in general.
LIMITATIONS OF IMPACT OF OSU CASTE SYSTEM IN NATION BUILDING.
In the course of carrying this research a lot of hindrances and handicaps were encountered by the researcher. These problems includes materials and financial problems. For instance must people contacted during the course of interview declined to comment on the issues, some who were able to comment on the issue assumed anonymous status. Most of people regards it as a risky topic and sensitive to comment on, in the issue that nobody knows who is Osu, they only give a theoretical statement by asking “who is Osu? Most of them who opened up concerned themselves with condemnation of Igbo society.
In view of these handicaps, it became difficult to extract enough information about the nature of this social ostracism called “Osu Caste System”, Apart from this inbuman handicaps, financial problems were also encountered. Being a researching student with lineted resources the researcher was to cover all areas mapped out for the study. Inspective of these handicaps the researcher was able to achieve a lot in terms of its implications, nature and the modern outlook of Osu caste system in the nation building, Igbo societies and Amandugba on particular.
1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS OF IMPACT OF OSU CASTE SYSTEM IN NATION BUILDING.
Osu Caste (outcaste): Some one who is dedicated to the gods and as a result he is owned by the communal duty.
Freeborn (Diala): Some one of noble broth, who is endowed with all rights both social, political and economic privileges deserving in the community.
2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW
It is the aim of this chapter to examine various views by individuals, scholars, researchers both within and outside Nigeria on the “Osu Caste System” what it entails and how people see it in Igbo communities particularly, its effects on the socio – political life of the people. As a result, various comments have been expressed on this stratification on Igbo communities. The works is therefore aimed at bringing out his nature and implications in the social, political and economic sphere of Igbo traditional societies. This will include comments by the researcher on these views expressed.
In the word of Nzimino (1972:23) in explaining the class structure of Igbo society.
“Basic social classes in Igbo land is divided into the following, freeborn, Diala people of royal decent slaves, “Osu or “Ohu” members of tithed societies and the political ehtes.
However the first three social classes are sand to be described statutes. This explains class stratification in Igbo societies but the researcher finds this description of slave as made up of Osu and Ohu respectively as quite insufficient class and they the qute district from the other in relation to interactions. The Ohu (domestic slave) is not restricted or isolated form the freedom (Diala). But Osu is one completely isolated andexcommunicated from the association of the freeborn (diala).
In differentiae these two classes Basden (1982:248) Prints the moral Osu to mean a slave but quite district from an ordinary slave “Ohu” or “Osu”, who is fact is the properly of gods. And once devoted to a regaining freedom and he restricts his movements to the present of the strine to which he was attached”.
This definition shows the distinctiveness of Osu in Igbo societies, which he argues that Osu has his movement restricted as a result, cannot inter-mingle with other members of the societies.
But the researcher doubts his idea or thoughts of referring Osu as a cult slave or slave ordinary who is different from Ohu (domestic slave) which tends to stigmatism the caste the more. It will be much more convenient to refer to Osu as a shrine assistant in relatives to his religious positions in Igbo societies, rather than employing derogatory description of Osu as a cult slave, which will be like describing the case as Ogbonye (change line) in Igbo tradition as a mere psychometric case, which do not conform to its meaning.
Isichie (1976:47), its views defined Osu Caste as:
“Cult slave, that is in service to gods which contailed many anodes and difficult conditions so the practice develop to delegating the services to a slave, hence forth the slave and his descendants belonged to the gods”.
Isochie, here first to expose the origin of Osu caste system and what it entails, which she argued or hereditary. Though attempt it made to show its origin, the definition is also found to be unsatisfactory with regards to its meaning and implications. A a result the definition falls in line with trhe earlier views of Basden calling Osu a cult slave.
Onwejeogwu M.A. defined Osu to mean:
“A slave in the ritual slave system who is an unfortunate human being held in captivity. It was therefore abomination to kill or bleed a slave”
This ascertion shows that Osu Caste System is a product of mutual slave system in Igbo community which renders its victims immolated and at the same time immuned from harm. The researcher finds this new quite perplexing and contradictory in the sense that, it shows Osu as one whose life is insignificance in Igbo societies and at the same time a taboo to kill or harm one. He also failed to differentiate between the slave trade and ritual slave system.
This makes one doubt whether the two are quite distinct from each other, since both ohu (domestic slave) and osu are held in captivity therefore this definition is quite vague with regard to the slave system.
In the views of Wren, R, (1980:14) Osu is “a person dedicated to a god. Taboo forever and his children after him. He could not intermarry with the freeborn nor attend their assembly nor shelter under their roof. He could take note tltles in the clan and when he dies his fellow osu bury him in the evil forest.
This definition portrays osu as one who is completely ostracized from as a result has no form of interaction without members of the society. This also shows the osu as dedicated members of the society. But this definition also failed incorporate all facts of “Osu Caste”, that is both those who took refuge on the shrines or stranger whom some Igbo societies disgriate as Osu Arinze F.A. stated that Osu:
“ Is symbolically, immolated and then left to live on as a child or slave to the Aluri, that is they were mystery like the abhorrence or towns” .
This shows how Osu is viewed in Igbo societies that is one who is ignorant as well unaware of his rights in the society. To the researcher, this is n excusable with regard to treatment meted out to the Osu.
Ogbalu E.C (1979:78) highly acknowledged Igbo scholar
“Osu bu onye a gooro arusi a gbara na okwu agwa”
This means that osu is one dedicated to a deity or a cult slave. Here the definition fails to explain fully who the osu are.
Achebe C. (1963:72) in our own opinion takes osu to mean.
“A thing given to the idols and thereafter, he becomes outcaste and his children, children forever”
This shows the interest and implications nature of the osu stigma to the unborn. The problem with the above definition is that, it failed to explain the basic concept as what is meant by a “thing” for “ a thing” could not necessarily mean a human person. In using the word “idol” he did not give as insight into the religious concept of which the world is applied because idols in some cases convey a religious symbol which can not own a slave or osu).
Illogu, (1979:78) in his own views asserts that “Osu is equated with those who died of bad disease, of people who hanged in their own land they were abomination, people find it difficult to eat with them intact, we isolate them from social life of the community”
This shows osu as an ablored member of Igbo societies, one who is not to be associated with. As a result of the stigma attached to the person Illogu went further to clarify his views in stating that:
“It is against the tradition for the man who is not an osu to marry an “osu” and or “diala” girl to marry to an “osu” man.
This shows the nature of Igbo stratification and restrictive as a result of the practice of osu caste system.
Achebe C. bemoaning these attitudes and its attendant in human effects of individuals opined that;
“It is scandalous that in the middle the twentieth century a man could be bared from marrying a girl simply because her great-great grand father has been dedicated to serve a good unbehivable”
This is as a result of social barrier impose on individuals as a result of the obnoxious system of “Osu Caste”, Igwebuike R.O. (1982:38) irrelative to the discriminative and in human treatment that accompanies the Osu Caste practices stated.
“In Igbo societies in which the Osu co-exists with other mortals, they alone are spotted out as semi-human out cast, social portray not fit for companionship and association of decent and respectable men and women”
This shows osu as a victimized, segregated and discriminated person. As a result of the existence of an invented obnoxious religious convents that has separated individuals in Igbo societies. This has put a question mark on the much aimed egalitarian posture of Igbo society. The researcher observed that this social malady is a hardwork of traditional conservations, who use it to suppress and maintain their political dominions in their societies. 1956 Osu abolition bill, defines “Osu caste system to mean;
“Any social way of living which implies that any person who is deemed to be an “Osu”, “ohu”, is subject to certain prescribed social disability and stigma. An “Osu” may be any person who was scarified to s shrine or regarded as social pontrial with no social rights which non – issues are bound to respect.
The above definition is acceptable and clear with regard to Osu personality who is “Sacrificed” person to a duty as a result has no social rights in the society.
Onubogu J. (1988:20) states that:
“Osu is a person completely dedicated to an idol and who by implications deprived of fundamental human rights, social political and religious rights of the people”
This definition shows Osu as one whose right is deemed him in the society. The researcher finds this definition insufficient because it did not demarcate between an “idol” and a duty which conventionally could imply different religious connotations in Igbo traditional religious setting.
Ogu M.R. (1990:4) defines osu to mean;
“A victim slave or gentile the opposite of diala or year that is a living human being scarified to some duty or in performance of a religious rite. An Osu is one who is offered to duty idol”
Here we are made to understand that Osu caste system has its root in religious tradition of offering human person as scarifies which is occultist in nature. The problem with the above definition is it’s failure to distinguish between recognition and status quo of “Ohu” and “Osu” in the socio- political set up of Igbo community.
“The researcher sees these views as fauible and incompletes for it did not distinguish the attitudes shown towards these two classes of people for in the socio-political set up of Igbo communities, Ohu (domestic slaves) is partially, freed because, social interactions exists between them and the diala (freeborn), but osu is one whose interactions with the diala is totally outward. As a result the definitions only hides its ugly and inhuman mature.
Uzochukwu L. (1987:13) commenting on this social stratification and class stagnation is Igbo society, he opined that;
“It is no longer news that in Igbo land today certain socio-cultural political and economic disabilities or inequalities still exists and practiced with rigorous in respect to the Osu, while class and sectional privileges are enthroned for the benefit of the so called non Osu, diala”
This is only stating the obvious as with regards to the practice of Osu caste system and its implications in Igbo Socities.
Mbey M. (1988:13) expressing his views in the situation the Osu finds himself stated that;
“Nigerian Osu are paralled to institutionalized apatheod regime in South Africa”
This shows the level of segregation that exists in Igbo societies with regards to osu practices.
Amafor, P. (1988:13), speaks of Osu caste system as;
“Involving isolation demgration, dehumanization, victimizations and above all denial of ones fundamental human rights”
From these views, it will be seen that “Osu system involves attitudes of abhorrence and above all denial of ones fundamental human rights. This dehumanizing practices have even defied moderate and moral injunctions of equality of all human beings.
Alufun, C. (1988:4) trying to express the origin of Osu caste system” states that;
“If offence of serious nature is committed the oracle may announce that the gods be placated with the dedication of some members of the community… so people so dedicated live never to the shrines. Thus became separated from the rest of the community and therefore should have nothing to do with members of the community”
The assertion shows that the “Osu caste system” is a man made religious convention. These view is quite doubltfull through these are those who were dedicated to the communal duty. If it still doubtful whether those dedicated to the duty one. Members of community or are they required purposely for such dedication. As the case in most Igbo communities, where dedication of the freeborn (diala) is regarded as an abormination.
Njoku F. (1988:2) in his words Sard that;
“The practice of Osu system or the most religious. That in the olden days some of brothers and sisters were dedicated to idol by our ancestors and that other members of the society should not marry from or give their children for marriage to them”
This further exposes what Osu caste system, has brought to Igbo social life and to the nation building where frateinal love and unity is cherished but now have been impeded, by this social ostracism consequently ushering in disintegration and degeneration. As a result hampering and political coherence in the Nation.
Korie, (1988.5) sees Osu as;
“A sacrifice part for the ranosome of many from the wrath of the gods:
From this assertion, it could be observed that osu is not instructed for the purpose of creating an abominable class as seen in its modern conception, but rather they were meant to be of higher class because of the religious and spiritual role they play in Igbo society. Okere C, disregards with the view of Korie, when he argued that;
“Osu is a sacrifice given to the gods as rams are scarified to god not for the redemption of others. This human type of sacrificial lamp is not killed however but dedicated to the gods of the land”
This definition is incomplete because the writer failed to say, why, those human sacrifices are made of not to avert the wrath of the gods. This is evidence of traditional parochialism evidenced in Igbo societies, with regards to the tenths of “Osu caste system”. As such the definition is more of an apologetic to the obvious inhuman practices.
Ikoku, S.G. in his opinion with regards to the continued existence of osu practices said;
“Osu caset system is an abomination against man to man. This is a disgraces to nations that people still talk of osu at this stage of their development”
In relation to the implications of osu caste system in Igbo communities.
Omeruah, E. (1989:5), opined that;
“The problem created by osu caste system had not only penalized the nation building but had made nonsense of development efforts for the country”
These reviews the nature and implications of the practice of osu caste system in the society economic lives of every individual. The result of this in under development and disharmony among individuals thereby emgerering hatred and apathy in the society. Ekwenchi E.E. (1988:9) be moving this situation said;
“Women and children been be dabbed by this sinister appellation of osu, who were ignorant or why the became osu”
This shows the agony “Osu caste system” have caused to both the old and the innocent as a result of interacting the osu stigma as a result subjected to a miserable life of slavery in their own free society.
The problem with this assertion is that the written did not make us understand what makes the system to acquire such sinister disposition. As such this assertion is only speculative to end the practice by arguing that;
“The church cannot abrogate osu caste system because it was not a church product rather traditional methods should be used through religious sacrificial ritual cleaning performance”
A comment like this coming from a highly placed clergy is very landable as regards means of ending osu caste system and its attendant problem. But the assertion, that it could only be removed through traditional method is an excuse of exonerating the church from its moral obligation, which in some instance, its practices is still condemned in the churches if the church detaches itself from this social crusade, then abohtion of “Osu caste system” will continue to be a mrage because those individuals that from the amber of this social distinction are part and parcel of the church.
2.1 THEORETICAL REFERENCE OR FRAMEWORKS
FUNCTIONALIST THEORY (developed by Emile Kurkherim (1938-1917) and refined by Talcot parsons (1909-1979).
Functionalist analysis theory has a long history in social science in general. Functionalism view the society as a system that has a set of inert connected points which together form a whole. The key point of the functionalist perspective man be summarized by a comparison from biological point of view which holds that of a biologist, wants to known how the human body functions he should put the whole organs that forms the human body into consideration for him to come up with something reasonable about the analysis reform.
From the functionalist system point of view the focuse is on the interaction and relevance of system (Osu Caste) and sub system and the longer system.
The osu caste is studied as a system which owes itself a functional obhyation of maintaining its existence by taking part in active relationship with the freeborn instead of isolating themselves also from the freeborn in order to sustain itself and performance statutory functions. From this analysis persons behaves that the ultimate of every given type of individual is to ensure the development of the nation and its building.
SYSTEM THEORY BY DAVID EASTON
This theory is based on certain assumptions, for instance, that like the biological organic system, there is a social system which is made up of units and sub systems that are related. These units or systems functions as role players in corporation with one another to maintain a balance in the system on the attainment of specific goals, that a dysfunctions in one unit of the system upsets the general system. The relevance of this theory to the study based using Amandugba Autonomous community as the social system or call it environment, then there are various people working in the community, both rulers and ruled, they represent the sub system. We concern ourselves with relationship as the community as imput and communications among others sis output, various variables that interplay to produce output shall be examined.
The variables includes the needs of communication among the out caste and the freeborn (input or support) conversion process output feed back.
The conversion is the complex of the activities and structural settings of various functionaries in Amandugba Autonomous community.
The output is the outcome of the result in terms of relationship and communications and proper eradication of discrimination and unreconellations in the brotherliness of both outcaste and freeborn. The feedback will include reactions of the people of Amandguba Autonomous community of these conditions and service rendered in support or in opposition. The implication s that in order to achieve the of the general system or motive for the food of the nation, every structure in the community both osu and diala should work together for the efficient effective society to emerge for the nation building.
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