THE NIGERIAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY
Volume 17, No. 2, November 2019
Complicating Social Order in the Rural Areas of Akwa Ibom State Nigeria
Moses I. Peters, Aniekan E. Bassey
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Uyo, Uyo, Nigeria
In a typical traditional society in Nigeria laws, rules, norms, and taboos were used by community elders to enforce social order and curtail practices, behaviours, values and beliefs that were counter to the stability of the social structure. However, the contemporary rural communities have witnessed a shift within the social structures and institutions, in behaviours, cultural aspects which affect social relations, social interaction and the maintenance of the status quo by the traditional rulers. This qualitative study examined the roles of traditional rulers in complicating social order in Ikot Annang and Ikot Abasi communities in Akwa Ibom State, South-South Nigeria. In-depth interviews and participant observation were used to collect data on the subject under study. Ethnomethodology by Garfinkel was adopted as theoretical guide for the study. Findings of the study show that betrayal of community interest, mismanagement of community generated revenue, neglect of traditions, abuses of traditional power by some community elders, and youth groups are contributing to upheaval in some rural communities in Akwa Ibom State. Researchers concluded that the decisions by some of the rural community elders and youth groups to adopt western customs over their traditional customs have distorted the state of stability and consensus that existed in the traditional rural areas, thereby bringing about a shift that disrupts social order. Among other, the researchers recommended the need for culture check and rite of passage for youth groups in line with customs and traditions.
Keywords: Social order, rural area, community elders, youth groups and customs