Zainab Oyiza Momoh

  • University of MaiduguriScholarship Holder

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Interpretation, Analysis, and Sustainability of Ichekene Songs and Chants

The sustainability of any particular culture is vested on its historical account, its cultural practices and other aspects that help to conserve the culture. In the past, milestones on the development of a society were only transferred from one generation to another through their folktales, folk songs, chants, rituals, and other forms of cultural display. These performances are deployed to encourage the conservation of cultural norms by great men and women within the society. Ebira Tao, like any other community, uses songs and chants to develop and preserve their culture and tradition as the community continues to evolve through different generations. There are different cultural festivals whose songs and chants have played very significant roles in the evolution of Ebira Tao culture and tradition. These festivals include Ekwuechi, Eika, Ebe, Echeanne, Eche-ori and Ichekene, the last of which is the main focus of this research. Ichekene is a general name given to an annual oral cultural display, which ushers in the Ekwuechi festival. Ichekene is divided into Ikede and Onyimuruwe genres. Ikede is performed by men, while Onyimuruwe is strictly reserved for female performers. Onyimuruwe songs have various themes and subject matters, and hence divergent views on the impact of the performance in the society. Some years back, the Onyimuruwe genre of Ichekene songs and chants witnessed a decline because of challenges faced by some of its practitioners. Finally, an assessment of the forms of the songs will highlight possible areas that can help reactivate and sustain the ages-long tradition in the society.

The researcher seeks to carry out the study by providing answers to the following research questions:
What is the nature of Ichekene-onyimuruwe songs and chants?
What are the causes of the decline in women’s participation?
What are the perceptions of Onyimuruwe songs and chants in the community? How can the Onyimuruwe genre of Ichekene songs and chants be sustained? This research will adopt a qualitative method approach and data will be collected through primary and secondary sources. Primary data will be collected through in-depth interviews (IDI), key informant interviews (KII), focus group discussions and interviewer/self-administered questionnaires. Data regarding the nature of Ichekene-Onyimuruwe songs and chants will be collected through oral narrations (KII), while those on the declining participation of women would be collected through in-depth interviews (IDI) using a recording device. Additionally, data on the perception of audience and sustainability of Ichekene-Onyimuruwe will be assessed through self-administered questionnaire with a trained research assistant. The secondary sources of data collection will be assessed through textbooks, magazines, periodicals and other text related materials on Ebira Tao oral performances.

Findings from this study will be useful to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The National Bureau of Statistic (NBS) of Nigeria has shown that tourism amounts to 20 percent of the nation’s employment and accounts for up to 34 percent GDP. Therefore, the sustainability of Ichekene-Onyimuruwe oral performance will boost the local economy (IGR) and create employment opportunities, which is in conformity with the eighth (8) SDG-goal, that is, to promote “decent work and economic growth.”

Zainab Oyiza Momoh, was born on 12th November 1983 into the family of Mal. Yusuf Asuku Momoh. She began her primary education in Ilorin and proceeded to secondary school where she obtained her Senior Secondary School Certificate in the year 2000. Her love for teaching and learning prompted her to pursue a career in education. She studied English/Islamic studies in F.C.T. College of Education where she obtained a Nigerian Certificate in Education (NCE) in 2005. She proceeded to the University of Maiduguri where she obtained a B.A. in English language. Her final year thesis focused on the theme of inequality and vulnerability of women and children in society. She hopes to deploy literature as a tool to address these concerns. She is currently a graduate student in the department of English and Literary Studies and is majoring in the field of African literature. She has contributed to a paper currently undergoing peer review. A member of the Teachers Council of Nigeria, and has over ten years of experience teaching both primary and secondary school. She currently holds a scholarship with the SDG graduate school and is doing a research in the field of Oral Literature.
Zainab’s hobbies are writing short stories and engaging in meaningful discussions with family and friends. She currently lives in Maiduguri and is happily married.