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The research work; Traditional marriage system in Enyiogugu up to 21st century is centered on the system, customs and activities surrounding traditional marriage institution in Enyiogugu from the time immemorial up till this present time. The findings of this research were achieved on the available primary and secondary sources of information gathered. The research work traced and examined the origin, methods, changes and continuity of system, customs and activities involved in the traditional marriage institution in Enyiogugu. Though the work cannot in one hundred percent lay claim of objectivity, it however submitted without fear of bias that the traditional marriage as an institution has been upheld and jealously preserved as it in the time of purity










Title page




Table of content




  • Background of the study
  • Scope of the study
  • Aim and Objective
  • Conceptual framework/definition of terms
  • Literature review
  • Methodology

End notes




2.1 Origin

2.2 Migration and Settlement

2.3 Political structure of Enyiogugu

2.4 Socio-Economic system of Enyiogugu

End notes



3.1 The traditional marriage system in Enyiogugu

3.2 Customs and marital rites

3.3 Traditional marriage activities {IGBA NKWU} in Enyiogugu

3.4 Social stratification in traditional marriage system

End notes



4.1 Advent of Christianity in Enyiogugu

4.2 Impact of Christianity in traditional marriage in Enyiogugu

4.3 Continuity of traditional marriage system in Enyiogugu

End notes



5.1 Summary

5.2 Conclusion

End notes





Marriage is a union of two or more people that creates a family tie and carries legal, social and religious rights, and responsibilities.

Traditional marriage thus is also the union of a male and female which include indigenous customs and practices that pertains to a particular culture. Traditional marriage is very crucial to the Igbo culture. It is said or believed that it preceded the ‘white wedding’ which was introduced during the advent of Christianity. Traditional marriage system otherwise called IGBA NKWU has its tradition which is solely determined by different communities.

In the area of traditional marriage, every community in the Igbo society has a modus operandi of how traditional marriage is conducted and the different customs and traditions attached to it. The traditional marriage system in Enyiogugu, Aboh Mbaise is conditioned by some certain cultural activities or norms. Hence, it is the intent of this project work to examine how greatly valued the Igbo culture is especially in the area of traditional marriage system. This project work hence will bring to light the role of traditional marriage, its changes and its improvements and the necessary traditional rites according to the customs of Enyiogugu in Aboh Mbaise local government area of Imo state.



Mbaise is positioned in the central part of Imo state1. It lies south of latitude of 6”30”. The land of Mbaise is approximately 479.15 square kilometer. Mbaise shares a common boundary with Mbano to the north, Ikwuano Umuahia to the east, Ekiti to the north east, Isiala Ngwa to the south, Mbaitolu and Ikeduru to the west and Owerri to the south east2.

According to 1963 census, the federal government authenticated figure for Mbaise was 307,7123. The 1991 census figure was 394,3384. The topography of Mbaise area is comparatively flat5.

Enyiogugu in Mbaise, like most other parts of eastern Nigeria is characterized by uniformly high temperature and seasonal distribution of rainfall. Literary translation of Mbaise means five group of people and they are Agbaga in which Enyiogugu falls under, Ahiara, Ekwereagu, Ezinihette  and Oke Avuru6.

Traditional marriage beyond reasonable doubt is one of the most important events in Igbo culture especially in Enyiogugu. The institution of marriage has been diversified based on different customs and conditions. Hence, the institution of marriage has not only been changed but has been passed down from generations to generations which have led to its continuity in present time. Marriage in Igbo land is divided into three elements; payment of bride price, marriage ceremony, and marriage conjugation. Though other steps of marriage are not categorized, hence in Enyiogugu, it is after the payment of bride price and marriage ceremony that a woman is thus legally married.


The scope of this work will be centered on the activities surrounding the traditional marriage system from the time of purity to the advent of Christianity up to this 21st century. This search work will deal with the beginning and the changes of traditional marriage system in Enyiogugu, Aboh Mbaise and also how these changes impact marriage continuity and also in the culture of Enyiogugu. Hence the time scope shall cover the pre-colonial era up to 2000 when the economic misfortunes of the country visibly started having effects on the traditional marriage institution in Enyiogugu



The aim and objectives of this study is to

  1. Trace the origin of the people of Enyiogugu, Aboh Mbaise
  2. Narrate the traditional marriage in Enyiogugu
  3. Examine the nature and method of traditional marriage system in Enyiogugu, Aboh mbaise.
  4. Look at the various customs and traditions related to traditional marriage system in Enyiogugu.
  5. Examine the impacts of Christianity in the customs and traditions of traditional marriage in Enyiogugu.
  6. Analyze the prospects of continuity of traditional marriage system in Enyiogugu, Aboh Mbaise.



IGBA NKWU: Traditional marriage and its system.

BRIDE PRICE: These are the mandatory items that should be presented in order to marry a bride.

NSO NWANYI: A woman’s menstrual cycle; this is seen to be sacred.

EKE: The first market day in the Igbo culture.

ORJI: This is Kola nut and it is seen as a sign of hospitality in Enyiogugu

ADANNE: The first daughter of the household.

COWERIES: A medium of exchange.

OGOR: This means in-law and they are the parent and relatives of the bride or the groom.

OSU: Outcast and they are prohibited from mingling with the free born.

IGBA MGBA: Wrestling



This research work which based on traditional marriage system in Enyiogugu up to the 21st century centered on Enyiogugu in Aboh Mbaise L.G.A. Books centered on marriage institution were consulted although they were not centered on the place of study. Stephen Ayadike in his book “marriage in traditional African society ,was of the opinion that the payment of bride price is very important to the Igbo traditional marriage system. The bride price is paid by the bride groom{husband} to the family of the bride. It’s pertinent to note that the bride price might not necessarily be in monetary terms but could be item depending on the agreement of both families ranging from livestock, but the bride price is not intended to sell off the bride but a payment to show the dignity of woman. Most men pay substantial amount to marry their bride and handles them roughly and due to this reason, most parents decide to reduce the bride price into affordable things just to ensure that they don’t sell their daughter into slavery, so they could live happily in their husband’s house”7.

John Eke in his book “the foundation of Christian’’ was of the opinion that marriage which is God’s provision for total fulfillment and happiness in life is a necessary and desirable gift. Eke concluded that marriage in the traditional sense is for the need of companionship8. Leslie Parrot in his book “marriage mentor’’ said that marriage is the most serious long term relationship a couple will make in life time. And hence, requires time to be agreed by both parties to be carried out, as it is to be done by matured people not only in nature but in thinking as well9.

Eddie Floyd, in his book “the marriage and family institution{Basic sociology} chapter 14,  wrote that most traditional society customs requires that parents are the ones who decides who their son or daughter takes as a partner. In Africa, as well as many modern societies of the world, this parental factor has tended to survive the pressure of modernity. Family still play crucial role in the marriage of their children even when they withhold consult or give parental consent to their child’s choice of marital partner10.

Odoemelam A.C, Justin J. Igboanusi U in their book titled “Renewing the joy of marriage” was of the view that marriage comprises the blending of two involved lovers into one. They were also of the view that marriage is the most intermediate relationship. According to the writer, even though the mother’s and child relationship is very intermediate mutual relationship precedes over it in intimacy. A successful marriage according to them makes life full and complete but unhappy one is dwarfed and cupped11. Agnes Osita Njoku and Uwoma N in their book “family physiological approach’’ are of the view that there are two biblical reasons for the institution of marriage by God. First on the list is companionship which commands the couple to multiply and replenish the earth12. According to Edward, the idea of marriage and its concept exist in most, if not all societies and do not mean the same to all society. Marriage can be summed up as an approved social pattern where two or more person establishes a family.

Despite a seeming comprehensive analysis of marriage discussed by the literature reviewed, none discussed the marriage institution in Enyiogugu. Hence the needs for this research work.



The relevance of the study of traditional marriage system in Enyiogugu cannot be over emphasized in the cultural value system of the community of Enyiogugu. Hence, the imperative of this research work is to uphold the cultural value system in the area of traditional marriage which leads to the socio-cultural development of Enyiogugu which aids in the buildings, restoring or preserving her cultural system. This cultural system will hence try to eradicate the syndrome of westernization which has tried to affect certain cultural heritage.



 This research work titled “traditional marriage system in Enyiogugu up to 21st century” wouldn’t be effectively conducted without important sources of information which comprises of both primary and secondary source.

However, in other to ensure that the objective of this work is achieved, relevant sources of information are of paramount importance. Some of the consulted information that aided this research work includes; oral interview which consist of some elderly people in the community and some relatives, as well as materials that are published which include; textbooks and journals. The work should adopt qualitative method of data analysis.














  1. E Njoku, ‘The economic life of people in mbaise in contemporary Nigeria’,(New York; gold and maestro. 1978),36
  2. U.J Asiegbu, ‘Nigeria and Its British Invaders 1851-1920’(New York; Nok 1874).
  3. Brief History of Imo state June 1984.
  4. C Iwuji, ‘The history of Mbaise with current affairs’.(Owerri; Good Samaritan press, 2005).
  5. E Njoku, ‘Economic life of people in Mbaise in contemporary Nigeria’(Abia foundation press,2009).
  6. Ibid
  7. Stephen Anyadike, ‘Marriage in traditional African society’,(Owerri; Sunrise press,1954).
  8. John Eke, ‘The foundation of Christian family’,(Ibadan; winda press, 2000).
  9. Lesley Parrot, Married mentor e-book,(published in 2003).
  10. Eddie Floyd, Tradition to sociology,(Canada; press book,2004).
  11. Odoemena A.C, Renewing the joy of marriage, (Owerri; Duke digital enterprise, 2004).
  12. Agnes Njoku E tal, The family; a socio-psychological approach,(Owerri: Rescue publishers,2001).


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