Whenever the great “Hallelujah Chorus”, composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel (1685-1759); “The Heavens are Telling”, composed by the Father of Symphony, Franz Joseph Haydns (1732-1809); “Allegro”, composed in March, 1762 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) when he was just six years old; the most famous “Lullaby”, written in the 1800’s by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897); “Minuet” written by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750); Salut d’amour (Love’s Greeting), composed by Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934) and Edward MacDowell’s (1861-1908) “From an Indian Lodge”, among others are rendered, one would always wish to know where these talented heavy weight composers held from and why their compositions (though sometimes can be played without accompaniments) have survived over time. Interestingly, none of these persons were Akwa Ibomites, Nigerians or if you ask me, “Annangians”.
Have we ever wondered the indispensable role of music as a tool for unity in the society? Who are the Annangs? What distinguishes Annang music from all others? Does Annang culture need music in order for it to be truly united? How may Annang Unity Concert help to heal the wounds of our land? These, among others, are the thrust of this article.
ANNANG SOCIETY: a brief historical survey
Of the three ethnic groups in Akwa Ibom, namely Annang, Ibibio, and Oron, Annang which is at present situated in the North-Western territory of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, is the second in terms of size and population. According to Ephraim Stephen Akan Essien ,PhD, “Annang has thirty-nine(39) clans, eighty-six wards(86) and seven hundred and fifty villages(750)”(See Essien,2011:35). In an article titled “Agwo Annang Ade Agwo Uko: a case for identity and Esteem”, in AWOROM ANNANG: African Journal of Culture, Philosophy and Society, Vol. 1, Num. 1, Sept. 2011, a publication of the Department of Classics and Philosophy, University of Cape Coast, Ghana, I took time to outline, articulate and establish the true identity of an Annang person and the philosophy behind his “Ukoness”. Since this paper is essentially on Annang Unity Concert, I shall not labour readers anymore on the history of Annangland. However, available research reveals that Annang nation is one of the Bantu Tribes of East Africa. While conducting a Comprehensive Survey of Bantu and Semi-Bantu language in 1922, H. H. Johnson grouped the Annang among the Semi-Bantu speakers whose evolution is treaceable to the region of the Congo-Nile water-parting. This means the Annang people have a tradition of migration. As their number increased, they migrated in batches into the Western side of Cross River and the Eastern part of Niger Delta.
That Abak, Essien Udim, Etim Ekpo, Ika, Ikot Ekpene, Obot Akara, Oruk Anam and Ukanafun are at present the eight(8) local government areas that make up Annang land is a fact. That these local govenment areas share a special bond which have strengthened them to live in unity is equally evidently true. Hence, in a way, one could say that Ebebit Afaha Obong in Abak which is the headquarter (Afe Annang) of Annang where the Annang Supreme deity is traditionally positioned, is a place where the Annang are usually brought together for a common purspose. Afe Annang at different intervals has been headed by the following Annang sons(Itai Afe Annang):
-Atuekong Christopher Udomeshiet (Itai Afe Annang I);
-Sir Ephraim Essien(Itai Afe Annang II);
-Obong Professor Edidiong Ekpoudom(Itai Afe Annang III) all of blessed memory and at present
-Akuku Pius Effiong Eside(Itai Afe Annang IV).
MUSIC (CONCERT): panakeia for the Restoration of UNITY in Annangland
Whether we term it “unitas”(Latin); “unite`(French); “einheit(German); “unita”(Italian); “mboho” (Annang/Ibibio); “enhed (Danish) or “unidade (Portuguese), what we mean is UNITY. “Unity” designates “oneness”, “togetherness”, “agreement”, “harmony” and “concord”. Annangland, it must hurriedly be stated, is a united nation, a home for all. Essien put this point well when he wrote thus: “Tis Annang world; a wonderous world; sweet homes of courageous people; sweet homes of daring people; sweet homes of darling people; sweet homes of darling people; sweet homes and land of hospitable, UNITED PEOPLE”. Tis Annang world: Annangus Mundus! (Essien, Summa Philosophica, 361).
Scripturally, Paul’s theological treatises on UNITY, are found in his Letters to the Church at Ephesus and to the Philippians. He writes: “I urge you…show love by being tolerant with one another. Do your best to preserve UNITY which the Spirit gives by means of the peace that binds you togeher”(Eph. 4:1-3); “make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit”(Phil. 2:2). Jesus had earlier prayed, urging his disciples to unite. “…I pray that they may all be ONE”(John 17:21). From the forgoing, it is glaringly brought to light that edidiana kiet(togetherness) through ikwo(songs) thus serves as a panacea for the restoration of unity in the church and society.
On Wednesday, December, 9th, 2015, at the Independence Hall, Abak, by 4pm, Eight(8) Church Choirs justifiably selected to represent the eight local government areas that make up Annang nation shall be in concert for the maiden edition of the ANNANG UNITY CHOIR/ORCHESTRA. The event which has as its theme NTO ANNANG, EDI JAK ITORO ABASI K’IDO UKAN`AJID (Annang People arise, let’s praise God in our own style) and motto: UJO IKWO KED K’IMA (One Voice in Love), shall feature the following groups:
-Marvels of the Lord Choir, Obot Akara
-The Kings Herald Chorale, Abak
-The Garmis Chorale, Essien Udim
-The Promise Land Chorale, Ikot Ekpene
-The Redemption Voices, Essien Udim
-Abak Chorale Voices, Abak
-the Dynamic Minds Accapella, Essien Udim
-Accepella Africanna, Essien Udim
-Raffia Heritage Band and
-De Great Orchestra.
Recognising that Christmas is one of the best seasons which Annang people can gather to pray, worship and praise God in Annang way, the even shall equally showcase Annang talents. There shall also be Live Perfomance by the following Annang sons and daughters:
-Uko Akpan Cultural Group
-Ete Ntia Sax
-Afe Mbono Drama Crew
-Evang. David Ema
-John Violin and
Senate Minority Leader, Chief Dr. Godswill O. Akpabio is billed as Special Guest of Honour. Dr. Akpabio was born on Dec. 9th,1962.
Occasioned by certain seemingly obtructive elements such as rivalry, envy, factions, jealousy, laziness, sycophancy, oppresion, unforgiving spirit, fame, power tussle, character assasination and the like which were morally unthinkable and ethically unwise in traditional Annang society and cognizant that music has the power to unite, heal, liberate, enrich as well as invoke blessings on people, the Annang Unity Choir/Orchestra(AUC) was conceived.
It is the case that the power of music and the spirit good music has cannot be over emphasized. Music inspires, unites and liberates a people. It is in this sense that it is seen as a panacea, the only remedy for the restoration of unity in Annangland which for years has experienced internal divides. Not only did the musicologist, Dr. Adam Kniete note that: “music is really a powerful drug. Music can poison you, lift your spirits, or make you sick without knowing why”, the Venerable Greek philosopher, Plato, had earlier stated that: “music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, and flight to the imagination”. As such, through Annang Unity Choir, the Annang people would come together to make their homes a wondrous place to live. That is essentially why this concert is timelly organized.
Though a universal language, there are certain songs that are strictly perculiar to the Annang. Annang song texts as Udoh writes: “deal with everyday life, traditions, beliefs and customs of the Annang people”(75). In this sense, such songs are a pleasure to listen to since they can instigage peaceful and mutual co-existence within the eight local government areas of Annang and by extension, Akwa Ibom.
AUC shall also unveil the mind of average Annang son or/and daughter to know that the celebration of Christmas goes beyond just exchange of Christmas cards, pleasantries, text messages, phone calls and precious gifts. It is indeed a season to have time for one’s family; a time to forgive those who have offended us and also to submit ourselves for forgiveness had we equally wronged anyone. It is a period to preach love and show charity to those in need. For those who are specialists in using their God-given wealth to oppress the poor, the season also offers opportunity for such human beings to “fikke mme agwo”. It calls for a total repentance, for when the individuals are happy,the society cannot but be peaceful, orderly and harmonious for co-existence.
Our analysis has revealed that music has the power to foster mutual co-existence among the Annang people as well as heal the wounds of our land. Annang nation needs music for it to be truly united. While everyone is cordially invited to the maiden edition of the Annang Unity Concert(AUC), the organizers of this event notably the very Hon. Barr. Patrick Umoh(Chairman of the Planning Comm.), Rev. Fr. Daniel Inyangetoh (Spiritual Adviser) Mr. Akanimo Gordon,(Choir Master, AUC), NkutJesus Ekpoudom, Samuel Atakpa, and other members of the planning committee ought to be genuinely applauded.
The question that salutes our mind now is: “Can anything good come out from Nazareth? (John 1:46). Can anything good come out from Annangland?
9th December,2015 shall tell.
NkutJesus Ekpoudom writes from Uruk Ata Ikot Ebo, Etim Ekpo LGA, AKS.
Home / Entertainment/Event / UNITY AND ANNANG NATION: Can Music Be Of Any Help? -By NkutJesus Ekpoudom
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