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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Idoma Hope Rising Union and the politics of patriarchy and ethnic honor
Author:Ochonu, Moses E.ISNI
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies (ISSN 0361-7882)
Geographic term:Nigeria
ethnic identity
women migrants
Abstract:This paper analyses how a fairly diverse group of Western-educated Idoma young men under the banner of the Idoma Hope Rising Union (IHRU), an ethno-nationalist association in Nigeria founded in the late colonial flourishing of ethnic-based politics, articulated and pursued a self-described political and social agenda for the reclamation of Idoma ethnic honour. The article examines the foundational colonial conditions that inspired a narrative of ethnic loss and humiliation, which in turn generated multiple anxieties among Western-educated Idoma youths, who then positioned themselves as gatekeepers of ethnic pride. It argues that a radical wing of the IHRU and, to a lesser extent, moderates, after failing in their efforts to reform the Idoma Native Authority (NA) and to remove corruption and perceived Igbo, Hausa, and chiefly oppressions from Idomaland, gradually came to equate ethnic honour with gender vigilantism and the defense of a vaguely defined Idoma patriarchal and masculine integrity. The paper analyses two phases of the IHRU's activism - the 'home' phase and the 'diaspora' phase, tracking how the Union's agenda shifted from overt politics to the arena of gender policing. The latter phase entailed the equation of Idoma ethnic honour with a vision of Idoma female chastity. City-dwelling Idoma women were, in the characterization of their young kinsmen, prostitutes who undermined Idoma honour. The author argues that the rhetoric of ethnic honour and ethnic shame merely served as a code for expressing the experience of an existential crisis triggered by late colonial politics, by the friction between the urban and the rural, and by the challenges of ethnic minority status in northern Nigeria. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]