sapientia journal, edition cover
Article PDF


bibio, Pre-Colonial, Culture, Diplomacy, Development.


Diplomacy has been an instrument used in the establishment and management of relations in all human societies since the dawn of history. Communication enhances smooth diplomatic process and serves as a gateway of diplomacy such as blood is to the human body. This might be the reason why some scholars narrowly equate communication with diplomacy. Whenever communication ceases, diplomacy has always been hampered, thereby resulting in conflict. Communication methods adopted in diplomatic intercourse may be verbal or non-verbal. The pre-colonial Ibibio extensively integrated non-verbal communication into its diplomatic profile. The nonverbal communication instruments included: leaves, feathers, horns, stones, water, etc., used to express desires and needs; assert authority; initiate action; share jokes; opinions and sentiments as well as the enforcement of sanction. These instruments were part and parcel of the way of life of the people and utilised symbolism from the community, hence they could readily connect with the people. The use of these cultural methods also demonstrated that communication system has been part of a common social heritage that makes cohesion and solidarity and helps to ensure the continuity of group's life. However, in the contemporary era, these methods have been neglected and are at the verge of extinction. The paper refutes the Eurocentric view that the art of diplomacy was introduced to the Africa by external agents. It advocates that some of these methods should be used alongside with the modern methods of communication to sustain the cultural heritage of the Ibibio. It adopts a historical analytical method.

Article PDF


Adegbija, E. (1989) “Effective Communication”. J.O. Ibrahim. “Indigenous Communication System: Panacea to Cultural Development”. History of Indigenous Science and Technology in Nigeria. Olaoye, R.E. (Ed.). Ibadan: Cresthill Limited. Akpan, Emmanuel (1994). “Traditional and Contemporary Communications”. Akwa Ibom State: The Land of Promise: A Compendium. Peters, S.W. Iwok, E.R. and Uya, O.E. (Eds.). Lagos: Gabumo Publishing Co. Ltd.
Akpan, Otoabasi. (2015). Conflict Resolution and Management in Ibibioland”. Witness to History. In Honour of Sir Sebastian J. Umoren. Afaha, P. (Ed.). Abuja: Command Publishers
Akpan, Uwem Jonah (2016). “Some Aspects of Diplomacy and Integration in Ibibio Traditional Society”. The Calabar Historical Journal. Volume 6, No. 2.
Akpan and Ekpoattai, Ime Tim. (2017). “Pre-colonial Diplomacy and Conflict Resoultion/Management in Ibibioland”. American Journal of Social Issues and Humanities. Vol. 7, Issue 1.
Akpan, Uwem Jonah (2018). Akwa Ibom and Her Neighbours. A Study of Regional Diplomacy Since the Pre-colonial Period. Uyo: Heritage Preservation Foundation.
Antia, O.R. (2005). Akwa Ibom Cultural Heritage: Its Invasion by Western Culture and its Renaissance. Uyo: Faithful Printers.
Ekong Ekong. (2001). Sociology of the Ibibio. A Study of Social Organisation and Change. Uyo: Modern Business Press.
Eyo, Ekpo (1979). Nigeria and the Evolution of Money. Lagos: The Central Bank of Nigeria in Association with the Federal Department of Antiquities.
Ibrahim, J.O. (2009). “Indigenous Communication System: Panacea to Cultural Development”. History of Indigenous Science and Technology in Nigeria.
Jacobs, Ignatius (2017). Interview: Abak Ishiet, Onna Local Government Areaa.
King James Version of the Bible. Matthew Chapter 21, Verses 1-11.
Meliseen, J. (1999). (Ed.). Innovation in Diplomatic Practice. London: Macmillan.
Noah, M.E. (1988). Proceedings of the Ibibio Union, 1918-1937. Uyo: Modern Business Press.
Onyiruka, M. (2015). “Traditional Communication in a Digitized World”. Unicorn International Journal of Contemporary Studies. Vol. 1, No. 3,
Oreh, O.O. (1978). “Modes of Communication”. Readings in African Humanities. African Cultural Development. Kalu, Ogbu U. Enugu: Fourth Dimension Publishing Co. Ltd.
Osborne, M. and M.T. Mortley (1999). Improving Communication. Boston: Houghton
Miffin Inc.
Commission Report (1930). Appointed to Inquire into the Disturbances in Calabar and Owerri Provinces, December, 1929. Lagos: The Government Press.
Udo, Edet Akpan. (1983). Who are the Ibibio? Onitsha: Africana FEP.
Ugboajah. F.U. (1989). “Oramedia or Traditional Media As Effective Communication Options for Grassroots Development”. Philosophy and Dimensions of National Communication Policy. Nnaemeka, T. and Uvieghara, E. (Eds.). Lagos: Centre for Black and African Civilisation.
Wilson, Des. (1987). “Towards Traditional and Modern Communication Symbiosis”. University of Cross River State Cultural Week'87. Uyo: Faculty of Arts, University of Uyo.