Bebuabie – The People, The Land, The History – by Godwin Apple

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Bebuabie Cultural Dance Group on display
Bebuabie Cultural Dance Group on display

by crossriverwatch admin

A SOCIO-CULTURAL PROFILE OF THE BEBUABIE COMMUNITY

The Bebuabie Community is one of the largest and most densely-populated communities in the Obudu Local Government Area of Nigeria’s Cross River State. The community is part of the Ipong political ward in Obudu.

The ancestral father of the Bebuabie people was a man by name Pa Ipong, who was also the father of 4 sons namely; Asuan (Bebuasuan), Ayabie (Bebuabie), Akem (Kakum) and Ugbong (Bebuagbong). Ipong was known to be a great farmer and a hunter and he was also married to more than one wife, among whom was ‘Mama Ingie’aga’ who gave birth to Ipong’s first and second sons, Asuan and Ayabie, respectively.

The dialect of the Bebuabie is Bette. The Bebuabie Community derives its name from the Bette rendering of the phrase “Ayabie’s children”.

Both inter and intra-wise, this community is one of the most peace-loving communities thus far in the Obudu Local Government Area with Ohong, Begiaba, Ukwel-Obudu, Bebuasuan and Kakum as neighboring communities.

The Bebuabie Community’s major preoccupations are farming and palm wine tapping as well as striving to provide Western education for the children. For one, farming has enabled the Community to majorly thrive in cash-cropping Yams, Cassava, and Cocoyam as well as in Swamp-rice production.

Indeed, this Community is very rich in strategic political and socio-cultural activities. For instance, in order to promote green and earth-friendly activities which is one of the cries for the safety of the earth, the Bebuabie people are making great strides in afforestation as they use the planting of such economic trees as Pear trees, Orange trees, Bush mango, Cashew, Mangos and other species of forest trees like the Mahogany (Kayah Afrikana), Iroko (Melisia specie), Kukpe-Apa (Afzelia Afrikana), the Umbrella tree (Terminelia Kataba/Advoriencies) and others for boundary demarcations among themselves.

Another major socio-cultural outing of the Bebuabie is the annual celebration of the New Yam Festival which comes up every 1st Saturday of September. Indeed, the New Yam Festival is the day the rich Bebuabie culture is put on display. The Ikwom-ishor dance, Angyo’isom, Igbili as well as other dances are displayed openly as part of the entertainment to visitors after much pounded-yam meat, mellon cake (Bikem) have been eaten and accompanied by the drinking of palm-wine aplenty.

Bebuabie people are mainly Christians of the Roman Catholic Church and the Assemblies of God Mission. In social amenity terms, they are a struggling community having only 2 primary schools, 1 primary health care centre, a postal agency, and a jointly-owned Secondary School – the Ipong Science School. For political-cum-democratic participation, the community boasts of 5 official polling booths.

The Bebuabie people are richly blessed with the traditional birth attendances and the anti-snake bite poison traditional doctors in Begiayishe village in Bebuabie.

The Community is also one of the elite groups amongst others that have halted the practice of ‘female mutilation’ and adopted feminism to reduce inequalities in the society.

Put simply, the above and more have made the Bebuabie people the happiest in the world.

Engr. Agim, Godwin Apple writes from the Department of Sociology, Jyväväskylä Open University, Finland. He is also the Europe Bureau Chief of crossriverwatch.com

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