Esan Social Stratification

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In Esanland, members of the communities are functionally stratified into three broad groups. Social stratification, therefore, allocates a particular responsibility to a particular group. For instance, the (Egbonughele), environmental sanitation group, Is responsible for keeping the streets and hamlets clean. This group is made up of male adolescents in the society. People graduate from this group into the next which is the (Igene). This second group, the active labour force, forms the physical backbone of the society. Made up of the adults and stronger male persons, they the “lgene’, are quickly summoned to execute communal projects including the defence of the community at wars. The third and final group is the (Edion) senior citizens group; there is a limitation to people moving into these groups. Apart from being qualified by age, one must have performed the burial ceremonies of one’s late parents before being accorded an Odion status. One of the rites which must be performed by a man is the lruen ceremony. Iruen which marks the attainment of manhood is a ceremony during which the celebrant will wrap a flamboyantly woven wrapper round his waist. He will then move from house to house and from one village lo another announcing his manhood status to the public and receiving cash gifts from appreciative well-wishers,

At the apex is the Odion who is a single most elderly in the community, called the Odionwele who presides over all community meetings and carries out all sacrificial duties.

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