From ?kpa ego to ego mbute: investigating into the intergenerational crisis of illicit financial quest among the Igbo youth

  • Evaristus Ifeanacho, (PhD)
Keywords: Youth, Leadership, Diverse contexts, Ikpa ego, Ibute ego


In the traditional Igbo context, the earning of money is punctuated with patience and hard work and maintenance of one's integrity. The acquisition of wealth depends on how far one has honestly and properly invested his/her energy, resources and talent. No one claimed to be self-sufficient. Everyone needed the help of the other. This virtue of hard work was transmitted in the process of family education. Since the Igbo society was not a closed one thanks to its extended family system, it was therefore communityoriented; and thus everybody cares for the other. To that effect, in business ventures, apprenticeship was highly promoted. Mentoring was fully in vogue. The ? ga (Master) has some ?m?-boi (apprentices) under him who he guides in learning a particular trade. The apprenticeship lasts for years after which, all things being equal, the ? ga settles the nwa-boi (apprentice) with a reasonable sum of money to help him begin his own trade. The nwa-boi based on his acquired trading skill gradually grows in wealth. In that context, acquisition of wealth was dependent on trading skill, patience and doggedness, hence the phrase ?kpa ego (that is, scouting for money) adopted from ?kpa ak? (scouting for palm kernel nut). Usually scouting for palm kernel in the bush is a painstaking exercise demanding hours of engagement in search of palm kernel which can at times meet with disappointment when one ends up picking ak? ufulu (palm kernel without the edible nut). This research has the objective of investigating into the sharp transition from ?kpa ego to ibute ego (quick money) among our youth and proffer ways of returning to the status quo ante since it is more value-oriented. Our methodology is descriptive and analytical. The researcher will make use of existing literature in this regard; explore into the various contexts that nourish this illicit quest for money and propose way forward.