About Ati Annang

About Ati Annang

Annang society is patriarchal. Individuals locate their place in the social world from the Idip, literally translated as, womb. Thus a brother/sister from the same Idip means that they can trace their origin to the same mother or father. Since polygamy is practised in the society, those who can so trace their ancestry to the same parents form Ufok (literally a house or compound). Severalufoks make up Ekpuks or extended family and several Ekpuks (extended families) make up "Idung" (meaning village) and several villages make up the "abie" or clan.

Leadership at the family, lineage, village, or clan level remains the prerogative of the men, and lineage ties extends to women even after marriage. There are many societies and associations (Nka) for men and women which are very important in traditional village life. Individuals are measured by both the number and types of memberships in Nka's and by the achievements of one or moreNkas. Governance is done by elderly males who act as the legislative arm called Afe Isong, directed by the Obong or Obong Isong (Village Chief and Clan Chief) who is the head and the chief executive but without the authority beyond what the Afe Isong gives. A chief can be appointed by the Afe or can be an inherited office. The strength of any individual, family (or group for that matter) is typically based upon a consensus of the village or clan through this complex social system. In all this, Annang women are not completely subordinate to men. Instead Annang women are partners and leaders in many aspects of Annang tradition, including serving as female chief priests "Abia Idiong" in the Idiong cult or as healers in the healing cults. The first-born female known as Adiaha is important and commands respect in the family and lineage. Some traditions hold that a woman's first birth should take place in her mothers compound. Women organizations such as "abi-de" and "Nyaama", and "Isong Iban" play important roles in giving the women voice and status in society. There are no traditional or cultural barriers that prevent women from attaining high offices or positions. Indeed, traditionally Annang women have a great deal of economic independence from men. The society was semi-matriachal before colonialism. Children bore the names of their mothers and such common names as Essien, Essiet, Ukpong and Umo were female names and became androgenized when the missionaries saw matriacrchy as anti-Christian .(Ette,2009). Annangs value the ability to speak well and oratory ability using proverbs is highly desirable, especially among the leaders. The American anthropologist, Peter Farb, stated that the name "Annang" among this group means 'they who speak well' An individual who has the gift of eloquent speech is often complimented as Akwo Annang meaning the singer of Annang.

The Annangs are known for the efficacy of their charms, prowess in trading, and their renown art. This extends to mural paintings, raffia, masks, cement sculptures, markets, ceremonies and exceptional food. Above all, Annang people possess unparallel academic and scientific knowledge.


The Annang people are located in the Coastal Southeastern Nigeria and Southwestern Camerron which was a part of the present Akwa Ibom State and Cross River State. However, during the then Nigerian Regional era, the then Eastern Region of Nigeria allowed Southwestern Cameroon to be partitioned out of Nigeria into Cameroon through the 1961 plebiscite. In this action the Annang,Efik and Ibibio people were divided into Nigeria and Cameroon
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