Kinship Marriage and Relationship

In both the ancient traditional and contemporary society of Ubulu-Uku Kingdom, kinship relationship is very sacred and unconquerable. The people hold such relationship with very high regard. Family is family and there is no such word as half brother, and extended family. Also, all male relatives are regarded as “nwanne” brother as well as all female relatives are regarded as sister.
There are two types of kinship relationship recognized in Ubulu-Uku Kingdom.

  1. Affinity kinship relationship
  2. Consanguinity kinship relationship  

This relationship is brought about by marriage between two families. They maintain a cordial social relationship as “Ogor” In-laws. The lineages involved can intermarry.
However, the offspring of the immediate family who are in a marital union with the other lineage cannot intermarry. No family from the entire lineage where the wife is married from can marry any of her offspring. This culture is maintained till the next F3, third filial generation.
This relationship results from birth. It is a blood relationship that is taken very sacrosanct in Ubulu Culture. Relationship by birth is viewed from four different parental genetic pedigrees. “Ebo anọ we si abia enu” the four lineages of birth. But in general, the birth of a child can be traced to about seven parental genetic blood lines. Marital relationship is not permitted among natives who are related by consanguinity, unless it has passed F3, the third filial generation, which is referred in Ubulu language as “Ukwata Ator”.

Below are the parental pedigrees according to their order of importance.

This is the child’s paternal lineage, the lineage where the child is born into. Here, the child is entitled to an inheritance as patrimony. The child will not go into any marital or sexual relationship with any member of this lineage or any other lineage who are led by the same “offor” traditional staff of authority, with his lineage. Neither will the child be allowed to have any marital or sexual relationship with the children, grandchildren or great grandchildren of any woman married from that lineage to another lineage.
Also, if the child is male, he will lead the lineage as Diokpa by gerontocracy, if he lives old enough. If the child is female, she will lead the female folks as Ada, by gerontocracy.
Note that; if the child is born to an idegbe, or Nwunye Okposho, that child is considered to be in his/her patrilineal home. An idegbe is a woman who was kept at home because her father had not a male child. She would seek a partner and raise children in her father’s name. Her children will all be regarded as fully born into the lineage.

This is the lineage where the mother of the child was married from. The lineage is nearly as important as the patrilineal. If the patrilineal home is unfavorable, the child can return to this lineage and be welcomed to live among them. There will not be any sexual or marital relationship between such person and anyone related to via the matrilineal as we have discussed in the patrilineal.
If the child is male, he will not be allowed to lead the lineage by gerontocracy. He will be preceded by four men younger than his age. This also is applicable to when the sex of the child is female. This is so because such people are said to inhabit in their left hand.

This is the lineage where the paternal grandmother was married from. There will not be allowed any sexual or marital relationship between the child and anyone related to that lineage by less than two traceable generations and all the lineages which are under the same offor as them. The child can live with such people but will have no inheritance among them.

This is the lineage where the maternal grandmother was married from. The child will not be allowed to have any sexual or marital union with anyone related to that family by one generation. It is rare but that person can live in this kindred. There will not be any inheritance for him/her among them.
These are the four basic lineages to be considered as “Ebo Anor we si abia enu”.
Other lineages not mentioned are; Paternal grandfathers’ mothers’ lineage and matrilineal grandfathers’s mother;s lineage. These ones are beyond the recognized four and can be severed to allow marital relationship.


This process to severe consanguinity kinship relationship is only acceptable under the following conditions;

  1. That the relationship has passed the “Ukwata Ator”.
  2. That both families have consented to severe consanguinity for affinity. 

However, the only party eligible for disengagement is the male party. The male party and his family will appear before the leadership of the related lineage with the stipulated number of goats. The number of goats is dependent on the number of group lineage attachments that will become disengaged. The blood of the goat will be spilled to break the blood ties between the families.
Consequently, the families will cease to be in consanguinity kinship relationship. Then, marital relationship can be permitted between the families.

However, if one ignores the culture of consanguinity relationship and goes into affinity with a relative within the four lineages mentioned above, it is considered a taboo.
Penalty includes; fine of many goats, excommunication and banishment from the Kingdom.
Consequently, the children born into such marriage are often born with deformity or will not live past infancy. They are said to be under the curse of the offor which holds the lineage of their parents together.

Also, the modern scientific study of genetics has revealed that genes contribute over 50% of a person’s behavioral characteristics. Genes play a major role in shaping almost any type of behavior including; alcoholism, libido, criminality, intelligence (I.Q.), political attitudes, schizophrenia, sociability, etc.

Some genetically inheritable diseases are; Huntington’s chorea, Porphra, Phenylketonuria, Sickle Cell Anaemia, Diabetes, etc. according to McKusick (1987), over 500 human genetic diseases are caused by single gene defect. If a man with an affected progeny marries from the same family or extended family lineage, the chances of giving birth to an affected child abounds than when it is marriage between consanguineous relatives.
In pedigree analysis of inheritable traits, two affected parents cannot give birth to an unaffected offspring.

“Quite often such recessive alleles are revealed by consanguineous mating, for example, cousin marriages” ~ P.S Verma and V.K Agarwal.

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