Search this Site and the Web

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

'Tom and Jerry' relationship between Igbo and Yoruba

Written by Azuka Onwuka

It is difficult to say if Igbo and Yoruba are friends or enemies or merely tolerating each other. On the surface, they seem to be friends, because you rarely hear of any clashes or killings between the two in over 100 years. People from the two ethnic groups work together, live together, laugh together, worship together, and play together. Everything seems all right. Nobody wants to be seen as publicly making any comment seen as tribalistic or intolerant.

But if you look deeper, there seems to be something you cannot truly place a finger on. It's like a volcano waiting for the least provocation to erupt. It only needs an excerpt from Chinua Achebe's There Was a Country to be made public, or for Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos to "deport" some Igbo to Onitsha for hell to be let loose. Commentators immediately line up behind their ethnic groups, releasing venom against the other side. Luckily, such altercations usually end in words and not in violent acts.
But on Nigerian online sites like the and others, where commentators can use anonymous names, such fights are a daily affair, and they always get embarrassingly nasty. At such times, combatants throw caution to the wind and rake up gut-wrenching jibes dripping of hate and bordering on insanity. You wonder if the purveyors of such vitriol would feel at ease afterwards interacting with someone from the ethnic group they have maligned so viciously. Some see it as fun, but many don't. They see it as a war that must be won at all costs.

Regrettably, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, whose direct and indirect action and inaction sowed the seed of hate and distrust between the Igbo and the Yoruba, have died without uprooting that dangerous plant or even denying it water and nutrients. Therefore, till this day, the Igbo and Yoruba still enjoy shooting at each other with accusations of betrayal, expansionism, hate, ingratitude, greed, as well as trying to prove that each ethnic group is superior to the other.

And it seems the contest for superiority is at the root of that frosty relationship. The Igbo and Yoruba are unarguably the most competitive in Nigeria. They are the ethnic groups that easily and forcefully ask for the removal of quota system in all national life. They believe that if things are done on merit, they will excel. The Igbo think that the Yoruba are the major competitors they have in Nigeria, while the Yoruba think that the Igbo are the key competitors they have in Nigeria.

This shows in almost all spheres of life. The Yoruba had a head-start in western education because the British colonialists and missionaries arrived on their land first. The Igbo, who resisted and rejected the British initially, eventually accepted them and thereby began a sprint to catch up with the Yoruba. And they succeeded.

Whatever the Igbo achieve, the Yoruba have an answer to it, and whatever the Yoruba achieve the Igbo have a response. So, if you have a Wole Soyinka from the South-West winning the first Nobel Prize for Literature in Africa, you have a Chinua Achebe from the South-East holding the record of the most popular and most-selling literary writer in Africa. If you have a Rangers International Football Club of Enugu shaking the Nigerian football scene in the 1970s and early 80s, you have the Shooting Stars Football Club of Ibadan shining brightly at the same period. If Rashidi Yekini is noted for scoring Nigeria's first World Cup goal and being Nigeria's all-time highest goal scorer, then Nwankwo Kanu boasts of being Nigeria's most decorated footballer, while Austin Jay-Jay Okocha flaunts his status as Nigeria's most glamorous and mesmerising footballer. If Genevieve Nnaji boasts of being named by Oprah Winfrey in 2009 among the most popular people in the world, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde will show off her name in TIME magazine's most influential people of 2013. If P-Square and Flavour think they rock the music scene, D'Banj and Davido smash the charts.

So, in all areas of life, the Igbo and the Yoruba are competing, and in the process boosting the nation's economy and bringing glory to the nation. Yet, some inferiority-complex-afflicted people who feel threatened within each of the ethnic groups look for every excuse to spread hate among the two peoples.
My close study of the Igbo and the Yoruba makes me see them as the Germans and the French of Nigeria respectively. Even the Igbo language is like the German language in many respects. In German and Igbo, there are no silent words. Excluding a few words in Germans which are sounded differently from the way the English sound theirs (like "j" which is pronounced like "y," "w" which is pronounced as "v," etc), whatever you say in both languages is what you write. For example, the "g" is always pronounced /g/ in Igbo and German and never as "j." "Danke" and "obante" are pronounced as written.

But in French and Yoruba, what you say may be different from how you write it. Some letters are either silent or semi-silent. For example, the Yoruba and the French would pronounce "san" as if it were "saw," or "son," but the Igbo and Germans would pronounce it /san/: exactly the way it is spelt. Also, the "h" is usually silent or glossed over in French and Yoruba: Hospital or Kehinde.

The Igbo and the German are bullish and technology-minded. They have fought and lost wars but staged successful comebacks in a short time. Conversely, the Yoruba and the French are subtle and supercilious, with good administrative skills, regaling in their years of history and culture.
A country that has such two success-driven ethnic groups should be at a great advantage. The Yoruba have been great hosts to the Igbo; and the Igbo have reciprocated by contributing immensely to the building of Yoruba land, especially Lagos State, including buying swamps at a high price and turning such places to residential or commercial estates. The sleepiness of Lagos during the Christmas-New Year period, when the Igbo usually travel home en masse, bears testimony to their contribution to making Lagos lively.

Just like the French always wish they could cut the Germans to size, so do the Yoruba to the Igbo, but it will never work. And just as the Germans always try to flaunt their success at the French, so do the Igbo do to the Yoruba, but it is completely pointless. The Yoruba can never be like the Igbo, and the Igbo can never be like the Yoruba. There is nothing the Yoruba can do to suppress the Igbo, neither is there anything the Igbo can do to suppress the Yoruba. Both of them can actually succeed without the other, but working closely together will be very beneficial to each of them as well as the nation.

The younger generations are forging greater ties, despite the baggage of enmity the older generations handed over to them. Working together, attending church together and living together seem to have increased the rate of marriage between the two people. Most Sundays when I look at the church bulletin, I see increasing higher number of banns of marriage between Yoruba and Igbo people. These days, it is common to see women whose names are Temilade Amadi or Ngozi Adesanya because of marriage. The ethnic barriers are being broken, even though ethnic jingoists continue to spread hate. Such hate speech and thoughts need to be stopped, for ethnic bloodshed or xenophobia does not burst out in one day.
Since the older generations are passing away without bringing these two great ethnic groups together, the onus is on those born after the Civil War to consciously take steps to bring the two ethnic groups together for their own good and for the good of the nation. It is high time this Tom and Jerry relationship between the two ethnic groups ended, for the good of both and the nation at large.

No comments:


I am an Igbo, I was born an Igbo, I live the life of an Igbo, I come from Igbo, I speak Igbo, I like to be Igbo, I like to dress in Igbo, I eat Igbo food, my heritage, culture and tradition is Igbo, my parents are Igbo.

Am sorry I cannot help it if you hate my lineage. Am sorry I cannot help it if you detest Igbo, am sorry I cannot help it if you hate me because am Igbo. Igbo is who I am, my name is Igbo and I must die an Igbo.

You see Igbo as a threat, why? You call Igbo rapist, criminals, ritualist, prostitutes, kidnappers. You attribute all negative vices to represent Igbo? Why do you do that? You do because you feel threatened that Igbo might outrun the rest of the tribes. Why do you hate Igbo and despise us? You do that because we are creative, enlightened, hardworking, industrious, genius, intelligent, smart, rich, beautiful and amazing. But its difficult for you to admit it because you feel jealous of my race.

Igbo do not own politics, Igbo do not control the economy neither do we control the natural resources and the common wealth of the nation. You do, we don't and yet, despite the fact that you own everything, we still remain one indispensable race that has outshined the other race in all ramifications.

You fear us because you want to exterminate and annihilate our race, you deny us many things and yet we are stronger, richer and mightier. You fear us because we are everywhere. You fear us because no matter how rural a place might be, when Igbo steps in, they turn it into a Paradise. We have our own resources, which lies in resourcefulness, we do not bother you and your control over the polity, but yet when we cough you and the other race begin to shiver.

Am proud being an Igbo, am proud of my heritage and culture. Igbo means high class, Igbo means independence, Igbo means hard work and strength, Igbo means riches, Igbo means resourcefulness, Igbo means self belonging, Igbo means self esteem, Igbo means pride, Igbo means swag.

Udo diri unu umunnem.
# IgboAmaka
# AnyiBuNdiMmeri

Michael Ezeaka

This is beautiful poetry ...

In response to Alaba Ajibola, the Babcock Lecturer Hate Speech against Igbos.


In Igboland women live apart from their husbands and neither cook for them nor enter their husband's quarters when they are in their period. They are seen as unclean. Even up till today such practice is still applicable in some parts of Igboland especially by the traditionalists. Before a woman can enter the palace of Obi of Onitsha, she will be asked if she is in her period, if yes, she will be asked to stay out.

Leviticus 15: 19-20
When a woman has her monthly period, she remains unclean, anyone who touches her or anything she has sat on becomes unclean.

An Igbo man's ancestral heritage, called “Ana Obi” is not sellable, elders will not permit this. If this is somehow done due to the influence of the West the person is considered a fool and is ostracized by the community.

1 Kings 21:3
I inherited this vineyard from my ancestors, and the Lord forbid that I should sell it, said Naboth.

Igbos have practiced the taking of a late brother's wife into marriage after she had been widowed until the white men came. Now it is rarely done but except in very rural villages.

Deuteronomy 25:5
A widow of a dead man is not to be married outside the family; it is the duty of the dead man's brother to marry her.

In Igboland, there is a unique form of apprenticeship in which either a male family member or a community member will spend six (6) years (usually in their teens to their adulthood) working for another family. And on the seventh year, the head of the host household, who is usually the older man who brought the apprentice into his household, will establish (Igbo: idu uno) the apprentice
by either setting up a business for him or giving money or tools by which to make a living.

Exodus 21:2
If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve you for six years. In the seventh year he is to be set free without having to pay you anything.

In Igboland , the yam is very important as it is their staple crop. There are celebrations such as the New yam festival (Igbo: Iri Ji) which are held for the harvesting of the yam. New Yam festival (Igbo: Iri ji) is celebrated annually to secure a good harvest of the staple crop. In the olden days it is an abomination for one to eat a new harvest before the festival. It's a tradition that you give the gods of the land first as a thanksgiving.

Deuteronomy 16:9
Count 7 weeks from the time that you begin to harvest the crops, and celebrate the harvest festival to honor the lord your God, by bringing him a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing he has given you. Celebrate in the Lord's presence together with your children, servants, foreigners. Be sure that you obey my command, said the Lord.

In Igboland it's a tradition that the male children are circumcised on the 8th day. This tradition is still practiced till date.

Leviticus 12:3
On the eighth day, the child shall be circumcised.

In Igboland, there is a practice known as "ile omugwo ". After a woman has given birth to a child, a very close and experienced relative of hers, in most cases her mother is required by tradition to come spend time with her and her husband. During which she is to do all the work of the wife, while the new mom's only assignment to the baby will be to breastfeed. This goes on for a month or more. In the Igbo old tradition, at this time, the new mom lives apart from her husband, would not cook or enter his quarters.

Leviticus 12:1-4
For seven days after a woman gives birth, she is ritually unclean as she is during her monthly period. It will be 33 days until she is ritually clean from the loss of blood; she is not to touch anything that is holy.


The Igbo tribe is in a serious problem and danger of extinction for the following reasons:

50% of Igbos are born outside Igbo land. Meaning that those children are not likely to live and work in Igbo land and cannot speak Igbo language but foreign language (Yoruba, Hausa, French, English).

40% of Igbos girls between the age of 25 & 45 are single with no hope of marriage because 35% of Igbo boys live overseas and they have all married white ladies.

75% of Igbo youths leave Igbo land every year in search of opportunities in Yoruba, Hausa land or overseas.

85 % of Igbos have family houses and own investments outside Igbo land. They strongly believe in one Nigeria but failed to know that NO Yoruba or Hausa man has a family house or investment in Igbo land.

Igbos are the only people who believe that living outside their land is an achievement.

Igbos are the only tribe that celebrate their tradition outside their land e.g. Eze Ndi Igbo, Igbo Village in America and this is because they have family homes in foreign lands.

Igbos have failed to know that the children you have outside Igbo land especially overseas will never think of living in Igbo land. So what happens to the properties you are building for them when you are gone?

Igbos are the only tribe who see their land as a place to visit or a tourist site than a place to work and live.

Igbos are the only tribe who instead of promoting and appreciating their culture through movies and documentaries they have sought to ridicule it by portraying rituals, killings, wickedness, love for money and other social vices which were not originally inherent in our culture thereby cursing more harm than actually promoting their culture.

Igbos are the only people who without hesitation believe their history and description when it is told or written by an enemy or a foreigner. E.g. that you do not love yourselves or that you love money.

Igbos are the ONLY largest tribe on earth who fought for their independence and failed to achieve their freedom after 40 years.

Igbos are the only tribe who fails to honour their brave heroes and heroines especially the innocent children starved to death during the Biafran war.

Igbos are the only tribe who embraced their enemy after a bloody civil war and subsequently become slaves.

Igbos do not find it necessary to teach their own version of history to their children.

Igbos fight for marginalisation in Nigeria but has no collective strength or teeth to bite.

Igbos how long are you going to fight for your relevance in Nigeria?

How long are you going to fight for a functional airport, rail networks and other structural establishments that underpin sustainable development?

How long are you prepared to wait for your enemy to guide you to your destiny?

Oh Igbos!
Where are your leaders?

Unfortunately, none of them live and work in Igbo land. If you wish to save the future of your children, your identity, your generation and your race then you need freedom and that freedom is Biafra.

Ukpana Okpoko gburu bu nti chiri ya!

By Chime Eze

The Igbo: We die for causes, not for personalities

Written by Emeka Maduewesi

~on fb. 28th September, 2016.

The Igbo will never die for anyone. We will not even riot for anyone. But the Igbo will die for any cause they believe in because the Igbo have a true sense of justice and a determination to obtain it.

The Igbo will not riot because one of their own lost an election. Operation Wetie was the Western response to a massively rigged 1965 election. The Yoruba doused fellow Yorubas in petrol and burnt them alife. Properties were burnt with occupants. The Igbo will never do this.

In 1983, the Yoruba went on a rampage again over the massive rigging by NPN. Lifes were lost and properties destroyed. The riots were over personalities.

Contrast that with Anambra State where Chief Emeka Ojukwu was rigged out by his own NPN, who also rigged out Chief Jim Nwobodo. The Igbo did not protest because the goat's head is still in the goat's bag.

In the North, ba muso was the battle cry when Sultan Dasuki was imposed on the Sokoto Caliphate. The riot and protest lasted for days and crippled economic activities.

The Igbo will riot over issues and causes. The Aba Women Riot was over Tax. The Enugu coal mine riot was about conditions of service. The Ekumeku Uprising was over British colonialization.

Those of "Ekumeku" ancestry - Umu Eze Chima and Umu Nri - were at the forefront of the struggles for Nigerian independence, with people like Dr. A A Nwafor Orizu and Chief Osita Agwuna serving prison terms. Any struggles the parents could not conclude is continued by the children by other means.

The Biafran war was a response to the genocide. The war in fact was brought upon us. The battlefield was Eastern Region. The war ended in 1970 but the issues and causes were not resolved. That is where we are today.

The Igbo will also jointly rise to fight evil in their midst. They did it in Onitsha in the 1980's, Owerri in the 90's, and with Bakkassi in the 2000.

The Igbo will not die for any man. But the Igbo will stand by any man who symbolizes their cause and their pursuit of justice. Even if the man dies, the struggle continues, and like the Ekumeku warriors, the children will pick up the baton from their parents.

This is the Igbo I know, the Igbo I am, and the Igbo we are. This is my story. Feel free to tell yours.


"My boy, may you live to your full potential, ascend to a dizzy height as is possible for anyone of your political description in your era to rise. May you be acknowledged world-wide as you rise as an eagle atop trees, float among the clouds, preside over the affairs of fellow men.... as leaders of all countries pour into Nigeria to breathe into her ear.

But then, Chuba, if it is not the tradition of our people that elders are roundly insulted by young men of the world, as you have unjustly done to me, may your reign come to an abrupt and shattering close. As you look ahead, Chuba, as you see the horizon, dedicating a great marble palace that is the envy of the world, toasted by the most powerful men in the land, may the great big hand snatch it away from you. Just as you look forward to hosting the world’s most powerful leader and shaking his hands, as you begin to smell the recognition and leadership of the Igbo people, may the crown fall off your head and your political head fall off your shoulders.

None of my words will come to pass, Chuba, until you have risen to the very height of your power and glory and health, but then you will be hounded and humiliated and disgraced out of office, your credibility and your name in tatters forever...”


Biafra Videos: Explosive secret about Biafra...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Featured Post


Topics: Mindset of the enemy. Yoruba were in world's best universities when Usman dan fodio was still learning to ride a horse Th...