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Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Yorubas

Written by Patrick Dele Cole 
Dr. Cole, a former ambassador, wrote from Lagos.

THE Yoruba town of Ibadan is largest native market in Africa. The Yorubas engage in the business of planting and trading in Cocoa, Palm produce, timber, rubber, and kola nuts, apart from their normal food crops. They are good businessmen and women, some of whom dealt in timber, cocoa, kola nuts, trading from Lagos to Bathurst (now Banjul), in The Gambia, and South Congo; whist the Ijebus, Ijesha and the Oyo speaking Yorubas deal in general merchandise.

They have high entrepreneurial ability; and they are also the leaders in the professions, such as Law, Insurance, Banking, Medicine, Accountancy, Architecture, Engineering, etc. The Yorubas are in International Businesses - Ogunlesi, Doherty, Odutola, Bank - Anthony, Harry Akande, Adenuga, Otudeko etc.

They again equally excel in Arts and Drama. Wole Soyinka, Bobby Benson, Victor Olaiya, Hubert Ogunde, Ojo Ladipo, Titiola, Dapo Adelugba, Ola Rotimi, to mention just a few, are of the Yoruba stock. They were also front runners in the News and Entertainment Media in Nigeria. Examples abound in the Publications of the Akede Eko, Daily Times, Punch, Nigerian Tribune, Daily Sketch, etc.; whilst the Western Nigerian Television (WNTV) was the first Television Service in Africa;, which was supplemented by the Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service (WNBS), with the Radio Service.

They are, yet again, trend setters in fashion; and are well ahead in Education; having started with Free Primary Education in 1955 under Western Region Government of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, which gave them an edge as regards mass education, thereby creating a gap between Yorubas and the rest of Nigeria, that is still yet to be bridged.
The Ph.Ds of Ekitis are well known, and they far outstrip other Nigerian groups in higher education, and their rate of female education far outstrips the respective rates of the other groups, particularly at that tertiary level.

Large scale prosperity had made it possible for Yorubas to have a major say in the development of Nigeria. They have abundance in political willingness, political astuteness, and incredibly ambitious/enterprising. The combination of the above qualities has led them three times to the Leadership/Presidency of Nigeria, and the 4th MKO Moshood Abiola's presidency was aborted by the Babangida military administration, which declared its annulment. The Yorubas have managed to live more harmoniously with the other groups, as well as among themselves. In fact, religion-wise, the Yorubas are heterogeneous, as one Yorubas family may have all the three religions within the same one family fold, namely, Christianity, Islam, and Traditional Religion.

The Yorubas seem to have a deeper social life than others, regardless of the degree of outward manifestation of Westernization. They are culture enthusiasts. Yorubas are well cultured people, and even, those of them who do not speak the language, just like the majority who speak the language, understand the custom, etc, learning at an early age how to kneel down, prostrate, etc., at all levels. The Yorubas have a greeting for all occasions : For example, for walking, standing, selling, travelling, working, resting, etc.
The Lagos Yorubas (the Lagosians), who were the least educated of the Yoruba race, missed out on the 1956 Awolowo Free Universal Primary Education (FUPE). I had a friend, Mr. Lamikanran, who was my boss in BP. He told me a story which reinforces the wisdom that the best form of defence is attack. The office had 10 Yorubas. One retired and was replaced by an Ibo.

The remaining nine held a meeting to complain about the onslaught of tribalism in BP!! The Yorubas have no fear of succeeding in Nigeria; are prepared to go it alone - so confident are they that will make it. No other ethnic group in Nigeria, are prepared to accept a break up, the Yorubas would be happy to go it alone, and are confident of success.

There are some who was argue that paragraph is clearly a misrepresentation of the Yoruba character and national aspirations. As regards the first issue, the BP tale, certainly does correctly portray the true Yoruba trait. They are not an exclusive/selfish people, like some of the other ethnic groups of Nigeria. As regards the second issue, of the three (3) major ethnic groups of Nigeria, only the Yorubas have not threatened the corporate existence of Nigeria.
At its inception, the Second Military Coup Leader declared that: There was no basis for unity; whilst another ethnic group attempted to secede from Nigeria, which led to the Biafrian War. Despite all the vicissitudes the Yorubas suffered during the NADECO period of the Abacha Regime, it is on record that the Yorubas never expressed any secessionist view.
Rather, they kept on demanding for a Sovereign National Conference which would enable the Nigerian people truly determine the form and nature of their association with one another within the Nigerian national entity. Where then is the evidence of the Yorubas wanting to go it alone apart from the other ether ethnic groups? They remain, as of today, the only one of the three major ethnic groups that has not threatened the unity and corporate existence of Nigeria.

The Yorubas have their own Traditional clothing Industry, at which they produce the Adire and Aso Oke cloths, etc
Awolowo's Yorubas legacy remains enduring. He pushed the ethnic group forward, to become second to none in all areas of human endeavour. Chief Awolowo was not universally liked by all Yorubas, and several fought him to the death. But his influence on them remains pervasive.

The Yorubas in the Diaspora
The Yorubas in London took early advantage to buy houses originally allocated to them for having children in the U.K. Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s tightened the regulations allowing people born in England or of English parentage to claim domiciliary status and citizenship. She also introduced selling of Council accommodation to those who occupied them.
Nigerians in the U.K. bought the Council flats they lived in; and since then have been able to transport members of their families to the U.K. on the basis of house ownership and British citizenship. Moreover, the Yorubas are the majority of those having houses in the U.K., they were serious minded and worked hard.

Yorubas - Music and Parties
EFFERVESCENT, vivacious, an almost hedonistic Commitment to pleasure, enjoyment. They make no apology for enjoyment and are open about it. At a Yoruba party, there is a sing-along ability - everybody seems to know the words, and the party goers are in full and fine voice, as they belt out song after song.

Women and girls, including our daughters see parties as a time to show off. Musicians will call out or sing out the name of each celebrant and celebrity, when he or she has the floor. Such celebrant or celebrity then sprays a lot of money, preferably, newly minted notes, in a simple and enjoyable way. The non-celebrants thereby indirectly contribute towards cost of the party, and to show affection or closeness to the celebrant. Also the floor is given to other show offs. Even so, a good guest comes with a cheque or cash in an envelope to the party.
Parties are also opportunities to find a marriageable partner, when one's parents have been unable to secure a spouse.

The Entertainment Industry is quintessentially Yoruba. They were the first to put up canopies, the use of which has now become country wide. Lagos has over 30 Event/Entertainment Centres, some of which are owned by non-Yorubas; whilst the majority are Yoruba owned.
The Yoruba love of entertainment has also stimulated other Industries in the areas of clothing, (like damask, aso oke, Ankara, woudin, and headties, etc.), hair, cosmetics, etc.
The Yoruba Party Catering Philosophy is different from that of other cultures: Thus, among the Yorubas, each member of the family, who can, creates a spending point - brother, sister, etc. These parties encourage the Catering Industry as a whole.
Sometimes with different headgears or even asoebi, so guests know who is their host or hostess.

Each member of the family has different attire. They have separate kitchens and food stalls, different musicians - depending on how big the occasion is. Here I am referring to a really big party, with sibling from a polygamous marriage.
The clothes are of many designs, some of which are unique for the occasion. Matching jewelry, shoes, handbags, and specialist head ties – some of which (like head ties) are so specialized that it is named after a celebrity, e.g., Sagoe head tie.
Style consciousness, including the use of colour in attires; promotion of elegance are all hallmarks of Yorubas culture.

The Yorubas introduced "political "parties. I duff my hats to Yoruba musicians: There is no song, in any language, which is popular that they won't sing - from Victor Olaiya's Anyigana, and Bakwodaya, and Rex Lawson's Berebote, Asewo, etc.
James Brown's king of soul - it's a man's world, P square - Igwe, and Chop my Money, African Beauty Queen by 2 face, Victor Uwaifo's Jolomi, etc.
If you are throwing a party, one of the secrets of having a successful party is when the revelers sing along with the band or music playing. For a party, you provide catering, wine, beer and other drinks, and music. Over a hundred people do this weekly in Lagos. Yorubas have a mini carnival every weekend - The beauty of the Yoruba Language from the mouth of an expert - the cadences, the lyrics, are legendary.

The Orikis, which to the uninitiated, sound like a different language, depict the historical antecedents, particularly their ancestry, and achievements of the respective families; and the average Yoruba man and woman are keenly aware of their history, and they follow the orikis of their families. These Orikis many times correct facts, and their interpretations do help to clear misunderstandings, as well as erase misrepresentations about people and their families. Sometimes mischievous, praise singers, in reciting the Orikis, would say something less complimentary about a person's ancestor, especially if the member of the families is parsimonious to the singer.

Yorubas have brought Theatre Arts to the ghettos where the ordinary people live. Many praise singers are careerists - this is all they do. There are professional masters and mistresses of ceremonies, at traditional weddings, wake keeping, receptions after burials. The late M.K.O. Abiola told us that he paid his school fees through being a professional street singer.

The depth of some of the dialects of the Yoruba Language, in some respects, is similar to those of the Ibo Language. Many Igbos from Nsukka, Afikpo, Owerri, Abriba when they speak their dialects. etc are not understood by other Igbos. But the Nsukka, Afikpo, Owerri people are able to step down a gear to union Ibo to be understood.
Among the Yorubas, the Ijebus, the Ekitis, the Ondos speak a brand of Yoruba which is unintelligible to the uninitiated. But they can switch to what can be called, the Union Yoruba, which is spoken by the people of Oyo, Oshogbo, Ogbomosho, and Ibadan, to be understood. (Probably the analogy will be the Queen's English and the Cockney of East London, or the Scottish Language. I must confess that I do not always understand what they say).

Among the Yorubas, there is an incredible network of information as to where the parties are: musicians like Christmas or other traditional events/occasions, rather than a designated Party as such. Uninvited musicians only come to facilitate with important people only on such ceremonial occasions, area boys, etc., flock to these venues, adding the element of unpredictability to a joyous occasion. Sometimes, the situation gets too boisterous as each singing group tries to occupy and retain his territory.

Of course, there are other ethnic groups who also do what the Yorubas do - but not as lavish or as common as the Yorubas. A good Yoruba socialite has, at least, three or four parties to go to every weekend. Some of these occasions demand three or four Aso Ebis, e.g., a funeral, may demand one Aso Ebi for the Service of Songs, one for the Burial (that is, the Church and the Interment); one for the Reception after the Burial, and another for the Outing Ceremony. It is not unusual for a family to have a party some years after the patriarch's or matriarch's demise; the excuse, is that the dead person has been lying in one position for too long, and he or she has to be turned to another side!!

The male Yorubas in this kaleidiscop of colour and cacophony of noise at parties come out in simple white Sokoto (trousers) and jumper or even white Agbada. The only concession they make is a head gear, cap that is the Aso oke. The Italians or French invented the chutch bag.

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...”


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