Marriage between Ngozi Adamu & Adewale Okonkwo

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Marriage between Ngozi Adamu & Adewale Okonkwo

Postby Richard Akindele » Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:18 pm

Is Nigeria one nation? Or is it merely a collection of disparate tribes?

If Nigeria is one nation, what makes it such?

Consider the following names...

Adewale Okonkwo
Jummai Adesanya
Garba Okafor
Okechukwu Oladapo
Olufemi Danladi
Yakubu Okeke
Ngozi Danjuma

All of the above are Nigerian names. But there is something irregular about them, which is that they are a strange set. Strange because such combination of names are as rare as hen's teeth. These are names from 3 major Nigerian tribes: Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba.

These three tribes rarely inter-marry. It's more likely to find a Nigerian married to a Caucasian, than to a fellow Nigerian of a different tribe.

So I once again ask, is Nigeria one nation, or just a collection of disparate tribes?

When will a Kanuri marry a Fulani without raising eyebrows? When will an Igbo man be able to marry a Yoruba woman without causing major uproar among family members?

It's not marriage alone between tribes that is a problem. Marriages between people of different religious beliefs are also a rarity.

Christians and Muslims generally want to be married to people of the same faith. A particularly visceral reaction is seen from Muslims when their child wishes to be married to somebody of another religion.

Besides tribal and religious differences, we all are Nigerians. I personally believe that Love should be the utmost measure of who marries whom.

Another criteria Nigerian parents use to determine who their children marry, is class. Class differences is up there with tribe and religion.

One of the primary questions parents ask when their son or daughter brings somebody home, is who the suitor's parents are and what they do. If it's determined that you're just a regular Joe, with the exception of a few cases, you'd be immediately rejected. It does not matter that deep mutual love exists between you and your friend/fiancee. Conversely, if you bring home a wealthy suitor, he or she is likely to gain acceptance, simply for the high class.

Some parents go to the extent of employing spiritual powers to break the bond that exists between their child and the suitor, to keep a marriage from taking place.

You may think that discrimination only exists between major tribes as outlined above. But you would be surprised to find out that the battle can be as intense even between people of the same tribe, but of different dialects.

Take Yoruba language as an example. Let's take two different dialects of the Yoruba language - Ijebu, and Ilorin. You would look hard and long to find people from such dialects living as married couples. An Ijebu and Ilorin is likely to be married to an Ijebu and Ilorin respectively.

Furthermore, people from big cities often don't want their children getting married to small town/village dwellers.

All the scenarios presented so far, i.e. tribe, religion, class, could lead to a child being disowned or ostracized from a family, if he or she goes against family wishes.

If we look at a nation like the USA, we will find that similar situation exists to some extent. But it's usually between different races, as opposed to tribes. However, the stigma is ever so slowly melting away. The same cannot be said to be happening among Nigerians, who are often fervent about who their children marry.

We have a long way to go on the road toward becoming one nation. Nigerians need to be enlightened that above wealth, tribe, and religion, stands Love.

Perhaps more importantly, we must remember that the more we inter-marry in Nigeria, the stronger the various family ties become.

If you are an Igbo, who has nephews and nieces who are half Yoruba, perhaps you'd be less inclined to discriminate against Yoruba people. In the same vein, if you're a Hausa Muslim, whose sister is married to an Igbo christian, maybe that would serve as a reason to see Igbo as family rather than a stranger.

The more blood relations we have from other tribes, the closer Nigeria gets to oneness.
Richard Akindele
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