The ethnic groups in Nigeria are over three hundred and each of them has a distinct social custom, belief and language which are very important to the group. In Northern Nigeria, there are three major ethnic groups namely: the Kanuri in the north-eastern area of Lake Chad and north-central area, the Fulani who are scattered all over the northern region and the Middle Belt which is around rivers Niger and Benue. In this, are small ethnic groups such as the Tiv, Igala, Idoma, Chambaetc.
In the South; we have the south-east which comprises of the Igbos, Efiks and Ibibios and also the south-west, where the Yorubas and Edos are. What makes the culture unique is their identity and organization before the Europeans came.
- Discuss what makes Nigerian culture unique.
- Mention the ethnic groups found in the south-east.
The Yoruba Ethnic Group
Oduduwa is agreed to be the progenitor of Yoruba race. He had a son, Akanbi, who later gave birth to the seven founders of important towns in Yorubaland namely Owu, Sabe, Popo, Ila, Ketu, Oyo and Benin.
Yoruba people are mostly city-dwellers and there are different Yoruba dialect speaking groups like Ijesha, Ekiti, Ijebu, Egba etc.
Before the advent of the White man to Nigeria, Yoruba people operated a monarchical system of government. They are predominantly farmers, hunters and warriors. They worshipped gods such as Ogun, Sango, Yemoja. Osun, Obatala etc.
The Hausa Ethnic Group
According to the legendary account, one BayajidaAbuyazid, a prince of Baghdad, helped the people of Daura to kill an evil snake that had been preventing them from fetching water from their central well.
Based on this exploit, he married the queen of Daura and they later gave birth to seven children who became the founders of the original Hausa towns; Daura, Kastina, Kano, Biram, Rano, Gobir and Zaria. They are predominantly muslims and farmers.
The Igbo Ethnic Group
Though there are many versions of origin, the one popularly referred to is the Nri Version ‘that talked of the first man being Eri. He had two wives – Nono and Oboli. Nono gave birth to five children who founded the present day Anambra, Imo, Enugu, Abia, and Ebonyi states while Oboli had only one issue who happened to be the progenitor of Igala people of Kogi state’.
Their traditional political system is democratic in nature. They are farmers, traders, fishers, weavers etc. they observe their traditional festivals especially at the village level.
- What are the changes brought about in our culture by the coming of the White to Nigeria?
- State the differences between your culture and that of your friend from another culture.
GENERAL EVALUATION/REVISION QUESTIONS
- List ten ethnic groups in Nigeria.
- State the original seven Hausa towns.
- In a tabular format, give three differences of primary and secondary social groups.
- One of the following gives Nigerian cultures its uniqueness (a) ethnicity (b) organization (c) rivers (d) landmass.
- How many major ethnic groups are in Northern Nigeria? (a) Two (b) Three (c) Four (d) Five.
- Ijesha speaking people are from which state? (a) Oyo (b) Osun (c) Ekiti (d) Ijesha.
- Before the arrival of the European, the Yoruba operated _______ system of government. (a) republican (b) monarchical (c) democratic (d) gentocracy.
- The sons of Oduduwa founded Owu, Sabe, Popo, Ila, Ketu, Oyo and Benin? Yes or NO?
- Trace briefly the origin of the Hausa ethnic group.
- List the ethnic groups in South-East.
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