Inter-tribal marriages exist in Nigeria and a lot of them are strained under tension.
A lot of us have been taught different stereotypes about various ethnic groups from childhood. Our parents tell us that certain ethnic groups have a particular kind of behaviour.
They often forget that human beings make up ethnic groups, so the behaviour of one person cannot determine everyone’s behaviour. Discussions like this are never brought up at home.
If you put a group of very young children into a class and give them a task, they will work together to complete it without asking the tribes they are from or the languages they speak. We are either infused with this spirit of disparity or shaped by the encounters we have with these people.
This tribalistic disparity has affected so many things in Nigeria, but marriages seem to suffer the most. Inter-tribal marriages were forbidden in the past. A Yoruba man couldn’t marry an Igbo girl. An Igbo man can’t think of marrying a Hausa lady, even if religion is on their side.
I am from Rivers State, and we are a conglomeration of different tribes, tongues, and languages coming together to form a state. A lot of us aren’t even comfortable marrying tribes within the state.
Although, with the level of awareness and enlightenment that’s springing up in our country, the level of hatred seems to be waning off little by little, but it’s not enough. It’s not enough until we start teaching ourselves to love human beings through the content of their character rather than their ethnic background.
It’s not enough until our political system stops disregarding certain ethnic groups and placing others on a pedestal.
You may be wondering, “Why is there so much hatred on inter-tribal marriages?”
Here are four logical reasons:
1. Childhood experiences and social stereotypes
As we grew older, we sowed seeds of discord and hatred amongst ourselves either directly or indirectly through our parents. We didn’t know our seat mate was from a different tribe. We didn’t know our best friend spoke a different language in their tribe. All we knew was friendship. We didn’t know that inter-tribal marriages were a thing.
Suddenly, when Mr. Chike beats his wife, all Anambra men are wife beaters. When Mr. Tony cheats on his wife, all Edo men are cheaters. People conform based on their experiences.
We know you bought expensive asoebi on their wedding, but not all men are scum. If you believe that all men are, you will always meet scum.
Speaking of identities…
2. Tribal identities
Our parents believed so much in marrying from the same tribe because they couldn’t afford to travel long distances or communicate with their loved ones far away. But in this age of modern technology, time and distance is no longer a barrier.
Unfortunately, the notion has stuck with them. They feel that the person that enters their life must be one that resonates with their culture. But one of the characteristics of culture is that it’s adaptable. These external people will learn if you give them the chance. You can make your inter-tribal marriage work.
3. Democratic processes in Nigeria weaken inter-tribal marriages
The economic and political structure of the country allocates so much to a few and so little to others. Even within states that speak different languages, this issue occurs. This helps to instigate hatred amongst these ethnic groups that may probably quench whatever love interests that may spring up.
Inter-tribal marriages will always suffer if there is no equal economic and political structure. There will always be bias.
Do you want to talk about the issue that springs up when Nigerian men/women want to marry whites?
Let’s not even go there…
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