Nigerian ethnic groups are large, diverse, and unique in their way. Nigeria is such a multi-dimensional country that it’s hard to believe that we aren’t all from the same place in Nigeria.
However, tribalism and various religious differences have eaten deep into our unity as a nation. We can’t relate with ourselves well based on either tribal or religious differences. If you aren’t part of the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria (Igbo, Hausa, and Yoruba), it’s as though you’re non-existent.
Even within the three major tribes, there are several divisive lines that aren’t clear to the public. But that’s wrong. If we must move forward as a nation, we have to eliminate these lines.
Let’s think of Nigeria as a human body. We wouldn’t function effectively if different body parts began to see themselves as superior or indifferent to each other. We need to understand that good or evil isn’t the property of any tribal group.
Now, I hear what you say. There are some tribal groups that have a peculiar behavior amongst them. When you hear of them, your mind quickly delves to that thing. These stereotypes largely affect marital lives. A lot of parents don’t consider your background or character as long as you’re from a place they don’t agree with.
Here are some major stereotypes about different Nigerian ethnic groups. Feel free to add yours in the comment section and let me know what you think.
What stereotypes pop up when a tribe is mentioned?
- Igbo stereotypes:
Igbo Kwenu! Kwenu!! Kweze nu ohh!!!
There are three major tribes in Nigeria- Igbo, Hausa, and Yoruba. People outside Nigeria tend to fix everyone into these major groups subconsciously.
I love the Igbo people. Most of them are very hardworking and industrious people who have made names for themselves across the globe in different industries. The stereotypes people have about them are not about the tribe, but the individual communities.
I’ve been privileged to be around lots of Igbo people. Even amongst themselves, they are very skeptical towards certain Igbo communities.
One of the major misconceptions people have about them is their wealth. A lot of Igbo people (especially Anambra and Enugu men) are very wealthy, so people attribute it to oju ego (rituals). This fact has been fostered by decades of ritualistic Nollywood movies, and that there are several mansions in Igbo villages that are only occupied during December.
Another thing that other tribes feel is that Igbo people love money, or are very money-conscious. The question I often ask is, “What are they supposed to like? Goodness and mercy?”
I’m not talking about an excessive desire for money and wealth. If you want to be rich and are working “legally” to get it, there is nothing wrong with that.
Also, other tribes believe that Igbo women are very authoritative or manipulative. Again, this has been attributed to several Nollywood movies and a few women whose families have blown their cases out of proportion.
You can’t use the case of a few to judge the majority. You’d judge wrongly.
People think differently about this group. But I can tell you that they have been very influential to making this country rise above the criticisms, corruption, and bad leadership. They have set a standard in various industries, but most importantly, in media and entertainment.
What do people think about Yoruba people?
We know they are the pepper gang. I know a lot of Yoruba people that can make stew and you can’t tell the difference between that and pepper sauce. It’s insane. We have also tagged their men as “demons” because of several heartbreak reports flying here and there. Lol.
So, often people will make jokes about it and say, “If his name is Femi, run for your dear life”.
They’re caught between business and politics. This tribe is one that deeply values its traditional roots and respect is at its core.
Lastly, people have this belief that Yoruba people are dirty, but that’s a lie. They are very neat people, especially the rich and/or educated ones.
The power brokers of Nigeria.
People are scared of going to the north because of the various violence and insecurity reports they hear, and their fears are valid.
When a southerner meets a northerner, the first thing that divides them is religion (note that this is vice versa). People believe that they are very violent, but a lot of them are easygoing and friendly. The educated and exposed ones are very reasonable and relatable.
When someone says he’s from the north, everyone assumes he/she is Hausa. But there are several other tribes within, and that’s a story for another day.
Plus, their brides are one-of-a-kind.
- Akwa Ibom/Calabar
The “yunction” people, made popular by Nollywood movies. The gateman or security official has to have an akwa-ibom or calabar accent, or that movie hasn’t started.
One thing people praise this tribe for is their food. Their native soups are to die for, especially Afang. A lot of good cooks come from this tribe.
Also, it’s hard to differentiate between a Calabar and Akwa Ibom person. The similarities are just too striking, especially when it comes to their accents.
Furthermore, people are scared of their women. Major experiences have taught people to look at their women with a third eye. Some tribes believe that they are either fetish, manipulative, or can’t stick to their husband’s houses.
Regardless, it doesn’t count for everyone. Everyone plays out according to his/her unique background, not tribal sentiments.
- Port Harcourt
Note that I didn’t put Rivers state. I’m very specific about Port Harcourt. People love this city because it is like the low-budget version of Lagos. it has a fair share of opportunities, less traffic compared to Lagos, and a serene environment for businesses.
This city isn’t for the faint of hearts. They have a specific language that reeks of violence and destruction. If you haven’t lived in PH, you’d think they are speaking gibberish. Although certain parts of PH are known for violence, cultist attacks, and rough thugs, it’s not as bad as people think. Port Harcourt residents are quite calm
One major foodmark is Bole. Their Bole is to die for!
These states aren’t so known but aren’t so obscure either. But people believe that these places are full of rough and violent people, men and women included. In fact, Warri people use their place of origin to challenge others
“I be Warri person o. No try me”
It’s almost like a thing of pride.
Does your behavior automatically give your tribe away? Take this quiz to guess what tribe you’re from
What other stereotypes do you know? What other tribes did I leave out?
Leave a comment below. Don’t forget to share with family and friends.