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Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? - Culture - Nairaland

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Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by Antivirus92(m): 9:42am On Oct 24, 2012
Please how do you view the word "IGBO"?. To you is it a tribe or a nation and give ur reason(s). Please mature comments. No tribalism/ethnicism,bashing,insults. Don't make unnecessary comments.
Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by Afam4eva(m): 10:31am On Oct 24, 2012
Igbo is a Nation or an Ethnic group and not a Tribe. Even Ngwa is not a Tribe but an ethnic group. You can consider one of Ngwa clans as a Tribe though.

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Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by Antivirus92(m): 10:44am On Oct 24, 2012
afam4eva: Igbo is a Nation or an Ethnic group and not a Tribe. Even Ngwa is not a Tribe but an ethnic group. You can consider one of Ngwa clans as a Tribe though.
what's the difference between a tribe and a nation/ethnic group. Do they(tribe and ethnic group/nation) have a relationship? I thought ngwa is igbo and according to you igbo is an ethnic group. How can ngwa be an ethnic group inside the igbo ethnic group? Or are they on their own?
Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by Afam4eva(m): 10:52am On Oct 24, 2012
Antivirus92: what's the difference between a tribe and a nation/ethnic group. Do they(tribe and ethnic group/nation) have a relationship? I thought ngwa is igbo and according to you igbo is an ethnic group. How can ngwa be an ethnic group inside the igbo ethnic group? Or are they on their own?
A tribe is usually a set of people with the same custom and traditions with no glaring difference. While on the other hand, an Ethnic Group(Nation) is a collection of people from different tribes with similar but not totally the same idiosyncrasies. Igbo is an example of an ethnic group because it is a combination of tribes or smaller ethnic groups eg Nkanu, Onitsha, Ngwa, Owerri, Ikwerre etc. TRibes like Ngwa, Ikwerre etc can also be classified as a mini ethnic groups because they're not totally homogenous in nature.

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Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by Antivirus92(m): 11:10am On Oct 24, 2012
afam4eva:
A tribe is usually a set of people with the same custom and traditions with no glaring difference. While on the other hand, an Ethnic Group(Nation) is a collection of people from different tribes with similar but not totally the same idiosyncrasies. Igbo is an example of an ethnic group because it is a combination of tribes or smaller ethnic groups eg Nkanu, Onitsha, Ngwa, Owerri, Ikwerre etc. TRibes like Ngwa, Ikwerre etc can also be classified as a mini ethnic groups because they're not totally homogenous in nature.
are there glaring differences in igbo culture? Please name about 5 to 10 of them.
Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by Afam4eva(m): 11:20am On Oct 24, 2012
Antivirus92: are there glaring differences in igbo culture? Please name about 5 to 10 of them.
Differences can be seen in dialects

it can be seen in the clothing worn by different Igbo groups.

It can be seen in behaviors of the different Igbo groups. The typical behavior of an Anambra man is different from those of an Ngwa man.

It can be seen in customs. Different Igbo communities have customs and traditions that are peculiar to them.

There are so many differences like that.
Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by Antivirus92(m): 11:39am On Oct 24, 2012
afam4eva:
Differences can be seen in dialects

it can be seen in the clothing worn by different Igbo groups.

It can be seen in behaviors of the different Igbo groups. The typical behavior of an Anambra man is different from those of an Ngwa man.

It can be seen in customs. Different Igbo communities have customs and traditions that are peculiar to them.

There are so many differences like that.
in ur family, i know u have sibblings but do all you behave exactly alike? In a family of six, one fights alot, the other very calm etc. On dialect issue, as people advance further away from home, their tongue seems to change from little to noticeable,its natural! On clothe issue, only igbo groups in the extreme(boarders) have slight noticeable difference in the mode of dressing because of the influence of their non-igbo neighbours,eg aro,ngwa,onitsha etc. On custom, the basic igbo customs,tradition,culture are the same. Eg receiving a visitor with kolanut, circumsition of babies on the 8th day, four market days(eke,oye,afo,nkwo),recognising and celebrating yam as the chief harvest,believe in chi etc. Sometimes what we call differences aren't really differences,eg an aro man celebrate ikeji in the name of new yam,nnewi afiajioku, awka awam ji but because of their different names, we think that they are different forgeting that they are all dedicated to one thing, YAM. And in english they all means"new yam festival"

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Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by ChinenyeN(m): 1:54pm On Oct 24, 2012
Antivirus92: Please how do you view the word "IGBO"?. To you is it a tribe or a nation and give ur reason(s). Please mature comments. No tribalism/ethnicism,bashing,insults. Don't make unnecessary comments.
Word or the people? If it is about how I view the word "Igbo", then my answer is simple. I view it as a convenient classification.
If it is about how I view the people, continue to read the below.

I would not call Igbo a tribe, simply because classification as "Igbo" cuts extensively across related, unrelated communities, some of which are known, many of which are unheard of.

I'm hard-pressed to call Igbo a nation, because the collective consciousness that goes with being a nation is simply not there (or if it is there, it is virtually null). Example: Being called "Igbo" does not grant you birthright or citizenship in any part of Ngwa, Ikwere, Aro, etc. etc.

Then there is ethnic group. Ethnic group and nation, though very much connected, are really not the same thing, but they are sometimes used together. The defining feature of ethnic groups is that unique self-awareness. Staying within the scope of this discussion, you would recognize said self-awareness to be "clannishness" (as it has been so popularly termed by "Igboists" ). I understand Igbo to be a very loose, very very, extremely loose ethnic group, if anything; a loose connection of ethnic groups.
Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by Antivirus92(m): 3:17pm On Oct 24, 2012
ChinenyeN:
Word or the people? If it is about how I view the word "Igbo", then my answer is simple. I view it as a convenient classification.
If it is about how I view the people, continue to read the below.

I would not call Igbo a tribe, simply because classification as "Igbo" cuts extensively across related, unrelated communities, some of which are known, many of which are unheard of.

I'm hard-pressed to call Igbo a nation, because the collective consciousness that goes with being a nation is simply not there (or if it is there, it is virtually null). Example: Being called "Igbo" does not grant you birthright or citizenship in any part of Ngwa, Ikwere, Aro, etc. etc.

Then there is ethnic group. Ethnic group and nation, though very much connected, are really not the same thing, but they are sometimes used together. The defining feature of ethnic groups is that unique self-awareness. Staying within the scope of this discussion, you would recognize said self-awareness to be "clannishness" (as it has been so popularly termed by "Igboists" ). I understand Igbo to be a very loose, very very, extremely loose ethnic group, if anything; a loose connection of ethnic groups.
please simplify. You complicated issues. How can unrelated/different groups of people fall under one umbrella. There must be a memorandum of agreement. Do igbos have it?
Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by ChinenyeN(m): 3:36pm On Oct 24, 2012
Nothing in that statement is complicated. Related and unrelated groups. Some communities are related to some and not related to others; most communities have no claims of kinship or ancestry with other Igbo communities. Is that more comprehensible?
Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by Abagworo(m): 4:51pm On Oct 24, 2012
Igbo is an ethnic group defined by language similarity that cuts across all parts and the importance of "Ala" and "Chi" amongst all parts. As at 1966,even with all the differences, the ethnic consciousness of Igbo had no crack but the effects of the war and the aftermath of the post war policies that made being Igbo a disadvantage in the Nigerian polity caused the sudden emphasis on our differences and fabrication of false history to gain acceptance among other Nigerians.

Once you speak Igbo language and believe in "Ala" and "Chi", then you are an Igbo.


That said, there exists a lot of differences in Igbo culture with regards to geographical location. I've often had issues with other Igbos because I tend to use the terms "Northern Igbo" and "Southern Igbo". There is also Eastern Igbo and Western Igbo. The Southern Igbos use "dee", "daa", "ndaa" to address elder ones, while the North does not. The Ozo title is either strange or a bit recent in much of the South. The South and East has little Nri influence while the North and West has much Nri influence. The differences are much but the similarities are much as well.

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Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by Nobody: 5:39pm On Oct 24, 2012
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Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by Nobody: 5:49pm On Oct 24, 2012
For me, it's just a figment of the white man's imagination, a european invention. For example, there's nothing in common between me an ngwa man and ,say, a man from anambra, enugu, etc. The mentality is different, the values and goals in life are completely at variance.

There's every indication though that the original/actual Igbo people before the broad generalization by europeans still exist today.

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Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by Antivirus92(m): 6:26pm On Oct 24, 2012
mbatuku2: For me, it's just a figment of the white man's imagination, a european invention. For example, there's nothing in common between me an ngwa man and ,say, a man from anambra, enugu, etc. The mentality is different, the values and goals in life are completely at variance.

There's every indication though that the original/actual Igbo people before the broad generalization by europeans still exist today.
how are you sure that there are original igbos? Like where can you find them.
Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by Antivirus92(m): 6:30pm On Oct 24, 2012
Abagworo: Igbo is an ethnic group defined by language similarity that cuts across all parts and the importance of "Ala" and "Chi" amongst all parts. As at 1966,even with all the differences, the ethnic consciousness of Igbo had no crack but the effects of the war and the aftermath of the post war policies that made being Igbo a disadvantage in the Nigerian polity caused the sudden emphasis on our differences and fabrication of false history to gain acceptance among other Nigerians.

Once you speak Igbo language and believe in "Ala" and "Chi", then you are an Igbo.


That said, there exists a lot of differences in Igbo culture with regards to geographical location. I've often had issues with other Igbos because I tend to use the terms "Northern Igbo" and "Southern Igbo". There is also Eastern Igbo and Western Igbo. The Southern Igbos use "dee", "daa", "ndaa" to address elder ones, while the North does not. The Ozo title is either strange or a bit recent in much of the South. The South and East has little Nri influence while the North and West has much Nri influence. The differences are much but the similarities are much as well.
please can you sincerely explain how those different ethnicities later have similarities and please highlight more on the differences.
Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by odumchi: 9:32pm On Oct 24, 2012
mbatuku2: For me, it's just a figment of the white man's imagination, a european invention. For example, there's nothing in common between me an ngwa man and ,say, a man from anambra, enugu, etc. The mentality is different, the values and goals in life are completely at variance.

There's every indication though that the original/actual Igbo people before the broad generalization by europeans still exist today.

This is where I believe that most people go wrong. Saying that the Igbo are a collection of diverse and similar peoples who vary in traditions and language is one thing, but saying that they are utterly unrelated [as you are saying now] is another thing. The Igbo peoples cannot claim that there is absolutely nothing that holds them together or ties them to each other. We [Igbo people] each have liberty in celebrating our uniqueness but when we get carried away is when we try to emphasize our differences and have them overshadow our similarities.

For example, you (as an Ngwa) and I (as an Aro) share our fair share of linguistic and cultural differences. If we were to meet in the street and converse in the purest form of our dialects, we would find it hard to understand each other (save for the few words/speech patterns which are found throughout Abia groups). Despite this, there are several concepts that you and I (as Igbo) can wrap our heads around that others (non Igbo) cannot. For example, without prior discussion, you would know the significance of the terms Chi, Chukwu, Chi oma, Chi ojoo, Ali nmuo/Ala nmuo, Ekpo, Ekpe, Ovo/Ofo, Omugwo, and etc. It is things like this that make you and I members of the Igbo nation.

You said that the mentality/world views of Ngwa and Enugu groups are different, but let me draw a comparison. The Nike (an Enugu group) are very much similar to the Ngwa in terms of hospitality and their view of foreigners. I was told that the Ngwa are a very friendly and hospitable people. This was confirmed when a family member of mine visited a particular village in Ngwa land. She was recieved warmly by her husband's people (even though she was an Aro and Ngwa people are said not to think kindly of we Aro) and was showered with gifts and presents. She found the language slightly different from what she was accustomed to hearing, but eventually, as we say in Aro, "o were ya azi" (meaning she got used to it). In addition to this, she discovered that it was customary in that town (and maybe in the whole of Ngwa) to give presents to foreigners/visitors.

This hospitality is mirrored in the welcoming nature of the urbanized Ngwa (Aba) who offer land to foreigners in order for them to settle down. The Nike are also the same way since they generously hand out land to foreign groups who develop and "open up" their land. That is why Nike lands, like Ngwa lands in Abia, are among the fastest urbanizing areas of Ali Igbo.

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Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by ifyalways(f): 10:22pm On Oct 24, 2012
Lovely thread.hope it stays clean undecided
would make my own contribution morrow.

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Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by ChinenyeN(m): 10:54pm On Oct 24, 2012
mbatuku2: For me, it's just a figment of the white man's imagination, a european invention. For example, there's nothing in common between me an ngwa man and ,say, a man from anambra, enugu, etc. The mentality is different, the values and goals in life are completely at variance.

There's every indication though that the original/actual Igbo people before the broad generalization by europeans still exist today.

Well, the discussion doesn't seem particularly geared toward history. If we were discussing history though, then I would agree. "Igbo" is the product of European conceptualization. Regardless of the history, what seems evident right now is that irrespective of how an individual or a community may feel, the "Igbo" classification has become an established ethnic group.
Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by ChinenyeN(m): 11:04pm On Oct 24, 2012
After reading Odumchi and Mbatuku's posts, I believe we may need to take a step back and agree on how we're using the terms [un]related. For me, it's face value. I can, for instance, say that Ngwa and Nike are really unrelated. Ngwa doesn't recognize Nike and vice versa. There is no relationship between Ngwa and communities in Anambra. I could go on, but I'm sure you all get my point. That is my understanding and use of the terms [un]related.
Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by AndreUweh(m): 11:13pm On Oct 24, 2012
ChinenyeN: After reading Odumchi and Mbatuku's posts, I believe we may need to take a step back and agree on how we're using the terms [un]related. For me, it's face value. I can, for instance, say that Ngwa and Nike are really unrelated. Ngwa doesn't recognize Nike and vice versa. There is no relationship between Ngwa and communities in Anambra. I could go on, but I'm sure you all get my point. That is my understanding and use of the terms [un]related.
Probably, all these groups are related but for the fact we do not have a written culture, so it is difficult now to know how related we all are.
Nevertherless, we must not let unity elude us. United we stand and divided we fall.

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Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by Abagworo(m): 11:27pm On Oct 24, 2012
ChinenyeN: After reading Odumchi and Mbatuku's posts, I believe we may need to take a step back and agree on how we're using the terms [un]related. For me, it's face value. I can, for instance, say that Ngwa and Nike are really unrelated. Ngwa doesn't recognize Nike and vice versa. There is no relationship between Ngwa and communities in Anambra. I could go on, but I'm sure you all get my point. That is my understanding and use of the terms [un]related.

I disagree with you on this one. Igbos are actually related either by blood or assimilation. If you go through that my thread on "origin of various Igbo clans" , you will observe that many Igbo towns seem to have been linked by women rather than men. I sometimes have the feeling that early Igbos might have practised "ligamy". I read stories of "Iguedo" and "Oma" which linked many Igbo communities in Anambra and Imo States.

I have concluded that there is a missing link among Igbos caused by either a natural disaster, slave trade or a forgotten war. We cannot just start speaking one language when we are not related and there was no empire that ruled over us as a single entity. The "Ovo/Ofo/Oho n'ogu", "Oha/Ora","Ala/Ali/Ana/Ani", "Chi" and "Olu"(dialect) is what defines us and has always been there time immemorial.

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Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by ChinenyeN(m): 11:52pm On Oct 24, 2012
Abagworo, all of what you've said is circumstantial. You do not actually have conclusive proof of what you're saying. See, I'm not denying the general truth in your post, but at the same time, I do not see how you can conclude that we are related, based solely on inconclusive inference; particularly in the face of contradictory oral accounts.

For now, I still stand by my understanding and use of [un]related.
Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by ChinenyeN(m): 12:01am On Oct 25, 2012
Andre, you made a classic statement; we do not have a written culture. I've seen this used several times to substantiate inferences that would otherwise be inconclusive, and quite frankly it bothers me. It seems almost insulting to the intelligence and memory of our various ancestors, by strongly suggesting weak/null historical accounting, simply because literacy was not a prevalent aspect of our various societies.

Do note: I am not in any way accusing you of anything. I'm only using this moment and your statement as a medium to voice my concerns early, in case anyone might attempt to use such a statement later on in the discussion to substantiate anything that would otherwise be categorically inconclusive.
Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by Abagworo(m): 12:13am On Oct 25, 2012
ChinenyeN: Abagworo, all of what you've said is circumstantial. You do not actually have conclusive proof of what you're saying. See, I'm not denying the general truth in your post, but at the same time, I do not see how you can conclude that we are related, based solely on inconclusive inference; particularly in the face of contradictory oral accounts.

For now, I still stand by my understanding and use of [un]related.

There is no evidence that can be considered absolute but doesn't it amaze you that Nsukka, Afikpo, Anioma and Ikwerre which are the four poles of Igboland share those features while Annang, Okrika, Edo and Idoma which are direct neighbors of those polar Igbo groups are almost entirely free of those features? We cannot dismiss language as the strongest proven evidence of earliest interaction.
Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by pazienza(m): 2:04am On Oct 25, 2012
ChinenyeN: After reading Odumchi and Mbatuku's posts, I believe we may need to take a step back and agree on how we're using the terms [un]related. For me, it's face value. I can, for instance, say that Ngwa and Nike are really unrelated. Ngwa doesn't recognize Nike and vice versa. There is no relationship between Ngwa and communities in Anambra. I could go on, but I'm sure you all get my point. That is my understanding and use of the terms [un]related.

In the face of lack of written history,how exactly do you expect Nike and Ngwa to be certain of the connection between them. Can ngwa people trace their migration beyond owerri axis?
Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by ChinenyeN(m): 3:52am On Oct 25, 2012
pazienza: In the face of lack of written history, how exactly do you expect Nike and Ngwa to be certain of the connection between them. Can ngwa people trace their migration beyond owerri axis?

I just got through mentioning something about this.

ChinenyeN: Andre, you made a classic statement; we do not have a written culture. I've seen this used several times to substantiate inferences that would otherwise be inconclusive, and quite frankly it bothers me. It seems almost insulting to the intelligence and memory of our various ancestors, by strongly suggesting weak/null historical accounting, simply because literacy was not a prevalent aspect of our various societies.

Do note: I am not in any way accusing you of anything. I'm only using this moment and your statement as a medium to voice my concerns early, in case anyone might attempt to use such a statement later on in the discussion to substantiate anything that would otherwise be categorically inconclusive.

I really do not understand why people get so hung up on written history (or lack thereof).

Anyway, Pazienza, to answer your question, writing is not the only source of historical accounting. Oral traditions exist, and they can prove to be a very reliable source of historical accounting. Historian and anthropologist Jan Vansina said it well when he said that there is no reason to disparage oral traditions (paraphrasing), and that is what I feel you indirectly do when you get so hung up on written history. In the face of oral tradition, Ngwa and Nike can be certain of their connection (or lack thereof).
Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by ChinenyeN(m): 3:59am On Oct 25, 2012
Abagworo: There is no evidence that can be considered absolute but doesn't it amaze you that Nsukka, Afikpo, Anioma and Ikwerre which are the four poles of Igboland share those features while Annang, Okrika, Edo and Idoma which are direct neighbors of those polar Igbo groups are almost entirely free of those features? We cannot dismiss language as the strongest proven evidence of earliest interaction.

Abagworo, to an extent, it does amaze me, but it is still only circumstantial, and I, as an individual, cannot rightly bring myself to look at such circumstantial evidence and treat it as conclusive, in the context of this our discussion.
Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by odumchi: 4:12am On Oct 25, 2012
Chinenye, based on what I've seen, it seems as if, in this particular situation, your interpretation of the word "related" means sharing blood ties/ancestry.

As for me, it isn't the case. In my response to Mbatuku, "related" means sharing similar practices built around a central set of "building blocks" upon which the practices of the [Igbo] nation are founded.

These "building blocks" include (as Abagworo said): Ovo/ofo/owho, Igba afa/Igba aja, Ala/Ali/Ale/Ana/Ani, and etc). In the various culture zones, these basic beliefs have been expanded upon in varying degrees, resulting in certain beliefs and practices unique to certain zones/regions.

Here's a document that I believe would supplement what I wrote:http://books.google.com/books?id=LPqZQYiF4jEC&pg=PA15&lpg=PA12&ots=FCvZzcYgZn&dq=eze+aro&output=html_text
Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by ChinenyeN(m): 4:34am On Oct 25, 2012
Which definition will we be focusing on then, so that I may know to avoid confusion later on in this discussion? Because at this rate, we will end up having a fruitless discussion, as we will be discussing two different things.
Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by odumchi: 4:37am On Oct 25, 2012
It's well-established that blood-relations don't play much of a role in this particular discussion, so let's ignore it and focus on the alternative definition that I presented.
Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by ChinenyeN(m): 4:48am On Oct 25, 2012
I can work with that. It's late right now, but I will be sure to post a response to your post tomorrow.

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Re: Igbo: A Tribe Or A Nation? by Antivirus92(m): 7:21am On Oct 25, 2012
Andre Uweh:
Probably, all these groups are related but for the fact we do not have a written culture, so it is difficult now to know how related we all are.
Nevertherless, we must not let unity elude us. United we stand and divided we fall.
if i were to give a phd to somebody on nairaland. It should go to andrew uweh,nri priest and afam even though he misbehaves sometimes. How can unrelated groups of people without coming incontact with each other share the same language and custom. And no group among them colonised the other. Some people on nairaland are really ignorant.

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