Friday, July 27, 2012

Different shades of black...

 Last week I went with my husband to see some house agents and check out what houses were available, when we got to Ogba, we picked up an agent and headed for the first check. On our way the guy went "err oga o, where are you from again?" and my husband abruptly stepped on the brakes and yelled "oh not again". I got confused and turned to look at the agent to perhaps see if I could get an explanation but he simply turned away. I tapped my hubby, "what's going on? he only asked a question, why did you yell?" I was shocked at my husband's response. "Its not just a question, some landlords won't rent out houses to Igbos", to say that I was dazed is to put it lightly. I never ever imagined a thing like this going on in Lagos kwa!  I heard that even when the person is yoruba, some landlords want to know what state or area in particular. There's the discrimantion against the Ekitis and Ijebus....Ekiti because they are over educated and can not be manipulated, the Ijebus cos they are very similar to the Igbos in character. For real?!!!   And yet we are all blacks, all Africans, one Nigeria! 

While I was ranting and getting all worked up my husband said "look this thing is everywhere including the Igbos cos while we may not fight the non-igbos, we fight ourselves". He went on to remind me all the drama that surrounded our getting married for the simple fact that we don't come from the same part of Igbo land. My dad for instance seems to have this major phobia for my husband's people, and my hubby's own people hardly allow their children marry outsiders. Its such a big issue that we have one thing or the other against ourselves. The table below explains how we've stereotyped ourselves in Igbo land

Their women are domineering and unsubmissive. The men are traders and hardly go to school
Ngwa (Abia State)
Owerri, Mbaitoli, Ikeduru (Imo State)
Their women are loose and wayward, hardly last in marriage. The men are 419ners i.e. Ikeduru
Abiriba (Abia State)
Diabolic, polygamous, drug dealers and little or no respect for women
Mbaise (Imo State)
Greedy, slimy, crafty
Nsukka (Enugu State)
Local, timid
Local, timid
Mbano (Imo)
Dirty and Vulgar

And you know the funny thing? The Mbaise man will forget what he is 'known' for and discriminate against the 'Ngwa' man, which makes me wonder.  While there may be some truth to these perceptions we have of ourselves, it is silly to think that everyone is like that. Can we just love ourselves and push these things aside? is it possible that we can pretend that no one is perfect and accept one another? is it possible? Yes it is! it begins with you and I.

Nigeria is far from being one...we may be Africans, Nigerians, blacks and all, but our shades of black differ.


  1. our problems are too many in this country mcheew

  2. Lovely piece n so true

  3. totally unacceptable but then...who are d dirty ones really???lol, the truth is, they see igbos as proud simply because an igbo man would rather be true to you in the face, than smile with you and be an hypocrite....these things happen and i am so not surprised...even in the office, segregation just because you are not from ones state..

  4. The funny thing is that I was just having this discussion with some friends last Tuesday. We were talking about the fact that we barely stick together as Igbos. However, our Benin friend married to a Yoruba guy was stating that it's a culturally universal issue. Ironically, she thinks Igbos are a bit more straightforward in that they tell you how they feel upfront without stabbing you in the back.

    I guess these might be unfortunate consequences resulting from the Biafran War (an event that needs to be acknowledged as a genocide): people coming together to achieve a goal, but falling into distrust because of the way things ended. We have to do so much better as Igbos, but even more so as Nigerians. If not, there is absolutely no way forward for us AT ALL. That's a really messed up situation to go through, though.

  5. Quite an interesting piece. In my opinion, we have a responsibility to our children to disabuse their minds from such rubbish. One sure way of doing this is to choose on our own to del with each person as a separate individual, regardless of tribe or beliefs.

    This way, our children see in us the examples to be followed when dealing with others, regardless of their origin.

  6. This to me is pure ignorance in the name of culture.I v made up my mind to deal with people as an individual n not generalize based on tribal beliefs cos every tribe has both d good,bad n in-between people,nobody was created with a specific ethnic grp gene just the mere fact that you were born into it of which u did not choose to.Am afraid that this has come to stay but we hope our generation will try its best to salvage this myths.

  7. I'm shocked. This is happening in nigeria years after the war? I cant get my head around this a all

  8. this is the very root of our problems in Africa. we sold our brothers to white men, now we sell ourselves to ourselves at nothing!

  9. Quite true dear. Had the same experience not once but twice when we were house hunting. Found this lovely place that we were ready to take but couldnt cos the landlord dnt want Igbos leaving in his house. But the issue about Igbos discriminating amongst themselves,I will term it unity in diversity. Afterall, we have seen so many unions involving people from different states/parts in Igbo land work out. These myths/beliefs will always be there, it is now left for us as individuals to try and make a change.
    Taking about myths, watcha say about the Osu caste system

  10. I have heard about the discrimination between we igbos. My popc does not take it lightly. As for the landlords not willing to rent to certain tribes, i also heard some landlords don't rent their homes to certain religious groups. They don't want their tenants praying loudly and disturbing the peace of the compound.

  11. To think that all the inter tribal marriages happening. Left right and center would ease all tthia distrust. We habeas about each other boy was i wrong . Be mindful how you treat the next person at the rate we are going they just be your inlaw

  12. OMG Hahaha I can't even deal with these Igbo stereotypes.

    Here's the thing, I guess normal people would immediately be upset, but as someone who is currently researching Igbo history and traditional culture, I think my next step is going to be discovering the grain of truth behind these stereotypes and comparing them to people's actual lives and experiences to see how true or how false they are.

  13. Are you serious about the landlords and their bias? Na wa o. I have also heard about the stereotypes and I wonder when we will move on...

  14. surprised????? i am not at all, same thing had happened to my mum, she practically had to be speaking yoruba dialect to convince the landlord and all, we keep saying the northerner are the problem, its everywhere, even at place of work, its Nigerians wats the way forward,

  15. cant believe this happens in 9ja