It is almost impossible to attend a Yoruba traditional marriage or any traditional Yoruba ceremony and see the celebrants wearing non-Yoruba clothes. The same thing happens among the Hausas or Fulanis or Kanuris or Tivs or Urbobos or Edos or Efiks or Ijaws.

But it is not unusual to see Igbo celebrants proudly wearing Yoruba clothes or Benin clothes or Hausa clothes at a traditional Igbo event.

In universities in the East, Igbos who live in Lagos or the North proudly chat with one another in Yoruba or Hausa to show other Igbos that they are well travelled and “foreign,” while those who speak Igbo are “local.”

When other Nigerians speak their language in the midst of others or display their culture, they are hailed as culturally conscious, but when Igbos speak their language or display their culture, they are afraid of being criticised for being “clannish.”

The Civi War dealt a terrible blow on the Igbo psyche. For fear of being seen as “Igbotic,” Igbos try too much to prove to other Nigerians that they are not “clannish” or “tribalistic.”

Igbos always want to apologize for their Igboness through their words and deeds. Igbos always try to “belong.” Igbos always want other Nigerians to endorse them as “detribalised.”

Thankfully, a new generation that is culturally conscious is coming up and resisting that.

©Azuka Onwuka

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