Can The Igbo And Yoruba Tribes Ever Unite?

igbo yoruba unity

Can The Igbo And Yoruba Tribes Ever Unite?

And the Supreme Being commissioned Oduduwa, a “sky-god”, to carry out a terrestrial task; he descended from heaven with a cockerel which had six fingers. And the earth was made by him through the ingenious deployment of his avian subject. But that was after ‘Atewonro’ had sprinkled some dirt on the ocean to found Ile-Ife. And he had wives, and sons who founded other kingdoms. So the mythic origin of the Yoruba says.

In Igbo mythic origin, the Supreme Being sent Eri down to earth to establish balance and social order. The “sky-god” founded Nri, and he had wives, and sons who founded other Igbo towns and communities.

The Yoruba and the Igbo share a lot more than similar mythic origins. They are the oldest inhabitants of the areas they live in. In other words, the Yoruba and the Igbo are indigenous to the geographical area called Nigeria. And it has also been argued that both groups are of a singular ancestry.

The two groups have had established trade-links dating to the period before contact with the first Europeans. And they are known to share passion for industry; are convivial, accommodating and peace loving.

Also, there is no documented history of war between the Igbo and the Yoruba despite occupying the same “southern hemisphere”. In the precolonial times, wars among kingdoms and natives were common, but there appears to be no recorded incident of battle between the clans and kingdoms of the two groups.

In language, they are both of the Kwa-group Niger-Congo origin. The similarities between the Yoruba and the Igbo language are remarkable, if not uncanny, which point to an identical fount.

Despite having so much in common, politics has been a pesky point of dissonance for both groups. Though the Igbo and the Yoruba do not have a romantic political history; they have kept the dagger away from their rivalry.

The outcome of the Western Region elections of 1951, in which Nnamdi Azikiwe claimed he was sabotaged by Obafemi Awolowo, perhaps laid the molten magma of political rivalry between the two groups. Some associates of Azikiwe alleged that Awolowo, leader of the Action Group, bought over members of the NCNC, after they had won elections on the platform of the party in the Western Region, to scuttle Zik’s plan of being the leader of the regional assembly.

They also claimed that Awolowo scuttled Zik’s “one-Nigeria” agenda, and introduced tribal politics.

However, there is no proof to substantiate these claims. In fact, the allegation regarding Awolowo’s sabotage of Zik was disproved by the colonial government at the time.

So, over the years, stories have been revised and passed down to generations who do not probe the information but hold it as a grudge against the other.

Most young people trading hate on social media cannot actually say their grievance against those they are tugging with, except to echo the refrain of revised stories handed down to them and to act on stereotypes they have been socialised by.

But can the Igbo and the Yoruba ever unite? Yes, they can. And they will. There will come a time when there is no option, but for them to hold each other in a warm embrace as “descendants of sky-gods.”

There will come that time.

By Fredrick Nwabufo, fredricknwabufo@yahoo.com

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9 thoughts on “Can The Igbo And Yoruba Tribes Ever Unite?

  1. That can never happen.These 2 tribes hates each other too much for unity to happen
    Especially the ibos.

  2. If the issue started from 1951, there are many people who were born before then and can still testify to Pa. Awo’s role, but it must have started before then.

    But the truth of the matter is, Igbos do not hide their feelings just like Yorubas do, you can call it diplomatic or civil but that’s deceitfulness, this makes Yorubas to see Igbos as arrogant people and domineering.

    Igbo man is always business minded and practical in nature, never rely on anybody except his/her God but it does not mean he/she do not accept help from anybody, takes every agreement serious, written or oral, and if you eventually go against it without certified explanation and apology, he can do anything at that moment.
    Yorubas in the other way round are very jolly people who love good things also but are not too competitive in nature like the Igbos.

    The hatred between them are planted by the British because if they can come together, then there will be a better Nigeria which i don’t see happening soon because Yorubas play much on identity politics.
    I can be wrong but that’s my observations.

  3. one is industrious and welcoming and the other is vengeful and lazy.one believes in exploration,the other believe in being in their domain to maintain.Both can work things out,remove bad blood generated by their ancestors but doubt if it will happen in this century.infact the north loves the animosity and uses it to thrive in national politics.lets us revert to regional government and that is when everyone will appreciate each other.

    • Mr. iron bar, stop deceiving yourself and also stop the proliferation of anachronistic myths. All the characteristics you mentioned are intrinsic nature of humanity, maybe you need to take some classes in anthropology,sociology and history. Yorubas are the most accommodating people in Nigeria, we saved thousands of Ibo lives during Biafra war by hiding them. Also check it out on YouTube: Nigeria in the 40’s by the British, you will see how they rated the Yorubas without bias. We are too well-lettered to be throwing darts at each, let us unite and shame our common enemies.

  4. I felt the source unity that my country need lies in the hand of the Igbo’s and the Yoruba’s, but the Civilised, British or Western world rely know about this, that once the Igbo’s and Yoruba’s can unite then liberation has come to Africa as a whole and that is why they tend to promote every thing that tend to divide us. I never see this unity coming now, but it most surely come.

  5. Some people say these things as if such problems are not in every continent of the World. The hostility between the Ibos and the Yorubas is soft; it is just the battle of superiority not life and death hostility. Remember that with all the rifts, we had never fought a fight because there is nothing to fight for, but within ourselves (Yorubas) we have had tens of wars. For me, I love the Ibos very much, we mix painlessly well in the west and electronically they make life easier. I remember in Ondo, folks patronized the Ibos business better than the native.

  6. I think they can unite but that will take some cool heads to prevail. From the angle of inter marriages between these two tribes it is possible they will eventually unite. 90% of inter marriages today in that country are between these two tribes and 99% of inter marriages in diaspora are between the Ibos and the Yoruba. It will take wisdom for them to recognize that the wedge planted between them by the British is what the Northerners are using to dominate the country. The British and the Hausa/Fulani’s recognize this and the gullible politicians from these two tribes connive with the aforementioned and use the division artificially created for their own benefits. The Igbo man is free minded. If two or more Igbo people are discussing and a none Igbo comes in, they will resort to speaking in English in order that the other person does not feel left out. Nigeria will be better if unity prevails.

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