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Tribalism & Racism In Nigeria: Why The Igbos Will Never Trust The Yorubas Again & Vice Versa


Tribalism & Racism In Nigeria: Why The Igbos Will Never Trust The Yorubas Again & Vice Versa

tribalism in nigeria igbos vs yorubas

Oct 21, 2013 – The Menace Of Tribalism & Racial Discrimination In Nigeria: Why The Igbos Will Never Trust The Yorubas Again & Vice Versa

Racism and ethnicism serve the same purpose: that of bias in favour of their kind. The only difference is that racism is more associated with colour ( ie white, black and so on ); ethnicism deals with the ethnic and cultural roots.

Ideally, one will not be writing about racism in Nigeria where we all have a uniform black color but a personal experience a few years back in Port Harcourt make this imperative.

I represented my company as the manager covering the Eastern Region operations. My brother and childhood friend, Captain Austin Anianu, was in Port Harcourt for an overnight stop and we needed a place to chill out.

Somebody suggested that we go to FRIENDS nite club, as at then located along the water line area of aba road. We were an entourage of four people. When we got to the gate we were refused entry, tried as we could to gain entrance. Meanwhile, every White man that came along was allowed immediate access.

I finally managed to find my way inside a few months later through a friend named Flemming, and what did I find inside? A Nigerian club where girls in a cage-like stage dancing to an all-White audience. It was like a ram market, the ram in this instance being our Nigerian girls. It left a sour taste in my mouth.

We also impose racism upon ourselves. When you reason that one colour is better than the other, you are thinking racism. In some parts of this country, we have fellow Nigerians who have successfully completed their education in core areas of professionalism and having completed their compulsory service to the nation, are refused employment on the basis of state of origin.

Preferences are giving to white skinned men from countries like India, Lebanon, China and the likes, even when such jobs do not require much skills. Some of our captains of industry still practise this in their respective firms. So you find White men working in areas that we have abundance of jobless qualified Nigerians.

Ethnicity In Nigeria

The issue of ethnicity in Nigeria is a matter of great concern; instead of uniting, Nigeria is breaking further into fragments and every major action taken by government now has ethnic colouration. It is an irony that the British have managed our differences better than our indigenous leaders. Then, we had one united North, no tribal and religious colorations and that was how the North fought the civil war. The same way the South was a united body under Herbert Macaulay and later Nnamdi Azikiwe as leaders of the NCNC party.

Igbos Vs Yorubas

Unfortunately, ethnic politics gained national prominence when the Yorubas of the South West under Obafemi Awolowo initiated a carpet crossing along tribal lines on the floor of the Western House of Assembly and Azikiwe was forced to go to his kinsmen in the South East to rule as an ethnic regional leader.

Now, what were the political consequences of this action? The cord of unity amongst the Nigerian ethnic nations was broken; the Igbo man will never trust the Yoruba man again and likewise the Yoruba cannot trust Igbos. This animosity between the two major tribes of the South paved the way for a total Northern dominance of the political landscape.

Political landscape

However, with the increasing demands for political autonomy and resource control by minority tribes led by the late Saro Wiwa’s Ogoni people, followed by the Ijaws and other South-South ethnic stocks, the ethnic struggles assumed a different dimension. From the Northern end, splinters were beginning to emerge in the middle belt and areas occupied by the minority Christian population.

What is the impact of this ethnic consciousness? Every ethnic group that has their man in power, sees it as an opportunity to feather their tribal nest. It got to its height during the military era, that such heavy decisions as state creation and location of state capitals were done at the whims of one man, the man in power. It affected the allocation of resources, offices, boundary adjustments,promotions, admission to schools, job recruitments and so on. People were no longer given positions based on merit; so you find across the land a generally dissatisfied populace. Those who have the means to sophisticated weapons resorted to militancy and coup plotting, while those who could not remained subdued.

This was the situation until the civilians came in 1999. Unfortunately, the Obasanjo regime carried on with the baggage. It is a matter for concern that 53 years after independence the country is still grappling with the issue of ethnicity. There is no unity of thought and every line of reasoning is tainted with ethnic and religious bias. That is why the Jos crises have remained unsolved till date,and such other ethnic crises all over the land. That is why civilised, sophisticated and enlightened individuals cannot reach reasonable consensus over a book written by the late Chinua Achebe. That is why, the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, cannot agree with the Jonathan supporters over 2015. The political debates are no longer on performance but on whose turn is next. That is why the Rivers and Bayelsa states are in conflict over oil rich territories. That is why the Lagos/Anambra repatriation face-off escalated to the extent it did; and that is why the composition of Federal appointments from the South-South region focuses mainly on people from Jonathan’s Ijaw ethnic stock. Are there no other tribes in the South-South apart from the Ijaws? The examples are endless.

Having highlighted the above, let us now grapple with the solutions. We must know that over time culture is dynamic and this affects the laws, mores and customs of the land. This is made possible by contact with people of other races and cultures; in the process, bad customs and practices are jettisoned. For example, in the present day Igbo land, the Osu caste system is no longer as pronounced as it used to be.

What is bad is bad, customs that cannot guarantee access to basic human rights of the people must be abolished. It has been so over time and society has always tilted towards the good laws and customs.

It behoves on the government, therefore, to intensify efforts on the education and proper sensitisation of the citizens, for an educated society is a liberated society.

Furthermore, we must put in place enduring political structures that will guarantee free democracy. The structure is like the foundation of a building, you can shape the building anyhow you want it, but the foundation remains the same. Just laws that will guarantee lasting democracy are needed here. Such laws that will deal with the equitable rights of all tribes whether in majority or minority, address their peculiar needs and situations, guarantee vertical growth along the career ladder, shun ethnic bias and the likes; in fact, that will guarantee fairness in all ramifications.

For the above to be possible, we will require the right leadership. This should be the focus of the political parties. Appoint or elect capable men and women at all levels that can move the nation forward. Ethnicity cannot be eliminated totally but it can be reduced to a tolerable level, meritocracy is the answer to that.

The issue of settler and indigene is also a source of ethnic crises in the land; it is time for the government to enact laws that will put this issue to rest.

[Article by Sunny Ikhioya from Lagos]

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  1. Ighadalo

    October 21, 2013 at 4:09 AM

    From adams the yorubas and the igbos never liked each other
    I still wonder why there are inter-tribal marriages between the 2 warring tribes.

  2. Larape

    October 21, 2013 at 4:10 AM

    The yoruba vs igbo fight started from Lagos
    It’s because of the arrogance and jealousy from the ibo people period

    • GC

      October 21, 2013 at 10:58 AM

      Jealousy and Arrogant from the Igbos,,hmmmmm,,,when u know that the yorubas are the arrogant ones who are jealouse of the IGBOS

  3. Topiant

    October 21, 2013 at 4:12 AM

    Nigerians let there be peace when will this tribalism stops
    Even reading comments from here, you can sense the issue
    Let there be peace and harmony

  4. peace

    October 21, 2013 at 4:27 AM

    its stupid how people of the same country will be having stupid disputes am from rwanda you people should learn from my countries genocide now we have unity igbo and yoruba(sorry if i havent spelt it right) leaders should bring unity instead siting in their posts eat getting big the when its time yo vote their will be a divided nation yet they want all to vote its pathetic africa in general we will be fighting agaisnt each other wile they watch how we are destroying day there should be no such thing as nigeria kenya ghana bluh bluh bluh we are one and african that is causing stigma we hate eachother when we are to render help to someone because of where ypu are from you wont render the help because they are from a different country of languageif that God sees when he looks down really pathetic

    • John J Alozieuwa

      January 22, 2016 at 3:40 AM

      Peace its due to bad education. What you have amonsgt Nigerian is rote learning no criticial thinking hence you will behold a nigerian Phd still the reasoning capacity of the illiterate. Nigeria is full of mushroom universities seemingly incapable of developing the thinking skills of most Nigeriana graduates

  5. Ibana Meu

    October 21, 2013 at 4:36 AM

    @peace brilliant comment
    I wish our people can reason like you

  6. Udoka Ossaiga

    October 21, 2013 at 5:09 AM

    Further polarization of the South along ethnic lines will not benefit the South. Our leaders and politicians use this only to meet their personal interest; not that of the region. Being a Deltan, who schooled in Oyo State, with a fair knowledge of Nigeria’s etho-political dynamics; having friends from all over Nigeria, I pray for a New Nigeria, where opinions, positions, inter-ethnic interractions and relationships shall be ojectively geared towards resolving the very issues confronting Niherians; which do not know ethnic lines.

  7. obinna

    October 21, 2013 at 5:21 AM

    i do not understand why this topic should come here, the yarubas betrayed the igbos during the nigerian civil war, as an igbo man i believed it was a thing of the past untill recently i was betrayed again by a yaruba man a very good friend of mine. trusting a yaruba man is like thinking that you will get out of this earth alive. my conclusion is love every yaruba person, but never trust anyone.

  8. Oluwadunni

    October 21, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    @obinna,if u r being betrayed by a yoruba man,then u also need to check yourself.we all know that Yorubas are the most accommodating people,while Hausas are the most honest,and igbos are the most greedy,and arrogant people.let us call a spade a spade.igbos do not grant other tribes space in their land,especially when it comes to issue of building houses,or doing business in their land.if you dare try to force yourself to go against them,you rather find yourself to be blamed,cos you may end up dead.yorubas have an open heart,soft kinded heart,they accommodate a lot,until they see you being trying to be smart on them.i have loads of Igbo friends,I can tell you that some of them,can die bcos of their one naira to be with you.i have sheltered 2igbo girls under my roof,at uni.of Benin then,for 3months,without them knowing it is right for them to even drop a cup of rice to contribute to what am doing for them.They we rather go to new Benin market,and buy clothes,and dress big,while I fed them from own pocket money.They saw me as a yoruba mumu girl,who doesn’t complain,but I can tell you I knew what I was doing bcos I was brought up to render help regardless of what it may cost me,bcos God will return it,in a way I least expected.Today I have outshined them,am a lawyer now based in NY,doing great.God has being so faithful bcos He will never forget my efforts.Now are days our yoruba men,getting married to them,even make the man cater for all the bride family.Gone are the days Igbo marry Igbo bcos,their men don’t even want them again bcos of their attitude.some Igbo girls lack respect,and they are wayward.sorry for this,but I can tell you I know them,like the Pam of my hand.igbos shod learn to be accommodating,honest,and lest lust after money.l don’t really get worry much about all these attitude of igbos,but the one that irritate me most,is their level of illiteracy,concerning birth.if you get married to an Igbo man,you have 3female kids,without a boy,you are as good as being childless to them.what a pity?isn’t not that gives children?another one is the way they treat their widows,OMG!very scary,and brutal.immediately your husband dies,be prepare to face wall,in fact you are as good as dead,if u happen to be an Igbo girl.An Igbo man will sell a fake market to you,and swear by his mother grave that it is genius,yet that thing will not last a month,you go to them,and complain,they will insult your generation.igbo men,have the record of the most heartbreakers,some beat their wives,while few can go extral mile to pamper their wives.i have a friend named Cynthia,an Igbo girl,from family of 6girls,ofcourse I don’t need to tell you why they are up to 6,bcos they man want a man by fire by force.ok,as God will have it,her mother finally gave birth to their brother,making 6girls,1boy.The man abandoned,all the girls,face only the boy.They always have to go thro their younger brother to collect something’s from their father,and that makes the boy also arrogant,and see himself as God.The man finally sent them out of his house,and the mother cater alone for 6children,cos the man sees only that boy as his child.what a life,what a trauma.And @obinna,what do you know about polities?yorubas betrayed igbos at civil war,who told you that?if you have some one that will be honest with you in your family,like an honest old person,approach the person,after hearing the truth,you will be so sorry for yourself.And for the people conderming fashola for repatriating som igbos,you don’t know what these people had started causing before he took the decision.He sent people that are homeless,and jobless in a way,cos Lagos is not working for them.These people can actually be more useful at their various villages if they go into farming,and contribute to the economy of the country,instead of the snatching phones,under the bridge,and contributing nuisance to Lagos state.Also,Fashola did the same to some Yorubas,who he thought Lagos wasn’t the right place for them to be bcos they can actually go well in other part of yoruba land bcos of the expensive,and sophisticated life in Lagos,and that Lagos what already overflow,and instead of them sleeping under the bridge,he sent them is their anything bad in that?it happens all over the world.To be honest@obinna………Yorubas spread their wings to accommodate every tribe.Hardly will you go to any part of yoruba land,that you find igbos,places like Ibadan,osun,Ado ekiti,oho,Akure,and to all the small small villages.infact,they dominate aleshuloye market in Ibadan.Now can’t how many places you can find Yorubas in your land?An Igbo man can walk into anywhere in yoruba land,and start business,or purchase that like that in the eastern part of Nigeria?nooo way,he’ll no!They will never allow you,not to talk of purshasing land or start business.An Igbo man will call Yorubas the most dirtiest,why?but the truth is that,each and everyone are being brought up in a different way,from different background.some igbos are the worse.i have lived so much around them,what I love about them is their soup.i cook perfectly almost all their of isala soup,oha soup,bitter leaf soup,olubu soup,njuju soup,idi ka ikong soup,pardon if nt spelt well,among others.infact,there egusi soup is my favourite,their okro soup superb,yam pepper soup,delicious,and this their food made it cassava slices.i love their food till ex was an Igbo guy from Anambra,I nearly die.He beat me wt anything he laid his hands on.He once threw bottle at me,hold my neck,locked me up in his room,very brutal.His friends are always talk with him,that if you lose this girl,u will definitely regret it,all these when we were in school.His mum,was always not happy about us,but she can send to market,I will cook about difft kind of soup,put in her freezer,cook jollof rice,fried rice,and keep for them,wash her clothes,tidy a whole house,but what did I get?if she sees her son with me,in a room,or talking together,trouble.she will end up calling him,and ask every details of her know why?am a yoruba girl.what she love about me alone is being her housemaid,hardworking,submissive,but not for her daughter in law.But u know what,now they beg for me to come back into their lives always sending me messages on FBK.But too late.let me share a little secret,why the igbos fear me.why do they love money so ex knew,despite the fact that I hid it from him,found out that I came from a wealthy family,called me one day to my greatest surprise that,he has found out finally who I am,he is so sorry,he loves me,and he want to be a better man,and that why v I being hiding my real identity from him.i said bcos I want true love.You knw what he Said,he came up with a business plan.Ask me what business?”that I shod act as if I was kidnapped,then he will put a call through to my parents,and demand for huge sum of money so we can both start a business that will Shake Benin.I was shocked to my bone marrow,then I knew,I don enter wrong motor.As God will have it,almost thro wt my studies at uni still posting him about the plans,bcos I didn’t want to get killed,the bible says be wise as serpent,and be gentle as dove.To cut the long story short,I finished my studies,and flee out of the closed.My eyes don see for this world I dey so.l can never,and will never allow my kids,to marry an Igbo man,unless,and totally convinced of cousin just got married to an Igbo girl,we are all praying for him,but I think bcos she is an orphan,she’s got a calm character.Nice girl though,but we found that,she was raised by a yoruba woman,who was her neighbor.yorubas have good upbringing.i am proud to be a yoruba girl.yorubas have their faults too in a way,but certaining not in a way of not being good to people.we are very generous,accommodating,and homely.Thanks

    • blackrasputtin

      October 21, 2013 at 3:50 PM

      Try as hard as you like to hide it and pretend otherwise the hate in you bubbles to the surface like a toilet over-filled with excreta

    • Red light

      October 22, 2013 at 12:16 PM

      @Oluwadunni You are a certified MORON whathas illiteracy got to do with this issue. Every every African culture cherish their children albeit male children are highly favoured than the females Yoruba culture included.It onlythe western culture that give a damn about male and female child.So what has illiteracy got to the with culture? Rather,it is the ******** of urinating and defecating in the bedroom at night is the height of illiteracy

    • Amaka

      January 16, 2016 at 4:45 AM

      I guess i can understand you. I’m an igbo girl with tribalistic parents in the U.S We’ve lived there for at least 25 years and still, they won’t accept my edo/yoruba guy. My mother said they’re witches and wizards. She won’t even bother to meet him. No chance at all. I’ve prayed about it and I’ve confirmed he’s the one. She told me either i become disowned without their blessing or marry him. How can somebody be so mindlessly prejudice? His family has accepted me already with loving arms and they are a great example of Christians. In fact, this tribalism thing has made me so sick that I no longer consider myself igbo anymore. I’m just Nigerian, period.

    • John J Alozieuwa

      January 22, 2016 at 3:49 AM

      Its poor education and poor thinking skills that would make one to use anecdotal evidence to seek to castigate an entire race

      You are accomodating I wonder if there is any part of Nigeria that is not accmmodating. Its a good instance of poor education for any because people live in a city in their enclave to claim accommodative as an exclusive behaviour pattern. I wonder if there is any city that hasnt got inhabitants from others parts of their nation . I sit Kampala is it Niarobi is it Abidjan……such reaosning is indicative of the prevalent poverty of reasoning.
      That igbos are greedy shows yet again such stupidity and lack of reasoning that abound amongst these ethnic others. How often people of badly educated enclaves seek to mischaracterise the industry and entreprenuerial skills of igbos as greedy. In the looting of the nation as reported in the national news have not your names appeared more? Businessmen establised through government contracts …..the main root of corruption and greed are your names not more? You suffer from poor education and weak thinking skills.

  9. red

    October 21, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Greed,self.certain and lack of trust and low self esteem,you are talking outside the circle,look at the way we abuse each other in this site with bitter hateful words,we educate our kids both in school and church on who to hate instead of letting them do that on their own,even in my our various houses everybody have a person to hate,this came a long way right from the time.of Cain and Abel.everybody want to be the macho man,my first visit to the church here in America a woman/mother that if i want to live a peaceful life in the state that i should avoid anybody that is from Africa,WHY?? My agent at d shipping company gave me his card and when i asked him why his pic was in the card,he told me that Africans don’t trust each other and that his name Algies sounds like an Hausa name so he have to put his pic to show he is white and should be trusted,i hope you got me right.i wish for all this to stop but how? The damage is getting deeper on daily the foundation of wisdom is how much you cheat and generate pain to others.for all this to end you have to love you for who you are and believe in you as a person because there is no way he can love another person without being in love with your soul first.we can change if we are willing to give love and peace a chance.stay sweet.

  10. SPOT 1

    October 21, 2013 at 12:39 PM


  11. bezo

    October 21, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    Igbo and yoruba people are so so usel**s, simple as ABCD

    • Lily

      October 21, 2013 at 3:28 PM

      @bezo………nothing on earth is more useless than are the origin of uselessness.Am sure you can’t even trace ur origin,cos u were born bast**d.

  12. blackrasputtin

    October 21, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    Its the same almost everywhere on the internet where you find nigerians.Hate speeches and mass condemnations.Igbo’s are this,Yoruba’s are that and Hausa’s do this.I guess its the anonymity of the internet that allows so many hate mongers to show themselves.How many Yorubas do you know?How many Igbos do you know?How many of them exist?You have a problem with one person and all of a sudden you know everything there is to know about an entire ethnic group.Nigeria is the way it is not because of the crooked politicians but because of the people.Did you choose your ethnic group before you were born?igbo vs yoruba!Did all igbos and yorubas give any proclamation about their lack of trust for each other?Nonsense article followed up by even more asinine comments.One day all the corrupt politicians will get their just reward and so will the hate mongers-the scum suckers that are the real cause of the problems facing humanity

    • adeola

      October 17, 2014 at 8:40 AM

      It so painful, that tribalism and religion is the problem of a great country like nigeria, what and what will u gain from either yoruba or igbo is good or bad, instead we need to stand as one to build a greater nation, if we the future leaders are having this type of orientation ouron earth can we make nigeria proud, it’s a pity, let’s stop this barbaric words, lets havethis onour mind that: we won’t discriminate against any tribe or religion, be it of this country or another, for me what so ever happens to any nigeria (igbo, hausa, yoruba) happens to nigeria..

      Please let off this discrimination and focus on unity….

  13. Kissy

    October 21, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    @blackrasputtin. Yu ar de only tru nigerian here. God bless u nd keep u 4 dz generation.

  14. ms ohio ERANKO

    October 21, 2013 at 10:38 PM


    • Red light

      October 22, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      @ Ohio Eranko. Of all the Yoruba Igbo do not claim ownership of Ilorin;Offa; Akure; Adoekiti;Oshogbo; Modakeke;Ife;Abeokuta ; Shagamu; Abeokuta;Ibadan.
      LAGOS ……………Capital YES Igbo can claim Lagos because it a federal territory.What imply is that it belong yo every nigerians irrespective of your ethnicity.

      • Lagos Boy

        March 1, 2017 at 5:00 PM

        why dont you go and claim Abuja and see if the Bwari people will not behead you

  15. Danti

    October 22, 2013 at 4:26 AM

    My brothers and sisters, as a Christian I must tell you that when you engage in hate speech, the devil loves it. Why? Because is the exact opposite of what JESUS cherished most (LOVE) when he was on this planet. The resistance army in heaven do not like it when we subscribed to evil mechanics, it is like pouring petrol in hell fire. Either you like it or not, your deeds and thoughts shall be reveal to you after life. Before you act and react, think about our LORD, HE wants to have fun with you. Please stay away from tentacles of the devil; lies, hate, envy,lustfulness, arrogance, pride and so on.

  16. Chidiebere Uwandu

    October 22, 2013 at 4:56 AM

    Helo my fello Nigerians,pls let’s stop dis verbal words it’l lead us 2 nowhere.One popular Igbo adage says”He whose house is on fire does nt chase rat”.Nigeria is on fire,d country is on crisis,let us concentrate more in finding an everlasting peace and solution 2 d problems of dis gr8 country.Diversity is our pride! If we as Youth shud continue in d mistakes of our leaders then our future wil be a flop,guys let’s grow up and leave sentiments,ethnicism and tribalism,tanx.

  17. sola

    May 10, 2014 at 7:56 PM

    Why all this? We don’t need all this

  18. oreoluwa

    June 18, 2014 at 10:12 AM

    My fellow nigerians,we are one!!! we don’t need to lambast each other or insult each other to express our feelings.Yorubas,let’s see igbos as a creation of God,that has its good and bad side- they are not perfect.We yorubas are also not without faults.We are not the first nation,to have multi-ethnic groups , what of U.S.A? different languages are spoken there but you need to see how united they are! for christ sake,Nigerians pls wake up from this discrimination,God is against it.I tell you,the day we start living together in love,Nigeria it self would be far developed.

    • Emeka

      September 28, 2016 at 3:14 AM

      One Of the most reasonable statements i’ve read here. God Bless You.
      God didn’t create the Igbos specially, neither did he create the Yorubas differently let alone the Hausas and other tribes. The moment we start trusting and respecting each other based on character rather than tribal origin the better for us all.
      God Bless Us all.

  19. Eva

    July 13, 2014 at 11:13 PM

    I am a Slovakian lady married to a Igbo man (together for 14 years). I can confirm that Igbos are most Godly, honest, hardworking people. Yoruba people mistreated me on every occasion possible. But everywhere there is a exception as my best friend who unfortunately passed away was Yoruba woman and she was Godly and amazing lady. My mixed marriage is proof that people from different backgrounds and cultures can live together in love and peace. God wants us to love each other and not hate.

  20. Ade

    May 31, 2015 at 7:20 AM

    Igbos may God 4give them

  21. obi kambi eddrogba

    December 18, 2015 at 8:23 AM

    There is only one out of two that can solve the NIGERIA ethnicity “uniting (reconciliation) or division (separation)”. But if you neither of them can work then believe believe it or not 9jia will 1 day become a lion tent for we all… the flame of corruption will born us we shall be floated by the flood of injustice.

  22. Nigerian

    September 18, 2016 at 5:25 PM

    Too painful history has the answers to all our questions read hard the answer is hidden

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