Igbo People of Nigeria

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Igbo people find their home in a rich and fertile crescent created by the lower Niger River within Nigeria. Their population has presently grown to around thirty million people. Within all of Africa, the Igbo homelands are probably one of the most densely populated regions. It is believed by many that this area and its people were one of the driving forces in the early development in the Iron Age which has helped mold the world as we know it. Their culture has brought much to enrich the world.

When looking at the history of Igbo political life, one may often view it as being very complex. Compared to many other areas of Africa, their government seems disjointed to some. At the bottom levels of their government there is a common and distinct policy concerning representation. Within the Igbo community, if you do not have a representative to share your views, they are not heard. It is a kind of democracy that has survived British influences from various contacts. Representation at the community level is maintained equally as each tries to contribute resources that would help further the community in its tasks. In turn, all rules and regulations made within each village and community, traditionally are only applied to that village. The laws stay within the walls in which they were created.

Today the majority of Igbo are of the Christian belief. They are probably the larges group of Christians within the whole continent of Africa. Before Christianity was introduced, their belief system revolved around one particular god, named Chukwu. The Igbos beliefs were once very tribal in nature. Although many of the smaller deities would compete among themselves, they would always stay within their realm of activity. With Chukwu being seen as an all powerful and omnipresent God, representations, symbols and sanctuaries can be found almost anywhere. Homes, compounds, buildings and even village parks and squares would display these depictions of Chukwu. Due to the diversity of the Igbo language, the sanctuaries are referred to by many different names. CHI was seen individually and was personalized by its followers. The people believed strongly in ones ability to improve status in the present world or afterlife through change.

The Igbo have a very unique and distinctive language. It is said often to be one of the hardest to learn. The difficulty of the language often stems from the fact that it is not spoken anywhere else in the world. It is a rich language with many variations. With heavy cultural roots directed at change for the better, the Igbo seem to be just as diverse as the changing language they speak. Igbo home life is also very structured. Typically the husband is the head of the household. He also accepts his responsibilities to his community. It is of equal importance to tend to both the family and the village. Igbo people usually have very extended families; it is a part of them as a people. In recent years, there has even been a drive for family members who have moved away to return to their origin of birth, along with their new offspring. The Igbo people have stood out in their own way throughout their history. Within Nigeria, they have pooled together with enthusiasm and accomplishment as a people who take pride in themselves and their history. With a distinct language and culture, they will continue to grow as a people.

Read more about the igbos here

Uchendu Victor C. THE IGBO OF SOUTHEAST NIGERIA. New York: Holt, Rinehard and Winston, Inc, 1965.

Okere, L.C. The Anthropology of Food in rural Ibgoland, Nigeria. London: University Press of America, Inc. 1983

Nigeria and the Igbo Culture (05/08/2000) http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/3629/-04/29/00

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