Marriage among the Igbo of Nigeria By :Celestine A. Obi

 iv) Nwunye Nhachi: ldegbe, Arewah

When a man dies without a male issue, one of his daughters stays back, selects lovers with whom she cohabits to beget children on behalf of her dead father This institution also existed among the Western Igbo where it was called Idegbe, and among the Edo-Speaking people who called it Arewa or Arhewa. The children, thus raised, would succeed to her father’s property. Among the Lele of the Kasai, such a woman is said to be called “wife of the village. Of course here the very idea of Idegbe precludes marriage, so that there could be no doubts regarding the affiliation of any children born to the woman in question.

One important remark is in place here. In different localities in lgboland in the past as well as today, marriages are contracted in a multiplicity of ways regarding preliminary procedures,: marriage ceremonies and even the final act (inductio in domum). However the end product, the resulting marriage as an institution is the same in kind and legal incidents. We have yet to discuss another kind of marriage polygyny. We have on purpose, included sub-headings ii, iii, and iv, not that they are kind-s of Igbo marriage, but rather that they were customs sanctified by age, usage or circumstances of the tame and place. Since any given culture is never at a standstill, never accepted once and for all, it may be easy to see why these practices lingered on for a long time. “There is no bulk of stable and fixed eternal culture given to a people for all time”. This shows why it has been possible for the Igbos to have abandoned the practices described above. In the processes of selection and integration of new elements, these practices dropped-out. Consequently in the Igbo community today, there are two kinds of marriage monogamy and polygyny, of which monogamy is the prevalent form.

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