As of today, Nigeria has 371 ethnic groups spread across all her geopolitical zones. And they all have their own unique languages, dishes, beliefs, dances, and lots more.
Despite their uniqueness, they are similar in some ways. These similarities do not show up on their surfaces. You have to study their uniqueness to put all the puzzles of their similarities together.
You don’t have to stress about that because they’ve been put together for you. The similarities are:
- Their political systems are similar. The ethnic groups in Nigeria have the same traditional ruling system. The rulers of almost every village or town in Nigeria are called kings (although they all have unique names, e.g., Oniworo of Awori kingdom, Oba of Benin, Ooni of Ile-Ife, Amanyanabo of Kalabari kingdom, e.t.c.).
- All the ethnic groups in Nigeria have the same family system. The common types of family systems in Nigeria are monogamous and polygamous families. The same way an Okobo man can decide to have three or more wives, a Potopo man can also decide to have two wives. This means that there is no restrictions to any of these ethnic groups.
- Most Nigerians have not given this last point much thought. The Nigerian ethnic groups all have the same marriage system. All ethnic groups in Nigeria believe in the payment of the bride price. A bride price is the payment that a prospective groom and his family make to a prospective bride and her family. The bride price is not only existent in Nigeria, it also happens in other African countries. But most people tend to refer to the bride price as “dowry” when they both have very different meanings. Dowry is the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings to her husband in marriage. Countries like Nepal, India, Australia, Sri Lanka, Kenya, and some others encourage dowry payment.
All ethnic groups in Nigeria hold the bride price payment close to their hearts. This is because they believe it is a way to show respect to the bride’s family during a wedding ceremony.
It is heart-breaking when Nigerians narrow down Nigeria’s ethnic groups to Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba and Fulani. Where then do we put the remaining groups? People should know that the earlier we start having more articles explaining the different cultures in Nigeria, the better it will be for our unity as a country.
Most social studies textbooks for kids do not even have 95% of these ethnic groups explained. This affects children that are not from these 4 major ethnic groups. It makes them feel like they are the minority.
Nigeria is blessed and filled with different lifestyles, mouth-watering delicacies, elegant attires and other attributes that wouldn’t be so if we did not have all these ethnic groups.
There are no major or minor ethnic groups in Nigeria. The earlier you start learning about them, the easier it will be to educate other people.