The raging debate in the last few days across tribal lines has left a really bad taste in my mouth.
So I decided to ask this question: where are you from?
Are you Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa?
How is your state of origin determined?
What makes you Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Ijaw, Itsekiri etc
Is it by where you were born? Where you live? Or where your parents or grandparents were born?
The answer to this question is the solution to the raging debate.
Let me tell you a story:
So I have this Yoruba friend who I always thought was half Igbo. His mum and her sister spoke Igbo very fluently and their Yoruba was nearly atrocious. It was with a thick Igbo accent. There was no way on earth they were not Igbo.
Anyway after knowing this friend quite closely for almost a decade and a half, I asked him one day in total innocence why his mums sister had a Yoruba name. He shocked me with his response. He said my mum is from the south west. That she is actually Yoruba. I said oh come off it…he said yes she is. He explained that she was born in the South East and she and her siblings grew up there and as such were completely Igbo.
Like I said. I had known this friend since I was 8 and we were inseparable so we were always at each other’s houses and our parents were friends.
My friend also spoke passable Igbo. But he spoke Yoruba a lot better. I was supremely jealous of him. I have only decided not to mention names in order to respect the privacy of this family. I am sure that even some of our common friends would be shocked. I am also certain that he and his sibling will read this and possibly contribute to the raging argument if they have not already.
The interesting bit about this story is that no one who meets her would ever agree she is a Yoruba woman. She is indeed more Igbo than she is Yoruba and it is not by birth or by blood. Simply by where she was born and grew up.
So let me ask again. Are you Yoruba or Igbo?
Why does it even matter.