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Would You Choose Love Over Tribe?

Nnenna has not been on speaking terms with her parents. This is the fifth year she will bring up the conversation on marriage and her parents are adamant. She will not marry him as long as “they are alive”. He is not Igbo, therefore there is no standing. It would have been different if he were from another Igbo speaking state not Yoruba, a culture alien to them. With the same stance, they sing a dirge for their kinsman’s daughter who got married to an Edo man.

Welcome to Nigeria, a land replete with a rich cultural history dating back to centuries. So unique is her society that within the confines of a geographical landscape, the neighbouring community of fewer than 300 miles stands a probability of speaking a different language. Yet this beauty is her undoing: Intricacies of mistrust, subtle tribalistic wars (and feelings of superiority) reign supreme.

Peter Okoye and Lola Omotayo-Okoye

Goodswill Akpabio and Unoma Ekaette Akpabio

Communities are rife with the fear that a tribe is filled with ills that continue to threaten the existence of the people “spiritually;” their agitation that your name is about to be lost along the times of history in their line; that you have become the sheep led to the slaughter/ the fly who dances near the cow not knowing its end is near. This fear is not exclusive of her bias for her neighbour’s community. Therefore, the saying, “what the child is seeing standing, the elder sees it sitting” waxes stronger.

What they do not realise is the danger it portends: the stop of a man from becoming one flesh with his destined wife, It is the clamp-down of the jaw-dropping pride that children wear on their sleeves as they tell that their parents are of mixed Nigerian blood, to prevent the promotion of diversity, to quench the stereotypical fuel that continues to burn. Examples continue to disprove this saying: Ibrahim Babangida and his beloved wife, Ndidi “Maryam”, Godswill Akpabio and his wife, Unoma “Ekaette”.

Badamosi Babangida and Ndidi Maryam Babangida

An Igbo lady who has been married to an Akwa-Ibom man for five years told Guardian Life, “He’s the best in-law to my parents. In fact, he’s the best thing that has happened to me. I couldn’t have asked for anyone else. This tribal rife deceives us. Love is universal, the tribe is not a barrier.”

But then, you are left to choose:

If you should become as obedient as a child who fed from her mother’s breast or the child who faced the odds and overcame the raging storm.

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