Gimme my horns……it has been a long time since I heard them.
So I was having a conversation with a 16 year old Igbo girl on thursday night. The conversation started with me asking about her admission into OAU and if she passed the entrance examination to her future, occupation and the inevitable marriage which was when she got agitated.
Okay, this girl is the last of 6 children born to parents both of who are from Imo state. The first 2 are male so she has had a lot of Nigerian culture in her system. I was being diplomatic and I asked her if she had a Boyfriend (sorry but I never pass off a chance to spread the word about STIs and unwanted pregnancy) after we had that conversation about condoms are zipping up, she said something curious.
She called her mother stupîd. It really made me tilt my head and narrowed my eyes as I saw a look in her eyes I have seen in some really fiesty 19 year olds who don’t accept the norm but for her age……well I asked why and she said
“My mother said she will disown any of her children who marries a non-Igbo person”
she said the rule even extends to her two brothers too who she said has already developed a hatred for non Igbo girls anyway. That they can only marry within their tribe but she has her head screwed on right not to be “pushed by her parent’s Myopia and silliness”. Then she goes on to tell me how she has lots and lots of examples of Igbo men who have treated their wives wrongly.
I did think it was a rare case of self loathing. So I said “But there are decent Igbo men. A lot of them” she agreed that a lot are good and it is the same for every tribe. There are good people and bad people anywhere but there is nothing like a evil tribe. It is just people being föolish.
At this point, I realised I had someone who was angry in front of me. Someone who has been fed what she considers Bullshît for too long and felt she had to get it off her mind. She talked about how she grew up among non-Igbos and how she has realized that judging people based on tribe is a crazy idea and even among her tribe, there is massive discrimination.
For example, Anambra people would not even consider marrying Imo or Abia indigenes even though they speak the same language. (I have first hand experience of that) or how one of her older cousins married a Yoruba woman and the family has been mean to the woman without reasons. It got to a point that the dude chose not to come home for festivities as the family just treat his wife (and by extension him) as outcasts and ignore then knowingly.
“If I find a good man that I like to marry, my mother can as well disown me if he is not Igbo”
As long as I am happy with whoever it is I am with, that’s what matters. I will not allow anyone bully me due to her insecurities and Bigotry.
She is an aspiring accountant, a free born Catholic and Nigeria’s future who gave me some grounds to believe when I had started to lose hope in this Country.