October 22, 2016

OBODO OYIBO - Inter-tribal Dating

Nigeria is made up of over 300 different tribes, with the largest ones being Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo.
tribe -trīb/noun
a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.

We grew up in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and maybe because we were sheltered, we didn't "see" tribes. We simply had friends who had villages different from ours, but there was no division based on where your origin was. Little did I know that there was great animosity between tribes, especially when it came to marriage. Some parents even demand that their children marry someone from the same village! You would think this attitude would remain in Nigeria, but it has trickled down to Nigerians in the diaspora. Watch Tammy's episode on Inter-tribal Dating, where young Nigerians in America speak on the topic.

My parents are from different tribes; Cakes is from yet a different tribe; my sister's husband is from another different tribe (and he's even extra because he has Ghanaian and Welsh blood) - so obviously, in our family we don't really "see" tribe. Don't get me wrong, we are well aware of the differences, but choose to see a person over their state of origin. Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for my interview with Kachi on inter-tribal marriage. :-|

P.S. I was going to link to the list of tribes I saw online, but my tribe is listed incorrectly and I'm offended.


  1. Inter-tribal dating is still a big issue for lots of people, especially Nigerians.

    For some, they might be cool with it but their family members won't. That is definitely a red flag because if your family doesn't accept the person you are dating, then there will be problems for that relationship. I don't see anything wrong with it though.

    1. That's true. A lot of times it's the family members that pour sand in their garri.

  2. .... and even the inter tribal marriages gets defected with the virus after some time too....
    In fact personally I've been given some warnings about a particular tribe. Smh!
    Character, God and Love will make a difference in a marriage relationship.

    1. LOL, really - warnings?

      But truly, God should be the center of any marriage relationship.

  3. Why refer to them as tribes though? Isn't the correct term ethnicities?

  4. Just add some off-topic controversy on the using tribe vs. ethnic group. I think it is better to say Nigeria has 250 ethnic groups. I don't think Tribe is the right word in this context.

  5. Even within the same tribe, wahala sef. I am Ijebu, broke up with my Abeokuta boyfwend bcos his father has warned them before he died not to marry Ijebu Ladies becos they r fetish and Luv parties. I moved on to an Ibo boy, his mum won't accept an Ofemanu girl. So nw b4 I gree to date BAE, I had to stylishly ask for his family preferences cos I cannot come and waste my time.

  6. I personally don't see anything wrong with inter tribal dating / marriage. But my family is strongly against it; infact I have being warned not to bring anyone who isn't yoruba home. It's unfortunate that we are still dealing with issues like this.

  7. It irks me to no end when some Nigerians assume that if you're not Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa, then by default you're Igbo. A lot of people think this way. I've met too many too count, maybe because Nigeria is a big country, we tend to be rather insular.

    My parents are from two different tribes. I am in an interracial marriage myself as well as my sister and we are doing great.

    Family opposed initially but now everyone is alright.

    I advocate that people should not see tribe but happiness and what could be. When it comes to interracial or intertribal unions, I like to ask... Does the person give you peace? If yes the carry go!

    This reminds me of the story that was in the news about a girl whose father had her husband jailed because he married he knows secret, apparently the father was oppose to the marriage, I think they are from the Eastern part of Nigeria if I remember correctly.


  8. I am a Nigerian born and bred here.. Luckily for my siblings and I, we have parents who told us from day one that wherever we found true and genuine love, let us go for it irrespective of tribe. That was when i was about entering the university. My elder two sisters who have settled in marriage both got married to people not from our tribe and the story has been TO GOD BE THE GLORY EVERYDAY...

    Yes tribe is a major problem in Nigeria and African societies when it comes to marriage but if you are coming from a family like mine and able to meet someone from different tribe but enlightened as you are, you will be glad, and tribe wouldn't be a problem in the relationship.

    I have seen so many good and sweet relationships gone down south because the families of both the lady and the guy never approved of the union all cos of tribe and some of these families are well educated, exposed and enlightened too.

    To me what really matters is if the guy and the girl love each other, if they really do, no matter what relations and family members say, they will go ahead.


  9. Hi Berry,

    This is a very relevant topic. I'm reminded of Atilola's inspiring love story, and how she managed to turn around her mindset and also win over her mother with regards to tribal specifications and marriage.

    What really matters is the individual. Love, perseverance and understanding are the more important elements to focus on.

  10. I never really considered inter tribal marriage in the past. I wasn't small minded or tribalistic, but the thought of engaging in it just never came to my mind... most probably because we were warned as kids.


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