If you’re Nigerian, you’ve probably had an experience, or you know someone who says he/she can’t marry outside his/her tribe because of certain differences. And when you ask, they’ll say that the other tribes usually have something ‘bad’ about them.

People seem to have assorted beliefs about certain areas or tribes e.g People from Ijebu Ode in Ogun State known as misers or stingy people. People from Mbaise in Imo state known for being cunny and people from Benin as wicked.

Parents play a major role in this too,they tend to transfer their beliefs and fears about certain tribes and ethnic groups to their children.

While it  has become increasingly common for people to marry outside their tribes, it isn’t a preferable option for traditionalists. I was once told by someone whom I would describe as a devoted traditionalist, that instead of marrying a man from my country but of a different tribe, it would be far more acceptable to marry a man from an entirely different country altogether. Inter-tribal conflicts, stereotypes and history can make it hard for some inter-tribal relationships to enjoy immunity from judgment. The idea of someone marrying outside their tribe leaves some people feeling that their customs, values and traditions are being betrayed, that should a woman date or marry a man from a different tribe it gives superiority to that man’s tribe, an affirmation that her own tribe wasn’t good enough. If a man marries a woman outside of his tribe, it’s because he thinks his ‘own’ women are not beautiful enough. People feel betrayed, which is interesting because while everyone else is feeling betrayed, no one considers the sense of betrayal those in the relationship must be feeling. In this respect, when discussing inter-tribal relationships and the stigma and stereotypes that comes with them, Africans can come out sounding a bit backward, but our tribes are part of our heritage; they are important. A lot of Africans value their sense of tribal belonging as much as they do nationality or religion. Of course the degree to which this is so varies from one person to the next, but “tradition” has a way of surprising even the most “modern” of Africans.


The cons of dating/marrying someone from a different tribe are indisputable though-the language barrier between both families,the question of which language the children would learn (which usually ends up being the mother’s language because she spends time with the children more and is bound to teach them her language more than the father’s own), differences in cuisines and possible difficulty adapting to what is accepted as norms of the culture. We have so many things to put in consideration, but the pros outweigh the cons. 

We can overcome, can’t we?

Question: Would you end a healthy, happy relationship because your parents are in disagreement over where your partner comes from? What are your thoughts on this subject in general?