Igbo is one of the ethnic groups found in the country of Nigeria. Some people view Igbo as a nation that constitutes Igbo land. The group mainly occupies the South eastern region of Nigeria. This region is considered as one of the most densely populated regions in the whole of Africa. The main language spoken is Igbo also spelt as Ibo or Eboe. Nigerian English or pidgin english is also spoken by the ethnic community. There has always been conflicting information on the Igbo people, but the following are the 5 notable truths about the Igbo people:
The Igbo people are said to be the third largest ethnic community in Nigeria. The tribe comes after second placed Yoruba, and the leading group the Fulani-Hausa. The exact figures are not fully known but are estimated to be about 30 million people as of 2012.This forms 18 % of the total Nigerian population of about 170 million people. The Hausa-Fulani account for 29%, while the Yoruba forms 21% of the entire population. The ethnic group is so dispersed that its third position as the largest community in Nigeria is being contested by the Ijaw people.
Igbo people will mainly be found in the South east region of Nigeria. They occupy the regions of Anambra, Abia, Imo, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo, Delta, as well as Rivers State. Enugu is considered the main capital of Igboland. Other prominent cities and towns in the region include Owerri, Aba, Abakaliki, Onitsha, Afikpo, Asaba, Orlu, Agbor, Umuahia, Okigwe, Nsukka, and Port Harcourt. The Igbo people will also be found in Cities outside Igboland such as Lagos, and Abuja. For many centuries, the people from Ibo community have always lived in peace with their neighboring communities that consist of the Ibibio, Nupe, Ijo, Idoma, Igala, and Ekoi people.
There are several economic activities practiced by the Igbo people. This includes trading, farming, and crafts. Agriculture is the most dominant activity .The main crops farmed in the region constitutes; yam, taro, cassava, and fruit of the palm tree. The yam is the main staple food which is also exported to neighboring region. There is also an annual celebration that is held to mark the harvesting of yams. Overtime, people have been turning to cultivating the fruit of the palm due to its palm oil. The palm crop is the leading cash crop in the region owing to the large quantities of palm oil that is exported outside Nigeria.
The main religion in Igboland is Christianity, with more than half the Christians being Roman Catholics. Other religions include the traditional religion referred to as Odinani, Muslims, and Jews. The Ibo people are very religious. They always observe the religious rites as well as traditional rituals of passage in different stages of their lives. This will happen during child-birth, marriage, initiation, as well as burials. However, western based religions are gradually taking over as the preferred religions instead of the traditional practices. This is usually witnessed among the younger generation.
5. Political System
Although politics play an integral part in the people of Ibo community, their political impact is never really felt in Nigerian politics. This is attributed to the numerous divisions and fragments that exist in the region. This effect was first felt during the Nigerian civil war also known as the Nigerian –Biafra war. This war that took place between 1966 and 1970 pitted the Igbo, Efik, Ibibio, and other communities living in the region, against the Northern Muslims. Since then, the political system in Igboland has never really recovered. Political representations are in a very low-key, and also few people of Igbo origin hold any major political offices.
Although the people belonging to the Igbo community are mainly found in Southeast Nigeria, the Igbo people continue to spread to other regions of Nigeria as well as beyond Nigeria. The dispersion is attributed to reasons such as political instability, and also economic activities.In fact, Igbo people are said to be the most dispersed ethnic community in Nigeria. This migration started since the early days of slave trade and continues to be felt to this day. Well known and famous African-American figures have laid claim as being Igbo. This has been based on DNA profiling. Notable people include the world-renowned Bishop T.D. Jakes, as well as famous actors who include Paul Robeson, Forest Whittaker, and also Blair Underwood.