Nigerian people and culture: Nigerian tribes
According to various statistics and research study there are believed to be as many as 250 ethnic groups or tribes in Nigeria. These Nigerian tribes live in different regions which range from swamp, creeks , forest and mangroves in the south to mountainous savannah , sahel grass lands of the hinterlands and arid deserts in the north of the country.
Each tribe have peculiar culture and traditions which govern the way they live their lives in harmony with their environment. Most of these tribes have called this regions home for more than a millennium like the ijaws of south Nigeria.
Migration for various reason plays a vital role in the distribution of these tribes. Example is a Nigerian sahelian tribe called gwandara they are in central Nigeria and can be found sparsely distributed within states like nassarawa, Abuja and kano. According to their history the reason for them leaving their homeland located in kano was because of religious wars with the invading Fulani jihadist in the 19th century. This caused them to scatter in various directions
The gwandaras are a good example of the metamorphosis of tribes into subtribe and eventually have a separate identity of their own. most times this is through assimilation with another tribe which could be either be by mutual coexistence or violently through raids and forceful assimilation into other tribes
The colonial presence of the British from the 19th to the 20th century promoted the theory of 3 major tribes, thus making the rest minorities. They divided the country into 3 zones to be controlled by this so called 3 major tribes which has left an everlasting effect on the growth of the nation.
The major tribes which are the Hausa Fulani, igbos, and the Yoruba’s control the north , east and west respectively. This has given rise to tribal/ regional politics.
The Yoruba’s of the west have an entirely homogeneous homeland with all the people belonging to the tribe or a different dialect. Most speak the main dialect but depending on location some have a slight variation of the language . This phenomenon is the same in the eastern part of the country inhabited by the Igbo’s.
The north and southern part of the country is totally different due to the presence of so many tribes / ethnic group found within this regions . vast majority of people think the north is homogeneous like the east and west but are shocked when they discover how diverse the north really is.
Most of the tribes in the north and north central were either dispersed or assimilated into the larger Hausa Fulani tribe during the 19th century. Due to the large presence of the Hausa Fulani the Hausa languages is used as the lingual franca in this region
The south has multiple tribal groupings that occupy seemingly autonomous community wit each community having a separate way of life as demand