The Igbo tribe is one of the biggest ethnic groups in Nigeria. This is an ancient and well-developed culture. This ethnic group is also very urbanized, their living place is known as Igboland and consists of such cities as Onitsha, Owerri, Nnewi, Okigwe, Aba, and Orlu. Discover interesting theories about the origin of Igbo tribe in Nigeria.
Igbo tribe occupies the eastern, south-eastern, north-eastern, western, and northern Nigeria. The community has several 30 dialects, which use a standard literary language called Igbo izugbe. According to Igbo history, the people were farmers, craftsmen, and traders.
The origin of Igbo tribe in Nigeria
It is challenging to know the real story among the many controversial theories of Igbo origin. Studies show that the Igbo had an acephalous lifestyle, meaning they had a government without kings and no centralized states. The five Igbo groups are:
- The Northern Igbo
- The Western Igbo
- The Igbo of North-eastern Nigeria
- The Igbo of South-eastern Nigeria
- The Igbo of eastern Nigeria
There are many irreconcilable versions of Igbo origin because each group and dialect have different stories. Below are some theories explaining the Igbo history before colonization:
1. The Nri version of Igbo origin
The story of the Nri Kingdom stated that Igbo's ancestor, Eri, descended from the sky and sailed down the River Anambra. He settled in Aguleri among people who did not have an identity. Some migrated to Igboland when their population grew.
Nri's traditional ruler, Eze Obidiegwu Onyesoh, visited Aguleri before his 1988 coronation to receive blessings as per the Igbo custom. Aguleri explained a slightly different Nri kingdom myth when Eze started an argument about his community's origin.
Aguleri was the first son of Eri and Nri's origin was Egypt. Nri's father was Gad, and Gad was the son of Jacob. Jacob was Isaac's son, and Isaac was Abraham's son. Therefore, Aguleri traced Nri's family tree from Abraham, God's favourite child.
Eri was a special adviser on religious matters to the 5th dynasty of Pharaohs of Egypt. He recruited devotees to help him become the next Pharaoh. Eri and his group moved to the southern side and reached a confluence between the River Niger tributary and Benue called Ezu na Omambala.
The last son of Eri, Agulu, remained by the seaside because he was a fisherman, while Eri's first child, Nri, remained in his father's house until he received a vision to serve God. Nri was an incarnation of his grandfather.
2. The Awka or Orlu version of Igbos' history
Another story claims Awka or Orlu towns were the ancestral homes of the Igbo before they dispersed to other areas.
3. The Idah version of the origin of Igbos
Some Igbo dialects, like the Umunri, believe they migrated from Idah to their present locations.
4. The Niger-Congo story about the Igbos
Archaeological findings dated around 2500 BCE imply that Igbos practised pottery, and genetic research showed that the tribe is closely related to Niger-Congo-speaking peoples.
5. The Benin story about the Igbo history
The Onitsha and the Igbo of the River Niger [Delta Igbo] claim they came from Benin. Oba and Alaafin palaces are in most parts of Igboland.
6. The Israeli story about the origin of the Igbos
The Israeli narrative is among the most popular versions of the history of Igbo. It is believed Igbos originated from a Hebrew tribe that moved southward. The assumption focused on similarities between the Igbo traditions and the ancient Hebrew culture.
7. The middle east version of the history of Igbo people
Some people believe Igbos migrated from the North or Middle East to Nigeria.
8. The Igboland story the of Igbo origin
Some sources believe the Igbos had been in Nigeria from the beginning. Hence, Igboland is the original homeland.
Where did the Igbo originally come from?
Sources claim Igbo's ancestral land is Umueri town (an ancient town in the Anambra state, south-eastern Nigeria). Other sources state that the tribe migrated from Igala country in the lower Benue River to Igboland in the late 17th century AD to avoid the Fulani slave trade. Meanwhile, some scientific sources claim Igbos descended from Israel.
Who is the father of Igbo race?
A folklore state that Igbo's ancestral father was Eri, the son of Gad. The Bible mentions Gad as one of the sons Jacob has with his concubine. The ancient folklore implies that Eri was sent from heaven to begin civilization.
How many dialects are in the Igbo language?
The Igbo tribe has approximately 30 dialects. They include Edda, Ikwerre, Ezaa, Izzi, Ekpeye, Ukwuani, Ohafia, Waawa, Anioma, Olu, Ika, Ohuhu, Enuani, Ngwa, Oyigbo, Etche, and Abam. The Igbo language has high and low tones.
There are around 24 million Igbo language speakers. The Ọ́nwụ́ orthography was officially recognized as Igbo language orthography in the 1960s. The standard literary language was approved in n 1972, and the first book in the Igbo language was published in 1977.
Which state is the main Igbo?
Do Yoruba and Igbo get along?
There is a strained relationship between Igbo and Yoruba.
There are many questions surrounding the origin of Igbo tribe in Nigeria. Scholars are still researching theories explaining how this ethnic group came into existence.
Legit.ng also posted a brief history of the Yoruba religion and rules. The Yoruba culture has been in existence for hundreds of years.
They migrated from the east to their locations in the west of the lower Niger River and became one of the most urbanized Africans of precolonial times.