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Essay: The Hausa group

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  • Published: 17 September 2015*
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The Hausa group is the largest ethnic group occupying a greater part bf Northern Nigeria and speaks Hausa language. Even though this group of people are found in the Northern part of Nigeria, they are most concentrated in Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna, and Bauchi states. Also in the Northern parts of Niger Republic, Ghana and Benin Republic are found the Hausas. Legend has it that Bayajidda led the Hausa people from the Middle East to their present locations.

The Hausa people are closely knit under their overlords ‘ the Emirs, with a stratified social system. The Emirs or the Serki are at the apex and the Talakawas at the bottom. The Moslem religion of the Hausa people and their festivals (Id el Kabir, Id el Fitri, and Id el Malud) which are often celebrated provide them their goals in life. The Hausa dwelling places are typical architectural structures consisting of flat roof, round but thick walls with strictly regulated distinctive patterns. From religious activities, Arabic Language predominates. One peculiarity of the Hausa people is the juvenile marriage through the betrothal of the young under-aged girls to their prospective husbands which are usually arranged by the parents of the couples. There is strict separation of women from the men in all aspects of life. Infact, the women stay in hide outs called purdah.

The Hausa man is easily identified through his dress. He wears a long flowing robe over baggy trousers and on the head a long cloth won round like a turban. By occupation, they are mostly farmers and reputable traders producing grains like beans, millet, groundnut and guinea corn which are staple foods. They also practice nomadism, and crafts like leather works, carving, blacksmithing etc..

The Yoruba Culture

These are homogeneous cultural groups, second to Hausa people.

They are found in the Western part of Nigeria, and are the inhabitants of Oyo, Osun, Kwara and part of Kogi and Edo States. There are also some Yoruba immigrants scattered in Benin Republic and some parts of Brazil.

The Yoruba race was founded by Oduduwa who is believed to have descended from God and settled at Ile-Ife which is generally regarded as the home of the Yoruba and the seat of civilization,

The Yoruba possess several dialectical groups like the Ijesa, Ijebu, Egba, Ikale, Ekiti, Ife, yet they speak a common language Yoruba, which is a unifying factor among them. This is clearly shown in their common traditions and beliefs.

In traditional Yoruba society, marriages are arranged by the two families concerned. The bride price is usually low and negotiable by the two families.
Polygamy is encouraged. Deity worship is very common among the Yoruba belief system which is characterised in form of Ogun, Oya, Agemo Sango.

There is also a universal belief in the existence of a supreme being – Olodumare who is believed to be all-knowing, all-powerful.

Majority of the Yoruba people are Christians, but others embrace Islam especially those living in Kwara state.

The traditional Yoruba houses are rectangular with thatched roof made from palm leaves.

The Yoruba people recognise the class system in their social organisation. These are the royal fathers whom they revere in high esteem. These include the Owa Obokun, Alaafin, Ooni, Awajale, Ataoja, Shoun, Akarigbo. There are those who are regarded as the commoner – Mekunu. They are generally very loyal and ready to die with the royalty – Awon Abobaku. Some of their ceremonies include lwuye, Igbeyawo, Ikomo.

The Yoruba people are very flamboyant in their dressing which is determined by the importance of the occasion. The traditional dress for a man is a pair of loose trouser with a long matching sleeveless gown which might be added a folded decorated cloth carried on the shoulder and a cap worn on the head. A typical Yoruba woman is identified with loose blouse with a long matching piece of cloth wrapped around the lower part of the body and on her head; she wears a head-tie. The Yoruba people are predominantly farmers.

The Yoruba cultural group has a very elaborate greeting tradition. Since the society is highly stratified, the pattern of greeting is generally from the bottom level to the apex. It is generally regarded as a mark of disrespect for a younger Yoruba person to greet his elder or a superior person in standing or sitting position. The men are to prostrate while the female go down on their two knees. The Yoruba also have various greetings for different occasions.

They also possess a very rich musical heritage ‘ Apala music consisting of dundu and sekere instrument. Other music include the Juju, Fuji, etc. The Yoruba also live in large towns such as Ibadan – the largest town in Africa, Abeokuta, Ijebu-Ode, Ile-Ife, Oyo, Ogbomosho, etc. They embraced Western education very early and this has influenced their way of life and architectural disposition.

The Igbo Culture

The Tgbo people live in Eastern Nigeria and are found in Abia, Imo Anambra, Enugu, part of Rivers and Delta States, They form the third largest group in the WAZOBIA acronym.

Their dwelling places are square or rectangular mud houses with thatched roof made of either grasses or palm leaves. Permanent houses are gradually replacing the traditional mud houses.

The traditional dressing of the Igbo man consists of a loin cloth tied fashionably around the waist to reach the knees with the free end swung over the shoulder and perhaps a matching shirt to cover the upper part of the body.

The Igbo people do not have a tradition of being ruled over by powerful chiefs like many other Nigerian people. They are not unique in the system of government which they created. Sometimes, they adopt monarchy, aristocracy or a combination of democracy and gerontocracy. Every Igbo man considers himself as good as any other person and thus demands a voice in his local affairs. The Igbo culture emphasises competition between families, lineage group and clan or community and this has resulted into Igbo national sports such as wrestling and mock battles.


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Linton, R. M. (19:3 6): TheStudyofMan. New York: Appleton.
Onwuejeogwu, M. A (1972): An Outline Account on the Dawn of Igbo Civilization in the Igbo Culture Area, Journal qf ODINAINMUSEUM, NRI Vol. INo 1.
Otite, 0. and Ogionwo, W. (1979): An Introduction to Sociological Studies. Ibadan: Heinemann Educational Books Ltd.
Udo, Reuben K. (1970): Geographical Regions in Nigeria. Ibadan Heineinann Education Books Ltd.

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