All You Need to Know about the Igede Speaking Tribe of Benue State Nigeria (pt 2)
Important ceremonies and festivals such as child naming ceremonies, burial, marriage, achievement and festival exist. The people are enterprising and undertake self-help projects. Where necessary, they levy themselves or through their communal farming to raise funds.
Land is the source of economic existence of the Igede people who are largely agrarian. There are communal and individual ownership of land. It is shared along patrilineal lines. Women do not own land according to Igede custom. The Igede people have developed their traditional occupations for both female and male before the coming of the British explorers and missionaries. Local tools and equipment were crudely fabricated for farming, fighting, hunting and fishing. Commerce, palm wine tapping, smithery, pottery, basket making, weaving, tailoring, carpentry, music, hunting, and other occupations were also occupations of the lgede people. Nowadays, the advent of Western education has influenced the career and occupation of Igede people. The author is of the opinion that, our youth should go back to agriculture and learn handiworks, crafts and skill acquisition since it is not logical to depend solely on government jobs in Nigeria!
Food is both a way of life and culture component of the Igede people. Various Igede communities are associated with various kinds of food crops. There are yam (iju), foofoo (akpu), banbaranut (egbeyi), and the likes. Traditionally, yam is their staple food and the king of all crops; other important food crops are cassava, cocoyam, vegetables, maize, palm tree, and such others.
Igede culture venerates nature, which is believed to be inter-connected with God or gods. Issues of first child especially male or first fruits are traditionally celebrated. They place high premium on male children (anyi aleng) as custodians of culture and inhabitants of the family who perpetuate the father’s name.
Today, the colonial plunder, conquest, Christianity, globalisation and paradox of modernism have unleashed terror on Igede, mores, traditions and cultural values. Globalisation in the 21st century is brainwashing. Today, there is discernible change in attitudes among our youth and elders alike due to modernism, westernization, globalisation and politization of socio-communal affairs. Political interference with traditional institutions and monetization of chieftaincy titles have become a common paradox in the modern Igede.
Also read: “What You Should Know about the Igede People” (Pt2)
The younger generation now feels they know more than the elders. Taboos and sacrileges are no longer observed as they were in recent past. Our dress codes are in question. There is no longer a fair and just judgment taking into account of a wider range of facts and interest to settle dispute and right of litigants as it was in the past. Some amoral relationships contrary to Igede value system and beliefs emanate on social networking sites. These deviant attitudes are to a great extend cautioned in the book as they have reverberating and snowballing effects on the Igede society.
The researcher observed that there is a ‘disconnect’ between the ancestors and present generation. The resultant effects are early grave sentence, ethical bankruptcy, moral decadence, witchcraft ordeals, corruption, cultism, dishonesty, greed, arson, murder, vandalism, thuggery, stealing, hatred, prostitution, alcoholism, tramadol-dependence, nudity, abortion, infidelity, notorious lies, hypocrisy, fatal accidents and dangerous ailments. In times past, when the cultures, religions and cosmological values of the Igede people were well-practiced and respected, these terrors were negligible! The researcher believes that it is high time to go back to the spotless Igede cultures, religions and worldviews.
In a nutshell, this articles (from the book; Igede Traditional Custom and the Paradox of Modernism) is compendium of a well-articulated twenty-three chapters research work that specifically explores the Igede nation, personality traits, moral and cultural values, metaphysics, cultural patrimony, cosmology and religions, globalisation and culture mutation, modern identity, institution of chieftaincy in premodern and modern eras, Igede Agba New yam festival, orthography and county system, educational development, need for instruction in Igede dialect, cultural believes and science achievement, primordial marriage system, traditional taboos and communal welfare, proverbs, death and burial rites, occupations, medicinal shrubs and wide trees, totemic animals and birds, socio-cultural importance of traditional customs, strategies for preserving Igede culture and cultural identity and the paradox of new media in a globalized world. The topics will be posted here one after another.
Identity is a sole unifying factor for insignia stand out among competing ethnic nationalities, and should constitute an instrument to confront paradox of modernism, culture mutation, globalisation and marginalization. Culture reawakening and revitalization is needed in Igede nation. Socio-cultural movements to improve, restore and integrate Igede culture on a global level is important which could attract value-adding international culture transformation that could contribute to the Igede cultural development.
Our Culture is our Identity. Let us revitalize, defend, promote and magnify our Identiy!
Benson Akpegi Egbodo
M. Ed., B.Ed., NCE
Cloud Cyberia, Ogengeng Primary School Junction,
Along College of Education (COE) Road
Oju LGA, Benue State, Nigeria
Igede Traditional Custom and Paradox of Modernism by Egbodo Benson