Igede stands out of Nigeria as one of the most cultured ethnic nationalities. The social life of the Igede people is built on core values and ethics such as honesty, hard work, tolerance, sacrileges and equality . Truth is life (Ẹla nya ịlẹhi ảả ri ọhịhị lẹ) is the Igede philosophical norm. Their metaphysical philosophy of life is rooted on the perceptions of two primary factors that underline their belief system and existence: “life-on-earth” and “life-after-death”. These two factors help to clarify certain fundamental and cultural expressions (Idikwu, 1987). These are some of the issues surrounding Igede identity which explains who the people are, how their society functions and their belief system.
There are colossal outbursts by the students and researchers regarding scanty literary works on Igede culture, tradition and identity and their vicious mutation and disarticulation due to the effects of modernism and globalisation but experience has shown that there is dearth of reference books, textbooks; and reports published in Journals either offline or online unlike other prominent tribes. This observed loophole was the undercurrent that avidly spurred the researcher into action.
The Igede people are a member of the Niger-Congo languages and the Benue-Congo subgroup who are predominantly dark in complexion without tribal marks. The ancient Igede people were very simple in their manners, tastes and habits. They lived in hills, valleys and forests for protection from enemies. Beside the simple tradition of shelter of huts, modes of dressing and table manners, the people have very rich culture and mores.
The people belong to the Benue South Senatorial District politically demarcated as Oju/Obi Federal constituency. They have three state constituencies vis-a-viz Oju I, Oju II and Obi constituencies with two local government areas, Oju and Obi, with Oju being the older local government. The area occupied by the people of Oju and Obi is situated in the middle belt region of Nigeria. The people justify their ancestral origin by oral tradition and archeological evidence. Their source is traced to a common ancestor called Agba whom the Igede Agba New Yam Festival is captioned.
Igede Traditional Custom and Paradox of Modernism by Egbodo Benson