By Simon Abah.
The intention is not to downplay the significance of other tribes and women in Nigeria. Certainly not; one cannot legislate love and goodness. I have travelled widely in this country and interacted (and still interact) with people of different backgrounds and tribes. One group of women different from others is the Igbo. Igbo women tower above women from other tribes, for the simple reason that they are friendly with people who aren’t members of their geographical block as a matter of course.
They don’t fake it. It is just who they are. Many women elsewhere see making friends as a risk and recoil from making friends with people outside their locale. With some, you don’t stand a chance. Without reservation, Igbo women are very receptive and most do not mind marriage to a non-Igbo.
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I sometimes wonder if people would be better treated if they only married from their backyard and built themselves up by building up their people while ring-fencing others. So why do many women someplace surround themselves with people from our ‘tribe?’
Wouldn’t love be a phony baloney and a bollocks if we only respect our own, only care about the people who are ours and give them credit for everything novel and good whilst placing failure on other people. Relationship-building can’t be legislated upon but might it not be better if all women in this country are as integrated as the women from the east? If this were so, demonstrations of honesty and integrity would be easy.
After all, a country can only be built when people from all divides are engaged and their strength leveraged for the benefit of others. The country needs to be peopled with folks not afraid to take risks. Women who aren’t secure, with feelings of inadequacy always seek approval from men. A woman lost her child who was sick only because she was scared to take the child to the hospital without the say-so of the husband who was not at home, despite pressure from neighbours to do so. Most Igbo are socially aware and do not walk on egg-shells in their social interactions. I may be wrong but they are expressive, energetic and optimistic. Nigeria needs to envision the future and one way is to look at the women of the east as a case study for unity. If they can, then we all can. Many people need to be convinced about oneness so they can coach others and lead them in a new direction.
Empowerment of people should be total so as to enable them focus on the right things, be thick-skinned when men of straw with no history come calling, and have a high sense of duty to fatherland. The women I know who embraced change and yet failed, only failed because of bad guidance from kinfolk behind the curtain. All told, Igbo women are a special breed.