Is it not possible for Ijaw ethnic nationality to harmonize its traditional marriage rites?

Is it not possible for Ijaw ethnic nationality to harmonize its traditional marriage rites?

By GbarmatuVoice Editorial Board

Looking at multiple historical accounts at the public domain, GbaramatiVoice may not precisely, or categorically speak as to when Ijaw ethnic nationality originated. But one thing is certain; the Ijaws are people that are indigenous to the Niger Delta region in Nigeria. And a good number of them are found as migrant fishermen in camps as far west as Sierra Leone and as far east as Gabon.

With a population of over fifteen million, the Ijaws enjoy cultural homogeneity and are unarguably the most populous tribe inhabiting the Niger Delta region. It is equally a statement of fact that they are the fourth largest ethnic group in Nigeria.

ALSO READ: Why custodians of Ijaw tradition and culture must not allow Izon language go into extinction

In view of the above feats and resemblance, vis-à-vis homogeneity in occupation (fishing) and history, GbaramatuVoice expects a similar uniformity in marriage rites, particularly as it patterns to the payment of bride price.

But it is painfully not so.

The newspaper can say without mincing words that when it comes to the payment of bride price, Ijaw nation is neither united nor harmonious.

From Gbaramatu to Ogulagha, from Kabowei to Kolokuma, from Bayelsa to Delta, Rivers to Edo state, the stories are the same.

Every community and kingdom charges/collects bride prices according to their personal decision and judgement and without recourse to, or consideration that the marriage is between two Ijaw sons and daughter.

GbarmatuVoice condemns in strongest terms such developments.

Like the generality of well meaning Ijaw sons and daughters, the newspaper would like to ask: How did the Ijaw nation arrive at this practice? What, or who set the stage? Why is it difficult for the Ijaw nation to have and share a uniformed marriage rites? Since we share the same historical background, why can’t Ijaw’s extend similar cultural homogeneity and co-existence to traditional marriage rites? Why must families, communities and kingdom be the one to unilaterally fix the amount and other requirements to be used/charged as bride price?

Is Ijaw people unaware that allowing such practice to thrive will definitely allow selfishness, greed, personal interest and other mundane considerations to thrive, in ways that will make Ijaw traditional marriages become not just expensive but exhibiting?

In case readers are not aware, it was a similar trend that made traditional marriage in a particular tribe in Nigeria become so expensive to the extent that today, nobody, not even men from that tribe/region wants to marry from there.

Such discrepancy in the newspaper’s opinion must not be allowed to continue among Ijaws.

It is on this note that GbaramatuVoice passionately appeals to royal fathers and all the traditional rulers of Ijaw origin to look into the present state of varying/conflicting traditional marriage rites requirements in Ijaw land, and take practical steps to have it harmonized. If the people claim to be one, they should be everything in common and unison.

The newspaper also calls on the leadership of Ijaw National Congress (INC) and other socio-cultural organizations in Ijaw land to support the present call.

GbaramatuVoice holds the opinion that it will be highly rewarding if requirements for Ijaw traditional marriage are unified and cemented.

As an incentive, the newspaper suggests that a committee be set up to draw a central guideline/requirements for traditional marriages first, between an Ijaw son and daughter and secondly, between an Ijaw daughter and non Ijaw husband.

Finally, even if it proves difficult or impossible for the entire Ijaw nation to achieve a ‘’unified bride price regime’’, the newspaper believes that it will be easy for kingdoms to achieve.

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