One of my friends convinced me to go see The Wedding Party when it was at the cinemas three years ago. It was a comedy through and through. I totally enjoyed the movie.
As is expected with cinemas and movies like The Wedding Party, the hall was packed full, and as Nigerian as we can be, people gave loud commentary, clapped their hands, and laughed out loud during the movie.
There is a part in the movie where the parents of the bride who are Yoruba presented Efik dancers to the parents of the groom who are Igbo. The mother of the groom, rolled her eyes and told them “we are Igbos,” the mother of the bride looked at her husband, thoroughly confused, “Efik, Igbo, are they not all the same?” her husband nodded in agreement, “they are all the same.”
People at the cinema added their consent too, “all na the same joor,” someone behind me said, and I joined the mother of the groom to roll my eyes.
Some Yoruba people are so ignorant! I told my friend the next day. He looked at me as if I had grown an extra head, then said “we are the most educated group in the whole country.” Yes, Yes, no arguments here, but when it comes to Nigeria and how the country works SOME Yoruba people can be very ignorant about the most basic “Nigerian-facts”.
Before I moved to Lagos I had always admired Yoruba people through literature. Most of the fiction I read growing up was set in the south-west. For years I craved to go to Ibadan because of the eponymous poem, when I finally did, let’s just say I was more disappointed than Obinze of Americanah. So you see, it’s Yoruba people who said, nah girl! We are not all Wole Soyinka
I have heard really absurd things like:
Former President Goodluck Jonathan is Igbo, he wanted to help his people create Biafra
Like in The Wedding Party, everywhere after Ondo State to the south is Igboland. I sound like a broken record but we don’t have three tribes in Nigeria
There is nothing like Delta-yoruba. The language and tribe is called Itsekiri. Amaju Pinnick of the NFF is Itsekiri, Omawumi, the singer is Itsekiri. Listen to her Megbele, is it Yoruba? No
And this funny question they ask you when you tell them you are travelling home. Are you going to the village? How are your village people? Please how does home = village? I went to Warri during the holidays, when I got back another dear friend told me welcome back to civilisation.
The ignorant Yoruba people remind me of Europeans who think Africa is a country, they know very little outside their immediate environment. Half of the four years I spent studying History and International Relations at the university was spent studying the USA, from when they were a British colony to their Independence, World Wars, Civil War, Present times, their foreign policy and etc.
So while I know a lot about America, the average American still thinks I live in huts and have elephants as pets. The same goes for some Yoruba folks. While I have read a lot about them, studied the Yoruba language for four years in secondary school (by force) and actually cried for Modakeke during the Yoruba civil wars they know little or nothing about me – and they are the most educated group in Nigeria. This is what Chimamanda Adichie called the principles of “nkali”
I know it is not their doing that they know so little about other parts of Nigeria, but what irks me is that when confronted with their ignorance they start spewing nonsense or wave it away.
A person who has only seen the Niger Bridge from google images will argue with you that it has six lanes and so there is no need for a second Niger Bridge, and many other funny things.
Dear Yoruba person who says these kinds of ignorant things and hold these views, please, please stop embarrassing your very well-educated and well-travelled ancestors/compatriots.
Please pick up a book today about the peoples of Nigeria, if you have never left the south west, add it to your New Year to-do list and when people from other parts of the country talk about their experiences do not dismiss it, let go of ignorance today.
God bless you!