HomeCultureTHE IGEDE PEOPLE OF BENUE STATE; EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THESE AMAZING PEOPLE
THE IGEDE PEOPLE OF BENUE STATE; EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THESE AMAZING PEOPLE
January 4, 2022
The Igede people are one of the tribes found in Benue State in the North Central of Nigeria.
The Igede people occupy the basins of the minority in Benue State. Igede people are the third largest ethnic group in Benue State and account for a population of over 2 million people across Nigeria. Igede people are found largely in two local government councils- Obi and Oju.
They are also found in Konshisha and Gwer local government councils of Benue State as well as in Cross River State and other parts of Nigeria.
The traditional head of the Igede people used to be called Ad’utu. These days, the people are led by the Ad’oju and Ad’obi. These titles were created after the series of crisis that occurred for the succession of the last Ad’utu. The Ad’oju and Ad’obi serve as assistants to the Och’Idoma who is the paramount ruler of all Idoma people. The current Ad’oju is Augustine Egbere Ogbu, while the Ad’obi is Chief Cyril Okwute.
The people celebrate the annual New Yam Festival just like other ethnic groups, such as the Igbos. The New Yam Festival here is called ‘Igede Agba’. The festival is being held annually in the month of September. It marks the beginning of new yam planting every season. The people who are predominantly farmers see yam as the most palatable of all the food crops. The festival is an opportunity for the people to display their rich culture; give thanks to the gods for a good harvest, and welcome a new planting season. Traditional dancing and masquerades are also featured to add cultural value to the festival. Every Igede sons and daughters, home and abroad, participate in this festival.
Based on the people’s religion, they do both church and traditional wedding. The traditional wedding involves the man asking out a woman he likes when he is matured enough for marriage. The wedding process can also begin with the man’s father or any other relatives choosing a wife for the man. If the man likes the girl, his parents immediately go formally with kola nuts and palm wine to the girl’s parents to seek their child’s hand in marriage. If the girl consents to it, a negotiation starts as regards the bride price. Marriage preparation follows the payment of bride price (it does not matter if it is paid partly or not at all). The wedding goes ahead and it is always a beautiful ceremony.
The Igede people have a complex and interesting culture that is unique in every way. One of most fascinating aspects of igede people is their traditional attire.
Igede traditional dressing and cultural attire comprises three beautiful colours; blue, white & black with variety of vibrant and colourful materials – Ogodogodo,made into different elegant styles to reflect the cultural richness and confidence of the Igede people.
This combination is quite unique and exquisite. This is the reason why even an everyday Igede clothes manufactured from Ogodogodo can easily pass for special oven attire. Once sighted, the native and cultural attires can be distinguished from a broad range of traditional clothing worn by different tribes in Nigeria.
Women can wear Ogodogodo in diverse ways. These includes blouses, skirts, gowns and gele. Men often opt for style vest, agbada, cap or a long half muffler of Ogodogodo on the neck.
During Igede Traditional marriage ceremony, brides are mostly adorned with beautiful colours; blue, white & black shining pieces of clothing worn elegantly . The blue colour symbolizes ‘peace’ The white colour mean ‘purity’ while the black colour represent the ‘Agricultural practice’.
Another notable aspect of the Igede’s tradition is the burial of the indigenes in a special forest. People killed with arms or during wars are regarded as special and are never buried near homes but in a forest. Certain rites are performed to appease the gods on behalf of the corpses. People of questionable characters are said to be buried in the evil forest as well.
So, why not pay the people of Igede a visit? I assure you’ll never regret it.