Of Nigeria’s major ethnic groups, geopolitical zones

NigeriaNigeria started running the parliamentary system of government in 1960. It was terminated in 1966 by a military coup. During this time, the country had Northern, Western and Eastern regions.

These three regions gave rise to the idea of three major ethnic groups in Nigeria. They were Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo for the Northern, Western and Eastern regions, respectively.

The Mid-Western Region was later created from the Western Region in 1963, bringing the regions to four. But the idea of three major ethnic groups persisted, as their members were not ready to allow another ethnic group join their fold.

The six geo-political zones (North-West, North-Central, North-East, South-West, South-East and South-South) were created by late General Sani Abacha in 1995, but the former three major ethnic groups still would never want other ethnic groups to represent their respective geopolitical zones.

There are over 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria. Apart from the South-West and South-East zones whose natives are Yoruba and Igbo respectively, other zones have many ethnic groups.

In the North-West, we have Hausa-Fulani, Kanuri (Jigawa), Hausa-Fulani, Jaba (Kaduna), Hausa-Fulani, Baju, (Kano), Hausa-Fulani and Maguzawa (Katsina), among others. In the North-Central, we have Gbagyi, Gwandara (Abuja), Tiv, Idoma (Benue), Igala, Ebira (Kogi), Yoruba, Nupe (Kwara), Eggon, Tiv (Nasarawa), Nupe, Gbagyi (Niger) and Berom (Plateau) among others.

For the South-South, there is Ibibio, Annang (Akwa Ibom), Ijaw, Nembe (Bayelsa), Efik, Ejagham (Cross River), Urhobo, Itsekiri (Delta), Bini, Esan (Edo) and Ikwere, Ogoni (Rivers). The North-East has Bachama, Margi (Adamawa), Sayawa, Fulani (Bauchi), Kanuri, Babur (Borno), Fulani, Tangalawaja (Gombe), Mumuye, Tiv (Taraba) and Fulani, Kanuri (Yobe).

Since Hausa and Fulani prefer being paired and called Hausa, it is appropriate to have six major ethnic groups representing each of the six geo-political zones, namely: Hausa (North-West), Yoruba (South-West), Igbo (South East), Tiv (North-Central), Ijaw (South-South)  and Kanuri (North-East).

The promotion of Yoruba and Igbo languages in the South-West and South-East is in order. But the idea of promoting only Hausa in the North, and Bini, Efik, Ibibio and Ijaw in the South-South is completely wrong.

Those behind such activities are either doing so out of ignorance or are intent on evil.

The languages and traditions of the six major ethnic groups should be promoted and the translation of some vital information by some federal ministries, departments and agencies into Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo should also be done in Tiv, Ijaw and Kanuri.


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