All you need to know about idoma people

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Idoma is a tribe in Benue state Nigeria. Benue State (created 1976) and the history of the Republic of Nigeria (created 1960). The Idoma people poses Oral tradition and dance as their primary method through which history is been passed from generation to generation and is considered a central cultural institution. From a young age Idoma children usually learn from their elders stories of old and are brought up around extended families, which make multiple historical resources available. When prompted Idomas generally will proudly tell you where they are from, and it’s not uncommon for Idoma to be able to recite at least four generations of their progenitors. Historically, being unable to answer the emblematic question “Who is your father?” disqualified one from important roles and titles in Idoma land. Quite naturally, a number of villages trace origins to single ancestors and further, several Idoma groups trace their heritage to one common ancestor, considered the “father” of the different groups. According to traditional history, Iduh, the father of the Idoma had several children who each established different areas. Hence the expression: “Iduh the father of Idoma.” “Iduh the father of Idoma Iduh who begot all the Idoma He also begot the following children: Ananawoogeno who begot the children of Igwumale; Olinaogwu who begot the people of Ugboju; Idum who begot the people of Adoka; Agabi who begot the people of Otukpo; Eje who begot the people of Oglewu; Ebeibi who begot the people of Umogidi in Adoka, Edeh who begot the people of Edumoga and Ode who begot the people of Yala ” While there may be some truth to the above, the Idoma cannot be said to have a unitary origin. Many Idoma groups and village subsets have their own histories complete with stories about how their people arrived at their current location. The Otukpa people descended from three ancestors: Owuno, Ameh-Ochagbaha and Oodo. The first two were brothers who migrated from Idah in Igalaland while Oodo migrated from Igbo land. As one can imagine, the ever-changing of people through time makes it difficult to study Idoma history.

Idoma traditional dance

The most famous traditional dance of the Idoma people is known as Ogirinya dance. It is a highly energetic dance that requires jumping (at regular intervals) on the toes in short period of time.

Idoma traditional meal

The Idoma people are known for their love of food, as there is an annual food festival in Benue State to celebrate women and the various traditional cuisines. Most popular among their delicacies is the Okoho soup which is made with the peculiar Okoho plant, bush meat and many other ingredients

Idoma traditional religion

Christianity, Islam, and other foreign religions arenow the main religion in idoma land with Christianity taking thehighest percent , the traditional belief systems of most ethnic groups in the country has been influenced by western practices. However, a majority of the Idoma people still believe strongly in the Alekwu , which is seen as the ancestral spirits- a link between the living and the dead. They host an annual ‘Aje Alekwu’ festival where traditional religious practitioners commune and make sacrifices in worship of their ancestors across the land. The Idomas have strong attachment to the Alekwu-spirit of the ancestors which is believed to stand as an invisible watchdog of the family and communities while checkmating vices like adultery, theft and murde

Idoma traditional marriage

While the marriage rites and customs of the Idoma people is not unlike that of the Ibos and some other south-eastern cultures, there are specific aspects that clearly distinguish their tradition. In some Idoma subcultures the groom and his family have to present the bride with a rooster and some money on the marriage day after the bride price has already been paid. If she accepts, it is a sign of approval and disinterest if she reject the gift. While there are no certain reasons to justify the need for a rooster, it remains an interesting part of the ceremony.

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