6 interesting facts about the Idoma people

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Idoma People - Idoma culture

The Idoma culture is perhaps one of the most fascinating cultures in Nigeria. Exceptionally proud of their native heritage, the Idoma people have preserved many of their ancestors’ traditions, a number of them present in their mixture of elaborate traditional tales, artistic expressions, music and varied culture elements.

Like any other society, Idoma people reveal their customs, traditions, beliefs, norms and lifestyle through the distinctive behavioral traits. Travel.Jumia.com, Africa’s No. 1 online hotel booking site presents 5 of these notably peculiar facts that have now marked out the Idoma among other ethnic groups in the country.

The Idoma people are not only found in Benue state

The popular idea is that the Idoma are an ethno-linguistic group primarily found in the western areas of Benue State, Nigeria. This is because they are the second largest group in the state and occupy 9 local government areas (L.G.A.’s) which include: Ado, Agatu, Apa, Obi,Ohimini, Ogbadibo, Oju, Okpokwu & Otukpo .

Aside from the western parts of benue, the Idoma tribe have sparse settlements in other parts of the country, including Nassarawa and Cross Rivers States.

Masquerades - Idoma culture

The men are obliged by tradition to pound yam for their wives

Unlike other cultures where the woman is expected to perform all culinary chores, the Idoma men are not always exempted.

The traditional head of Otukpo, Och’Otukpo John Eimonye, stated in an interview with Daily Trust Newspaper that the job of pounding yam is one of the expectations of the Idoma men and serves as a masculine chore when considered from hygienic, social and cultural viewpoints. This interesting detail thrills not just outsiders who learn of it but the indigenes who practice it as well.

The people strongly believe in the ‘Alekwu spirit’

With the advent of Christianity and other foreign religions, 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 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 worship of 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 murder.

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The groom and the rooster

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.

One of those specific aspects is the fact that the groom and his family have to present the bride with a rooster and some money on the marriage day after the dowry 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.

Language Diversity

Classified as a minority ethnic group and often mistaken to be part of the Igbo tribe, the Idoma people are known for one language – Idoma, which is classified in the Akweya subgroup of the Idomoid languages of the Volta–Niger family.

With a population estimated to be about 3.5 million, varied dialects have over time emerged from the umbrella of this mother-tongue and they include ‘Western Idoma’ chiefly spoken by the Okpokwu and Ogbadibo local government areas; ‘Central Idoma’ spoken by Otukpo and Ohimini people; ‘Southern Idoma’ largely spoken by Ado communities and ‘Northern Idoma’ spoken by the Agatu & Apa regions.

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Idoma Dancers

The Okoho Soup

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.

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We would love to read your opinions in the comments section below. 

39 Comments

  1. ojabo matthew ameh

    December 7, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    My people of idiom

    • Stella

      September 25, 2016 at 8:13 pm

      Though we are not many, I thank God for being part of them. The part about Alekwu is true only in some parts, because my side doesn’t believe in it

  2. Nwora Uzo

    December 11, 2015 at 6:58 am

    Idoma people will be better-off if the Idoma goes back into history and find-out who Idoma was, is and will ever be. Truth is bitter. Find your link in the East.

  3. Daniel

    March 24, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    I love Idoma people. Apa lga, a place i would love to visit again. God bless NYSC for posting me there. ANYA

  4. Idoma Boy

    April 22, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    Too not mention Igala in talking about the Idoma is unfortunate.

    Idoma are closer to Igala than any other group. Only a small recent subset of Idoma have anything to do with Igbos. Idoma and their brothers the Igala migrated from the ancient land of Apa which was part of the Kwararafa Confederacy in what is now Nasarawa State Nigeria.

    • Alex

      May 17, 2017 at 9:43 pm

      Unfortunately, history isn’t taught in Nigeria since civil war. One history has it that Igala and Idoma are two brothers who migrated from Agureli (Anambra State) even the geographical proximity isn’t mere coincidence.I’m from Awkunaw(Awk)in Enugu State and these names are common between my people and great Idoma people viz;

      Agbo
      Egbo
      Ogbu
      Ede
      Ene

      These are not mere coincidence, it’s indeed disheartening that History is not taught in Nigeria after the civil war.

  5. Abah Sunny Best

    May 24, 2016 at 8:25 am

    my people of idoma I am bodily proud my idoma ppl an I will always keep prouding idoma until de end time even in de grave I will still proud idoma , but I has a question to ask my ppl to day , my quetion is why is it that is only the first born of the family has a right to inherit his father’s property? while other children ar still there

  6. juliana nicholas

    July 16, 2016 at 9:41 am

    proudly idoma

  7. HON AGA'ABA-IDU PETER E ONUH

    August 2, 2016 at 12:50 am

    There are dialects in Okpokwu like Edumoga which is d largest & widely spoken nevertheless others with Igala origin.So no such thing as southern,northern,central,western dialect.

  8. p.cleff oche

    August 11, 2016 at 11:26 am

    I Luv my tribe IDOMA proudly IDOMA abole .

  9. Jannyangel

    August 30, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    I’m proud to an African, am prod to be a Nigerian, am proud to be a benue Queen, am proud to an idoma I Luv all idomas cus they have love and there is peace in the land especially Otukpo

  10. friday adah

    September 24, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    idoma ola dam. How una dey? I am proud to be from idoma tribe. I also greet our brodas called d alagos of nasarawa state and the yala of cross-river state.

  11. austine ogwuche

    October 1, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    idomas are from no were but from igbo.I will soon publish my book on that…

    • Audrex

      October 30, 2016 at 8:50 pm

      I would like to read this book when it is ready, Please let me know. [email protected]

    • ogwuche Victoria

      December 15, 2016 at 12:20 pm

      I cnt wait for the book. that’s what I also think. your surname says the same thing

    • Georgina ene ijachi

      March 11, 2017 at 9:29 pm

      Wow also writing presently about the idoma people,pls can you add me let’s rub minds together,
      08069580251,Gina by name!

  12. Goodluck

    October 5, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    My people,correct me if I made mistake..i had that ladies from Benue don’t depend on one man,please how true is this…

  13. blessing ekpeta

    October 18, 2016 at 10:48 am

    @ gudluck what do u mean? well am proud to come Frm Benue state, otukpo to be precise n I love my culture n tradition even though Christianity has made us to abandon some of our traditional believes. long live Benue n long live otukpo.

  14. oyafiafia 1 of Ublegi

    October 20, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    I am proud to be an Idomaman . But let us pray against cultural genocide which is eminent.

  15. ZARA AMY

    November 5, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    I LUV THEIR CULTURE I PRAY THEY TRACE THEIR ROOT LONG LIVE THE IDOMAS

    • ogwuche Victoria

      December 15, 2016 at 12:24 pm

      please I’m not comfortable with our culture of been buried I’m father’s house. even biblically once you are married you have a new family. let’s try and change this culture old.

  16. Ebowoicho

    November 26, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Please why is it mandatory in idoma culture to submit life goats if your parent dies?? What are they using life goat for? And does it have anything to do with ancestral worship?

  17. samuel otokpa rapheal

    November 28, 2016 at 7:09 am

    we r going some where for sure and da sky is not our limit,we going higher

  18. ENOKELA GODWIN

    December 22, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    Idoma people are one of the most important people in Nigeria their culture and traditions are the best Christianity has made some changes but still yet their are still some traditions and cultural behaviors that can’t be denied. PROUDLY IDOMA.

  19. Udeh Jemima.

    January 11, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Although every thing said about Idoma culture is true, l am still proud.

  20. Henry

    January 12, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    I am planning on getting married to a woman from otupka BT I have little or no about them.. Can some one plz help me out?

    • Victor Otukpa

      April 13, 2017 at 1:18 pm

      U gonna pay a pretty penny bro.

  21. godwin okoh

    January 25, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    yes of curse I love my state,am proud to be one of them, idoma are great people.

  22. Raymond Bamidele Adole.

    February 8, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    Am proud to be an IDOMA. Though am nt gud in speaking idoma cos am born nd breed up in lagos. I LOVE MY STATE nd am proud to be an IDOMA. God blessed BENUE STATE.

  23. Abraham Lemuel

    February 18, 2017 at 9:03 am

    God Bless the Idoma nation and bring back the lost glory of the Kwararafa kingdom to us. It is a great priviledge to be an FBI (Full Blooded Idoma). Let’s put our hands together and build an indestructible nation for God out of the Idomas.

  24. Itodo,John Ogwiji

    February 21, 2017 at 6:13 am

    Iam proud to be one of ldoma son from old Ochekwu District,now as Apa local Govt Area.
    NB: Idoma people are also in Aba,Abia state,;Anambra state,;Nsuka;Aro-Chukwu ,etc

  25. Onojah Emmanuel

    March 4, 2017 at 9:05 am

    all hail the beauty and uniqueness of the IDOMA race!

  26. okoko Acheme

    March 5, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    it a thing of joy and been proud to know your rout and can link to proper source of origin.Being proud to be an idoma is still an assignment to all of us who are to dig more particularly those who have embrace western and other cultures.can we take a cue from the Yoruba’s?how the cherish their own. pls let collaborate and promote our culture with all we have.thanks for all those who make this possible. long live idoma nation,long live Benue state,long live Nigeria.

  27. prince, Umele Oche

    March 9, 2017 at 10:24 am

    What a great history! I enjoy the whole write-up when going through it, in fact it’s a great history for all the idomas people to place in their inner mind’ in order to tell their generation to come, tell them how great are the idomas people from the beginning and till now; pls let us come together and make a lovely brotherhood which will grant us the chance to rule benue state as a governor for a better leadership in position: great my able people of idoma land, am proud to be an Idoma man! One love my people.

  28. Ocheme Walter

    April 27, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Proudly Idoma. Long live Idomas, long live Benue n long live Nigeria.

  29. RICHARD OBOGO ISEKO

    May 8, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    FBI. Full Blooded Idoma

  30. Anthony

    May 25, 2017 at 8:36 am

    I love my tradition no matter what, idoma are the most peacefully people in Nigeria, but the ladies do betray us by living western life.

  31. Simon Ojilimakondu Clement

    June 3, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    We are formidable, honest n humble in everything. My Idoma, my heritage my Pride. Pls let support d creation of Biafra. I have been researching n still on it. We actually have links with Ibos, ijaws, ibibios isoko etc. I no what am saying.

  32. itodo mondaymatty

    June 22, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    God bless Idoma land

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