The eastern part of Nigeria, largely dominated by people from the Igbo tribe, is a unique place to visit or live in. Aside from serene environs stretched over the area and the generally low cost of living, there is a profound exhibition of culture and deep respect for customs and tradition; and this affects how the locals interact and relate with others around the country and world at large.
Basically, people living in the eastern area are far more emotionally reserved than their counterparts in the Western or Northern parts of the country and some visitors find this disconcerting. The truth, however, is that they can actually be both affectionate and demonstrative when it comes to showing affection, though, they may not show it in the way that is expected.
To help visitors looking to understand the lifestyle of these people, Jumia Travel reveals five unique ways people in eastern Nigeria show affection.
- Hail with praise names and titles
A very common way people in the eastern parts of Nigeria, especially Aba and Owerri, show affection is by hailing the person with fancy titles and praise phrases. Some of the popular appellations include Chief, Oga, odum, Eze e.t.c. They also use phrases that tend to exalt the person being referred to, such as “onye Isi” meaning “the man man”, “Nwoke ukwu” meaning “Big guy”.
- Brag about the person
Another way they show affection is by bragging to others about the person or about something the person did or is going to do. Usually, when they start to brag, they first make sure the person is within earshot, so the person knows they are favored or loved. Parents usually do this a lot with their kids rather than just hug them or share such emotional words as “I love you” and more.
- Symbolic/significant gifts
Giving gifts is a common way people from around the world show affections, but people from the eastern parts of Nigeria take this a step further when they want to channel affection. From unexpected surprises to gifts of farm animals and food, they gift abundantly in the bid to show affection .This is also why Nigerian women prefer to marry Igbo men who genuinely care about them.
- They share what they have
The Igbos are generally considered to be tight-fisted and selfish. The key stereotype is that they love money and would amass as much wealth as they can without offering same opportunities to others. While this has not been proven and is largely regarded to be false, there actually is an atom of truth to it. Igbos would actually only share their food and possessions if they like a person and want to show affection.
- Exhibit domineering behaviours
This may seem conflicting, but people from the eastern parts of the country usually demonstrate their love by being more controlling of the person’s behaviour or activity. This is why the parents tend to be very strict with their children and the people seem to be meddlers.
By Nkem Ndem, a PR Associate at Jumia Travel