Nigeria is a vast country with over 250 ethnic groups. In Nigerian Ethnic groups the Hausa-Fulani, Igbo and Yoruba which denotes the Northern, Eastern and Western Regions of Nigeria asides over 250 ethnic groups present basically represent the most predominant ethnic groups in Nigeria.
The social boundaries that are present in Nigeria are often tagged artificial. Nigeria has an extremely diverse ethnicity that varies beyond its physical boundaries, especially those of the former English colony which were drafted to specifically serve commercial interests, without much recourse to the territorial claims of the ethnic entities.
The current ethnic configuration splits the Nigerian state into six major ethnic groups, a development that was designed by General Sani Abacha, Nigeria’s past military rule, which includes the Hausa Fulani for North West, Kanuri for North East, Tiv for North Central, Igbo for South East, Yoruba for South West and Ijaw for South South. The North East, North West, South South and South East regions of Nigeria are made up of diverse ethnic groups, while the South East and South West are predominantly Igbos and Yorubas respectively.
The picture on Fig. 1.0 describes an Igbo culture king makers ceremony which differs from the Eze i.e. the title for a king in the Igbo tradition. The king makers however, are powerful in view of their roles in producing the Eze and also being able to denounce such. However, the Eze in the Igbo ethnic setup may hold absolute powers over all his subjects in the community if he rules with fairness and justice in accordance to the constitutions from the kingmakers in the community. Well, one can also take a cue from the traditional attire depicted in the picture above as a simple dress code for an average Igbo.
The North West is comprised of seven States, which makes up the Hausa, Jabba(Kaduna), Hausa, Zuru(Kebbi), Hausa-Fulani, Kanuri(Jigawa), Hausa Fulani, Gbayi(Zamfara), Hausa Fulani, Zara(Sokoto), hausa-Fulani, Baju(Kano) and Hausa-Fulani, Maguzaw(Kastina).
The North East is made up of six States and its ethnic configuration comprises of Balewa, Fulani(Bauchi), Fulani, Kanuri(Yobe), Fulfulde, Fulani(Adamawa), Mumuye, Tiv(Taraba) and Kanuri, Babur(Borno).
The North Central come along with six States and the Federal Capital Territory-Abuja, with Tiv, Idoma(Benue), Mada-Eggon, Tiv(Nasarawa), Igala, Ebira(Kogi), Nupe, Gbayi(Niger), Yoruba, Nupe(Kwara) and Berom Mangu(Plateau).
Then there’s the South South, with six States, they are the Bini, Essan(Edo), Itsekiri, Urhobo(Delta) Ijaw(Bayelsa), Efit, Ejagham(Cross River), Ogoni, Ikwere(Rivers) and Annang, Ibibio(Akwa Ibom).
The notion that held sway for three major ethnic groups in Nigeria is one that is old and has fizzled out almost completely following the division by Gen. Sani Abacha, Nigeria’s past military President to split the country into six geo-political zones.
Although, it has been argued that most of the languages that are spoken by the different ethnic groups in Nigeria is derived from the three main language families, representing the Igbos, Yorubas and Hausas.There is the Niger-Congo, Afro-Asiatic and the Nilo-Saharan.
There are diverse factors that define the nomenclature of ethnic groups in Nigeria: a common language, story of common origin, a primary territory, and in most cases a shared religious beliefs. Against the backdrop of these objective criteria, intuitive factors come very handy as well.