great people and diverse culture

Culture

We are rich in culture and are proud of our African heritage

Nigerian culture is shaped by the country’s multiple ethnic groups. The country has over 50 languages and over 250 dialects and ethnic groups. The three largest ethnic groups are the Hausa-Fulanis who are predominant in the north, the Igbos who are predominant in the south-east, and the Yorubas who are predominant in the south-west. The Edo people are predominant in the region between Yorubaland and Igboland. Most of the Edo people are Christians while 25 percent worship the Deity called Ogun. This group is followed by the Ibibio/Annang/Efik people of coastal south-eastern Nigeria and the Ijaw of the Niger Delta. The rest of the Nigerian ethnic groups (sometimes referred to as ‘minorities’) are found all over the country but especially in the middle belt and in the north. The Hausas are mostly Muslims and the Igbo are predominantly Christian. The Efik, Ibibio, Annang people are also predominantly Christian. The Yoruba have a balance of people that are adherent to both Islam and Christianity. Indigenous religious practices remain important in every of the country’s ethnic groups and these beliefs are often blended with Christian beliefs.

Apart from the English language being the country’s international language, pidgin is also a lingua franca that was common among non-literate persons and street vendors who could not speak formal English. Nowadays, however, the majority of the country’s population including the rich, poor, literates and non-literates all speak Pidgin English which is a mixture of English and other slang words. Nigeria is also famous for its English language literature.

The Nigerian music constitutes a diverse array of folk and popular music, some of which are known worldwide. Traditional musicians use a number of diverse instruments, such as the Gongon drums. Some other traditional cultural expressions are found in the various masquerades of Nigeria, such as the Eyo masquerades, the Ekpe, and Ekpo masquerades of the Efik/Ibibio/Annang/Igbo people of coastal south-eastern Nigeria, as well as the Northern Edo masquerades. The most popular Yoruba wooden masks are the Gelede masquerades. A very important source of information on Modern Nigerian Art is the Virtual Museum of Modern Nigerian Art operated by the Pan-African University, Lagos.

From the 1990s the Nigerian movie industry ‘Nollywood’ emerged as a fast-growing cultural force all over the continent of west Africa.  Nigerian movies are very popular all over the country and increasingly so even in the conservative north. A foreigner who might be interested in watching Nigerians films should look Tunde kelani films up, especially SAWOROIDE or Tade ogidan films. And for modern music with genres of pop, hip-hop or rap, D’banj, P-square, Terry G, Banky W, Tu face and Naettto C. Western music, clothes and movies are also popular.