Friday, 18 July 2008

The Ijebu Gene

Though, I am sometimes guilty of stereotyping, I try to desist from it-and focus on the individual not community traits. But, I've come to realize that some stereotypes have elements of truth to them. I'm Ijebu (that's what I was told, that's the 'tribe' of my parents and basically where I go to, during festive periods) and I lived most of life in Port Harcourt. Apart from learning certain values from my parents (which really weren't that 'Ijebuic') and from cousins and uncles (who themselves were ignoring their culture in bids to fit into the western one), I did not have any external influences on the Ijebu culture. The few things I knew growing up were that it was sought of a group of tribes (Ikenne-Remo, Ijebu-Igbo etc) and had its own separate language that sounded like its speakers had their mouths full when they spoke. And the most popular of these traits was that Ijebus were naturally and staunchly prudent. As easily predictable, my father was a true Ijebu man when it came to this particular trait. I grew up learning that money really doesn't have to be spent-why buy, when you can save, really. 'Really?'

"Ah Daddy lets gotto Park 'n' Shop" we would all sing, as kids
"Okay...go get ready"

As soon as we step out of the car, father is already informing us that we won't spend too much. On some occasions he would allot to everyone the maximum amount we can spend.
No doubt, my parents were always there to provide us with what we needed and even most of our wants, still, we had to learn to sometimes settle for less. This left us confused why we couldn't get better, knowing Daddy definitely had to the doe (people had told us).
Father's excuse was however that he went for "value for money, not price".

A haa! (in the Yoruba way of expressing incredulity), when did less expensive things start getting higher quality than costlier things?

Now, at this point of my life, I'm being accused for being too Ijebu-in the "you are too stingy" kind of way. Canadian friends call me "cheap", while my PH peeps declare me an "Akanchichi"
Someone tell me why I should buy a polo shirt that just has an effin crocodile or
polo-stick yielding man on the left breast, when you can get an equally nice one at STITCHES or even BLUENOTES.

So after all my ramblings, the point I am getting at is that I have in some manner-genetically or otherwise inherited this peculiar Ijebu trait from my father. But I'm curious to know if I got it through being influenced by my folks or is there a genetic explanation to this?

To Nigerian Researchers or Khaki-clad white explorers out there: This is definitely a puzzling scientific and anthropological question.

20 comments:

NaijaBabe said...

Ijebu man!
Lol, I'm so looking forward to reading this.....after work!

NaijaBabe said...

LOL

I think it is a Nigerian thing, but then again, it is the same Nigerians that prefer to be seen when they are flaunting their crocodile embroidered t-shirts and what not!

I have no plausible theory, but I guess you may just be another victim of the ijebu-ness.

Hehe!

Femi B said...

Let me try and analyze this in layman's terms... we always inherit our parents traits even if we hate them..we find a way of being exactly that. (There are some things my mum always did and i hated it so much and now, i find myself doing the same thing.So maybe the first ever Ijebu man was prudent and loved Ikokore...so its just found a way to trickle down to you..lol At Least its a good trait to be economical than otherwise,

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tiwalade said...

lol.. at your dad given you quotas on the amount you can spend in park n Shop.

My fellow ijebu brother, I am very ijebuish as well. i guess I couldn't really escape the gene since both my mother and father are from ijebu. My mother though does not have this prudent gene but apparently my father did and even though he passed away when I was very young and so could not have influenced me I still managed to get it from him. So it must be genetic.

At least as femi B said its a (kinda)good trait

Afolabi said...

@ naijababe- lol, it's sought of a Nigerian thing to be prudent (but I don't think it's by choice, for most pple), but for Ijebu peeps like me, it's a heavily conscious choice.

@femi b- I guess it's a good trait sometimes. Seriously, I don't think it's genetic...lol..I just think as you said, it finds a way to trickle down from parents to us. Oh ikokore! drooling now...

@tiwalade- Hmmn, your comment makes me re-think my claim that it isn't genetic. But whether genetic or not, it is a good trait...

Invisible said...

I know a couple ijebus here and they are the same way too. It's kinda annoying shopping with them though 'cause they spend all day looking for sales and bargains. lol.

I would say you were influenced by your father because that's who you grew up with. But like Femi B said, it's a good way to be economical - you get to have extra money in your pocket :)

Jaja said...

Akanchichi!

I believe most of the behaviours we exhibit are learned.

How body?

Jaycee said...

Most likely influential and not genetic...lol.

tps360 said...

I am an ije-gba man.. (egba and ijebu)..... dont believe what you read online....

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