Traditional Marriage Rites In Afikpo,The Controversies And Facts


Traditional marriage rites in Afikpo, Ebonyi State has changed dramatically but even at that, there are still needs to be acquainted with what is left or added to the previous marriage traditions rites in the area.

Back in the days traditional marriage rites in Afikpo, known as Ikpa Ububo, Amara Ulo, Atogbo Nku, Inyo Ozi, and all the rest that were related to traditional marriage rites in Afikpo were almost scrapped off completely with the modern civilization of marriage rites and requirements which many people prefer.

In fact, the issues of high bride price is something that almost all tribes in Nigeria are guilty of, but thank God for civilizations and what it came along with thereby saving most peoples from some dead and ancient traditions that erstwhile had kept them standing still.

In Afikpo today, if a boy and a girl sees each other and as time go on, develops interests on themselves, they usually talk the matters over by themselves and thereafter put their parents and the other people on the know about their intention to marry.

Before making their intentions known to the other people, their frequent visits to each others place may have projected enough signals that something more than mere visits are involved, but nonetheless, “There is a saying that champions are not made in the ring”.  It should have been obvious that they are planning to marry.

So the interchanges of visits by the intending couple are usually based on the parents suggestions to enable them confirm what they see. Since the elderly ones know more than the young lads who are just filled the thoughts of getting and being married only without other realistic sides of it.

SEE ALSO: List Of Traditional Marriage Requirements In Calabar/Efik

After sometimes, when some satisfactory details might have been gathered, the parents of the man, preferably sits down with their son and discusses the matter in a more detailed and serious form. After this and even before now, the girl might have been receiving little presents from the boy and his family, though informal in nature but it still serves the purpose of helping the girl to see herself as a pearl belonging to someone.

Now to make things stand out and have it known publicly, the young man with few of his relatives makes a visit to the girl’s parents for proper introduction called in their local language, “Anam Abia” which means that he is coming back! This signifies before all others the seriousness of the young man to marry the girl.

Traditional Marriage Rites In Afikpo Introduction List:

  1. A very big stick of smoked/dried fish or big stock fish,
  2. Bars of soap,
  3. Packets of detergents, One dozen of toilet soap,
  4. High quality pomade/powder,
  5.  Five big yams.

These items are to be carried in a conspicuous manner in order to be attracting questions from the passerby regarding it’s destination. The items and those that come with it are usually received with hearty cheers from the girl’s families and are entertained with some tasty meals, but nonetheless it is often left in the ways it was brought in case of any hitch along the line which may warrant sending it back to them, but such cases are very rare.

In the olden days, most of what were described above usually take weeks after the other but just as we noticed from the beginning of this article, they have been effaced and replaced with modern civilized and proper time management ways of doing things.

So these days, if the bridegroom is ready to have his traditional marriage within a day or two, it’s left for him and his level of preparedness.

The only process that people still frown at with traditional marriage rites in Afikpo arrangements is the high cost of the items to seal up the marriage with and some of the olden days traditions that are still required to go along with it which costs much money too.

For instance, most of the discarded items on the list like Imara ulo, Ntogbo Nku, Inyo Ozi and Odudu Nwanyi in Afikpo are still being evoked and monetized to the detriments of both families since all these eats deep into the families both of the groom and the bride.

Some people are putting up serious arguments that it’s no longer the ways, that it used to be even back then when all it takes to complete a traditional marriage were more of traditional rites than the present day rigorous and some ambiguous rites and traditions that expose most families and sends them into borrowing just to complete marriage rites.

Back in the days, after all the processes have been concluded aside from the long detailed traditions, what the most elderly men in the gathering usually do is to pour liberation drinks and bless the union after which they are entertained and departs for their various homes in a number that doesn’t even exceed ten men!.

But today, after all the marriage dues have been fulfilled, it now becomes the turn of the public to see what the lady would be going to her husband’s house with in another tradition called ‘Odudu Nwanyi’ which is very elaborate and a prestigious venture that costs a whole lot of money.

SEE ALSO: List Of Traditional Marriage Requirements In Yoruba

As a people, much are usually not heard in terms of dowries, bride price and all the rest, but the issues of ‘Odudu Nwanyi’ which many people are going against these days, is of paramount importance to them. The reason? No one knows but some wiser families among the ethnic group are doing things differently without unnecessarily exposing themselves out in the public.

Required Items For Odudu Nwanyi In Afikpo Traditional Marriage.

1. Tin of palm oil

2.Tin of kerosene

3. Mortar and pestle

4. Set of enamel cooking pots

5. Two basins of small and big modern grinder

6. Pot for storing water

7. A lantern

8.A head of broom


10. Family bed, foam,and pillow

11. Modern mat

12. Standing mirror

13. Foods stuff in some large quantity

14. 10 tubers of sizable yam

15. Young female goat and so on……

In fact, Odudu nwanyi has taken a wider dimension for a show up rather than what it was in the years back. Why all these? Some said, as long as all the customary marriage rites have been done, the girl can be given out in marriage. In fact, on an agreement between the girl’s parents and the suitor, a girl can be given in marriage even when all the marriage rites, including Bride Price, have not been done by the husband.

SEE ALSO: List Of Traditional Marriage Requirements In Igbo Land

A traditional marriage procession in Afikpo | Photo credit:
A traditional marriage rites in Afikpo procession | Photo credit:

Odudu Nwanyi, therefore, is optional and not a rule and those who could afford it should not impose it on others. As for the issues relating to the payments of bride price and dowries in Afikpo, that almost became an issue which nearly tore the community into pieces sometimes in the past.

SEE ALSO: Traditional Marriage Requirements In Hausa

Not that they don’t have stipulated amount for that, they do and it is known as ( ‘Ime Eku or Adoba Eju Mai’) that’s how the bride price is addressed in Afikpo and once it has been paid on a girl, she immediately becomes the wife of the suitor even if she is still in her parent’s home.

Ehugbo as it was originally called before the British changed it to Afikpo, used to exchange yams for the bride price because yam was held sacred and besides, a scarce commodity in the olden days and every parent demanded and got what they wanted but problem sparked off because of the disparity in the number of and the size of the yam for the exchanges.

The matter dragged on for a long time until Afikpo elders meet and fixed a uniform number and the size of yams for a bride price which unified the whole Afikpo. As time go on, cowries and money got into the picture as the bride price and from there arose another controversy of differences in the prices of bride price.

The bride price ranges from 100 to 400 (Mkpo Olacha) as the introduced British Currency was then known. For a beautiful tall girl from a reputable family, the price are usually higher than that of a lower class but in whatever class, the following item must go along with. Items like: A pot of fresh palm wine and snuff well grounded, a big stick of a smoked fish or stock fish.

So judging from some of the points in this article, one could easily see where the problems of bride prices started from and the reasons why the controversy has dragged on till the present times.

Marrying from Afikpo today is more of a family thing than a community affairs.

SEE ALSO: Cost Of Traditional Marriage Rites In Mbaise, Imo State


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