Igbo Tradition (OmeN’ala) And Feminism

First, let me inform whom it may concern, Igbo tradition (OmeN’ala) is not anti-women, rather it protects women. OmeN’ala is the customary law of the Igbo people. It is our way of life and it is duly recognized by the Nigerian constitution.

Like every other law, its application depends on its understanding. 

So, if you understand OmeN’ala, you will realize that there are rights and privileges for everyone (men, women, children). OmeN’ala governs the land, death, marriage, etc.

Igbo Traditional Marriage:
The Igbo traditional (OmeN’ala) marriage goes further than the bride and groom wedding. 

The marriage is between the bride’s kindred and the groom’s kindred. And the payment of the pride price is the consideration given in that marriage as a contract between the 2 kindreds.

Bride price is a broad subject that is very much misunderstood. Without the bride price, there is no marriage. And the couple will never have their rights and privileges without the bride price.

So, if a feminist who is against the payment of a bride price, invites guests for her ‘traditional wedding’, hires a hall, and put on the most flowing African attire without the presence of her kindred, that will never be a traditional wedding.

Again, if a bride who disagreed with her father, perhaps, because she took the sides of her mother in a bitter divorce, wears the most expensive African attire, without the presence of his father and his kinsmen, such marriage will not be considered a traditional marriage.

Remember, a traditional wedding is a marriage between 2 communities. And it’s the bride’s father that will introduce the groom’s kindred to his/bride’s kindred.

In fact, 90% of the list of items given to the groom for the traditional marriage belongs to the kindred. Even the pride price(60 Naira) is paid to the kindred who will later hand it over to the bride’s father.

And to the feminist who sees the payment of her bride price by the groom as if she is being sold, I suppose she is worth as little as 60 Naira. 

However, as a feminist, or a bride who detests her father for whatever reason, instead of embarrassing yourself with your sham traditional wedding, try other types of marriages such as:

Marriage Registry:
This route is very simple. For this type of marriage to be legally binding, the parties must be of age (18 years+, in Nigeria), and of sound mind. Then, just you and your groom plus 2 witnesses.

Subsequently, you and your husband will sign the marriage certificate just as your witnesses will countersign the certificate.

As you can see, no father’s consent, no kindred, and no bride price - since you are not for ‘sale’. The marriage certificate will be handed over to you as the woman that married her husband.

Thereafter, as a feminist, I reckon you won’t like your husband to take you home, which is what Igbo traditional marriage is all about.

You will rather take your husband home since you have satisfied the European’s traditional wedding as stated in Ephesians 5:31 - "For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."

Dear Feminist, OmeN’ala is our way of life. If you cannot adhere to our customary law - OmeN’ala Igbo, please try another way of life. And don’t try to interfere with our way of life.

By the way, for every feminist Igbo woman who questions Igbo tradition (OmeN’ala), there are millions of others who understand and accept OmeN’ala.

- liberate your mind