Idoma Culture and traditions

Idoma Cultures & Tradition

The Idomas are indigenes of Benue State in North-central Nigeria, by the South-eastern flank of the region. Known to be the second largest ethnic group in the state and occupying nine local government areas, they are not only humble in nature, but are also hospitable. Idoma people are very nice and friendly, they love what they do, more especially the idoma cultures.

Visitors around the world often visit Idoma land especially during new yam festivals and Eja’Alekwu festivals. Eja’Alekwu is a festival that is celebrated once in a year, (Eja means wine while Alekwu is the gods of the idoma ancestors). Idoma people strongly believe in ‘Alekwu spirit’ more especially communities like Orokam, Otukpa and Owkpa in ogbadibo local government Area, these communities are a very strong hold of Alekwu spirit and the people doesn’t joke with Alekwu rules and laws not minding the religion practiced by one.

Alekwu also plays a major role in marital life of the Idoma people Example:

Once married, women are not allow to commit adultery and if it happens, Alekwu will strike her and her husband dead especial if her husband is aware of this evil and try to cover his wife from public ridicule, the husband can be exonerated if only he avoid his wife immediately he discovers the evil, this means that the man must not eat the woman’s food, he must stop feeding her, he must not have sex with her until the woman goes to Alekwu shrine for cleansing  then the man will be free from being punish by Alekwu even though there’s a choice of worship in this community.

Marriage In Idoma Land

Marriage in Idoma land is considered a lifelong state of union, although divorce is possible on the ground of infidelity. Idoma traditional marriage is an agreement between two families rather than two individuals.

Marriage Procedures

When a man is set for marriage, the ogbo onya will investigate the family of the prospective bride to ensure that the family has no history of specific ailment like mental disease, epilepsy or similar problems. If the result of this investigation is possible then the prospective groom’s family visits the family of the woman’s family with gift of kolanut and drinks.

After both families reach an agreement, a certain amount would then be paid to indicate that the lady has been taken, this process is call (achio sechefu) then acceptance date is reached by both families.

During the bride price negotiation the father of the bride is usually not around the ogbo bonya (go-between) and some members of both families will sit with representatives of bride’s family who usually start by naming outrageous amount considering her academicals qualification after which the groom’s family is allowed to negotiate.

After the negotiations, both parties go for a separate secret meeting this process is call Ujuju and a conclusion on the amount to be paid will be reached.

On the day of the traditional marriage, bride price has to be paid overnight alongside Hollandis wrapper for the mother, goat, yams, plates, pots, drinks, kolanuts etc before the celebration starts on the next day.

Idoma Attire 

Idoma native attire (‘lli K’ Idoma,) is known for its unique black and red color and both colors have special meanings. The black color in Idoma attire (also known as Apa or Edema) represents earth and burial shroud while the Red represents royalty or red feather. The same red feather can often be seen on top the head of the traditional Idoma leader.

Idoma Cultural Dance

The popular idoma dance is called ogirinya it has to do with jumping on a regular interval.


nancy #enejist

Do you know that there’s nothing like the children of a late king of idoma land inheriting the throne of their fathers? Instead another king is replaced immediately after his death as the kingship is being rotated from one local government to another. #enejist

Thanks for reading, God bless you

ENEJIST (looking backward, moving forward<<<>>>)



Nancy Enewa John

by:Austine Obog Eneji


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