Notes Social Studies

Uniqueness of Nigerian Culture

CONTENT:  Meaning of Uniqueness

To be unique is to be special. Every aspect of Nigerian culture is unique in its operational mode.

Aspect of Uniqueness of Nigerian Culture:

  1. History and ethnic relations
  2. Unity in diversity
  3. Marriage
  4. Kinship Groups
  5. Etiquette
  6. Presentation of Kola-nut
  7. Death and the after life
  8. Dressing
  1. History and Ethnic Relations

Every ethnic group in Nigerian has its own stories of where its ancestors came from. These vary from takes of people descending from the sky to stories of migration from far-off places. Archaeologist have found evidence of Neolithic humans who invited what is now Nigeria as far as far back as 12000 BC. This history makes the culture unique unlike other countries that belief that man came from Ape or Monkey.

  • Unity in Diversity

Nigerian is one nation but has so many nations in the nation. It is a country with many ethnic groups with different languages and their dialects. Each tribe in Nigeria no matter how small it may be has a particular language and dialect that it is known with.

  • Marriage

There are three types of marriages in Nigeria today. They are:


              A Nigerian couple may decide to take part in one or all of these marriages. Religious marriages usually Christian or Muslim are conducted according to the norms of the respective religious teachings and take place in a church or mosque. Traditional marriages usually are held at the wife’s house and are performed according to the customs of the ethnic group involve. Many Nigerian ethnic groups follow the practice of offering a bride price for an intended wife; this makes marriage in Nigeria unique.

 A bride price can take the form of money, cattle, or other valuable goods paid to the woman’s family.

  • Kinship Groups

While men dominate Igbo Society, women play an important role in kinship. All Igbo’s, men and women have close ties to their mothers’ clan, which usually lives in a different village. When an Igbo dies, the body is usually sent back to his mother’s village to be buried with his mother’s kin. If an Igbo is disgraced or cast out of his community, his mother’s kin will often take him in.

For the Hausa, however, there is not much of a sense of a wide ranging kinship. Hausa society is based on the nuclear family. There is a sense of larger extended family, including married siblings and their families, but there is little kinship beyond that. However the idea of blood being thicker than water is very strong in Hausa society. For this reason, many Hausa will try to stretch familial relationship to the broader idea of clan or tribe to the diffuse tension between or among neighbours.

  • Etiquette

Age is greatly respected in Nigeria. In an area where the average life expectancy is not very high, those who live into their senior years are seen as having earned special rights of respect and admiration. This is true of both men and women.

Socially, greetings are of the utmost importance. When one come in contact with an individual or visit a friend, it is considered rude not to engage in a proper greeting before getting down to business. Shaking hands, eating, or passing things with the left hand are unacceptable. The left hand is unaccepted. The left hand is reserved for personal toiletries and is considered dirty.

  • Presentation of Kola Nut

Presentation of kola nut is a unique aspect of Nigerian culture especially in Igbo land. The presentation of kola nut shows the acceptance of the visitor. Kola-nut has been described as a nut of unity because the Yoruba produce it, Hausa buy and sell and eat while the Igbo deeply respect it.

  • Death and After-life

Christians and Muslim Nigerians believe that there is judgment after death before going to heaven or hell. Many traditional religions, especially those of the eastern tribes believe in re-incarnation. In these tribes, people believe that the dead will come back as a member of his or her mother’s or sister’s family.

  • Dressing

Nigerian culture is unique in dressing pattern. Each tribe in Nigerian has a particular type of dressing they are known for. Each tribe in Nigeria is being recognized or identified by their native wear. Nigerian culture despite the type of dressing for different tribes sees it as a taboo for not covering delicate part of human body after dressing unlike other country culture where improper dressing is not seen as a crime.


  1. Define the word ‘unique’.
  2. List five areas of uniqueness in Nigerian culture.

Weekend Assignment:

Objective question:

Select the correct answer to each question.

  1. To be unique is ————–
  2. Good  b. Slow  c. Special   d. Outdated
  3. Nigerian has only three dialects.

True or false.

  • We have _______ types of marriage in Nigeria
  • Five   b. Three   c. Four   d. Six

4.Age is being ignored in Nigeria

True or False.

Theory questions:

  1. Mention five aspect of uniqueness in Nigerian culture.
  2. Explain three of those aspects.

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