Mutuk © I am Benue 2019

Your Root Is Your Heritage

Culture, Stories 26/05/2019 by Ochanya Cynthia Adole

No matter where you grow up, never forget your roots. We have all found ourselves in
strange lands either due to jobs, up-bringing and settlement.

This should never be a yardstick to forget our roots, I was in the office working one day and a
young lady who had just gotten admission into the University for further studies came in to
see my boss with whom I share an office. They got talking and he suddenly remember she is an
Idoma girl, he said, my colleague is your Idoma sister, speak Idoma to her. The lady giggled
and said, “I can’t speak Idoma.” I suddenly became alert and I asked her, what part of Idoma
are you from? She said Edumoga (which is a Clan in Idoma land).

I said ALE (an Idoma exclamation)! You are truly my sister because I am Edumoga too. I
asked her, what is the name of your village? (To my awesome surprise, her response almost
pushed me off my seat), she said, she doesn’t know. (WOW). SERIOUSLY???

benue heritage © I am Benue Iambenue 2022

What are our parents turning into these days; we no longer want to educate our children about
our places of origin, not to even give them folklore stories of the past. This lady went further
to say her parents never took them to the village and she doesn’t even know the routes. She
further said, she couldn’t even speak the language though she understands it. Both of us had
these conversations in English, I told her I am very proud to speak the language and the only
thing I lack is writing in the language.

I feel so happy when I hear kids speak Tiv, Igede, Idoma. I can stand anywhere and be proud that I know how to speak my language and know some customs.

Please my Benue people, we shouldn’t allow Western life to take our attention so much and
forget to teach our children our tribes. I feel so happy when I hear kids speak TIV, Igede, Idoma and so on. I can stand anywhere and be proud that I know how to speak my language and know some
customs.

benue heritage © I am Benue Iambenue 2022

I served in Ondo State, Nigeria. Was posted to Ese-Odo Local Government Area and did my
primary assignment with Community High School, Kiribo. Many of the students didn’t know
Benue existed while some said Benue is a Northern State, if I knew nothing about Benue,
how would I have corrected their impressions? Also, I met a Hausa trader in the same Kiribo on a
market day and just my little Hausa, he asked me, “Kai yar inna ne?” (Where are you from?)
I told him I am Idoma from Benue State but live in Jos. We became friends.

This write-up is not to insult anyone but to portray the level of how our languages can go
extinct like the dinosaurs if we don’t rise up and stand.

 

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