I am Inyamiri in the Arewa. They look at me and call me Oga, Igbo man, even though I am Idoma. In Arewa if you are not Hausa or Fulani you automatically become Inyamiri (Igbo) or beyerebe (Yoruba).
My Igala Muslim friend and coach in Shagari Quarters, Zoo Road, Kano, Coach Abu, was almost killed in Kano during one of their numerous riots. Thinking being a Muslim he wouldn’t have any qualms with the rioters, he decided to leave his job during the mayhem and headed home. If he wasn’t a six foot four inches athlete he would have been killed. They cut him with knives here and there but the huge guy managed to escape.
When I was in Enugu some years back, even though my name is George Onmonya Daniel, a name that even sounds like an Igbo name, when most Igbos hear I am from Benue they simply classify me as Hausa.
I read a story one time in Vanguard with the headline, RIOT IN ONITSHA OVER POLICE KILLING OF A YOUNG MAN. The riot was caused by a policeman who shot a young man. Angry youths storm Hausa community to revenge because the policeman is from the North. The name of the policeman is an Idoma name. I was stunned.
This pretty Igbo girl I was trying to woo one time in 2004 in Oke Bola, Ibadan, asked of my state origin and I told her Benue. She looked at my face and spat it out, “Hausa”. I was like wow. She quickly added, “Christian Hausa.” I asked her if she knew the reigning musician in the country that sang AFRICAN QUEEN and she said “Tuface.” She softened down when I told her I am from Tuface’s village.
In Yoruba land, I was also shocked by such ignorance, in Lagos of all places. Some just referred to me as OMO IGBO or when they hear I am from the North just conclude I am Hausa. Believe me in Yoruba land you are GAMBARI if you are from Kwara State.
I don’t know when they stopped teaching SOCIAL STUDIES in Nigeria. As far back as Primary School in the late 80s, I knew some of the many tribes in Nigeria. Now University graduates, people with masters degree and PhD’s would call the whole North Hausa and Fulani axis vice versa. I don’t know what they teach people in school nowadays.