Last week, we wrote about the things we love about Nigeria, and about our culture. This week however, we’re forgetting the Gele and Head-tie and blogging on our frustrations with Nigeria and Naija Folks. Sometimes you have to take the good with the bad, so let’s go!
1. The huge gap between the Rich and Poor
You can live like a king in Nigeria with your own Gateman, Driver, and perhaps Chef. Now, You might ask, ‘What’s so bad about that?’ the truth is that this is only possible because of the huge gap between the rich and the poor. For those living in the western world, you have to ask yourself – How many people are prepared to be your Gateman or drive you around town exclusively? well?- no one really. That is, unless of course you were paying a pretty decent wage and/earn big bucks. Victoria Island and Silverbird might be nice, but take a look at the way people are living outside of the cocoon. Not so nice.
2. No Order
This reminds me of one of Fela Kuti’s popular songs with the lyrics, ‘Nigeria scatter scatter.’
Well, what can we say? I mean chai. Why is it that we can never get our people to form an orderly queue or line? perhaps have an orderly country or way of doing the simplest things? For example, the way our people drive is also indicative of this. I mean, Look at this scenario that happens ever so often: In the middle of a busy road, a driver makes a mistake. The affected driver now stops to start yelling at the driver in the wrong, and of course angry words are exchanged. Sure enough, other oncoming vehicles now start yelling at both drivers to clear the space. What is the meaning of that? are we chattels? When I lived in Nigeria, I thought this was normal. Perhaps living in the UK opened my eyes!
3. Lateness Lateness Lateness!
Is this even changeable? because I’m not so sure. I think our ‘African time’ or ‘Naija time’ as they say, seems here to stay. For some of us, being somewhere by 6:30pm actually means 8pm at the earliest (and It so happens Job interviews and meetings about how to make more money are excluded of course!).
Funnily enough, I watched a British bridal show called ‘Four Weddings,’ where each bride attends each other’s weddings.They each judge the day based on things such as food, the venue, dress, presentation. For the African bride, nobody really turned up till it was time for the wedding reception. On live TV, it is embarrassing I’d have to say! I laughed at the confused look on other british brides’ faces as they tried to make senses of where all these people were coming from (It was the food!).
4. False Pastors/preachers, and lots of ‘419’ scammers – ‘My people perish due to lack of knowledge.’
Fake Nigerian Pastors, Prophets, Bishops, you name it seem to be coming out of the woodwork – And in droves! So if you’re not the CEO of a company, it’s like being a pastor is the hottest job in town these days. Becoming a pastor in a Nigerian church is seen as a ‘hustle,’ to swindle money out of people, and not as a holy calling. The question is, why have so many other local Nigerians fallen prey to these people?
I suppose it’s because using religion as a tool to manipulate people actually seems to be working – people fall for ridiculous and outlandish requests by ‘Pastors’ or so called ‘Men of God’ too easily with no sense of discernment. The extent to some people genuingly do not think for themselves just amazes me. As we say in my culture, ‘O di Egwu.’ If church go-ers actually read their bibles, perhaps they wouldn’t be so easily mislead?
As for the 419 scammers, they’ve become so rampant that vendors such as Ebay state clearly that ‘They will not ship to Nigeria.’
Sorry…the bad ones ruin it for the good ones..
5. Superstitious behaviour
In my opinion, this is the funniest. Some of our people are still so superstitious it’s hilarious.
Some are still stuck wondering what powers that goat been able to use to steal the money? And whether touching a Ten Naira note on the floor still turns people into mad men/women? or worse…yams?? Or whether that girl seriously ill because she is a witch? As our first lady once said, ‘Diaris God ooo Diaris God!’
The amount of Nigerians/Africans bleaching their skin these days is too much.
So you have light skin with black lips?? or dark hands with light palms? please do not be deceived that light is right. Fortunately, beauty comes in all shades and colours, so please stop the madness.
7. Let’s get serious – Corruption
With so many scandals that come out Nigeria, I have no idea where to start. In Nigeria, money is key. In part, I blame this attitude towards money on the government not doing enough for it’s citizens. Everyone has to find a way to survive, and unfortunately some people resort to extreme measures. With little/no protection from (also corrupt) armed officers or a judicial system to bring criminals to justice, there’s little regard to do what is right. Either that, or we’re just plain greedy.
Simply put, a lot of local Nigerians are illiterate. The education system is failing, and we are seeing 3 year Undergraduate programs turn into 6 yr courses. Lots of strike actions from professors over months of non-payments of salaries and other reasons drive talent, potential and intelligence away from Nigeria as young people emigrate to the western world. For those in Naija who finish their education, the chances of finding any stable job with a steady income let a lone having to worry whether it is well-paid, are slim. Unless you know someone who knows someone, or you have your ‘Oga,’ most become self employed, or use their talents as a source of income. Others help their parents’ businesses, or go into a life of crime.
There are so many spoken languages in Nigeria, but three main tribes. A couple of weeks ago, we blogged about the better side of some of our cultural and linguistic differences. Although the diversity of Nigeria can be a good thing, the bad side to this is when tribalism kicks in unnecessarily.
In any sort of presidential candidacy, team, football or the like, must there be someone representing each tribe? Sometimes in such teams as a football team where numbers are limited, tribalism can creep in at the expense of the better the skills of another person from another tribe.
We as a nation, have to set better standards for ourselves. Nigeria has a vast number of spoken languages, so perhaps it is not easy to see us all as one at times. However, looking at the history of Nigeria the issue of Tribalism has contributed to so many coups and civil wars, you’d think things would have improved. Perhaps the stereotypes about other tribes largely hold true, and perhaps not.
10. Last, but certainly not least – Nigeria’s potential is going to waste
It’s very frustrating having to watch a country with so much potential, go to waste. Once upon a time, the Naira currency used to be stronger than the pound! there were even plans to build railway stations. Now, after several years of war, greed and corruption, we are going back to square one. Did independence really help? Does the loss of a life really not mean that much? For how long will the mess continue? Are we always going to have the threat of Boko Haram? Naija, we are getting tired oo.
What do you think? Do you have frustrations about Nigeria?