How To Be A Nigerian

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Nigerians are a very special breed of people who possess unique qualities that only they could have been blessed with. Today, I will be attempting to help you recognize a full blooded Nigerian when you see one. If you are a Nigerian who has lived mostly in the diaspora, especially if you didn’t spend your formative years here, you may not be able to relate with the characteristics I will be highlighting, sorry… but that only suggests that you are not a typical Nigerian. But hey, all hope is not lost, you would definitely learn one or two things from this piece which if well practiced will confer on you the distinct privilege of being considered a Nigerian through and through. Without further ado, the following are the characteristics you must possess to be a Nigerian;

Attribute everything to God: You see to be a Nigerian, you have to first and foremost be religious. Nigerians don’t play with their god, and this is clearly evident in the ubiquitous churches and mosques that adorn the landscape. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, hold a white collar job or are an artisan, engage in advance fee fraud or rob people of their belongings for a living, as long as you pay your tithe as a christian and never fail to interject sentences with “It is well” or “God is in control” or pray five times daily as a muslim, you are covered. An atheist or agnostic is not a true Nigerian!

Be aggressive for no reason: The typical Nigerian takes the meaning of “purposeful” to a whole new level. We are forceful and energetic in speech, countenance and gait. The Nigerian certainly doesn’t do laid back.

Answer a question with another question: For instance;

Question: Where are you going?

Response: Why do you want to know? OR

Question: Will you be attending the party?

Response: Why should I?

When you hear conversations like the above, you can be sure the responder is a Nigerian.

State the Obvious: When you come across a sign which reads, “We are open 7 days a week, including Saturdays and Sundays” you can be sure the enterprise is owned by a Nigerian. I mean…aren’t Saturdays and Sundays part of the days of the week in the first place?

Be an expert in tautology: The phrases “Reverse back,” First priority,” “Close proximity” “Added bonus” or sentences like “Money for school fees” and “Prepay in advance” are needless repetitions commonly used by the Nigerian to drive home his point.

Impatience must be your watchword: When a Nigerian wants something, he wants it now. Patience isn’t exactly our forte. The typical Nigerian is constantly seeking ingenious ways to circumvent the system. From cutting through traffic indiscriminately to jumping a queue so we can be attended to before others “who have less important things to do,” the Nigerian being the go-getter that he is just needs to have what he wants as soon as possible. Don’t blame us. And no, there’s no explanation for it. That’s just the way we are wired.

Leave important stuff till the last minute: The recent rush to meet up with the deadline to obtain the Bank Verification Number (BVN) from commercial banks at the orders of the CBN is a very good example. Despite the fact that the Banks have been creating awareness on the importance of getting the BVN since early last year, many Nigerians never heeded the call and chose to wait until the last minute before doing the needful, thereby resulting in endless queues and chaos in banks. We only take things seriously at the dying minutes.

Show off but put up a false air of humility: Now, the average Nigerian loves to show off, don’t get it twisted, if we are doing well financially, we want you to know. We will post pictures of our latest wonder on wheels and vacation adventures, but put up a false air of humility with the “Oh, I am just managing o, nothing much” or “It’s just God” response when congratulated on how well we are doing, when we are in fact thrilled that you noticed!

Stare: Whether it is two people involved in fisticuffs or a couple in a public display of affection, we will stare, even if we stand the risk of getting robbed in the process. We are Nigerians. It’s what we do.

Make a joke out of a bad/embarrassing situation: If you cannot find it within yourself to rise out of a bad situation through humour, then you are definitely not a Nigerian. The drama that ensued between a former minister of the Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe and the former chairman of INEC, Attahiru Jega during the collation of election results by INEC is a case in point. The fallout of the embarrassing situation resulted in coined words like “Orubebetis or Orubebeism” and “Jegaquin,” as well as memes being used to describe the case of a cantankerous person versus a calm one which elicited several jokes all over social media.

Have the ability to adapt to any situation: The Nigerian is naturally endowed with grit and resilience. It’s the reason why you would find us in places as far as Iceland. It’s the reason why we would embark on a journey through the desert in search of greener pastures in Europe. No one can match the Nigerian when it comes to perseverance.

With these few points of mine, I sincerely hope I have been able to help you recognize a true Nigerian when you see one. And oh! This list is by no means exhaustive, feel free to add your observation to it.


19 Replies to “How To Be A Nigerian”

    1. Yes, Lolade. You forgot to add ‘show off’ in God’s house in form of ‘testimonies’. A typical example goes “Praise the Lord, I bid for a contract without having anyone to support, but the Lord so made it that a client owing me N100million just paid up. I have since executed the contract and the sum of N300million paid to my account. I had been worried over the payment of N50million school fees of my 2 sons in Oxford Medical College. Please praise the Lord for me”

      1. Haaa! Thanks so much for that example. It is so true, showing off in the disguise of giving a testimony. Serious smh for this category of people. Thanks for commenting.

    2. Yes, Lolade. You forgot to add ‘show off’ in God’s house in form of ‘testimonies’. A typical example goes “Praise the Lord, I bid for a contract without having anyone to support, but the Lord so made it that a client owing me N100million just paid up. I have since executed the contract and the sum of N300million paid to my account. I had been worried over the payment of N50million school fees of my 2 sons in Oxford Medical College. Please praise the Lord for me”

  1. Nice1 dear, I am proud to b a Nigerian. These qualities are true. Its sad that Nigerians love last minute rush. BVN queue yesterday was terrible. This is a registration that commenced last year, majority waited till last minute, some came in for change of names to be used for BVN just ystday. A client even asked me if his name can be published same day he was paying ” yesterday” to meet up BVN. I had to take a 2nd look @ him to be sure he was normal. Thank God it has been extended till October. I am sure some people will relax till October rush. *lol* Nigerians are blessed n wonderful people

    Ng Anwuli

    1. Hehehe @”I had to take a second look at him to be sure he was normal.” It’s just the way we are, because I haven’t been able to find any plausible explanation for it. Thanks dear.

  2. Ololade should be arrested for this. This truth is too naked! You should have at least covered our nakedness a little.

    But, hey, we are “guilty without explanations”.

    Really, I love this. It’s an instructive piece attired in a thin linen of sarcasm!

  3. Hahahaha! Nigerians are indeed unique in every way. We only make a move when it has to do with money, securing jobs,getting benefits etc. (Who dares to say these things can wait? Certainly not a Nigerian). Any other thing we consider less pressing can wait till the last minute or till thy kingdom come.
    I just obtained my BVN yesterday too. I guess that’s the Nigerian in me. Lol. Now I can laugh about the whole scenario that happened yesterday while I was at d bank but as at yesterday,I regretted not obtaining it earlier,I was almost flogging myself. Maybe the next time, I will give little Modesire d rod to do d flogging .*wink.
    Regardless of who we are,I just love Nigerians and their “die hard” ways,and I’m proud to be one. God bless Nigeria!

  4. Oh my! to say the least, you have set my entire office in wild laughter with this piece. my sides still ache from laughing so much. I AM TRULY NIGERIAN! i am especially guilty of the last minute rush. For me, that’s when the full worth of the item and or transaction being pursued is felt!

    “We are open 7 days a week, including Saturdays and Sundays” is truly epic!!! hahahahahahahahaha… kai! i just cant stop laughing. This is a very “fab” piece to welcome myself back to the blog after a “brief vacation.” nice one Lolade… I do not want to add any to the above. They are simply classic!

    1. Hey! Glad to have you back and super glad to have got you and your colleagues laughing. Cheers mate!

  5. You were right in saying you didn’t exhaust the list. I believe that ‘owanbe’ should have been first on your list. I meean nobody does it better in the world than Nigeria when it comes to parties. What makes us Nigeria is indeed unique. I sometimes believe God made Nigeria specially during creation because if you look around the world, communities have similarities. Take for instance Europe, most Europeam countries are similar in the way of life. In south America, Spanish lifestyle is the order of the day. Come to Africa, much of Francophone countries live the same way due to colonial heritage. Nigeria doesn’t share a common identity with any African country based on colonial roots. Not even English makes us similar to our regional rivals Ghana. And to top it up, Nigerians are one of the most recognisable people anywhere in the world. It’s just a pitty we don’t do things right. If we can do right, the rest of Africa will and the world will respect us. The fact we have stayed over 50 years as the most heterogenous society in the world must keep other nations jealous. Afterall large communities such as the USSR, India, Yugoslavia are still spilting in bits today yet Nigeria is one. We need to realise what we have and stay as one if we want to be a great nation.

    1. Hellooooo friend. I’m delighted to be able to read your comments here again. Thank you so much for your perspective to this topic, and yes, you’re right…how could I have missed out our love for owanbes. Lol.

  6. well, I love my country,I no go lie, we are the most happiest people on this planet, we dont allow our sorrow and depression to dampen our spirit,we wont see what is pursuing us , we would start running,well, I am guilty of this act,too, I wont lie,who wants to we are indeed special people.

    1. Lol, I doubt if that data about Nigerians being the happiest people in the world is still valid though, but we sure are generally happy people. Thanks for commenting Mayowa.

  7. I love the part of “impatience must be your watch word”, it reminds me of fela’s song that says, “I no be gentleman at all o, i be african man original’

    you have just adorned the spirit of “Nigerianism” with the beautiful colours of satire. you painted our grey areas in a funny way. as much as I laugh I really desire that some of these things can change.

    well done lolade
    good one there

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