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.