I’m tired of Nigerians that have nothing better to do than bellyache about everything. Criticism has become a national past time. We are a nation of dour faced malcontents.
“Nigerian ehn? See dem! How stupid is dat? Who gave dem driving licence sef? This country ehn?” says my very Nigerian friend disdainfully.
“Are we not Nigerians too?”
“I’m talking about the unwashed, ignorant, superstitious masses. You know, everybody else.”
‘Are we different from the them?’
“Why are you talking like dat? You’re a lawyer, you’re exposed, travelled, you see how its done in other countries.”
“So does that mean we are not Nigerians anymore?”
“Me, I’m an Afropolitan sha.”
“Ok. But no one taught them the the highway code. Their idea of driving is ‘move the car, keep moving’. Some dude was asked what he thought the broken white lines in the middle of the road meant. He said he thought the painters had run out of paint.”
“See. Its the governments fault. Nigerian leaders, ehn? They are so busy enriching themselves they don’t care what happens to the rest of us….”
He became one of the masses all of a sudden.
I tune out. This is getting tedious. Everywhere I go sooner or later the conversation veers towards all the things wrong with Nigeria and Nigerians.
“Nigerians are like this…Nigerians are like that….”
Try to start a business in Nigeria
“It won’t work here, you know we are different…”
Yeah we know you are different. We’re actually asking you to change you know.
When I’m driving in Nigeria – I just accept the fact that 99% of the other drivers probably never took a driving test or read a high way code and are prone to road rage. I put on my music and my sunglasses, say a prayer and drive carefully. I’m not about to spoil my day bitching about it and getting sick.
What would I rather talk about?
I’m obsessed with mechanising mass production of garri. Now that would be a revolution. EVERYBODY in Nigeria eats garri. I’m obsessed with finding efficient distribution channels and harnessing informal markets. I’m obsessed with the human stories of Nigeria. I’m obsessed with justice.
Beyond a necessary analysis of the dynamics of a problem I don’t want to obsess on it. I want to obsess about solutions, case studies, best practices. I want to talk more about the triumphs of Nigeria’s humanity less about its fuck ups. I’m imperfect too.
But scandal sells. Outrage reinforces the feeling of superiority.
“This is my opinion, the one I think everyone should have.” he tweets.
“Can you imagine! A man runs away from the scene of an explosion wearing a back pack and police shoot him because he ignored their shouts to stop. How stupid is that! How do they know he’s a terrorist? He could just be in shock.” She quips.
“Nice shot Nigerian police man!” I think.
We’re all experts. We’re Nigeria.