Friday, 12 September 2014

Are You Nigerian Enough?

      Being a Nigerian is not a day's job. It takes years and years of practice to hone and get used to. It's also not easy too. The most useful skill to have in Nigeria is the art of "looking and not seeing". Kids are taught it as a preliminary course before even kindergarten. It includes  visiting a family friend as a kid and not  "seeing" whatever food is being offered or served so you can easily refuse the meal; when your parents give you the famous side-eye, you have to look at them but not look at them so others in the room can't take note. As you grow older, it evolves. You have to look and not see the beggars on your street, you have to not see people being beaten to death because once you decide to go beyond looking, you've failed the first test of a true Nigerian.
     You may be Nigerian, but how Nigerian are you? Some are more Nigerian than others. We can't all be equal in our Nigerian-ness. However, there are some definite parameters that show if you are Nigerian and to what degree. These are all common-place things for any Nigerian.
1. It's quite normal for several people to be on a motorcycle or moped with neither wearing a helmet because God dey.
2. There really is no legal drinking age(don't quote the constitution to me).
3. When you say someone is raped, it must mean she wore indecent clothing and as such she deserved it.... or she must have seduced the rapist. You just have to blame the victim.
4. You have to be overly religious and infuse the "blood of Jesus" or your church slogan into your statements. The more often, the better. Doctor says you have malaria, you just have to rebuke it in Jesus' name.
5. Exam runs is necessary for every external examination eg WASSCE and JAMB. And no, you non-Nigerian, don't you dare say examination malpractice. In fact, the priority when you go to write an external exam is not your pen or calculator, it's your exam money. Reverend Mary or not, you just have to pay for security/gate fee, chairs and tables, drink money or any other ridiculous thing the examination supervisor comes up with.
6. The emphasis placed only on female virginity because the loss of ermm *coughs* virginity is usually a one-person process?
7. You almost always have to be responsible for electricity. Your power is in your hands.... literally. Let's not  talk about other utilities because we all know they are nonexistent.
8. Good and well-planned roads are not the norm. So whenever you come upon this 8th wonder of the world in Nigeria, you have to take some time to stare.
9. Boyfriend? Is that an English word?  But Adanna has to be married by 20.
10. You have to always choose from mediocre options. From your cell phone company and internet provider to your cable tv. You learn to always expect shitty service wherever.
11. Constant "kabashing" of enemies of progress and witches who are the old women in your village or those uncles who just don't want you to hammer. Blaming someone else IS the way to go.
  13. I can't end this without talking about bribery and corruption. I honestly don't even know where to start. Is it among the police who ask for roger or if you have "anything for the boys". In our justice department where just about anything goes? In getting into the university where slots could be sold to the highest bidder? So many more examples but the best part about this is that it's only wrong when someone else does it or it doesn't benefit you. Another fascinating thing is that "Nigerian" is synonymous with corrupt or corruption. I dare you to always substitute these words with Nigerian in sentences :)
       With all these being said, I'm proudly Nigerian. Are you? The real question though is if you are Nigerian enough.


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