Tolu Ogunlesi: You see, Nigerians are like that (YNaija Frontpage)

You see, Nigerians are rude, obnoxious, often cruel people; they behave ‘politely’ only when there’s something to be gained from the other party…

You want to study Nigerians, or understand Nigeria? Go to an airport; one that handles regular inbound flights to Nigeria.

I was on one such flight a few days ago. An Arik flight from Heathrow to Lagos.

I got to the check-in counters, and the sight depressed me.

Mountains of luggage. Nigerians and their bags everywhere. I felt a rapid loss of energy. It was too much for me.

Nigerians, even if they tried, are unable to lie low. Neither modesty nor self-effacement are encoded in our DNA.

Nigerians, you see, love clutter. Love it in their homes, love to travel with it. Much of Nigerian airport luggage I bet would be junk – food and clothes and toys bought cheap – for resale or distribution to an endless number of family members.

When boarding commenced, as expected the airline chose to do it by seat number.

I had a front seat in Economy, so my section happened to be one of the last to be called. Next to me stood a bunch of displeased passengers

Two women, both Yoruba, started to complain loudly.

“I’ve never seen any airline do this,” one said.

“What is their problem, why are they keeping us from boarding?”

A third woman, older than the two of them, decided to be the voice of reason. “It’s standard procedure,” she said. “Those at the back board first.”

The protesting women would have none of it.

“This year alone I’ve travelled more than once. I travelled in April,” said one. “This is the first time I’m seeing this.”

“Me I’ve been travelling regularly for four years,” said another.

“I have been travelling for fifty years,” said the voice of reason. End of discussion.

You see, Nigerians know when to throw age/experience into the battlefield of opinion.

Eventually us frontbenchers were allowed in.

There were more complaints on the queue into the plane.

Why are they taking us on this long journey? (Admittedly the boarding corridor was longer than normal, cold and full of twists and turns).

One woman in front of me said (I think she remembered the dysfunctional “carousels” awaiting us in Lagos): “Only God can understand Nigeria’s matter.”

Eventually we were on board. Surprisingly there was still space for my bag in the overhead compartment. Not the one directly above my seat, but the one opposite.

As I made to sit down, the young man next to me said: “Is this your seat?”

Irritated, I answered him.

“You shouldn’t have put your bag there,” he said.

You see, Nigerians can’t mind their effing business.

Behind me a fight broke out, over seat numbers. (This sort of fight is less common than the other one: the fight by Nigerians over the acceptable degree to which Economy Class seats can be reclined).

When the rightful seat owner showed up and asked the usurper what her seat number was, usurper had no idea. “All I know is that it’s seat 15,” she said, and then proceeded to search – in vain – for her boarding pass. The rightful owner patiently explained to her that there were a number of Seat 15s, and that the numbering was specific.

Turns out the usurper was the woman who said she’d been flying for four years (at least I think she was the one).

So much for travelling abroad regularly.

You see, Nigerians are full of BS like that. Make that ignorance-flavoured BS.

Not long after take-off, the cabin crew served drinks, in preparation for food. The young man sitting next to me asked, after he was handed his canned drink: “No food?”

You see, Nigerians are rude, obnoxious, often cruel people; they behave ‘politely’ only when there’s something to be gained from the other party; or on their way abroad, when the fear of deportation is the beginning of wisdom. Forget what they say about African cultures and respect.

Hours earlier, I sat at an airport in Scotland and called my Nigerian bank. You see, over the last 24 hours they’d thoroughly messed me up. My MasterCard kept getting declined. Now, some people on Twitter might recall my love affair with that bank; me gushing about their innovative nature – debit cards on demand; blissful funds transfer system, etc. After what they put me through in the UK, the love affair is now over. I called the customer service center (which, to their credit, can be reached 24/7) and spoke to an officer, who told me that unfortunately their engineers do not work weekends and public holidays. I thought – WTF? Why maintain a 247 Contact Center that is not backed by 247 technical support?

But then again that’s Nigeria.

You see, few things make sense here.

Now I’m going to spend the weeks ahead acquiring as many different Master and Visa cards as I can. Since Nigerian banks WILL fail you; the least you can do for insurance is own as many different bank cards as possible.

And therein lies one more thing you need to see about Nigerians: we will never put our eggs in one basket. Ask a Nigerian how many mobile phones they have. Or consider how everyone now has a generator that is a back-up to another generator that is a back-up to an inverter that is a back-up to mains supply. And then throw in a back-up solar panel into that mix somewhere.

You see, welcome to Nigeria.



Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Comments (32)

  1. Message cut off – “a shining example of that essentially Nigerian blend of incompetence and conceit.”

  2. Yup! Most Nigerians I’ve observed were rude as fuck. They really shouldn’t ever do any kind of service industry work, far too arrogant to give competent and timely service. What I do object to is when they export this attitude outside Nigeria, for example to the UK. Check out ‘University’ of Westminster’s Student Surveys Officer, a shining example of Nigerian

  3. That was a 100% spot on article; nothing there was exaggerated. The problem is that most Nigerians like to think they are better than the next person and constantly eschew a 'holier than thou' attitude. Wake up and open your eyes to the nonsense we do day in, day out. If you can't see it then you are obviously one of those people. It's what we do in this country and abroad and it needs to change. You think we have a bad rap abroad as schemers and scammers because it is a lie? The bad rap persists because the rest of us who aren't scheming and scamming have not tried to do anything to dispel that portrayal.

    "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt" – Mark Twain

  4. LWKMD @ "consider how everyone now has a generator that is a back-up to another generator that is a back-up to an inverter that is a back-up to mains supply. And then throw in a back-up solar panel into that mix somewhere"

    That is me exactly… well minus the solar panel.. that's just Naija for you I guess

  5. This article left me in stitches. Couldn't agree more. I have pondered along this lines many times over and I also cannot get my head around this sort of behavior. Perhaps, it has do with larger-than-life attitude and culture seemingly on display in this country. There seems to be a yearning need for everyone to prove to the next person how more important or higher up they consider themselves to be. Quite rightly, people tend to exhibit traits of rudeness, narcissism, obnoxiousness and disrespect on a daily basis. And my lord is it sickening!

  6. If I were to write the same article, I would have been shot, Tolu has actually been incredibly courteous in his views. I went through everyone's comments, and affirmatively as someone already stated, it is evident that Nigerians are just unapologetically rude, unless they are begging for something, oga please please nau. Tolu is not complaining but pointing out the sad realities of everyday life in this country and WE [diasporas] will keep coming home whether you like it or not, we're sorry but we will sir. Let's all try, as the next generation to have a mindset shift from the mundane ANYTHING goes to "I can let the other person through" mentality. WE ARE IN DIRE NEED OF IT! Stop being rude to Tolu, freedom of opinion folks! Lets be civil please.

  7. Whenever i read an article like this,i approach the comments section prepared to be incredulous,pissed or both.

    Anyone who calls this article untrue or exaggerated is either unobservant, in denial or both. I actually think he was quite moderate in his assertions considering.

    And I'm sorry but these attitudes are the norm. Politeness,courtesy,respect for privacy, etc are the exception.

    And as for d comment asking Tolu why he keeps coming back if he hates Nigeria so much. You are funny. 1)He loves Nigeria and as such, like a parent who loves a child, he cannot afford to turn a blind eye to what is not proper. In that in itself lies the proof of love. That is love ! 2)He is Nigerian. So he will continue to criticize and critique. And he will continue to return to Nigeria's arms, loving or otherwise.

    Well Done Tolu. Thank you.

    Good night everyone.

  8. The rude comments here prove how right you are Tolu.

    Great article.

  9. Please go and sit down. He based his observation on the number of Nigerians he came in contact with.

  10. this shows quite a level of ignorance in part of the writer. defining one situation as the order of the day to make a slandering point on your fellow country people shows something peculiar about your group of nigerians that fail to see the positives in view of limitations.

  11. Well written, oga Tolu. My question however looks into the factor behind this attitude. Shall we say its culturally inherent, or just some egoistic show from certain individuals?

  12. Lol this dude just defined humans n tagged them Nigerians, what an ignorant ass u r my friend,

  13. Nigerians are definetly not like that..if u hate naija so much, then what the eff are u looking for in Nigeria and u keep effing coming back!

  14. This really got me cracked up. Laughing out loud here seriously.

  15. 9ja people wo! Just notice how usually Emirates flight to Dubai goes smoothly without much chaos or litter in the airplane on arrival at destination. Compare that to what u see on return flight back to 9ja. Cheii!!! The airplane is usually so so chaotic, the air hostesses are made to really juggle up and down and on arrival at Lagos, the plane is filled with too much litter. I salute my 9ja 'pipu'

  16. All true. I was just about writing this same type of article expressing the same view as yours. Naija!!!

  17. Interesting situation but not new… it happens in some other countries too. I've seen similar situations (if not worse) on flights between doha/dubai/delhi.

    To avoid these "rude and obnoxious people" next time pay for a first/business class seat on BA/Emirates etc and leave the "poku lowo re" Arik flight alone ;). Abi, you get what you pay for.

    Anyway, this is not to excuse people misbehaving in public..

  18. Well said by the writer. There's no need to be or sound self-righteous but if you have yet to experience any of the above-mentioned scenarios then you are obviously one of those described. Nigerians, young or old, rich or poor, are mostly impolite, unless of course they are in need or stand to gain something. And that says everything about our values. Respect is reciprocal; respect begets respect. Shikena!

  19. Ok, I'm guessing there must be more than 100 Nigerians on that flight but you base Nigerians behaviour on about 5 or 6 individuals. What's d percentage of these people to the entire Nigerian population on board?

  20. Tolu too dey complain jor.

    Anyway, he is a Nigerian,

    Nigerians are like that!

  21. Excellent! Amazing how he pops humor into this. Sad, considering the what its all about tho – excellent, how its told.

  22. I realised this about Nigerian a few weeks ago. I was in a bus and an elderly woman asked the 'conductor' a question, he was so rude with his answer it was amazing. The person sitting next to me was having oranges and spitting the pip on my foot, I called this to his attention and he said if I was a 'butter' girl I should have taken a taxi.

    A lot of Nigerians are rude and manner-less and are only respectful to the people that have something to give them. All that "Nigerians are respectful" talk is just talk!

  23. @Abraham Ojo: The author obviously exaggerated but the average Nigerian exhibits most of the traits described anyway.

  24. Nice write-up, except for the language. But then, Nigerians are like that!

  25. You yab Nigeria plenty o!

  26. Spot in Tolu! I say this to everyone that cares to listen, "You see, Nigerians are rude, obnoxious, often cruel people; they behave ‘politely’ only when there’s something to be gained from the other party".

    It's so sad.

    1. As par an obnoxius nigerian, I thot d saying was "spot on". Nyhow, very well described. Hilarious too.

  27. Loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool! Got me ROTFLing!
    Nice write-up with true life situations…. I can relate! 😀 😉

  28. Are you like that? I'm not like that!

  29. Are you like that? I'm not like that!

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