Temitope Shittu-Alamu: Beware of stereotypes!

 We attach certain negative characteristics to tribes rather than appreciate our creative diversity

We all are guilty of stereotyping one way or the other. For me, trusting fellow Nigerians has always been an issue. I’m especially wary of fast moving, smart talking “nna broses.” But I’ve had a change of opinion. Recently, I took one of my bags for repairs. Two screws had come off.

One look at the repairer and all my alarms were buzzing. He was a “nna bros”, business man to the core and he charged me 700 naira for each new screw. He said he imported them.

Paranoia and all, I took out everything from my bag – from a pack of Orbit to my iPod, before handing the bag over. Then I waited for him to finish the task right there while I watched. When he finished, I packed my stuff and left, smug at having kept my stuff safe.

Three hours and a bucket of tears later, I was sitting in the office trying to figure out where my wallet, ID and passport had gone, I was on verge of a meltdown. I couldn’t blame the repairer but I suspected him all the same. My head scanned through all that I had in my wallet. A chunk of money. Omg! I think I passed out when I remembered the free shopping voucher I had in my wallet. I kept muttering to myself “but my wallet was right here now”. I kept hoping I’ll get home and magically find it in my drawer. I searched my bag again for the umpteenth time just in case. Fed up, I left work and went home.

As I consoled myself with dinner, my cell phone rang… “My name is Chukwudi Ejiofor” the caller said. “I think you are the one that brought a brown bag to my workshop today…” Ten minutes later Chukwudi is by my door with all my stuff complete in a white carrier bag. He explains that when I emptied my bag to give him, I absent mindedly left my stuff on a chair.

I felt very foolish…the same man I tried to secure my property from is the one who kept them safe for me.

In retrospect, my suspicion of Chukwudi was based on nothing but stories I’d heard from a few people. I was embarrassed at what I had thought about him that morning. Never again will I base my assumptions on a single story. We attach certain negative characteristics to tribes rather than appreciate our creative diversity. Regardless of where we hail from, Nigerians are Nigerians. And we are our brother’s keeper. With the widest smile, I grab the white carrier bag from Chukwudi as relief washes over me.

Though it’s a simple white bag emblazoned with “Ejiofor and Sons Enterprises. Head office; Aba.” I still keep the bag for the lesson it holds.

 

Temitope Shittu-Alamu, is a writer, an eclectic public speaker and master of ceremonies with a degree in History and International Relations. Passionate about the media and of a strong believe that “it is my platform to building the Nigeria of my dreams”. I host a yearly Christmas show on television.

I love God, I love people.

Did I mention that I love Garri. Wow it keeps me going. BLOG; http://eclectictope.wordpress.com/

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Comments (3)

  1. While general attributions can be safely made to certain ethnic groups, a race or nationals, we must be careful to avoid the error of perpetual over-generalization, lest we become erroneously biased and unbalanced ourselves. Thumbs up chum!

  2. Maybe it's the stereotype in me that will rather say 'to every rule,there is always an exception'. There are probably some exceptional 'nna brosies'.however,you will need to sample like 200 of them, drawing samples from Aba,Enugu, Idumota etc to give a more robust opinion. (Never mind,this is very tongue-in-cheek) Let's be optimistic without pursuing Madam Dora's white elephant project of re-branding OMG

  3. An attitude we have to develop if we are going to make a 'nation' out of ourselves..Interact bearing in mind the personality and individuality of a being..not his or her tribe..

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