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.