Hello favourite readers!
I woke up very positive today ready to conquer the world (I believe I’m doing that already).
After my early morning prayers, exercise and some time at work I started craving fruits, my choice was a nearby local fruit market.
At the market, people swarmed everywhere in search of fruit recipes, ingredients or comestibles. I was about getting apples and mangoes when an uproar caught my attention.
Apparently, he was pissed that an “ordinary paw paw” fruit cost that much, in his opinion, the trader was cheating him. “Is this what I paid for?!”, he screamed.
In summary, his response to the whole situation inspired me to write this post. He was a foreigner in Osogbo (beloved land of yoruba arts and culture). In the same vein, foreigners from other countries think certain things in Nigeria are strange.
Now then, without causing much fuss, let’s dive into “stranger things”. See what I did there?
#1. WHAT IS OYINGBO?!
Also spelled “oyinbo“, this is the name given to foreigners on Nigeria soil whether male or female. It is a tagline for particularly white folks (black with accent isn’t oyinbo) and it means white man.
“There was that word again. Oyinbo. I had assumed it was a slang way of saying a friendly “hello,” since that was what people on the street kept saying to me as I walked by. To confirm, I asked people in the car with me what it meant. They smiled, “white man.” – tourist
The word is not racist in anyway. Nigerians are exceptionally friendly to “outsiders”, being white is a conspicuous quality in Nigeria. This is the largest black nation in the world. You figure?
#2. OPTIMISTIC PEOPLE
Some foreigners think it’s strange that Nigerians are wildly optimistic, nothing seems to quench their spirit and resilience.
They basically cope on their own with little reliance on the government and unlike countries where riot is the order of the day, they attack the government through social media, standup comedy, strike! or other means.
Government neglects provision of amenities for most citizens. When fuel prices rise or commodities get costlier, they find other means to survive. Nigerians provide shelter for themselves, they dig boreholes (water) and hire vigilantes for security.
Fact: There is acute housing deficiency in Nigeria, this cuts across more than 65% of the population.
The people believe in bright futures and since optimism is closely linked to happiness, comedy is a booming business in Nigeria.
“Nigerians have an unusual level of optimism. This isn’t just an observation…” – oyinbo
#3. DID YOU SAY NO ELECTRICITY?
There’s electricity but we have a problem, it isn’t constant. I think it’s totally ironic that Nigeria, the giant of Africa is plagued by lack of electricity supply.
On numerous occasions, the government has promised to meet demands of the populace but as usual, they continue to fail. Citizens and Businesses depend on alternatives like inverters, solar, biomass or generators.
If you’re in a place like Osogbo, things are quite different, I can’t say the same for other parts of Nigeria. The power goes out 5 times a day on average and often times, it scares the life out of tourists. Eventually, they stop making a big deal out of it.
“Why do your people live in darkness? I’ve been to other countries and things aren’t this way” – An American
No one knows how long power outages last so whenever there’s “light” endeavour to charge your devices.
#4. HARDWORKING PEOPLE
That’s right! The optimistic people are hard working too, afterall, an idle man is the devil’s workshop.
The first thing on the mind of many Nigerians is how to get this “paper”, that’s exactly why they wake up early and hassle through traffic.
“Baba give me this money
Cause this people dem dey do wetin funny
As I wake this morning
The first thing wey come my mind
Na how to make this money
As I wake this morning
I tell myself say omo na to make this money”
– Patoranking ~ Confirm ft. Davido
“Do you have Gala there?” the hawker (peddler) replies, “Yes, Oga 50 or 100 Naira own”
The driver says, “gimme 100 Naira own” he makes a move to get the snack then suddenly traffic starts moving. Instead of giving up, the peddler proceeds to pursue the vehicle until he sells the snack.
This is the norm on Nigerian roads, even with the intervention of the government to ban hawking, the business still thrives.
Foreigners on first contact believe Nigerians are very polite and respectful however, some of them think the greetings are a sign of obnoxiousness.
In Nigeria, yoruba land especially, ladies kneel and men prostrate to greet elders. Some foreigners welcome the idea but others don’t buy it at all, they’ll rather cling to their “Hi” and “Hello”.
If there’s anything that Nigerians take seriously it’s religion. The two popular religions are Christianity and Islam, some practice traditional worshipping while others are atheist or serve other gods.
Muslims are dominant in Northern Nigeria and Christians in other parts, they are evenly spread across geopolitical zones. It is hard to find a street without a church or mosque.
“Baba God answer prayer, January to December…” – Mayorkun ~ Prayer ft. Davido
Some of the biggest and richest churches (pastors) are Nigeria based. Living Faith, RCCG, MFM, Christ Embassy etc. have thousands of worshippers and are known to cause traffic jams on Sundays. There are times it’s overwhelming.
Praise the Lord!
Subsequently, there will be a PART II of this post.
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Over to you!
What do you think foreigners find strange about Nigeria?
Please share in the comments below. I’ll like to hear from you.
Thanks and have a fun-filled day!