By Iretiola Doyle
There’s no denying the potent power of Nigeria as a country or Nigerians as a people. Meeting just one Nigerian (depending on who) can have life altering effects not to talk more of walking into a room full of us or better still, drop a jonnie just come in the middle of Lagos during rush hour…. Trust me, it has a profound effect.
See the way our music and dance has colonised the world, our actors are recognised in nooks and crannies; their work consumed voraciously by Nigerians and non –Nigerians alike. Foreigners come here and in no time they’re picking up our slang, gestures, body language and God forbid; bad habits. No, there’s no denying that we are highly addictive.
The force of Nigeria is so potent people who live within a certain geographic area begin to take on certain personality traits peculiar to that region, like how Lagosians are aggressive and Jos people are pretty laid back… or like the expatriate businessman who arrives our shores with the intention of doing things properly and applying best global practice till he be begins to spend quality time with his Nigerian partner who will school him in the ‘way we do things here’.
A friend of ours; a fine gentleman, accomplished, devoted father and husband, spent most of his adult life in the obodooyinbo, U.S of A for that matter. I draw emphasis to that because we all know how particular Americans are about personal space. According to the story, this friend was riding shotgun in a car when ahead of them, a lorry driver got reckless, crashed into a truck pusher, ruined his truck, then sped off.
The truck pusher in desperation to seek justice jumped unto the tailgate of the lorry and held on for dear life. They caught up with them at a junction having asked one of the road safety officers to apprehend the driver. It was reported that our friend was so incensed by the injustice of it all, that he landed the guy a dirty slap…three times.
Don’t get me wrong. I get; totally. In these parts, a bully is taken out using the same methods only double the force. But that’s a “Nigerian” response. It is in our nature, we lash out. We have very little respect for “personal space” and are only beginning to get a grasp of the concept. We are quick to have fingers in each other’s faces and before too long someone has shoved someone else and it’s on. Americans don’t do that. I beg! I’m not talking about Shanaynay and Roshan or those other characters that appear on the Springer show.
Americans agree to disagree and no matter how heated things become, striking out is usually a very last resort and mostly only in extreme situations. (Hm… maybe that was an extreme situation for our friend…) and don’t get me wrong, I am not disappointed or think any less of him. (But let’s face it, no matter how reckless the driver, in America, it would not have ended in three slaps).I’m just curious.
I know that in the last several years he’s been coming home a lot. And he’s also been spending a lot of that time in Abuja, I gather in and around government circles… now I’m not saying anything (your conclusions are all yours). I just want to know what he has been exposed to over the last several years that has eroded his basic intrinsic respect for another. When and how, did he become a Nigerian?
Is it us? Is it the way we comport ourselves, treat one another? What is it about Nigeria that encourages lawlessness and impunity? That encourages employers to short-change staff and treat them appallingly? Is it true what they say that in Nigeria some things don’t apply? And if yes, does that extend to commodities like courtesy, consideration and respect? Nigeria… a potent force! Imagine if our influences were more of a positive kind? Or is it simply because sooner or later everyone comes to the realization that you can get away with anything…?
I’m yet to see my friend, but I am certainly looking forward to the encounter perhaps he’ll give me a glimpse into the workings of his mind and the influences of Nigeria on his heart….
Hmm…Nigeria… a potent force!!!