You don’t have to be from Nigeria to know that Nigerians are a bunch of cool people. Sure we get the occasional bad rap for stuff that goes down within these borders, but that’s really just what those are: bad raps. And occasional.
But really, Nigerians are the coolest people. We are the salt of the earth.
There are a lot of cool things you can expect from Nigeria. These are the Top Ten.
1. WE ARE EVERYBODY’S BIG BROTHER
Oh? So you’re a country? In Africa, maybe? Got a problem? Need a little help, maybe some military support?
Who you gonna call? That’s right. Us. We’ll come through your country like it’s our own backyard and make sure everything is tidily arranged. We’ll mow the lawns and trim the hedges. Then we’ll set up stands and start selling Zobo to the locals. We’re Nigeria. It’s what we do.
“So The Queen just called…Said she needs a little help…”
We’re everybody’s big brother. Over the course of the years, we’ve sent our soldiers to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Mali. And we haven’t asked anything in return. We’re just like: “Aw shucks, don’t mention.” (In very unrelated detour, notice how often we win Big Brother Africa?)
Africans, generally have a particular way of talking. The proverbs are home grown, the syntax develops it’s own peculiar oddities, and the conversation is more often than not, peppered with questions you already know the answer to. For example: “Ah, uncle, you are back?” or “Aunty, you have woken up?”
That sort of thing.
But out of all Africans, Nigerians have the coolest way of talking. It’s called Pidgin English, and it belongs to us. It’s made us the envy of every Anglophone country on the planet, and a few Francophone ones as well.
Pidgin English is pure poetry. Here’s what I mean. You wake up in the morning, and your first conversation goes like this: “Bros? My oga. Shairman!!! How far now? Twale. I dey hail. I remain loyal. Na you dey run things for this whole area oh. Their Fada! Make dem try am now. Nothing do you. Corrrrect.”
Which is the equivalent of a “Good Morning, How do you do?”
“I also want to send a shout out to my Mum back home. Mum, I’m on TV!”
Nigerians have mastered the art of the peaceful protest down to a T. A lot of people spend their time protesting and setting things on fire and making great efforts to topple governments and so on.
Our protests are carefully organized to be as disorganized as possible. This is to ensure that a minimum of injuries are counted and generally nothing gets done. If you’ve ever been at a protest, you’ll know exactly what I mean. Everybody’s standing around feeling angry and all worked up. Then some industrious chap comes by with Gala and La Casera for sale. And before you know it the whole thing has taken up an air of festivity. At the end of the day, everybody wins.The protesters go home feeling better about having done their part. The government officials posture and promise and have the chance to pretend they care. The gala and La Casera sellers turn up and make a profit.
4. WE WILL FIGHT FOR OUR COUNTRY
Nigerians are among the most patriotic people on earth. We’re just really good at hiding it. Like, really really good at hiding it. We grumble about our leaders and where the country is going. We cuss NEPA out every time the power goes out. We seize the slightest windows and opportunities to flee the country. Some of us do not bother to learn the national anthem and you will hardly find teary eyes amongst a group of people reciting the National Pledge. On the surface, it would seem we couldn’t care less.
That is, until someone else takes a shot at us. Send BBC to come and make a documentary about living conditions in the slums of Lagos. Send Rick Ross to make a music video in our slums. Send Ghanaians to insult us on twitter.
Then run for cover, my friend. You will be shocked to the bones by the amount of verbal ammunition Nigerians have been keeping in store for this very occasion. The most un-Nigerian people will take up arms and lead the crusade against you. As a nation,you haven’t had a Tweet Fight, till you’ve had one with Nigeria.
5. WE WILL SURVIVE THE END OF THE WORLD
You can’t kill Nigerians. We can survive anything.
We survived the slave trades. We survived colonialism and the amalgamation of 1914. We survived Independence and a Civil war. We survived 3 democracies and 7 military regimes. We survived the year 2000, and 2012, come to think of it. We’ve survived each other. Boko Haram, religious crises, political extremists and all the people who call themselves Nigerians but just don’t get it.
I am assuring you, after the apocalypse, when all the dust has settled, 2 Nigerians will crawl out of a cave and be like: Notin dey happen, my people. Notin dey happen.
6. WE WON’T WHISPER
Witness any group of mixed nationals in a room, say, the holding room of a foreign police station. The guy talking in loud voice on his phone asking his mother whether Aunty Bisi has received what he sent, is a Nigerian. The 2 guys, shouting a conversation across the room, are Nigerians. The Guy over their, selling Gala and La Casera to the officials, Nigerian. The other guy, crawled up in the corner whimpering. Not Nigerian. Just wishes he could be.
7. WE WON’T JUST SIT IN OUR COUNTRY AND LEAVE THE REST OF THE WORLD TO THEMSELVES
We are everywhere on this God’s green earth. There’s no country on earth that doesn’t support a thriving community of Nigerians. Even if we were almost at war with these ones, Nigerians would still be in there pounding yam on the streets and running for local elections.
8. YOU CAN’T EXPECT US NOT TO EAT GOOD FOOD
Suya. Pounded yam. Ijebu garri. Akara and Moi Moi.
Only a Nigerian would have sat down one day and thought: “Yams are okay, but why don’t I boil them, and then put them in a mortar and pound them with a pestle till they achieve this smooth and fantastically sticky consistency and then just eat it with some soup?”
Or: “You know what, guys? I’m going to do something amazing with this cassava. I’m going to grate it, and dry it, and fry it, and then soak it in water with lots of sugar and groundnuts and milk.”
And only a Nigerian would have gone, “Ha. Beans? No way I’m going to settle for just beans. I’ma soak em, and blend them, and then fry them. Or I could even soak them, and blend them, and then boil them.”
It’s just that sort of thinking that makes us great.
9. WE’RE GOING TO MAKE IT OURS
Mohawks. Cellphones. Twitter. Azonto. Gucci bags. Blogging. Blackberrys. Obama.
Make the mistake of bringing anything 2 miles near the Nigerian border and you will lose it to us.
Whatever you bring within the borders of this country, prepare to have that thing taken, imbibed, transformed and then recreated as only we can do it. Come up with a new dance that’s becoming a rave, just don’t allow us get hold of it. We’ll rebrand it and have the rest of the world telling you how you should thank us for inventing that dance.
10. WE’RE GOING TO MAKE GOOD MUSIC
There’s soul in the music we make over here. Lot’s of it.
We’ve got the Kutis.
We’ve got Asa and Lagbaja and Sade Adu.
We’ve got Dbanj and Don Jazzy, Cobhams and Bez, and Modenine and P Square and all the hardworking, talented musicians the world is listening to.
We’ve got Vic O.