Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A crisis of values..

Stories of rampant corruption come from all corners to my ears yesterday and today. The sad fact is that even now, State Governors have every opportunity to re-direct millions of dollars of state funds each month for personal use. The checks and balances simply aren't there. The banking sector just has to be complicit in this misappropriation of funds. The reductions this theft imposes on education, health and infrastructural budgets contributes significantly to the slow and silent ruin of millions of people's lives, while certain others get to buy more houses in Potomac or on Bishop's Avenue or to buy themselves yet another Hummer or Merc.

Meanwhile, the EFCC is apparently hemorrhaging staff - is this the end of the institution or simply a re-birth?

In all this, the issue is not really a crisis of either leadership or followership as is often thought. It is really a more fundamental crisis of values that manifests itself as a more-or-less total absence of ethics - in both the public, the private and the non-governmental sector in Nigeria. Clearly, the fact that many Nigerians are part of one form of religious institution or another does not redress this crisis of values and ethics to any significant degree.

The question begged is therefore: what would it take for there to be value-transformation in Nigeria? If it cannot come from the Church or the Mosque, then where? I fear that without a deep-rooted shift towards a society and a polity grounded in human rights and social justice, Nigeria will remain stuck in a vicious circle. Vicious poverty and vicious wealth reproducing itself from generation to generation..


anonymous,  3:35 pm  

Jeremy - you sound exasperated ( I may well be wrong).

Health, education, infrastructure - the government (both local, state and Federal) - don't care. They just pay lip service. People complain, when for one reason or another those occupying the hot seat leave, others who take over simply do the same, thereby removing and silly excuse about corruption being attributable to an ethnic or religious background.

The fact that the conduct of a so-called "religious" society yields un-ending column of cheats and no-goods in all levels of government, means that religion is just for show. The hearts of the attendants are no better than those who don't attend. Their actions reflect that, yet the religious one's always like to think of themselves as somehow being better (morally) and often say as much, in fact this is pure hypocrisy. If this were the case the country would be in the top 10 most developed, rather than the bottom 20 least developed countries.

What will it take to bring about a change in conscious, who knows? The idea of people going abroad and bringing back their wealth of experience and know-how to improve the country has proved to be a fallacy.That is even they can be bothered to return. (There is an increasing number of Nigerians born and living quite happily abroad).

When they get back they are either:

i) side-lined (as being too radical - ie doing things the right way and above board)
ii) fall into line and indulge in rampant corruption and wrong-doing.

Decades of outside exposure have only lead to a few bureacrats knowing how to compile papers with all the latest buzz-words and theories for running a country properly, but these are just for show to impress outsiders, nothing more. The bureaucrats insult the country by accepting foreign aid (shame).

The fact that there is for the short term, wealth being generated (in the form of energy exports) to disguise their failures and leads them to be complacent in addition to being unnecessarily immodest.

The Chinese solution, of gunning down top political executives. If Nigeria did that,
a) Who would be there to shoot the villans and what happens when they run out of bullets?

They can't even prosecute those caught red-handed (with the their hands in the till ie Alamiesiegha), so you know there is no political will or determination to root out corruption. Would that (executions by firing squad) really work? As a first step it seems dramatic, and it would also need follow-up measures, which judging by all follow-up measures (ie maintenance) is regarded as something of a joke.

The EFCC, seems to be slipping into a coma under the stewardship of Mrs Waziri. Under Mr Ribadu, it started off well, but is now losing steam.

It seems that Nigerians are happy with corruption and like it that way. This has been the state of play for decades and not an awful lot has changed, other than the amount of money that is wasted, stolen or siphoned abroad. Maybe the country is beyond help and it's every rat for themselves.

They've had a civil war it changed nothing, for decades millions have left to "study", that has changed nothing. Students up and down the land, debate and what is the result...nothing. Maybe people just don't get it, even those who have lived abroad and seen how things could be done, they are happier with corruption.

The only thing I can think of is when a "smaller" country perhaps Ghana, blazes a trail to development, people there might just realise they have sit up and start paying attention to order and discipline , then and only then they may finally get their act together. That is a very long shot, but it is a faint hope though. The time Nigerians have spent bickering and indulging in corruption, other countries have steamed ahead ie South Korea, Malaysia, Brasil and Botswana to name but a few.

This is not to say that there are no bright sparks, it takes more than a few isolated bright sparks to garner and shape a sea of indifference or even worse acceptance of the status quo. They need to be co-ordinated and work together.

I do hope there is some other way, but I'm unable to see it.

Question is, how did Britain, develop this strong ethic in the absence or religion?

MsMak,  3:48 pm  


I had this same discussion with a friend over the weekend. Our sense of morals, values and ethics have been completely eroded, and it gradually happened over the past few decades. Correcting this will be even tougher, and will take just as long, maybe longer.

IMHO, the key lies within the educational system. There has to be a serious plan to start to ingrain these values in children right from kindergarten, and through secondary school. That little boy or girl will grow into an adult one day, and whatever we inculcate will stay with them for life. it will also help that others around them have the same value system as well.

Love for country and respect for your fellow man/neighbor, understanding our true history (in essence knowing where we're from, so we can know where we're going...), basic sense of right, wrong, good and bad,etc - These are all things essential in raising a good person and loyal citizen.

There are many adults in Naija who cannot recite the national anthem or pledge, who do not know their basic rights as offered by the contitution of this country (heck, do we even have a real constitution)? Once the people know the truth, fake historical revisionism (like that being done by Mrs Abacha and The Generals) would not even be given time of day.

Finally, there needs to be a punitive system that really works to reinforce that education. People need to know and understand that if you do something wrong, the law will come down on you. And it will be incorruptible. So before you commit a crime, you think twice seriously...

This of course will take a long time, but it is necessary. We have to stop taking short cut approaches to fundamental issues such as this. And Lord knows we have a lot of work to do. The damage alone IBB did will definitely take a long time to fix.

Pink-satin 4:14 pm  

To transform naija we need GOOD leaders..that is our main problem...we keep on recycling the same calibre of people people who have been in govt for donkey years and have not done anything and they are still ruling us!i guess they rig the electios to get in so really...we just need good leadership!!!
anyway BLOGVILLE IDOL 08 is coming soon..please check my blog for more details

anonymaus,  5:22 pm  

Sorry folks, anonymous (the first post), was meant to be anonymaus. I made a typing error, apologies.

gungun 5:23 pm  

Poverty and hopelessness breed resentment and blind self-interest (ala Obama). Not quite, but corruption and patronage result from a diminished sense of self-respect. While I agree with you that our values have significantly diminished over the years, Nigerians are still some of the friendliest and happiest people you'll ever encounter. Economic prosperity should restore some sense of decency. Give it time, we will smile again... lets just hope we've not lost all our teeth.

Anengiyefa 5:40 pm  

I grew up in a Nigeria where we were taught the difference between right and wrong, where we were told that it is noble to be morally upright.

As far as I can tell, the decline began sometime between the late '70s and early '80's, but it deteriorated especially rapidly during the Babangida years, and it does not seem to have slowed down since.

It may seem far fetched, but nothing short of a cultural revolution of sorts will turn things around. I cannot but be pessimistic about the future if things remain as they are.

Anonymous,  7:00 pm  

anon 3.35pm sums the 'Nigerian Problem' in the simplest terms

"It seems that Nigerians are happy with corruption and like it that way. This has been the state of play for decades and not an awful lot has changed, other than the amount of money that is wasted, stolen or siphoned abroad. Maybe the country is beyond help and it's every rat for themselves..."

I agree 110%

Anonymous,  12:20 am  

What we have lost, more than our values, is a sense of community and indeed a sense of purpose, the feeling that all our actions contribute towards the success or failure of one entity. If this entity is Nigeria, an uncomfortable amalgam of strange bedfellows, we are unlikely to ever get to the promised land. Like I often tell my friends, breaking Nigeria up along ethnic lines is the first step to a bright tomorrow.

Anonymous,  7:57 am  

Disabuse your mind gungun and the rest: Nigerians maybe the happiest people(which I doubt - what have you got to be happy about?), but they are certainly not the friendliest. Anyone who says that certainly hasn't travelled widely on the continent.

I don't know where you Nigerians get off thinking that you are the friendliest people. You are NOT. You are far from friendly. Your friendliness is towards cheating and trying to get one over people. It is insincere. People don't just open the door or smile at you just for the sake of it. They do so because there is expectation that something will drop. Go round the corner to Ghana or Niger and people will do these things without raising an eyelid. But here, nothing is for nothing as they say. Maybe in the villages they are friendly, but not in the major cities I have been to or lived in. It irks me when I hear Nigerians say they are friendly. YOU ARE NOT. You appear over-confident (and this is really a charade - it is shame masking as confidence) and extroverted, but friendly, I don't think so. Before you start saying you are friendly, ask visitors to your country first.

In any case who cares whether a country is friendly or not if they are corrupt and still can't provide the basic needs of her people. You people should start getting your house in order. Get your values right and then maybe the friendliness you so desire will come true one day. At the moment this is not the case.

Anonymous,  10:14 am  

Anonymous 7:57, let me just say right here: Nigerians are friendly, but certainly not slavish in the same way that Ghanaians and Nigeriens (both people whose countries I've lived in) are - and definitely not to the white man. If you're a white man in Nigeria, you are not treated the same way as you would be treated in Ghana.

Reason? Nigerians are also arrogant, in addition to being friendly. The problem many foreigners - both black and white -have in Nigeria is that they expect to be treated like Lords. It is this expectation which (I suspect) fuels your preference for Ghana and Niger in terms of 'friendliness'. Ghanaians and Nigeriens will be slavish - we are a proud people and we cannot be like them.

IMHO, there's room for plenty of the kind of arrogance we have towards foreigners in Nigeria. Never hurt anyone. Except, of course, the foreigner who expects to be treated like a lord. And as we like to say: 'if you think we're not friendly enough (or slavish enough - whichever tickles your fancy) pack your bags and leave'

Anonymous,  10:17 am  

anon 7:57 - do you mean friendly to one another or welcoming to foreigners?

I'd say welcoming to strangers, Ghana and Niger are miles ahead. Probably because they have not been fed the GIANT OF AFRICA propaganda we grew up with.

Friendly to one another, I'd say Nigerians win anyday. When Ghanaians meet Nigerians for the first time, the average Ghanaian looks like he has found true liberation & freedom for the first time.

Kemikal Reactions 10:26 am  

I beg to differ from the popular notion on this thread: I really dont think Nigeria's problem is a problem of values. Most Nigerians know right from wrong, and were taught same right from childhood. So it's not a crisis of values because the values are right there, they never went anywhere.

The real problem is that we live in a society where there are no repercussions. In other countries, what keeps most people in check is the fear of getting caught & the punishment that comes with it. Remove that fear and what are you left with? Anarchy & lawlessnes. And it's not just about financial corruption. This lack of repercussions is the reason why most Nigerian men cheat on their wives with impunity. It's not because Nigerian men have a higher sex drive than men from other parts of the world, it's simply because in Nigeria they know they can get away with it. However in other countries by the time you weigh the repercussions of your indiscretions - financial, sexual or otherwise - you will quickly decide that it's not worth the aggro. And that's the rub: in Nigeria, corruption is worth it. In Nigeria, corruption pays and it pays well too.

So how do we fix the problem? Simple really. You put a judicial system in place that ensures that corruption no longer pays. It's what works all over the world. And it's what'll work here. Eventually the system will be so ingrained into our society that it becomes a part of our value system and we (like our counterparts in other countries) will be lulled into thinking that the reason we are not corrupt is because we are such good, morally upright people. The End.

Anonymous,  10:39 am  

i've never heard any visitors say nigerians are not friendly. and i roll with a lot of visitors to nigeria. there will naturally be exceptions to this rule, but from my experience the visitors that set foot in nigeria always declare the remarkable friendliness of the nigerian people and their generosity and love of a good time. the man/woman who wrote in about us being an unfriendly people sounds a little bitter - 'your friendliness is towards cheating'. i must point out that those in nigeria with hopes to recover yahooze money never declare that we are friendly. they are too bitter and angry.

Jeremy 11:09 am  

@ anonymous 10:14. Its just this kind of 'fuck you' attitude which means Ghana is a much better place for foreigners to do business or to do leisure tourism. So long as Nigeria continues to project a defensive and insular image to the world, all the mini-Dubai projectors which are the flavour of the month for the current crop of Governors will come to nothing.

@ kemikal reactions: your contradictions are, how shall I put it: phosphorus?
You say:
"Most Nigerians know right from wrong, and were taught same right from childhood."

Only to go on to say that remove the fear of repercussion and you are left with 'anarchy and lawlessness'.

Forgive the brief lecture on moral philosophy, but either you know right from wrong or you don't. Knowing right from wrong should not be dependent upon there being external sanctions (the law, the frowning onlooker etc) in place.

Once you've ironed out your contradictions I'd welcome another response.

@ anonymous 10:39. The reality is, Nigeria is not a friendly place to visit, especially if your point of embarkation is Lagos. Getting a visa in the first place is often a nightmare...

As for being friendly, Nigerians are no more or less friendly than other humans beings anywhere else on the planet. Its not the people that count, its the context - how easy it is to negotiate the airport, book hotels, get taxis, do business, find places to go. In this respect, Nigeria lags far behind its neighbours in West Africa, sadly.

Bamsant,  11:16 am  

I am the anon who wrote about the nigeria's lack of friendliness. I repeat, I don't find Nigerians particularly friend. I do not expect Nigerians to treat me like I am a queen or lord. I do not expect people to act slavish either. It is interesting that the mild-mannered nature of Ghanaians is read by nigerians as docility and slavish. This is a pity. When has mild mannered read docility. Only in Nigeria!! Nigerians maybe friendly towards each other they are certainly not towards visitors. Any visitor that tells you otherwise is because they know what they are getting from you. they have come to loot all that you have n't already looted yourself.

I am not white so get that of your head. Nor am here to make money from you. I don't need your money. But I do need you for my research 'cause there are aspect of Nigerian culture that I find fascinating and it is this that draws me to Nigeria. Not the Nigerian of today.

Saying that you arrogant is nothing to be proud of. Arrogance is not a virtue. It is a vice. And you all seems to have it in abundance.

I look forward to the day when the different Nigerian nations will be restored to their former glorious past. A past that is proud (not arrogant), open minded, accommodating of difference and otherness (not this fear of difference that is rampant today), sensitive to the needs of strangers and humble. That is Nigerian that is greatly missing.

Kemikal Reactions 11:55 am  

@ Jeremy: I'm afraid I dont see any contradictions in my post. The point I was making is that most Nigerians already know right from wrong. There is a value system in place so this is not a question of "instilling a value system" in the Nigerian people. As a Nigerian, you are taught from an early age that it's wrong to steal, it's wrong to cheat, etc, etc. The problem isnt knowing right from wrong, the problem is choosing right over wrong in a system where doing the wrong thing is largely profitable.

All I'm trying to say is that the majority of human beings regardless of nationality, will steal and cheat if they think they can get away with it. It's not that Nigerians are inherently corrupt or other nationalities are inherently upright, it's just that Nigeria provides an enabling environment. This is why people from different nationalities come to Nigeria and indulge in all kinds of nonsense which they wouldnt dare to do in their own countries.

So if you are after a lasting solution to the problem of corruption in this country it's got to be one that involves making corruption an unpleasant and unprofitable option in and of itself. Other countries know that their citizens cannot always be trusted to exercise their values and "do the right thing" which is why they have active judicial systems to dissuade people from making the wrong choice. Remove that threat and people the world over- British, American, Guyanese or French- will behave just like your average "Nigerian" :-)

Ultimately the judicial system becomes part of your value system such that you cannot really tell where one ends and the other begins but an effective judicial system remains the linch-pin of society. Remove it and all talk of values will go out the window. It's a simple as that.

Controversial Anon,  12:48 pm  

It's the ECONOMY stupid!

Plot a graph of societal prosperity (x axis) against Morals (y axis) and I bet you'll find that:

Economic prosperity/good governance is directly proportaional to good morals/ethics.

So quit all the pointless analysis, Nigerians are as human as any other people on earth, there is just too much temptation (oil money) floating about alongside bad governance/leadership. You fix the economy, you fix the moral/ethical problems.

Its the Economy Stupid!

Anonymous,  1:02 pm  

Response to Jeremy's response to kemikal:

Doesn't that rather depend on where you stand in the structure v agency debate? If you're giving lectures in moral philosophy you should at least acknowledge there are different positions, and one argument would state that people as autonomous agents are restricted by societal context and structures.

And since I'm here, I would also add that people don't lose values. A value, as an ideological or normative concept, is just position on what an actor thinks should or ought happen - such as who should have power in society and what they ought to do with it. (Whether these align with morality, or with social values, or with your values is a different matter).

anonymaus,  2:21 pm  

Bamsant, thank you for your response at 11.16 am, it was very interesting. It is good to hear a forthright and honest opinion. No need to pander to anyone, just tell it like it is.

Sandrine 2:29 pm  


I don't think Kemical's post is contradictory.Knowing right from wrong is different from acting or not on it.Just because one knows it's wrong to steal doesn't prevent one to do it. I also agree that impunity can be very attractive to some people and unfortunately a lot of people only behave the way they do because they know the consequences if they don't. Also how many people are immune to a moment's weakness or certain circumstances? I hope most of us will never be tested and find out we don't measure up.


Bisola Edun,  3:21 pm  

I agree with Kemikal and most especially with controversial anon. It IS the economy. In a country where a huge percentage of people cannot afford a meal, talk less of 3, in a day, all moral obligations are bound to be thrown out the window. Especially when said obligations seem to get them absolutely nowhere and corruption appears to be a more beneficial option.

I grew up in a Nigeria where people were always willing to lend a helping hand and would actually brush off attempts at compensation. Then people would push your car, give you directions and just generally help without expecting anything in return. But now, nothing goes for nothing because, bladdy hell, people are hungry!!

This point was driven home to me about 4 years ago when, driving down lekki expressway early one morning, i had an accident and my car flipped over to the other lane, narrowly missing oncoming traffic, before landing in a ditch. Apparently, the accident looked so bad, people were sure no one would survive. But my friend and I emerged totally unscathed and with only minor damage to the car. After helping me get my car out of the ditch and assuring us that God was definitely looking out for us that morning, they demanded to be settled! I had to part with my last few thousands of Naira and even at that, I had to apologize that it wasn't 'enough' to go round! I could not believe it, but the general attitude was 'you're, alive, we thank God, but we gotta eat.' I shudder to think what would have happened if the accident had occurred late at night and we'd actually been badly injured.

Jeremy 3:28 pm  

sorry but I don't buy the idea that a collapse in ethics/values/morals is purely and simply determined by the economy. There are lots of poorer places than Nigeria which have held on to their cultural integrity...

The causal factors involved in the degradation in values in Nigeria is much more complex - combining the after-effects of the traumas of the civil war and successive military dictatorships together with the intense class oppression of the resource curse implanted into a patronage society, together with the spiritual alienation wreaked by evangelical christianity and wahabist islam. A paucity of role models doesn't help either..

Sandrine 3:52 pm  


It does not take much to destroy the structure of any society. Just bring an hostile environment with difficulties to get basic necessities, withdraw help from the leaders and law enforcement and you will see quickly what will develop. Do you remember what happened in the Super dome after hurricane Katrina in New Orleans? Unfortunately moral values can not compete with survival of the fittest.


Anonymous,  4:08 pm  

Okay, so am a day late and a dollar short, just getting in on this today, but Jeremy i must say i agree with you. Best point to illustrate how wrong your detractors ( those blaming immorality on poverty), is on one level the fact of armed robbery. does anyone believe that armed robbers are poor (economically) who only rob because they have no money? or the rich minister who demands kickbacks as part of his job...?

Kody 4:20 pm  

You may mock but my first policy towards a better Nigeria would be to ban anyone within 6 (biological) degrees of separation from a past leader from ever contesting for a post in government. If you do your research, you will find that the same cliche has been ruling Nigeria since independence.

Jeremy, you are quite right, poverty is not an excuse for total lack of integrity. Our disease in Nigeria is shortermism - we simply lack the patience for a slow build. Individual or collective progress can never happen overnight, but we have little or no patience to lay solid foundations for growth.

Controversial Anon,  4:44 pm  

@ jeremy

So this is what I am saying - If Nigeria had the economic prosperity of say a 'Norway', our morals would be quite high and certainly would be better than it is today, based solely on economic prosperity, the confidence that your children and grand children will inherit a fair and prosperous country.

And this is what you are saying - You disagree. The implication being that Nigerians are naturally and inherently immoral and dubious, to say that with national prosperity even, 'we' would not be morally upright is not a good reflection of your thoughts about this country. Can I just say that I do not believe that you feel this way, but this is the implication of your position.

Kindly, Mr Jeremy, mention one country on earth which is economically prosperous but whose citizens have an unacceptable moral standard? I am arguing in the positive while you are arguing in the negative, to say that there are other poor countries where their people have high morals is arguing in the negative against Nigeria.

Anyway, If I were president, I know what I would concentrate on - The Economy. Economy, Economy, Economy. If you were president, I suspect you would hold all sorts or crystal ball conferences to find out why we are dubious, and in the process waste another 10 billion man hours in futile pursuit of a non existent solutions, so that the boys (lefty, greeny, lets save these people consultants) can keep on 'chopping'.

Oh ok I might be wrong, but I'll need some convincing on this one.

Anonymous,  5:19 pm  

Jeremy at 3.28

If you are stating that there are causal factors involved in determining peoples' behaviours this supports Kemikal's initial point that there is a societal context which often determines how individuals act.

Anonymous,  5:31 pm  

@ bamsant - I find your response fascinating because I am a foreigner (Liberian) who lived in Nigeria from 1998 until 2004 and I could not disagree any more with your comments. I think Nigerians are the friendliest people I have met. Admittedly, it took nearly two months of living in Nigeria for the people to open their hearts to me (after I picked up some decent Yoruba), but the friendliness of the Nigerian people has been unparalleled, and well beyond anything I have seen anywhere else on the African continent outside Sierra Leone before the war. (Note: I have been to no less than two dozen African countries in the past 30 years)

In a world that prefers its people of negroid species to be unquestioning, 'humble' and docile, it is no surprise that other black africans who - with the possible exception of Kikuyus in Kenya and a few other peoples scattered across our continent - fit this bill will be more 'open to foreigners' or 'friendly' or 'welcoming' or (insert phrase here).

When I speak with other black Africans, they repeat the same story: Nigerians are loud, arrogant, ambitious, etc.

And the same question immediately comes to my mind: when did it become a bad thing for people to be be ambitious, loud or indeed arrogant? All nations are arrogant to some extent - Nigerians have their own level of 'arrogant' as do most other nations. Ambition was never a bad thing. So, where lies the problem, I begin to wonder.

I returned to Nigeria briefly in 2006 for my business, and I found the people as warm and welcoming as they had always been to me, and my other friends. One only needs to go see the refugees from across West Africa, living, laughing and loving their communities in Ogun State. One needs to go see the poor in Oyo State open their hearts to the first 3,000 refugees who arrived there in 1991 after they fled the war and came through Benin. I cannot speak for all foreigners - nor can you - but my own experience has always been pleasant, and so has that of all my foreign friends to Nigeria.

We are always met with a happy, kind and generous people who are always willing to make you feel at home and will do all it takes to give you a helping hand or a shoulder to lean on when times get rough. This has been my experience and that of my family and friends. And they expect nothing in return (no swindling as somebody suggested). It's the 's'eni loore (!)' culture in Nigeria.

@ jeremy 11:09, you spoke about context, and this is one of the many strange things I notice about European visitors. An inability to see past infrastructural deficiencies (Americans, mark you, hardly have this problem - at least not from my own experience) and a tendency to equate this with the intelligence, friendliness (insert whatever quality here) of a people.

If getting a taxi, hotel, etc are the problem, then I would say Nigeria is difficult and unfriendly. However, many of the responses here have been to counter the suggestion that the Nigerian people (as opposed to their infrastructure) are inherently less friendly than their West african neighbors or other people in general. If we were to include infrastructure, then from my own travels, I'd say Indians, South Americans and most Africans are far less friendly than Europeans, something which is not true because I find Germans cold, the French nasty, etc - something I cannot say of the people in any of these other countries. Infrastructure is one thing, the friendliness of the people quite another.

Anonymous,  5:41 pm  

Ghana a better place to do business than Nigeria?

surely this is a joke. the sheer size of bring-your-own-infrastructure nigeria makes it a far more attractive place than ghana or any of its sub-saharan african counterparts (except white south africa) to do business. it's the reason the non-oil fdi has started to outstrip oil FDI by a country-mile. the MTNs, multichoices, Nandos, etc have started a trend. and it's nigeria - not the more 'attractive' ghana as you claim jeremy - that the brits are asking to lift restrictions on everything from telecoms to foreign ownership of banks.

ama,  6:11 pm  

Anon 10.14 am

Ghanaians slavish??? What exactly does that mean? You don't have to put Ghanaian down in order to defend Nigerians.

We are certainly not slavish.... maybe a little more well bred) polite, patient, soft spoken, less aggressive) than the average Nigerian. Just because a person doesn't yell at high decibels, boast profusely, cheat foreigners amongst other things does not make a person slavish.

I am Ghanaian, and I happen to admire the zest for life that Nigerians have. But to call Ghanaians slavish is plain stupid.

As I write, our capital city Accra is being overun by Nigerians looking for real estate to buy. Our Universities are full of Nigerian students.

It seems Nigerians like living amongst the so called slavish Ghanaians.

Finally, who says Nigerians don't worship foreigners? Anything foreign in Nigeria is accorded a higher price..... from shoes to university degrees to accents ... please try again!

Jeremy 6:15 pm  

Me oh mi. There's a lot of confusion out there. Let me try to clarify my position:

1. I don't believe, as others do on this thread, that either the economy of a country, or the strength of its legal system, have wholly determinative effects on the ethics and values exhibited through collective patterns of behaviour. Blaming the economy, or hoping that legal reform would be a quick-fix, are both way too simplistic.

2. Neither do I believe Nigerians are more or less friendly than elsewhere. This is similar to the fatuous claim that Nigerians are the 'happiest people on earth'.

The behaviour of Nigerians in Nigeria is conditioned by the structural conditions of Nigeria (but not wholly so). It is no wonder that, for instance, Nigerians drive with more regulated behaviour in countries where there are more regulated forms of traffic control. Again, because these structural conditions are not wholly determinative, there is plenty of space for agency: for people to behave differently, and for heroes and angels to emerge (as they often do in difficult social conditions).

3. The idea that different national groups are more or less friendly is therefore to my mind a simplistic take on the world. A welcoming attitude to foreigners - which is what we are talking about - is culturally and socially articulated. In Ghana, social conditions are less 'stressed' (I am using the idea of stress societies from Sociology), therefore, one's experience there as a foreigner tends to be more relaxed, more welcoming.

4. All this is to go back to my original point: there is I believe a crisis of values in Nigeria which contributes to the generalised lack of integrity one finds in both the private and the public sector (as well as in the private and the public sphere). This can partly be explained by structural social conditions, but not wholly so. There must also be room for an aspect of explanation which involves some internal narrative dysfunction: cultural-spiritual alienation, a loss of cultural-national confidence, and ultimately, a crisis of identity.

If this identity crisis could be 'fixed' in some way (that's a big if), then everything else - including a functioning legal system - would fall into place.

In short, in my view, ethics and integrity stem/flow from a sense of individual and collective self-worth. Without that, everything will continue to collapse, be imported etc.

I hope that is clear...

Anonymous,  6:21 pm  

Ghana is a better place to do business, because things work.... electricity, water, law and order, etc. etc.
Business is not just about the population of a country..... yes, Nigeria may have a huge market, but its also a very risky place to do business.
Accra is only 30 minutes flight time away from Lagos, closer than Abuja.... so it's also convenient!

anonymaus,  6:59 pm  

Kody, thank you.

That is my point Nigerians want to be in the fast lane with the big boys a la US and G8 and all that.

Their justification is the having the most mouths to feed in Africa and are Africa's second largest oil producer (yes, Angola have now eclipsed them). This I'm afraid is wholly inadequate. The basics have to be addressed first, I remember 10 years or so ago, about economists talking about the economy of China, they were saying it is doing well (now), but will they be able to keep it up for decades? The implication was a definite NO. Now we know better.

Nigeria has to do better than, extract raw materials. Self-sufficiency in food and energy would be a starter.

The road to economic lift-off (success) lies in economic diversification, implementing independent credible institutions, rule of law, education, health-care, playing to your strengths, etc. These are all very unpopular terms in Nigeria, because it implies a long drawn out effort of hard work, which the political elite view as poison (and increasingly many Nigerians do also). They'd rather swizz the populace out of their right dues (ie misappropriating oil wealth and embarking upon some non-productive hair brain schemes, and skimming off what they can get their hands on), rather than do the hard yards, like road construction and MAINTENANCE, etc.

The results of a long and steady path to recovery are slow, but patience is needed, if it all comes quickly, it can certainly disappear quickly. The Germans took time to re-gain their wealth after World War II.

Poverty is not the reason why Nigerians have let slide their cultural integrity. As others have pointed out, poorer countries have managed to retain theirs. Even if oil was $1000/ barrel and the oil derivation means of wealth distribution was increased to say 90% to the oil producing states, people would still be experiencing depressing poverty. Why? Because the correct fundamentals about planning for tomorrow, and concentrating on the basics for human development have not been properly addressed. Only silly schemes like building airports up and down the place that aren't properly maintained gain traction.

Nigerians want to impress the world, indeed they have a rich cultural heritage, but we are no longer living in the past, but today. What does Nigeria produce (I mean produce, not extract - extraction is for raw materials) that the world relies on? What centre of excellence is there, that makes it a major player on the world scene? Is it in engineering, science, technology, agriculture, service sector, medical sector, arms sector - no none of the above. So hence maybe a degree of modesty and recognition of the task that lies ahead is in order.

It takes more than bravado to join the g8 or even the g20.

I agree with Jeremy's diagnosis, the reasons for the slide in values in Nigeria are complex.

Pssst, anonymous (@5.41pm), the average Ghanaian earns twice as much as the average Nigerian.

Here's the link: http://hdrstats.undp.org/indicators/5.html (GDP per capita according to the UN).

So size isn't everything. Ghana have stolen a march on Nigeria before, when they got Independence.

Anonymous,  7:06 pm  

@ama, count your lucky stars that you have EDUCATED Nigerians in your universities.

We are often stuck with the poorly-educated Ghanaians: the shoemaker Kofis or Kwabenas of this world, who change their names to Kayode or Kunle upon arrival in Agege, or the wheel-barrow-pusher Atta (very common in Lagos) that becomes Aima, or the Awo that becomes Awe, and blends in with the Nigerians until his accent one day gives him away to the observant Nigerian. Thank your lucky stars you can tell Nigerians apart, because ghanaians in Nigeria blend in like melted butter.

yes, the 'aggressive' Nigerians like the 'slavish' Ghanaians very much.

Zenith bank likes the slavish Ghanaians, who were sitting on their docile, slavish arses until Zenith came in to liberate them from the chokehold of foreign-owned and pathetic domestic banks. Despite its many flaws, a bank like Zenith has opened the Ghanaian banking industry to competition, and it was not a surprise that GTB, Intercontinental, First Bank, etc - other 'aggressive' Nigerian banks upped the ante. Left to the Ghanaians, of course, their white masters would still be in control of their banking sector. But no, the aggressive Nigerians came in and took over. How you must love us.

You sit all day in Accra and watch these 'aggressive' Nigerians in Nigerian movies, yet your own movie industry, when given an equal opportunity to compete, struggles massively. Right - it's because there's more of the aggresive Nigerians, right? Right.

Just recently Globacom, lately enthroned the numero uno in Nigerian telecoms, moved into Ghana. It's only a matter of time before these 'aggressive' Nigerian folks from Globacom muscle into the market that is dominated by white South Africa's MTN - something the 'aggression' of the very Nigerian globacom has successfully done in Nigeria.

Need I go on? Omatek computers moves into the Ghanaians market, and in a few years, the same story we heard with the banks will be in play.

When Nigerian merchant traders move into Ghana, you relentlessly raise the minimum capital requirements for trade in Ghana, in a futile effort to keep out the Nigerians. When that fails, you turn to buring their shops. Like an aggressive hydra, these folks keep coming back. It is all, of course, much to your chagrin, you prefer the Lebanese traders to the Nigerian ones. One foreign master over another - yet people wonder: what are the lazy, slavish Ghanaians doing about all this?

"Anything foreign in Nigeria is accorded a higher price"

Exhibit A: Hollywood movies. Definitely 'accorded a higher price in Nigeria', but most definitely not what the majority of the populace consumes. We prefer our own people and our own content. Nothing wrong in that. It's about pride and the reality of the people.

Nigeria's government has its flaws not least being its insistence on keeping the oil industry in it own very dirty hands, but laughing at the ambition (you say aggression) of the Nigerian people in order to make a point is priceless: we are buying up your real estate, educating our kids in your schools (as well as harvard, princeton, yale, etc), sending our multinationals to your country, etc. You'd rather have white (or lebanese) masters than black ones. Why not just come out and admit it: Ghanaians were happier doing business with their white-owned banks than they are with Nigerians. Guess what? The Nigerians are here to stay.

The last decade has seen the birth of the Nigerian multinational, and the story you painted has been played out in every West African country - from Gambia all the way to Cameroon, even. As long as you live, ama, there will be more Zeniths, Globacoms, Nollywoods, Real estate develpers moving into your country to take over. The mistake you make is to assume that this trend is exclusive to Ghana - it is not. Notice that Globacom moved first into Togo and Benin before Ghana.

And in all these, you'll find that the Ghanaian corporations that dared to venture into the lucrative Nigerian market invariably find that their lazy and slavish attitudes get them nowhere fast. Most pack up shop and admit that they are unable to compete in a West African market dominated by 'aggressive' Nigerians.

The anti-Nigerian sentiment common amongst Ghanaians will continue to live on, for as long as we have the Wole Soyinkas, Globacoms, Nollywoods, Omatek, Adichie, Achebes and what not. Problem is, there is nothing you can do about it. Well, short of stripping naked, placing your clothes on your head and walking to the market square - naked - as the mad man that you have become. Nigeriaphobia-induced inasnity. Wouldn't be a first, really.

Anonymous,  7:08 pm  

@ anonymous 6:21p.m.

Things work in Ghana, you say? That's strange - every other Ghanaian I know complains that things don't work in Ghana. And that's why they voted with their feet.

But if you insist, I am sure you are right.

Anengiyefa 7:30 pm  

Let us face it, our country is heading in the wrong direction. We need to go back to the drawing board, and start afresh on a clean slate. We need to start this journey of nationhood all over again, because it's so obvious that we have lost our way, and we are not heading in the direction of progress and development. Nigeria is currently enjoying a windfall from oil revenues, and this may be our last chance to put things right. Sometimes, the truth is harsh, but it's still the truth, and acknowledging it is the only way forward. It is nothing short of a national disgrace that our country, which is one of the world's leading producers of petroleum oil, is regarded as one of the least developed in the world. We should be hanging our heads in shame. I cannot see what we Nigerians have to be arrogant about.

Anonymous,  8:06 pm  

At anon 6:59, I look to the CIA instead.

Links (GDP per capita according to the CIA factbook): https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ni.html


Ghana: $1400

Nigeria: $2000

According to your logic, the average Nigerian (whatever the bloody hell that means) earns 1.5 times as much as his Ghanaian counterpart.

Having said that, GDP per capita has never been and will never be an indicator of lifestyle. You should instead have pulled up information about the HDI, where Ghana does better. GDP per capita is useless as it gives no indication of spread. I'm guessing the GDP per capita in Nepal or Albania may be higher than in China, but no serious economist is storming to these countries ahead of China.

Finally, you speak of independence. Ghana got three years on us during the independence movement, not to metion the 4 years we lost during the pogrom/Biafran war days. When you combine this with the fact that Ghana has a smaller populace, a relatively homogenous people with far more in common than we have in Nigeria, never had a civil war, regained democracy before we did, has fewer mouths to feed and arguably more resources per capita than Nigeria, Ghana should be like Singapore now.

Instead, it is still comparing its GDP per capita with the likes of Nigeria and other failed African states like DR Congo.

Tufiakwa, that very Nigerian saying.

Anonymous,  8:26 pm  

anangyenifa, what can I say? Nigeria is heading in the wrong direction? I think not. For the first time, we are seeing macroeconomic development in Nigeria - not just in the flourishing private sector, the hope for the youth again, the re-emergeing middle class, the foreign reserves that have ballooned in years, the hope that banks can promote SMEs...etc. I can go on and on - I don't agree with the top-down model of development OBJ's regime (read: iweala) favored (hence the bank consolidation and emphasis on fiscal responsibility), but there is no doubt that the private sector in Nigeria today is booming. The one hinderance is electricity - if the same revolution we witnessed in telecomms, in banking and in trade can be repeated in the power sector, the sky is the limit.

I have to quietly beg to differ that we are heading in the wrong direction. Yaradua's government is the first one in years with no reason to fail: no debt, masssive reserves, a non-oil sector that continues to grow at more than three times the rate of the ever-shrinking oil sector, greater emphasis on diversification, etc.

When my brother graduates from college this July, he expresly told me that he doesn't need anyone's help to get a job. One of the new private engineering firms already recruited him. This was impossibnle 10 years ago, when we didn't have a private sector!

I have to beg to differ with your claim that we are moving in the wrong direction, thank you very much. The government is one thing, the people another.

Anengiyefa 10:37 pm  

@ Anonymous 8.26pm, my take on it is this...when we lay the correct foundations for development in the real sense of the word, then and only then can we embark on the road towards real progress. There can be no excuse for the fact in 2008, most Nigerians can still not count on a reliable supply of potable water, or a constant and uninterrupted supply of electric power; there is no reason why adequate healthcare should continue to be a luxury, available only to the well heeled. The advances within the private sector that you have highlighted are hindered by the matters that I have mentioned here. And these failings are by no means exhaustive.

We Nigerians have a tendency to view our situation from a superficial perspective. You talk of the booming telecoms and banking industry, your brother who is about to graduate and is entering a job immediately after graduation. You talk of an emerging middle class. But I will point you to the woman in Akwa Ibom State or Taraba State, or almost anywhere else in Nigeria, whose child is dying of malaria because she is unable to afford the necessary treatment. Malaria is not a disease that anybody should die of, because it is 100% curable. I will point you to the thousands of Nigerian children who instead of having the opportunity to go to school, are forced into peddling petty products on the street; I will point you to the thousands of the disabled members of our society who are condemned to a life of begging in the streets. And the sad truth is that although most of us ignore these things and go about our business, they are an indictment of all of us.

The real problem in Nigeria is the almost total absence of a sense of social responsibility towards other members of the society. Our thinking is so insular that it has become self-defeating. Nigeria is not a poor country. We need to get the basics right first and foremost, and other things will fall into place.

anonymaus,  2:49 am  

Anengifyefa, eloquent and incisive - thank you for your words of observation, I'm in total agreement.

Also Kola and Bamsant, who chipped in with some choice statements.

Respect to you.

@ Anonymous 8.06pm, I wouldn't use the CIA stats unless I had to, because they are not perceived as being as neutral as the UN. Using the UN data for the human development index, Ghana is still ahead, (like it or not).

check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Human_Development_Index#Complete_list_of_countries

Ghana is in the middle tier, and Nigeria, you guessed it, is in the bottom tier.

Ghana relatively homogeneous, I don't think so ...
(I've no connection with Ghana either).

Nigeria is not so "huge", that it can't be managed, there are nations many times larger that can manage their populace a whole lot better, so size is no excuse for bad management.

Thanks Jeremy

Anonymous,  6:47 pm  

anonymaus, I wouldn't use the UN for the very same reason you bashed the CIA.

In addition, that Ghana is higher up in the UN HDI than Nigeria was already mentioned (see one anonymous above).

Finally, Ghana is, relative to Nigeria a united and - yes - homogeneous nation, with one dominant language and one dominant people. Compare that with a nation with three dominant peoples moving in three different directions at the same time, still unable to overcome suspicion from a war that ended 40 years ago, and which is still on the list of failing states and you must understand the reason Ghana has, with its advantages bestowed by nature, been a massive failure. Peaceful, united, far more homogeneous, muc fewer mouths to feed and the best they can come up with is a poor, aid-dependent nation like Ghana?

It should be more like Gabon and less like the poverty-stricken mess that it is.

And I am not connected with Nigeria or Ghana.

ama,  6:52 pm  

@ ANON 7.16

You are a typical example of an empty barrel uninformed ignorant loud mouthed Nigerian, luckily for Nigeria you are in the minority.

I believe you must be suffering from stress induced dementia as you seem to be greatlty exagerating your existence.

I won't bother to get into a debate about the so called "slavish attributes" of Ghanaians, as it is obvious from your post that you are angry and slightly delusional.

Suffice it to say that as much as you seem to have a very low regard for Ghanaians, we in turn have a low regard for foul mouthed,uninformed boastful Nigerians such as yourself. And we certainly do not want your kind here in Ghana

Anonymous,  7:01 pm  

Ghana is not homogenous. We have many ethnic groups, the largest being the Akan Speaking group, the Ewe in the East , the Gas and the Hausas in the North. There are many other small groups.

I see you find a lot of excuses for the dismal economic situation of Nigeria ( heterogenous, large population etc) you failed to mention the advantages that Nigeria has over Ghana namely lots of oil.... a piece of advice look inwards... don't bash Ghana... it won't make the situation any better.

Like it or not, the quality of life for an average citizen of Ghana is better than that of Nigeria.

Anonymous,  7:31 pm  

This Ghana versus Nigeria boxing contest is not what Jeremy's post was about. It's not doing anyone any good. Let's drop it!

Anonymous,  9:09 pm  

@ anonymous 7:01, the jury is out on your conclusion. This naijablog post has been packed with data and links painting conflicting pictures of life in Ghana and Nigeria. having visited both countries recently (this May), I am not sure I can pic out the difference in quality of life between the two - and i would be a liar to claim that the average ghanian has a better life than the average nigerian.

next, the diversity in ghana cannot really be compared with nigeria, where there are over 514 ethnic group (ghana has about 70).

lastly, nigeria hasn't vast amounts of oil - as ngozi okonjo iweala put it, if you make 140 million dollars a day from oil, in a nation like nigeria which sells oi at ~2 million barrels a day, that's a dollar a day for each nigerian. you do the math.

@ama, discussion is an exchange of ideas, argument is an exchange of emotion. End of.

@anon 7:16, there are not that many Lebanese in ghana - it is not correct that the lebanese have a significant share of Ghana's economy. they don't. and nigeria doesn't either.

Anonymous,  5:07 am  

Funny that I should see a discussion on the friendliness of Nigerians as perceived by foreigners. I just came across an article that actually touches on that (it's from a Sierra Leonean):


Concord Times (Freetown)

12 June 2008
Posted to the web 12 June 2008

Sulaiman Momodu

In the first part of this article, I stated that I was visiting Nigeria for the first time with a small share of the huge global perception that I was visiting the land where fraud, better known as *****, was born. So for every move I've made, I've suspected every Nigerian to be a ***** or a potential fraudster. Also, I have found myself answering the recurring question: Are you a Nigerian?

As previously stated, it was also during my visit to Abuja that I heard on the BBC the revised edition of President Koroma's promise to declare his asset.

Should I call this a very effective way of fooling the impoverished and gullible masses? The idea is simple.

You make a promise today and after several months of not fulfilling it, you come up with a revised edition, or "a remix". The hungry masses love to hear good promises, so you make the revised promise and deliver it very passionately. The result? Rounds of applause.

Once again, the people become hopeful of better days to come; the politician goes back into his well-guarded tinted car, smiling.

You know, Nigerians will tell you that they are never ever impressed by promises politicians make. To put it succinctly, if promises were horses, every Nigerian will ride. Incidentally, during my early days in journalism, a politician once told me in Makeni that politics is all about making promises and constantly fooling the people. He said this during an interview about a failed promise. The next day the story made it to our front page: "We fooled Makeni people." Naturally, Mr. Politician didn't like my story but he was on tape so there was no "I was misquoted" balderdash.

Going back to my trip, after a long and exhaustive flight, I woke up on Nigerian soil fully refreshed to explore Africa's most populous nation of over 140 million people. To move around, I walk or use taxis and buses. I also cherish a ride on an 'Okada' but do not feel comfortable with the way riders abuse traffic rules.

Abuja, the federal capital is a beautiful, roadside-rubbish-accumulated-free city, created in the 1980s after the decision to move the Nigerian capital from congested and crime endemic Lagos. The federal capital boasts of many beautiful work of architecture, paved road networks including flyovers and a relatively impressive sanitation. I could not help but notice a construction boom in this administrative capital.

Taxis as well as buses are painted in the country's national colours. However, some taxis I have hired do not have the green, white and green painting. One cab driver explained. "Taxis are not allowed to enter certain areas, so if I paint my car as a taxi I will not go to some offices".

Here, I've found prices of some goods disturbingly very high in a style that is akin to fraud. Prices of most goods are four or five times their actual price and one is expected to haggle or pay through the nose.

With my Pidgin English, I have easily adjusted to the system. What do I mean? Tell me the price of something and I will offer a paltry 10 percent price and we start negotiating. But are all Nigerian businessmen really money hungry cheats? In one instance, I inadvertently overpaid for an item. To my pleasant surprise, the businessman returned the excess money. I thanked him for his honesty and subsequently bought two items instead of one.

Nigeria is undoubtedly famous for Nollywood. Perhaps, my interest in watching Nigerian movies goes back to 'Living in Bondage', the first movie that opened up Nigeria's movie industry. Although I may have some reservations about the quality and originality of some movies, once in a while I still do find time to watch them. I have also met a number of leading Nigerian actors and actresses. Perhaps, one item that is not overpriced is Nigerian movies.

Generally, one VCD goes for 200 Naira, less than 2 USD. In one movie shop, I was delighted when I saw the part 2 of a movie, the part 1 of which I had watched before. Before I could pay, the young seller asked whether I was looking for part 2 and told me to return it, disclosing that Part 2 had been mistakenly written on the box but it was actually Part 1 - another honest transaction.

Added to my impression that Nigerians are not all that dishonest as is widely believed, I must reiterate that I have found many Nigerians very helpful as well. In my previous article, I stated how a young lady assisted me at the Murtala Mohammed Airport to get to a domestic airport, and how a civil servant assisted me to get to my Abuja residence several kilometers away from the airport and even paid the taxi fare.

Coming to Nigeria has given me an opportunity to think deeply about the whole issue of ***** or fraud or taking money by false pretence, or call it what you will. Is this vice only made in Nigeria?

Growing up in Sierra Leone under the old APC system, I still have vivid memories of a perennial no power supply and how we had to, most times, rely on kerosene lanterns. Whenever I had gone to filling stations to buy kerosene, somebody standing by the pumping machine and claiming to be the salesman would collect the money and would actually go to their office to bring the pumping equipment.

After sometime, another person would walk up to me and ask what I wanted and would demand for the money. And when I had replied that I had already paid, he would then ask: "Did you pay to me?" I still remember these ***** incidents with bitterness. It was pure organised crime in a system where people had been publicly encouraged by late President Siaka Stevens to be corrupt, and where we were told that our education was not a right. And where was I to report that I had been robbed at a kerosene station? To the corrupt police? Or go to court where injustice was permanently waiting to further exploit the poor? So my experience of ***** goes back to my childhood.

Contributing to fighting the ills of society partly spurred me into journalism. But even working as a journalist had not saved me from becoming a victim of *****. One of the so-called chiefs of Lumley in Freetown once collected my hard earned money and issued a receipt for an apartment that he said would be empty the next day as the occupant was moving to his own house. Everyday, the chief (the thief actually), told me come tomorrow, go and come day after tomorrow etc.

One day, after many weeks of promises, his biological son was so upset that he informed me that his father had no place to rent at all. I believe in the rule of law so with the speed of lightning, I went straight to the police. After he was squeezed, he coughed up part of the money. And just in case you think I am the only victim of Sierra Leone *****, ask Osman Benk Sankoh and Idrissa Conteh (Atomic Pen), both of whom are former editors. They had been perfectly duped of good money by so-called well-respected people.

Annoyingly, in some cases, even the involvement of a lawyer does not save one from becoming a victim. You see, ***** are thieves who make their ill-gotten wealth from a rotten system. Their actions are rooted in the fact that those who are supposed to make the system work sit in air conditioned offices using their pens to steal big time and deprive the masses - you and I. I call this official *****.

Other ***** fool apparently greedy people who just want to make quick money through dubious means. Tell me, what business will I have for instance with someone who will come up to me and ask that I give him or her money with a promise to double or triple it? Why will anybody indulge in drug trafficking if he has no accomplices and willing buyers? Make no mistake, big Nigeria may have fraudsters, but small Sierra Leone also has its own share of rogues who steal on a daily basis making a naturally endowed country the laughing stock of the world. Like many Nigerians who support anti-corruption moves, some of us will always support any move to minimize corruption in Sierra Leone, but not political rhetoric - saying what people want to hear and they clap for you?

Well, my sojourn to Nigeria has almost come to an end and I must point out that it has been limited to Abuja and Lagos. By and large, I have found many Nigerians to be friendly and a happy people who are especially passionate about clothes and parties during which they 'spray' cash as we see in Nigerian movies. One thing I have also observed in Lagos unlike some other African cities is the traffic. While the place is still dark at dawn, a heavy traffic is usually seen crawling along some main roads. It's time to leave oil-rich Nigeria now, but memories of my visit will linger in a long time to come and how many Nigerians actually thought I am a Nigerian. I am off to Accra for few days but do hope to visit Naija in future for a much longer time. Take care!

Anonymous,  5:30 am  

From the BBC's African Diary:


The hotel is fantastic, of course friendly.. all Nigerians are friendly! And funny too with a great sense of humour (phew!). The hotel is decorated in true African style with bamboo furniture, African wooden chairs and the rooms have art work in there too, almost like a mini art gallery!


I'd rather take the word of a well-traveled BBC reporter than one of a disgruntled Nigeria-phobe, making sweeping generalizations about Nigerians cheating him.

Maybe if you got the stick outta your arse, Nigerians would actually stop being so unkind to you.

Anonymous,  5:37 am  

For anonymous 7:57,


Nigeria Travel Guide
This Nigeria travel guide offers information about hotels, sights, maps, travelogues, safety and more -- for visitors to Nigeria. Tourism is still in its infancy since Nigeria suffers from a reputation of being corrupt and prone to violence. But travelers who do make it all report that the people are among the friendliest in Africa.

* Well, well, well... travelers reporting that the people are among the friendliest in Africa. I think it is safe to conclude that the poster 7:57 obviously has had a terrible experience in Nigeria. This is generally what happens to those who travel to Nigeria expecting to be treated specially. For the vast majority of visitors (I assume goafrica.com has a large enough sample size - at least larger than one), the people of Nigeria are some of the warmest, kindest and most welcoming people you'll meet anywhere. That, at least, has been my own experience. And yes, I am white but that is not the reason I am treated differently or well.

Anonymous,  5:45 am  

I learned a lot about myself. It was great, to live 2 months with a Nigerian family and see how they live here. I will never forget these people, with their open hearts, with their zest for life.
-Andrea Tanner, Switzerland.

Everything was fantastic. The food was beautiful, my room was comfortable and my hostess wonderful if a little over-protective from time to time, which is understandable of course. I will miss her and Yinka a lot. The programme has broadened me in ways that I never thought possible. My confidence has grown from being coerced/forced to deal with what seemed at the time difficult or unfair situations. Overall it has made me a more balanced, humble and appreciative person. Nigeria is in need of so much but we in the developed world are in need of a reality check and the opportunity to experience the sheer joy that simple things like sitting on a stool on the side of the street to have a coke can be. I will miss it so much.
-Laura Naple, Ireland.

Three best memories of Nigeria:
(1) Walking everyday to and from my workplace, people greeting me and knowing me spontaneously heartwarming.
(2) Being in a workplace that does so many good things for society, I had a very enlightening view through them.
(3) My stay with my host family, when it became very more familiar and I felt very well at home.

-Karin Denessen Hoffmann, The Netherlands.

I will miss "Oyinbo" callings. I will remember the different impressions of Nigeria. I'll remember the friendly people, also the situations when they paid me (someone paid) for my bus or cab fare even if I didn't know them. I'll remember the orientation because this was the time I was confronted with the people and their culture the first time. I'll remember the time at Kokodome with friends. I admire the Nigerians how they live without light and water,... the beach was great, Abuja too ... the friendly people.
-Jacquelline Uschmann, Germany


"...open heart, zest for life, friendly faces, friendly people..."

Na so-so this mad poster wey say we no friendly suppose examine hin own head first. You say we should ask the visitors to Nigeria - we have asked them. Na only you wey get this argument of us being unfriendly and arrogant-to-mask-shame (whatever that is supposed to mean, since we have nothing to be ashamed of, as every country has its own skeletons).

But no be so for you - when the word Nigeria is mentioned, na so so reason go be the first victim. Na waa o. Mschewwwwwww.

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