My Nigeria

This is a hilarious short story on our nation, Nigeria and what makes us unique as Nigerians.

I suppressed the urge to laugh as I watched my cousin, Sesi, pace around the living room. She had her eyes shut and in her scrawny hand was a book that she had been using to fan herself for over ten minutes. ‘’God, it’s so hot’’. She said probably for the 100th time this morning. She was so dramatic; it was not even that hot. But I understood why she was very overreacting. Her Canadian body was rejecting Nigeria’s peculiar weather.

Her mother-my aunt, Grace, had probably not told the mixed oyinbo-and-Naija breed that the place she was going to was probably the hottest place on earth. Not to sound dramatic, but the desert has nothing on Nigeria’s sun. It was clear that my aunt did not brief Sesi on what to expect when coming to the scorching country. The 16-year-old was only told that she would be attending her uncle’s wedding in Nigeria. She wasn’t warned of the magnificent country and the wonders she would be seeing, hearing, and smelling.

Her lack of knowledge was shown whenever she had to furrow her brows in confusion, scrunch her nose at every Naija-known stench and aroma or repeat the word “WHAT?” in astonishment. She really did not know what this place was about. The lack of power annoyed her. Last night when our loving NEPA had taken the light, she released an expletive and threw a fuss “. Why would they take the light at a crucial time like that?’’. She whined. She had no idea that we were part of the lucky ones. In some parts of Nigeria, people had not had light for three months, if not more. Did they die?

No. They had gotten used to waking up in darkness and the electric sockets not working. It was Nigeria, for God’s sake. But poor little ignorant Sesi did not know the real Nigeria. I took it upon myself to educate Sesi on Nigeria and how Nigerians were. All this Canada perky little girl knew it was Burna boy’s new album. But when I asked her about the various Nigerian tribes that we had, she was clueless. But once Burna’s YE was played out, this girl could sing it from the beginning to the end. Well, we could check the box of Nigerian music for her. She only knew international acts- she had no idea that Nigerians, in general, are so passionate about music and also releasing their records for the world to hear.

Of course, they never get to the point of receiving a Grammy as our dear Burna boy did, but they got their songs to be used on Instagram funny accounts like KrasTV, which occasionally gave out content on things that Nigerians could relate to. Like being friend-zoned or being served breakfast after months or years long of a relationship. Yes, Nigeria is the largest country in Africa, with over billions of people walking on the hard streets. And guess what? Every single person one of us is unimaginably angry. Yes, it is seen when we enter a store, and a security guard greets us, asking for weekend money, or when you’re on a bus, and you have to ask the shuddery conductor for your change.

Sesi tried it once. She spoke up in the sweetest, softest voice ever’’. Please, can I have my change?’’. Ah! If she only knew that violence is everyone’s middle name in Nigeria. Our brain is not programmed to be sweet and soft. That said,” The violent taketh it by force.” We take it literally in this part of Nigeria. You need to snarl and gnash your teeth at anyone, letting them know that their madness has no reach for your madness. Nigerians are passionate about food. Roasted corn by the side of the streets, the roasted plantain also known as Boli, puff-puff…. To die for. Sesi scrunched her face in disgust when I told her about our unending love for street food.’’ Won’t people get sick?’’.

It didn’t matter. No food, I repeat, no food tops Jollof rice. We have been in a competition with Ghana in which Jollof Rice reigned supreme. Although not concluded, Nigerians have the belief that their tomato-rice tops everyone’s, including the originators of the rice- Senegalese. Apart from being unusually angry, we were also very cocky. We believed that we were the best. Even if there were evidence suggesting that we were not, it didn’t mean anything. Our brains were programmed to believe that we were undefeatable. Traffic was also something that infuriated Sesi. She had no idea that the festive season was the worse. One could go through go-slow for long hours. What can you do about it? If you have the money, invest in a jet. But if you’re a commoner, you suck it up and listen to the horns blaring on the street and take comfort. 

Although Sesi needed further training in Nigeria 101, I was sure that in time, she would get used to this crazy buzzing country. Sure, Nigeria is a country that has a lot of problems, such as the unending corruption and the alarming rate of poverty in the country, but one thing can be very certain. Nigerians have hope. We are optimistic. I have never in my life seen so many happy, hopeful people before. The political and economic crisis cannot put any of us down. The fact that we joke about our situation makes it even funnier. Catching a cruise is one of our hobbies, and we do it well.

So, whatever you’ve heard about Nigerians, just to be sure that we are a mixed breed of angry-expressive-loving-caring-mocking-and-hilarious-set of human beings. And we make up Nigeria. It is us, the people that make up this Jollof-addicting, Football-Crazed, Small chops-Loving, Cruise-Catching Country. Without us, it would not be the same.

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