Are Nigerians really who or what others say we are? All over the world, Nigerians are considered to be the most unscrupulous people any right thinking man is expected to do business with. We have been labeled thieves, scammers, practitioners of the dreaded advance fee fraud (419) and the rest. One of the questions I…
Are Nigerians really who or what others say we are? All over the world, Nigerians are considered to be the most unscrupulous people any right thinking man is expected to do business with. We have been labeled thieves, scammers, practitioners of the dreaded advance fee fraud (419) and the rest. One of the questions I often ask is this: who put us into this mess?
I have heard in discussions that if you are in possession of the ‘almighty’ green passport in any airport or embassy around the world, you would be treated almost like an alien or an outcast. Let’s say everybody in the world is wrong, how have we fared back home? Can we beat our chests and say, the world has a wrong notion about us?
If one is to look at everything wrong with Nigeria and compile a list, the latest version of the encyclopaedia won’t be enough to contain it. But that’s not the main reason I am being moved to put this down; I want to flip the coin.
Let’s bring it back home!
As a full blooded Nigerian, we grew up with the belief that every Nigerian you come across has the potential of cheating you financially. We learnt that the average Nigerian can do anything possible to swindle anyone that comes their way.
But all these beliefs and aspersions were thrown away to the gutters recently. I have a feeling that the Nigerians of my generation are fighting tooth and nail to reposition us in the world map especially when good things are being talked about. A few Nigerians in the course of this season have beaten my expectations and have acted uprightly in the middle of the burning fire:
A colleague of mine, Mrs. Mercy Silvanus received an alert of over one hundred and forty thousand naira (140,000.00 naira) after her client was supposed to pay her just a little below fifty thousand naira. On realizing the mistake he has made, he was frightened. His voice quivered on the phone. His language became incoherent, and we believed he even knelt down at the other end of the phone to beg for a refund.
The most inspiring part of the story is that these two have never met each other before and this transaction was supposed to be a one-time thing that doesn’t have the propensity of repeating itself. When she was narrating the story to us, she said immediately she got the alert, her heart almost jumped out of her mouth because she knew she couldn’t dare cheat a man off his hard earned money. This Nigerian works with me and I am proud she belongs to my generation.
A medical doctor friend of mine, Deji (real name withheld) who is our own Andy Murray, the world’s number one tennis play in our club, had this chat with me on one of this cozy and vibrant evening when you had to choose between going home and chilling with the club mates. He was still dressed in his usual white tennis top over his favorite white shorts in the lounge of the club when he started telling the three of us who were sitting with him round the table what transpired between him, his bank and another unknown investor. This unknown guy had paid him twice erroneously and was pleading to him to send back the difference. Deji promised sending back the difference but was a little bit busy to act immediately. The guy begged, begged and begged endlessly for his money to be refunded; Deji finally sent the money back to him. Now this is where the story got a twist; Deji’s bank debited him twice (no thanks to their ‘lazy’ network). That’s to say the investor guy got the returned money twice. Pandemonium broke out. Deji now became the victim (hahahahahaaha). We laughed at this point. I was too eager to know what now happened. He concluded the story by saying that the guy paid back the difference in no time. I was shocked. Two Nigerians of my generation just proved anyone that cares to listen wrong.
Kenneth joined a group on WhatsApp. After making some observations and contributions to the group; someone called him and asked him to send his bank details for payment. He was surprised, but still went ahead to do as was instructed. Before he could finish a bottle of water, his phone vibrated and lo and behold he has been credited. He showed me the alert. He asked, “How can I get paid for what I didn’t invest in?” He was still pondering on that when his phone rang.
“Please, the money I paid you wasn’t supposed to be yours,” the lady said.
“I know. Just send me your bank details, I would send the money back as soon as possible,” Ken replied.
And all these happened in the space of one hour. She called back and said, “Thank you very much!”
I was there. I shook hands with Ken. I told him I was proud of him. I am still happy that Ken is part of my generation; a new breed that has taken over.
My observation in all these is, no matter how bad we have been hit as Nigerians globally, I still believe we can make a change. Let’s put behind us the atrocities that our past leaders have committed and show the world that we are not as bad as we are labeled.
I got this twist of story from my course mate, Okoro, who narrated to me how he knocked a white woman off online in the middle of 2015. In the woman’s voice:
“I used to think that every Nigerian was a scam lord.”
He said they had a very long discussion online concerning a business proposal he wanted to introduce to her. To cut the long story short; he paid for a new phone for her from Jos after she told him she couldn’t afford a phone at the moment. She is not a Nigerian. Okoro did what he did to prove a point, and he was elated when she made the above comment.
I am very happy that Okoro lives in this generation – my generation.
I know you have your experience. Oya, share some with us or tell us what you think!