Naija – racist to its own

I recently went on a road trip to visit some friends.  During the trip, I had the opportunity to meet the relatives and friends of the person I was visiting. I was excited to meet these fellow Nigerians. And when dinner was served at 6 and the debates started, I knew it was going to be an interesting night most likely resulting in us diving from one topic to another.

And of course, it was! We touched on many things including all things Nigerian: politics, corruptions, racism (sparked by Niger Dock’s recent shenanigan), talented NollyWood stars, Patience Jonathan (the ‘umblerra’ issue), inter-racial dating and so forth.

You would think the Niger Dock issue was what sparked my interest in writing this blog, but it wasn’t. It was something someone said when we were talking about Patience Jonathan’s lack of proficiency in the English language. As I learned more about the ‘umblera’ issue (gatto love YouTube), one of my initial comments – once I regained myself from laughing – was that it wasn’t Patience’s fault that her English is not up to par. Her Communications team is to blame, I thought. Her Communications team should write her speeches and prep her for public speaking.

I then joked that my new friends and I should start a PR/Communications firm in Nigeria, catering to media training and public speaking – and add the Nigerian gov’t to our list of clients. One person informed me that the Nigerian government does have its PR/Communications team and that speeches have been written for the First Lady but she often doesn’t use them. Another friend laughed and said ‘maybe dey go listen if we carry oyibo follow body’ when we start the company.

I hear this kind of comment a lot, especially regarding starting a new business in Nigeria. Is there some truth to the comment? Do Nigerians believe that a non-Nigerian/Westerner is needed for some businesses in Nigeria to be successful? Are western candidates more preferred than Nigerians for jobs in Nigeria?  If a western person and a Nigerian – both with equal credentials and qualifications – apply for the same job in Nigeria, who do you think would get the job? Why?

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~ by omonaij on January 9, 2012.

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