This week the shoe’s going on the other foot. Yup, it’s the turn of the Janded people, the Omo-oniles, the owners of the land who won’t even lease this country to us, even after collecting our visa fees, residency permit fees, our taxes, school fees for multiple degrees and even our very blood.
So Oyinbo people, and all those Nigerians that were born in Jand who fancy themselves too to be Oyinbo, today we want you to know we’re so on to you. This is how to (and how you) piss off a Nigerian immigrant in Jand.
Always start with: Where are you originally from?
We’ve tried so hard to perfect our British accent, already sounding British within hours of deplaning at Heathrow. We’ve gone on to listen endlessly to BBC Breakfast, even forced CBBC on our children for hours each day, just so we can pass off as Britico. We’ve even bleached our skin, had surgery, Rhinoplasty, bought flats in places where there is not one black face for miles…yet you destroy all of our efforts within seconds of meeting us by uttering these five words, with an emphasis on the word “originally.”
What do you even mean by “where are you originally from?”
You might as well say it loud and clear: “I’ve cottoned on to the fact that you do not sound or look British, but I can’t place which African country your dastardly accent is from so . . . what country did you run from, darling?”
Tell us we speak “so well”
We’ve left our accent, but you still have to find a way to denigrate our hustle. When you say “Wow you speak so well,” it is clear you expected us to sound as uneducated as Google and Wikipedia paint us. If not, why would someone be surprised at one’s grammar in 2014? In fact, we flinch to hear you say phrases like “I’m sat at the…” rather than “I’m sitting at the…”
We already want to cry at the irony of running to England only to hear the English say things like “you was…” so please, you’re really not going to make us feel good by saying we speak so well. This phrase is NOT a compliment, so please forget what you’ve heard. That’s like telling Kate Middleton she married so well. And if you are feeling bold and craving a beating (verbal or physical) then add more words and say: You speak so well for an African/ a Nigerian.
Tell us how well you know Nigeria from the few days spent in VI/Lagos slum/Abuja/rustic village
Go on, you know you want to. You’re probably thinking Nigeria can be summed up in the three days you were huddled up on Victoria Island, working by day and creeping into Bogobiri, Freedom Park, Terra Kulture etc by night to be surrounded by arty-farty pretentious creatives and spoilt rich kids. No worries, we’ll understand your shock if you had to work by day at a Lagos slum and your need to regurgitate the vast differences between VI and Makoko, or the differences between Maitama and the rustic villages of the North you got whisked in and out of, sirens blaring. Trust me…we’ll be so pissed off we won’t mention that Lincolnshire and Westminster are just as varied….mainly just so you can quickly get to the end of your rant and shut up.
Launch into an analysis of Boko Haram/Corruption/419/Oil spills in Nigeria
If you’re one of those who see silence as a waste and feel the need to keep talking, at this point we are realising we made a mistake by not telling you that you know diddly-squat about whatever you choose to blab on about. At this point, feel free to spit out statistics you picked up on the telly, on Twitter and the report you read/paid some poor Nigerian sod to write on your trip over to Lagos. Do tell us, Nigerians about our own country, as though we have no Twitter, no Facebook, no eyes and no ears or brains to assess and engage with our own country. At this stage, you’ve got our goat and we will argue animatedly with you, before you turn it into Nkwobi fritters. See, you might as well use us as your guinea pigs and take what we’re saying on board because…the only thing that will piss us off more is to see you weeks/months/years later on the telly or hear you on the radio or some podcast being called a Nigerian analyst where you’ll keep talking crap.
Ask us why we left Nigeria
This one pisses us off to no end, because after you have spouted, huffed and puffed about the extreme corruption, danger, bribery and 419 and wryly saying you were glad to be back home in Jand you are still asking us “why did you leave Nigeria?” or “When will you go back?”
So, na our own body good for suffer abi? Sorry, but you won’t guilt us into going back just like that. We’re getting our money’s worth for the visa/school fees/taxes so stop asking stupid questions…why did the chicken cross the road? Why does Beyonce stay married to Jay-Z? Why did you leave Scunthorpe to work in Central London? Ohoooo.
Assume by adding “You must miss your family and friends”
You’re stating the obvious, and we’ll also get pissed because ten to one, chances are that as much as anyone misses everyone, even the folks at home do not care to see us. They prefer to see the Sterling notes, clothes, goodies and eventually, the invitation letters from us. But how do we tell you all this without giving you fodder for your next “I know Nigeria” rant? See?
So people, let me know if you have also encountered these scenarios, and add any more so I can be aware and stay non-pissed off!
PS – Abeg, have you seen my crowbar?
See you next week.
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