Wednesday, April 9, 2008

...and they say Nigerians are dishonest!


I am Nigerian and I am not a dishonest person but ever since I grew to understand the meaning of the word-Honesty, I have been made to understand that Nigerians are very dishonest people at least that is how we are portrayed everywhere especially outside the shores of this country.

I am not going to start making arguments or try to prove that this impression is wrong, however what I do know is that dishonest people abound in all races and colours. Being Nigerian doesn’t make a person dishonest. It’s a choice of character…people can always decide to be honest or not.

That said, of late I have had reasons to begin to believe that Nigerians may really be honest people despite the hard conditions we have to live with. I mean, come on…we all know how challenging it is living in this country. The average common man lives below a dollar a day…how pathetic! There are so many factors that encourage dishonesty and crime in this country. I am not trying to make excuses for the criminal minded; all I am saying is the environment we live in contributes a great deal to our character. A hungry man is more likely to think of stealing food to calm his rumbling belly than a man who’s had enough to eat.


Like I said earlier, some recent incidents have made me arrive at the conclusion that Nigerian may really be honest people after all or perhaps there is some transformation of character going on.

Just last Easter, my parents travelled down to the village as is their usual custom. I didn’t go with them… had too much work to deal with here in Lagos. One night , I was home chilling when I get a call from my cousin who is based in Kaduna. She calls to tell me that a strange person had called her with my mum’s number to say that she picked up my mum’s phone somewhere in my mum’s village. She didn’t know how to get the phone back to its owner and decided to call the first name stored on the phone(which was my cousin’s). My cousin had thought I was in the village with my folks and decided to reach me so I could tell my mum.
I called my mum to let her know and she was very relieved to hear the news. It turned out she had gone to her hometown for a meeting earlier that day and misplaced the phone but didn’t know where.
Long story short, she called the woman, met up with her and retrieved her phone the next day.
What a honest woman! Nothing stopped her from just flinging the Sim card into the nearest bush and pocketing the handset but she chose to go the honest way-returning the phone back to its owner.

Now, two days ago, my brother had come to see me in my office, actually he had come to give me five litres of fuel to help me get my car home. Yea, it’s fuel scarcity time again in Naija, crazy! Living near a huge river yet one still can’t get a cup of water to wash one’s face, that’s the irony in this country. It’s really sad. I am lucky I was able to get a few litres of petrol this morning if not I would have had to take public transport home which I haven’t done for a long time. Pity the BRT (Newly introduced bus transport system in Lagos) buses haven’t started plying my home route yet; it would have been an opportunity to have my first ride in them. I hear they are very comfortable though.
Anyway, I digress.

So my brother had come to give me the fuel. While pouring the fuel into my tank he had kept his phone on top the car and somehow forgot it there. After fueling the car, we drove off and the phone probably fell off as I moved.

It wasn’t until he needed to make a call during our ride home that he realized his phone wasn’t with him. There was nothing we could do, we were almost home and couldn’t turn back to go look for the phone. We didn’t even know where exactly it had fallen so we tried to call his number and kept getting “the number you’ve called is not available at the moment, please try later”. In Naija, if you are looking for your phone and dial it to get that response, it could be interpreted to mean: “bros, just forget this phone o…nothing for you and this phone again, person wey need am don claim am”,lol! As in someone must have picked it and turned it off already or replaced your Sim card with his.

So we thought-no hope! The phone was gone. My brother immediately started making plans on how to arrange for a new phone.

Yesterday morning, when I got to work, I passed by the Mallam(Hausa man) who watches over the compound and it struck me to ask him about the phone. I asked if he had seen any phone around and the man immediately answered in the affirmative. In a few minutes, I was holding my brother’s phone. I was pleasantly surprised and gave him a little something to put in his pocket. Nothing stopped him from saying he hadn’t seen any phone, there was no way I was going to know if he had or not but he chose to be honest and returned the phone to me. Now, this is a night watch man who may not even have a phone much less one like my brother’s, still he didn’t hold on to what wasn’t his, he gave it back.
Honest mallam!

Later on in the day(same yesterday), I had to attend a meeting with my boss at a client’s office and since there was no fuel in any of the cars cos of the fuel scarcity, we had to take a cab.
Naturally, we also had to take a cab back to the office after our meeting.

I didn’t realize my phone was missing until after a few hours after I had gotten back to the office. I wanted to make a call and couldn’t find my phone. I turned my bag inside out and scattered my desk until it occurred to me that I must have dropped the phone in that taxi cab we took back to the office. I remembered I had the phone in my hand when I was in the cab.

So I quickly dialed the number and got: “Ol’ gal, just forget this phone o…nothing for you and this phone again, person wey need am don claim am”, lol! Okay I kid. I got the usual number is not available story. I was so sad. My contacts, My pictures, My music, My videos even my text messages(lol, yes I save the very nice ones…am mushy like dat!) were all gone…just like that! I didn’t want to believe it.

At that same time, I was chatting with a friend and blogger-Obi so I told him what had happened. He tried to call my phone and told me it was ringing. A man picked the phone and told him he was at a hospital somewhere in Lagos. He gave him the directions on how to get there to pick the phone. I was relieved, overjoyed and skeptical at the same time. How were we to know it wasn’t a trap or something? Obi reassured me that there was no reason for the man to want to trap him and that he would go himself to the place and get my phone back for me. What a sweetheart! Obi am sure you are reading this. I want to say a very BIG thank you once again. You are incredible dude!

So I got my phone back this morning in one piece. As I type this post, my phone is right here on my desk smiling at me and I am smiling back,lol!
According to the man who gave the phone to Obi, a patient of his had picked up the phone from a cab on his way to the hospital and gave it to him to try and get it back to the owner. The patient and the doctor had the choice to be dishonest but they weren’t. They were both honest Nigerians!

So you see, we are a good people after all!

50 comments:

bumight said...

wait! can I be first?

bumight said...

I was almost done reading the post when I saw "0 comments"!
LOL! I'm first!!!
maybe all the honest nigerians live in your area? ok, I kid... maybe we ARE honest afterall...

bumight said...

I was almost done reading the post when I saw "0 comments"!
LOL! I'm first!!!
maybe all the honest nigerians live in your area? ok, I kid... maybe we ARE honest afterall...

Pink-satin said...

a lot of us a really honest!!i mean we are the most populated country in africa so i guess its law of averages wen they say nigerians are dishonest!!!

doll said...

yea...some Nigerians are honest...its the dishhonest ones that are giving us bad name!

But wassup with all of you misplacing your phones anyways?

Jaycee said...

Of course dishonesty is a term that is spread to all Nations and cultures...not just Nigerians!

princesa said...

@bumight, yep u are first babes!

@pink-satin, i agree.

@doll, i cant answer dat question o! Thank God we end up getting them back tho.

@jaycee,yea but some peple forget that!

darkelcee said...

sweetheart dishonest people are everywhere. i wonder who made naija peeps chief in this matter.

i think u were just lucky. a friend left his phones on the car got back the cheapest phone and the expensive sony erricsonP19 JUST varnished.

love

onydchic said...

its all an issue of the bad things getting more hype than the good. Every country has fraudsters and thieves and the likes, but it only becomes big news when someone from say, a small country, swindles a lot of people from a bigger, more popular country. Naturally the small country's gonna get slammed. There are honest people in Nigeria, but I have to admit your stories are quite surprising. But refreshing.
I think i blabbed a bit. Forgive me, its that time of the day when my brain slows down...

30+ said...

Well we are honest o.

The one that will just complete it is getting someone to return N50k or somefink...lol.

honestly it is silly to generalise it's only a few eggs spoiling the name of nigeria

fantasy queen said...

u're just fortunate girl. i've lost two beautiful phones in lagos cabs, in fact try my star comes now and a yoruba man would answer u confidently, i just havent been bothered enough to block it.

on the other hand, durin the eater break went to church with mom, didnt know my phone droped as i stepped down from the car, a few minutes into the service a lady walks up to me and hands my phone to me...
so i guess as much as we have loads of bad seeds, theres still some good going on.

soupasexy said...

wow, i *CANNOT*(stressing that word) believe this, are u serious? in naija?
gosh, am so surprised and excited o!
there's hope 4 us.

Ollay said...

Okay...this is it. Am not a bearer of bad news but am just very skeptical. Take it or leave you come from a family where a lot of luck flow. Apart from that, the three pple involved with this phone scenarios are people who I believe are in better positions to be honest. In the village people are quite brotherly or how else do you explain we sleeping with doors and windows open when i visit my friend's village in Delta State. Nothing ever goes missing. Two, Hausa's who are maguards or have small kiosks at the road sides tend to be more honest than the ones in power...lol. I actually quite like Hausa's for that. As per the patient...well my theory is that perhaps if he does one good he may get good news at the doctors...lmao! But at least y'all got ur phones back.

Charizard said...

wow mayn, girl u r so lucky! geesh *thinkin aloud* "Char why aint u that lucky?"

Chi-Chi said...

The dishonest Naijas makes the honest ones look extremely bad. Things that make me go hmmm...

Olamild said...

Na bad person spoil ground o

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

Ah, thank you for writing this and i hope the whole world gets to read it. There are bad people everywhere, Nigeria does not and never will hold a patent on negative characteristics even though most of the foreign media is intent on portaying such.

In fact, my latest post touches on this topic. Because, even we Nigerians are quick to dismiss each other as crooks sometimes in a way that is no better/even worse than bigots. Anyway, thank you for writing this, I enjoyed reading this.

diary of a G said...

“Ol’ gal, just forget this phone o…nothing for you and this phone again, person wey need am don claim am”, lol thats funny

big up to Honesty and kind hearted people

Unbiased said...

Not everyone is the same. The few bad apples in the bunch seem to paint us all with their dishonestly.
However what is this serious phase of phone loss you are going thru?
Keep your phone. I recently lost mine (not to be found like yours) and i feel amputated. lol!!

La Reine said...

God dey girl. For as many good people that are out there, tis the few rotten ones that spoil things for eveeryone.

-Glad ya'll got your phone back.

ejura said...

U were all so lucky to get your phones back. I'm still hoping I'd find my wallet. I lost it last year. Maybe one honest nigerian would come through for me. They can have the three thousand naira in it, I just want my wallet back!

Aijay said...

“Ol’ gal, just forget this phone o…nothing for you and this phone again, person wey need am don claim am”

LMAO!!! What if you actually heard that, fear no go grip u. lol

Imagine what our society would be like if only everyone could be act like the mallam, or the patient... Bliss!

Glad u got ur phone back. I'm so in love with my phone. I can't remember life without a phone. lol..

princesa said...

@darkel, lol! Your friend was not as lucky as me and my folks I guess.
@onydchic, you spoke well dear. I agree the negative issues get more prominence especially in foreign media.
@30+, yea we are. Returning 50K?? I think even more money have been returned by some honest Nigerians.
@FT, eh ya…pele about ur phones. There is no denying the fact that the bad eggs abound as much as the good ones.
@soupasexy, yes there is HOPE for us o!
@ollay, maybe you have a point but then again maybe we really are becoming more honest people.
@charizard, lol! Don’t worry dude…next time you’ll be lucky!
@chichi, I agree and I love ur moving profile pic…very unique!
@olamild, true talk o
@soloD, glad you enjoyed reading it. When good things happen like this, we should shout it from the rooftops abeg!
@D.O.G, Big ups to them.
@unbiased, sorry about the loss of ur phone. Am holding on to mine tightly now.
@la reine, agreed!
@ejura, lol! You lost your wallet last year n aim you neva buy new one?? Just forget it babes, person wey need am don claim am,lol!
@aijay, lol! I admit fear go grip me sha. If only every one could be honest, things would definitely get better but I guess it all has to start with me and you.

Doja said...

Nigerians are honest and dishonest just like human beings the world over... honesty and dishonesty are not limited to a perticular set of people alone.

Jinta said...

"What a sweetheart! Obi am sure you are reading this. I want to say a very BIG thank you once again. You are incredible dude!"

ok, for this week, i rename myself 'obi'!

Zephi Fahrenheit said...

im sick and tired of the generalizations(ok I am guilty too)...but there are bad and good people everywhere..america, nigeria, europe..
sometimes proverty and hardships make others more prone to do silly stuff to get by, which by the way is not a justification but a very relevant factor..as they say "a hungry man is an angry man".. and people need to stop painting everyone the same color just because they are of the same nationality..
Im glad you got your phone..
I pray many honest people come your way and my way..amen..:)

Onome said...

jintaaaa!!!!!!! hmmm!!!!
@princesa dis reminds me of wen i left my shoes in a carrier bag at a suya spot close to my house....i discovered dey were missing d next morning it occured to me to ask d mallam if i forgot anyting with him...he said yes and gave me my shoes.....i now realize he could have easily sold it:)

Afrobabe said...

Awwwwwwwwwww...this is so sweet....

lmao @ jinta...u r now Obi abi????

Maybe the armed robbers will send mine back...see where is Uzezi...they will send urs as well.....lmao...dont even count on it!!!

Today's ranting said...

Aint honesty a good virtue? If all our leadres had honesty in them, Nigeria would have grown to be the best nation in the universe.

Obi said...

"Honest Nigerian"..at first that seems like a contradiction in terms...lol. In truth, honest Nigerians exist..it's just that the dis-honest ones are noisier and get more attention...
Well..at least I'm honest..right..right..?? (yeah, right!!)

Aphrodite said...

You guys have been really lucky girl.
But then again,i agree that all Nigerians are not bad/dishonest.

Uzezi said...

there r lots of honest people around. and it seems the phones in ur family have come to stay. i want such luck.

desperate lady said...

wow thats so rare. i guess Nigerians arent bad then cos both times i lost ma phone here, they were never returned, 3rd time someone stole it, n 4th time someone asked 4 some money........

classybabe said...

There are honest nigerians we just hear more about the bad eggs.
You are lucky you got your phone back,mine was stolen from our sitting room while i was sleeping in the room next to it :(

Simi Speaks said...

i guess we arent so bad after all. lol.

great post tho!

pamela said...

I agree: there are very good Nigerians - the problem is that people and the media decide to focus on the 419 ers and want to believe that those are the only kind of Nigerians there are.

But as I always say - na them sabi.

Pammy

Naapali said...

Amen Princesa. We are honest people. I have my own testimony; I was walking past a patient's room and saw her tray of food. I was hungry and could have eaten it. I did not eat the food!

princesa said...

@doja, very correct!
@jinta, lol! Obi ko…Bio ni,lol!
@zephi, amen to that ur prayer dear.
@onome, lol! So you went to buy suya and left ur shoes behind?? Na so the suya sweet you reach??lol! Glad the mallam was honest.
@afrobabe, lol! Don’t count on it dearie.
@todays ranting, its so unfortunate we are cursed with the kind of leaders in power but with the way the whole politics thing is run in this country, the day is still far when we’ll have honest people in power.
@obi, lol! Yeah I guess you are honest small,lol!
@aphrodite, my point exactly!
@uzezi, lol!
@DL, you see…phones get stolen everywhere…we‘ve got thieves everywhere!
@classybabe, eh ya sorry o.
@simi, thanks.
@pammy, na dem sabi jare. We’ll continue talking about the good things.
@naapali, LMAO!! We all know hospital food is not nice, that’s why you resisted, oya talk true doc!

Free-flowing Florida said...

my dear, dem don thief my phone too many times 4 me 2 have a comment on this subject

Naija Chickito said...

lol@ free-flowing florida

like you rightly pointed out, Nigeria like everywhere else, has a mix of honest and dishonest people. I'm honest, my family members are honest, my friends are honest.....

But we already have the reputation of being dishonest, and it will take the grace of God and more of such displays of honesty to wipe clean our slate.

Ms. emmotions said...

bumight should pls move to one position so people like me wont feel we are just too late !

princesa, u are very lucky indeed and true, we have honest people just as we have the dishonest ones and i believe its everywhere, not naija alone abeg,

u dare not hope to see ur phone again ones u leave them in a cab in paris or even SA, but then u might get lucky, wat am tryin to say is that dishonesty can come from anywhere even here in naija, u just might as well forget the phone if it had been picked up by the wrong person..s.

OluwaDee said...

We r indeed honest pple.

10k God u found ur phone o. n Obi is just a darling.

chicala said...

If only a lot of pple could be like that, things will be so different. Its not a nigerian thing, the world is full of dishonest pple........its jst unfortunate that we'r seen that way.

Lol, at the three of u losing ur phones...talking about coincidence, lol. Is that some sort of a sign or what? lol dont mind me jare.

Dont jst smile at ur phone o, hol am wel well....otherwise...............hehe jst kidding!

ejura said...

Na wah oh! Princesa! I never knew in the history of blogging that I'd ask you to update.

princesa said...

@flo, lol! na why you no fit follow me thank God??lol!

@naijachickito, nigerians need to keep displaying their honest side, e go beta oneday!

@ms.emmotions, people are dishonest the world over jare...its a human attribute,lol!

@oluwadee, and you are a darling too!

@chicala, i dey hold am well well no be say you talk o!

@ejura love, lol! Now you have! Will update soon...na work my sister.

Atutupoyoyo said...

I don't think I am particularly dishonest but I have to admit I think very differently to most of my work colleagues and stuff. Let us just say I am willing to take more risks than they are and sometimes tread the line a bit more than they do.

Perhaps the average Nigerian just takes more calculated risks?

Queen of My Castle said...

LMAO @ Ol' gal, just forget this phone...too funny.

I guess we have to take the good with the bad just as with people from any other country. I think more people need to read this post, esp. here in The States.

!*!*!*!*!Fresh and Fab!*!*!*!*! said...

everybody is different,not only in nigeria, ther are the honest and the dishonest...

tobenna said...

You and phones....
Na wah oh...

guerreiranigeriana said...

lmao @ jinta and naapali...what in the world?!...

...nice post princesa!...more people need to read this and write stories like these about us...like pammy said, 'na them sabi'...