BusinessDay

A 9-step guide to becoming a Nigerian (2025 edition)

The year is 2025, and the southern half of Nigeria is nearly empty. The northern half has always been empty, so nothing has changed there except that it is now politically acceptable to say so. The human being known as the “Nigerian” is now a rare species, and Nigeria is now a severely underpopulated country. Most erstwhile Nigerians have either run away as far as their money, education and feet can take them, or have died of the deadly Buhari Virus Disease 2015 (BUVID-15), characterised by catastrophic loss of adult thinking and cognitive ability.

A new government is installed by the UN and it is given the mandate of repopulating this 993,000 square kilometre strip of West African real estate with a new Nigerian population. This population, despite being ethnically Chinese, South Asian and Central African, is to be socially engineered into becoming “Nigerian” in the true historical sense of the term. In my new role as a remote cultural adviser to the government of the West African Territory of Nigeria, I am tasked with putting together a 9-step guide to help these people transition from being ambitious, inquisitive human beings into prime Homo Nigerianus.

If they carefully follow these steps, they will someday become true Nigerians worthy of being included in the once-popular Nigerian term, “the masses.” The guide reads as follows:

1. Always defer to older people

All the time. Every time. Without exception. If they say jump, you say “How high sir?” If they’re done eating chicken and they leave you the bones to eat, glistening with saliva, you say “I’m so grateful and honoured for the privilege, Sir Daddy Your Honour.” Then you get to cracking those bones with tears of gratitude in your eyes.

They did, after all, go through the arduous and deliberate effort of dropping out of a vagina before you, so that is definitely an achievement. Make sure you respect their grey hair at all times – especially when they don’t deserve it – or else Tonye Cole will post you on his Instagram.

2. Never ask questions

Intellectual curiosity? Independent thought? What are you, a homosexual vegetarian atheist Child of Anger? Where do you think you are? Over here, my dear, we trust and obey. We do as we are told. We keep our backs strong and our minds soft because who needs a strong mind? A strong head maybe – for carrying load – but not a strong mind.

3. Immerse yourself exclusively in ‘gist’

Refuse to Google anything for yourself and pick up new information that way. Learn exclusively from gist you saw on your timeline and on WhatsApp group chats. Say no to every kind of learning and self-development. Get into arguments at every opportunity, but make sure you have no idea what you are talking about first. It makes it sweeter to observe the ignorant spectacle of stoppable force meeting movable object in a chorus of pure mediocrity.

Read also: Weak construction sector growth contradicts Buhari’s Independence Day speech

Dedicate a third of your waking hours to tagging celebrities on social media hoping to get a like or retweet from Tonto Dikeh or Davido. When you are not doing that, go around pestering people on Twitter by tweeting “KFB” at them. Never engage with anything that could make you a better or more informed person on the internet. Follow all the “sub delivery” and “savage response” handles and spend the remaining third of your time trying to catch their attention by being unnecessarily rude to strangers just minding their business online.

4. Play at being ‘woke,’ but let the real you slip out at the opportune moment

Join everyone when it is time to pile on a bad president or call out a rapist on Twitter. Instantly switch sides when your family member gets a job in the government, or the rapist turns out to be your friend’s cousin. Be ignorant. Be childish. Be insincere.

5. JUNGLE JUSTICE!!!!

Be violent. Extremely, unnecessarily violent. And yet be a totally shameless coward at the same time. Threaten to slap people and make a show of wanting to fight whenever a road traffic incident happens, while secretly praying that someone comes to hold you in case the other guy beats you up. When you spot your chance to shine against someone who cannot fight back, such as a tied-up alleged thief awaiting street justice, knock him out with a wooden plank and be the first to place a tyre around his neck. Bonus points if it is a female culprit and you take care to sexually molest her because she stole a phone.

Make sure you do it on camera of course, and ensure the video is clear so that when you post it on social media for the whole world to see, it will decisively ruin several lives forever. It obviously goes without saying that you should make no effort whatsoever to at least verify what crime was allegedly committed and the identity of the supposed criminal. Are you actually thinking of asking a question? Who do you think you are, a Kenyan or something?

6. Drive with an imaginary cataract

Your eyes work just fine, of course, but where is the fun in driving as though you were not visually impaired? Put on your hypothetical blindfold and hit the road! Make sure to do 60km/h in the fast lane and hog the lane, then inexplicably move to the slow lane to attempt 120km/h, horning furiously at the car doing 60 in the slow lane. Overtake from the right illegally at all times too, because every other driver on the road needs a bit of a visual challenge.

Your side view mirrors are quaint ornaments designed for beauty and aesthetic purposes. They serve no meaningful purpose in a car. When you want to turn or switch lanes, make sure you do not plan it 10 seconds before you do it, and especially make sure you do not use your turn signal. Turn signals are for lesbians and vegetarians. Meat-eating, God-worshipping Nigerians need turn signals for what? Jesus is your copilot. At the very last minute, swing your steering wheel violently to where you want to go, even if it means cutting across 3 lanes. If you survive, add it to the long list of testimonies for church on Sunday, even if 6 other people died as a result. No be by your power. It is His grace.

7. RACE WAR!!!

You must not attempt to do anything without referencing somebody’s race, gender or ethnicity. Understand that people have no free will or moral agency, so all their actions are directly dictated to them from the book of Nigerian tribal slurs, stereotypes and clichés. All Igbo men traffic cocaine in Malaysia. All Yoruba women will sleep with you for a pack of chips. All Edo men are lazy and hypersexual. All Ijaw men brush their teeth with 45 proof alcohol every morning.

When you are doing business, you must use these superior insights to your advantage. If your partner cheats you, it is not because you failed to do your due diligence and research. It is because of the village they come from. If you are in an unhappy marriage, it is not your fault for rushing into a marriage for convenience while you kept your six girlfriends. It’s that useless woman from Okemesi that trapped you with a baby because that’s how they do in their village.

8. Blame everything and everyone except yourself for the shambles that is your life

From the day you were born until now, nothing has ever been your fault. Some people in your mom’s family tried to kill the pregnancy. When that failed, the coven of witches resolved to send different people to put you in trouble at different points in your life. Despite all your mom’s people being long dead, you are 37 and still suffering for what they are doing to you from the underworld.

There was no bad decision, missed opportunity or foolish attitude that made your life turn out this way. It is them. You do not need to explain who “they” are, because “we all know.” Those damn they, with nothing better to do than harass mediocre people and make their lives just that bit more mediocre.

9. Trip over a stone, fall, make a baby and prolong the cycle

Body no be firewood nah. Who can blame you for taking a bad situation and making it 3x worse by bringing a baby into it? You just had to do what you had to do, and “na God dey give pikin.” Also, “pikin dey come with blessings.” We shall all join you and celebrate the new addition, and then do a collection to help you with a few days’ worth of diapers and baby food. After that, you are on your own and your life is not even decent enough to be mediocre anymore, but guess what? You can have two or three more children, so at least you will have company!

Congratulations! You are now a Nigerian!

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