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AMEBO – Yes, I’m Talking to You



gossip-amebo-bella-naijaAmebo, n.

A person, mostly a woman, of Nigerian descent, of questionable, cowardly character and low morals, esp. one who delights in EXTREMELY idle talk; an unproductive individual; a silly twat.

Amebo, v.

To concern oneself about other people’s affairs; to go about causing havoc by spreading false or private information; to be cowardly as to not being able to stand by comments or information that one has made.

Note: The definition of an Amebo or doing Amebo should please not be confused with plain gossip. No, Amebos are gossips with EXTRA. They are the Nigerian (well maybe African) brand of gossips and we all know that Nigerians are known for doing things to the best of our abilities both good and bad. It is also important to point out that there are male Amebos, in fact they are usually more mean spirited than their female counterparts but unlike their female kind they usually have a small number of listeners.

In whatever Nigerian language or dialect the word Amebo is translated (Gbegborun, Tatafo, Olofofo e. t. c.) it all boils down to “You talk toooo much and you need to shut up”.
Whoooosah, okay let me take a deep breath. As I write this, so many incidents come to mind that I don’t know where to begin. If I sound bitter it is because two close friends of mine just got burnt by a serious Amebo in the past week and the situation led to major family and relationship drama. What is it about bringing people down that is exciting? I personally feel that as a society we have become more accepting of this nonsense. How did we get here?
I’ll admit that the desire to hear about other people’s woes is not peculiar to Nigerians. There are bloggers the world over that make a wonderful living off what is essentially gossip but the major difference is that it is CELEBRITY gossip. One might even argue that as a celebrity you sign away most of your privacy rights in exchange for the status but this particular point is what sets Amebos apart.
Amebos talk about everyone and anyone irrespective of status. In fact, they are addicted to the gossip and the ensuing drama that usually follows to the point where, on particularly slow news weeks you can catch them spreading news about themselves. Have you ever met an Amebo that isn’t willing to tell you her life history? It’s very rare; their mouths are incapable of keeping shut so information that is private even to them is bound to spill out.
My friend once told me that we all have a little Amebo in us. That might be true, I’m not trying to be a hypocrite and say I’ve never discussed someone else’s business, I sure have. The issue isn’t with harmless chatter like “so and so is getting married” or when looking at pictures on facebook saying to your bestfriend “I didn’t particularly like her dress”. The issue is when you take those thoughts or private conversations and repeat it many times over to different people.
Most Amebos are not aware of their affliction. In fact while reading this most people will have someone else in mind but it’s time for self reflection.

If you are one of those individuals that barely waits for the phone to cool down after a conversation before you call someone else to pass on “gist”…YOU ARE AN AMEBO!
If you justify spreading information about others because they are not your friends or because you think they will do the same to you…YOU ARE AN AMEBO
If you justify talking about other people by rationalizing that you are just trying to show how tough the person has it…YOU ARE AN AMEBO
If you have been in more than one he/said she said situation as the accused…CONGRATULATIONS! YOU ARE MOST DEFINITELY AN AMEBO
If you took the test and more than one of the scenarios apply to you, you need to sort yourself out. We can laugh and trivialize the issue all day but the technology available these days, mindless chatter can really ruin people’s reputation.
To be fair, I can’t just blame the situation on Amebos alone. Some people make it too easy. If you find that you are constantly being spoken about by random people or your personal business seems to be common knowledge; you need to figure out what you’re doing wrong. Before you attempt to use the standard Nigerian female excuse of haters; think again. It is disingenuous to chalk everything up to “hateration”. Why you? Are you the prettiest, smartest, most intelligent, funniest, and lovable person around? Surely even if you have one or more of these qualities you don’t have them all combined. You cannot crave attention and be surprised when you get what you have wished for and more. If you update your facebook status multiple times a day or you twit about your most mundane activities, it can be argued that you are making sure people always think about you. Most importantly, when you have been a victim of a scandal, no one is saying you should hide or bury your head but please take a break and re-access your situation and those around you.
Amebos exist because they have customers. The next time someone is telling you something that you know has no business coming out of their mouth- do the right thing and them to be quiet. If that doesn’t work, stop speaking to them but by all means disassociate yourself from such people.


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