When I was five, I had a Ghanaian friend named Lora. When Lora came to play one day, she said “my daddy has gone to werk?” In my wee wisdom I said “Lora it’s not werk, it’s work” and she said “it’s not work it’s werk!” That was our first argument!
This reminds me of my Nigerian- born,Lagos-bred friend whose Yoruba accent is thickly laced over his perfect Queen’s English. He would say “ed’ when he meant to say “head” because the consonant ‘h’ is misplaced in the Yoruba “konsonanti”. The fact is where we are raised affects not only how we speak but our mannerisms and behaviour as well. It even defines our dating experiences.
If you’re dating a home bred Nigerian guy a.k.a Bobo, chances are, your man has the local flavour and if he was raised abroad a.k.a Boo, then your palate has adapted to a ‘naija’ guy spiced with an intercontinental taste. So is your man a Bobo or a boo?
If he can pass for a ‘local’ on the outside but is an “oyibo” on the inside, you can be certain you have a Boo! You can tell because he doesn’t wear “Ankara” but always looks spiffy in crisp shirts from Next or Gap. He calls you “Baby” and uses intangible pet names like “Snugglebunny” to describe you. And yes, he doesn’t always get your innuendos and you don’t hear everything he says the first time, but when he says “I love you” in that foreign accent, you know his is the voice you want to hear first thing when you wake up and last thing before you fall asleep! He knows how to pamper and spoil you and gives you flowers, chocolates, perfumes, and designer clothes from his trips abroad. He is quite the gentleman and pulls out your chair and opens the door for you. He doesn’t mind that you’re career driven and is quick to support you whether you want to be a doctor or an artist. When he tells you sweet nothings, you blush and giggle because even though you know it’s absolute rubbish, it makes perfect sense!
And if he says “I ‘rove’ you” when he means “I ‘love’ you”, then you know you have a Bobo! You may fault his phonetics but there’s plenty to like about this son of the soil. With the right steel in his chest and the perfect pout on his lips, you can’t deny you secretly like his swagger and that almost brash way he talks in ‘naija’ slang. He says stuff like “no long thing” and calls you pet names like “o baby”, “sweetim” or “Nne”, mother because yours reminds him of his mother’s love. He takes you to eat “Nkwobi” and “Isi ewu” and knows where to find the best “point and kill” joints where you can eat fresh fish. And even though he is not from your home town, he has won your family over and whenever he comes to visit, your siblings know that “big bros” is around. He understands the igbo word- “maintenance moni” and doesn’t wait for you to ask but just takes care of it. He buys your recharge cards and doesn’t expect you to spend all of it on him and yes, he’s even man enough to tell you when he’s broke!
Regardless of the tonal inflections of his tribal language on the english language or the cultural imprint of his environment on his behaviour, a man who has the fear of God, who can take care of you and be the man you need is not all glitter but pure gold!
So ladies, lets make a toast, to the Nigerian man.
Naija man wey sabi!
Omonike Odi is a freelance writer and a media content provider on all media platforms. Read more from her on her blog at http://omonaikee.blogspot.com where this week she interviews a very special guest check on it or follow her on twitter for daily inspirational quotes at https://twitter.com/omonaikee or contact her – [email protected]