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Wana Wana: Getting Real about Moving Back



My friend Tolu Ogunlesi recently wrote a witty and cynical piece offering a few words of wisdom to ‘we’ repatriates or returnees as we have been termed in recent times. I really shouldn’t be using the words ‘We’ because frankly my foreign accent has long disappeared and so has the relevance of my ‘Oyibo’ degree. But beyond the incessant ranting about where to get good salad, the inability for Nigerians to stand in a queue, or the excessive reminiscing of your ‘away’ days, moving back to the motherland requires more preparation than you can imagine.

Cut Your Coat According to Your Cloth
It isn’t everyone that has a daddy or mummy with a spare set of car keys to toss your way or even spare cash to help you transition into Lagos living with ease. So if you aren’t one of the lucky ones, I suggest you learn the bus, bike and Keke Napep route around the city because taxis and car hire don’t come cheap and you can save the cab fare for interviews and important meetings.

It wasn’t too long ago that I was hiking okadas to Idiroko then getting on the BRT bus to the Island. I remember some of my colleagues asking if I didn’t feel embarrassed about my returnee friends seeing me on a bike. My response ‘is it your money, why you go vex?’ On a few occasions, I had taken the bus to Abuja, a friend found it a little out of place and gave me some money to buy a plane ticket back to Lagos, you know my cheap ass collected the money and took the Patience Ozorkor-home-video-watching-ekenedilichukwu-bus back to Jibowu.

The same goes for the friends that invite you for expensive dinners when you have just arrived and haven’t found your feet yet. You don’t want to find yourself on a dinner table thinking of how to cough out cash you don’t have for food you barely ate and Champagne you didn’t drink; because in Lagos there is no busting out the calculator at restaurants. Leave that to your ‘abroad’ days.

My advice Kobo wise Naira foolish, Lagos is expensive and money goes like piss down a drain. If you don’t have a trust fund or come from a cushioned up family, as our people say, ‘operate with wisdom’.

Keep an Open Mind
Those that came at the beginning of the exodus had it good. They were able to dazzle with their expensive degrees and international career experience. These days every twenty-one year old holds a foreign MBA.
Don’t try to calculate or expect to earn the equivalent working for Merryl Lynch, GE Money or Goldman Sachs in Naira. It doesn’t quite work out the same way. Sometimes you might have to take the 100k on offer, acclimatise with the system and work out your next move.

For those who were poached from ‘overs’, you also have a few things to keep at the back of your mind, the new unit you have been brought to head could lose funding, could miraculously dissolve, or could just go down under because the ‘Oga at the top’ was using the operational budget to fly his mistress first class to Dubai or hired a guy called Carluccio with long greasy hair to redecorate the office. In the end you are given the option to either join your home grown colleagues in sales and marketing or find somewhere else to pitch your tent. Just be open-minded. As a result of the structured life abroad, we come back with very strict ideas of what we want to do, where we want to work and what we hope to earn. Lagos is unpredictable and who says you can’t find opportunity and new purpose with a little flexibility.

Be wise with the accent
Yes the accent thing is always controversial. The fact is that the world is made up of tribes and gangs and we are all a part of one whether we like to believe it or not. Language, accents and dialects are social codes. The way you speak can either draw up a fence or draw people in. In Ogunlesi’s piece he says that:
Once upon a time your accent guaranteed you a job, the sort that came with a company car and apartment. Now you have to compete with home grown IJGB(I just got back) accents, picked up from MTV, Keeping Up With The Kardashians and Sex and the City’.

This is true to a great degree but be careful that you don’t isolate people with it either. Your foreign accent might be the barrier to top information that could be delivered to you by the office driver or security guard that can save you many catastrophes. These guys are privy to all the phone conversations and back seat board meetings that you can think of. Plus, you just don’t want to attract unnecessary hatred because more often times that not, the accent comes with some kind of attitude. Even if it doesn’t, the general consensus is that ‘you are a snob and think you are better than us’.
Ensure that you learn some quintessential Lagos phrases. You don’t need to be classified as a ‘learner.’

Activate Your Side Hustles
It wont take you long to discover that everybody has a side hustle, we are all CEOs with a laptop and there ain’t no shame in that. The Lord does not give you one skill in case of a depression; plus man shall not hustle by bread alone, especially when you notice there is a constant delay in your salary payment. So as Dizzy Rascal says in his song ‘Fix up look sharp’ or as IsUrBoiWizzzy aptly puts it, ‘Don’t Dull’. Which ever phrase works for you, my point is – please brothers and sisters ‘arrange yourself’.

You don’t have to go as far as selling diesel or Mongolian hair. It doesn’t have to be capital intensive. If you enjoy cooking, you can start a food ordering service for the bachelors in your office, You can put small businesses on a retainer and sort their accounts, you can do business development for start ups, make flyers and logos for people, or Tweet and Instagram people’s products(there is a name for it now; it’s social media marketing).

Whatever skill or hobby that can earn you money, just package it. You don’t want to get to the office, try to log into your computer and voila!! Password isn’t working.

Be Practical
Yes, I know you have spent the last five to ten years living on your own abroad, being independent, blah blah blah. Rent is expensive, especially when you need a two year down payment and security bond. When you get the apartment, it also cost money to furnish. Then you need to ensure you have an electrician, plumber, water pump fixer (who is probably different from the plumber), AC repair guy (because a power surge or power fluctuation might blow up the capacitor or whatever they call it), carpenter, generator guy, welder and PHCN official. All these people need to be on speed dial because trust me you will need them. Also, the newer the house you rent, the worse of it is because the ratio of sand to cement used to build these days is nothing to write home about. If you aren’t sharp enough, rogue agents may just fleece you of your borrowed rent money.

The point here is, if you can avoid the stress and save up until you really need to move, just stay at home. If your parents are lucky enough to have their own house and should it have an annex or boys quarters, you can always do some minor construction work to make it comfortable, a bit more private and slightly secluded from the main house.

Also whilst you are trying to settle in, you don’t need the agro or lectures from your conservative traditional parents about why you can’t move out or live alone. You may never win. Plus traffic, aggressive Lagosians, generator noise and fumes are enough to raise your blood pressure. You don’t need BP issues at any age not to talk of when you are under thirty. You don’t need to be in a bad place with your parents either.
Before I forget, if you a buying a car that isn’t tear rubber A.k.a brand new, please just buy a Toyota.

Learn to Dazzle Because ‘All Na Wash’
Don’t be too self deprecating, it’s a European thing. You have to learn to work a room and warm your way into people. Not saying you should go for a hard sell but you need to put yourself out there. Learn how to ‘wash’, the Americans do it pretty well with their elevator pitches and buzz words.
Look, hype is a global phenomenon, talent is not enough. You, your business, and your work need to be in peoples faces long enough that they start to think you are the only one that exist to do a certain task. Leave the introversion for inside the house. ‘Abebeblube’ is the order of the day’.

Print your business card even when you are job hunting and please never sound like you don’t know what you want to do. It is never a good look.

It might all seem like a lot to take in but don’t get too carried away with the event photos on blogs, Facebook and across social media. Lagosians are big on perception. It is all part of the washing/packaging/jasi. Just because your friend who was working at British Gas call centre with you two years ago now has a store in the mall and is splattered across the magazine pages doesn’t quite equate to the cash. Gidi isn’t all hobnobbing with rich corporate execs, or watching polo and sipping a Bellini from a Champaign flute. Even for those people, gbo gbo everything huzzle ni. They know the market they are selling.
The one thing I would say though is that Lagos is a hustlers paradise. If you are prepared to understand and work your way through the system, you will surely swim.

PS- In a subsequent article I will be offering some words of wisdom to those you want to go the entrepreneurial route.

Wana Udobang is a Broadcaster and writer living in Lagos. She hosts the Drive Time at 92.3 Inspiration FM and Blogs at You can follow her on twitter @MissWanaWana and on Instagram @Mswanawana


  1. folake

    July 16, 2013 at 10:27 am

    this is soooo true go wana wana … PS I got a Toyota .. wink … I am cutting my coat according to my size …

  2. iBA

    July 16, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Well spoken well spoken. for someone who coming home soon is highly imminent, i thoroughly enjoy articles of this nature. I lived in lagos for say a year and half before running away. i get cold feet and feel sweat dripping down palm when i think of moving back home but i know its well……

  3. Sheila

    July 16, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Good one Wana! a lot of ‘returnees’ need to come to terms with being back in Naija especially this crazy Lagos.

  4. jinkelele

    July 16, 2013 at 10:45 am

    hustlers paradise…. all join

  5. Ngozi

    July 16, 2013 at 10:46 am

    Loved it!!! Informative and Funny at the same time!! 🙂

  6. IHK

    July 16, 2013 at 10:48 am

    I really enjoyed reading this article. Showed some realness especially in the paragraph about cutting your coat according to your cloth. Much appreciated points throughout. The article has inspired me and you’re a very beautiful woman.

  7. Hilda

    July 16, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Lol..I love this article and it is all so true!
    I moved back six months and it has been something. I also agree on the side hustle one. (Mehn E no easy o cos my salary aint nothing to write home about)
    Check out my blog at

    • Doyeen Solar

      July 17, 2013 at 12:22 am

      So true, I am also a living’s been something else adjusting to the reality/hustling of living in Naija. I really miss my life in Obodo Jand, by God’s grace it will all make sense soonest…

  8. dee

    July 16, 2013 at 11:06 am

    wow it like she read my mind….just moved back and can totally relate to her….happy with my toyota in my fathers house 🙂

  9. Shade

    July 16, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Wanaaaaaa!!! You are too gbanski! O Don Jasi every! Lagos= Major Packaging. I tell my friends screaming ‘ I want to relocate’ you have to be ready o. Where you stop for Obodo Jand na there Lagos people start o. The key message for me is Contentment aka face your lane, aka ma wo agoalogo sise according to my Mama aka do your thing. Remain hardworking and steadfast too.

    I feel you on EVERY level. Succint points.

    Looking forward to the next post. Biko fast o.

    • Ekwitosi

      July 23, 2013 at 1:42 am

      Shade LOL! Containment aka face your lane! At least that is what I have learnt here in obodo oyibo! If they tell you how the car materialized you will shudder!

  10. Mousepad

    July 16, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Gbam Gbamer. Gbamest!! very well said my sister!!!

  11. Dora the explorer

    July 16, 2013 at 11:36 am

    ill need this 14months away!!! well said!!!

  12. 1 + The One

    July 16, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Too on point! I found every single thought so true.. Moved back 6months ago and mehnn the huzzle is real! Worth it in the end though…. I can’t wait for my own ‘Toyota’.. Cab guys are not smiling at all! lol
    Thanks Wana.. Looking forward to the next post, I need to seriously develop my side hustle, 8-5pm does not pay for ‘let’s do lunch at Oriental!’ *air kiss on both cheeks*

    • yoyo

      July 16, 2013 at 1:11 pm

      hahahaha @ 8-5pm does not pay for ‘let’s do lunch at Oriental!’ *air kiss on both cheeks*
      too funny.

  13. ovuoke

    July 16, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Very relatable. Learning to get used to/around by public transportation (especially the stupid danfo buses that refuse to come to a complete halt at bus stops) has been the most challenging.

    • Tinker

      July 29, 2013 at 1:30 pm


  14. Istidele

    July 16, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    A word is enuff for d wise

  15. Bleed blue

    July 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Eye opening article. Wana I could hug you right now. It’s almost like you were sent to give me this message.

    Back to the drawing board; one’s strategy now needs amendment!

  16. Berry Dakara

    July 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    You speak DA TRUTH!!!

  17. thetoolsman

    July 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Absolutely spot on. Love it.

  18. Chic

    July 16, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    This is the realest “moving back” article I have read. Totally on point! Now someone should do one for those who want to go to obodo oyinbo by fire by force on what to expect on arrival

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      July 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm

      Hahahahaha! That particular article is very necessary and long overdue… 🙂

    • Unoma

      November 26, 2013 at 11:57 pm

      totally agree, cos us wey dey here, know wetin dey

  19. Dayo

    July 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    well said…

  20. Guy from Surrey

    July 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Good write up and i love the humour in it. Frightening especially, now that I am about to shell out £65k for an MBA to add to my “collections” for relocation to motherland, well..we will hope for the best…and we should be part of the group that get head hunted…..Any chance for someone to post a link to the article by Tolu Ogunlesi. Thanks

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      July 16, 2013 at 1:33 pm

      Ermmm, bruva, what sort of MBA exactly are you acquiring? £65K??? Hot damn, I say education be damned, I’ll be using that money to start my own company in Lasgidi…

    • Bleed blue

      July 16, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      Wait WHAT?!!! £65k for an MBA? Behold what manner of Uni is that?

      Brotha man pleeeeeaaaaase tell me that figure includes annual rent, laptop, (brand new) car, feeding, clothes, social nights out, and general vex money.

      I did my Masters in the UK for £25k and I thought (and many agreed) it was very expensive. If the £65k you mentioned is just the school fees, then I bow and tremble oh.

    • Omolola

      July 16, 2013 at 2:22 pm

      I know about that MBA. it is a Global Executive MBA in LSE where you’ll have classes in new York, Duba and China I think. My Oga at the tophas that MBA. The story is plenty, and if you are registering to use it for 9ja you are sitting on a long palm tree. Total waste of money, rather start a business. It is an MBA for huge Global power players in Business and Finance – Senior Senior VP’s and Directors in IB’s and the rest. Of course you may qualify and the school will take your money but bro reconsider well well. They won’t suddenly hand you a Director role in GTB for example, because of that MBA, so think well well

    • Shade

      July 16, 2013 at 3:20 pm

      £65k??? Or £6,500???

      Guy, I wish you well o but bone that thing, no be by expensive school for Masters o! As long as the school reads ‘abroad’ it’s fine o. Think twice please.

    • Chioma!

      July 17, 2013 at 4:50 pm

      £65k for an MBA? From where? What do they teach you – how to manufacture human beings and clone angels? Or is the certificate made with papers from the Garden of Eden?

    • MJ

      July 18, 2013 at 12:26 am

      LWKMD….abi oooo!!!!!

    • Tincan

      August 28, 2013 at 5:03 pm


    • Emma

      July 24, 2013 at 9:49 am

      MBA in Great Britain doesn’t cost £65k even if you are studying at elite Uni so why exaggerate!!! Does that include your mortgage and car RENTAL? Yes rental as in chauffeur driven.

    • Paentera

      July 24, 2013 at 4:57 pm

      This one have guk am. £65k for ogini? Oyibo scam

  21. A little mischief

    July 16, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I hate to admit, before now I had a slight bias against Wana for no apparent reason but today you have won your way into my heart with this article. Even as a “homegrown” i can surely relate to everything. Beautiful post Wana!

  22. Dimpled freak

    July 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Best article ever, where was this 3years ago when I moved to Niaja. Grew up in London my entire life, got offered a job to work In a fashion house of all places, even told I ws goin to get a house after 6 months. 6 months come I get fired kmt. Anyway Niaja has taught me plenty, was so naive wen I got here, thought getting a house would b a piece of cake, getting a car wouldn’t cost me more than 250/300 as that would b the average price people pay for their first car in jand. but turns out a decent car in naija cost at least 1. Something. Most def in a better place now, still working on the car and house but naija has taught me nicely to save for a rainy day. I could come into work one day and I’m told it’s my last day. My eye has opened well well. My advice is believe in yourself, package yourself well, hold back on the British honesty nobody cares what your really goin through or that you eat garri every night they just want lights camara action.Take the bikes, buses keke, not buy force u must go 2 chocolate royal or eat KFC everyday, try your N100 rice N50 beef N50 plantain, its even more filling than KFC that way you can eat your oriental food wen you need to.

  23. jcsgrl

    July 16, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    OMG Can I just give you a hug and a kiss? You kept it on the real and you told my story. I relocated a few years back as well to head a major national project…work was exciting got a little bit of the expat package not fully until “madam on top” Pepe showed up on the scene and gbam na so dey collect the project from my company. Because I was hardworking and knew my stuff and wasn’t sleeping around with bosses, I was one of the high paid expats they retained. I was demoted though which was humiliating but you know what, God’s children no dey carry last. I repackaged myself and brought in innovative ideas and business for the company. I created an SBU infact! But I had to leave though cos the company just got worse. But coming back abroad, I will tell you my experience in nja propel me to superstardom amongst recruiters. I was hot cake o!
    Now another relative wey relocate with me around the same time suffered shaa. He didn’t get my kinda package so trekking, hustling for gigs, mounting keke was his life. I would always borrow him money. Brethren, if I tell you where this dude is now ehn you wont believe it. Just say he’s working in the seat of power. No connections o! From hustling, he would help people write proposals, reports, etc na so dem take connect am to one oga on top and gbam he’s one his aides. Now if you see his car, he dey travel all over the world.
    So the moral of my long epistle, I know nja is difficult but if we can be patient, persevering, humble ourselves and be innovative, anybody can flourish in nja without connections. Its like digging for diamond or oil. It takes time, you have to dig deeper but the rewards are worth it.
    ps…I dey go back again. Dat place still dey longa throat me. Make I cool my head small, then I will find my way

    • flip

      July 16, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      I totally agree with you

  24. Product of public Education

    July 16, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Lol….wana wana omo eiko sense too much. Nice SWOT analysis * * * * * waiting for part 2.

  25. Mz Socially Awkward...

    July 16, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    So… this article. I have to say, it must be fully targeted at ex-Lag people trynna head back to Lagos (or Abj) because trust this local PH babe, most of the “hard advice” just describes life as normal to me.

    Yes, you live in your parents house (dem no born you well say you wan go rent house a single gal for GRA because your parents live in Woji… but then again, I guess the Island/Mainland shuttle doesn’t quite affect us). Yes, you enter public transport when required (Aba Road buses, anyone? The last time I was in PH, I trekked a lot because I wasn’t prepared to sit in traffic for hours on end). As for foreign accents… well, all I can say is that even you sef go fear, come begin dey nack pidgin wella because kidnappers are very real…

    Omo, na different levels dey operate for PH and I’ll probably end up just fine in Lag, based on my “pako” tendencies. The one thing I’ll take away from the article, though, is selling myself. That’s something I struggle with (these self-depreciating Europeans don impact me with dem DNA) and like someone put it up here, I need to learn how to deliver “lights, camera action” from the get-go.

  26. Obi

    July 16, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Wana u are such a realist. You go girl,,,xoxox

  27. Madam the Madam

    July 16, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Hahaha loved reading this. Very real and hilarious!

  28. funmi

    July 16, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Miss WanaWana ooooo u a good writer! So on point !!! Am a budding entrepreneur and very Nigerian lolz…

  29. flip

    July 16, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    I so much love your piece Wana, although i am mentally prepared for the hustle of coming back to Naija and the immense self packaging you need to do (one of the things American education emphasizes), 2 things i would like to advice Naija’s in diaspora is 1, try and get a hustle back home before you return and 2, please don’t downgrade anyone while you are away cause at the end of the day that person might just be your life line

  30. Guy from Surrey

    July 16, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Thanks alot for the link..I think the MBA is cheap compared to the options i had…INSEAD Executive MBA is £84k, LBS Global EMBA is about $120k ish…HBS, Wharton, Stanford et al are in the regions of $140k….hopefully, some employer out there sees the difference and pays us hell of alot more than the Brunels, Kingston & Aberdeen…..

    • Packs

      July 16, 2013 at 11:38 pm

      I get that you paid alot of money for your top tier education but your comment kinda disses schools at what you consider the lower tier. I’m an Ivy League grad (BS, MD-PhD… yeah I’m bragging a little

    • Doll

      July 17, 2013 at 7:16 am

      LOL, typical. Tryna make yourself feel better for spending large sums of money on ONE degree by putting others down. Dude, go scroll up and read the previous comments! They no go hand you Director abi Manager position just because you decided to fork out all dat money for the MBA….I sincerely hope you have a Plan B sha.

  31. Concerned_Boyfriend

    July 16, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Word to the wise!!… You nailed it to the cross with this. I think it’s fair to add that if you’re a “returnee” then you should know that the country is not any different from when you left. Nothing changed, expect for the entertainment industry. I put on my “Or riser” hat once my plane touch that MMA tarmac. You’d think I was a tout…All that “Asor din din rin” ajebutter moves died on the plane.

    • zsa zsa

      July 17, 2013 at 4:45 am

      Concerned_Boyfriend….what u just described is exactly what my husband does once the plane touches MMA. He wears his knock off Levi’s cap, plain grey or black tee and his cargo shorts with slippers along with his roc sack armed with his pidgin or concentrated igbo speaking skills and dude is good to go….riding okada when necessary, no time for formings!

  32. Beesss

    July 16, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    The realist article on returning to Nigeria.

  33. Guys perspective

    July 16, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    True Words…

  34. brendz

    July 16, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Wansieeeeeee!!!!!! as always….on point!!!!

  35. Ashley G

    July 16, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    kaiiiii Wana……… u finish work with ur article ooo. (there were hardly any stones left unturned) in ur guide to relocation for the returnees. however, i would just like to say more prominent figures should come out n paint a vivid pix 4 mandem in diaspora. if all manz know wag1 n what to expect vividly b4 coming, i suspect this will help a little bit with dealing with d wash on ground as i expect u not to still fall for it. (but knowing lagosians d wash cud b so powerful) that u will fall victim and be out of pocket very early. the government also needs to have a mission that is adequately trainned and equipped to deal nigerians coming back home for the first time after such a long time away(anywhere btw 8 yrs and beyond) these guys will also need some orientation back into the system.

  36. Chris

    July 16, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    This is so true! I’m a “returnee” I guess, two years back. You have to check the attitude or whatever at the airport and get your hustle on the moment you land at the MMIA. For real! It is part of what I dig about Nigeria. Opportunity is there for the taking, park that “Oyibo” thing to one side, roll up your sleeves and be prepared to work HARD for your money… unless of course, daddy is rich and lives in Ikoyi. People are always surprised when they see me working, like they expect I didn’t do that in Brooklyn or something. No shakara here oh! I’m working to make that cash… then maybe I can move my parents and I to Ikoyi too. LOL! Thanks for the REAL advise Wana Wana. I didn’t have it when I got back, but I had my mind made up to work hard and deal with whatever I see or meet, but it would help others planning to come home to read this.

  37. Mfon

    July 16, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Practical and honest write-up.

    One question though… If you left Nigeria for Uni (give or take at 16 yrs old) and it was easy for your ‘accent’ to change, how come it’s so hard for it to change back ever? It should be noted that after the average age of 6-8, accents don’t change so that category should fall into the ‘All na wash’ category….

    I am not against speaking good English and improving your speech but a whole different accent is a conscious effort especially when you are grown… You may have inflections yes but a whole different accent? *side eye*

    • nene

      July 17, 2013 at 12:19 am

      abeg tell them oh. people will travel to canada at 18 and come back with a british accent, or they go to ukraine or england and come back with an american accent. on another note, WANA ur article is giving me life. sooo real!!!

    • mercury

      July 17, 2013 at 10:13 am

      I agree with you Mfon, its actually impossible unless you make a conscious effort and you can always switch back to your naija accent quite easily. I’ve lived in the uk for 4 years now and people seem shocked that I don’t speak like the queen but then again what do you expect when people come for 2 weeks holiday and go back with an accent…i guess its part of the dazzle all na wash effect!

    • yoyo

      July 17, 2013 at 12:20 pm

      i do not agree. it depends on your environment. if you live in peckham perhaps. but if you went to a boarding school in england where you probably were the only black person in your year/class then thats a different issue. if you went to a university thats predominantly white then you most likely will have mostly white friends and that will affect how you end up sounding . it is unconscious. If your area of expertise once you graduate involves working with only white people and again, you are the only black person..thats also a factor that contributes. If you have a lot of white friends, love to hanhg and party with them etc etc…chances are…from the age of 16 to like 29, you would have lost the nigerian accent.

      Yes i am speaking of myself. i put on the nigerian accent consciouly. when i am unconscious i sound very english. infact i sound schitzopheenic with two different accents depending on what circumstance sorrounds me.

      Nigerians need to get over this accent thing though..not sure why its always an issue. if you dont like the way i sound then bite me. you should expect people to sound a particular way especially as there has been so much environmental nurturing involved. get over it!

    • Mercury

      July 17, 2013 at 10:09 pm

      Well, perhaps like yourself I’ve not stayed long enough or tried hard enough cos in the little time I’ve spent i’ve lived in majorly white communities, I’ve been and still am the only black in my company, I hang out a lot with my British friends but I can’t honestly say my British accent (if i have one…lol) is my natural accent. But then again I guess you’ve been there longer and frankly speaking if you got it, use it cos it just might open some doors for you…lol

    • tego

      July 28, 2013 at 4:26 pm

      Been here 11 years, my brothers even younger when they got here (11 and 14), we were the only blacks in secondary school in Berkshire. Yes with the brits, we sound british but once the front door shuts…omo its back to sister mmadu ke kwanu! lol!

    • yoyo

      July 17, 2013 at 12:23 pm


  38. Mfon

    July 16, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    By ‘you’ I am not referring to you specifically Wana. I’m speaking generally so wanted to clear that up. 🙂

  39. funmi

    July 16, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Wana! Remember me? Lol Chilla’s friend. ( famzing) This article just made me tear up remembering the conversation we had the last time we saw. You are too too real and I really appreciate you for this article. It’s awesome, it’s so true, it too deep. Every one needs to read this before heading to this side of the world. I’ve learned so much in my 6 months plus here that I could ever imagine… I’m getting all emosh let me stop!xx

  40. Marc Francis of Chelsea

    July 16, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    Love you Wana!

  41. niyoola

    July 16, 2013 at 7:46 pm


  42. OmoMakun

    July 16, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    OMG! I love this babe….we could so be best friends. Real to the core! Ahn-Ahn! I was rolling in laughter!

  43. Syl

    July 16, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    Wow, speechless. Thanks so much for the article.

  44. A-z

    July 17, 2013 at 3:18 am

    Dear Wana, of all the articles I have seen about moving back to naija this has to be the most appealing i have read. Fresh yet so real. I too gbadun u jo

  45. Oaken

    July 17, 2013 at 3:40 am

    This is really good…thanks for the unadulterated view Wana

  46. Eve82

    July 17, 2013 at 5:11 am

    This is a down- to-earth and real article. While this is not for me, it is really how to survive if you plan on moving back to Nigeria. Good luck and best wishes to all planning to relocate.

  47. mercury

    July 17, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Now this is so on point! You have just won a fan wana 🙂

  48. kayc33

    July 17, 2013 at 10:21 am

    A very very insightful piece, nice one.

  49. Oaken

    July 17, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Another next article suggestion is ” when to cut your losses and move the heck back. ” I see all these suffer head dudes without their own apt or still driving daddys car 3 years after moving back ….to me that’s a sign ish ain’t werking

    • Newbie

      July 23, 2013 at 3:23 pm

      Gbam! The way I see it, it’s a global village and we must all (hate to use that cliche phrase) ‘think outside the box’ so if it aint werking in Naija and you can make it work back in the US, UK, Canada or wherever else….abeg buy ticket and vamoose, very quietly. Just pretend you’re going for summer and then don’t come back, lol!….you can send for your stuff later. Don’t let pride rob you of the best years of your life where you’ll be there doing gree-die, competing for non-existent jobs with people who are highly connected or are ready to sleep around. Hopping Okada and danfo and all. At the end of the day- cushy job you no get and even if you get it, like some posters have already said, job security no even dey.

      I did the move back thing like ten years ago and my dear, it didn’t work so I slung my hook and came right back to the UK. Not all of us have parents that live in Lagos/Abuja/PH etc. and no matter how nice a relative or friend is, there’s only so long you can hang out at theirs before you overstay your welcome. I have been so blessed in my line of work that I get to work in Nigeria and other African countries sometimes, but then even if I didn’t have this job, I’d still find a way to touch base; e.g. before I started working with this particular employer, I visited Naija at least twice a year. I ‘m hooked up to everyone I care about back home through multiple means- skype, social media, etc. in fact I’m more in touch with some of my naija friends and family than my UK and US folks.

      Honestly, it is good to test the waters. By all means try out working in Nigeria or even other African countries after your studies abroad. Go with a realistic game plan and give yourself a time limit after which you should try something else if re-settling back home aint working to plan. If it doesn’t work and you can, go somewhere else. Just because you are Nigerian doesn’t mean you must ultimately live and work in Nigeria. Do what’s best for you and be open to change especially in your younger years when you aren’t yet tied down with mortgages, family, etc.

    • Kinba

      July 25, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      This is the best comment so far. Relocation to Nigeria is not for everyone.

    • james

      July 31, 2013 at 1:06 pm

      “with people who are highly connected or are ready to sleep around.” hmm, don’t convince yourself that these are the only reasons people succeed. In school, some people got better grades than others. Same thing in the workplace. Let’s be honest, not everyone puts in the same level or effort into their jobs (or lives, or education) and itis quite a hater thing to put those who succeed in a place into the same bad category.

  50. Sir Farouk

    July 17, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Couldnt have said it better, Love it! So real. I have long left my repat status, lost the accent as soon as I entered naija, it drags unnecessary attention jor.

  51. @_deyemi

    July 17, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Thank you wana wana for showing us the dark side of a “Returnees” life… from an original “Homegrown IJGB”

  52. adelegirl

    July 17, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    This is absolutely the best and realest moving back to Nigeria article I have read. I can totally relate. I moved back home in ’09 after about 4years in the UK and I was so unprepared! I thought the job offers would be pouring in – armed as I was with my UK masters and correct work experience with fancy titles to boot. Wrong! Took me 9months to get a job and in the waiting period, I only had like two interviews and the pay offer was so below expectation – like 100k – 150k – and i wasn’t even offered the job so I didn’t even have the foolish luxury of rejecting the crappy offers! But when I finally got my job, which I am still at by the way, it was worth it and so beyond my expectations – the waiting period had taught me to lower my expectations. So, the accommodation and company car came with the job offer but you need to work very extra hard to maintain the standards that is expected of you? No one in this Naija will give you company car and pay for your comfy accommodation inside town in abuja and you won’t work very hard and have to deal with some bs along the way. Before I got this job with the car, no one taught me to bus, bike, keke napepetc, as need be especially when your parents’ home is in one of the mainland outskirts like ipaja, egbeda, idimu etc. Can you imagine cabbing to and from those places every time you need to go out???

    I quickly learnt to respect myself and thank God I didn’t have friends that wanted to be taking me out to expensive restaurants I couldn’t quite afford. Also, thankfully, I have no issues with staying in my house jeje.

    As per the accent, though I have almost totally lost it now, I knew and still know when to throw it down o. This Naija, you must be sharp. Some circumstances need the oyinbo accent. Also know when that oyinbo accent “wont werk” and throw down pidgin or heavily accented Nigerian english or yoruba or any other language that applies.

    Truly in moving back home, one needs to manage expectations especially when you are not moving home to run “daddy’s” multibillion dollar conglomerate.

    • HoneyDame

      July 17, 2013 at 2:26 pm

      May your days be long! I particularly like the mention of having to recall that accent when the need arises! May we all find favour before man and God!

  53. Okechukwu Ofili

    July 17, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    I think this is my best bella article of the year….even better than that folk named @ofilispeaks…lol. Nicely written and so true. This killed it for me….

    “Whatever skill or hobby that can earn you money, just package it. You don’t want to get to the office, try to log into your computer and voila!! Password isn’t working.”

  54. charles Dallas

    July 17, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    …..Wansie I will always remember to “Dazzle” ooo cos in the end all na “Wash”

    You are plenty babes!

  55. Ademoore

    July 17, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Nice one Wana.. Always inspiring…

  56. Mrs Nwosu

    July 17, 2013 at 1:57 pm


  57. HoneyDame

    July 17, 2013 at 2:23 pm


  58. Purpleberry

    July 17, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Wow! I can relate with this completely. I moved back to Nig in 2010 and these were my experiences. I’m away now for the summer but when I get back to Lagos, i’m starting my own business immediately. No more sitting around waiting for a job that matches my ‘foreign degree’…

  59. ddb

    July 17, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Nwana… tight

  60. dee one

    July 18, 2013 at 4:04 am

    I love, love, love dis article as I can completely relate to it. Just moved back last year and even though I’m still job hunting I would say things have been pretty easy for me compared to some of the stories I’ve just read on this comments thread. First I live in Abuja so the stress level is very low compared to Lagos, the accent I lost once I landed cos even while I was there majority of my friends were naija peeps so d accent only surfaced at work and then luckily for me I don’t have to use public transport when going out plus I still live at home so no bills to pay. Before I returned all my friends just felt I had a job waiting for me and even if I didn’t all that had to be done was just a few phone calls from Dad n I’d be settled….well guess wat none of dat happened cos he has made it clear I have to hustle for myself mehn and to think I rejected a job offer two months after I returned thinking that’s how they will keep coming and all I had to do was to pick…right now I’m doing the packaging method, packaging myself and trying to set up my own thing no matter how small, just like you mentioned it doesn’t have to be capital intensive.

  61. Jay

    July 18, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Wana, way to go girl. This made my morning jare.Very hilarious. I soo loved the “abebelube” part. nice one

  62. Daniel Chisq

    July 18, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Brilliant article.. My best part was .. “Please Just buy a Toyota”… This lady is hilarious and wise

  63. Kay

    July 18, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    If you are not ready for 9ja wahala, just stay where you are

  64. Crofty

    July 23, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Sounds to me like Lagos is one of the very few states you can move back to in Nigeria which is quite horrendous considering how many states there are in Nigeria!

    • Newbie

      July 23, 2013 at 5:44 pm

      Indeed. Any wonder the competition is so intense? Peeps be spending £65k(???!!!) tryna distinguish themselves from the masses. O dikwa very risky o!

  65. Push&Start

    July 24, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Awesome read and so insightful. If you are looking to get funding for a business, like our Facebook page and get updates as we build Nigeria’s foremost crowdfunding platform. Investors and mentors also welcome.

  66. Shanday

    July 25, 2013 at 12:49 am

    This is the realest article ever. I luv what Wana said about Lagos being big on perception. It’s so true. You see all these celebs on bella naija seemingly living the life, but they are hustling big time. Lagosians know how to keep appearances sha lolz

  67. Ready

    July 26, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    As everyone has said, this article is so true! If you had some Messiah complex about how things should work out for you because you’re coming to “help contr¡bute to development”, omo let it go. That 100k job offer is too real. This was def my experience…unfortunately the entrepreneur in me has not surfaced, although I’m tying my money down in savings and bonds. Recently started drivving my own car, but that keke NAPEP and BRT life is not a joke! I’m applying for fellowships and co now because sometimes you just need a break from Lagos, and Abuja simply won’t do. I don’t regret coming back tho’…I shake my head at a lot of Nigerians’ shenanigans, but I see the small victories and they keep me excited and motivated. You need a special type of zeal to come back to this place. But if it’s that dem Yankee/Jand people simply didn’t renew your visa, thhat’s okay too! You’re welcome, but prepare!

  68. anu

    July 27, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    wanawana laugh wan kill me for here o, if u can’t face the reality in naija stay where u r o ,like someone said earlier every one doesn’t have to live in naija ,if u av the correct pali to stay back i think is better than coming back to naija and the hussle continues………all of una dey scare me with the situation back home, since naija is not smiling in terms of economy i’ll rather stay here o

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