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Atoke’s Monday Morning Banter: But Do You Have to Beg, Beg, Beg?




“She kept begging me to give her a pair of shoes I only just bought. I haven’t even worn it. Don’t you get? Like I haven’t even enjoyed one Kobo of the money I spent on it.”

“So, was the issue the fact that you hadn’t worn the shoes, or that she wore you out with the begging?”

“It was a combination of both really. Morayo likes begging too much and I don’t like it. She can beg for the eyes you’re using to see. Ahn ahn! Is she the only one? And if she likes, let her beg till eternity, I won’t give her. I have sent her the link to where I bought the shoes online. Let her go and buy her own and leave me in peace.”

One of the markers of a properly brought up Nigerian child is an ingrained sense of contentment. If you see a parent thoroughly beating their child, the child would most likely have been caught stealing or begging. We don’t play with the notion that our progeny displays signs of discontent – enough to go and start begging his/her peers. It is never a good look on the parents. (You know how big we are on appearances)

Begging is one of those vices that are tricky. According to Yoruba culture, it stems from lack of contentment and it, in turn, usually gives rise to stealing. And in Yoruba land, Stealing is very close to the holy grail of crimes. It is however, ironic that stealing and corruption (ordinary stealing) has permeated every fabric of our society. So from begging politicians to gain access to the crumbs from their tables, there’s a desire to eat straight from the pot.
The general trick to begging is that if you beg very intensely, you might frustrate the proposed benefactor into giving in. If he/she doesn’t give from compassion, he would budge from frustration. It’s the buzzing bee effect.

So when Foluso and I were having the dialogue about her issue with Morayo’s begging, I said, “Well you know some people like to be begged. Maybe she thought if she goes on and on, you’d hand the shoes over to her.”

I reminded her of one time when we were in the Osborne/Kingsway road traffic, some guy indicated that he wanted to get in front of the car that our friend Dapo was driving. Dapo’s refusal to grant the guy access into our lane was because the guy didn’t beg properly. “Is that how to beg for road. He should stay there flashing trafficator.”

I would have thought flashing the light was enough indication for crossing lanes, but we all know that the nuances of driving in Lagos are different. According to Dapo, the driver should have stretched forth his hands, rubbed his palms together in plea, to acknowledge ‘the original owner of the lane’. The further out his hands were outside of the car, the more serious his acknowledgment of his position as the one in need of a favour. Dapo clearly liked being begged.

A friend of mine mentioned that when she was in secondary school, everybody said she liked being begged. She said the fact was that she just didn’t appreciate the fact that people kept asking her for things. She ended up being the person who said ‘No’ until she was badgered into saying ‘Yes!’
For some reason, even though we were raised to be content with what we have, we have grown into adults who want something that belongs to the next person. It’s the inherent spirit of covetousness.

Atoke CheeriosFrom primary school, you see that your classmate has the water bottle with the TerraHawks characters printed on it. Terrahawks is your favourite TV show and you want it so badly you can taste the longing.

In secondary school, your parents only pack Vitalo for you, and your bunkmate has a cupboard lined with Horlicks.

At University, you wonder why that beautiful satchel hanging across your friend’s shoulder isn’t among your repertoire of bags.

The intensity of your covetousness determines whether you’d beg for the thing to be given to you,. It will even influence how much you’d beg. The intensity of your desire to own something that doesn’t belong to you also means you’re very likely to steal that thing if the begging isn’t fruitful.

One ironic thing about begging for stuff is the fact that we’re also taught that if we ask, we shall receive. I mean, if you don’t ask, how will you know the person won’t give you? I thought long and hard about the issue of begging, and realized it’s not quite as clear cut as I might be thinking it is. If you’re thirsting for your sister’s Chanel bag, is there anything wrong with begging her to give you? She just might have 7 other bags and that particular one is her least favourite. Maybe begging isn’t so bad after all; maybe it is not being able to accept ‘No’ as ‘No’, that is the issue. But go-getters and motivational speakers will tell you, “if at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself up and try again.”

Maybe life’s rules are just contradictory. One minute we’re asked to be thankful and grateful for our lot in life, the next minute we’re judging Morayo for begging her friend for shoes.

It is important to find the right balance. Don’t be a pest to people around you. If you want something and the person says ‘No’, and you feel you will die if you don’t have it, ask the person for where they bought it; you really don’t have to be a leech. Once in a while, try to be a giver…. not every time Bambiala… it is not a very attractive look. Yes, I know you don’t have anything, but out of that your ‘nothing’ give something.

Finally, if you’re one of those people who likes being begged, because it makes you feel good? Get over yourself! Life is too short for you to walk around with a permanent chip on your shoulder.

Peace, love & cucumbers

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Syda Productions 

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website for more information.


  1. elvissaysso

    April 6, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Interesting read.Well I must say dat personally I detest d idea of beggin 4 wat I don’t nid but just want.Being a very proud person I don’t tink I shld hav 2 ask my fellow man 4 wateva stuff,xcept its of utmost importance nd even @ dat I sumtimes find myself dieing inside of me just bcos I can’t beg 4 stuff.strange rite?but dats soooo me

    • nene

      April 6, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      me too. i’m too proud to beg o

  2. Neo

    April 6, 2015 at 10:56 am

    “For army, na the people wey beg pass we dey first kill” – Double Double (the infinitely wise and equally kooky man who lived in a shack in a swamp near my family house) QOTD. This nugget of wisdom was bestowed on me the day i decided to beg him to accept 100 naira instead of 200 naira for picking up the trash.

  3. Bo

    April 6, 2015 at 11:29 am

    The average Nigerian can beg! From the security men everywhere to the policemen on the roads, to the people in your office that want a loan of 5k, to the cousin/niece/aunty that begs for credit, the distance relative that needs 100k for rent…. The issue I have with begging is the sad fact that majority of the people who beg don’t beg because they are really in need, they beg because they are greedy and dishonest. They alwasy have one sob story or the other about unpaid rent, medical bills or children’s school fees meanwhile no day passes without a delivery to the office from konga and jumia with their name on it. Nigeria has lost its values and people aren’t raising their kids right

    • ms lala

      April 6, 2015 at 12:33 pm

      I detest the lies some Nigerians tell. Lord they call saying things that can be verified on instagram . Don’t tell me your mom is sick and in the hospital when I see u posting pics of owanbe the same day. Word!!!!!!!!!!!! Why that instagram video saying something different.

    • wagamama

      April 6, 2015 at 11:21 pm

      The lies thou!

      Was almost a victim last year.

      An old acquaintance who’d been M.I.A FOR AT LEAST TWO YEARS resurfaced and needed to borrow money to buy himself a car…… I DONT EVEN HAVE A CAR TO MY NAME, NA MY PAPA GET AM! It changed to “i just got married on bank loan, need to settle some bills”….. Say whaaaaaaaaaa! Called his bluff again! Why didn’t you cut your coat according to your size? Mchewwww!…… See ehn! The stories kept coming….. new wife this, inlaw that, family people them, car nkor? They have one, but need two…….I kept bluffing….. and bluffing…. and bluffing! THIS IS SOMEONE WHO EARNS AT LEASSSSTTTTTTT TRIPLE OF WHAT I EARN OOO!

      Longest hissssssssss ever liveth!

      Thank God for a fellow colleague! He showed me the LIGHT! Na mugu waga for become o! I was already awwwww’ing the guy. He told me if i bluff the first lie a cascade would follow…… and it did! Thanks Ade! You aint ever lied!

      On another note, I don’t beg/ask others for “ojukokoro thinggz” apart from my mum and sisters. Why? Not because i don’t need it and not because of pride. Simply put: I LOOTH REJECTION! I am literally petrified of being turned down. Same way I’m scared of failure….. thats another topic for another day.

  4. mrs chidukane

    April 6, 2015 at 11:51 am

    I had a friend in University for whom dressing for lectures was a community effort. I want to wear my red top, with my white jean, will borrow your red belt and your sister’s white sandals and my roommate’s black hat. My powder has finished so I will rub Nneka’s own. It’s so nice and really suits me. Haba, I always felt like locking up my stuff whenever I see her.

    Personally, i’m quite proud and so I hate begging. Its not that I’m not humble, just that I have very high self esteem and I avoid putting myself in positions where I can be belittled. Begging usually leads to insults.I get bored when shopping with people that price goods too much.Though i’m really happy for them when they succeed in getting the price they want.

  5. Her Duchessness

    April 6, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    I understand Foluso well. I’m the type of person who buys something new and prefers to “launch” it. There is this inexplicable pleasure attached to it. A new shoe, A new bag, A new phone, A new bedspread, please allow me launch it. Don’t ruin the fun for me. After launching it, you can decide to borrow it.

    I don’t like being begged because it chokes the life out of me. If you ask once and I tell you “no” please don’t press further. I heard you the first time. If my conscience pricks me, I might give you. But please don’t beg me persistently because the more persistent you are, the more adamant I become.

    I think some people derive pleasure from begging. They beg for a bite of your gala, a spoon of your rice, a morsel of your eba and even a bite out of the 20naira meat on your food. What’s with the ojukokoro?

  6. ms lala

    April 6, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    I swear I was born with pride. I hate begging for anything , even when it came to prefects threatening to report me or my friends in class I’ll usually say go ahead and damn the consequences. I hate begging for things let alone begging someone to spare my ass from getting whooped.

  7. Oluwatobiloba

    April 6, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    @Her Duchessness I hate being begged as well… Once I ask and I get a ‘no’, I let the matter rest… But some people will keep asking till you scream at them

  8. kristin

    April 6, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Lols @ ‘Bambiala’. I am one of those people who cannot say No. I would give in and then go home to hate myself for being so spineless. The first time I actually said No and stood my ground, I was high on the feeling for days. People should please just stop putting others in difficult positions. Oh and let me share a quote. “Do not stand begging for that which you have the power to earn”

  9. Toly

    April 6, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Begging for material things is wrong

  10. Toly

    April 6, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    The beggar, is often either the self centered, or manipulative person who has formed a very shameful habit of harassing others into submission. The beggar will stop at nothing to get his way. A very selfish and childish disposition. A simple to response to such, depending on how well the beggar handles other people’s property, should be ” you can borrow but you can’t keep them”.

  11. Dr. N

    April 6, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    My estate gatemen begged for tips till I became nervous to drive past them. Esp on days I was low on cash. One of them even flagged down my husb one day, asked him to wind down d window n said, “Oga, u no fit buy bread or something give us?” He was so angry, he was sputtering when he got home. Lol
    Contentment is a discipline. Let us hope we can learn it in these days of economic upheavals

    • we

      April 6, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      I stopped going to my friend’s house decked up(too dressed up) just because the baby sis would literally start complementing all you putting on,and the moment you start feeling comfortable she would drop the bomb and the next thing would be ‘Aunty give me this now,you don’t need it anymore now gimme’….I don’t know how to say NO to her,so I just give her (wish I could play that on someone too,shes so good at it ehn,) until I found out she was just some ungrateful,rude gal,feels she’s entitled to ur things,would say rubbish about you behind your back and still come to you all puppyface when she sees you….her sis(my friend) does the same too but that one trick no dey work on me (Am Immune to it),it works on the other friends though….i cant be mugu for two pple in a family

    • omole

      May 1, 2015 at 2:38 am

      Liked 50 times. I had same experience. Crazy sisters

  12. Sabifok

    April 6, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Nice article Atoke, and this statement from your piece sums it up perfectly “The general trick to begging is that if you beg very intensely, you might frustrate the proposed benefactor into giving in. If he/she doesn’t give from compassion, he would budge from frustration. It’s the buzzing bee effect.”

    I have an issue with executive begging, which is a plea for cash (or kind) by a person in an official or dutiful capacity. Like how a barber at a shop I cut my hair, pleaded for me to dash him my N300 change even though it cost N200 to cut my hair. He kept on begging after each cut, making me a bit uncomfortable, so now I cut my hair myself at home. Gorimakpa style.

    At some local airports, you buy your ticket, and your luggage is checked in and your boarding pass is handed over to you. You think well, your worries are over as you approach the security point that takes you to the departure hall. Now if you could get some wine coolers from the air hostess so that you can pass out and wake up in Gatwick….But first you have to negotiate the security point first, and undergo a search.

    As you take out your mobile phones and all metal clothing to place in a bowl that will go through the scanner, the security officer there starts praying for you, as he begs: Safe Journey sir. Anything for us? We wish you well on your travels. Please find us something. Godspeed on your journey. Abeg na.”

    Na wetin?

    Or you decide to take advantage of an ongoing promo to install cable TV in your house. The cost of the dish, decoder, installation and a month’s subscription are included in the advertised promo price, all of which you have budgeted for. The installation man comes to your house, and tries to make you add some extra money to the advertised price for him. According to him, he does not “gain” anything from the advertised price, and he had to take “transport” to come and install your cable. You marvel at what he is saying, as he is a full staff of the cable company. Why should you fork out any extras on top of the promo price? You refuse to add any extras as this was not included in the official price. He does a shoddy job, leaving cable-wires dangling everywhere, both on the walls and from the ceiling – your house looks ready-made for Tarzan to swing in.

    • Igbegocho

      April 6, 2015 at 3:27 pm

      The airport one is unbelievable security, customs, immigration all join until you board and continues when you return. People should learn to control their ojukokoro seriously, I beg oh, but I make sure there is no other way before I ask and it has to be someone extremely close if a family member is not near. Begging for material things is a no no and people should not be ashamed to let people know when their long throat starts acting up.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      April 6, 2015 at 11:13 pm

      What scares me the most about begging at the airport is that they’re so concentrated on the begging that the actual security screening doesn’t even happen. The last time I left Nigeria through Omagwa airport, the woman who was meant to be checking my hand luggage before I could enter the departure lounge didn’t even look in the case. No word of a lie – her eyes were on my handbag the whole time as she was asking for “something”, whilst her hands gave the clothes folded at the very top of the case a perfunctory pat.

      Not sure if it’s the international airlines that made it mandatory to have a final search done right on the Tarmac and at the base of the plane steps but I’ve noticed that it’s only their employees who seem to be involved in that particular exercise. I wouldn’t be surprised if they decided to manage things on their own because na only God wey don dey save us since from the sort of modern dangers that are caused by negligence in airport security.

  13. nene

    April 6, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    lmfao…“Is that how to beg for road. He should stay there flashing trafficator.” nigerian drivers are the worst, they create their own road signs.

  14. chayoma

    April 6, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    @sabifok, u fit keeee pweson wit laff! Kai! Love the *gorimakpa* initiative and all other experiences sighted. Hahahahahahaha! Weldone Atoke, the word *Bambiala* shaaaaaa! LWKMD. Personally, I despise begging esp wen it seems to be futile. I hate hearing the word *NO* when it comes 2 asking 4 what I desire, hence the urge to beg is put in check.

  15. c'est moi

    April 6, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    Everybody ask for other people’s things Abeg. Is the way you present it that tags it “begging” make I hear word. Even the core beggers will still say they hate begging. We always claim the opposite of what we do. We all depend on one another.

  16. Morayo

    April 6, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    people pinging me to read bella Naija that you are gossiping about me. Pls I ain’t no beggar o, can’t even ask for oxygen. Contentment is my nickname

  17. kristin

    April 6, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    @sabifok. No vex oh but this your name. Is it like sabifok or sabifok. U do know the sabifok I mean abi. Or maybe my mind is just….well never mind

    • Sabifok

      April 6, 2015 at 9:07 pm

      Yes it is my government name. Na wetin?

  18. the generous economist

    April 6, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    Lmao…still don’t get how people wear other people’s clothes…. I don’t evn share with my sister….the first day I collected smtin frm a friend…in pry schl…my mum almst formed tears saying how ppl wud initiate me into witchcraft by begging….well my friends knw me…I DNT SHARE clothes….

  19. uche

    April 6, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    I’m not sure where I stand. I’m more of I see it. I like it, I buy it. Except it’s an emergency or uber important. Apart from my mum and dad, its hard to collect stuff from my relatives. I like to be the giver. Mine is ego induced. Lol.

  20. mosunmoluwa

    April 6, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    But how come?!!!….how come I dint knw I was d only proud percn in begging,nt proud per say bt am nt usd to it, it strtd wen I was in jss3 wen my dad found out I was begging in church,choi,he gave me a mark on my upper left chest,tnk God d mark has gone,so since dt tym till now,i reducd my begging,i nearly stoppd sef,…..i strtd talking to myslf dt I shud nt tink I dnt need pple blah blah,i neva knew I was nt d only one under it….back to d beggars,i strike a. balance oh,i can’t give one percn everytym he/she asks,is nt everytym u get sumtin,in fact I got so strict in giving,i tot I was selfish so I had to open my hands nd strt giving again,bt am still careful bcos some pple ehn,dy wil beg for ur pant if care z nt taken,i cnt share my clothes o,nd I only share my footwares if dere z no choice. Nd….i dnt even feel comfortable lending my handbags out sef,…..jam everytin togeda,may God help us to apply wisdom in our giving bcos sum pple can like to frustrate ur efforts,mtchew,it z well oh

  21. mosunmoluwa

    April 6, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    But how come?!!!….how come I dint knw I was d only proud percn in begging,nt proud per say bt am nt usd to it, it strtd wen I was in jss3 wen my dad found out I was begging in church,choi,he gave me a mark on my upper left chest,tnk God d mark has gone,so since dt tym till now,i reducd my begging,i nearly stoppd sef,…..i strtd talking to myslf dt I shud nt tink I dnt need pple blah blah,i neva knew I was nt d only one under it….back to d beggars,i strike a. balance oh,i can’t give one percn everytym he/she asks,is nt everytym u get sumtin,in fact I got so strict in giving,i tot I was selfish so I had to open my hands nd strt giving again,bt am still careful bcos some pple ehn,dy wil beg for ur pant if care z nt taken,i cnt share my clothes o,nd I only share my footwares if dere z no choice. Am fyn

  22. babygiwa

    April 7, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    I don’t even know how to beg people for stuff. I thank God for the spirit of contentment. ‘Those who go a borrowing, goes a sorrowing’.

  23. Psychic

    April 7, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    na me say no pass..NO I SAY! i will be managing my aldo and keeping my gucci for special occasion,u will wear your gucci to great me at home to borrow my gucci so u can combo ….taaa NO

  24. beverly

    April 11, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Personally, I hate begging.I don’t do it, And once you beg me, you don spoil the whole thing. I give on impulse, when my spirit moves me.I will wholeheartedly tell you don’t bother cos I nor go give you.

  25. hmmm

    April 12, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    So where are the beggers? Come defend yourselves

  26. Angel Deco

    April 16, 2015 at 12:23 am

    I jus taya oooooo

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