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Richard Akuson: A Critical Appraisal of Our Nigerian Sensibilities

Richard Akuson

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I am a very independent soul. Independent of what people say or think, or what the society deems proper or right. That is why, a lot of the times I am often appalled by the many Nigerian sensibilities that I was raised to revere and uphold. I am firstly very respectful and polite. My parents taught me to always respond to elders or greet them with a “Sir” or “Ma”. If you ask how I am, I will always respond with a “very fine, thank you”. I also think that, ‘sorry’ ‘please’ ‘thank you’ and ‘excuse me’ are very important words and phrases in every one’s diction. But beyond that, a lot of the other things that we hold dearly in this country are mere gibberish and completely uncalled for.

The other day, I had a business brunch in Maitama, Abuja; before then, I had an early morning meeting with another client. I was already late for the brunch when I hailed a cab to take me to the cafè. Traffic was light, but I was 15 minutes behind schedule – which I absolutely abhor. It was a pleasant drive, I got down amidst the hurry and struggled to pack my stuff into my purse when I handed the cab guy the fare we agreed on. To my surprise he said, “I no go collect am, use your right hand give me” Lord, was I shocked. Why did it matter to him that I gave him the money with a left hand. Was I obligated to hand him the money with my right hand? What if I was left-handed? A lot of things went through my mind, the driver was obviously older, but I refused to be bullied into doing what I did not see the need for. I damned the meeting and stood my ground. Told him he could either take it from my left hand or forget it. A minute later I alighted and made my way to the cafè when he came running for his money.

I am constantly wondering why it is inherent for Nigerians to push down their ideals down the next person’s throat. I believe ideals are personal, and should thus remain a personal conviction not a moral standard for every other person.

I visited a church last month and while the service was on going,  a man stood up from his seat which was really far from mine to tell me to “sit well” – to bring down my leg which I had involuntarily crossed. “Sit like you are in the church and not your father’s parlour”. I was short for words. For the first time my mouth failed me, I simply looked on as he went back to take his seat, feeling stoned and assaulted. I defiantly remained seated that way, even when it started hurting. Minutes later I saw him point my way as a church security came to warn me to either bring down my leg or leave the church. I smiled, and shamefully brought down my leg when the loud church security was quickly making a scene.

I didn’t understand how my leg-crossing was ungodly, how it stopped that man from listening to the sermon. I wondered that day if  it was really the crossed legs or my Burberry shoe that distracted him. Why did it matter so much to him, to the point he had to take it upon himself to call the ‘church corps’ on me?

Every day I come across some very Nigerian things that I feel are really bizarre. Like how my 40 year old friend thinks that it is not in my place to ask older people how they are doing, or stretch out my hand for a handshake first, or call them by their names when I could always attach an uncle or aunt as a pre-fix. “You’re after all only 21” he would always conclude.

Because of my kind of job, I get to mingle and meet people that are decades and years older than me. Most times I am the youngest person in the room, and the proper Nigerian thing to do would be to either remain quiet and listen or be the last to speak, of which I have never regarded, especially when I have something insightful and relevant to say.

I’ve always wondered why even during official gatherings we always try to bring in so much familiarity into our discussions. We tend to address each other as “my brother” or “my sister” when the appropriate thing to say is “Mr” this or “Ms” that. Back when President Goodluck Jonathan was in power, he had a media meeting of some sort. And while addressing one of the female reporters I remember him starting with, “My sister”. As well meaning as that was, I could not help but wonder. Your sister? How? Since when?

Or how you meet a person and the first thing they ask you is, “where are you from”, for which I always respond with a “I am from Nigeria”. And they get frustrated or irritated (as the case maybe) and ask, ” I mean, what tribe are you?”. I remember a particular instance where I was introduced to a record label boss who was interested in hiring my services for a couple of videos his label was working on. We met over launch, and the first thing he said after the pleasantaries was, “are you Igbo or Yoruba”, I smiled and said ” I am neither of the two, but I am a well meaning Nigerian”. I was disturbed at how he expected me to be either of the two tribes, like there are 250 ethnic groubs in Nigeria, why did it have to be those two that I should come from? It was as if he desperately wanted me to be from his tribe.

My question is, is it not enough to just be Nigerian? Must I be something else? And of what significance is my tribe or region to how you relate with me?

A lot of times we are very intrusive with a disturbing sense of societal obligation (like the need to chastise the next person even if what he or she is doing is none of our business). But, everyday the world is getting smaller, and a lot of Nigerians are beginning to realise the need for personal space and boundaries, and until we all learn to come to terms with all these, we will continuously irritate and intrude and disrespect each other, on the assumption that we are only being Nigerians.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Mimagephotography 

Richard Akuson is founder at The PR Boy a boutique media and press relations agency for fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands with a specialty in raising the overall awareness of a brand, product or image of a company or person. Richard is also a weekly columnist at Bellanaija.com ('On The Catwalk' and 'Collection Conversations'), he's also a party host at The Front Row and a vlogger at Get Pink with Richard .Want to reach out? Follow @richardakuson on Instagram and @richardakuson on Twitter or send an email to [email protected]

58 Comments

  1. mywifeisfiiiiiiine

    September 9, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    My guy, you deserve a plate of isiewu and a cold bottle of champas. I just had a convo with my friends regarding this left hand issue. I feel like we should all have just the right hand in Nigeria since we have decided that the left hand is useless, smh.

    • S!

      September 10, 2015 at 10:32 am

      One day I was eating (I’m right handed) and my dad asked me to serve him drinking water. So I used the only other clean available hand I had and served him water in front of an elderly guest in the parlour. I don’t even think my dad noticed what hand I used, because I myself didn’t even realise it was an issue since my right hand was dirty. Only for the guest to caution my about using my left hand to serve my dad. I was shocked by his effrontery.

    • Annalise Keating

      September 10, 2015 at 11:34 am

      The more people you meet and the more you travel, you begin to appreciate these sensibilities. My Pakistani friend calls older women she’s not related to ” aunty” and my housemate from Latvia believes chipped china ware brings bad luck to a house. In Egypt, it is rude to ask your host for the salt shaker and the Chinese do not like receiving clocks as gifts. These sensibilities used to annoy me some years back, but I’m now more proud to talk about them to non Nigerian friends. You can’t go walk into some tourist attraction with your shoes on (when you shouldn’t) because you can’t appreciate their sensibilities. Although these days I prefer to be formal when dealing with some Nigerians as per farmiliarity abuse tins, but I have learned to apply discretion when I need to.

  2. Girlbeingreal

    September 9, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    “super opinionated” hmmm.. Getting some douchey vibes from you. Yea! It can be irritating when people try to impose their cultural “ideals” on you. But then you have to deal with people everyday, there should be a balance. I mean you don’t wanna come off as an asshole. But sometimes you put your foot down, we can’t always live our life for others.

  3. maryjane!

    September 9, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    Richard! You are like me! You are like me!! You are like me!!!

  4. Anon

    September 9, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Etiquette wise, the younger person shouldn’t be the one to shake first

    • Fashionista

      September 10, 2015 at 10:58 am

      Please stop misleading people, that IS NOT Etiquette in the broad sense of the word, that is an African or particularly Nigerian way of life.

  5. jennelle

    September 9, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    Africanism!!.. and yet we all want to b as evolved as the Oyibos!!..

    • ElessarisEllendil

      September 10, 2015 at 1:12 am

      The oyibos evolved??? Your low self esteem is showing.

  6. Natu

    September 9, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    I also hate addressing people that I am not related to as uncles and aunties. We are not related so Ms, Sir and Mrs should be enough.
    I hate when people ask me about my ethnicity. Don’t get me wrong I am a proud mende/moor woman but it is such an unnecessary question. We are all humans at the end of the day. My ethnicity ain’t got nothing to with my character, ethics, morals and principles.

    • oj

      September 10, 2015 at 7:53 am

      Hi Natu. pls don’t be offended but what state do you come from? I’ve never heard of the mende or moor tribe before.

    • natu

      September 10, 2015 at 9:13 am

      I am not Nigerian

  7. Dr T

    September 9, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    Well that’s Africa… And that’s what makes us so… I’m not in support of some extreme intrusions o… But if u wanna live here in Africa for now…. Well u have to then balance

  8. Dolly

    September 9, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    Well You will be surprised some of the things you pointed out is obtained here in the U.S. Most southern people have what you can call, culture, morals & values something the east coast don’t give a damn about. Like you dare not call an elderly person from the south here by name without title such as Mr. or Ma’am you will get looked at sideways. You re’ also not expected to proffer an handshake to the older ones, unless they offer it.

    I agree some of them can be a little entitled but an honest advice is do onto the older ones what you expect to be done to you when you grow grey.

  9. Tobi A

    September 9, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    Nice article. My peeve is the left hand issue. Whenever i am faced with it, i simply ask which of the hands (left or right) was created by the devil. Both hands,like the rest of the body, was created by God anyway. The obsession with the left hand as the lesser hand is so so beyond my comprehension.

  10. Ephi

    September 9, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with this article. A lot of Nigerian customs thoroughly annoy me meanwhile the moment one rebels against it, one is considered rude. Sigh

  11. Lade

    September 9, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    Nawa o…and here I thought the man in church was asking you to ‘un-cross’ your legs because you were putting on a dress ( I naturally assumed you were a lady when I read that part)…speechless

  12. www.betterhealth.com.ng

    September 9, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    So many things mentioned in one article. You managed to do that without missing the essence of the article. Brilliant write-up! And very on point with your views.

  13. The real D

    September 9, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    First there was a similar article written recently that pointed out this issues of right hand/ left hand and uncle and Aunty. And yes I will not hesitate to put you in your place should you meet me and address me by my first name, while I am not your aunty or uncle and I don’t want to be addressed as such either, unless I am introduced to you by my first and I have invited you to address me by my first name, I am sorry Mrs so or Ms. So would have to suffice. It is NOT a Nigerian it is actually a global phenomenon. In our bid to act tush we lose our sensibilities and become just down right rude and inappropriate.
    Secondly, for someone that claims to deal with people all the time the story author started with indicates otherwise, if you are well travelled one thing you are always told is to understand the customs and culture of the land so you don’t offend people. We will not go to UAE or Saudi Arabia and insist on paying or eating with your left hand because we respect their customs but when a fellow country man does it or they are forcing their ways down our throat. Again it comes down to us not respecting our own.
    When some Nigerians were coming to visit my office in obodo oyinbo, the manager that was to give them a tour of our new facility asked me what she should do or not do, the only thing I remembered since she was young was avoid making direct eye contact as it is considered rude. Manager is Caucasian in obodo oyibo and she respected that and did not make eye contact.
    Respecting others customs and culture does not translate to forcing anything down ones throat but shows that you have learned to appreciate that we are all not the same and respecting and embracing these differences is actually what makes us humans. My point is you may not understand the whole left hand/right hand debate (I don’t either) but I respect those that do. I don’t call anybody aunty or uncle, my parents though Nigerians did not believe in this but I will never call an adult by their first name unless invited to do so Mr /Mrs/Ms. Will just have to do. I guess author has a lot to learn about people.

    • TA

      September 9, 2015 at 11:56 pm

      My thoughts exactly! Author still has a whole lot to learn about people, fortunately age is on your side. If you are in the business of serving people you gonna learn dude. Have you met with or interacted with the Japanese? Indians, Chinese? Most Asians really. And you are complaining about Nigerians and their peculiarities? Hahahaha. I only agree with you on the left hand thingy though I would never make an issue out of it with someone older but then again I haven’t met any young person my age who insists on the right hand. And its not cute to be super opinionated, smacks of being difficult. Oh well, we’ll have this conversation again in 5 years and we’ll see if you still feel same way. 🙂
      PS: Forbes this week wrote an article on their website about the 11 secrets of irresistible people. Richard, please read that article.

    • pipi

      September 10, 2015 at 12:24 pm

      Thank you TA! Thank you…… he has a lot to learn… I think a follow up article should be written on respecting people’s cultures

    • The Bull

      September 10, 2015 at 12:03 am

      i am left handed, and the whole left hand,right hand thing makes no sense, wether it is someones culture or not. some cultures do not add anything to society, what will happen if i give a person something with my left hand will he/she die?

    • J

      September 10, 2015 at 8:34 am

      God bless you whoever you are!! He comes across as rude just because he might have being born outside the shores of Nigeri. Old age should and must be respected . Don’t let education or being bred abroad ruin you please. The fact that you finished schools early might also be the reason why you are somewhat conceited. I pray a huge dose of humility into you aburo.

    • S!

      September 10, 2015 at 10:39 am

      You missed the point. He didn’t say he refers to elders on first name basis. He said if you aren’t related to you he wouldn’t address you with an uncle/Aunty but rather a sir/Ma.

      Another pet peeve I have older Nigerians are too quick to jump to conclusions. Like always getting angry too fast, not taking the time to understand.

    • X

      September 10, 2015 at 11:21 am

      Gbam! Double Gbam!! Dude is young and bright, has loads of experiences waiting for him, so in the fullness of time, he will learn. Our diversity is what makes us Superior animals. When you are in Rome do like the Romans…. never gets old bruh. If i am travelling to a new clime, i always try to know a lil something about their culture. The Asians have loads of traditions, and when we go out for office lunch, we accommodate those traditions. Like saying cheers and clicking bottles after almost every word or sentence that comes out your mouth. its tiresome, but hey, if it makes them happy, no problems. You can never catch us doing that when the Chinese are not around. It makes them happy, and does not take any thing extra from us, so deal gets done.

      The left hand matter, i don’t understand and don’t care about.. I think my daughter is going to be left handed though it is still too early, she is already showing signs. We are going to let her use which ever hand comes naturally to her. Just one confusion sha… the church story… thought he was offended because he could see your thigh… waiting the baba dey vex for since you are a chap?

    • Hephie Brown

      September 10, 2015 at 12:32 pm

      Dear writer, i enjoyed your article and i wont even point out any fault even if der was, u have enough people doing that.. and i can relate to people who will tell you u dont have enough sense because you are 21. You see, the other african problem is, it is seen as an insult to give advise to people older than you or make sense in front of them..or correct them… So the moment you mention 21, i can bet most people just went “what does this small child know”. I also bet you are used to it.thats if you grew up around here. The other day my mum told me my uncle reported me to her. I said it wasnt true and my mum went “agbalagba o kin paro” meaning adults dont lie. Sigh. I love my mother sha. Of course i argued it out but she just went hmmmm whatever.. oh its only in nigerian culture you cant throw money to someone..it even has spiritual repercussions lmao

      Good news is, even if they are right and u dont know what u are saying, u will grow in wisdom more than most ever will.. Good job. Whatever works for u. For me, i dont expect all thse things but for peace of mind, i do what they ask me to do..like use my right hand to offer money to a public transporter or an illiterate..or a deeply cultured person

  14. Author Unknown

    September 9, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    While I could be wrong, your article suggests you may be an effeminate (or perceived effeminate) man – reference to your “purse”, and leg crossing. I know about man purses though, so I’m not ignorant 🙂 While the points made in your article are valid, perhaps the conversation should be a different one. As far as I know, our culture does not condemn people that are different in that way – only that certain people within society do. My African pride wants to believe that what obtains in Nigerian societies is an abuse of the cultural values attaching to many things. Ours is a society where the ‘community’ is the basic unit. This means to look out for one another, and is not a licence to force our ways on others. Perhaps we have also outgrown the idea of a community being the basic unit.

    • bruno

      September 9, 2015 at 11:45 pm

      he is an effeminate man? SO
      is there any problem with a man who is in touch with his feminine side.

      nobody has the right to tell u how to cross ur legs. he is the owner of his legs.

      but dear writer, did u have u tell us ur shoes were burberry. u are still a child thats why designer labels drive u crazy. people who emphasis on the designer labels they have are local.

    • Idomagirl

      September 10, 2015 at 3:04 am

      What does being g effeminate have to do with what he wrote? Na wa.

    • Author Unknown

      September 10, 2015 at 3:16 pm

      I was trying to rationalise what I thought might be subliminal Idomagirl, hence my explanation as to why I thought so, and admission that I could be wrong. When you face discrimination, the natural tendency is to be more sensitive to these type issues. In line with the author’s article, my opinion is that we should treat people that are different the same as everyone else, including gay or effeminate men. Na wa? Not really.

  15. Uju

    September 9, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    Just use your right hand, it won’t kill you

  16. Patrick

    September 9, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Mehn we Africans, these so called civilization, shudnt make us lose our heads or where we coming from or who we even are. Y shud u stretch out ur arms to shake & elder? People’s privacy shud b respected bt living an individualistic life isn’t African. I won’t support a 2nd slavery (western ideologies 2 control me)

  17. Ojie

    September 9, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    Interesting POV.

    Culture is defined as the way of life of a group of people. The Nigerian culture is what it is. It is our and we have to embrace it.

    • Idomagirl

      September 10, 2015 at 3:04 am

      Killing twins was once ‘culture’.

  18. The Bull

    September 10, 2015 at 12:06 am

    Culture is the way of life a people, but irrelevant cultures can be phased out or changed, it was once part of our culture to kill twins and Albino’s, some cultures still maltreat widows, immediately after their husbands die. Should we embrace these cultures because our forefathers did them, even though we know they are wrong?

  19. ElessarisEllendil

    September 10, 2015 at 1:23 am

    The left hand issue is not unique to Nigeria FFS. Hell King George, Elizabeth’s Father stammered because he was forced to adjust, it has its roots in our more communal days when because the majority was right-handed you were expected to conform to societal norms to gain trust, think it through, why do you think every revolution in History has involved a sea of blood??? With that said Richard you’re not independent of what society deems right or wrong, for starters you pay taxes. Society and culture are what suppress our natural human instincts to dominate, society was what prevented the taxi cab guy from attempting to use force to make you respect his view, what made the Man in church alert security instead of punching you.

    Society and culture are the very basis of human civilization, it costs you nothing to conform to the broader strokes, you can still retain your individuality to a degree while doing this.

    • Idomagirl

      September 10, 2015 at 3:05 am

      What concerns King George’s speech problems with left handedness?

    • Idomagirl

      September 10, 2015 at 3:08 am

      “society was what prevented the taxi cab guy from attempting to use force to make you respect his view, what made the Man in church alert security instead of punching you.”

      Why should the man have punched him because he didn’t uncross his legs? In the first place, why was the man so bothered about him closing his legs? What does that have to do with culture?

  20. Tosin

    September 10, 2015 at 1:51 am

    This article is tooooo cute. Sometimes you blend, sometimes you stand out. (Well, ultimately you just stand out because you’re that special loool.)
    The funny one is the loving ladies that love resetting your bra strap, say in church or at work or sth. Shey it’s because I pitied them and wore bra 🙂

    • NIRA

      September 10, 2015 at 12:14 pm

      Oya na! Leave your breasts hanging loose and dangling. If your bra strap is showing while your blouse shifts from your shoulders, we tell you. If your top is low at the back and the bra peeks through, we tell you. If you have nice tits, don’t wear a bra at all.

  21. Idomagirl

    September 10, 2015 at 3:13 am

    All the author is saying is that ‘culture’ shouldn’t be used as an excuse to overstep bounds. He’s not saying Nigerians should throw away their customs.

    Nigerian is a diverse, multicultural society, what is ‘culture’ in your place may not even exist in another man’s place. You cannot go around trying to force people to act a certain way based on your personal bias (like the man in the church) because of ‘culture’.

    • The real D

      September 10, 2015 at 7:20 am

      @Idomagirl, let me paint a scenario, so said Author meets a Japanese and they take offense to him addressing them on first name basis without the preceding “San”? Or a magazine in Saudi Arabia is interested in doing some work with him and refuse to accept whatever Author profers to said client with his left hand, do you think he will not apologise right away and correct his actions??? you bet he will!!! Which makes one ask why Author insisted on not paying cab driver with said left hand. I think they had more to do with pride than anything else and not treating everyone with equal respect because cab driver had more to lose. My point is this is not about over stepping bounds at all. As long as I am not bringing harm to anyone, I am more than happy not only respecting but embracing others custom and culture. If it brings harm then i have no business being there anyway.

      Because it is not the Nigerian culture to walk into a restaurant without shoes, when I visit Japan and I am asked yes, asked to turn around and take off my shoes, I don’t consider it over stepping bounds, I respect it, so why can’t we respect people our own country men and women customs and cultures???

      For the church, I would have walked out and o I have no problem walking out from such establishment and this is not about being all mouth. I have walked out from a church once after telling the pastor he was teaching garbage. I will do the same even it was Obama preaching. It is simply about respect.

    • J

      September 10, 2015 at 9:57 am

      So on point! I mistakenly commended someone else instead of you. If someone richer had scolded him, he won’t have walked away with the money. Because he’s a cabman he did what he did. We should do away with some bad culture like twin killings etc, but don’t use Western culture as a reason to be rude to your Nigerian elders. Our culture embraces cursing and yes they do catch up on you.

    • S!

      September 10, 2015 at 10:52 am

      @J, offering someone something with your left hand is not a Western culture. If you are left handed and the cab driver tells you to give him with your right hand would you? It’s common sense and common curtesy. He mentioned he had a purse and lots of things to carry so I assume he held it in his right hand. Now would I expect him to transfer all those things to his left hand just so he can give the taxi driver money in the right hand? The taxi driver was wrong no matter how you want to look at it. Someone I paying you and you have the time to argue what hand you want to receive your payment. He is lucky he didn’t meet someone that wouldn’t have payed him after all.

    • larz

      September 10, 2015 at 10:54 am

      The same way, we are rebelling here in Nigeria is the same way they are in their countries too. You will start to realise that in many of these countries, some of their establishments are becoming more liberal/ tolerant.

    • larz

      September 10, 2015 at 10:50 am

      Well said. It is like the other article the other where ppl were commenting on the writers name being “ewon” which means prison in Yoruba. I was surprised, for a multiple tribal country, we can be clueless at times.

  22. jennelle

    September 10, 2015 at 9:28 am

    U r living in denial baby!.. everything or most tings we enjoy today “technologically” were made by dem and if Dats not evolution I Dont think turning from monkeys to human is #kapish

  23. you will understand

    September 10, 2015 at 10:21 am

    u raised some valid points eg calling stranger bro, mummy; being careful to use the right hand. But in time u will realise there r some sensibilities u honor 4 your own peace. there r also some it just makes sense to honor. I don’t know your everyday line of work but I’m in a line of work where I have a lot of insight to gain from my seniors and so even when I have something insightful to say I let them finish. Yes, I ask my boss (who is old enough to be my father) how he is doing. No, I never offer him the hand first.

  24. Mamaovie

    September 10, 2015 at 10:50 am

    @ 21 this guy has achived so much tumbs up
    I pray by 21 my ovie would be a world class chef
    ……

  25. larz

    September 10, 2015 at 11:03 am

    About shaking people’s hand. If you were the coordinator of a business invent and you get to welcome a group of say three representatives. Or say you are a HR executive coordinating an assessment centre for say a CFO job for a blue chip company. How would you proceed? Where I live, it is customary to shake hands with everyone of them and introduce yourself to each and everyone of them as it is more personal that way. What will you do in a Nigerian business environment?

    • you will understand

      September 10, 2015 at 1:18 pm

      u should always introduce yourself but I think who offers to shake first should be a matter of eminence. while some cultural observances can be a little irking, most r no big deal, so don’t take from personal happiness. After all, it’s not the HIV pandemic, boko haram or middle east crisis

  26. Busola Adedire

    Oluwabusola Adedire

    September 10, 2015 at 11:08 am

    Mr Richard, you are an intelligent person. The whole article is GOSPEL!

  27. bibiire

    September 10, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    The church scenario does not even make sense, how can anyone crossing their legs offend another?
    That being said, about the left hand issue, I don’t know where we got that from, even my hubby said he doesn’t pray how toddler ends up using her left hand because it is getting obvious that that is what she prefers. I had to tell him there is no big deal!

    To the person that suggested the article on Forbes about 11 secrets of irresistible people, I say a big thank you.

    bibiire.blogspot.com

    • Reetah

      September 11, 2015 at 10:19 pm

      Hmm… That’s how I was crossing my legs in church and the man sitting beside me forcefully brought my leg down… He didn’t ask o… He just did it by force… I was just tired that day

  28. The Bull

    September 11, 2015 at 5:18 am

    Nigeria is made up of more than 250 tribes, your culture and another person’s culture, probably vary. I believe trying to impose or invade another person’s space because of your culture is wrong. That is what i got from the article. like the man in the church for instance, or even the cab driver. Some people are blaming westernization, for the authors reaction, well i believe we are smart enough to adopt and filter relevant and irrelevant customs, after all we have adopted so many things from the west already..I don’t see the problem now.

  29. ...just saying

    September 11, 2015 at 6:18 am

    You contradicted yourself though

    “I am constantly wondering why it is inherent for Nigerians to push down their ideals down the next person’s throat. I believe ideals are personal……”

    Calling the Nigerian journalist my sister, was Jonathan’s ideal so respect it.

  30. ÀSÀKÉ

    September 11, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    I must commend you for writing such a thought provoking piece. Yes, we have to let go of some cultural or societal practices and at the same time we should respect people’s cultural practice.
    • If an elderly person covers up the true, it is a lie, it is wrong to categorically say an elderly person is telling tales in my culture however whenever I find myself being blamed for someone else’s behavior, I say it as it happened.
    • You are not allowed to send me on an errand just because I am the youngest, you have to convince on why the errand is important – I am not being spoilt, my siblings are used to it, respect is important – my immediate brother calls people Chief or Madam – it doesn’t hurt.
    I wouldn’t give any one money with a left hand because I am right handed- So whether the Okada man or while paying toll – it is our cultural practice.
    Not just in Nigeria, even in Kenya, in South –some people do not call elderly ones by their first name. In Kenya – You hear Tata (Aunt) and SA- Upper (Big) when calling elderly ones.
    During my University days, I did three different courses (Business Communication, Intercultural communication and Cross Cultural Management) centered around culture – it is very important to learn other person’s cultural practice and respect it – will everyone do that – NO – But as a young independent citizen of the world, to go far – You need to do this.

  31. Tiki

    September 14, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    Too many people going off in a tangent in their comments.

    I may not be Nigerian but guess what? We also have that rubbish of right hand or no hand … in fact in my area you are expected to support one hand with the other!! First I think it is a pretentious sign of respect, especially when undeserved. That notwithstanding, it is up to the person greeting, talking, or expecting whatever from you to choose whether to observe whatever ‘culture’ you have going on, or not. If I want to give you money with my left hand, I will. If you like, don’t take it. I will see if you will leave it when I throw it into your car or on the ground. You won’t make me late for my meeting with your foolishness. If you want to only deal with people who observe your culture, go back to your village. Or talk only to your children.

    As for church matter, that one is just a matter of people imposing their beliefs on others, because I fail to see what correlation crossed legs have to do with loving and obeying God.

    Anyhoo, I like the article and totally agree with the writer.True, his delivery smacks a bit of arrogance, but some things (like tact) are only learned with experience.

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