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Akudo Abengowe-Adebayo: Will You Really Make It By Faking It?

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Akudo Abengowe-AdebayoThe Urban dictionary describes a fake person as, someone who is not genuine and will do whatever it takes to make him/herself look good. He/she will take credit for other’s work or down play the good of others to illuminate him/herself. We have all faked it at one time or the other in our lives. Trust me there are situations that would warrant you faking, but it becomes a problem when you imbibe it as a lifestyle.

Of course, my submission can be argued and won, because a lot of people in Lagos and Abuja are making a hell of a living just by being fake. It works for them.

I have been in situations where I honestly wished I could fake it, at least to achieve my aim. Alas, faking does not come naturally to me, so anyone around me at that time will obviously notice that I am trying to be fake. I realized that faking it is not one of my callings.

One such time that I regretted not being able to fake it was when I came to Lagos after Uni. You see, I had been presenting a youth entertainment program on NTA Enugu, as an undergraduate and having majored in broadcasting, I naturally gravitated towards a TV career. So armed with my recorded tapes from NTA, I walked into one of the still existing private owned TV outlet.

I was so confident that I would get the job because I had proof that I had some TV experience from the prestigious NTA. So after speaking English and stating my mission at the reception, I was ushered into the office of the programs manager, a Mr Michael and the conversation went thus…..

“Hello young lady, so I was told you want a career in our establishment?”

“Yes sir” I responded confidently

“Do you have any experience on TV or media” he asked me with a tired expressions on his face

“Of course sir. I majored in broadcasting, and I also presented a youth entertainment program on NTA as an undergraduate and I have my tapes as proof sir”. He smiled and collected the tapes from me and asked me to come back the next day so he could watch some of them and give me a feedback.

I left that day excited that I had already clinched the job. I was already planning how I would make a difference with my style of presenting etc., ‘That would be a nice story if I get this job just two weeks after NYSC’ I mused to myself.

The next day, I rushed as fast as I could to the TV house and was ushered in to see Mr Michael.

“You see Miss Abengowe” he started after I had settled down with a big smile waiting for the good news. “I think you are a great presenter, you know how to get the right answers from your guests etc. but there is something missing” he said

“What is missing sir?” I asked slowly.

He cleared his throat. “I have no doubt that you would be a good asset to our establishment, but we look out for pretty young girls with foreign accents, especially American or British”

“Sir are you saying you can’t give me the job because I don’t speak phonetics?” I asked him directly, my head had started spinning.

“No don’t put it that way. It’s just that we have a target audience and our in-house style is that our presenters or broadcasters should be able to speak with an American or British accent that is our optimum criteria and unfortunately, you don’t meet up to that standard”

My bubble burst seriously, I felt useless. I felt like I had wasted all these years in the university for nothing. I couldn’t believe I was being rejected for a job because I couldn’t speak phoney, not because I wasn’t qualified for the job but because I couldn’t speak with a British or American accent.

It’s pitiful to say that till date, that TV station and so many other media platforms still imbibe such culture of picking or hiring people with either foreign accents or foreign certificates.

Sometimes, these returnees or fakes don’t even have the necessary certification or skills for the job but are hired just because of these extras. In most cases they end up earning hire than the colleagues who have local certificates. I remember how I would joke with my colleague in my former workplace that we (myself and her) were local staff, and couldn’t expect to earn what the other unqualified international staff were earning. Those jokes used to piss her off, but it was the reality.

So why won’t people be fake? It seems faking it is the only way to making it. Some would borrow clothes, shoes, wigs and makeup just to look fabulous on the red carpet. Some would buy clothes and accessories on credit just to look glam enough to be captured by the media on the red carpet. Some would fake British, American, and Indian, Chinese or even a mixture of accents just to belong. And we just suck it all up, I mean the media.

I have seen it all, having worked in Lekki Lagos for so many years, I can clearly tell you that there is an accent style called Lekki British. It’s a combination of all foreign accents, spoken just to get attention. That is not to say that some accents are not real, of course they are those who have lived their lives outside the shores of Nigeria and even Africa, and have been naturally influenced by the culture and language of their resident countries. And I greatly admire them, but if you haven’t been influenced by the accents you have been exposed to, why fake it?

I remember standing open-mouthed in shock at an event four years back, when I saw two very popular Nollywood female actors eating puff puff and Samosa with fork and knife. Jeez, fork and knife! Other guests at the event starred at them, I was embarrassed for their sakes but they didn’t care, obviously in their minds they were faking it up.

I used to have a colleague who was determined to live in Lekki, even though she clearly couldn’t afford it. She would be the first to tell you what was happening on the island, so everyone around will know that she is a ‘Lekki big girl’. Injury time is whenever her rent is due. She would become moody, quarrelsome, and panicky because of the huge amount of money she has to pay and which she clearly didn’t have.

The result was to indulge in all manner of things, just to get enough cash to offset her rent. I marvelled at the folly in that.

“Must you live in Lekki?! I asked her one day. She gave me a look that could send a sick man to his untimely grave. I learnt to mind my business and avoid her usual lamentations whenever she needed to renew her rent, because I couldn’t understand why she would subject herself to such psychological torture just to belong to the ‘Lekki Big Babes Club’. There are better ways to live life without the unnecessary hassles.

The worst platform for faking it is the social media. People would take pictures beside cars that are not theirs, houses that they don’t live in, clothes that they borrowed, events that they gate-crashed  etc. It’s amazing the lies that we present as truths on social media.

I pray we realise very quickly that the value of time spent on it, could actually be put to good use in achieving the lifestyle we desire, which will be our reality.

Akudo Abengowe-Adebayo is a multiple award winner, with over 8 years in the media industry. She also hosts (Love Moments With Akudo) and is CEO of SATT Media, a content and media marketing company. She blogs at Akudosworld. She is married with two adorable kids and loves Jesus with all her being. She is a TV addict, loves dancing and traveling, and a lil gossip now and then. Follow her on [email protected]udoabengowe or [email protected]http://akudosworld.blogspot.com.ng/

39 Comments

  1. Seriously

    September 30, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    It may last and make it for some time but you will eventually crash. It’s too much work faking it and keeping up to do.

  2. Puzzles

    September 30, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    They will not hear o

    They’ll rather call you a hater

  3. Bodunade

    September 30, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    When I see your name I smile . Wise words as usual.

    Toke makinwa I see you ! Haters kill yasef

    • Anonymous

      September 30, 2016 at 4:48 pm

      You called Toke’s name intentionally, why? What did she do to Nigerians? She makes her money by relevance in the media, her bags and shoes are hers (I guess), or is it because she was trying to believe in a failing relationship like most Nigerian babes that are told to watch War
      room? Isn’t it the same BN that insult feminists for telling women to leave failing marriages? I don’t know why I always feel bad for the way people call her name, it’s not fair. We always complain about the way the country is set up and how our parents didn’t let us follow our dreams if it was outside Law and Medicine, but we pick on people in the media for posting pictures or “over sharing” and even get happy when bad things happen to them. I know you’re fond of being defensive like you don’t know how cruel your “innocent” jokes are, but really guys

  4. Bodunade

    September 30, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    The job experience cracked Me up!! Hehehehehehe

    • Bodunade

      September 30, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      Hunting*

  5. Mama

    September 30, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    What about the ones that buy Range Rover and pay instalmentally. When money runs out they start to pay with their bodies. When the body runs out they start to pimp their friends. When friends run out they stop innocent girls on the street promising 10k dollars. Talk to car dealers. There is nothing you don’t see in Nigeria.

  6. My opinion

    September 30, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Believe it or not, SOME people have faked it till they made it ……some people started going to ikoyi club (when they really couldn’t afford to) so they could meet their intended business targets ..and it worked for them. I’m sure there are several other success examples. At other times, it could be an issue of faith – start living the life you hope for….with common sense.

    Whether you choose to agree or not, some doors in Nigeria will not be open for you except you ‘look the part’. Unfair but it is the reality.

    How about you mind your business…and stick to what you believe in?

    • Mia

      September 30, 2016 at 8:06 pm

      Telling her to mind her business is rather unfair. It’s an opinion piece… everyone is entitled to an opinion. Especially when you’re a columnist writing for others to read. So if you enjoy faking it, by all means knock yourself out. But people are allowed to disagree with your fake lifestyle.

    • Izen

      September 30, 2016 at 9:25 pm

      Are you looking big babe she was talking about?

    • Izen

      September 30, 2016 at 9:28 pm

      *Lekki

  7. Naijatalk

    September 30, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    This Nigerian problem, when will it ever go away?

  8. Darius

    September 30, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    I totally agree with you ma’am. The pressure to conform and fit in can be irresistible. In today’s naija, it’s all about the bling. Everybody wants to belong. About the issue of phoney, I agree that most tv stations give preferential treatment to people with british or American accent. But I’ve come to realize that some tv presenters are wrongly accused of speaking phoney becoz they are articulate and they enunciate words correctly. A lot of Nigerians, even the educated ones don’t know how to pronounce words correctly. When they hear someone who pronounces words correctly speak, they wrongly assume that the person is speaking phoney. I believe that 95% of educated Nigerians can’t pronounce these words(and many others) correctly: sachet, machete, village, bucket, adage, educate, etc. We don’t even know that most English words are not pronounced as they are spelt. When someone who knows how to pronounce English words correctly speaks, Nigerians will say the person is speaking phoney. It is only someone who understands or knows a lot about Oral English(phonetic transcription) that can be able to differentiate when someone is pronouncing English words as they should be pronounced or whether the person is feigning an American/British accent.

    • Bobosteke & Lara Bian

      September 30, 2016 at 9:28 pm

      Hi Darius. You had me pronouncing those words and wondering if I was one of the guilty ones.

      Listening to the radio these days is begging for an ear infection. Local TV is not much of an encouragement either. I remember Cyril Stober, late Tokunbo Ajayi, Eugenia Abu, Yinka Craig, Comfort Okoronkwo, Ruth, Bimbo Roberts… where are presenters of such ilk now? There is a such a dearth of professionalism.

    • Darius

      October 1, 2016 at 12:16 am

      @Bobosteke,” listening to the radio these days is begging for ear infection”. I almost died laughing. Lolzzzzzzzzzzzz!

    • Curios

      October 1, 2016 at 10:59 pm

      Kai Cyril stober,,,,you bring back memories…!!!

  9. Ene

    September 30, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    Sigh!My Mom tells me about the good old days when radio and television presenters could speak queens English with proper enunciation . Names were never left out as each presenter took time to pronounce Nigerian names properly and you couldn’t even tell which ethnic group the presenters hailed from. There is a difference between good pronunciation and speaking ‘phoney’. Joke Silva,Biola Williams (in tinsel) etc speak very good English with proper pronunciation. I can’t even blame my mom for ‘porting’ to wazobia fm.

    • LemmeRant

      October 1, 2016 at 10:16 am

      Only your mom?

      My Entire family has ported ti wazobia. When a foreigner pronounces my name wrongly, that i can take (as I also murder some english words without caring) but when a Nigerian pronounces my Nigerian name like someone that has tooth problem: I’ll either tell you to pronounce it properly or simply not answer you.

      You cannot go and come and give me a name that my parents did not give me.

    • Anonymous

      October 1, 2016 at 2:57 pm

      Well if the person is not from the same ethnic group as you are then don’t expect them to be able to properly pronounce some names correctly, especially names they probably never heard of before, for example i don’t expect a Bini or Urhobo or Yoruba person to be able to pronounce Chiavoghilefu, which is a rare Igbo name.

    • Fashionista

      October 2, 2016 at 5:58 pm

      ?? you just gotta love naija speak –
      “You cannot go and come ………” . Meanwhile I feel you completely on your point!

  10. Gorgeous

    September 30, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    Lmaoooooooooooooo @ the Lekki big babe getting panicky at rent time. Can’t stop laughing at that paragraph. Don’t understand the phone nonsense. I have been in the US almost 17yrs, I don’t have one kobo of phone. I feel strange talking to my Nigerian people with an accent. I love my Nigerian accent and try hard not to change it. And people always tell me they love my accent and that my spoken English is flawless. If I had a TV or Radio station in future I would not employ people with fake accents! If I can stay this long and not acquire an accent, how come you that traveled on holiday has an accent. Common gerrout! I don’t like fake people at all. Ok, I like Toke when she’s not being fake. Lmao.

    • Mia

      September 30, 2016 at 8:07 pm

      LOL… I am so with you! Fakeness is a turn-off for me. And I like Toke too, when she is just being her crazy, uninhibited self.

  11. Ethio

    September 30, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    attimes faking it may work for you, a friend of mine was persuading me to pay 40k for gym membership in a “high class fitness center” his reason; ‘you will meet these movie directors and fashion designers and (rich sugar mummies and daddies) there’ when i neva see 5k to continue the one i have, it’s kinda working out for him now tho {he’s currently in Barcelona for what i dunno}.. but in all honesty, hustling to maintain your fake levels is just hustling backwards

    • lawanson

      September 30, 2016 at 11:53 pm

      also, I wonder why Nigerians have a warped idea of success. We worship materialism as a whole, and it’s so strange. Children of Asian billionaires dont mind wearing their Gucci shirt with Primark trousers, but a naija Instagram runs/yahoo/packaging boy or girl would much rather be caught dead. It’s either tied to weird things like travelling abroad (if Nigeria wasn’t the way it is travelling would be no biggie eg with credit cards, decent salaries, insurance etc) or getting married (eg the notion that being a runs girl pays because some of them get married)

  12. Ethio

    September 30, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    as for the tv station looking for “phoneyrians”, i suspect silverbird

    • LemmeRant

      October 1, 2016 at 10:24 am

      I seriously believe if you have a native accent in Silverbird, you’ll never get the job.

  13. Ovasabi

    September 30, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    On faking it: it can work for you. I have a friend who faked her way into a relationship with a rich kid. Today they’re happily married. She wasn’t from a rich home but the packaging was nothing like I have ever seen. She would wear fake bandage and lie she had accident just to get money. I also know someone who met her man because she had the latest phone then. That was when blackberry phones just got into the market.

    I can’t fake the British accent. They keep saying “pardon?” When I force it. Instead I make sure I pronounce my words well and when I do this, they ask me where I am from/what lovely accent is that and that they like my accent.

    • lawanson

      September 30, 2016 at 11:49 pm

      that’s not packaging. your friend was lucky because her bae loved her, nothing about packaging because in the end she’s not been in the inside, there’s only so much one can learn from tv and social media. If that guy didnt love her, by the time he realised they werent running in the same childhood circle or she doesnt know the difference between polo and dressage, he’d have bolted. Or maybe he just doesn’t CARE about ajebutterness, people see girls straight from the actual village and marry. And getting married is not exactly the price, it’s being happy in the marriage (you know not what happens indoors so Gucci and Instagram pics are not clues). Your other friend’s relationship being based on BB… *i give up*

    • Bobosteke & Lara Bian

      October 1, 2016 at 10:37 am

      I beg to differ. That was not faking it; that was pure manipulation and deceit to which the man happened to be susceptible. The line between fakery and manipulation may be very thin, but it is there all the same. Playing the damsel in distress has worked since time immemorial. And what does happily married mean? That phrase is bandied is bandied around a lot. Whose version of events do you believe, anyway?

  14. Marlvina

    September 30, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    LOL! The car posing cracks me up. Especially while your at it and the car alarm goes off. Lmao! You don’t have your own car and so? Must you pose with one? you go die?

  15. TV stations want ONLY people with American accents?? The root problem here is not the faking. The amount of mind control and brainwashing power that western media/culture has on us is literally mind-numbing

    October 1, 2016 at 2:58 am

    TV stations want ONLY people with American accents?? That is so messed up on so many levels that my mouth stayed open for a few minutes in shock reading this.The root problem here is not even the faking. The amount of brainwashing power that western media/culture still has on us is literally mind-numbing. It really is sad.

    • LemmeRant

      October 1, 2016 at 10:27 am

      You know there’s a difference between name and comment.

      #justsaying

    • viv

      October 1, 2016 at 11:04 am

      Lol..u are mean

    • Fashionista

      October 2, 2016 at 6:01 pm

      LemmeRant, your mouth is sharp ehn! ??

  16. Bee

    October 1, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Totally agree!

  17. Excel.

    October 1, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    @Anonymous, I mistakenly liked your comment trying to click on a reply button. Your argument is no excuse. If they can speak English, they can pronounce Chiavoghilefu. If their chosen profession is broadcasting, they can pronounce Chiavoghilefu. IF THEY WISH TO. Words are pronounced in syllables. And, specific letters, consonant and vowel combinations, consonant and consonant combinations have specific sounds/pronounciations that we make all the time. There is, therefore, NOTHING difficult in pronounicing Chi (a sound/syallable everyone is used to be it in so many Ibo names such as Chioma, Chinedu, etc, or, English words such as chair, church, etc) – avo (who doesn’t know avocado?) – ghilefu (people have not been pronouncing the ”gh” sound in ”ghana”? and lefu is so easy! or, are people who’ve been pronouncing kung FU all these years suddenly going to claim this is hard?)

    Chi-avo-ghilefu. End the excuses for fakery and mediocrity!

    • "changing moniker"

      October 2, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      Oshey! !!

  18. Maguim

    October 2, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    This reminds me of a nigerian youtuber, living in the uk and back in nigeria after 10 years or so.
    She asked a young boy what his name was, and then said “sorry i cant pronunce it sonce i’ve been away from home for so long”
    I was like WTF!!!! Evn I, as a non nigerian got his name……lol

  19. nene

    October 3, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    Nigeria has a big problem. Money is our problem. Nigerians worship money and everything that comes with it.

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