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Iniobong Umoh: 10 Things You Identify With as a Nigerian



As a Nigerian, there are several things and experiences that you identify with. If you can’t identify with at least five of these items, then your ‘Nigerianness’ is in doubt and you should move to Cameroun before we throw you out.

Police brutality/harassment
“The police is your friend” is a popular saying that looks good only on paper. From extortion at road checkpoints to arbitrary arrest for carrying laptops and electronic devices without receipts, to false accusation of involvement in yahoo-yahoo, to trump up charges and forced statements, to being thrown into jail on trumped-up charges, to collecting bail, to accidental discharge etc, the police showcases its version of friendship every day. If you have never had an encounter with the men in black, you are one of the few lucky Nigerians alive. And you should pray never to ever cross their path.

Shouting ‘Up Nepa!’
You can’t be a Nigerian and claim not to have shouted “Up Nepa” before. Have you ever taken a look at your electric bulbs and wished that Nepa would give light and Nepa suddenly gives light? The feeling is orgasmic! Have you ever called home to inquire if there is light? If you are experiencing 24 hours electricity all year round, then you are not in our Nigeria. You should tell us which part of the country you are in so that we relocate and join you there.

ATM wahala
Every one has been stranded at one time or the other at a bank because of inability to withdraw cash from the Atm. Mainly caused by poor bank network and empty ATM cash bins.

Hustling for food and souvenirs at events and ceremonies
There comes a time when you drop all appearance of decorum, gentlemanliness/ladyness and fight with your fellow guests to secure a plate of oily jollof rice and fried meat. There are times when you must trade blows with fellow mourners to collect the obituary program at a funeral service.

Using Soda soap
Soda is bae. If you have never used soda soap to wash your plates, clothes, and even bath with it, you are not a Nigerian, period! Even liquid soap bows to Soda.

Going around with phone chargers
The Nigerian is always on the lookout for where to charge his/her phone. So we carry all types of chargers everywhere we go to. As soon as the Nigerian enters a building, the first thing he or she looks for is an electrical socket to plug in his/her phone to charge. Even in Aso Rock.

Patronising the chemist shop
The local chemist shop is the place that cures all ailments. And the wonder drug prescribed by the “doctor” is Paracetamol. It is only when you have tried everything in the chemist shop and there’s no improvement, and you are half-dead and on your way to meeting your ancestors in the great beyond, that they carry you to the hospital.

Using Ghana must go and polyethene bags
Every Nigerian uses black polythene bags, and ‘Ghana must go’ bags where clothes, books and other items are warehoused.

A love for titles, positions and awards
Want to make the Nigerian happy? Give him a position and an award, and he will appreciate you even if the award is meaningless. The only way of showing superiority over others is the length of titles that precedes your name; Hon, Rt Hon, Barr, Chief, Dr, Prof, Bishop, Jp, MNI, FSS, 419, SSCE, HIV+ etc.

A strong belief in evil supernatural forces
Evil forces from the village are following you and so you must destroy them in whatever way you can. By combining the practice of Christianity, Islam, prayer house assignments, occultism and voodoo.

Do you agree with this list?

Photo Credit: Tomasz Kobiela |


  1. le coco

    March 23, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    that love for titles is so true. my goodness.. Dr, pastor, Mrs. bla bla.. I knw Nigerian women who have never worked a day in their lives but strted doing a doctorate. All that stress because u want to be a dressed as DR(Mrs).. blah blah.. haba..

    • Iniobong Umoh

      March 26, 2017 at 12:08 am

      And here’s a title for you: Prof Le coco 😀

  2. Nigerian and unsure what I feel about her

    March 23, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Police brutality/harassment (Never experienced for this I am grateful)

    Shouting ‘Up Nepa!’ (Well not shouting per say but being excited.)

    Hustling for food and souvenirs at events and ceremonies (I have never done this and been insulted over this severally, something along the lines of “you don’t know how to fight for your right”, ‘you’re actually stuid oo”, etc)

    ATM wahala (yep!)

    Using Soda soap (Never heard of this ever)

    Going around with phone chargers( Power banks, so same)

    Patronizing the chemist shop (Well semi-true my mother was the chemist shop, with this green basket filled with everything medicine )

    Using Ghana must go and polyethene bags( guilty!!)

    A love for titles, positions and awards (While I appreciate the effort put into getting them(in cases where effort was put in), humanity is the only thing I respect in a person)

    A strong belief in evil supernatural forces (I do believe that there is a God. It ends there though)

    • Tolu

      March 23, 2017 at 7:57 pm

      Misusing the word “severally” as you’ve done is another thing Nigerians identify with.

    • Iniobong Umoh

      March 26, 2017 at 12:10 am

      Lol, Tolu, i wish i could edit it

    • Iniobong Umoh

      March 26, 2017 at 12:09 am

      Thanks for reading

  3. I'm not joking

    March 23, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    My mum said she must get a phd so that it’s written on her tombstone.

    We laughed so hard but she told us she’s serious. My brother is helping her with research and applications to flexible foreign programmes

    • Honestina

      March 24, 2017 at 12:17 am

      Hahahahaha. For real??? Good luck to her

    • Iniobong Umoh

      March 26, 2017 at 12:11 am

      @I’m not joking This is funny. I would like to meet your mum

  4. gia

    March 23, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    A strong belief in evil supernatural forces

    I hate this

  5. chique

    March 23, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    Your lashes made me have goose bumps….seriously
    Your poinrs are valid.,.

  6. just saying

    March 23, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    Great write up!
    Our love for title is very true but I don’t agree with including HIV+. I think that’s quite insensitive, you’ll be surprised that so many people you know are actually living with HIV. I’m sure they won’t find this joke funny.

    • Iniobong Umoh

      March 26, 2017 at 12:17 am

      @Just saying thanks for pointing that out. My apologies. I didn’t mean any harm using hiv+ in the context of this write-up.

  7. Nelo

    March 23, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    On point. Soda soap reminds me of boarding school. ‘Up nepa’ is one of the first phrases a Nigerian toddler learns. Nigeria I hail thee

    • Iniobong Umoh

      March 26, 2017 at 12:18 am

      You are right Nelo. Every toddler knows how to yell “Up Nepa!”

  8. Cameroonian

    March 24, 2017 at 1:01 am

    I guess I truly am Cameroonian and should relocate there, as I only identify with 5…LOL

    • Iniobong Umoh

      March 26, 2017 at 12:20 am

      Cameroonian please relocate and don’t forget to send some cameroun pepper over to us…lol

  9. Ajala & foodie

    March 24, 2017 at 3:35 am

    I am Nigerian and I am yet to shout “up NEPA. I grew up in part of Lagos where we had power 24/7. By the time my parents moved out of the area we were all out of the country. I have since visited and experienced power outage but I guess since I did not grow shouting up NEPA , it just never happens.
    Note: I am usually transparent on here but I think leaving out the particular location in Lagos will be the wise thing to do.

    • Name

      March 24, 2017 at 11:49 am

      Why? Are people going to travel into the past, 30 years before, and recreate your memories?


    • Ajala & Foodie

      March 24, 2017 at 5:55 pm

      @ Name, because I like to keep my identity private like you.

    • le coco

      March 24, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      ppl don’t really shout that anymore.. honestly

    • Iniobong Umoh

      March 26, 2017 at 12:29 am

      @Ajala & Foodie, its remarkable that you’ve not shouted “up Nepa!” in your life. I wish we all had the luxury of stable power supply. Aside from the part of Lagos where you grew up in, the only part of Nigeria that there’s 24/7 power supply is Bonny Island in Rivers state.

  10. LostInSpace

    March 24, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    I disagree with some of your points because it does not only identify with Nigerians. For instance, Police brutality/harassment is a global issue. I bet you haven’t seen white folks hustle for food at organization’s functions! Fear go catch you! It just human nature, everyone loves free stuff.

  11. Temi

    March 24, 2017 at 9:59 pm


  12. Iniobong Umoh

    March 26, 2017 at 12:31 am

    @lostInSPace, i guess the fighting spirit behind free food is universal 😀

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