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Cisi Eze: 9 Traits of the Average Nigerian

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A pal of mine once said, “Nigerians are like Trump supporters.” What a mean generalisation! I almost asked her, “Where is thy chill, woman?” What she meant to say was, “The AVERAGE Nigerian is like a Trump supporter.” Truly, the AVERAGE Nigerian is an annoying creature.

Here, I am highlighting the attributes of an average Nigerian. Keyword is “average”. Please, get your torchlight in order to navigate through the shade you’re about to read.

Traits of the Average Nigerian (TAN)

Minds Other People’s Business
When you dress good, smell good, talk eloquently, and mind your business, TAN assumes you are haughty. This is owing to the fact that TAN does not know how to face front and drink water. No wonder they have bad skin and suffer constipation. With so much crap inside them, they ought to be hateful. They are interested in every aspect of your life that does not concern them – your children, religiosity, sexuality, car model,… Ah! Their lives are so sad – they need to judge other people to feel better about themselves. Very miserable behaviour!

Never Keeps To Time
TAN NEVER keeps to time. You invite him/her to an event for 1000HRS and he/she doesn’t show up until 1600HRS. Like, is there a trophy the latest person gets? Tell me! Don’t keep me in the dark, edakun. Going late is cli-fudging-ché! Isn’t it amazing how we’ve normalised bad behaviour? That something is conventional does not make it necessarily right. Then again, as I always say, morality is a function of consensus.

Dumb Aae-Eff
Have you ever heard the saying, “If you want to hide something from an African, hide it in a book”? This is so true when it comes to TAN – he/she does not read! He/she is probably in a battle with printed words. Sadly, they tend to be very opinionated about what they do not know about. Who does that? How do you know so much about what you do not know about? That explains why some of them say asinine things like, “Depression is a choice.” Have you seen their social media updates and how it is replete with irrelevant abbreviations? MOST of the dumb ideas on social media are typed in abbreviations. Start paying attention.

Hypocritical
TAN is not just black-faced (you know; melanin), he/she is also two-faced! Gawsh! TAN will say “G”, “D”, or even “O” in public, meanwhile dans la boudoir, he/she is recklessly and passionately doing “V” or “P”. Why the pretext, please? Why condemn an act you are guilty of? In addition, TAN thrives on putting appearances over personal happiness. How else do I explain the lavish wedding parties in this economic recession? Is “recession” just another nine-letter word? Let’s not forget those people in abusive marriages that slather social media platforms with “cute pics” of their soul-crushing marriages. Hypocrites are a walking irony.

Too Religious
Everything is religion to TAN. Religion, surely, is the opium of the people! You know what I think? The average Nigerian is not living; he/she is waiting to die in order to go to heaven. Any small thing, “At least, all this is vanity. Heaven is my home.” A belief in the afterlife helps TAN cope with harsh Nigerian realities. Religion has made them docile and forgiving of the government. The government does something irksome and TAN says, “God will help us.” Haha! Really? We have been saying this since 19-forever!

Hates Other Nigerians
Yes, yes… The Average Nigerian hates other Nigerians. Look at how they allow ethnicity seep into every-daem-thing. You would think the NYSC thingy would help fix this. Alas! NYSC is a sham. Shame! I don’t want to get started on how some Igbo people hate people from other parts of Igboland. Haha! But they want Biafra. Ihukwa nsogbu raised to power two!

Supports Trump
The average Nigerian believes Trump is the best thing to happen to America. He/she probably hates Obama for legalising same-sex marriages. I was not disappointed when TAN went on about how Yahweh (I typed “YHWH” because I love being specific) is bringing sanity to America through Trump. Trump is sexist and racist. Yahweh supports Trump. Ergo, YHWH is … (If you understand syllogism, kindly conclude. Thanks.)

Enjoys Trashy Music
The Nigerian reality is so sad and as a result, TAN finds comfort in trash songs. These trash songs have great beats, they claim. As the similar-sounding beats are dope, they readily lap up the stupid lyrics like a cat lapping milk off a saucer. Trashy Naija jams give them life. Such life!

Loves Redundant Customs
When you tell TAN that paying bride price is senseless, he/she would tell you, “It is our culture. That is how it has always been.” The average Nigerian does not understand it is imperative to update our values to suit what we have right now. Why do they keep pouring old wine into new wine skins? This is depressing. For there to be growth and development, there must be change. They spew the “it’s our culture” crap while worshipping a foreign deity. (Sings) Dum-dum-dum-dum-dum! A line from Chinelo Okparanta’s Under the Udala Tree explains this: “(…) the ritual continues, even if there’s no longer any real significance behind it.”

There you have it – traits of an average Nigerian. Please, if you exude at least six of these qualities, I’m afraid, you are an average Nigerian.

Shout out to average Nigerians! How is the average life? Averaging must be fun, I wager.

P.S. I love you, but on a serious note, for Nigeria to be better, we all need to contribute to the change we want to see. We have to get rid of beliefs and behaviours that do not support us as a people. It is about time we worked towards a Nigeria our children would be proud of. How many of us are still proud to be Nigerians?

Photo Credit: Robert Byron | Dreamstime.com

Cisi Eze is a Lagos-based freelance journalist, writer, comic artist, and graphics designer. She feels strongly about LGBT+ rights, feminism, gender issues, and mental health, and this is expressed through her works on Bella Naija and her blog – Shades of Cisi. Aside these, she has works on Western Post NG, Kalahari Review, Holaafrica, Mounting the Moon, Gender IT, Outcast Magazine, Rustin Times, 14: An Anthology of Queer Art Volume 1 and 2, and Sweet Deluge (Issue 2). Her first book, published by Tamarind Hill Press, UK, is titled “Of Women, Edges, and Parks”. Cisi’s art challenges existing societal norms.

49 Comments

  1. Onyi

    April 3, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Tor, as I no dey average…

    • osa

      April 3, 2017 at 11:46 pm

      Is the writer a split half of me? ?Brilliant write up! Especially the part where the average nigerian considers you haughty when you dress well, smell good and mind your business.

    • Authentic Sunshine

      April 4, 2017 at 7:31 am

      Late to this party.
      The write up is condescending but true.
      While we are on the subject of irritating traits of TANs including my humble blessed self which must go to move us forward:
      1. TAN is a copy copy with no mind of his / her own. You want to build mansion cos Charles did. . Not knowing if Charles is struggling with maintenance. Igbo men rather than build monstrousities in the village, try classy duplexes you can manage till old age. Use the change to erect 3 boreholes as charity.
      2 TAN is a sycophant. Ahn Ahn. We will praise and praise shamelessly ready to sell our souls for a cob of corn plus thieves and agberos. And we wonder why the chickens them have come home to roost. PS: Always ask what does he/she do when he/ she posts that picture on social media.
      3. TAN never a knowledges important headlines. Our BN and SDK are quick tools for quick tolls. See the topic we are quick to comment on. And until we change our mindset then mb, we are not ready. PS:; As you hustle to comment on issues related to relationships & sex, make it a point of duty to drop on tourism, environment, charity, justice on the same day.

  2. Halima

    April 3, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    writer is just like TAN..mind your business, if people decide to do big weddings in this ‘recession’ what’s your business? na your money? if people decide to listen to ‘Trashy’ is it your ear? and yes, some traditions wouldn’t go. If you don’t want your bride price to be paid it’s your business. England still maintain their monarchical system of government even if it’s old as the world. why haven’t they changed? let some traditions be abeg. that’s why we are unique.

    • tunmi

      April 3, 2017 at 7:15 pm

      lmaooooooo I don’t know whether to laugh or…nevermind, na laugh I go laugh lmaooooooooooooo

    • Choc!

      April 3, 2017 at 7:20 pm

      God bless you!

    • Lailatu

      April 3, 2017 at 10:31 pm

      Now Halima, that’s so funny but true.?

    • Red

      April 4, 2017 at 12:23 am

      Gbammmm!!!!

  3. omoJesu

    April 3, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Thank you! Agree 90% except the Trump piece. That said, you did well spelling out we’ve got work to do as a people.

  4. Spunky

    April 3, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    We agree…we like it like that! You sef face front.

  5. tunmi

    April 3, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    lmaooooooooooooooo Cisi…sha continue

  6. Rahama

    April 3, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    I swear you live in my head Cisi. Aside from the Trump bit everything else is true. TBH 80% of Nigerians disgust me. There, I just said it.

    • Nicex

      April 3, 2017 at 9:12 pm

      Sorry are you not a Nigerian?

    • Red

      April 4, 2017 at 12:23 am

      errrr…..but as per, poster’s points, you a definition of the average “TAN”. Specifically “Hates other Nigerians”…

  7. gurl_wendy

    April 3, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    I find the sweeping generalisations very irritating….

  8. nunulicious

    April 3, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    This article came across as judgemental. and accusatory.
    If it’s for the clicks hope you’re happy.

    • Nitomeya

      April 3, 2017 at 8:56 pm

      It does sound judgmental but sadly it is the truth and the truth hurts. We is the key word. We as Nigerians need to own up to our truths and start making changes. The average Nigerian consist of what we see in society today.

    • EE

      April 3, 2017 at 9:24 pm

      Start making changes????? FFS

      Her 1 is common to all communities, minding business is an urban thing,

      Her 2 is absurd considering she likely is in Lagos, famed for its traffic, clan meetings when I head home are always punctual, market women punctual, the LAWMA women, punctual, the Priest at mass, punctual, the farmer rising to his farm e.t.c.

      “How else do I explain the lavish wedding parties in this economic recession?” *Sigh* Recessions……..you know the thing caused by reduction in economic activity……..economic activity like I dunno lavish weddings, employing their caterers, ushers, butchers, cooks, e.t.c.

      “Too religious.”: ??????????????????

      “Hates” is the wrong word.

      The average Nigerian, e.g a market woman neither cares nor gives a toss about Obama or Trump. This is a classic strawman.

      Calling music trashy is a personal opinion and BTW, its minding other people’s business. Is it your music???

      Yes, the average Nigerian loves redundant customs so much, we’re still consigning our women to the kitchen? Killing our twins? FGM is accepted by society?? e.t.c.

      This sounds like truth to you because it plays to your biases, I have never understood the disdain for less privileged Nigerians, the mockery??????Not right.

      Ohh and those who call others average should take care, that they themselves aren’t.

      Ask Cisi why she thinks bride-price is senseless, willing to bet that the best she can do is call it old.

      Go ahead people, say the usual things.?

  9. LemmeRant

    April 3, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    9). They don’t read bellanaija.

    • A Real Nigerian

      April 3, 2017 at 8:51 pm

      Lame retort as always. Try again.

    • LemmeRant

      April 3, 2017 at 9:01 pm

      Awww did you miss me? I know you like Cisi.

      How was your day?

    • EE

      April 3, 2017 at 9:01 pm

      Might be lame, but he’s right and that’s what matters.

  10. Bowl

    April 3, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    And the above average Nigerian has no identity.He thinks himself quite classy. He is so annoyingly straight – jacketed..He is as fake as they come. The Nigerian market had long dispensed with him. This is why trashy music sell s to the average Nigerian.And oh I forgot, the average Nigerian is so flavorful. That is who he is . You the above average Nigerian have no flavor.You as bland as Normal saline.Nonsecable!

  11. Bowl

    April 3, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    You are, forgive my typos

  12. Nitomeya

    April 3, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    Well this is an interesting one and the truth in some cases. Time, not minding one’s business, too religious, being judgmental and hypocritical of others. Thanks for bringing out the ills of society and possible behaviors that we need to change. Is it possible to also talk about things that make being an average Nigerian worthwhile.

  13. Bowl

    April 3, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    And the above Nigerian has no identity. He thinks himself quite classy.He is so annoyingly straight- jacketed.He is as fake as they come . The Nigerian market had long dispensed with him. This why trashy music sells to the average Nigerian.And oh , I forgot,the average Nigerian is so flavorful.That is who he is.You the above average Nigerian have no flavor. You are as bland as Normal Saline.Nonsecable !

  14. EE

    April 3, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    This is extremely condescending, its downright impossible to find ONE Nigerian that meets all the qualities you out and as impossible to find a human being without them.

    Those average Nigerians you hate so much, they contribute as much, if not more to our country’s wellbeing than you. Quit being so damn anal all the time.

    • Nicex

      April 3, 2017 at 9:08 pm

      EE please don’t fall my hands, you do know the meaning of average right? These things happen in society and you know it. It could easily have been you that was saying these things Cisi listed.

  15. john

    April 3, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    agree with the biafra part..one major problem about Igbos is that they genuinely and delusionally thinks that they are intelligent and above others in IQ department …others are stupid…that is why an a igbo peraon from rivers with an igbo name and speaks igbo will tell you he or she is not igbo but ikwerre or anioma( delta part) even onitsha people are doing that nonsense… imo people will send all anambra people parking from all civil services and tell them to go home .. likewise Enugu will do the same ..no wonder osu caste system thrived very well over there a long time ago.. Catholic igbos vs anglican igbos will fight and discriminate bitterly aganst one another and you start to wonder if no be the same God again..even during biafran war,it was some part of igbo people that went and betrayed and leaked secrets to the enemy..Igbos are a confused tribe..The best way for Nigeria to develop is true federalism, reconstruction( confab things) every state or region should go and develop thier natural and physicall resources and stop being a parasite to others

  16. Bowl

    April 3, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    And the above average Nigerian has no identity. He thinks himself quite classy .He is as fake as they come .He is so annoyingly straight-jacketed.Whereas the average Nigerian is Flavorful, he is flavorless.The Nigerian market had long dispensed with the above average Nigerian.It is the reason trashy music sells to TAN.The above average Nigerian is as bland as Normal Saline.

  17. MamaJollof

    April 3, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    this is the most foolish article i have read on bella naija…Pls don’t do this again o

  18. Frank

    April 3, 2017 at 11:06 pm

    I totally relate with you on everything except the Trump Part. How is that any of your biz what one’s political view lie. I guess you are mad that Hiliary didn’t win with her supposed female power. By the way you must be one of the TAN you are writing about because how is it any of your biz who Americans support. You must be one hell of an Aproko. I mean you live in Lagos, so what’s your biz with Trump supporters. It just shows how Dumb As Fuck you are. And why do you hate Nigerians so much, even from your write up it shows how hypocritical you are. I bet you are as clueless as they come. I bet you even listen to the trashy music you are dissing. If you don’t have something inspiring, enlightening, educational to write, please go sit your fake behind down somewhere. I only blame whomever approved this garbage article.

    • Voom

      April 5, 2017 at 5:30 pm

      Wow. So angry. Have some roasted groundnut?

  19. Oluchi

    April 4, 2017 at 12:16 am

    Let me put a more positive spin on being Nigerian.
    1. There is no dull moment with Nigerians. Nigerians do not need to create fun, we are fun personified.
    2. We have so much culture and diversity going for us, it’s simply mindblowing
    3. Nigerians don’t mind their own business, and that’s why strangers will storm into your house at midnight to quench a fire resulting from your faulty generator, and will offer an empathetic “pele” to boot
    4. Being Nigerian instills in you a strong sense of identity and pride. Racial inferiority is never a problem regardless of location. You are never a wannabe because you are ‘it’.
    5. Suffering and smiling is a phrase you’re familiar with. It’s the dogged resilience that makes you keep striving against all odds
    6. Nigerians have a sense of community. No thanks to the cold, isolating loneliness that some subscribe to. Happily Nigerian!
    7. The average Nigerian is a go getter. Enough said.
    8. If being a Nigerian is such a despicable thing, please switch nationality, you’ll be spoilt for choice. You can start from our bordering neighbours: Benin republic, Cameroon, Niger…I’m sure Utopia is obtainable there
    9. If there was reincarnation, I’d gladly be a Nigerian allover again!

  20. Red

    April 4, 2017 at 12:23 am

    I agree!

  21. Bee

    April 4, 2017 at 4:45 am

    I do not care about all the the points that you made. I am posting this comment in regards to your disregard for bride price. You do not value what you have because you have not traveled enough, or lived outside the shores of Nigeria in a country or continent where culture is non existent. I live in the United of America, and I have been living there for decades. My kids are almost all grown up. Do you know what it entails to live without having a culture??? Do you what it is to be alive not believe in anything??? You don’t think your parents count, you don’t have any recognition or any form of obligations to your siblings. Nothing matters at all. Your kids grow up, move out and you hear he or she is married. I have met people, that have not been in contact with their parents for 30yrs. I have met lots of parents, that are so alone especially at christmas and have not seen their kids in decades. They live like drifters. The culture that we embrace binds us, it nurtures us, it checks us, it gives us values, and above all it unifies us. I like the fact that bride price is paid, it is not that the bride is being bought but it is a symbol that a woman has some value. The groom’s parents and kinsmen come before the bride’s parents and kinsmen, and it is established that both kinsmen are in acceptance of the marraige. My friends here in the United states have been remarried about 5 times, some of them 3 times. They have 6 kids for 4 fathers. Anything and everything is acceptable. I bring my kids to Nigeria as much as I can and explain all the customs and traditions to them. My daughter has done quite a lot of publications with respect to the rich customs and traditions we have in Nigeria. When my kids were still in elementary school I was always invited to talk about the way customs and traditions are regarded in Nigeria. My dear embrace what you have, for it is indeed a beautiful thing. The original settler’s of America( the native indians) have a lot of customs and traditions till date. They are extremely respected across the united states. They have their settlements and reservations where their customs are preserved. Culture indeed is a very good thing and it should be preserved.

    • Glowing Sapphire

      April 4, 2017 at 11:27 am

      I love the way you expressed this from a very logical perspective. @Bee.
      Cisi – This article has some salient points but not directed at The Average Nigerian, but TAN which happens to be what it is… An abbreviation for what it is not.
      The Average Nigerian makes mistakes but the place for worship, good cultural values shouldn’t be misplaced. The article appears broad with negative vibes, yet very narrow with most examples shared.

    • Voom

      April 5, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      Agree with a lot of what you said. But the American way of life which seems without culture isn’t. Their lack of culture is their culture. But its something you can’t relate to or subscribe to because you are a foreigner.
      Some of our culture is good while others are plain holding us back. I think its the latter the OP means for us to discard.

  22. Southern

    April 4, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Madam Cisi, calling TAN dumb…
    Pray tell, is the saying pouring old wine in new skin? One pouring new wine in old skin???
    The log in your eyes babe!

    • Southern

      April 4, 2017 at 9:13 am

      **or pouring new wine into old skin**

    • Voom

      April 5, 2017 at 5:39 pm

      Why put something “worthless” in a thing of value?

  23. Nuna

    April 4, 2017 at 9:33 am

    I enjoy your articles but this is your most senseless article yet.

  24. kenechukwu

    April 4, 2017 at 9:35 am

    thank GOD AM NOT an average Nigerian

  25. kay

    April 4, 2017 at 9:42 am

    We are trying so hard to be like the whites that we have forgotten our identity, a person is bashed for speaking in pidgin or their local dialect, bashed for wearing native attire to work on a weekday even when you still look and work smart in it, we are gradually losing ourselves and the whites laugh at us. They can’t value us cos we don’t value ourselves and our cultures. I will rather be the average than condescend to fit in with folks who don’t even care. Be you, respect other’s opinions.

  26. winnie

    April 4, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Madam @Bee, Thank you so much for your comment.. Rubbish Article.

  27. Miss P

    April 4, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    I’m upset I read this to the end, such bitters with this pen down.. u strike me like an “average Nigerian” 2

  28. Mila

    April 7, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    I was looking forward to reading more from Cisi Eze…..but I have to say I am quite disappointed at your generalisations. Yes, there are many so-called TAN attributes in your article that we have come to associate with ignorance, small-mindedness and Trumpsters (rightfully or wrongfully – another generalisation that I am trying to shed) ….But here is where I disagree, the condescending grouping of entire populations into clearly defined points (where if you score 6/9 then you are TAN) just makes you a classic ‘ignorant and arrogant’ personality type – @Bee is spot on, an understanding of one’s culture and identity is not bad – yes there are parts that have to be done away with….but what is life without identity and culture? why is a lack of culture or a departure from identity a ‘good’ thing, a ‘cool’ thing? Reminds me of when back then, speaking Yoruba was viewed as an ‘uncool’ ‘bush’ thing…….. You are in danger of falling into a trap where your aspiration for intellectualism, depth, clarity of thought, means that you lose a little of yourself till you no longer exist…. You become a shadow of sorts, a person from nowhere who is going nowhere….all in the name of being, new-age, western and cool, not conforming just for the sake of rebelling.

    Let’s talk about the 7th point – I find it deviously comforting that you are TAN in spite of your intellectual moral high horse-ness – your syllogistic assumptions is frustrating – ‘The average Nigerian believes Trump is the best thing to happen to America. He/she probably hates Obama for legalising same-sex marriages…..’ in itself is a case of pan calling pot black – You are TAN….. look in the mirror

    I sense you don’t care much for empty religion….heck, religion, even? However – your offensive generalisation of Christians is distasteful – being racist, sexist, homophobic are all dark sides of the human condition – at this point, I would have to call you a Christianophobe too, cause you dragged God Himself (not just TAN’s interpretation of God) into this mess of an article.

  29. Charlie

    April 8, 2017 at 11:21 am

    I like how Nigerians get angry over someone’s opinion. I have only 2 of those traits thankfully and I’m actually working to be better. She wrote a piece just saying, you didn’t have to comment but you did. Y’all need to chill and drink cold water.

  30. Sam

    April 21, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Engaging article. It’s funny you need not look to far seeking TAN. Just checkout the comments section. Multiple average Nigerians at our very best.
    From the prerogative judges to the ‘never own up to our vices’ gangs, to the delusional cyber hypocrite whose words on the internet aren’t his/her true personality. We are all TAN and we need to change..

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