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Do Better with Douglas: How to Win at Playing Nigeria & 4 People You Should Always Have in Your Corner



Douglas is BACK!
If I don’t toot my own horn who will?
Anyway, I’ve been away for two weeks because you know adulting in Nigeria is hard. If you noticed I’ve been away, I’m really touched. If you didn’t, I will be praying for retentive memory for you!

Meanwhile, can you imagine they are now making us resume at 8AM in the Ministry? I can no longer sleep till 11AM. This is not the progress Ambode promised me after I voted for him at two polling centers. Thankfully, they have not taken away the TVs or our DSTV connection; Folake and I still start the day with Africa Magic, as usual.

As I was saying earlier, Nigeria is hard. I don’t have light, my friends are being stopped by VIO and all sorts. It occurred to me that I can turn these stories of suffering into ‘advice’ and ‘inspiration’. Don’t worry I haven’t started charging motivational speaking fees just yet. In case you know Fela Durotoye and Steve Harris, tell them they can relax. Their spin doctor cheques are still safe. For now.

So here goes. And this time I’m not even trying to be funny. This is serious business. Who knows? If this civil service doesn’t pan out, I may be coming for Fela and Steve last last.

This is serious Douglas:
As you know we are at war in Nigeria. In Nigeria, we are at war. Doesn’t it feel on some days like the remaining 169,999,999 Nigerians (including family) are against you? Traffic, Police, V.I.O., your boo, PHCN, Buhari, Dino Melaye, that Big Brother Nigeria Lumapil advert, everybody and everything is just trying you.
In every war, you need allies. People who will make your life smoother and easier on the days that threaten to be the roughest and the worst. Here’s a couple of people you should always have in your corner:

P.H.C.N. Official
P.H.C.N. officials should run for President because they’re really the only ones who can guarantee you light. Did you know you can pay a Power Holding Company of Nigeria official to connect power back to your home illegally? It’s their own side hustle. They will tell you the money you will have to pay legally – on the books – is more expensive than lining their own pockets to connect it unofficially. So should you be in the patriotic, exemplary habit of not paying your bills, you really need to make friends with any of the servicemen who are in charge of electricity in your neighourhood.

A High-Ranking Official in Uniform – Police, Good. Soldier, Even Better
“Do you know who I am?” Everybody deserves to ask this question at least once if you live in Nigeria. Especially when you have been stopped by the Police, F.R.S.C., LASTMA, V.I.O, or whatever agency is on bribery duty for the day. Of course, you dare not utter these words, unless you have powers that can help you provide a strong answer. So say you’ve been stopped, accused of something silly like running a red light. You’re not in the mood. It gets rough. You whip out your phone and make that call. Hand the phone to your oppressor. “My Oga Wan Follow You Talk.”
CAUTION: Works with mixed results.

Bank Teller Personnel (for public holiday transactions)
OK, so you left all your transactions till the very last day before a three-day weekend. You are Nigerian, don’t beat yourself up. Doing things in a rush is one of the skills you were born with. To be able to, though, you need to make very good friends with one of the tellers at your bank. The strategy is simple. On rare days, when you actually see to your transactions in a timely fashion, kickstart the relationship.
Watch out for those who always greet and maybe ask how you’re doing. Respond in kind. Whenever you’re in the bank, make sure you always go to them. Make eye contact.
When making withdrawals, always leave a little something – nothing less than N500 and not above N2, 000 – for the weekend, no matter what day you are in the bank, even Monday. Collect their phone number. A time will come when you will need returns on your N1500 per transaction investment

Civil Servant
You never know when you need a state, federal government or ministry stamp for something, or when you need someone to be ‘on seat.’

With these few words of mine, I hope I have able to ‘advice’ and ‘inspire’ you. I will leave my booking information in my next article.

In the meantime, you can catch me on Twitter…check bio below.

Do Better Today!

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Douglas is a civil servant but this was not the plan. He convinced his parents to invest their elusive pensions in a private university education. He made sacrifices too. He tucked in every day, wore ties, ate tofu, attended church four times a week, listened to sermons probably drafted on private jets. He even graduated top of his class. At the end of it all the return was supposed to be a great job, regular salaries, workplace oppression by bosses who could actually write a sentence in proper English. But now he is a civil servant. Since the universe didn't keep to its end of its bargain, he won't either. He resumes work at the Secretariat at 11AM, on excellent days. Closes 3.30PM sharp. In between watching Africa Magic And gossiping with Folake in the next office, he writes things like this. You may also find him causing trouble on Twitter at: Tweets by dobetterdouglas



    April 10, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    lmao, your bio is hilarious.. This list is the truth, luckily for me I have all except PHCN officials, it’s like those people are mad. That bank one can be sweet eh especially when the queue is mad, just locate one person, smile and in 5 minutes max I’m done with the transaction. To survive in this country, it’s either you have money or you know people. You cannot cope without either, don’t even say you have God o, that one is for everybody.

    • Teekay

      April 10, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      Lol! at your last line ?

  2. jivelissie

    April 10, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    The list of people to know is on point. I don’t have a car so i’m not worried about uniform officers for now. i also think you just wrote my bio except i that i didn’t finish top of my class and i dare not go to work later than 8.30am civil service has been killing morale since 1900. Chai life is really hard in Nigeria oo. i would check you out on twitter.

    • Frank teacher

      April 12, 2017 at 9:41 am

      Sorry to be a carrier of bad news,
      Uncle or Aunty you need the uniform person regardless oh.
      One of my yard person who is a lawyer caller police for another yard person who quarelled with him. Yes, you cannot talk too much if you no get uniform person.
      You don’t need to have a car, your being (mouth) will suffice.

  3. Ndidi

    April 10, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    Good list. I’ve been wasting time hating and vexing with vio and road safety people…. I better restrategise and do the needful.

  4. Anne

    April 10, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    Sad civil service is like that mostly. My aunty, a medical doctor in the US, visited her colleague in Niger. After gisting for a long time, something dawned on her. She thought her friend was at work. How did they manage to gist for that long. Hmmnn…

  5. Concerned_boyfriend

    April 11, 2017 at 12:03 am

    Funny depictions but true. I hope some of your readers would be smart enough to identify the sarcasm cos we all know how it fly past some our countrymen heads. On the other hand, these are the very root of corruption that we all wished disappeared from our institutions. Taking short cuts on anything has consequences. If we can all follow the rule of law, wait our turn and stop enabling corruption then I think we would all have a Nigeria that works for all of us.

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