When we heard that some people were giving ‘tips’ to waiters in parties so they could stuff their tables with orishirishi delicacies and many bottles of wine, we knew that the culture of tipping in Nigeria has entered level 100.
How can you go to a party and the jollof rice will not ‘do you’, so tey you have to grease the waiter(s) palm with money in order to get more food and wine? Is shame not catching you? Some people will even hide food under the table and some would buy bagco bag to stuff food (that they will eat for the next 6 months) inside the bag. Don’t let us talk about those who pour drinks inside plastic bottles so they can take it home. The painful part of it all is that these types of people will not buy wedding gifts for the couple. They will come empty-handed and still finish the whole food.
We hail Nigerians o. We fear who no fear una.
Are you aware that some people tip BRT ‘ticketers’ so they can enter the bus without joining the long queue? We even heard that the payment could be as low as 50 Naira? Allegedly.
The culture of jump and pass, skip and fly, magomago and ‘being smart’ is one that is deeply ingrained in the veins of a lot of Nigerians. Everybody wants to pass corner corner to get what they want.
And can you blame them? In Nigeria today, if you don’t drop something, then you wee sleep dia. O.Y.O is your case. Even with complete particulars, policemen will still hold you until you ‘drop something’. SARS nko? Those ones don’t even ask for tips, they bluntly request huge sums of money.
Sometimes, it can be more pronounced and brutal. For instance, to get your international passport – without any itch, you have to ‘drop something’. You don’t want to drop? Ehn, then you will sleep there. By the time you roam about for months without getting the passport, no one will teach you before you bribe the right people. The Nigerian Police Force has been chanting “bail is free, bail is free”, but everyone knows it is not free – you have to ‘drop something’.
Let’s not talk about the airport. Terrible tales. It seems everybody in Nigeria is expecting the other person to drop something.
Even to collect your transcript from your university, you have to pay outrageous fees. Some pay as high as 50, 000 Naira – excluding the other tips you have to drop. No money? No transcript.
To get admission into the university is another tale. In many cases, you need to know somebody that knows somebody somewhere. This, closely accompanied by money, will make the whole admission process smoother.
When people went to register for the National Identification Card (card that most people have not received after 5 years), a lot of people complained that they had to give tips of between 500 – 1000 naira before they were attended to. For those who eventually collected their cards, many of them claim that they had to tip their way through it all.
Other times, it is more subtle and quietly done. If you go to withdraw money from your bank ATM, the gateman will just be hailing you anyhow “madam, you look beautiful today”, “oga happy weekend”, “the machine is rejecting your card, let me help you clean it well”, “madam, today na weekend o”, “Ah Oga, don’t fall o. This our staircase sef”. Some of these greetings is not because they love you – in case you’re getting deceived, it is because they want you to give them money. They will keep over-greeting you that by the time you finish withdrawing the money, your conscience will be prickling you to ‘drop something’.
If you go to buy groceries at the mall, the cashier will say “there’s no change o” so you can be forced to leave it and go. If you insist on collecting your change, they will grudgingly bring out the money, mumbling words like “Nawa, he cannot even leave this small change. Stingy man”.
The worrisome part of it is how it has become normal. ‘Drop something’ has become a Nigerian lingua. People can hardly do their jobs well if they are not given extra cash. From the cleaner on the street to the gateman who over-smiles at you, to that waiter at the party, why is everyone expecting to get tips? Like why? Do you know the answer? Because we don’t!
Should we say it is the economic situation of the country? Or corruption is in the blood of Nigerians? Do we feel entitled or we just like to beg?
Why do you also give tips? Are you scared you won’t get what you want if you don’t bribe your way in? Let’s face it, a ‘tip’ is just another name for bribery in Nigeria. If you are fond of tipping certain people, you are indirectly contributing to corruption and the rot Nigeria is right now. If you are also fond of giving ‘ticketers’ money at the BRT terminal, just because you don’t want to join the queue, you are one of the many problems of Nigeria.
And if you are one of those who bribe waiters at parties so they can bring more food and drinks for you, we have no words for you. Everything is all fun and food, but realize that na from clap dance dey start.
It is from little little tips like these that corruption became one of the solid pillars in Nigeria.