Nigerian Culture or Alternative Culture?

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Nigerian Culture or Alternative Culture?
Ndidi Uwechue
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1st January 2020

Living in Nigeria, it is tiring to hear the usual response of, “This is Nigeria” or “This is not the UK” or “Are you not a Nigerian?”, in the face of obvious wrongdoing that I have challenged.

In any country the predominant culture is the one that characterises the country, and is the one that citizens are known for, and labelled by. For instance consider two foreign travellers arriving at London’s Heathrow airport. Both are males of the same age and social class, both are attended to by the same Immigration Officer, but one carries a Japanese passport, and the other carries a Nigerian passport. Japanese are renown for being law-abiding and having a tidy, productive little country. The Immigration Officer knowing facts about the cultures of the two countries where the travellers come from asks them different questions, his aim being to keep Britain safe from “undesirables”. The Nigerian stays longer interacting with the Immigration Officer and when he is allowed through to enter Britain he feels that UK’s Immigration Service is somewhat antinubianist (Antinubianism is racism specifically against Black people).

Culture matters. This is because “by their fruits ye shall know them” which means that by the results of their culture a people are known. The condition of Japan is due to the culture that predominates among the Japanese. The condition of Nigeria is due to the culture that predominates among Nigerians. Simply put: good culture produces a good nation; bad culture produces a bad nation. So citizens of these differing cultures are viewed and treated differently by the world.

Why are Nigerians fleeing Nigeria in droves? Because they want to go to where there is a DIFFERENT CULTURE and a BETTER CULTURE so that they can have a GOOD life. It is not politically correct these days to openly criticise any culture, but I shall do so because Nigeria is in Darkness of wrongdoing and I know what can bring us Light, and respect among the nations, plus give hope and a future to our young people.

This article is not considering the type of wrongdoing committed regularly by our ruling politicians and civil servants, it is about wrongdoing by the ordinary Nigerian. Wrongdoing has become such a normal part of general Nigerian Culture that it needs to have a searchlight beamed on it so that we are clear about it, and it includes:

  • “African time” – that practice of being late, and being insincere about time.
  • Maintaining a filthy and untidy environment.
  • Unwillingness to wait one’s turn.
  • Revelling in noise-making.
  • Motorists who have no concern whatsoever for any pedestrian (child or adult) on the road.
  • A pupil in school, or a student in a tertiary institution cheating in a test, exam, or in an assignment.
  • A teacher or lecturer who facilitates exam malpractice.
  • A trader involved in selling fake, expired or substandard food, medicines, or goods.
  • A market seller who is not transparent by declining to display the prices of goods.
  • A bus, taxi or keke (tricycle) driver who overfills his vehicle so that he can make more money.
  • A civil servant who will not do their job unless getting undue personal gain.
  • Staff who are sloppy yet expect a salary, then later a pension.
  • A worker who steals food, drink, money, or any item from their employer.

The amount of wrongdoing that forms part of normal Nigerian Culture is pretty extensive. What is clear about Nigerian Culture, what underpins it and keeps it strong and dominant is its near-exclusive focus on SELF. With that comes UNCONCERN for others, for animals, for the environment, and for the country in general. In a nutshell, Nigerian Culture is based on SELF. In contrast, although not perfect societies, that is why Nigerians pray to be in Europe (or the West) where the culture is about COMMUNITY and how to create a pleasant life and environment for self and for OTHERS.

When a culture is so much based on SELF, with people concerned only about what SELF wants, and what SELF thinks, and SELF ego, then society stagnates. When such a situation is reached where the dominant culture is based on SELF as in Nigeria, then it is time for the emergence of an ALTERNATIVE CULTURE. This is where those who reject SELF-focus, and rather are concerned about others, want a caring community, want a clean, beautiful and safe environment, and want to be part of a thinking and intelligent culture, can find a home.

There is another option to the (for now) dominant Nigerian Culture – there is an ALTERNATIVE CULTURE available for Nigerians too. Those who are satisfied and quite comfortable with what Nigerian Culture represents, but which the world holds in disdain as is evidenced by Nigeria’s low reputation among the nations, and by how holders of a Nigerian passport are treated, and by how our youth are seeking to flee such a culture, are quite free to hold on to their Nigerian Culture.

However, there is also an ALTERNATIVE CULTURE for those who want a culture where “doing the right thing”, and “doing the right thing the right way”, not SELF are its foundations. Nigerians who are to be part of our new ALTERNATIVE CULTURE are the ones who are going to show the watching world that we are law-abiding not lawless, we are honest not dishonest, we are hardworking not malingerers, we build not destroy, we are smart not stupid, and that we can be trusted.

This is only an introduction to Nigeria’s new ALTERNATIVE CULTURE. More articles will be written by many of us who are part of this ALTERNATIVE CULTURE. A new year is upon us where new resolutions are made. We can see that culture matters so what will it be: the Nigerian Culture or the Alternative Culture? You choose.

This post was written by Ndidi Uwechue.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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