Bbc, Olusosun And Nigerian Middle Class Hypocrisy By Odumorun

Read this article/post/writeup on Naira Land ...Even though some point I do not agree with, I would say the Man hit the nail right in the head

What is it with many educated Nigerians that we can't take the truth and get so upset when foreigners see through our bluff and bluster and point out what anybody who's ever lived in Nigeria knows - that we are a poor, underdeveloped mismanaged country where most people live in abject poverty.

True the western media play up the negatives, because it is in their interest to do so. But we're not the only country they dislike; they dislike the Libyans, Iranians and Chinese more than they do us, because they challenge them while we don't. So if they could show people eating from dustbins in these countries they definitely would. If they don't show such images from Tehran, Tripoli and Beijing, it’s because it probably doesn't happen there.

Of course most Nigerians don't live in Olusosun, but neither do most Nigerians live in the houses we see in Nollywood - I have not seen too many Nigerians complain about the false image Nolllywood portrays of contemporary Nigerian life. Most people in Lagos live in crowded, fetid and stinking slums, with no access to proper drainage, drinking water, parks, good roads. A couple of Nigerians I Know, educated, comfortable and westernised, the most pretentious and artificial variety and those most outraged by the BBC documentary, denied that most Lagosians lived in slums, pointing out that many lagosians didn't. There are nice places in Lagos, but every and I repeat every posh neighbourhood in Lagos is surrounded by a sprawling endless slum. Apapa is swamped by Ajegunle, Surulere by Itire and Masha, Akoka by Shomolu and Bariga, Palmgrove by Mushin and Oshodi. 4 million people live in Ajegunle with no access to water, good toilets and roads. Living in filthy crumbling tenement blocks infested with rats and vermin and a few well off middle class people get upset because foreign cameras only see the the oceans of penury and not islands of relative comfort diotted across them

We delude ourselves that we are developed becos in the popular Nigerian saying "there is nothing you want in the world that you can't buy in Nigeria' Very true, but how many of those things were produced in Nigeria. Countries are not defined as great due to the amount they consume; they are because of the amount they produce. We drive the best cars and expect the world to acclaim our taste, even when we can't manufacture bicycles. We wear the best shoes and shirts, celebrating our fashion sense and wonder why people laugh at us, when we can't generate enough electricity to run a shoe repair shop let alone a shoe factory. We boast about our shops being full of the latest electronic and computer gadgets yet have been unable to master the art of manufacturing transistor radios first built 200 years ago in the 19th century. we glide around town in the best cars produced by foreign brains and have a railway system based upon the Victorian gauge and expect ourselves to be taken seriously by a broadcasting company the BBC currently ruled by the Granddaughter of the Queen in whose time our railway was built and not since upgraded. We live in a circus and complain when people laugh at us. We consume everything and produce nothing; our engineers work in Banks, our scientists in finance houses and expect to be taken seriously.

Some of those guys interviewed in Olusosun spoke better English than some of the past and even some rumour (present occupant) of our presidential villa and they live in a dump, while half wits rule over us. The only difference between many who have made it (or at least think they have) and those guys in Olusosun is not intelligence or ability, but opportunity, a wealthy or generous uncle, some connections’ abroad, family etc.

Some say Lagos is changing, I know it is. Oshodi is now free of traffic it is true, no more wretched hollow cheeked masses all desperately trying to sell the same thing, trying to eke out a living and spoiling the view for those of us fortunate to be gliding through in our air conditioned cars. Now we can bring in foreign friends and drive them around Lagos pretending it is now a mega city because the downtrodden have been kicked out to go and die in the village. Let them go and farm we say. But people on the farms are hungrier than tose in the city. Why ?. Because Nigeria is not hungry because we dont produce enough food, we actually do, we simply cant store what we produce and transport it. Most people in England buy fresh vegetables for instance in sainsbury or tesco, what do you feel when you pick the grocerry's from the aisle yes it is cool, electricity. if you buy them in open market, they were just delivered by a refirgerated truck. So if you live in the rural areas and produce two tons of pepper and tomato, youn will still be hungry in a week. If there was no regular power in Nigeria, they would be as hungry as we are, even f they all lived on the farm

People can like you for free, but respect is not free, it has to be earned - what have we done to earn the world's respect. Our educated class complain about the government all the time, but mirror their faults - we are brash, loud, boastful and pretentious, we define ourselves by what we consume, not what we produce and expect the world to respect us. Engineers abroad point to their work, bridges, dams, complex constructions, chemical plants etc, ours point to their imported cars, chieftaincy titles and fancy clothes and take umbrage at the lack of respect they are afforded outside our shores, where achievement not status is what is measured. Foreign doctors point to academic papers, new methods of working, ours to their titles. Our soldiers who go to war are forgotten, the ones who seize political office are celebrated. How many of us know the names of any army officer who excelled in the wars in Liberia or Sierra Leone? Yet even Lizards in Lagos know the names of soldiers who sat in political office looting the nations. What did we train our soldiers for at public expense for war or political banditry. Yet those who fight bravely in war are unknown, while those who dodge what they were trained to do to sit down at home and steal money are the ones we all know and we expect the world to respect us, we are angry when they mock us - we have a long way to go, a very long way.

There is only one route to the worlds respect, handwork, honesty sacrifice and above all courage. Those young men in Olusosun had nothing, but they had courage, the courage to risk contempt and ridicule rather than steal, the courage to work hard, the courage to make do with what they have, the courage to be resourceful, the courage to be themselves, not pretend t foreigners that they were anything more than what the world knows them to be.

That such people could be condemned to life on a waste dump in a country ruled by criminals is to our everlasting shame. So rather than whinging because the foreigners we work with have now seen the emptiness of our society.

Molara Brown


  1. Laura, thanks for stopping by and for your lovely comment. When we lived in Kenya, we got another baby Siamese we called Chester and brought him home with us. Chester was to my hub as Chena was to me. Something about unconditional love that makes animals special.

    I also love how you write and look forward to your posts. My hub's visited Nigeria several times. You and he would have a great conversation.

    Some months ago there was a segment on TV about Nigeria that was actually very favorable about the people and said just what you said about electricity: when we can't generate enough electricity to run a shoe repair shop let alone a shoe factory.

    There are many Nigerians in the States and most do very well. This morning I spoke with a security guard, formerly from Nigeria, when I was in line to renew my driver's license. Very nice fellow.

    The problem with Nigeria's image has more to do with scams that are run from computers than anything else. These scammers are educated, clever, and dishonest. They send e-mails that someone has inherited money and to contact them. Once that is done, they get into the computer and well, bye bye to savings and so on. This is an unfortunate situation that reflects poorly.

    We don't hate the Iranians, in fact, just the opposite for the people are very nice. My doctors are from Iran, both Muslims. They are very good doctors and have large practices. It's Iran's government that is the problem.

    Oh, I'm going on too much...sorry, guess what I'm saying is that most people are hard-working, nice people who only want decent shelter, decent food on the table, decent education for their kids, and decent jobs to earn their way. I don't know how this goes wrong, but the basics that people want often get lost in the politics of it all. Kinda sad, eh?

  2. THANK YOU!!! HABA... It's all down to denial, I tell you... Yes, the programme shows the slums but it shows the people who live there with dignity... That was the whole point- that you do not need money to hold your head up high... But when we feel like our yansh has been opened, so to speak... We start to dey vex... Nonsense...

  3. @Kittie: I did not write the post, The name of the writer is Odumrun.

    Glad you believe in Nigerians and not all of us are scams.

    @Fand M: We sabi vex when people tell us the truth

  4. Nigerians live in denial. Why is it that we have oil but we have to take it to another country to refine it to gas/petrol and then bringing it back to our country which makes it ridiculously expensive so then they have to give subsidies which is just more wasted money. Nigeria is so twisted and so corrupt and the reality is that most of the population lives on under $2 a day. We need to wake up and do something and stop thinking were such a freaking giant.

  5. To tell you the truth, this was exactly how I felt when I heard the Nigerian government was opposing the BBC series. I got angry because these things do exist, what's the pretense for? After all, the authorities (and the wealthy) can start shedding some positive light when they impact their communities more.

    The ball lies in our courts. not in British courts.

  6. How are u babe,just checking on you,cheers