Nigerians are the complete package — there’s the good, the bad, the completely hilarious, the effortlessly sadist, the beautiful-natured, and the utterly ugly.
Sometime early this year, our boss at the time, Chude, called for a meeting with Sokunbi Adetoyese, Chico Favorito, and me. We wanted to understand the things Nigerians truly care about.
We were creators, churning out different forms of content for Nigerians on a daily. Perhaps the most common mistake creators make is that they think they’re creating for people, but they are actually just creating for themselves.
It is when we have fully understood what people truly care about, that we can create things that they will give a fuck about.
We came up with the list of all the things that motivate the actions of all Nigerians. Call it a mass market guide if you like. Some are basic human instincts, others, almost entirely exclusive to Nigerians. Bear in mind that this is not a general description of all Nigerians.
There will always be exceptions in all cases.
1. We want to be accepted.
The sense of feeling accepted is why there’s a thing called bandwagon in the first place.
2. We choose ‘popular’ over ‘efficient’.
It’s why debates never really matter in our elections. People vote for the popular, not the qualified. You have a good product, but people start to question the quality because it’s cheap. It’s why the media first reported Hadiza Bala Usman’s appointment to the Nigerian Ports Authority as “Founder of BringBackOurGirls appointed”, instead of “Experienced Public Servant appointed”. It’s why we only knew Ambode as “Tinubu’s choice” for months during the campaign, before we even saw his qualifications.
3. We want to matter.
“Do you know who I am?”
Many Nigerians don’t just want to be accepted, they want to feel a sense of relevance. This is why we like to remind you how we once shared an elevator with a Bank CEO because telling you that automatically makes you see us as important.
4. We want to be seen as balling.
Even if it means putting up an appearance. Even if it all comes down overpriced Aso Ebi. This here is why we have mastered the art of selfies where Macbooks and nice cars accidentally decorate the background.
5. Sometimes, we want to see people fail.
The quickest way for a Nigerian to reach orgasm is that moment where they can confidently say “Shebi I told you?”
There’s also the part where a general class F is easier to bear than only you failing. Makes you feel better about your own failure.
6. We want to be seen as authorities.
BSc. MSc. PHd. Alhaji. JP. Fss. mni. MON. WTF?
We love degrees even if they really don’t make us better, and it’s why Google is such a great friend to us. So while we might be geniuses, and omni-knowing on the internet, we feel vulnerable when we can’t Google answers during real-life conversations.
7. We want to be seen as sacrificial.
“Do you know how much this country has offered me that I rejected?” Yeah yeah, we know.
8. We love Sufferhead Olympics.
You tell someone “I have a headache”, and the reply you get is, “ordinary headache? I have a migraine and doctors have said I have only 6 months to live”.
9. We want to blow.
Bear in mind that ‘blow’ is not always what we understand success to be. Success involves work, blowing involves lying down while the money runs to you. We like success, but we like blow more. This is why our artistes sing about blowing all the time, because relate-able music is sell-able music. This is why MMM has over 2 million Nigerians climbing the ponzi pyramid, and Premier Lotto aka Baba Ijebu makes up to 500 million naira on a bad week.
10. We love Olajumoke stories.
Because they are fairy tales, and because it shows that we all serve a living God. So anyone who tries to tell us we might never get our own Olajumoke story, we stay awake at night and pray you die by fire.
11. We love laughter.
Yes. Yes. We spend millions every year to find new ways to laugh. We love our comedy skits even when they get over-flogged and boring, because lets face it; Nigeria is hard. Nigeria is very hard. Even when it looks like paying to laugh is too expensive, we make jokes of our misery. Suffering and smiling. Of the 10 most trending Youtube videos of 2016 in Nigeria, 9 were comedy. The only non-comedy video was Tiwa Savage’s interview about her marital problem. We laughed at her misery too.
12. We want to be seen as pioneers.
But why would you blame us? It’s probably an old habit from primary school days.
So you’ll see first hospital in so and so, first to start using POS, first to start having sense, etc.
13. We like to be seen as layered.
“You don’t know me and what I’ve been through.” Yeah yeah, whatever.
14. We want to be seen as not giving a fuck.
Because they’ll showing you actually care is a sign of weakness. Showing we care about something we are intimidated by is a sign that we will die young. Continue.
15. We want to stand out every time.
And because of this, we all end up standing out altogether, in the same place. Like how everyone wants to quickly use a different phone or style and everyone ends up wanting to use the same phone and style, and everyone ends up ditching it for something else.
16. We like shockers.
Every single time. It’s why we like click-bait headlines that say ‘REVEALED’ even if they never reveal anything,- or stories like ‘Man chops daughter’s head.’ We click the links with disgust. But we click anyway. As long as the danger is a safe distance from us.
17. We don’t want to lose anything.
It’s why we talk talk talk about everything that’s wrong but still can’t be bothered about taking real action, because that’s expensive. This is why we blame people that die while doing the right thing by saying “but why did he even do it?” instead of making sure no one else dies trying to do the same thing.
18. We want sex. A lot of it.
We don’t just want it, we want to be seen as good at it. The average local medicine seller almost always sells something that promises to make you last longer in bed.
19. We want to go to heaven.
So even with all our flaws, we don’t joke with our heaven. So sell it to us. Promise us that no matter what we do, if we simply follow some instructions, we will stand with the angelic host.