I have come to understand that Nigerian man. I have learned to both love and hate him for his various attributes – the good, the bad, the ugly, for his “Nigerianess”. He is easy to read as he is to be predicted. Let me tell you about him.
You see, that Nigerian man is religious and nothing more. Without his religion, he is nothing – a fact that he unabashedly proclaims. His religion is his redeeming asset, his moral guide. He hides behind his religion to commit all manners of inhumane, despicable acts. His religion is his justification for his hateful, vituperative ways. His religion is the reason he is better than you, more “righteous” than you. He clings tightly to it like a child suckling its mother’s breast. He ferociously defends his religion, his pastor, his God. Yet he understands nothing about serving this God he claims to do through his religion. He does not understand when his Holy Book tells him that God is love, that he who loves not knows not God, that he should love his neighbors as himself, that he should not judge. He does not understand that serving God is not by going to church or by shouting the loudest amen. It is not by paying offerings or by occasionally sharing dinner with the pastor.
That Nigerian man – he is a hypocrite too. Because, although he says platitudes like “God is great”, “By the special grace of God”, “God bless you”, “Thank you Jesus”, although he urges – forces, even – you to come to church, and brands you evil if you don’t; although he shouts the loudest hallelujah in the church, claps the loudest and jumps the highest when the pastor asks the congregation to, his hypocrisy shows still. He is the master of lip and eye service. He wants you to notice his love for God, to acknowledge it, yet his hypocrisy shows. It shows in his lust for the carnal offerings of his neighbour. It shows in his covetousness of that which belongs to his neighbour. It shows in his savagery when he plunders and makes a victim his neighbour. It shows in his disrespect of his neighbour’s space, and his abuse of the other’s right to live.
That Nigerian man is homophobic. There is a sudden, drastic change in his demeanor upon hearing the words “homosexual” and “homosexuality”. He despises the homosexuals. He believes them immoral, disgusting, an abomination. He makes no pretence about this. He would readily join in the lynching and slaughter of the homosexual, conveniently forgetting the page in the book he hefts to his church, that verse that exhorts with the admonition: “Thou shall not kill.” When he speaks of the LGBT, etched on his face is a perpetual frown. He speaks angrily. He says, “They try to turn us! They try to convert our children! They should leave it out of our country!” He spits these vituperations out with such distaste. He says ‘they’ like the homosexuals are not human, as though they are some alien species. He believes the homosexual man is an abomination that should be abolished by death and the homosexual woman a confused person that should be corrected by rape.
That Nigerian man – he is as selfish as he is grasping, eager to claw his way up to the position of unceasing gratification, no matter who he may step on or how hard he may step on him to get there. To accomplish this, that Nigerian man is a bald-faced liar. He spins tearjerkers of humble beginnings and shoeless pasts, tales to evoke the empathy of his countrymen. He spiels narratives of grand tomorrows and promises of change, affording a glimpse of a future that his countrymen may never see. He is opportunistic and insincere at heart. He knows no true remorse, and would readily and glibly blame his excesses for the liberties he has taken with other people, for the assault he has wreaked on the unsuspecting.
That Nigerian man is also a hard-worker. And why not, when there’s desperation in the status of every turn he makes. This makes him entrepreneurial. That Nigerian man survives. He survives on his sense of humour. He survives on his sense of family. He survives of his sense of strength and sheer force of will. That Nigerian man is a survivor.
Yes I have come to understand the Nigerian, and I have come to both love and despise him.
Written by Tobby