Another satiric piece from Victor Ehikhamenor on materialism in Nigeria.
It’s nice to hear you have finally gotten over the fear of visiting your homeland after fifteen years. Well, I must warn you that the things that made you decide to remain in the very safe haven of America, where guns are only used for deer hunting, not innocent school children, are still very much with us here.
Not to frighten you or anything, we still have the vile things that might put you on the edge, and make you go mannnn, mannnn, like a goat tied to a tree. Audacious kidnappers are still going after young and old, rich and poor. We still have brazen armed robbers with performance that will make James Bond movies look like a Nollywood overnight production. Oh I almost forgot, we still have Boko Haram, but don’t worry about those ones, they are faceless and phatomic. The beautiful and reassuring thing about all these is that our president is praying and fasting about them, so don’t worry.
Just a few advise though before you leave your cozy America that will make your stay in Nigeria pleasurable and memorable. I know you are a U.S. citizen and you are very proud of your new blue passport. Who wouldn’t after going through such a harrowing process in the hands of American immigration and naturalization for fourteen years; and having to marry that lazy American woman the size of a village hut with teeth the colour of Ibadan zinc roof? But when you are coming to Nigeria, kindly use your Nigerian green passport.
Tuck away the blue passport till you are ready to go back to your America. It will save you the grief in the hands of our own immigration officers at Murtala Mohamed Airport. Showing them American passport in MMA is like showing a lion a fresh goat meat dripping with blood. Also be aware that your American passport will impress nobody really, gone are those days. Now we have boys in Lagos and Abuja that go to New York just to drink Starbucks’ Caramel Frappuccino on Friday and return on Sunday. America is not what it used to be, Nigerians have unmasked the big masquerade and realize the man behind the mask is a next door neighbor.
I know you want to impress us with your American jeans, winter jackets and t-shirts. You need a drastic wardrobe change my friend. The weather is way too hot for your winter jackets. The jeans and t-shirts are tighter here, they’re European sophisticated style. Oh, and please lose the Jerry curls and one ear ring, that is so 1980s and it stinks of ignorance. Your XXL t-shirts that make you look like a Bata dancer wearing Agbada should be ditched. Go for a medium or small size. It doesn’t matter if you have potbelly, in Nigeria men flaunt their potbellies the same way girls flaunt their flat tommy and Coca-cola shape.
Nothing to be ashamed of, the tighter the t-shirt, making your stomach look like a new djembe drum, the better. And don’t even think of those jeans that have multiple pockets that make you look like you just stepped out of Ford Motors factory. If it is not True Religion or at least CK jeans (Not the ones from Marshalls or Burlington Coat Factory) forget about it. Yes, I know the price of one authentic True Religion jeans will buy you a piece of land at Ikorodu, but who cares!
Don’t bring that your cheap T-Mobile free phone you got by signing up for two years. Here guys have already pre-ordered Iphone 6, because Iphone 5 is so yesterday. In Lagos people are already using Ipad Mini as beer coaster. If your BlackBerry is not Porsche or the very latest, please go to another Galaxy for Christmas, don’t come near Nigeria.
Once you get your luggage out of MMA, stop doing currency conversion in your head. We already know that the cost of a 20 minutes MTN call equals your monthly fee for unlimited calls with AT&T. Save yourself the headache, if you don’t have enough money for this journey, just kuku stay back in your cheap America where you have to budget for everything.
Here even the federal government’s budget doesn’t work; they always go back to Senate for more. So be ready because the price of a stale cup of coffee is the same price that will fill the tank of a Hummer Jeep in America. And don’t tip anybody with fifty naira, be it driver, airport touts that will help you push your cart, or even the beggars along the streets.
Why we are still on the issue of money and spending, be prepared to peel naira notes as if you are dolling out coupon paper. In Nigeria, you will be made to pay for the air you breathe, the ground you step on and you will be fleeced just for being alive. And not just individuals, government and Telco companies in Nigeria are pickpockets. Take it as you see it, it is part of Christmas, the season of giving. I don’t really need to elaborate on these facts; you will see when you come.
And what kind of gift are you loading on your bag to impress our girls here? Knowing you, you might be thinking – “Yeah man, I am gonna catch her with this K-Mart Seiko watch and silver necklace. She is gonna know that I am an Americana man!” Booo! Even a certified ashawo along Ugbague Street in Benin will not take those cheap stuff from you. The girl you might fancy will certainly be wearing Brazilian hair that is more expensive than a town house in a Baltimore neighbourhood. No, she did not paint the sole of the shoes she will be wearing with her nail polish, those are 100% Christian Louboutin and she has more than six pairs. Google the price please.
When you get to Schiphol Airport and your mind is telling you to buy E&J Brandy to impress your guys in Lagos, resist the urge. My friend, even if Sgt. May, our village drunk were still alive, he would not touch that cheap poison. Please for goodness sake, go for a decent bottle of Hennessey VSOP or Blue Label for a start. In Lagos boys wash their hands with Moet and Rosé before they eat pounded yam. I know you are rolling your eyes, but it is for your dignity and sanity I am telling you all these. Once again remember we are an oil producing country and even though a fellow Nigerian who is your neighbour or your church member may not have a dime to buy Christmas rice, that doesn’t stop you from buying a third Range Rover or a private jet.
However, if all you have is just ticket money because I know what it means to work five shifts as License Practical Nurse in a dingy nursing home, please still come home. Your friends who were denied visa fifteen years ago when yours was granted have all hammered and some are in government. You will be given a chauffeur driven bullet-proof G-Wagon Mercedes, a French chef, and steady supply of the best things money can buy in life. If you think he is being nice to you, you may be right or wrong. He may also want to show off to you because he is a Nigerian and that is just how we roll man!
See you soon man!