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10 Things You’d Never See a Nigerian Do

Being a Nigerian is not just about the things we do but the things we don’t.
May 19, 2024
1:33 am
Jollof Rice - Courtesy Bloomberg

From timekeeping to culinary traditions, some things are quintessentially Nigerian, while others, well, simply aren’t.


Here, we explore a list of activities the Nigerian DNA is hardwired to avoid.


Arrive on Time

It’s not that we can’t be punctual. We just work with African time. If an event starts at 2:00 pm in Nigeria, and you arrive at the scheduled time, best be sure that you’ll join the organizers in arranging the chairs.


Also, if a Nigerian says he’s “on the road” and “almost there,” be not deceived. He’s still in the bathroom!


Again, don’t blame us, blame the game: “African time”


Mind Our business

You might never notice this until you jand and notice that your next-door neighbors do not so much as greet you.


In our beloved country, unsolicited advice from strangers is common. A passerby might condemn the way you hold your baby or drink water.


It’s not in any way a terrible thing. If anything, it speaks to a culture where everyone takes an interest in communal well-being. The African brotherhood spirit never disappoints, especially in moments of danger or suspicion.


Shy Away From Bargaining

Paying the first price is often seen as a newcomer mistake. A Nigerian always negotiates no matter how inexpensive the price may be.


Watch a Nigerian mother at work, and you’ll see masterful negotiation. 10,000? Why not start from the lowest price point of 1,000? At times you’d almost pity the seller.


If you negotiate and the seller doesn’t resist, you’ve been cheated!


Wait in Line

Queuing was never a Nigerian’s forte. If you have never jumped a queue, check yourself, you might be Sudanese or a different nationality but not Nigerian.


From bus queues to NIN registration, a rowdy queue is Nigerian.


Keep Quiet in Traffic

Silence is a rare companion in a typical Nigerian traffic jam, especially in a city like Lagos where traffic can last for hours.


It’s often said that someone fasting should not ply Lagos roads as you stand the chance of “changing it” for someone.


Miss Christmas Rice

There’s an unspoken rule in Nigerian households: There’s no Christmas without rice.

Rice on Christmas is a sacrosanct tradition. In anything that you want to cook on the lord’s birthday, just make sure some orisa sativa is included.


Say No to Owambe

If you want to kidnap a Nigerian, drop an “Owambe” (party) invitation. He’ll be there no matter what.


Owambe is not just a party. It’s a tradition clad in colors, food, and dance that any sane Nigerian would not dodge.



This includes any unnecessary activity that may remotely put your life in danger such as cave exploring, mountain climbing, tightrope walking, skydiving, and all those “white people sh*t.”


It’s then your village people would renew your subscription.



Cook Without Pepper

Pepper is a non-negotiable component of the Nigerian kitchen and the absence of it in a dish is a culinary offense.


Sometimes you can tell which ethnic group a Nigerian belongs just by the pepper content of their food.


Eat Plain Beans

Garri or bread is to beans what Pizza is to Americans (you get the gist).

It’s either beans and something or no beans at all. Beans cannot stand alone. Never!


1 thought on “10 Things You’d Never See a Nigerian Do”

  1. Nigerians are such wonderful people and so alike in many ways no matter your ethnic orientation. Great article that explores our uniqueness

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