Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Is it not funny how Nigerians think?: There are Nigerian citizens and there are Nigerians

I came across a blog post yesterday written as a follow up to the hullaballoo surrounding the issue of a Nigerian soft sell choosing to grace the cover of their current issue celebrating "Top 30 young Nigerians" with a woman of apparent East Indian descent and another of mixed parentage; one of her parents being Nigerian.

Arguments have ranged from the idea that these women represent a mentality that foreigners are better than Nigerians to the question of who a Nigerian really is.

Sugabelly made the point of stating that there was no way in hell that a Nigerian woman would be allowed to grace the cover of an Indian magazine, no matter what she had done or who she was. I agree. I know for a fact that in almost every culture, the darker your skin, it is more likely that you are relegated to the bottom of the social pile.

This is even more sad when this ideology is shared amongst the dark skinned people.Nigerians tend to favour "whiteness". Characters in Nigerian movies are given western names and storylines have very little relevance to our realities. That is probably why I am suddenly seeing bikini clad European females in music videos and why they are being shot in South Africa and London. I also know that due to our behaviour towards foreigners, they possess a sense of entitlement which we always accord them.

However, there is also the fact that there are those people who are to be considered Nigerian by virtue of their lineage and affiliations. I have no idea how long the Indian woma, Ruby, had been living in Nigeria or even if she was born there but I know that if it was a Nigerian girl who had spent the same amount of time in the US, she would have checked to see if she had fulfilled the necessaru criteria, filed for citizenship sharp sharp and be quick to let everyone know that she now has papers. I also know that the same courtesies that are extended to us in other countries are not the same to foreign-born Nigerian citizens....and I do not mean the grovelling that happens for white/foreign expatriates.

Sugabelly said that "There are Nigerian citizens and there are Nigerians". I can just see the headlines and lawsuits if some white American or European national had said that to a Nigerian person...

No, we don't have to glorify fair skin or anything outside of the shores of our borders but yes, we have to realise that the way we define citizenship has to change. I doubt if anyone will agree, afterall, if some could have their way, they would wipe out the Igbos who will return the favour in a heart beat. Or kill off the Northerners...as it is, the Niger Delta is on fire.

This might seem like a ramble but at the heart of it, my point is this: Whether Nigerian by blood, or Nigerian by affiliation. We are Nigerian and should be working together to build the country and not beat each other down. Jews every where send money home to Isreal and are committed towards its development. Let's wake up, please


chayoma said...

am i first? Mrs C?

chayoma said...

Yes i am..

I do bliv we as Nigerians who come together to build our motherland.
But if we dn't embrace all shades of our color, who will?
i agree with sugabelly, just becoz u get Nigerian citizenship no mean u be true down to earth, soul shaker, earth mover, pidgin speaking, money showing,loud mouthed Nigerian...
there is a difference oh
And we need true Nigerians to pave the way oh for citizens....
na we understand our country pass...

Miss Natural said...

I hundred percent agree with your last paragraph. first and foremost we are Nigerians, I'm tired of the comments a lot of so- called Nigerians make. lol this is extreme but I always say that if I become the President I will ban dual citizenship (ok that's extreme). I find it so painful, to the point of tears (sad lol) when I hear other Nigerians criticize Nigeria, or those who are ashamed and have nothing good to say. I'm proud and I will always be proud

Mineexclusively said...

Here is my comment on said blog:

Seems some people have a problem reading. Ok here is a simple break down, a magazine is celebrating young and successful Nigerians in Nigeria and out of the thirty, its a fair skinned, half Nigerian/half something else that can grace the cover? Come on now people. Think a little. Lets stop being politically correct.

We all know for a fact that foreigners are treated better in Nigerian than Nigerians. It's a fact. Cos I do not know why you will pay a high school drop out more money than a college graduate, if it got nothing to do with his/her skin color. Like someone said, this is 2009, lets starts calling things the way they are.

Talking about young and upwardly moving Nigerians in Nigeria and having a picture of someone that looks Indian is not right.

Sugabelly said...

Hi Ms. Catwalq, I just wanted to point out that the United States is not a good parallel because the United States was founded on immigration. Just as the United States does not belong to white people, it does not belong to black people or even hispanics.

The true owners of the United States are the Native American Indians who unfortunately have been almost wiped out by the Europeans.

Because of this, every American citizen is just as much a foreigner as the next even though some white people would like you to believe otherwise. Likewise, Europeans forcibly took Africans to their own countries so if they are now forced to integrate us and other peoples that they have systematically oppressed into all aspects of their lives then that is their fault not ours.

In a perfect world American magazines would feature Native American women everywhere. I will say again that there IS a difference between Nigerian citizens and Nigerians. Just because one is a Nigerian citizen does not make one a Nigerian. In our part of the world Identity runs much deeper than simply what you call yourself or what you choose to identify with. In our part of the world identity is who you innately, irrevocably, inexorably are, and I believe it is still true in most of the world with the exception of the western nations.

Just as Indian magazines are full of Indians, so too should Nigerian magazines be full of Nigerians.

A lot of the time you see Nigerian bodies that are in place to protect the welfare of the country give these "Nigerian Citizens" greatly preferential treatment at the expense of regular Nigerians. The ONLY reason they get special treatment is because they are obviously not Black.

On the other hand, when we go to the countries of these "Nigerian Citizens" even when we too are citizens of said countries, WE are treated as though we are some lower life form.

In addition, these so-called "Nigerian Citizens" refuse to integrate into Nigerian society, many times they look down on us regular Nigerians and segregate themselves from the rest of the community. Many times regular Nigerians suffer blatant discrimination from these "Citizens" in OUR OWN COUNTRY.

A lot of these "Nigerian Citizens" are infamous for their treatment of their Nigerian employees. There are stories of gross human rights violations by Chinese, Lebanese, and Indian employers but nothing has ever been done to protect the Nigerians because as we all know, Nigerians are expendable while "Nigerian Citizens" are not.

Sugabelly said...

This is Nigeria, I am Nigerian, Ruby Dabbour is not. Every family protects its members. Nigeria should protect and uphold Nigerians first. We are not a country of immigrants like the United States (which by the way is stolen land rightfully owned by the Native Americans) we are a country of indigenous people and this IS our land. She is only a citizen and I am born of the land, therefore as far as she and I are concerned, I should come FIRST.

Africans are often far too accepting of injustice and to console ourselves we call it hospitality. That is probably part of the reason why we didn't fight the colonists as actively as some other nations did.

Sometimes it is very necessary to champion your OWN agenda. Maybe if we were bitchasses like the Asians the rest of the world wouldn't mess with us so much. Africans are constantly at the receiving end of the stick and you know what? I believe we keep ourselves there simply because we are too afraid to demand that WE come first and that OUR needs and wants be paid attention to.

So we hand the glory over to someone else meekly, usually someone of one of the other races because we're too complacent to for once be the centre of attention.

We need NIGERIAN role models everywhere and in everything for Nigerians to see and look up to. It is so sad when you see Nigerian children making up play stories in which the characters' names are Sally and Bill. How many Nigerians even have names like Sally and Bill? Yet young Nigerian children can only think and imagine in terms of whiteness because they don't realise that black people just like them can be special too.

There are Nigerian citizens, and there are Nigerians, and Nigerians come first.

Sugabelly said...

LOL! This is my day for many comments.

That being said, I do agree with your point about the development of our country. I too get annoyed with Nigerians that condemn Nigeria simply because they have the good fortune to live outside the country.

I currently live outside Nigeria (school) but the moment I graduate I'm hightailing it back home. The economy needs my contribution and I am more than happy to oblige.

mypenmypaper said...

I completely agree with SugarBelly on this one. It just takes a closer look and you'll see that really there are Nigerian Citizen's, and there are Nigerians.

And for the record, for foreigners who have lived in Nigeria for DONKEY years and have not naturalized / gotten citizenship papers, for many of them, its their choice. I have a lot of other examples of non-Nigerians coming to Nigeria and within 2-years, they are already running around for citizenship.

I think its more of the 'what do I have to gain out of it' factor. For business owners, they definitely get their citizenship papers coz it helps them further their business / business interests. In fact, the children of these business owners might not even consider becoming Nigerian citizens.

Have you ever been to the North, Kano for instance. The Lebanese community there even have Police ordelies - yes you know that they must have poured enough water on the ground for this to happen. Then go to Maiduguri, then Lagos and you'll find Indians everywhere both naturalized and not.

Ok, leave the non-Nigerians becoming Nigerians or not alone for a sec. Even amongst we bonafide Nigerians (body, soul and spirit) - at least, are there not Nigerians and Nigerian citizens amongst us? If you are travelling out of Nigeria for instance, its better/more-respectful to go with 'your other passport', and once you are coming in, you can bring out the other, if you care. Its not for love for country, its situation that makes the cray-fish bend.

In the same line, I mentioned someone on my blog, sometime ago, that I have observed: that the number of Ibos, Hausa, Yoruba, this tribe and that tribe, etc., are more than the number of Nigerians in Nigeria.

Do you / havent you observed, that when abroad, we are all Nigerians and once your flight lands in Lagos, thats the end of 'Nigerian Unity'. Suddenly everyone remembers 'my village'. Now isnt this another problem all together.

Have you ever seen Chinese differentiating themselves by the actual village their fore-fathers came from?

In Nigeria, this unfortunate phenomenon(if the word is right) is more of a mental problem - I suppose.

joicee said...

You really are hardcore lol
I concur with what you have written.. I still cannot understand why some nigerians treat foreigners better than them selves and allow these foreigners to push them around..In this day and age with all the information out there I still cannot fathom why some nigerians and indeed africans still have this disgusting inferiority complex and an appalling low self worth.

We need to re-educate ourselves, get rid of this colonial mentality and start beleiving in ourselves. The earlier, the better

Anonymous said...

Yeah i was going to say you cant compare nigeria with america in that respect...the countries are totally different concerning who is a citizen, what is a citizen, what qualifies you to be one....I agree with sugarbelly o!but then i dont think anyone should be excluded from anything just because they are not full blooded Nigerian

miss b said...

this issue has cause so much palava on my blog oh! I agree with sugerbelly but like I said before I don't think 1 cover makes such a big difference, as there are loads of mags with full fleshed Nigerian models. My primary school principle in Kaduna is a British born lady who has been in Nigeria for over 60years. She moved there with her husband that she met when he was training for the military there, and I was there as she celebrated her 80th birthday. There is noone that can say this lady is not Nigerian through and through, she speaks hausa better than me, and she used to flog us with this massive ruler. If I had a magazine(which I hope to someday fingers crossed lol)there is NO ONE on earth that would tell me that she does not deserve to be on the cover along with her mixed race children who now run the school. So if these ladies are through and through Nigerian, I really dont see what the big deal.The world is becoming a global villager, all you have to do is go to Dubai, Qatar, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, and you will see that a huge percentage of thier population is made up of immigrants. People have always migrated accross the globe, just like we have to study, and I think we should be more open-minded!
Miss B.

kay9 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kay9 said...

So I'm no.13. Roight (as Brokeass would say :))

P-Square did the video of their hit-track Do Me, and the first dancers we saw were indian. Faze did his for Tatoo Girls; three-quarters of the girls looked definitely western. D'Banj, Rhymzo, Neto C, they are all Nigerians (in the regular Nigerian sense)and yet they all fronted white chics (or almost white) in their songs. Now, do i have a problem with that? Frankly, no. In fact, the Nigerian artist whom i have a bone to pick with is Tuface whose video of If Love Is A Crime had the Ghanaian flag splashed all over the screen.

So what am I saying? It's a thin line between fighting for your rights and outright discrimination against other nationals.

Sugarbelly and Mineexclusively said something to the effect of "Nigerians" should come first, "Nigerians Citizens" second. I disagree. I prefer everyone getting an equal bite at the sherry. Don't get me wrong, I've been a victim of so-called "nigerian citizens" getting preferential treatment while I'm standing in line. Every day, after work, i get to wait in long traffic queues while half-baked Indians and Pakistanis breeze by on the wrong lane (escorted by Nigerian policemen). It hurts, yes, but I wouldn't want them waiting in queues while I breeze by either. It ain't fair.

Of course I know that in most other (western) countries, Nigerians (and blacks in general) are treated more or less like second-class citizens. And it would REALLY feel good to treat them the same way here. But my father always tells me, two wrongs NEVER make a right.

Our officials and authorities treat white foreigners like demi-gods here; that is wrong and we all hate it. So is reversing the situation going to solve it? I say no. I know treating everyone the same is going to do little or nothing to change how we are treated outside these shores, but i say we do it all the same. Right is right, even if it hurts.

What I want is a free and fair country where there are no blacks or whites or hispanics (or fcuking Indians and pakistanis for that matter); just HUMAN BEINGS, with equal rights ad privileges.

However, about the cover page thingy, I think the belle should've been black at least; you don't need a survey to tell you that an average Nigerian is black. Besides, it said "Top 30 Nigerians", not "Top 30 Nationalized Nigerians".

bArOquE said...

i totally feel this post but i have a headache & need to go lie down, stating my opinion might just burst my brain...some Nigerians can just be fucking ass kissers, to hell with them...

L-VII said...

I understand your sentiments but I do not agree with them, Nigerians suffer from the 'not from, better than' syndrome and this was a classic illustration of that. There are a lot of worthy Nigerians that could have graced the cover, but I guess they were not exotic enough, I am rather bored now.

Please, do tell, what is a 'soft-sell' magazine?


Sugabelly said...

@Kay9: Sometimes two wrongs DO make a right. It's about respect, and other nations have no respect for us. There is an online forum called Oyinbos Online. It's owned and contributed to by Oyinbos (particularly foreigners that live in Nigeria).

You should go there and see the things they say about us. They say we suck up to them, we are monkeys, we are so stupid that we can't use our resources for ourselves, that we are so stupid that they are robbing us blind but our useless government can't even help us.

I swear after reading what is on that site you will sit down and cry for a good hour.

This is not about being the bigger person or being a good person. Sometimes you have to be downright childish in order to come out on top.

Look at China. Who the hell dares mess with a Chinese person IN China? As in, what kind of liver do you have?

There are 18 Nigerians on DEATH ROW in China. They claim they are all there for crimes and I'm not going to dispute that but who knows what Chinese toes they stepped on to actually get on Death Row?

Go and see the way Nigerians live in the countries of these people. Abeg, sometimes it is necessary to remind people that this is YOUR country.

Your country is your BASE, your HOME that noone can take away from you.

In your country you are supposed to be KING. Every country does it for its nationals. In the United States where unfortunately everyone is an immigrant it goes by citizenship, and as an international student I will tell you that there ten million things I cannot do in this country that a United States citizen can, and I am reminded of it every day.

But you know what? I'm cool with that because this is not my country. I respect the fact that the United States is trying to reserve the best of what it has for its citizens.

Nigeria should reserve the best of Nigeria for Nigerians. How can an Indian person have a personal police escort in Nigeria when you don't have? You sef think about it.

Anonymous said...

Amazing how narrow minded some people are.

The same people saying you can't be nigerian
Unless you are born one would be up in
Arms if I said that to someone becoming british
Or born in britain of uk and nigerian parent.

It is far easier to become a brit than a nigerian.
My wife got her passport in 2 yrs after we married.
As a brit now married to a nigerian, kids born in nigeria, lived
Here for more than 5 yrs I still can't get citizenship.

And it's true about the preferential treatment. The police do
Always stop me to demand money. The tax man does give me a ridiculous
Deemed income and hence massive taxes!

Get a life, nigeria's issues do NOT stem from the tiny number
Of foreigners in the country. They stem from
The greedy and selfish elite.

Adeleke Adesanya said...

Kai! All this roforofo was going on and I didnt know?

Yes, "foreigners" amongst us are not our problem. No, our problem are quite home grown.I give you an example. Quite many nigerian billonaires, as a matter priciple,will only employ non nigerians as MDs. I am talking of businesses owned 100% by a nigerian

And then there is the way we talk and look down on ourselves. Indians don't crack indian jokes. Irish don't think Irish jokes are funny. If you crack a jewish joke in the presense of a Jew, you must be lacking in emotional intelligence. But, over here and abroad, wherever two or more nigerians can be found, a Nigerian joke can be shared.

But I would take offence with the concept of not being fully Nigerian. Is Mrs Tai Solarin not Nigeria? Or Ben Bruce? If they are born here, if they married here and decide to associate with us, if decide to accept our nationality, then they are of us. I actually wonder who is more nigerian, compared with some of us who would do anything to switch nationality?

When both our senate president and speaker have alternative passports, who has the right to point fingers?

Waffarian said...

My parents siddon Naija cos na there sweet them. Home is where the heart is. Left to my parents, I for open small clinic near Effurun market and live happily ever after.

However, I had other plans. With the huge world, na who wan siddon Warri? I have lived in three different countries and I am still searching...All my friends over here have lived in three or four different countries, none, in their place of birth. Some will probably return one day. Others might not.

I go live anywhere wey I wan live. I am a citizen of the world. Make anybody open mouth talk from now until tmrw, if e sweet me to live in Iceland, na there I go stay.

I don't know how the U.S is, but over here, you can meet a Chinese born in Norway, married to a Kenyan who in turn was born in France and they now live in Singapore.And nobody would think it is strange.

Upon all the talk of "multiculturism" in the U.S, I find many people that live there to be quite myopic in their views about citizenship and nationality. Even though most of them are immigrants themselves in another country. Funny, isn't it?

I do not agree that a country should reserve the best for its own citizens. I am living in a country where I have no connection at all. Na me carry my two legs come here. I have worked two jobs since I was 19 to educate myself. Unlike many Nigerian students, nobody has ever paid a dime for my education. I have worked like a crazy person and paid for every single thing I have. I am constantly working hard to develope as a human being. I pay tax, I give a lot back to my community. I fucking deserve the best and I will get it. So, because I was not born here, I should live like a fucking dog? Think again.

Not only do I deserve the best, but I DEMAND it. Every human being that works hard deserves the best that life has to offer. Be it in his country or somewhere else. I know many people here that would not have had a chance in Nigeria, yet, over here, they are thriving because they have found an environment that they can nuture and grow in.

We as human beings, need to find environments where we can nuture, develope and grow as human beings. They are many intelligent people wasting away in Nigeria because of lack of connections or poverty. Should these people not have a chance somewhere else?

Every single human being has a right to be in this world and every single person has a right to find happiness whereever they find it.

My hope is for human beings to see beyond nationality, citizenship, borders and understand that we have more in common with each other than differences. Until then, we will continue to struggle with racism and prejudices. Na so.

If I had remained in Nigeria, I would be married with five kids by now selling pure water on my head.Tufiakwa! No be my portion be dat. Maybe na Militant I for marry self...

Meanwhile, they say Ghana has light 24/7...that Ghanian man is looking better these days...

Peace and love, people.

Waffarian said...

Oh by the way, people also need to understand that "Lagos" is not synonymous with "Nigeria". That magazine thing na typical Lagos "effizy", do you think people in other parts of Nigeria will ever see that mag? and even if they did, do you think they will spend that kind of money to read about night clubs or up and coming Nigerians, bla bla? They would rather buy recharge card...

People are too busy struggling with life to care about who the fuck those people are.

Everybody should get a perspective. Just because some things matter in a certain "class" of people does not mean they matter in others.

Sometimes I wonder which "Nigeria" people grew up in. The Nigeria I know, na okada and bus everybody they enter.

People go dey argue anyhow because of "effizy"...hisssssssssss...person never chop finish na that kain mag im go buy?

Miss FlyHigh - LondonsNaijaQueen said...

Wow sooo many long comments. I couldn't read all of them I read up to Miss B and I agree with her. Equal treatment!! regardless if you are a citizen or not....we are all humans and deserve it...

StandTall-The Activist said...

"We are Nigerian and should be working together to build the country and not beat each other down".

That has said it all.

CultureCynic said...

An indian woman on the front of a NIgerian magazine is the least of our problems.....Some of the very shit that kills us is our fault. collectively, the Nigerian mentality is predisposed to being divisive. so some of the shit that is killing us, like really killing us is becuz of greed, mismanagement and total disregard for our own progress. EVeryone is pointing fingers...other people this other people that...forget people...what have youas an individual done to change it.

some sort of individual accountability is needed. The truth is the great divide may have been imposed unto us, but NIgerians are sure outdoing one another trying to widen it...alot of the comments are very one dimentional and fail to acknowldge the apparent duality of some of the issues....some of the examples are actually besides the point. the color debate merely points to self esteem issues and acceptance. When are NIgerian woman gonna actually chill out about this ...like most of the time, they are the instigators, often ready to point out inconsistencies but yet never trying to rise above their own limitations on themselves. instead of worry about who is on the magazine and whehter they represent you, focus on what u can actually do to change that. Am sorry but alot of NIgerian girls r too bz hating on each other to even notice any sorth of progress...but since we r more interested in sharing trivial info pls note that Chanel Iman is on the July cover of Vogue Dubai...chick defintly ain't from there. Oluchi face of Afica is married to 1/2 of the designer of Luca Luca..c how trivial some of this shit now sounds. IF U WANT TO HELP 9JA DO IT, AIN'T NO ONE STOPPING YOU, BUT SITTING HERE AND ARGUING ABOUT WHO IS NIGERIAN ENUFF AND WHO AIN'T, IS COMPLETE WASTE OF BRAIN MATTER. WHO THE FUCK CARES?? the fate of 9ja will depend not on the movement of NOllywood or Dare or some non exotic looking maybe INdian girls on the cover of softcrab i mean softshell magazine....do u part and worry less about the entertainement industry. u dont see the Chinese whinnin about not being on a magazine do you

CultureCynic said...

Chinese people are successful because they STICK together.....whether they are quarter chinese or quasi Chinese...some ppl really do need to go travel the world before making such ridicoulous generalizations......this is just like black people sometimes Blaming EVERONEELSE but themselves. do u know the rate of black on black crime..nigerian on nigerian crimes???? the reason why Africa cannot compete on world standards it because it won't even give itself the chance. before you can accomplish something, everyone has to get along and be on some kind of page.

and the comments that foreigners are always treated better in nigeria than nigerians blows my mind....actually 95 percent of thse comments blow me......if i sit here and address each one my brain will explode.(blank stare)

NIgeria is dying at the cost of its own polution......we have blamed others long enuffffff. ....u know what am gonna take leave from commenting....cuz some of the finger pointing is just making my eyelashes fall out.

CultureCynic said...

Mr. Waffarian hit the nail on the head!

Sugabelly said...

@Culture Cynic: There are Nigerian on Nigerian crimes because Nigeria is full of Nigerians.

If you're a criminal in Nigeria the likelihood is that you are Nigerian.

If you're going to steal someone's bag in the street, the likelihood is that the person is Nigerian. Nigeria is chock full of Nigerians.

That part of your argument is redundant. In a country full of Black people there is no choice but to have Black on Black crime because everyone is black.

Miss Definitely Maybe said...

and the problem again is ????????
dont have a problem with the indian looking woman on the cover
in a democracy you can put who ever you want on any cover to embody any image you are trying to convey,
its a fallacy to think that to be nigerian you have to be black,
the sooner we as africans stop thinking in terms of skin colour the better.
someone doesnt have to be as 'dark' as me for me to feel represented. I identify to anyone or anything i chose to identify with. Funny in my law firm we are two black people and i have absolutely nothing in common with the other african guy, nor do i associate with him, but i have a great rappor with my white scottish co worker. Does that mean i think white people are superior? no!!! I hate the 'jus coz we africans so we should stick together mentality' People are individuals so if two face or some other artist does not like nigerean women on his videos then two face has the right to feature who ever where ever.

naija shawty said...

wow, Nigerians are really intellectually diverse. just check out the comments.

my intended comment is gonna mirror waffarian's.

like for real, it's nigerians abroad, like us, a minute percentage, that bother abt who graces the front of a mag.

the masses at home that need help have better issues to face. if those things are in place, then who graces the mag would not even be a question.

if we have to make our country better and be proud of it, they would be more than enough proud whatever-colour skinned indigenous nigerians to grace amag.