Sunday, 4 November 2012

No Apologies For Being Nigerian

I always say that most of the problems of Nigeria is manifested in our so-called educated people. They are the ones that worry so much about how the world think of us and less about how we really improve at home.The so-called illiterate rural dwellers who make the bulk of our population worry about real problems like getting fertilizer for their farms or getting a clinic close to their village. I've had this feeling for some time but didn't have the right words to articulate it in writing. So I am now reading Tope Fasua's book titled CRUSHED and just came across a chapter where he expressed just that feeling better than I can ever imagine to. He complained about the lack of deep analysis of the corruption problem in Nigeria by our intelligentsia and how we are unable to trace the root causes of the problem. We often prefer to ignore the powerful countries' roles in promoting corruption in Nigeria and Africa. We ignore things like Swiss coded accounts that facilitate the looting of Africa's money to Europe by corrupt leaders. He hit the nail on the head when he sited how a common foreign news anchor was bombarding Nigeria's then vice president Dr Goodluck Jonathan for all the corruption going on in Nigeria. And worse of all, the position of most people was like "Oh we are sorry we are corrupt". My point? I am tired of that attitude and have stopped accepting that holier than thou stance from any foreigner just because I am Nigerian.
So some days ago I tried to buy a hosting service from a U.S.A based company, all the process went smoothly until I tried to make the final payment. Their system suddenly blocked me out because my address is in Maiduguri, Nigeria. Instead of walking away from the transaction, I submitted a support ticket to them specifically telling them that I am Nigerian and that I understand that I cannot pay for their services because of that. Instead of apologizing for my being Nigerian, I requested that they delete my account since they will not do business with me. That I will go and find a hosting company that is ready to do business with me. Less than ten minutes I received a reply from them with an apology and an explanation that they have manually generated an invoice for me to make the payment.
My friend and co-owner of our startup software company is an ardent follower of a certain blog that revolves around a version control system. When the blog author gave out free copies of his book, people need to fill out a form on the blog site to show their interest. The form however has no provision for Nigerian addresses and doesn't allow alternate means of supplying such addresses. So my friend emailed the author and told him that he shouldn't ignore Nigeria because he has readers there. I do not know how the conversation continued but the author went out of his way to send him a copy of the book all the way to Maiduguri.
So I imagined if every Nigerian will try that method instead of getting a fake U.S address, may be with a few transactions we can change that attitude towards us. I think the world is like a playground. People will bully you when they think you are weak and have no options. I am not saying that we should be proud of Yahoo boys but I think I should not be held responsible for what Yahoo boys do. Afterall, no country ever decided not to buy Nigerian crude oil because of corruption. The psychological bullying will only stop when the victim stand up to the bully by proving his worth.

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