Nigerians, Take a Chill Pill – Thoughts on Humans of New York (HONY) Lagos, Nigeria Series


Nigerians, take a chill pill. We can do better, but our pride often does not let us see clearly and acknowledge how bad things really are. Yes, I said what I said. Come and beat me. When I saw that Brandon Stanton of HONY started a series on Lagos, Nigeria, I was over the moon happy. Finally, I thought, the world will know how awesome my country is.

They will get to see the cuisine and bougie restaurants in the city of Lagos, our unique fashion, the mansions in Banana Island, the working professionals, and maybe a bit of Nollywood and everything else cool that Lagos has to offer. Then a few posts later, and it was done. Fiam, just like that. No mention of the glitz and glam of Lagos. As my people will say, “shock catch me”.

Don’t act like I was the only one with this expectation. I know you had it too. I know, because as the proud Nigerians that we are, we blew up Twitter complaining about how Nigeria was depicted in the HONY posts, so much so that Brandon had to write an article about it. His interviews were intentionally random. Just look how much we were humbled. How true and how eye opening this was for me. As difficult as it is to admit, Brandon indeed accurately captured the reality of majority of Nigeria and Nigerians – extreme poverty, police brutality, children out of school, fraud, lack of safety, corruption, and abuse and molestation. Despite these, we were encouraged by the stories of those who exemplify good citizenship in the midst of a failing government – the young man who wants to build houses for the homeless, the man who trains boys off the street on his print shop business, and the young lady who set up LifeBank, a company that distributes blood to hospitals.

I could write an epistle on how all Nigerians have a role in changing Nigeria, but you’ve already heard it all before, and you’d more than likely carry on with life as usual and continue to use religion as a cover-up while you argue pointlessly that naija jollof is better than Ghanaian jollof (although it low key is, but that’s besides the point). But this post will all be worth it if just one person would make a little mind change, and a little behavior change. It’s the simple things – respect our environment by not littering, do the right thing by not collecting a bribe, fund an underprivileged child to an education instead of squandering money in the expensive city of Lagos, don’t take advantage of those beneath you, and in whatever situation you find yourself, maintain integrity.

Did you read the HONY Lagos, Nigeria posts? What did you think?


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4 thoughts on “Nigerians, Take a Chill Pill – Thoughts on Humans of New York (HONY) Lagos, Nigeria Series

  1. I will say this like so many people would “I’ve given up on Naija”…..yes I said it. However, why should I? It’s my country of origin, I shouldn’t give up. But how many of us pray for our country Nigeria? Every country have their own mishaps and whatever corruption and failure they’re dealing with but I just feel like Nigeria is going backwards instead of forward. As if it’s been cursed. So many people have believed on the notion that it’s been cursed. As you’ve stated Bisola, there are many people playing a great role in doing their best by supporting and encouraging the less privileged. But most of us have hidden under the umbrella of religion. What is a religion when people within your community are suffering and you have done absolutely nothing to help but instead, you drive the latest cars and live in a mansion…..creating opportunities for the less privileged, orphans, widows and the likes should be priority.

    But again, wether we are diaspora or in nigeria, we all have a part to play. I have to do something to help out in one way or another and so does everyone claiming to be a Nigerian.

    • Couldn’t agree more. We should pray, but we also NEED to take action. I bet Nigerians do the most prayer vigils compared to any other country. The Nigerian church can do so much more than pray, but that’s story for another day. Thanks for the comment!

  2. I can’t even say I had high expectations from the posts, I was highly surprised he came to Nigeria. Sad as it is, I don’t see things turning around anytime soon.

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