How do other Africans see Nigeria and Nigerians? What is the general perception about Nigeria and Nigerians around Africa?
In this article, we have compiled a few comments and perception some Africans have about Nigerians and Nigeria as a country.
Azan JF, Gambian
“They are very religious and at times tribal within themselves. However, they are generally the friendliest and most outgoing West Africans and they get along with almost everyone. Their outgoing personalities comes across as being too loud at times…They are very entrepreneurial and don’t expect much from their government.”
Garwin Kim Sing, South African “Nigerians are rather arrogant in comparison to other Africans”- “my white and Indian friends continually express negative views and experiences with Nigerians with respect to organized crime.”
I’m not Nigerian, nor am I of Nigerian descent (that I know of), but I have worked for a number of large entities in Nigeria and I regularly advise Nigerian (and other African) bank boards—so I have a perspective on views of them by others.
My general sense is that other Africans look at the fringe of Nigerians that raise the eyebrows with their behavior due to scams or big man-type corruption scandals and extrapolate from these tail events in forming views about the entire nation.
Perhaps I feel I can relate to this sort of unfair stereotyping. As an African-American, I know far more Black people with resumes nearing that of President Obama’s than people with resumes like BiggySmalls’s—but the world seems to think quite the opposite.
This is characteristic, by the way, of a common set of cognitive biases. We don’t do statistics well mentally—even if we are statisticians. In particular, we overestimate the likelihood of rare events and underestimate the probability of common events—and this is almost universal. We also fall prey to subconscious associations and, of course, we like to confirm our pet theories without sufficient evidence.
Taken together, when we see Nigerian scammers or criminals or big men, we associate scams and corruption with Nigerians, even though scammers and corrupt officials anywhere are probably extremely small in number (despite Nigerians being extremely large in number, with respect to Africa) and believe Nigerians are “all like that”.
The one true point—which even most Nigerians agree with—is that Nigerian scammers are extremely creative, if not brilliant. This energy could be better spent in building the country. But again, quantifying that is difficult as its unlikely that even if every scammer changed his ways it could make a dent in such a large economy.
I think the point is that, in my experience, many Africans like to look outward and criticize Nigeria instead of looking inward and analyzing their own problems—which are probably just as prevalent. I found this especially to be the case in Kenya.
Yes, Kenyans work hard and yes, they are better at getting away with scams and corruption than many Nigerians, but as a foreigner, I find Nigerians infinitely warmer and more noble in character—and with me that counts for something. Probably every Nigerian I have ever met has invited me to his or her home for dinner; yet, in my 2 years in Kenya, I didn’t receive a single invitation.
That’s probably my bad effort at casual statistics and cognitive biases speaking, but, nonetheless, it counts for something!
Enterprising and confident
SonkarlayVaye, African born, African and American based
I have spent a lot of time around Nigerians. Judging from the ones I’ve met, this is my opinion. Nigerians are very entrepreneurial. Of all the West African states it’s no surprise that Nigerians have built the largest and most successful indigenous companies.
Nigerians are very serious about education. Almost all of the Nigerians that I know are college educated and many have multiple degrees.Nigerians are confident. There is nothing they cannot accomplish and some of them will confidently tell you this.
Nigerians are very intelligent and love to debate.Even with all of its issues Nigerians love their country and most see a positive future for Nigeria.
Ronnie Otieno, from a Kenyan.
“Nigerians have the best music in Africa. Sometimes I don’t get the lyrics but the beats keeps me dancing.Nigerians and probably many countries in West Africa have some serious scammers.Lagos is the most populous city in Africa. Some parts can be so good, rich and clean and some are slums. The slum built on water.Nigerian accent is easily recognized.Nigerian government doesn’t score high in transparency. Corruption is rampant.Nigerians I have come across were outgoing, loud and sometimes rude.
Overpopulated and Dubious
“It is a country with a lot of people… The largest population in Africa but not among those with largest land sizes. You get to hear lots of opinion about them such as… They are con artists, deceitful… But my personal opinion is that in a society that huge you expect to have all kinds of characters. As an East African…specifically Kenyan, i find their culture and way of life interesting. I’d like to get to know it. Being Bantu, I can relate to and understand most east and southern African tribes but western Africa is quite different”.
Strong in criminality
AnthoSitoDjeguede, live in Central African Republic
“Nigerians are strong in everything: Strong in population, strong in movies, strong in selling bullshits, strong in music, strong in criminality, strong in science, strong in not winning against the rebels”.
Olivier Habumugisha, lives in Africa (1989-present)
“Nigeria has the smartest brains of Africa, the richest men of the continent, and the thugest people (drug dealers, hackers, corrupt people, etc), and the hallmark of a Nigerian citizen is CORRUPTION: Always seeking to bribe to have& obtain anything”.