“Naija no dey carry last!” is a slang often remarked elatedly by very enthusiastic Nigerians. And as Nigerians, we are often considered loud, proud, and pretty much boastful based on the mindset caused by the slang. Let’s be quite honest with each other, this much is accurate. Even though some of this might be true and stubbornly disputed by some, there are reasons to why such tags are so often associated with us.
It’s rather simple.
We are – outside of our socio-Nigerian circles and cliques – a very misunderstood bunch of people. Naturally, phrases like that above, have been engraved in our minds since we learned to speak. For that simple reason, non-Nigerians are usually bemused as to why and how we can be so “loud” and full of incomparable confidence.
Despite most of these points being – from a Nigerian perspective – positive, what tends to happen is we isolate ourselves from almost everyone that isn’t in our preserved and beloved socio-circle, including our Ghanaian neighbours. Though this might not really bother most of us, because quite frankly we love each other’s company, there is, however, only so much ‘Naija Naija’ enthusiasm, a fellow Nigerian can take or tolerate.
As a Nigerian in diaspora, there are times where I crave mutual understanding from non-Nigerians. It almost feels bizarre, but there’s a certain confusing feeling when you start to wonder and ask yourself if those that aren’t Nigerian “get you”. Like I said earlier, we love and cherish our Naija socio-circle, from experiencing together playground games like OGO to Ten Ten – we share what you can almost call a “patriotic vibe”.
Moreover, although it might feel unusual when non-Nigerians get and understand you, there is something satisfying about it. Perhaps it’s the simplicity and excitement of raving about a new Afrobeat song with your Kenyan friend without getting into a quarrel on whether Wizkid is better than Davido. Or just the pure pleasure of introducing your Caribbean or white friend to Afrobeat in general.
Irrespective of what gives you a mutual vibe with non-Nigerians, the fact is you’re stepping out of that cherished Nigerian socio-circle and you’re essentially teaching foreigners aspects of our culture and slowly erasing stereotypes that we’re proud and boastful. Though, we at times don’t help ourselves.
But, one thing is for sure: “Naija no dey carry last!”