Seven Things To Know If You’re Coming Back to Nigeria

I’ve written about What Life in Nigeria is Really Like and also What I Appreciate about Nigeria from Life Abroad. I want to continue to write about things to know about Nigeria. This post is dedicated to foreigners and Nigerians who are coming back to the country after a long time or those who are visiting for the first time. Here are some helpful and funny things you ought to know.

People Will Always Ask Why You Came Back to Nigeria?

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If you were in Nigeria, traveled outside and come back, just expect people to always ask why you came back to Nigeria? I think it’s because, for some Nigerians, the dream is to be abroad in Europe and America forever.

This question used to annoy me because this is my country after all. I lived and was educated in the U.S. for some time but that doesn’t make me an American citizen. Though I was in states, I always knew that there’s a possibility that I would be back.

On my way back to Nigeria, what I want most people to know is that I had some level of peace and contentment because I knew I’d be coming home. The flight experience was certainly interesting. It was a three-day journey. It wasn’t easy but taking cheap flights has its advantages. Overall, the experience of coming back is worth it.

Some People Think A Foreign Accent Elevates You

During my National Youth Service (NYSC), I told a co-worker that I can’t wait until my American accent goes away. She laughed and then said that I should pray that it never goes away. In Nigeria, some people see having a foreign accent as a thing of prestige.

In Ebony Life TV, there was this episode where the ladies were discussing the whole foreign accent thing. They admitted that it is desirable in Nigeria. It is something that people actually try to learn. As for me, I don’t think my accent makes me better than anyone else. I don’t see it as a ticket to success. I see working hard and pursuing your ambitions with determination as the way to attain opportunities. Believe it or not, my accent makes me slightly insecure because I feel as though it makes people assume things or have expectations about me.

It’s not a fairytale here…So Pick Your Circle Wisely….

Having people around you with good energy matters especially if you’re coming to what feels like a new environment. You might meet some people who will complain about everything. If you are around such people who complain all the time, it will make you miserable.

Honestly, the reality is that sure, there are things to complain about in Nigeria and almost any other country. There are challenges here and of course, you will complain every once in a while. But for me, I care about my mental health. I am very conscious about what I do and who I’m around with. If you’re around people who are always negative, it will not make you want to adjust and see the good in life. I advise that you pick your circle wisely.

If you are around people who complain and are miserable all the time, you will become like them so pick your circle wisely.

You Have to Learn to Bargain

In the U.S., when you want to buy something, you check the label. In Nigeria, we often bargain especially when you are in an open market. You have to learn to bargain the price because you might buy something that should not be as expensive as it is…

I advise that if there are others around you that are used to this, you join them in the market and learn how they do it. Also, for the first few months that you’re back, always inquire what a certain amount should be from the people you are close to who have been here longer.

Respect Towards Elders and Superiors Means A lot

In America, there is not a major emphasis on greeting and how you address those that are older than you. My first job after graduation in the states, I used to call my older colleagues by their first name. That’s normal there but not here. In order to show respect, you have to use “Sir,” or “Ma.” This is important because some will be quick to get offended and correct you if you don’t greet them Good Morning or Good Afternoon Sir/Ma. Greet as many times as you can.

Greeting your elders and superiors in Nigeria is important because it is a sign of respect and Nigerians value respect.

We Take Religion Seriously

We take religion seriously in this country. For Christians, know that church is a normal thing here. People are open to discussing it not only in a religious setting but also, anywhere else. Since I value my faith, I always appreciate that people are open to discussing Christianity.

Dating in Nigeria is Easier because the Men are Very Confident

The dating culture in America, especially New York can be complicated. In New York, I dated a few times in university but I didn’t have a serious relationship. It’s not very easy to meet people in New York. Most people there rely on technology to find romance. That’s why there are several dating sites.

Here, I’ve noticed that the dating culture is easier because Nigerian men are very confident. This is regardless of their position… The men here will flirt and ask for your number anytime and anywhere. They are very open and bold. When they see what they want, they don’t waste time. Sometimes, I find it admirable. Other times, I find it a bit much because I don’t rush into things.

That’s it. Those are just a few things I wanted to let you know if you’re coming back to Nigeria after a long time.  Is there something you would add to this list or is there something you want to know more about? Feel free to let me know in a comment.

Isioma Ononye

I'm a blogger, freelance writer and news enthusiast. I'm passionate about personal development and I'm a book lover. AIso, I care deeply about feminism. My bliss is found in words that move me, nature and chasing my dreams.

4 thoughts on “Seven Things To Know If You’re Coming Back to Nigeria

  1. Well detailed post, I could relate to a few. My office is largely dominated by expatriates and I got used to the first name thing until another senior Nigerian boss callled me out in an official email that I’m rude and gownits not a Nigerian thing. I felt really embarrassed and learnt that the hard way.


    1. Thanks for sharing. 🙂 I too have definitely felt embarrassed about it. In the past, I forgot to greet one older woman when I walked into a media room and she was not happy about it….loll Over time, I’ve just had to be more conscious of making sure to do so. Thankfully, I’m now used to it.

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