I work in a Multicultural environment with people from many different countries. All the continents are well represented. For some of these people, they are new to Nigeria and as such have a lot of questions about our ways. I find that it is always important to answer as clearly and correctly as I possibly can because I realize that my answer will be repeated to other people outside of the country and this will help them paint a picture of Nigeria.
Of course some of these questions/comments that I get range from the serious to the seriously ridiculous but I still take my time to answer. After all, I am Nigeria’s ambassador…sort of.
A good example of the seriously ridiculous would be when a colleague told me that he had been told that the reason why Nigerian men smelled so bad was that it was appealing to the opposite sex (Pick your jaw off the ground). According to this theory, the stronger a man’s body odor, the more attractive he is to the opposite sex. In fact, I was told that I must be used to inhaling the body odor of others because it sort of appealed to me. I asked him who told him that story and he mentioned another Oyinbo like himself. Just goes to show you how important it is that we tell our own stories.
I do the best I can to address all questions/comments but I am not sure I can always do them justice as the answers are sometimes more complex than what a few words can convey. As such, I have decided to throw out the last question I got and have you weigh-in.
To give you a little back-ground, my colleague noticed that a lot of Nigerians do not mingle with Junior staff. That is to say, whilst he was on first name basis with cleaners, drivers and other junior staff, he came to the realization that many Nigerians that were on a lower pay grade than him never socialized with these junior/support staff.
So the question is: Why is there a big gulf between blue collar and white collar Nigerians?