“I no come Lagos com count bridge!”
An ode to Lagos’s numerous bridges, this pidgin expression basically says – “I am here to make money and not to waste time” – epitomises the ‘hustle’ in every Nigerian.
Every visit to Nigeria is fascinating and telling of peoples’ sheer drive and energy to do more to uplift themselves. Yet, Nigeria is very misunderstood. Take the infamous 419 scam. Commonly in the form of emails masquerading as potential windfall gains from helping a deposed ‘prince’, this scam is often first associated to Nigeria and Nigerians but really has its origins outside the country, the US to be exact – a fact that the public at large are oblivious and care to be oblivious about.
If one has a genuine interest in diversity and how people shape their lives, so many insights can unfold during a normal working day, that shed light on even the most misunderstood of places – and a chat with a taxi driver between meetings did just that. Breaching our security protocol and opting not to use the company car, I struck a deal with a local cab driver, Samuel to get me to the mainland following my meeting in Victoria Island.
Sam, who works for a hail-taxi multinational, rents his ride from the head of international trade of a leading financial services institution in Nigeria and he is a wealth of information. A software engineer by education and profession, he was part of the bank’s IT team. They had let him go as part of the bank’s recent retrenchment drive. Even specialised roles like Sam’s are at risk in a market like Nigeria – talk about competitive. Even for the less biased, finding out software engineers are in high supply in Nigeria is a surprise.
Telling me this wasn’t an attempt to elicit sympathy, I was nosy and had prodded him for more information, to which he gave in and decided to shut me up for the long ride.
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Original story appeared on www.howwemadeitinafrica.com