On October 1st 1960, after many years of rule under the British Empire, Nigeria officially gained her independence. She became an autonomous nation, free to make decisions as she deemed fit.
It’s 2018, freshly fifty-eight years post-independence. There is no colonialist rule on paper any more. There is, however, something deeper than that.
Majority of Nigerians live with a colonised mindset. What this means can be explained simply as this: anything from abroad is better than ours. What comes from the outside, particularly the West, is better than what is homegrown.
This mindset affects everything we do. When some stores want to attract more clientele to purchase their clothing, food or household items, guess what they do? Advertisement of the fact that they are shipped in from overseas. It’s like hearing the word ‘imported’ turns on a fascination switch in our brains. Subconciously we make choices based more on where the goods are coming from, less so the quality. For some it has even become a thing denoting your social status. You should see the faces of some Nigerians when you tell them you bought a certain shirt from a Nigerian brand, it’s like they do not understand how someone can buy and wear such ‘lowly’ clothing.
Names are not exempt from this mindset as well. A lot of Nigerians would rather answer their English names than their traditional ones because the English ones are presumed to be ‘posher’ or ‘better’ now. That is why Chidinma will go to university and become Kate, or some abbreviated form of her name like ‘DiDi’. The more foreign the name sounds, the better the name sounds to some of us.
Then we have the accents. Oh my gosh, the accents. Turn on your radio now, and listen to almost every OAP (on-air personality) talk in either a British or American accent, or a weird hybrid of both. Talking with a foreign accent ( by ‘foreign’ I mean British or American) now means people more marketable and exposed to more opportunities, in the media world and even beyond. Sad, but it’s truth. Because of this many people falsify accents, some failing terribly at it. People come back from China with British accents now. What a time to be alive.
You know how countries are very protective of their citizens, giving them priviledges that only citizens are entitled to? Well, that is not the case in our nation. Nigerians can treat their fellow countrymen like refuse and then treat a foriegner like gold. It is a wonder to me.
The lifestyle of the Western world is now what dictates most, if not all, of ours. Their life has become a yardstick by which everyone else’s is measured. If they do not accept it, then we do not think it’s good enough. If they accept it, then we adopt it as ours, both the good and the bad. This way of thinking is not only detrimental to our individual lives, but it affects us on a national scale. We’re so busy consuming the products of others that we lose the value for ours. How can this economy grow if we do not support our own?
It is true that some of us have hopped abroad the ‘buy Naija to grow the Naira’ train, however the truth remains that majority still think and live their lives as though Nigeria were under a colonialist rule. We say we are free, but are we really free indeed?