#Nigeria Loves Living In Denial: In Defense Of @Jidenna

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jidennaNigeria is a country living in denial…

If someone from the outside comes and says Lagos is dirty and flooded, Nigerians will form Voltron to kill him and then bury him in the same dirt they deny exists.

If another person states that you cannot as a “light-skinned” foreigner move around Nigeria without Mobile policemen brandishing AK-47s, Nigerians will pounce on you and scream you down even as the loud sirens of yet another Mobile escort screams even louder as the vehicle veers dangerously past their cars.

And if you actually make the mistake to say Nigerians prefer light-skinned people over dark-skinned people, or even accuse Nigerians of not valuing their natural self. A set of bleached knuckles with knock you out and bury you in a casket made of left over Brazilian weaves!

Such is life in Nigeria. A country in constant denial … that’s why we are some of the happiest people on earth. Because denial is the root of happiness.

Nigeria Motto: If trouble happens…remember to Grin-White-Grin!

Personal Experience: On one of my trips to Port-Harcourt, I sat down at the back of a Prado jeep, while my colleague from Russia sat in front. The policeman on duty calmly told my Russian colleague that he cannot sit in front, that he needs to go to the back, because he will be a target and thus make the convoy unsafe. That’s how I found myself in the front. So when people like Jidenna​ are dropping realities about Nigeria … better listen cause that shit is the truth no matter how hard it is to swallow.

twitterWritten and Experienced By Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
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Ofili

Author: Ofili

Words by Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
Follow him on Twitter
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Read his crazy titled books on konga or okadabooks
Feed his children at…no wait he has no kids…. 

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45 comments on “#Nigeria Loves Living In Denial: In Defense Of @Jidenna

  1. HELLO OFILI, I AGREE HE SPOKE SOME TRUTH; HE WENT FURTHER TO EXAGGERATE THE TRUTH.

    AT A TIME T, KIDNAPPING OF FOREIGN NATIONALS WAS THE TRADE OF THE YEAR AS A RESULT OF REASONS BEST KNOWN TO YOU AND I. IT’S STILL ON AS A MATTER OF FACT AND I CONDEMN IT.

    HE SAID ”SOUTH EAST IS AWAY FROM THE CITY”, ALSO “WHEN YOU ARE LIGHT SKINNED, YOU ARE A HEAVIER TARGET FOR BEING KIDNAPPED”. THESE GENERALISATIONS ARE NOT CORRECT.

    THESE TWO STATEMENTS ARE UNTRUE.
    FIRSTLY, I’M LIGHT SKINNED, I’M RICH AND HAVE NEVER BEEN A TARGET. THE APPROPRIATE THING TO SAY WOULD BE – WHEN YOU ARE HALF CASTE AND SPEAK WITH THE ACCENT FROM THE USA.

    SECONDLY, SOUTH EAST IS A REGION AND HAS BEAUTIFUL CITIES. ENUGU IS A GOOD EXAMPLE. IT ISN’T AWAY FROM THE CITY.

    IT ALSO DEPENDS ON THE KIND OF FAMILY HE IS FROM. HE SAID HIS FAMILY WAS ALWAYS A TARGET – BY WHO? PEOPLE CLOSE TO THEM OF COURSE.

    LOOKING AT HIM CRITICALLY, I WOULD SAY HE IS BROWN/CHOCOLATE IN COMPLEXION. PHYNO, BANKY W ARE LIGHT SKINNED.

  2. In the south east where Jidenna’s father was buried, people are targeted for their financial status not their skin colour. Alek Wek is more likely to be targeted in the south east than Jidenna. The south east is messed up, people are kidnapped for as low as 5-10k ransom, black, green and orange skinned alike.
    Adaeze latest post is ChangedMy Profile

    • Ofili
      Ofili on said:

      @Adaeze So you are telling me that a White person walking around in South East has the same exact probability of being kidnapped as a Black person walking around the South East?

      My experience says otherwise.

      • First of all, Jidenna is not white, there are many fully Nigerian igbos who are way lighter than him. Kidnapping in most cases is a very organised endeavour, it’s some people’s bread and butter, they will not kidnap you if they’re not sure that someone will pay for you- it is not good business sense and trust me, it is a business.
        A white man is more likely to be kidnapped than a “local” in most countries in the world, a white man is safer in Onitsha than in most parts of Venezuela or Colombia.
        If those guys really wanted Jidenna…. His AK-47 and commandos couldn’t have stood a chance.
        Adaeze latest post is ChangedMy Profile

        • My point exactly, you get kidnapped based on how rich you are or look not how light your shade of black is

          • Ofili
            Ofili on said:

            So if that is the case why did Adaeze say people are getting kidnapped for 5-10K ransom. Did they miscalculate their richness? Again we like living in denial.

        • ‘they will not kidnap you if they’re not sure that someone will pay for you- it is not good business sense and trust me, it is a business.’

          @Adaeze, this has been my experience as well. Like the Igbo saying – ‘It is the rat in the house that tells the rat in the bush that there’s dried fish in the kitchen.’

          These people operate on information; sadly, from a family member, close friend or relative or someone in the know.
          Okan’ube latest post is Mami-Wọta Made My Hair [IV]My Profile

          • Ofili
            Ofili on said:

            So you are telling me that in Nigeria that I live in today, that a light skinned oyinbo, half caste person has the same probability of being kidnapped as a dark Nigerian? Sorry o, my experience working in Port-Harcourt begs to differ.

        • Ofili
          Ofili on said:

          So if someone like Jidenna comes back to Nigeria he can roam around the streets without drawing attention to himself. Yeah…I think that is a lie.

          • My point is there are thousands of igbos who have suffered horrendous experiences in the hands of kidnappers because of their wealth (real or percieved). At the height of the kidnapping menace, my grandmothers had to be taken away from the village, from the land of their births, where their husbands are buried. One of my grandmas is as light as Jidenna while the other is dark skinned. The kidnappers would not have made the distinction, they’d have kidnapped either of them because their children would pay the ransom. Jidenna’s family would have been targeted because they came from America with “dollars”, not because he’s the only light skinned person in igbo land.
            Jidenna will be cheated in the market, be harrassed by area boys because of his skin tone but he won’t get targeted by kidnappers because he’s lighter than the average igbo man. He doesn’t look “white” enough to be targeted as a foreigner.
            I’m pretty angry because I’ve known several people who have been kidnapped, including one or two who died in the process who were as dark as anything. Jidenna should stop feeling special.
            Adaeze latest post is I am tired of hopeMy Profile

          • That is NOT a lie! This Jidenna does not look half-caste. A bleaching babe would attract more attention.

      • Well I’m glad you said white and not light skinned. Of course the white man has a higher chance but we are talking about light skin here not white

        • Ofili
          Ofili on said:

          Jidenna’s family is half caste, when he says light skin he is talking about his family. And as a half caste in Nigeria you are perceived to have wealth.

  3. Jidenna should have rephrased his sentence honestly. If you’re gonna get kidnapped in Nigeria, its gonna be because of your affluence not skin color. I agree with him, Nigeria is not a safe haven but the way he made his point was just just… And also saying the southeast is away from the city was just too much. I have seen many tweets and no one is living in denial in my opinion, they acknowledge our security issues here but just don’t agree with the whole light skin part.

  4. Chijioke on said:

    In the South East if you’re rich and known the chances of you and your family member getting kidnapped is high.

    • Ofili
      Ofili on said:

      In Nigeria if you are White and broke the chances of you getting kidnapped is still high. That is the reality Jidenna is talking about!

        • Ofili
          Ofili on said:

          Jidenna is half caste his mum is American…so when he says light skin we should be patient and smart enough to realize what he is talking about. The fact is that people like him are kidnap targets, to say that they are not is gross denial.

  5. The guys who kidnap for 5-10k are not the “professional” kidnappers, these guys are opportunistic. My dad’s friend was kidnapped in that manner, they waylaid him on a quiet street near Umungasi Aba and asked him to give them 5k so it doesn’t get too complicated, there are so many other cases like that in towns like Aba.
    I’m glad this is getting viral and more people are talking about the deplorable security situation in the south east, the horror stories of everyday people, black skinned no drop of foreign people will make you cry. My beef with Jidenna is his claiming that it’s worse for him because he’s biracial. He should come and tell that to the families whose relatives died in the hands of kidnappers.
    Adaeze latest post is Freestyle writing challengeMy Profile

    • Ofili
      Ofili on said:

      “My beef with Jidenna is his claiming that it’s worse for him because he’s biracial.” but it is! Bi-racial, Oyinbo, half caste are more of a target in Nigeria. This is a fact.

      • We’re not likely to see eye to eye on this. Dangote’s daughter has a much higher risk of being kidnapped in the south east than Jidenna. I’ve been emphasizing the south east because that is Jidenna’s focus. In the south south, kidnapping of foreigners and “light skinned” individuals who are more likely to be expatriate oil workers is more lucrative but that is not the same situation in the igbo nation as Jidenna calls it.
        Adaeze latest post is A friendly coupMy Profile

        • Abdul on said:

          I agree with you, Adaeze, to a large extent on the points you’ve raised and how this isn’t a trivial issue but you cannot seriously say that Jidenna does not have a very very valid point.
          Yes, it might rub one the wrong way but he’s absolutely right and saying otherwise is simply being in denial as the author has rightly said.

  6. Ayodeji on said:

    Because Nigeria has bad sides, we should all join hands and thrash it??!? If Nigerians are thrashing the country, pray what do we expect non-Nigerians living here to say?? The problem with Nigerians, including this writer whom I presume is a Nigerian, is we’ll never scream our good sides…our positives, but the negatives we enjoy screaming to the heavens.
    Instead of this one calling a spade a spade, he’d rather support his brother because na igboman. What a shame!

  7. Seyi on said:

    I guess he just used the wrong word cos being light skinned doesn’t get you kidnapped. There are far ‘lighter’ people than him (according to his pictures that I’ve seen). Being oyinbo, half caste now is another thing. I don’t know much about the kidnapping in the south east but I don’t think the kidnappers will go through the stress just cos he is fair. Besides I know wealthy people living in port Harcourt and are lighter, way lighter, than him and so far they haven’t been kidnapped. I get what he is trying to say and the sense in it but poor choice of words. All na misunderstanding

  8. I’ve just been trying to hold my own but really, this one pass me. City, town, village, hamlet, city, bullshit. What does he even mean in the South East, away from the city? As what na?

    The guy should take several sits. Rich man = Target. Foreigner (not the Togolese & Cameroonian type o, no diss to them) = Target. Race = Target. Skin Color = Really? How dat one take “consign” ya “bank akant”?

    Contrary to the opinion that kidnapping is something done by aimless roadside igbo-smoking touts, it isn’t. Not at all. Kidnapping is big business. Really big business. I’ll lay my emphasis on the South-East because it’s where his tale stems from and where I’ve spent the past 10 years or so. Kidnappers here about 2-6 years ago, used to be the most organized set of criminals, with your schedule, personal information, sometimes medical history (I recall a family friend who was kidnapped and without argument or delay, they collected his prescription and bought his daily meds for him), a vast knowledge of inter state road network and Lairs at different places in different states. In fact, it seemed kidnappers had a union of some sort, with them helping each other especially if colleagues ran into trouble in a foreign state. I also remember the account of a kidnap in which a family member drove around 3 different states in the process of dropping the ransom and it was clear they were privy to his every move.

    Do you think people this organized make decisions to kidnap you based on your skin color? In fact, mere foreigners are not as much of a target as expatriates (the few years stint kind). White skin No obvious great source of income = Low Risk. Black skin Returnee = Medium Risk. Black skin New house in villa Range Rover Sport (Returnee or not) = Better get badass army escorts. They don’t give a shit about your skin color. They give shits about whether you have the money and who will pay it. If you have an obviously not working wife for example, they may even end up negotiating with your brother.

    Now as to Adaeze’s mention of those kidnapped for paltry sums, their abductors are almost always caught and as it turns out, aren’t usually full time kidnappers. More like very hungry thieves who ventured into what they couldn’t handle.

    What may seem like the casual dismissal of a traumatic experience isn’t that. It’s just discussing issues as a matter of fact, without attaching sentiments. If you want to trash your country and tribe soundly in public, at least get your facts right and do it well.

    • Ofili
      Ofili on said:

      “Rich man = Target. Foreigner (not the Togolese & Cameroonian type o, no diss to them) = Target. Race = Target. Skin Color = Really? How dat one take “consign” ya “bank akant”?”

      Interesting … so race has no link to skin color?

  9. Igbegocho on said:

    We apparently are all in agreement that our security issues are very grave. Why dont we all just focus on that and stop trying to crucify the guy.

  10. Funny thing is, no one is thinking “is it that easy to import arms into this country?” That sent shivers down my spine yesterday, how easily he talked about it, like he’d talked about bringing in clothes.
    Adaeze latest post is Lagos Meishai bluesMy Profile

  11. chrishuga on said:

    Good is good, bad is bad. Jidenna got it wrong, thats all. I live in port harcourt nd have had halfcast friends who roam the streets everyday, went to the same neighborhood schools nd teen parties completely free. Most of these lads where pure white, hair nd everything. Yet maybe coz their parents were average citizens, nobody targetted them. Even the children of villagd chiefs were bigger targets than them

  12. jide obi on said:

    Jidenna was basically right but he misplaced the complexity of Nigeria. Poverty and unemployment are killing Nigeria. Kidnappers are taking hold of those that are rich and perceived to be rich. That’s were light skin and foreigners step into play,
    Jidenna can help by leading for global Nigerian youths.

  13. Pingback: @Jidenna Responds With Classic Letter | Ofilispeaks

  14. Akinwale Akinola on said:

    He said he is light skinned. I think what he really means is that he is half caste, that he’s got some foreign blood, some foreign connection, some Dollar access, which is a biz justification for kidnapping. Chimamanda’s octogenarian father was kidnapped (every time I remember, I am saddened) because of Chimamanda, the writer daughter, who must have Dollars or access to it. Kidnapping is real but your lightness of complexion must make you to be perceived to have some Dollar connection for you to be a potential target.

  15. Halo Ofili, just ran into your blog for the first time and I must start by saying it makes for an interesting read; your post on the unusual good light had me laughing so hard, I had to read out loud to my colleagues. Really good and humorous.

    Okay, moving on; I do agree with your point that Nigerians love to live in denial (it is our blessing and our curse) and in essence, one of the reasons we are able to live so well and even love a society that is far less than organised. While Jidenna may have spoken some underlining truth (Never mind the over-stretch gist about AK47s and what have not), I still believe he was out of line and this is why: In a world where ‘celebrities’ and the media carry so much weight and can in effect shape the image of people, culture and even nations, it is his duty as an influential Nigeria in a foreign country to help build the image of Nigeria, not further destroy it with over dramatic stories. All this careless talk is in effect what helps further images of Africa/Nigeria as war jungles and even actual jungles amongst western foreigners. Enough western propaganda already exist about instability in Nigeria, we do not need more of that stuff otherwise we risk furthering what Chimamanda tags, a single story about Nigeria. We need new stories; positive stories. I am in no way saying he should lie, I am just saying that he could have phrased his story/point in a way that isn’t so derogatory of a country he claims to love especially when talking to a foreign correspondent. I believe that is why public figures have publicist… Basically, I guess I am trying to say that washing your dirty laundry outside doesn’t make you honest, just tactless.

    P.S: Forgive my epistle; I always tend to go on forever.

  16. The day i saw Jidenna trend on twitter, i thought he was getting some ‘home’ support only to see the bashing! Had to go find what he said and i just couldnt see the provocation in his narration about insecurity especially in his area in eastern nigeria. In my opinion his comment was not at all far fetched and the bullying was totally unecessary. I dont know if this is what they call ‘hate’.

  17. Great is great, terrible is awful. Jidenna missed the point, there’s nothing more to it. I live in port harcourt nd have had halfcast companions who wander the boulevards regular, went to a similar neighborhood schools nd high schooler parties totally free. The greater part of these chaps where unadulterated white, hair nd everything. However perhaps coz their folks were normal nationals, no one targetted them. Indeed, even the offspring of villagd boss were greater focuses than them

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