You Don't Get to Define my People! (Rejoinder to John Zibiri)

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Someone shared an annoying story supposedly written about some Expatriate name John Zibiri in which he was recounting his so-called "Nigerian experience". It was so distasteful and disrespectful that I could not finish reading it. If you have come across it, you will understand what I mean.
I feel  compelled by a sense of patriotism to respond as follows: "Thank God John Zibiri left Nigeria! I hope he never returns.
I have worked with Expatriates most of my professional life and for 27 years, I have not met a single John Zibiri. Instead, I meet Asians, Americans, Europeans, Australians who do not want to leave Nigeria when their tour of duty ends. In Nigeria, they can afford cooks, drivers, gatemen, stewards... they are automatically projected into the upper class far from where they were born or lived in their own countries.

As a matter of fact, my husband and I laugh at the story told by one of his friends, about a client of his: a senior official of an Oil Company who got married while stationed in Lagos. After a few years, he was promoted and relocated to a new base in the European office. When his wife finished packing up their Lagos home and  joined him in the UK, she was shocked to find their new home was a nice but tiny city apartment; no domestic servants received her on her arrival and worse, instead of a chaffeur-driven car he had to take the train to work and advised her to take a cab to the high street shops. She observed the situation for a few days and eventually gingerly inquired from him if he was sure he got a promotion and not a demotion,  because she could not reconcile the lifestyle in England with their Nigerian lifestyle! True story, which the Executive himself told at his farewell party which he returned to Lagos to attend a few months later.
The bad press we have in Nigeria is badly over-exaggerated.  True, we have our problems but I would rather live here that any other Country in the world (and I have been to a few). Why? This is my home and I am tired of the John Zibiris who come here to tell me what they don't like about my Country. If they don't like it here, they can ship out. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie told Robert Emmet Tyrell: "You dont get to define what racism is"". Sorry, John Zibiri, you don't get to tell me what you detest about my country and my people.  It's like I told my old boss John H at Daigeo PLC:many years ago: "If you hate it so much here Mr. H, why do you stay?"


To which he replied: "That's a good question Ronkie. I know who I am and where I come from and I would be nowhere near who I am today if it has not been for Nigeria". n other words, he owes a lot to Nigeria!
To my fellow Nigerians, I say: Please do not allow anyone to define or belittle you. The story above is the broader narrative of Expatriates in Nigeria and in most African Countries. That is why they come, sporadic electricity, no water, bad roads, corruption, insurgency... still they come. There's got to be a reason they keep coming and trust me, its not for altruistic reasons!
To John Zibiri, I say: "You dont like Nigeria. We get it. Nigeria is probably not all ga-ga over you either. Just quit with the name-calling already. It reflects more on you than us. Goodbye and please do not hurry back"

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 February 2017 11:52
Written by Funmilola Ronke Babalola


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