Nigeria is coming, please hold on – Viola Okolie

Nigeria is coming, please hold on – Viola Okolie


There are some things that are so perfectly Nigeria in nature; that it ordinarily bewilders a non-Nigerian who hears two “sons of the soil” at it.


For instance, “I am coming”.



Nigeria is coming, please hold on - Viola Okolie


Especially when delivered while the speaker is not actually coming; but is on his way somewhere else and is asked by his compatriot where he is going to.


“I am coming”, even though he is so obviously going; makes perfect sense to Nigerians all over the world. Closely related to “wait let me come first”; in virtually every spoken Nigerian language and dialect, it makes perfect sense.


“Where are you going”?


“Wait let me come first”.


“Okay now, go come”.


See what I mean? Makes perfect sense to me.


Again, this is closely related to knocking on a (locked) bathroom or toilet door. One would expect that the knocker can either hear, smell, or sense that the room is occupied at the moment; and he would need to go away to allow the person inside finish their business undisturbed, but no.


Walk up to a bathroom and the door is closed. This should be the first indicator that the place may be occupied, yet we still try the door handle.


Just in case.


We jiggle it a bit and the door is locked – from within; then we proceed to knock on it and guess what happens?

The human occupying the toilet calls out “yes”?




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Nigeria is coming, please hold on - Viola Okolie


Another brief micro masters in Nigerianisms – “yes” in response to a knock, means “please come in”.


“Who is that”, means “are you aware that something important is going on behind closed doors? What is giving you the audacity to attempt an interruption? Who is your father sef”?


So under normal circumstances; responding “yes” when someone knocks on your bedroom door or other door that has been shut from within, is an invitation to enter and state your business. Answering “who is that”, is like politely saying “geddifok away from that door. Are you normal”?


But when the person is in the toilet, the situation changes abruptly.


A “yes” response, simply means “back away from the door as slowly as you can, okay? I have unfinished business I am attending to here”.


So why the “yes”? Why not say “occupied” or “busy” or “not vacant” or something else more appropriate?


Because we are Nigerians and “I am going to come”, or “I am coming” when you are actually going; makes absolutely perfect sense.



Nigeria is coming, please hold on - Viola Okolie


Which is also why the average Nigerian’s bafflement at the politicians speaking out of both sides of their mouth; and every other available orifice; is baffling. Like, what are you expecting?


Some straight talk? In a Nigeria where the Central Bank is now in charge of the country’s land borders; the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has already handpicked guilty Nigerians.Further, it is now online begging other Nigerians to please submit petitions; so that they can pull out the handcuffs and fait accompli?


In a Nigeria where a random policeman meets you on the road and appears to be permitted by law to profile you based on your physical appearance; ability to speak queen’s English; and whether or not you are internet savvy and possess modern communications and technology gadgets; then based on that profiling, can immediately arrest you and escort you to the nearest ATM to withdraw whatever funds you have in your account as an arbitrarily decided “bail” amount; or else summarily discharge you to the great beyond for proving uncooperative?


Nigeria is coming, please hold on - Viola Okolie


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Are we talking about this Nigeria where the Minister of Communication is not worried about how the affairs of the SARS and EFCC in declaring the IOT and its users Public Enemy No 1 is detrimental to whatever may be their mission in a rapidly advancing and increasingly technological world; but is rather releasing tweets advising users to be aware there is an Angel monitoring their use of social media; and this Angel is recording any apparent misuse as evidence against admittance into heaven?


Is this Angel Maroof or Angel Sikira, please? We need to know the angel to petition whenever Mark Zuckerberg throws us into Facebook jail because Buharists or IPOBians are a “leerul upset” that not everyone wants to be a Sai Babarian or an Igbrew.


These are the problems bedeviling “I dey go, I dey come” Nigeria and Nigerians; so nobody should act too surprised that the Customs’ plans to physically search luggages of Nigerians returning from holidays; and impose a tax based on the searcher’s estimation of the contents, worth, and intended purpose of the luggage.


Also, do not be dismayed that Nigeria that is not just telling us they are trying to bank the unbanked and establish a 100% cashless economy; is now taxing citizens for using bank services, using bank sms services; and opting for POS rather than lugging around cash.


Nigeria is coming, please hold on - Viola Okolie



Do not be shaken by whatever you see as Nigeria floats around rudderless on the high seas. Recall that the criteria for selecting ministers and top government officials this administration; was not based on qualifications but on back scratching abilities cleverly disguised as “merit”?


Nobody knows what anyone else is doing, how much less what they are supposed to be doing.


Nigeria is just floating aimlessly, and the only solution to the paucity of funds to loot seems to be; tax the citizens some more.


Do they seem happy? Slam a laughing tax on them.


Are they making babies? Slam a diapers tax on them.


Owambes to celebrate weddings, funerals and graduations? Hit them with a canopy tax.




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Wait, are the members of the middle class seeking an occasional reprieve from the rat race by escaping abroad for some retail therapy? Hit them with a chocolate tax.


And so on and so forth.


I dey go, I dey come.


I am coming while I am going to come so that we can come and go and be going.


While citizens groan under poor governance and its resultant effects on them; hit them with all sorts of taxes and levies. Force out the little money they have from them; so that the government can have more money to award contracts denominated in billions of naira for “grass cutting”.


After all, in Nigeria we have a President that is perpetually unaware of all that is going on in the country with the exception of his flight itinerary; and cabinet members from the stone ages who only think of progress in terms of “sell oil and collect money, or impose taxes”.


Nigeria is coming.


We the citizens, we are coming first too.


Whomever reaches wherever it is we are going to or coming from first, has won this game of musical chairs called “Nigeria”.


Me too, I am coming first.

About The Author

Lilian Osigwe

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer.

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