Disclosure: Verbis Brevis, Sensu Infinitus
Nigerians talk a LOT! The profits of our Telecom companies and our membership base on social media networks support this.
We will comment on everything & anything and are so damned expressive while doing so. It doesn’t really matter whether the subject matter “consigns” us. We will get into anybody’s business because it provides juicy fodder for bar banter and salon socials. We particularly like to talk about our leaders (both government and religious), the rich, successful and celebrities – basically everything we are not. We have a right to an opinion about how they spend “our” money and how they should live “their” lives. We keep stock of their possessions and are incensed that they do not take permission before they buy new additions. How dare they! Rarely do we see 1,567 likes or 2,673 mentions over the random guy who got knocked down by an okada. Who im be?
I strongly suspect that the reason we are particularly garrulous is because our capacity for analytical, measured and focused speech is underdeveloped. Surely, that must account for why we ramble on, like I’m doing RIGHT NOW.
It’s difficult and quite painful for an average Nigerian to think and talk in bullet-points. After all, it isn’t our fault that our “2nd language”- English is atrocious. We simply transliterate from our mother tongue and illustrate our points using bodily gestures even when we’re on the phone, expecting the listener to just get it! It’s like, “I don’t need to say exactly what I mean, if you understand exactly what I’m trying to say”. Duh!!! Even when the veracity of our statements is questioned, we mumble the phrase, “Idea is need” or some other Nigerian aphorism of doubtful etymology.
Then, there’s the public speaker or government official who just goes on and on and on…Yawn! It’s possible to balance your checkbook, write a shopping list and solve several calculus problems in the time it takes to deliver an official speech in our dear country. Interestingly, our passion for singing mirrors our passion for talking. We do it with our “whole mouth”, belting it out without regard to microphone control. It’s a wonder we don’t damage equipment when we sing!
We also seem to have little respect for order and other people’s time. We feel it is only just and fair to test the audio equipment when guests are already seated at an event. Testing, one, two! Chiii. Chiii!
I sincerely surmise that the new motto for us, dear Nigerians should be Verbis Brevis, Sensu Infinitus (Short in words, but in sense infinite) also known as K.I.S.S (Keep it short stupid)!
About the author:
Subomi Plumptre’s essence can be summarised in 5 letters: Words. An avid writer and thinker, her life journey is attended by the joy of knowing and the pleasures of friendship.
She is currently Head, Corporate Practice at Alder Consulting, an ideas and branding company, where she doubles as a member of the Executive Committee, overseeing Knowledge & HR. She is also Co-Chair of the Management Board of the Nigeria Leadership Initiative (NLI).
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