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The Nigerian Gene: 4 Hidden Qualities That Every Nigerian Has

Think back to your school days. In your class the Nigerians had the best results, were the cause for continuous laughter, were really good at storytelling, or forever coming up with new inventions. This, I say, is not by chance, but by ‘The Nigerian Gene’.  We are the seasoning in every one of your meals and it’s because of these four hidden qualities that every Nigerian across the globe has.

1. Competitiveness

Have you ever seen two Nigerians playing FIFA? The only thing missing is war paint. We love competition. Adrenaline courses through our body at the thought of being first. If there were a position before first, we would be there. We were told from the time that we were playing in the sand with Ronke that we must build taller sandcastles, finish our food first, and score the highest marks in class, and these words never truly leave us. They certainly didn’t leave 26 year old Nigerian tennis player Quadri Aruna who has made history by becoming the first African to win the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Star Award.

2. Sense of Humour

Nigerians have the ability to turn just about anything into a joke without even trying. It is truly a mystery how our natural mannerisms and cultural references alone usually result in roaring laughter from people within our vicinity. For those who have never met Nigerians, they have come most likely come across a Nollywood film, Nigerian colleague, elderly man/woman on the bus speaking in an unknown tongue at an outrageous volume that seems perfectly normal to them. Nevertheless, their sense of humour is truly the sweetness of life.

3. Innovation

Every Nigerian has a business mind whether they know it or not. I believe our parents first taught us business, and how to make returns on investment (ROI). If your mom has ever tried to sell you her designer goods that she no longer has need for at inflated prices, or added commission to the money she lent you, then you may know what I mean. Nigerians can turn a stone into gold and sell it to people. In real time, this has translated into Nigerians such as Africa’s reigning richest man, Aliko Dangote, making history.

4. The Art of Exaggeration

If you have never heard a Nigerian tell a story, then you have never heard a story before. We have mastered the art of caricaturing every event and reiterating our experiences in 3D- whether it is about how you got an award at work and CNN was there to film it, or how your two-year-old daughter is now reading university level books.

All in all, Nigerians are the embodiment of rich cultural sentiments, strength, and greatness. Long live the Nigerian gene!


About the author: Elizabeth Ayoola is a vibrant writer and spoken word artist who enjoys discussing an array of topics ranging from personal development, to social issues. She manages a spoken word website, as well as a blog about her experiences living in Nigeria at You can find her on Twitter @beepoetic.

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