Is Nigeria culturally wired to be inefficient?
A while back, I was stranded on the streets of Nairobi, around the Central Business District to be precise.
I was trying to meet up an appointment in a different part of town which I felt was close but when I walked up to the Okada riders (They call it boda-boda there) they told me it was very far and also quoted a price that was equivalent of N3,000 which was even cheaper than the taxis.
I was stranded because the Naija man in me began to haggle the price, I didn’t see any reason why I will pay that much on Okada and still use their helmet to compress my well arranged and well lined afro, I left Nigeria prepared for that meeting to kill it or be killed.
Long story short, I started a psychological warfare with the boda-boda guys but it didn’t work, I even started describing a place I didn’t know for them and how that it wasn’t even far after all. Then the guy I was talking with gave me the shocker, he flipped out his tiny phone and clicked open google maps, entered directions and showed me the routes and distance. I was shocked and also impressed so I jumped on his bike knowing that we could have a conversation.
That, for me was a testimonial of the country’s digital adoption rate.
Why this story? I recalled a post I did on Facebook yesterday about Nigerians and email usage and a previous post I had done about a year or two ago about street traders using POS and digital payment systems and I got comments that sounded like you were asking Nigerians to go to space. Like email is advanced tech and you’re pushing the bounds by insisting on people using and responding to emails.
Here’s the Facebook post:
Only a Nigerian Oga will make you book a flight, travel to meet him just to repeat exactly what you sent to him via email. 80% of physical meetings in Nigeria are useless, only useless because a two sentence email would have saved time and money but no, getting someone to come to you is one way to exercise control and power.
I don’t even know why we carry smart phones in this country.
I strongly do think that there’s something cultural about us that inhibits efficiency and anything that might bring about efficiency. We only start considering some things when we hear that we can make instant wealth.
If I made a post of why our Okada riders should be Google map friendly, people will disparage the post because ‘Nigeria’. Leave am like dat, na so we dey do am since. Wetin concern Okada and Google?
Even the educated Uber drivers in Lagos can’t use Google map, they still bother you with silly questions about directions, turning you to a co-driver.