22 July 2008

Moving to Nigeria - What to know and do (Part 4)

Where to shop
Although there are many small shops around, the best place to get all of your shopping in one go is at ‘Shoprite’ supermarket in Lekki. What works to Shoprite's favour includes relatively cheaper prices, adequate parking and a wider choice of stock. Besides, ‘the Palms’ where shoprite is located also houses other shops and restaurants. Be prepared however for traffic as this part of Lagos is generally congested.

Staffing is always a major issue for many people. Come to think of it, this is not limited to Nigeria alone. For domestic staff, go by recommendation. Labour is quite cheap, but you are expected to give regular tips to your staff. It is to your advantage to treat your staff with dignity and respect. It is also the right thing to do no matter what you may see people do around you.

You may also experience communication issues with staff. The most confusing one is people saying 'yes' to a question that demands a negative answer. You will experience this with many people, so double check to ensure you and the person with whom you are communicating are singing from the same hymn sheet.

Handling Police Officers
It is no secret that a major shaking and reform of the Nigerian Police Force is needed. Whilst we hope and await this, you need wisdom to handle them. The following will help:

- Ensure your vehicle particulars are intact.
- Speak to them with respect; this will make life easier for you.
- Don't condescend or attempt to speak 'big grammar'.
- Never follow them to the station.
- You need to obtain a police permit to have your car windows darkened.
- You also need to carry a fire extinguisher and the triangular caution sign
- Have photocopies of your driving licence, insurance and vehicle papers with you.

Treat everyone with respect
In Nigeria, do not underestimate anyone. The office help or messenger is as important as the big boss. The secretary is probably much more important than the boss. If you don't treat them well, you may not get to see the boss.

Carry money on you
Nigeria is a cash society, so you always need to carry money on you. As they say, you may need to bail out yourself if you collide with an egg hawker. Seriously, you may need to bail out yourself from potentially embarrassing situations like if your tank runs low.

You also need money to give to gate-men, security guards in your estate etc on a regular basis. Apart from making a difference to their lives, the 200 or 500 Naira you give buys you considerable goodwill and is expected

Family and People issues
You will have to deal aplenty with issues relating to family and friends. Some arguments will be baseless and people may pick up quarrels with you without a just cause. The wisdom is to learn to ignore a lot of things and not get offended. Don't join issues with family or friends too often even on matters of principle or when you feel you are right. You will only succeed in acquiring enemies as your point of view in all probability will not be understood. Learn to ignore a lot of things, most of the time, they mean no harm.

Keep your feet firmly on the ground
Nigeria has a way of levitating people beyond their own personal reach to the extent that you will almost be doing a catch-up with yourself. When you have people doing for you chores you normally do by yourself (labour is cheap), it is not impossible to begin to misbehave. Sometimes, it is trying to be who you aren't in order to keep up with the 'joneses' (or shall we say keeping up with the 'Ades'). You will need to keep yourself under check so that your head does not swell. Keep it real, keep it simple, treat everyone with respect, keep your feet FIRMLY and DELIBERATELY on the ground.


Anonymous said...

I have really been enjoying your blog. Please keep it coming.
The next topic should be about job search and adjusting to the work climate in nigeria. look forward to your next posting.

ftb said...

You are a great blogger. You have a way with words. Very addictive composition.looking forward to more.

Eyin'ju Oluwa said...

lol@head does not swell, true talk.

Its time to update:)

Postcard from Lagos said...

Thanks Omosewa, post now updated

Dave said...

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