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Our people now expect you to pay them when they greet you

I once visited Nigeria when I was living abroad and woke up to go for the morning prayers. The hotel security was still sleeping, not…

I once visited Nigeria when I was living abroad and woke up to go for the morning prayers. The hotel security was still sleeping, not wanting to disturb his sleep, I struggled to open the gates but the gates were not cooperating. So I tackled it with all my strength. The noise that our fight was producing didn’t wake the guard but I finally succeeded in prying the doors open. 

By the time I came back from the mosque, the security man was awake and about. When he saw me, he greeted me with the “come pay for this greeting” technique. 

He didn’t even think about how this guest was able to get out of the hotel let alone apologize for his deficient work ethic. He, like many Nigerians, had lost sight of his duties and focused on how to make money. And the easiest to make money is to sell your greetings. 

This reminds me of what someone wrote some years back about losing our sense of community. “People no longer greet you in taxis,” he complained. 

Well, be careful what you wish for. The greetings have returned and they are offered to those who can pay for them. This is akin to reaching a goal one worked for and realizing that its attainment isn’t as satisfying as imagined. It’s called aspirational regret. 

Oscar Wilde said, “When the Gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.”

Our people now greet you everywhere you go. But the greetings are not about community. 

The policeman greets you with “Happy Sunday” and if you don’t volunteer any gift, he reminds you “Your boys are here, sir.”

It appears that I’m not alone in observing this situation. The issue seems to grate the sensibilities of our compatriots. At least that’s what I sensed when I shared the following observation on Facebook:

“We’re losing our values. People expect you to pay for their greetings. If a security man at the gates greets you, you owe him at least N500. If a banker points you to where the form is, he wants you to pay for it. 

If you visit your friend and his aides greet you and you return the greetings, you owe them money. 

“If you respond to the greeting and don’t pay, you’ve broken the contract and are a wicked man. If you don’t return the greeting, you’re arrogant. What to do?”

Following are the responses from my friends on Facebook:

Dr Ahmed Ahmed A.:

I have learned to mind my biz and respond with thank you – everyday fa!

Dr Waziri Garba Dahiru:

The value system is gone, we all need to lead by example.

Abubakar Adam Ibrahim:

I had this same thought two days ago after a series of similar encounters going into and out of a public building.

Ajayi Abdullahi Ojo:

Money has taken over the norms and values of our society. You that is doing the right thing is seen as the odd person.

Professor Mohammed Aliyu Paiko:

What to do? Carry on living your life true to the values that you believe are the right ones. Ignore the mumbling of improperly brought-up youths or elders behaving badly. 

Once lazy young people who have turned into administrative beggars and the elderly have lost their values get to understand that you don’t give a darn about the opinions they hold of you, they will leave you alone.

Sadiq Ali Isakoto:

Send greetings with a half smile and a straight face, the demands will be low.

Aliyu Bala Aliyu:

If you come to ask for directions and you are directed rightly or wrongly or you go to the market and they park you; and put a carton on your windshield to prevent damage to your dashboard or prevent your car from getting hot or even burgled, na to give them hamper be that o. N500 no go do dem for this economy. 😁

As for the police, I no dey even look their face. I always face the front. 

Having said that, Happy Weekend in advance Sir. I hope I also qualify for that N500.

Uncle Anas Dukura:

On Facebook, if someone begins to post your pictures and you don’t acknowledge them by liking or commenting, you’re arrogant. If you do, you owe them. You end up in the middle of a lion and a deep blue sea

Alh Lawal Ibrahim:

Everything about Nigeria is losing value second per second because we refuse to change our attitude.

Alkali Ahmed:

Alh Lawal Ibrahim Times are hard for everybody. Please “GIVE” if you can and don’t “FEEL” guilty if you “CAN’T” afford to give…. they are legitimately looking for ways to make up for the astronomical rise in the cost of living today, as they cannot abandon their duty posts to hustle like the rest….It is not primarily about losing our values. Getting just a meal a day is a Herculean task for most families NOBODY IS HAPPY BEING A BEGGAR.

Fadeel Jibrin:

Luckily for me, I’m not a people person so I nod without a smile and leave.

My car is also pitch black with super dark tint including the front windshield so you can’t see anything. I honk at people as an acknowledgement of their “greetings” 

Ijeoma Nwangwu Ikeazor:

Greet with a straight face, don’t smile. They will understand instantly. 

Abdul Osman:

The mentality has been with us since the depreciation of our Naira and worsening as the currency depreciates further. Some people don’t want to work for money but would rather look up to someone because the mindset is always “How much am I going to get from a menial job”. The value of a man is aligned with who he is, what he is and what he has.

Ladan Waziri:

It shows that our social reorientation and religious values are not working.

We must go back to the basics, learn to lead by example and begin by imbibing good moral values in our up-and-coming generation. 

Also, our religious bodies have a crucial role to play in this direction

Above all, there should be a legal framework that is aimed at imposing heavy sanctions on people demanding gratifications and favours in the course of their official functions.


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