Time keeping and timeliness in Nigeria

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I have recently been talking a lot at different fora about timekeeping and timeliness in Nigeria. I have spoken about it to university undergraduates, civil servants, corporate organisations and non-governmental organisations. I have unfortunately been caught in the middle when this discussion gets in the circle of the international community but I am going ahead of myself.

I am at my wits end when I arrive at an event on time and as soon as I begin to complain about how everyone is late, I am told in more words than one that in fact I am the one who is too early because, you know, someone laughs, you must take into consideration African time. I am incensed and truly offended. Saying you ought to be late because of African time makes us all sound retarded. I do not believe it when people say it with a grin and a mild chuckle which drives me insane. What exactly is African time? It is meaningless nonsense used to shroud inefficiency and indiscipline. My difficulty is that we bask in it and celebrate it. We arrive at events one hour late and we are waving and cheering and disruptive. Then we insist on seating upfront instead of shamefully sitting at the back. My father, bless his soul, used to say if you arrive anywhere sit in the back until they invite you upfront. He says and wisely too that if you sit upfront, they might send you to the back and embarrass you. But I digress.

I have observed without let how Nigerians think that arriving late at an event deserves a trophy. It is incredible how airlines have taken us for granted. I wonder why they bother to even schedule their flights because domestic airlines hardly leave … Read More...