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The Nigerian hierarchy of misfortune

The Nigerian hierarchy of misfortune

By: Eboseremen Bartholomew


Author: Francis Galton, Zooanthropologist

This is an explanatory circular for our white concerned citizens who desire to visit the country continent of Africa. Specifically, its poorest most populous tribe, Nigeria.

Hello dear citizen, so you want to visit Nigeria? Why?

Regardless of your motivations, we commend your decision to go to the 3rd world and look forward to your Instagram post of the starving black child. However, it is our duty to prepare you for Africa’s most troublesome export – “The Nigerian”. This is because why you must have heard stories of the elusive Nigerian, to encounter them in the wild is a very dangerous experience. 

The most significant thing to note about Nigeria which will define your stay is that there is a “Hierarchy of Misfortune” in Nigeria. This is because Nigeria is a largely unfortunate place filled with unfortunate people. Some are however more fortunate than others and typically how unfortunate you are is directly linked to your fortune. 

There are three categories of people you are likely to encounter in Nigeria:

1. The “Dual Citizen” (also known as “The I Just Got Back”)

2. The “Hustler” (also known as “The Clout Chaser” or “The Middle Class”)

3. The “Nigerian Nigerian” (also known as “The Nigerian”)


The Nigerian population neither choose nor are even aware of their positions. In Nigeria, when referencing the indigenous people in the wild, you should call them by their name (and pronounce it however you deem fit).  

The Dual Citizen

The universal “Nigerian Dream” is to live abroad and occasionally visit.  

Thus, in Nigeria, dual citizenship is a coveted prize and the colour of an individual’s passport has more value than the Naira. 

A Dual is a person who may or may not have multiple passports but is LIVING THE NIGERIAN DREAM. The trait you must look for in identifying a potential Dual is the “Presence of a choice” i.e. the Dual can choose what life to live and where to live it.

The Dual is at the apex predator at the top of the Nigerian food chain of misfortune. (Note: They are often vegetarians). He is not Nigerian. Not in the tangible way that matters. This is because to typically be Nigerian in Nigeria is to akin to never exhaling. It is to move from one unfortunate circumstance to the other while striving to be less unfortunate than the person next to you. This is the “Nigerian Condition”.

But unlike the “Hustler” and the “Nigerian”, the Dual breathes freely because he can opt out of the Nigerian condition. 

This leads to a complex relationship between the Dual and the other groups. He (depending on circumstances) would either pity the “Nigerian” or simply see through him.  He does, however, passionately resent the “Hustler” for their thirsty delusions of mobility (and he may occasionally take advantage of their desire to be a Dual and assign them tasks). 

A Dual may be a good or bad person but his most defining quality is his duality. You are more likely to encounter a Dual at your hotel rather than in the wild. Do not be concerned if they are overtly friendly for, they mean you no harm, they just involuntarily cling to anything that is non-Nigerian.  

A Dual will often speak with an accent and act in a manner distinct from the other groups. For example, he will engage in activities such as Yoga, Brunch and Game night without any sense of irony. Also, he will sometimes act like as a tourist and frequently express their surprise in the Nigerian condition despite having resided in Nigeria for a long time. A Dual may live in Nigeria but is not subject to the rules that govern the Nigerian condition. For example, despite living in job-barren Nigeria, he will not experience involuntary unemployment because their fathers know someone. So, while he might have to slum it in a 3rd World country, he will only ever have 1st world problems. “Like, this store doesn’t have the juice I like so I have to go to the other store or have it shipped to me”

He is a hypocrite.

For most Duals, if they must exist within the Nigerian condition, they will thrive by perpetuating the cycle of abuse while loudly condemning the cycle of abuse during brunch with their fellow Duals. The Dual is the one you should attempt to limit the majority of your interactions to as they are the ones you will have most in common with.

The Hustler 

The Hustler is the Nigerian who is chasing the Nigerian Dream and (barely) outrunning the Nigerian Condition. He is in the middle of the Nigerian food chain of misfortune and because he is aware of his precarious position on the food chain, he avoids poverty like he avoided human contact during the Ebola outbreak of 2014.

For the Hustler, God and faith are a means to an end, (Faith could also be the name of a Dual that he is brainwashing with his looks to obtain her father’s wealth). He only prays when he applies for a Canadian Visa or a new job.

He works very hard but does not earn enough.  He takes Ubers and Taxifys but is constantly on the lookout for promo codes. He spends but never loses track of his expenses. He spends a lot of time people-watching on Twitter. He curates his life on Instagram to imitate the Dual. He has a lot of connections on LinkedIn.  

You will occasionally see him transparently pretending to be a Dual and in the next moment acting like a Nigerian. You will also hear him speaking like the Dual when addressing you and sometimes like the Nigerian with others. Do not be alarmed, the “Hustler” is like a human chameleon. 

He is a hypocrite.

He envies the Dual for living the Nigerian Dream and so contemptuously mocks them for not understanding the Nigerian condition. But more than that. He sycophantically befriends the Dual to gain entry into that world (or he attempts to impregnate Faith).

But above all, He hates the Nigerian. He does not pity them for their misfortune is their own design. He will often peddle absurd conspiracies about how beggars secretly have houses and cars to justify his indifference. After all, not so long ago he was once a Nigerian and now he is a Hustler. 

The Nigerian Nigerian

The Nigerian Nigerian is the Nigerian who has and will only ever experience the Nigerian Condition. He is at the bottom of the food chain. 

The Nigerian is a disillusioned man who loves his pastor and God (in that order) but hates his fellow man. Prolonged exposure to the Nigerian condition has reduced him to the trinity feelings of numbness, anger and desperation.  He may, however, feel sporadic bursts of joy when his soccer team wins a match. 

He lives on less than a cup of Starbucks coffee a day. His diet consists of escapism and faith.

He is somehow a cynic and an eternal optimist at the same time. 

He is a hypocrite.

He hates the government and complains bitterly about his life. He rewrites his country’s history and pines for good old days of military dictatorships. He has strong opinions of things that are not his concern and will express that opinion loudly, unprovoked, to a group of drunks at a betting kiosk. He is nameless faceless statistic with High-Blood pressure who is aware that he is impotent against the forces that govern his life. 

Yet for some peculiar reason, the Nigerian is content and works hard. We theorize that it is because the Nigerian condition is the only reality he has ever known. 

You will often see him in packs. You should be wary when approaching the Nigerian because while most are tame and will show the white man deserved adoration, some are desperate and might attack you (your pockets).  If you wish to trick him into doing your bidding, you must convince him that what you wish him to do is not the right thing, but the smart thing (that benefits him and no one else). 

The Nigerian man communicates through anger so do not be shocked to hear constant yelling. He may also speak a foreign language that seems like English but is not. If you must communicate with him approach a Hustler to act as an interpreter. 

The Nigerian is the most unfortunate and for a truly unfortunate reason. It is because every day he wakes up, he feels fortunate. Fortunate to be in his position. Fortunate that he has found a way to turn survival into a lifestyle. Fortunate that his reward is in heaven. He feels fortunate to be oppressed. 

The Nigerian is the most unfortunate because he has been tricked into believing that someone else is more unfortunate than he is. 

Visit Nigeria today!  

         …you won’t completely regret it.

Or click this link to obtain a ticket refund.

Bartholomew is a graduate of Law and a part-time freelance writer. He enjoys writing, watching TV shows/movies and sleep (in that order). His favourite satirist is English comedian John Oliver. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

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