It’s Hard Being Nigerian Online : The Moto G Edition (UPDATED)

UPDATED: Scroll to the bottom

I love the Moto G.

For price and quality, no Android phone comes close. It’s three times cheaper than one of those plastic SAMSUNG Galaxies and at least twice better (see, I’m always hyping it). I have proven my love for the Moto G with my pocket and the number of referrals I’ve made that turned to sales.

Months back, my Moto G broke not because it isn’t strong, (the Moto G is actually a direct descendant of the Nokia 3310 and can reliably be used to wedge your car when changing your car tyre) but because I was struggling with LASTMA who caught me recording him because he caught me using my phone while driving (you know as LASTMA people hand be na) because…

I digress.

This post is not because of my love for the Moto G but my sadness that the love is not reciprocal simply because I’m Nigerian.

The Sudden Realization

After my phone broke, I decided to step down to “use Infinix hold bodi” until the new Moto G comes out. Two days ago it did!

I rushed to the site, realized you could customise and engrave your name on it. Like everyone on Twitter (having a high dose of narcissism) I tried to engage my name abi, Twitter name @OoTheNigerian

Nigerian Not Allowed

“We’d rather you not say that” ?!! This had to be a bug! So I tried another

American Allowed
American Allowed

Cold this be a “third world” vs. “first world” issue? Go I came back to base and tried another

Ghana man dey!
Ghana man dey!

Kai! Even Lil Ghana. Chai!

So I went direct

Offline or Online, Dem Wan Hold Us
Offline or Online, Dem Wan Hold Us

Basically, the word Nigerian is seen as unfit for Moto Consumption. Try it here

I’m not angry or offended because it was not done deliberately. What most likely happened is the database/algorithm they are using to do the naming has blacklisted  “dirty words” The Moto G site just used what was there.

Anyway, we need this corrected.

Help us take the word “Nigerian” from that list by clicking this (It pre-fills a polite tweet to @motorola and their CEO @rosterloh)

Prejudice is when Algorithms don’t want nothing to do with you. We Nigerians experience prejudice everyday offline on the immigration lines and online when trying to transact on eBay, Use PayPal or even peruse OkCupid (Don’t judge me. I dey do research).

There was a period when mentioning Nigeria(n) in your email was bound to send it to spam. You know, “Pattern matching”

It is why I give special kudos to our folks who make it eventually especially in tech and outside these shores.

But, as they push us back, we march forward with all the pride and arrogance we can muster :D.

I, Nigerian
I, Nigerian

The above picture was taken the TechCrunch office in SF. It was on TechCrunch I started using “Nigerian” in my online alias when I kept encountering hostilities, I decided to take it to them ( the TC monkey now seems symbolic and my arrogant face, apt :D)

As for my “Yes, I Am Nigerian” tee, I made the first version when I traveled to “the west” for the first time. UK to be precise. I noticed how countenance changed once it was “found out” I was Nigerian. First experience was at the airport.

I decided to make a tee shirt to give an advanced warning :D.

I’m nice like that.


Thanks Banke for helping me proofread. 



A Mike Jones reached out and informed me the word Nigerian is now accepted.  You can click this to give them a shout out.

Nigerians Accepted.
Nigerian Accepted.

My 14 Predictions for the Nigerian Technology Space in 2014

I think it is a fun and useful exercise doing predictions. It is a way of documenting wishful thinking and testing your perception abilities. Looking back, it would show how far along you have come.

Here is my attempt 3 years ago

For the coming year, here are my predictions it is a combination of positives and negatives. Nothing outlandish as we are predicting only one year out.

  1. Payments solved: Nigerian tech companies will have their payment problems solved (most likely NOT by a Nigerian company). i.e stored card data will enable reoccurring billing which is the lifeblood of software startups. Paypal will arrive. Finally.
  2. Major exit: There will be a massive exit for a Nigerian startup (not Rocket). Massive meaning over $80million. I have no idea of the space.
  3. Major casualty: Likewise, there will be a massive failure of a funded company. A bankrupt startup or a founder kicked out of his/her company. Lots of media startups will close their doors.
  4. Tech will go mainstream: Tech founders will get the recognition that has been missing. Red carpets and magazine covers for our sector will become commonplace.
  5. International companies will come: Facebook, Twitter et al will set up proper shop in Nigeria.  Google will go beyond their sales cubicle. Hello Deezer!
  6. Cash will flow in: There will be a lot of inbound money invested in the technology space. $100million at least will come in. The low amount is because of the uncertainty of the Nigerian elections coming up
  7. Rocket will Exit Africa: They are done with here. But they’ll be dusted as they sell off everything they have and move on to other things.
  8. Corporate venturing will take off: MTN has shown the way. We love to copy. Do not shut down that your streaming app just yet, the buyers are looking out.
  9. Incubator time: Many commercial play incubators will begin to sprout. There will be at least one foreign one that will be for Nigerian startups (as against the Rocket model)
  10. Tech + Politics: Technology and social media will dominate the political landscape. This is fairly obvious but it will be on another level far beyond SMS broadcasts
  11. Global Nigerian Startups: We’ll have our Representatives in Y Combinator, TechStars and 500 Startups. Of course we will start appearing on TechCrunch, Pando, Re/Code. #Primetime.
  12. Broadband: Everything will change with the sale of 2.3MHz spectrum.
  13. Live streaming: The plummeting of broadband costs will mean a lot of live casting will take off this year. Video will be big.
  14. Education: This is the next ecommerce for Nigeria. Everyone will do an education startup this year. At least two will have the same name 😉


Swift – Visafone:  There will be an acquisition and/or merger involving these two.

Nigerian Sex tapes: They will go mainstream. Tonto Dike mainstream 😉

What are your predictions for the Nigerian tech space in 2014?

PS: Please forgive the typos. I did not predict I wilt be typo free.

Maciej of, Nigerians Demand an Apology.

I was just reading the article by Maciej Ceglowski on how his bookmarking company coped with the exodus of Delicious users. I was nodding until I got to this line

A lot of my time was spent reassuring new users that their data was safe and that their money was not heading into a Nigerian bank account.

So Mr Maciej, what does that actually mean? That Nigerian banks are not trustworthy? Have you dealt with anyone before? It might reassure you to know our Central Bank Governor Sansui was awarded the Global Banker of the year by the Banker Magazine

I thought the joke was about the emails the scammers sent. (The princes that want to give you an inheritance you know you do not have). So now, ALL our banks are not trustworthy? Very soon you will want to assure your users that it is not a Nigerian that is the founder of the company.

Let me tell you first hand that it is not fun being a second class citizen on the web.  Feedback from one of my posts let me understand the  reason most black founders do not put their pictures on their about page because they fear they will be judged by their colour as you have judged me based on the country I come from.

What you have essentially said is that the Nigerian founders of Precurio Intranet should pack their bags and go home because your type will not patronise them just because they are from Nigeria.

With 354 votes on Hackernews, I do not know how many people saw that unnecessary defamation,  how many people have been swayed by such statement.

Profiling is a really bad thing. I want to assume that you meant that statement in humour because it would be scary for such a high profile startup to be lead by someone with such mindset.

If you have a specific issue with a specific Nigerian or bank, deal with it. If you have had a specific run-in with a Nigeria bank, call it out. Do not defame an entire nation or spend time slandering out banking institutions for fun.

I would like you to please cross that statement off that blogpost and make a note of apology.


When you have the chance, do listen to this TED talk “The Danger of A Single Story (WARNING! The talk is by a Nigerian)


Some of my European friends have ‘accused me of being unnecessarily sensitive but a HN commenter put it so articulately

I know this is “just a joke”, it’s obviously harmless and no malice was intended (probably). I would be the last person to suggest that any topic is off-limits for humour, and firmly believe we should be able to joke about anything and everything.

That said: Imagine you’re Nigerian. Every time this comes up on the web, someone cracks a joke about 419 scams. For this person they maybe make a joke like that say, once a year. No big deal, they’re not racist or anything. But Nigerians are vastly outnumbered by people that aren’t Nigerian (obviously), so if each of these people makes a once-in-a-blue-moon joke when you mention that you’re Nigerian, that means for you it happens every. Damn. Time.

I imagine that gets pretty old.

So you want to school in Jand eh?

I had previously posted this on UKnaWAH, the forum for Nigerians in the UK, to talk about their experiences to help each and every one of us in this land. Unfortunately, it did not take off. This post is targeted at those coming down for the first time and might be useful to those that have visited but not schooled in the UK. The suggestions are from my own perspective i.e Male, Warwick University MSc JJC. DO NOT take it as authoritative.

So you have made it to JD, congrats!  Well, this list is a combination of what I would do if I am coming again, (in no order) and some things you should just know.

  1. I would buy all my clothes in Yaba! Not necessarily Yaba but in Nigeria. Clothes are cheaper in Nigeria because they come from China directly. Don’t worry about buying clothes that are good but mass supplied in Nigeria because they will not be here. e.g. I have not seen one Hackett shirt (which was in vogue when I left) since I arrived a year ago.
  2. I would attend orientation: coming late did not help when trying to integrate. JJC no good. It is better to be ‘jambiteish’ when everyone around is.
  3. I would learn how to cook: Believe me, the sweet sound of sausage, ham, baked beans e.t.c is highly overrated. In one week, you will long for your home food and you have to cook it.
  4. I would learn how to cut hair: Spending 12 pounds to cut your hair every week is not the best use of money. Believe me, cutting your hair is not that hard.
  5. I would plan my December holiday immediately I arrive: I waited till December to attempt planning my holiday for December. Unfortunately, having a Nigerian passport is not the best if you want to travel at shortest notice. In December, it is virtually impossible to get a visa appointment and it is about 4 weeks to process a visa.
  6. I would learn how to write an academic document: Believe me, if you want to survive here, you better learn how to reference and write academic documents. PLAGIARISM of any sort (you will be amazed what is termed plagiarism here) is not accepted. Don’t worry there is no other way but to learn how to reference. It will save you a lot of time.
  7. I would attend all social events in the early days (with flat and class mates), it is important to mix early…after bonds have been formed, it is difficult to break in.
  8. I would NEVER buy any winter/long term attire from PRIMARK…I swear, I did not know better, my men Emma and Uche mislead me.  It is best to buy all your long term things from quality places
  9. I would join as many club and societies. The amount of skills to learn are enamous. For Warwick students, I would recommend PhotoSoc, Warwick Entrepreneurs and Warwick sports.
  10. I would apply for jobs early! Entries for the next year vacancies close by October.
  11. I would buy a Lebara or Lyca mobile line. Most of your early calls will be to home (Nigeria). It is the most economical and smart decision to make. Take you time and choose a contract that appeals to you later on.
  12. I would get my international driver’s lisence from home. You can drive for a year with it.
  13. I would stay off campus (if i do not get Tocil). You can save as much as 40 percent of on Campus rent.
  14. I would ensure I forget the conversion rate from pounds to Naira. I almost did not eat for the first week cos two slices of bread (you might call it sandwich) cost  at least 2 p0unds i.e N500
  15. I would buy all the software I need from the good old computer village. Believe me, just do it.

This is an article in progress. I will update it as I receive comments and I remember more things.

Oo, KCOB, MSc (Warwick)