There were no jobs, so we created some for ourselves.
playNigerian bus conductors are in a class of their own. (Future Travel)
Nigerians are nothing, if not resourceful, and in a country of unique challenges, we’ve managed to create these unique solutions and jobs to meet them.
Some of these jobs exist outside of Nigeria, in a few countries on the African continent. But where they do, they are merely watered-down versions of what we have in Nigeria.
The only similarity between a bus conductor in Owerri and another in Kampala is the name; nobody in East Africa can teach you to shout sixteen bus-stops in the same syllable.
playThe bus conductor usually doesn’t have a seat of his own so he latches on to the frame of the bus for most of the ride. (happenings.com.ng)
In the course of boarding these buses, you cannot avoid the overzealous young men who stand strategically in the vicinity of the bus, shouting sixteen bus-stops in one sentence and insisting that even though there’s no change, they’ll take you where you want to go.
Sure, there are bus-conductors around the world, but being a bus-conductor in Nigeria takes a unique skill-set that requires you to be an announcer, a security officer, a scout, an accountant and a treasurer. What a life.
(2) Re-Wire (or “Man who fiddles with wires until something works”):
Cars experience technical difficulties in Nigeria, as in every part of the world. But in Nigeria, few motorists can afford the cost of monthly check-ups or maintenance, so when the car’s air-conditioner goes off or the right headlight stops working, they get a re-wire.
The name says it all really; what these guys do is fiddle under the hood with the car’s circuitry until they find the problem or something works.
playWho came up with the name “Rewire”? (Writers Thinking Allowed)
The rewire works with little more than a wire-cutter and paper tape to keep the wires together when he’s done with his surgery.
There’s no formal training for this, and I haven’t yet found any car company that provides persons gifted in the art of managing wires. So I assume these guys are born with the gift; it’s the only explanation.
(3) Cash Madame (or “Minister of New Notes at Nigerian Parties”):
Spaying currency notes at events is a very Nigerian thing, and so are the people who are in the system simply to ensure that this is sustainable.
One of them is the Cash Madame who sits at strategic points at any party with wads of clean Naira notes.
The purpose of spraying money is defeated once you begin to fling dirty, battered notes at a couple or whoever is the centre of the celebration; it’s an unspoken rule that only clean notes are allowed.
To maintain this supply, the cash madame “changes” naira notes for clean ones in exchange for a small percentage. The show must go on.
(4) Iya Alaga (or “Master of Yoruba Ceremonies”):
There are few spectacles as elaborate as a Nigerian wedding, and it often overhadows another impressive spectacle; the engagement/traditional wedding.
playAlaga Ijoko Bunmi Adeboye Ebony in action at a Nigerian wedding. (Youtube)
Most of the bride and groom’s traditional rites are observed at this small ceremony, including the ‘payment’ of bride price, the delivery of all the gifts in those infamous lists and a more ceremonious introduction of both families.
Managing all of this and making sure tradition is observed is the job of the Iya Alaga. She is usually a very expressive middle-aged woman who understands the local language and rites like the back of her hand.
She conducts the ceremony while making sure to fiddle with the groom’s masculinity so he can drop more money in one of those heinous baskets that seem to disappear as soon as the party ends.
They usually charges lump sums for their services and have become an integral part of how Nigerians in the South-West get married.