What not to say to my Nigerian Father…

Growing up in my own neck of the woods was an experience. We nicknamed our Pops the Ogbodons – not sure where the term originated from any more but my back side was a living testimony to his varied abilities and multiplied skills in inflicting pain. Mum didn’t help matters as she was was as resolute in hammering our ‘evil’ proclivities out of our systems. I got the opportunity to contrast that parenting style a few weekends back when I went visiting some distant family members in London. Clearly their less than 3 year old daughter has more leeway with him than I do with my own parents at my (huge) age.

In general, the following phrases got you into serious trouble in my house..

  1. It wasn’t me it was (insert name of younger sibling) – This was akin to adding petrol to a raging inferno. It often provoked a lecture on how you as a senior member of the house needed to take responsibility whilst the parents were out trying to make money to ‘take care of you’.
  2. Good Morning (without the Sir or Daddy) – This was the ultimate faux paus. You were required to treat your Nigerian father with the maximum amount of respect. I didn’t have to do the whole prostrating thing but failing to add ‘Sir’ to the morning greeting was guaranteed to result in some real deep ish – the least of which was some hours of ‘starvati0n therapy’.
  3. It is not true o! – This usually occurred when the Ogbodon was narrating to the ‘maternal unit’ your latest mess up which resulted in forgetting money in the taxi or some more public bit of embarrassment. To one’s young mind, adults were eternally embellishing the facts to make events seem worse than they really were, but woe betide you if you interjected. The initial parental reflex varied from ” I am talking and you are talking?” or worse “Are you calling me a liar?”.
  4. I don’t know – Back in the Abacha inspired days of severe austerity on University campuses, meat was at a premium. When someone surreptitiously invaded ‘Soup Kingdom’ and raided the pot for a choice piece of meat, repercussions were bound to occur. Chaps usually claimed ignorance to no effect. The parental reasoning was that ‘he that is not for us us is against us’ ie if you are not telling, you are implicit.
  5. I can’t remember – This was usually an escape route from a bad lie. When your father is a stellar academic with an amazing memory, you can’t think up things on the fly mehn. If you were lucky, you would only get a lecture after being serenaded by loads of questions.  “What are you thinking of? Abi you have a girlfriend now?” Mumz was the resident girlfriend expert..and she would have risen very quickly to the top of MI6! Believe me.
  6. She hit me first – Beating up girls was a cardinal sin in my house. Two events stick in my memory. One was at school, a couple of dudes were heckling one of the class tomboys – the whole pinching, hitting, and all what not routine and yours truly was watching (ok… and occasionally adding a knock). We were so engrossed that I didn’t realize that it was way past the time Pops would come pick us up. After waiting for a while, he came to the class to see me applying a few deft touches to a knock. I got a few knocks myself in front of the girl (the girl never let me forget that for the rest of my time in the school!) and I got periodic knocks all the way from Ugbowo to GRA in the school run go-slow of the mid 80s.  The other time, I was grounded and made to recite the longest memory verse at the annual Christmas pageant.The plus side was that I got a very cool nickname after the whole debacle… and she and I became best friends.. for a long time..
  7. My little cousin’s favorite words are ‘Don’t smack me Daddy’ – That would have been labelled down right rebellion – with some serious ‘starving therapy’ recommended for redress!

38 thoughts on “What not to say to my Nigerian Father…

  1. Lmaooooo!!! I am talking you are talking, hahahahaha! That one was sure to ignite some serious slap! Lol.

    Mehn honestly children of nowadays (abi is it children raised abroad) really don't know what they're missing o…


  2. Are you calling me a liar?……Classic!!! Im sure all parents used that one.

    My father's special was…..'Don't you think you're stupid?'…I was always confuzzled whether to answer in the affirmative or otherwise…hehehehe…

    BTW, me is done wiv the dissso, I am now officially like u!

    Thank God ohhhhhhhhhhhhh


  3. Whilst quacking like a leaf, 'I don't know' is normally followed by 'I can't remember' LOL @ The greeting part. 'Daddy or Mummy usually comes before the proper greeting, so there is no opportunity for such a slip of the lips!


  4. LOL, you reminded of those days oo. Especially the part about being the elder and knowing everything that happened in the house. In my head sometimes I'm going, am I God? But who born me talk? LOL


  5. @Miss Fab — Yes o… They need to go back home to Naija for some serious Nigerian holidays…
    @countessa — Yay.. congrats.. Mummy don hammer o….. Hallelu…
    @Rose — There lies the difference between the truly smart and the also rans… we usually forgot to add it at the end, when at the beginning it would become the default..
    @leggy — LOL.. true words
    @Mulan — Silence was the golden policy in those days mehn..


  6. LNGKM!!! I actually had similar thots recently when i saw a little kid straight talking back to his African father…I was flabber-whelmed and over-gasted!! Our parents were a trip mehn…how times have changed.


  7. LMBAO!! Dude! My Pops n Ur pops should get together and take lessons on what constitutes child abuse…… if they havent aleady!! "It wasnt me, it was (younger sibling and in my case, last born daughter)" was like a triger latch release!


  8. I can definitely relate to #1! Oldest children have to deal with a lot.

    I definitely received my fair share of corporal punishment but isn't it strange that I feel like maybe if I had received more I'd be more disciplined and focused than I am now? I'm grateful for the "correction" I received now…though back then I was prone to saying things that would only serve to increase the amount of punishment received. lol, good times!


  9. @RepressedOne — LOL.. Much changed o…. a few of their activities were way over the top.. but we turned out ok i guess
    @Rene — Ah.. that is so true… Some other kids would mis behave and mum would turn a blind eye in sunday school.. woe betide me if i joined in!
    @Temite — Yes o.. .
    @Ejiro – LOL… Perhaps.. But they would say it was raising kids 'wit a firm hand'
    @Good Naija Girl — True… time changes our perception of things…


  10. There's only one on that list, I was guilty of .. fear wouldn't even let me try the others sef!! Lolol!!
    In my house, 'I don't know' was what you said when they asked you 'why did you do it?'… The psychological trauma of that question. The process being drawn out… You had to come with an answer, which would be wrong anyways, and 'I don't know' was the worse answer you could give, and at the same time, the only answer you could give. And merely postponed the inevitable… that procrastination and the not-knowing of when exactly the walloping was going to be gotten over with so you could continue with the rest of your life, was a pure mind-f!
    Can't wait to practice on my kids, muhahahahahahahahha!!!


  11. I am so guilty of saying all those things! And I wonder why I was always beating!. I still love my Nigerian upbringing though, made me stronger in my opinion.


  12. Did you grow up in benin?

    Honestly Nigerian parents all use the same crack. I hated that whole "are you calling me a liar?" thing…How is an 8 year old child supposed to respond to that?

    My father didn't like the "Sir" bit but we had to greet him in our language, if not a very long lecture on how our generation was damned to hell a lonng time ago, lol

    I loved this


  13. hehehehe… LWKMD.

    I no even chop liver to interject while my sins are being read off the list by the maid. I would have started crying in anticipation of the wozing sef. lol.

    LMAO @ ur mom being the resident girlfriend expert. My mom was worse. If a guy so much as looks ur way, she'd launch into a '… ehn ehn, u too, u are looking at boys abi, u will just get pregnant…' sermon. I didn't dare talk back or defend myself. Classic Naija parenting, I tell u! Hilarious stuff, I tell u.


  14. @Trybes — LOL.. same here.. all due to my little niece!
    @kmplpx — LOL… easy on the kids o…… else they will also blog about you in 20-xx
    @Ms O — POssibly made you stronger… I agree.. though i know quite a few blokes it turned into absolute rebels..
    @Jaycee — Abi?
    @Rosie – LOL… We had an overhead tank at the back of the house.. We would take turns watching from the top to see the car turn the corner…..
    @Zena — LOL.. I shared my childhood between benin, ekpoma and warri… The language thing too… I should have added that!
    @Nefertiti — LOL.. I'm sure my sisters would have a similar tale to tell on boys! dang..


  15. You try o……..you brought back some memories b'cos My parents?…….they beat living day light out of us all! Then it looked like they always itched for an opportunity to discipline us

    This is Naija parenting 101…………..no mercy, no playing, no complaining
    If I have to make a list of things you don't tell my parents…..ehn….?????…….

    and my mum was the 'pro' when it came to the adding 'sir', you MUST even do it over the phone, you must answer 'hello sir' or hello ma' if you dare pick up the receiver and say just hello your own don good be that.

    but I guess the discipline straightened us all, even though there should be some balance, I still beleive the 'hard' trainings of those times made stronger and disciplined adults of today.

    Like repressed one said, parents in Nigeria these days seem to shy away from proper discipline
    anyway still 'lol' @ your list.


  16. LOL hahahahahaha. Reminds me of this time when my brother put hot "buns" inside his pants. Then my mother proceeded to question him about the missing buns. To say he was dancing patra is an understatement. It burnt him a lot too. LOL


  17. I feel this. Those days, if we had a vip visitor,my parents would always ask us to go and say 'uncle goodmorning sir' my siblings would say it 'qualmlessly' but i'd stay behind to beg to be allowed to say 'uncle goodmorning' or 'good morning sir'. Uncle good morning sir sounded so dumb,but i'd stil end up saying it or you already know what would follow.


  18. @Olufunke — LOL… I can bet a few hundred quid that Dr James Dobson was also a best selling author in your house! That guy provided a lot of the justification for all that… Good overall tho..
    @Jae – LOL.. They might have just transposed the ideas from their own upbringing i think.
    @Kafo — LOL… I'm sure we all can too..
    @Nice Anon — Haba.. Your brother na haaard man o.. Hot buns? I crouch o..
    @Lyrics — LOL… Classic example of why I usually bailed far away whenever they had august visitors… .


  19. ROTFL…you can say that again. This makes me laugh at the things I and my siblings did in ourchildhood thinking we were smart. Like after we are warned not to go out, we go out. When we hear dad's car from the gate, we begin to run home. We will assemble, panting uncontrollably and when we are asked "did you go out?" we will reply, "no we have been at home. Didnt you meet us in the house when you came back?" Then the koboko will follow (whether we say the truth or a lie 🙂 )


  20. This was very funny! Especially the "Are you calling me a liar?" part.

    If you tried to defend your self the next thing would be "Are you challenging me?"

    Of course the humble answer would be No-o! lol!


  21. lol…"it's not true oh"…"I'm talking, u r talking"…"r u calling me a liar"…"starving therapy"…lol…

    lol @ ur mum too…I can relate with this…my mum was bf monitorer, if there's any word like that…

    Overall, I think their own idea of love just included being overprotective…


  22. @Rita — Ah…that one used to happen too.. We have a system where someone was the designated 'watcher' positioned on top of the overhead tank to conduct surveillance!
    @Enkay — LOL…. That calling the liar part was a real issue.. You never knew what to respond with.
    @Anoda Phase — LOL…. Seems like that was a speciality of mums….. Good intentions, maybe not just the right execution from the parents i guess…


  23. Lol, i was just smiling remembering the good ol days, luckily my pops was not that keen on Good mornings with no sir..but my mum o jeeezz infact ull hear it for the next one week.
    Its funny how we were all so eager to grow up den , now we want to be young again.!


  24. @teju– lol. My kid sister once made a comment that infuriated my mum. For d better part of d year she wz constantly being reminded. My mum's reasoning wz that 'if you don't want to be quoted don't try to make sweeping generalizations. Guess we usually want what we don't have- the freedom to do what we want as kids and then life without the responsibilities that adulthood brings. Thanks for stopping by.


  25. Childhood was really fun, I got beaten o but not too many times, I rememberbeing beaten once by my mum for contradicting her in public and getting hot slaps from my dad for leaving my sick mum and sister alone in the house to watch a film at the neighbours. My total life history of beatings!

    Children of Nowadays was the oft repeated expression!

    Lovely post


  26. Hahahaha, Danny b, you are too funny! Gotta love the kind of discipline that our parents inflicted on us o jare. Some times I see the way some people talk to their parents and I'm like chei, if I had tried that one ehn…na serious koboko wey man pikin for con chop for dinner.


  27. @olaoluwatomi — great memories then… ah.. you were very well behaved then…. we were particularly 'quietly stubborn' as my Mum used to put it..
    @ttlolla — Abi o.. only God knows what we inhale sef…
    @Original Mgbeke — Koboko wey we don chop for this life ehn…. This generation of children has it easy..


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