If Henry Ford were Nigerian

By Seun Obatuyi
If Henry Ford were Nigerian, all of the world would still be riding the exact and same 20-horsepower T-Model that Ford himself built in 1908.

A Ford T-Model
A Ford T-Model

By the way, you may branch here to know more about me and what exactly I do here.

Toyotas. Ferraris. Lambos. Cadillacs. GMCs? Forget all of those.

If Henry Ford were Nigerian, there would be none of a single one of those. We would all still be riding in the original T-Models up till now.


If you’re not Nigerian, you probably demand to know why I would think such a dumb thing. If you’re Nigerian you likely understand what I’m about to talk about. And everything can be summarized in the next short paragraph.


It’s great to be respectful. Really great! But Nigerians are too respectful.


Too respectful of the system. Too respectful of changing how things currently are. Too respectful of saying how we truly feel. We’d rather not tamper with the default settings. Because we feel someone somewhere could disapprove.


If this over-respect is connected with the fear of kini eyan ma JE? (what will man EAT?) is a fight for another day. However what I am certain of is if you took away the ironu of “kini eyan ma je?” from the average Nigerian’s mentality, what you would get is a mind that churns out content as quality as those from the US.


“Shut up, he’s a Senator!”


“Ah No, our daddy in the Lord is a man of God o. Nothing he does is wrong.”


“Kofo is your older sister, you must not argue with her.”


Why not? Why can’t they all be wrong if they are humans? What should be strange about being wrong once in a while?


Here’s another illustration to make my point.


Jack: Hey Bosun, why do you guys…. engage in that practice every year?


Bosun: That’s how I met it o my brother. That’s how they’ve been doing it for generations before I was born.


If you’re Nigerian, you may have heard something before like what Bosun A. Clueless said. Quite similar to Okechukwu D. Conservo’s words:


Jack: Hey Chuks, don’t you think we should work on improving the brake system of the T-Model into an automatic?


Okechukwu: That is how people have been riding in Ford T-Models since I was born, Jack. All that one you are talking about is unnecessary luxury. Our Mazi Henry Ford was an elderly wise man. If something needed to be improved in the Ford T-Model, who else would have known better than he himself?


Toh! More T-Models for everyone, ngbanaa!


Nigerians by default are not inclined to questioning a person higher than them in authority. We hardly push for justice. We don’t insist on accountability. Which is what makes room for Corruption. And also the rise of hegemonic political dynasties now difficult to question or bring to justice. Well this is not the place to be tampering with issues that are considered political. I already wrote an article on that a few years ago. You can find it here.


Some fanatic followers of religious leaders too are not left out in this trend.

“Daddy [Insert_Pastor’s_name] said we shall go to heaven.” It’s no longer the Bible says. (In everything we are doing, Diaris God sha.)


All these things, they are all connected together. They form a self-sustaining cycle. And the purpose of this is for us to see where it all came from. And start asking questions.


Let us begin to doubt aspects of our very essence that we’ve before now taken for granted. Critique. ‘Ask [questions] and it [understanding, insight] shall be given unto us.’ In the end, we shall come out surer that what we have in our head is a reality that is closest to real.


It’s my blog but it’s your web; what’s your thought about this piece? Hit me in the comments below. Email me on mysay at seun.com.ng if you can’t shout.

This post is not meant to be offensive to Nigerians. I am one after all.


  1. Nice piece oga mi. Stagnancy, wallowing in comfort zones, relayed mediocrity and wool over the eyes method s used by leaders stifle progress. There are still the minority that wants to change, stand-out nd not conform. We seek thee

  2. First of, i like the simplicity of your blog name. Most people just go for tortuous names and leave readers pondering on the name before they even begin to review the article. And mysay@seun.com.ng does have a nice ring to it.
    Now to the article of the day, Nigerians not wanting to change a set principle has been imbibed in our upbringing. Even an eight year old who is learning to cook noodles will tell you “No, this is how my mummy does it” any other way is unacceptable to him/her. Blame it on our forefathers who were once slaves. I wonder the type of punishment that is melted to a person who dares to defy order. I’m sure “kini eyan ma JE?” was coined in those hard times.
    It has been and always will be, truth be told. The ones who dare to make the change should go ahead. As we can see from history, people actually do embrace change, but the problem lies in who is going to be courageous enough to.
    My ONIONS added! It was a nice read.

    • I can say I’m quite fortunate to be Nigeria’s default online Seun. This “Slave” angle that you have shared is insightful, Abimbola. You have now ignited another chain of reactions in my head, for which I’m grateful. *walks away with eyes closed and hands abstractly motioning through the air*

  3. Nice piece, bro. Succintly captures the African mentality, for it’s not just Nigerian. My countrymen (Ghanaians) do share it too, as do citizens of most countries across the continent. Too much [undue] respect, my brother. Ah, if only we questioned the perceived status quo enough…
    More of the Seuns O. Rebellos and less of the Messrs. Conservos and Cluelesses, I say!
    Any seconder?

  4. Nice piece Seun. I dont think its only a Nigerian syndrom. its generally a black syndrom, especially the african black. we have a way of feeling inferior to others ahead of us, we dont ask questions that matter, and we are possesed with the thinking that God will do a “miracle” for our nation.

  5. This post succinctly captures one of the many evils befalling the country Nigeria. I agree with your assertion,one of the flaws of this society is that we live in a society,where we dont ask questions,where the status-quo is accepted as the norm.
    One has to have a respectful dis-respectfulness for greatness to achieve such or one would be caught up in the mire of admiring those great acts/people without making any effort in creating one’s reality also.

    Going forward,the ability of more and more Nigerians to be curious about their environment,ask questions about why a failed system is still being adopted and then creating new realities out of these answers, would determine to a large extent the future of this country.

  6. When I saw the title, I thought the content would be a teaching on business acumen…don’t blame me, mindsets affect perceptions; but I like the write-up a lot and in my usual manner of over-analyzing, I sense its deeper than what words would express here. Its completely taken my attention and pushed me into solution-seeking zone; I’ll have to forcefully get out of here and face my work today.

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