By Foluke Sijuwola Falayi
If you live in Nigeria, you will understand the ‘African time’ attitude. It’s practised almost everywhere in the country. It is a general feeling or notion that make people or guests arrive behind the time slated for events. Of course, many organisers of such events too are not immune to African time!
It is very common, as it is experienced at most occasions. It is only at many religious places of worship like churches, mosques that clerics do not wait before commencing activities.
So unsettling is the fact that the early birds have now joined the bandwagons of late comers. If you have been to celebrations many times, and you wait for hours before the kick off, you will understand better. It is now becoming an order of the day, as celebrants like brides and grooms also do arrive late – for their weddings!
Often, you hear people asking the master of the ceremonies why he should delay the business of the day, and wait for more people to come. At many occasions, they wait for guests who are still at home, sleeping or engaging in other goings-on.
Has it ever crossed your mind to ask the reason people do not come early to events? The fact is that some people do not place value on the event they are going for. They just want to ‘show face’ and register their presence. Some do not give priority to your event; if they are able to meet up, they come, and if not, they are unbothered.
It is true that many folks are extremely busy, but they still want to touch every event and owanbe in town.
Some invited guests, in the cities, are held in traffic jams for hours before arriving at venues. Yet, it is also, the intention of some invitees to arrive when everyone is seated. The motive is to flaunt the styles and fabrics in vogue.
Many callers do not joke with their time. They do not want to come and sit for hours before starting your event – therefore, they delay on purpose.
When guests arrive late to events in Nigeria, they miss out on many treats and extravagancies. They miss out on information and knowledge shared. They miss out on networking. Also, most of the time, as a guest, you do not have the choice of food you desire to eat. There might be little or no food left. There might be limited meat or no meat to go with the food and since many tribes, especially the westerners, believe that meat is essential commodity at parties. In some get-togethers, they would have run out of water, and no one enjoys food without having water around. In many cases, you might have no seat or good viewing position.
When next you are thus privileged to be invited for an occasion, and you feel honoured to be part of the day, ensure you go early. Leave home on time and enjoy fully. Put differently, this may be a good season to seek deliverance from the African time mentality, which is part of what is keeping the country and the continent down.
If you happen to be the celebrator – which many of us call the celebrant, based on American English – whether it is a wedding, burial ceremony, birthday or other joyous occasions. Put it on your invitation card and text messages, ‘No African Time’ and make sure you start promptly. Do not wait for anyone. Once this practice is in place, ‘African time’ will be a thing of the past in Nigeria.