Why this Robert Clyne article about business in Nigeria is offensive

I recently came across an ill-humored article written by Ivy League Academies Advisor, Robert Clyne, on ozy.com. The writer made it seem like Nigeria, where he had lived while doing his field work, was so handicap and incapable of providing a safe haven to foreigners, who are privileged enough to live there. Clyne, who studied cultural anthropology at Yale, alluded to his cultural interest, which brought him all the way from the United States of America to the tropical South western Nigeria, where he encountered several inconveniences like dysentery and malaria, while picking interest in the Yoruba culture. Hmm, I would assume that being from a ‘seriously dysfunctional family’ would be the height of human suffering for someone so disconnected from the joys of living as a foreigner in a country like Nigeria such as the amazing and welcoming nature of the people and the opportunity to experience a different way of being.

While Clyne is apt in addressing certain social ills that ravage the country like the lack of electricity, corruption of law enforcement agents and access to clean water, he does put his thoughts into a collage of mumbo jumbo that is hard to comprehend, which is bad business for Clyne as an academic or even a business owner. For instance, the inter-relation between his purified water business and the fact that he extols himself as some kind of saviour who will ‘finally’ provide for Nigeria’s old and feeble population is lost on so many of us who have read his article on Ozy.

Need I remind Clyne that his crew members, who saw him through police shakedowns and death threats, could easily be business owners if they wanted to. After all, Nigerians are known to be some of the most resilient people in the world. He ought to take note that while cleaning up our ‘disgusting beaches,’ there are several other disgusting water bodies in his homeland like the Doheny beach in California (known for being a haven of sewer leaks) and, since his mother is only proud of him when he achieves, he can set his mind towards cleaning them up too. Everyone knows superhuman efforts are worth the worldwide attention that come with it, just ask Dean Karnazes.

It is a good thing that the author runs his own purified water business but is he the first to do that? The country can boast of about 500,000 reputable reverse osmosis water businesses. His venture into the industry does not make him a hero. Of course pyrolysis is an avenue less traveled and Clyne is right about all those nettlesome government registrations, however, can his readers be reminded that Nigeria is not only rife with corruption? How about loyalty (in the case of his crew members) and strength in numbers or even a will to survive even in the harshest conditions? After all, if everything were so bleak, would he be making a killing? And like he said early on in his article, living in Nigeria takes the neurosis out of you and you are less persevering of bullshit. Any wonder why a lot of us (Nigerians) are distracted from the actual reason for his article – business achievement?

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