6 Common Instances of Colonial Mentality in Nigeria

Colonial Mentality

The term “colonial mentality” refers to the situation in which people from a colonized country see the culture of their former colonial masters as superior to their own culture, especially when it is not needed.

Nigeria colonized by Britain from the 19th century until October 1960. It is not surprising that there are some British customs that have a strong influence on Nigerian society.  

6 Common Instances of Colonial Mentality in Nigeria


Here are 6 common examples that show that we Nigerians sometimes underestimate our culture ( Colonial Mentality) due to an unnecessary appreciation of a foreign culture: 

Radio and TV presenters with British and American Accents 

If you look closely at the Nigerian media, you will notice that many of the presenters or commentators actually try hard not to look Nigerian. Many of them actually see foreign accents as more “professional”. The funny fact is that many of these presenters actually return to their local accents when they describe something in pidgin English or describe something uniquely local in Nigeria. 

Also Read: Untold Tales of Izobo (Now Urhobo and Igue Festival Ubini (Benin) 

The Use of English Rather Than Local Names 

In all Nigerian tribes or cultures, a person’s name is very important. A person’s name must have a deeper meaning. Unfortunately, this custom is challenged by the fact that many Nigerians view it as more “Christian” to have an English or Biblical name. Some Nigerians consider it even more “advanced” to give their children names in English. To prove this point, one cannot look beyond our former Nigerian president, whose name is Goodluck Jonathan (who sounds like a jovial character in a Shakespearean play). Also, some Nigerian Christians think it is best to baptized with Anglicized biblical names such as “John”, “Mary”, “Paul”, “Vincent”, etc.  

Skin Whitening 

This is one of the worst cases of inferiority complexes among some Nigerians. It is rather sad that some Nigerians actually believe that “whiter” skin is better and so they use creams and chemicals to lighten the skin to a lighter color. This is mainly due to the fact that Western beauty standards are better than local ones.  

Unnecessary Use of Foreign Technical Experts 

For basic things like road construction and IT solutions, Nigerian officials and bureaucrats prefer to use expats rather than local talent. Doctor Eugene Enahoro explains the situation better; 

“In virtually all of their operations, the government prefers semi-baked foreign” technical experts “to competent Nigerians. Even when forced to hire Nigerians, their preference is to recruit from the diaspora our fellow countrymen who think, speak and act like white men…. 

…. Nigerian leaders are so in awe of expats that even in mundane things like road building, they are proud to photographed with some second-rate foreign contractor. The paradox is that if Nigerians cannot be trusted to do simple things like building durable roads, how can they be trusted to handle the much more complex issues of good governance? ” 

White Jesus 

No one today really knows what Jesus Christ looked like and I agree with that as a Christian. What I find unacceptable is the use of the Italian-looking Jesus that we Nigerians cling to. Most Nigerian churches have an image of Jesus appearing as a white man. when Jesus is more likely to have darker skin.  

American and British Accents Used Instead of Local Ones

If you look closely nowadays, English-speaking individuals are those who are seen as intelligent people. Native language speakers are perceived as lacking in literacy.

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