African Time: Better Late Than Never?


I’ve spent almost 5 years studying outside Nigeria since leaving secondary school (I go home every summer though). Two years in England and almost three now in Ukraine. I have to say that the so-called “African/Nigerian Time” is ten gazillion light-years worse amongst Nigerians leaving/studying outside Nigeria. Maybe not so much in England but in Ukraine: Definitely in Ukraine. Before you throw stones at me, I’d like to shamefully inform you that I, yes I am a part of the problem. I used to be the always-on time guy. I only skipped one class in secondary school and even that was a necessary evil. This changed when I left Nigeria. We say stuff like “sheybe the meeting starts now by 5pm, I’ll wait till 6pm; they’ve not started, is it not Nigerians again? It’s African time things”. You! Yes you, if you’re Nigerian have probably said it or had a thought in that line. So, we chill till it’s 6pm then leave our houses. It’s the most ridiculous thing ever: African time. It almost borders on stupidity. How will it start when you’re not there?  The solution is simple, let’s forget the Africans are fashionably late stereotype and be punctual for stuff. Even events Organizers allow for African time when making flyers: the meeting/gathering/party/service is supposed to start by 7pm so they put 6pm because they know you, yes you! Will be late. By writing this, I’ve kicked my self in the place where the sun don’t shine. I know you’ll, yes you will be watching out for me; keeping tabs on my punctuality status. I solemnly swear by the old and new gods, Mars, the Atlantic Ocean, Virgin Atlantic, Wole Soyinka’s Afro, things fall apart, Tom cruise, the 007 franchise, courage the cowardly dog and the Game of thrones to never be late for anything. Nah…but I’ll try, we have to step up our game and become more punctual. Food for thought: wealthy and purposeful people are punctual people. Ever wondered why your teacher is hardly ever late for class? Have fun and be punctual till I ramble again………

                                                                                                        Tomi Olugbemi


16 thoughts on “African Time: Better Late Than Never?

  1. I absolutely love this post because the concept of “African time” is one that I absolutely absolutely hate (can you feel my disgust seeping through?) and I agree with you, it’s just so stupid, I’ve had this conversation so many times and it always ends with me wanting to beat someone on the head with a stick just so they’d get it LOL

    A real life illustration; While I was at University in Nigeria, I worked on an event where the Kwara state governor at the time hosted Jose Mourinho (I had to check for the correct spelling of this, I have serious gaps in my knowledge about some things, lol), anyways, I had heard the lady in charge of the organizing mention that Jose Mourinho didn’t like to waste time, he scheduled his time to the last second, so, as you’re probably already guessing, the Gala or whatever its called started that night at say 10pm, I can’t really remember for sure, but our “highly esteemed Governor” in normal fashion came late. Mourinho sat there 40 minutes (yes, I was timing it) and then he got up, shook hands with others that were already sitting at the high table and started to leave, when he was halfway down the hall, the governor came in, you’d think he would go back, right? WRONG! He simply shook hands with the governor and went on his merry way. I absolutely loved it! I thought it was awesome that he did that! Even now, remembering that moment still feels me with so much elation.

    I’ve just never understood why in Nigeria, you go for an event and government officials or some “chairman” or “father of the day” doesn’t arrive until like 2 or 3 hours after the event should have started and everyone has to sit there waiting for them. It doesn’t make sense!!!

    Right now, I’m studying in Cyprus (Masters) and guess which students come to class 1 hour 30 minutes after a 2 hour class starts? Yes, that’s right! Nigerians! Why people, why do we do this thing?

    It’s so frustrating, I think I might scream.

    Okay, I’m calm now (wooooza), it still doesn’t make sense though.

    And I’m sorry that this reply is so long

  2. Hahahaha!!!! the mourinho Incident is just Epic: Wow!!! trust me i feel your frustration. The 1 hour 30 minutes lateness to a 2 hour class happens quite often in ukraine. We need a serious mind-shift for the sake of our growth as a nation. Thank you for replying this and no it’s not too long. It gave me more insight about the problem. Thank you..

  3. Reblogged this on Life Turnt Up and commented:
    LOL, so true. I used to run on African/Nigerian time until I started suffering the consequences. In the beginning I would get places early but would hate the wait time so I started getting there late. People started complaining and it affects social and professional life. I now get everywhere 15-30 minutes early. I don’t miss African/Nigerian time. People take you more seriously when you show up first and you sometimes get rewarded as well.

    1. To be honest, I’ve never found african time funny. Coming from a Home where even dinner is scheduled *Ps, it’s 8:30 cause of NTA news*, it always ticks me off when a time is fixed and I’ve planned my schedule around it and then African time ruins my day. It’s like Hiroshima all over in my head. Thank God for Patience tho!!!

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