… He who has failed to trained his brain to work would have to use his body to earn…. Anonymous

Are Nigerians lazy? I have been ruminating about this question since someone asserted with unshakeable finality that Nigerians are a set of lazy people .

Nigerians are lazy?? Really?

Now, disagreements on issues often happen because of a difference in having a common ground on the basics, so I went to find out what lazy means, exactly , from a dictionary.

lazy /ˈleɪzi/


. unwilling to work or use energy

. Disinclined to work or exertion • too lazy to wash the dishes

= fainéant, indolent, otiose, slothful, work-shy


Can we say this is a fair assessment of the typical average Nigerian?

While one can talk about cerebral or physical laziness, usually, laziness is used to mean the physical type.

When this person asserted that Nigerians are lazy, I wanted to argue that this can not be so.

Come on, I thought, Nigerians wake up early daily, some as early as 4.00am, and get back home late, everyday. Many work weekends, under harrowing conditions that we are all too familiar with. In my article All Play And No Work, I lamented the fact that there are too many holidays in Nigeria. The surprising thing is that, even on public holidays, you find many Nigerians working. Whether it is the pervasive poverty that is compelling them , the point is that Nigerians love to work just as hard as they love to play. Yes, Nigerians have to work so really hard to make their living.. they don’t have a choice.

However, I would totally agree that Nigerians can also be mentally lazy. Educated folks would ask questions that can easily be answered by going online and asking Google. Pray, why carry about a ₦60k phone, if you have to ask foolish questions like Does anybody know where the Ukrainian embassy is located, and their phone numbers?

Many educated folks would rather listen to opinions rather than conduct a simple search to verify facts, online. A friend likes to say, be sure; don’t assume while a novelist made that famous statement, professionals ALWAYS check! We should use our brains, more, for thinking, analyzing and assessing!

Lack of mental vigor causes Nigerians to dissipate energy on low value activities like reading junk magazine, or spending inordinate amounts of time analyzing football, rather than engage in productive activities. The lack of mental rigor is evident in how high value discursions almost always attracts abysmal participation compared to low cader topics like inane gossip.

We would prefer to go spiritual by ‘speaking into our problems‘, or looking for some Imam or Pastor to solve our practical problems, rather than applying cerebral energy into solving practical problems.

Yes, Nigerians are mostly mentally lazy. But in terms of being physically assiduous, I would give us full marks. You only need to take a look at that bus conductor who shout for hours without being deterred, calling upon passengers, or that woman with a baby strapped to. her back pricing baskets of tomatoes in the scorching sun in the market to appreciate just how hard Nigerians work day in day out.

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