Why do many Nigerian internet users surf the internet endlessly without improving their economic condition. Why are there tales of woes among the Nigerian youth who desire to make money online. This is a guest post from a Nigerian blogger, Micheal Mcneri, who leaves in United States. He started his online adventure right here in Nigeria. I belief you will enjoy this piece – Naijaecash
Why We Suffer As Unemployed Surfers
The Internet is for surfing not for suffering. The internet is for information gathering, knowledge building and application of such knowledge for making money! It is not for suffering! So why do Nigerians suffer online. There are numerous sites where you see us (Nigerians) gathered and all we do is complain of our suffering online. I feel there is no need for that. In fact, when you have pain and you gain access to the web, all your sufferings ought to go away as you receive knowledge and help from the online community. Often, such knowledge and help are given free of charge!
I am based in the United States and I have been involved with post-secondary education up to the highest levels since 1988. I have numerous interests even though I have a full time job which pays my bills. It has however fascinated me since my days at Ibadan, UCH to be precise when we first learned of Cybercafés (Internet Cafes). That was in the days of NITEL internet and calling booths. At that time in 2000/2001, I got a glimpse of what the world wide web had in stock for us. Seas of information and oceans of characters. We browsed in a very different way then.
How I discovered the World Wide Web
In those days, I had to apply for a NITEL land line so that I could use NITEL internet. To get the line cost 13,000 naira ($87) to NITEL and another 25,000naira ($167) ‘egunje’ (bribe) to the thugs (staff) of the cursed company. It was like bleeding, but we did it. This afforded me the opportunity to become a web user as I browsed the internet by dialup. I opened “FREE” email accounts and searched with this new search engine called GOOGLE! All was going fine and I was feeling cool but a few months into this new adventure, the line suddenly stopped working!
Then I received a bill of 102,000 naira ($680)! I thought I was dreaming! I contested the bill because the phone was not working and I had not made any international or local call to warrant such a monstrous bill. Well, I was simply told that that is my bill and I have to pay it if I ever want to use the line again! To me that was fraudulent and I was not willing to pay for what I did not use. Well, that was the end of browsing from home, but I had learned that there was a huge world out there and I was going to be part of it.
Journey to Cybercafés
A few cybercafés sprang up in Ibadan at that time, but many of them had lousy speeds. I was already spoiled with my home dialup (NITEL internet) which was so fast at 24kbps! Eventually I found one in Bodija, Ibadan. It cost 500 naira ($3.5) for 5 hours of moderate speed browsing. I was happy. Then I would go and buy a pack of floppy discs (do they still exist?). Each one was 1024kb. Armed with the 10 in a pack I would go to the cybercafe and pay for 5 hours. As I surfed, I downloaded materials, usually articles of interest in the medical field, or web pages. I would just be saving them to the diskettes (for the younger readers, that is what they were called). Then when I got home, in the comfort of my home, I would re-browse them, that is if Nigerian Electric Power Authority, NEPA (another sick company) permitted (the company had the monopoly of supplying electricity, but does a terrible job of servicing the masses, I learned they have been re-branded as Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN. In my humble opinion, Never Expect Power Always is better than Power Holding Company of Nigeria. Well, back to our main gist. It was at the cybercafés that I stumbled on my present career.
It was during my adventure in the cybercafés that I found out about the World Bank Scholarship and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. That was how I ended up having papers in Croatia at the 7th World Congress of Pediatric Surgery. That is how I ended up here in United States, owning a website development company and helping other less advantaged organizations get their feet online.
Why all this personal story?
My story may be a bit long winded, but I want you to take from this a little lesson. It is still challenging to get online in Nigeria 10 years later, I wouldn’t have guessed. I have had some couple of youth send me letters asking me to help their helpless situations in Nigeria relating to unemployment and struggles. One of them named Tunde, does landscaping, but has no official qualification. He has worked in a cybercafe before. I encouraged him to simply put pen to paper in 5-10 short essays of what he does which is landscaping. Then I offered to help him get a website on, optimize it for search engines and even purchase some adverts for him. Then all he has to do is register his business name in Nigeria and we can hunt for business online since he was disadvantaged on the ground in Nigeria. It has been almost one year now and I have not heard from him.
I guess Tunde lacked the motivation to follow through with my proposal because he probably think it is too big a dream. It was a mistake on my part too, because I was dreaming big “for Tunde”. So I have ceased to dream for people. The message here is DREAM BIG AND YOU CAN GET THERE. It does not matter how ridiculous your dream is. What matters is whether you believe you can achieve it or not. There are many roads out here and that is why it is called the WEB. Read, Learn, Dream, Achieve.
After Tunde, I had another cold caller who contacted me through facebook. He had a similar story. Patrick is a teacher, but wants more. He complained that his meager income as a teacher wasn’t sufficient to support his poor family and there are several other financial challenges that he was struggling with. I asked Patrick what he knows and can really write about. He said poverty. I said okay, write five short essays and I will set you up as an online writer. Maybe we can get you something to supplement your poor teacher’s salary.
Two months later, I asked Patrick how far? I am still waiting. Please tell me if it takes Patrick 2 months to write 5 short essays on this first offer, how will anyone be willing to contract him? He will not deliver and in this fast-paced world, nobody has that kind of time. So the second big lesson is “STRIKE YOUR IRON WHILE IT IS HOT“. We are too lukewarm in Nigeria. We feel overwhelmed by the huge problems facing us and the lean resources available to us. However, if you want to make it to Heaven, you have to live like you are in Heaven here on Earth. Righteous, Holy and Worshipping the only true God, like the angels do in Heaven.
My Suggestion to You
I believe you should gear up and face the invisible if you want to rise out of that quagmire limiting you. Hold onto your faith, but also focus on your dreams. Yes, dear to DREAM BIG DREAMS! If you have no dreams, then you are going nowhere. Can a Man make heaven if he has not dreamed of Heaven? Also, start NOW! People in the developed world have blogged their ways out of poverty. You too can make money online from Nigeria if you take action now. Get a blog, send a guest post to well established bloggers and become the person of your dreams. You’ve got to STRIKE YOUR IRON WHILE IT IS HOT! Stop procrastinating, start acting out your DREAM!