When I call my friends and family in the United States I often yab them about their Americanized call back messages. I am like “abeg Nkiru I no hear dis ya message o”. Of course, when they speak the same way they have always spoken…they speak like Nigerians, but once they are at work they switch on their twang and before you blink its “gonna, wanna”. Just the other day I was speaking to a friend who works in the United States embassy about why a colleague of hers spoke with an American accent and this was her reply, “you know we work with Americans all day, even I have started speaking like them unconsciously “. Nne I hear you! Unconsciously? Nah! It’s a choice.

I will use Aunty Opemipo as an example. I met her a few years ago in the United Kingdom. She moved to London when she was 18 and had lived there for almost 20 years, yet her accent was as Nigerian as the day she left Naija. According to her ” I left Naija as a fully formed woman, I think it’s a bit silly for me to now be talking like people who were born here”. Infact the woman was just a rebel, when her husband’s friends who would call and ask ” Is Tunde about?” (Is Tunde around?). She would answer: “About to do what?”

My second example is Aunty Meg. This is a lady that has lived in an almost exclusively white area in Ohio, USA for the last fifteen years and has worked for the state with mostly whites for almost thirty years but the woman still has her normal Naija accent with an Igbo favor. I mean she speaks the same way with everyone…so it’s not even a matter of her speaking Nigerian with Nigerians and blowing phone with Americans. The woman speaks and they all understand her clearly.

Now I am not saying you cannot blow phone o! I mean it’s a free world, but the one wey dey vex me pass is when you do it with your hommies…I mean why blow phone with your sister or your folks back home?

Also, if you must blow the phone, do it well! Nothing annoys more than hearing someone speak phone and it’s not flowing. Especially when the phone is mixed with Edo, Igbo, or Yoruba accent! I actually like how Hausa people speak when they have a slight British accent – very posh!

Now if you live in America or England and speak like your people, it’s all good. When in Rome do as the Romans do. However, the one wey dey vex me too much, are my people who after spending six years studying abroad return home and years later you still hear them speaking like they were born and bred in the States, or someone who was born in the United Kingdom and lived there till the “ripe” young age of five moves back to Naija and twenty eight years later still speaks with a full British accent.

I no blame dem o, na we for Nigeria dey treat dem like gold! My friend who lived in the states for 15 years says that once she turns on her Texas twang it literarily opens doors for her… “oh madam, you come from overseas? Ok, you can come in”.