Dear Chicago State University,
The ongoing fiasco surrounding your response (or lack of it) to the queries of Nigerians about
The man known as Bola Tinubu’s time at your institution is a very interesting development.
because you guys, and by you guys, I mean the average American, make us feel that we, and by we,
I mean, Nigerians are all corrupt societally, institutionally, and individually, while you are open,
honest, transparent, and incorruptible.
Before I further my argument, excuse me while I give you a brief background on this discourse.
It was relatively simple to internalize a number of complexities as the West colonized people.
inferiority and inadequacy around our values, ethics, and culture. We gave up most of our
identity to embrace Western identities, which were sold to us as superior.
Until recently, when more young African women began embracing and flaunting their natural
kinky hair, and with the hashtag #TeamNatural all over social media, our women were stuck on
straightening out their hair, first with ‘hot iron combs’, then later on, with the advent of hair
relaxers, which mostly contained lye, a chemical dangerous to the health of African women who
Over time, we have been sold the false narrative that curly, kinky hair is crass and unacceptable.
flocked to relaxers irrespective of age or social status, and until recently, our men would not be
caught dead in native attire as they adorned themselves in sleek pant suits with neckties to
We abandoned our traditional religious beliefs and embraced the cross, abandoning our native
tongue, and embraced English (and French too), and even that was not enough; we had to speak
these ‘borrowed’ languages with our tongues twisted and nasal muscles clenched; that way, we
sounded more ‘Western’.
The colonial mentality is so bad that if you are referred to as ‘oyibo, bekee, or onye-ocha’ (local
parlance for mostly Caucasians), it is either you are light-skinned, prim and proper, or thorough.
in your actions. We have found ways to convince ourselves that Westerners’ are perfect in
their actions, their systems are infallible, and their institutions are transparent. Hordes of Nigerians live in
the United States of America as honest, hardworking professionals, contributing to their
communities and the economy. Studies have shown that 29 percent of the Nigerians in the
United States (25 and above) hold a master’s degree, PhD, or an advanced professional
degree compared to only 11 percent of the U.S. overall population. Studies also show that
Households headed by Nigerians in the United States have a higher median annual income than
the average U.S. household Why am I bringing this up? Hold my comb while I explain it.
An FBI report states that 4,729,290 murders and non-negligent manslaughters were committed.
by Caucasian Americans, while 1,815,144 were by black or African Americans. Let’s not
Even if you start with white-collar crime statistics, the records are there for anyone who cares to see.
Just like we have high-achieving Nigerians in the United States, contributing their share to the
In our society, we also have other Nigerians in the United States committing crimes and engaging in
fraudulent activities. Now, here is the problem: We have tons of Nigerians like Professor Iyalla.
Elvis Peterside and Chimamanda Adichie in the United States, and some Hushpuppis as well,
You would rather classify all of us Nigerians as Hushpuppi. You also have Bill Gates and Oprah.
Winfrey doing the United States proud, and others like Timothy McVeigh and Sylvia Browne
are known convicted criminals, but no, they don’t represent you. In your books of
(questionable) reasoning: Oprah represents you; Bill Gates represents you; however, Hushpuppi
represents us and Chimamanda doesn’t, making all Nigerians criminals, even when studying
Chicago State University, if the recent debacle around Bola Tinubu’s study at your institution
If it had happened at a Nigerian academic institution, you would have quickly blacklisted that
institution, maybe even create a fancy banner for it on your website, advising a bachelor’s degree
holders from the said Nigerian institution not to bother applying for a postgraduate degree at Chicago.
State that their certificates are ineligible for your prestigious institution; who knows, you might
even suspend or expel any student already studying with you on the back of their certification from
the said Nigerian institution.
Excuse me while I chuckle at the hypocrisy of your system and institutions. The hypocrisy that
You wielded it as a weapon and robbed us of a sense of pride in our values and systems. The
hypocrisy that veiled your absolute ability to corrupt and be corrupted, to be dishonest and
deceitful, to be harmful and deceptive, but see, just like we have embraced and now celebrate our
culture, our hair, and our fashion; today, as Nigerians, we celebrate our humanity and forgive
ourselves for generations of believing that we are the dishonest ones because we are not. We are
The ones seeking truth, asking for accountability, transparency, and honesty—guess who the ones are?
Are covering up a lie and being ‘dishonestly deceitful’ the same? Your guess is as good as mine.
I am not even mad at you, Chicago State University; rather, I am thankful that more
Nigerians and the world are becoming more aware that you are as corrupt as we are, maybe even
more. You are no different than any university in the backwoods of Nigeria, and no, you do not
represent us because you are not Nigerian, or are you?
How American are you, Chicago State University, or maybe you’re Nigerian after all?
Nina Anyianuka is a Nigerian author, creative writer, media personality, journalist, public speaker, and
Brand/Communications Strategist and Gender Advocate Her book, Disowned, is available on Amazon.
@ninacool22 on X