a picture showing moyo okediji poised for the camera

Cellphone Conversation

Cellphone Conversation

(After Wole Soyinka’s “Telephone Conversation”)

My phone rang, I recognized the number

and picked it up.

“Hey, babe,” I said,

“What’s going on?”

She started laughing,

and it seemed she wanted to talk,

but just couldn’t control herself.

I wanted to know

what was so funny. Finally,

she managed to stop laughing.

She said, “Have you heard about

the ban on Nigerians from immigrating here?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Serves you guys right!”


“Your statistics look great

only on paper,” she said.

“What statistics?”

“Have you seen the video

that is going viral

with the statistics of Nigerians

—showing how accomplished they are?”

“No I haven’t.

What does it say?”

“It says one quarter of all Nigerian immigrants

have a college degree—including you.

It’s the best of any ethnic group in the United States.

Compared that with just one out of ten

in the general population of the United States,”

“Well, that’s certainly interesting,” I responded.

“And four percent of you guys

have Ph.D.s, including you.

Compare that to just one percent

of the general population of the US.”


“Wait, there is more.

Seventeen per cent of you Nigerians

hold a Master’s degree—including you.”

“Tell me more.”

“And thirty seven percent of you

have a Bachelor’s degree—including you.

Compare that to just eleven percent

of the general US population.”

“Yeah, we study.”

“You guys are the most educated group in the US.”

“That’s remarkable.”

“It says twenty nine percent of you guys

have a graduate degree,

compared to eleven percent

of the general US population.”

“We are hard workers,” I said.

“And in terms of medicine,

seventy percent of black doctors

in the US are Nigerians.”

“Wow, that blows open my mind.”

“But you know what

the statistics does not say?”


“That you guys are very

bad daters—including you!”

“Really? Why?”

“You may date a Nigerian all you want,

they will never marry you

—and that includes you.”


“When Nigerians want to get married,

they go home and bring someone

from their stupid shithole village.”

“The video says that?”

“No, it doesn’t say that.

I’m saying that!”

Silence. I was dumbstruck….

“That’s one Trump policy I support:

this immigration ban….

Hey…? Hello…? Hello…?

Are you still…there…?”

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