Itâ€™s a Friday night at a popular nightclub in Nairobi. In the parking lot, a man steps out of a luxury car dressed in a designer suit and flashy crocodile skin shoes, gold jewelry draped round his neck and wrist, and designer cologne in his aura.
He joins a group of men at a table, some of them dressed in Ankara, who are accompanied by a bevy of beautiful ladies dressed to the nines, wearing Brazilian hair pieces that would cost you an arm and leg on their heads.
Nothing says â€˜averageâ€™ about this gathering of merry makers â€“ in fact, nothing about them says â€˜Kenyanâ€™. They are Nigerian businessmen who have lately become quite a fixture on the Kenyan social and investment scene â€“ and extremely popular with Kenyan women.
Deported businessman Anthony Chinedu recently gave an interview to a Nigerian tabloid in which he pointed out a scenario many Kenyans were quick to refute â€“ that many Kenyan women are settling down with Nigerian husbands.
There are women who, having gone the West African route, have sworn off Kenyan men entirely. And there are those who, having heard of the stellar treatment and riches that other women get from Nigerian men, have set their sights on getting nothing less. Why are Nigerian men such a hot commodity amongst Kenyan women?
When it comes to catching the Kenyan womanâ€™s eye, it seems, itâ€™s not just about looks; confidence and poise are qualities that Nigerian men have in bucketfuls, and which women find irresistible.
Candi Pertet, a young Kenyan woman, says, â€œNigerian men dress well and smell good. If he is not handsome, heâ€™ll more than make up for it with his sharp dress sense and will be proud of his looks.â€
Shiko Njoroge* adds, â€˜They are not shy. Nigerian men have so much pride and confidence itâ€™s hard to resist, especially when youâ€™re used to men in your culture being so humble.â€™ Because Nigerian men pay particular attention to being turned out well, it essential for any woman who is dating them to follow suit.
â€œA Nigerian man will spend lots at the salon and at the boutique just to get you looking all right. And then he will parade you among his friends as a reflection of his good taste,â€ Candi explains.
Shiko says that in her experience, financial largesse comes easy to Nigerian men where the women in their lives are concerned.
â€œNigerian men donâ€™t believe in going â€˜dutchâ€™. Whatever you want, itâ€™s his pride to make it happen for you. Their income provides for everything, and by everything, I mean thereâ€™s an allowance for your rent, fuel and clothes, too.â€™ These ladies are independent with good jobs, so they really donâ€™t need a man to cater for any of their bills but once in a while, â€œitâ€™s great to feel pampered.â€
The ladies also say that these men know how to treat them right. Not for them the Kenyan male habit of spending every weekend in the bar watching the game and drinking copious amounts of alcohol.
In their experience, the Nigerian boyfriendâ€™s goal is to ensure that his woman knows how special she is. He will wine, dine and romance her consistently. He is more passionate than the local man, a quality that causes our Kenyan ladies to choose them over Kenyan males.
Sweet tongue seduction
These ladies say that Kenyan men are averse to showing their sensitive side. They instead choose to bottle up their romantic feelings. â€œNigerian men arenâ€™t afraid to show their emotions, whether itâ€™s dancing in the middle of the mall because they are happy, or crying and begging you on the streets to forgive them,â€ says Sophie Kumba, who has also dated West Africans. They choose to wear their hearts on their sleeves and arenâ€™t afraid to look into a ladyâ€™s eyes and say â€˜I want you.â€™ If he loves you heâ€™ll let you and the whole world know it!â€
But the one characteristic that almost every Kenyan woman who has ever bumped into, spoken with or otherwise tangoed with a Nigerian man is the fact that they â€˜sweet-talkâ€™ the target of their affection. Sharing her best Nigerian accent, Sophie relates her version of what you would likely hear: â€œEh eh wot is dis now? Eh, beby, you gonâ€™ cause accident ooo! Beautiful girl like you mustnâ€™t walk. I go buy you Range Rover, now.â€ You may not get the Range Rover, but this use of words and sweet-talk will soften even the hardest of women.
But finally, the critical taste test is in the bedroom, and almost every woman interviewed for this story had the same thing to say: â€œThey almost never disappoint. They seem to have a natural talent in this department.â€
Of course, not everything is perfect, the ladies we spoke can attest to that. Shiko says that in her experience, after a couple of weeks of dating, her Nigerian man started to get a burgeoning sense of entitlement towards her.
â€œHe began to randomly show up at my place of work. Iâ€™d have to tell him where I was, who I was with, what time I was getting to my home; this was all very creepy. I had to tell him that I didnâ€™t appreciate how he was acting and for this reason, we could not hang out like we did anymore. I found him crazy possessive.â€
He calls her to this day. â€œHe canâ€™t believe I really donâ€™t want him,â€ she says. â€œHis pride just would not let him believe it. A Nigerian man will not take no for an answer.â€
Also, enthralling as his â€˜sweet tongueâ€™ may be in the beginning, the same lines that caused you to fall hard will get him out of trouble. According to our ladies, you may catch him in countless escapades, but these men always seem to know what to say to get you eating from the palm of his hand.
Are there exceptions to the rule? Yes; there are suave, confident Kenyan men who lavish their partners with time, resources and affection, just as there are Nigerian men who couldnâ€™t be bothered. Every country in the world has its good and bad boys.
*Name has been changed