Many of the Nigerian catchphrases were a way of communicating in pidgin tongue. This allowed the people coming from many different tribes in Nigeria and speaking many different languages to speak, gist, and trade with one another.
Soon common catchphrases known throughout the country have become common place in the daily speech of many Nigerians.
- No wahala. No shaking. No trouble, no problem or no worries. Essentially connoting that everything will be alright. Usually spoken in response to a friend, family member, or complete stranger making a mistake as small as stepping on your foot, or crashing into your car. Although, it is less likely to hear a resounding no wahala with a big dent in the rear end.
- Wetin dey happen? What’s happening? What is going on exactly? Like what is your deal bros (see below). It’s basically what would equate to the American urban vernacular of what the hell is going on, based on the circumstance. It is also a greeting to catch up with a mate you might not have seen in a while.
- Ohhhhhhh God. Every Nigerian mother has spoken this phrase. Usually to their son or daughter in a dramatic way. Nigerian mothers always seem to over exaggerate the smallest of problems. Ohhhhhhh God needs to be yelled, with heart palpitations abound, or slow shallow breaths, or gasping, take your pick, but just think it necessary to win the next academy award in order to shore up the best ohhhhhhh god.
- Nawa O! Direct translation: Like that really just happened, or did he or she really do that. Yes now wow.
- Do you think you know who I am? This is usually said to the closest of friends when they have done you wrong. It could be your wife or husband of 25 years. When they cross that line, it is something any Nigerian just says without even a second thought. So be careful, don’t ever attempt to act like you know the complexities and intricacies of a Nigerian, even if you are a fellow Nigerian.
- Bros. Bros, also my guy, its the equivalent of the Californian dude or bro. Often used as a sign of respect with familiarity, or to make sure the guy helping you park your car on the busy streets of Lagos actually watches it so a dent doesn’t get in it.
- Chief. Ultimate sign of respect or flattery. Take your pick based on the circumstance. As Nigerians have the oldest traces of historical kinship and kingdoms from pre-colonial era until present day, there actually still are true Chiefs. Of course Nigerians would never fail to call a true Chief by his honorable name, but it also doesn’t mean one won’t call someone who isn’t necessarily a Chief, a Chief to close out a business deal, or again make sure the car doesn’t get a dent in it.
- Sha. It’s the addition to everything. I want water sha. It will be ok sha. Is that a bird sha. Sha sha sha. Add it to anything and you have been officially adopted by the kindred spirits of all Nigerian tribes.
Learn More Catchphrases and Street Slang Watch the Video Below: