Singer Akon has claimed that Nigerians are the smartest people in the world. The Senegalese-American musician said this while featuring on the Drink Champs podcast co-hosted by N.O.R.E and DJ EFN, adding that more billionaires are being made in Nigeria than anywhere in the world.
The “Locked Up” singer however added that there are a few “bad apples” destroying the image of the country. “This could be debatable, but the Nigerians are the smartest people on the planet,” he said. ”I promise you, there is nobody more smarter than a Nigerian. Of course, there is a few bad apples that came out. They [the bad apples] are extremely smart. But they put their intelligence all in wrong place.
“If they were to gear that towards something more positive or productive… Because the ones that did, there’s more billionaires being made in Nigeria than anywhere in the world.”
Nigeria, the most populous Black nation with a population of more than 220 million, is still the largest economy in Africa with the highest GDP of $440.78 billion in 2021. The GDP size is an indication of the high volume of production activities happening in the country, no doubt, Nigeria has lots of entrepreneurs and businessmen who are billionaires and millionaires. It is therefore not out of place that Nigeria has three billionaire families out of the eight wealthiest families in Africa.
Recently, the country’s former leader Muhammadu Buhari said the West African nation is “unarguably’ the most prosperous Black nation in the world, backing his claim with certain unique qualities he said the country’s citizenry possesses.
“Everywhere you go, Nigerians are sparkling like diamonds in the pack, whether in academia, business, innovation, music, movie, entertainment, fashion and culture,” the former president said.
Buhari and Akon may be right. In the United States, for example, Nigerians have not stopped excelling despite racism and discrimination, as they are currently one of the country’s most successful immigrant communities, with a median household income of $62,351, compared to $57,617 nationally, as of 2015.
Around 29 percent of Nigerian Americans over the age of 25 hold a graduate degree, compared to 11 percent of the overall U.S. population, according to the Migrations Policy Institute. The 2016 American Community Survey also found that among Nigerian-American professionals, 45 percent work in education services with several others being professors at some of the top universities.
Nigerian Americans are also increasingly entering into entrepreneurship and building tech companies in the U.S. In the medical field, you will find them there too; as they continue to abandon their home country to work in American hospitals for better pay and working conditions.
The over 376,000 Nigerian-American population has also produced some of the “firsts” in America, including forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu, who was the first to discover and publish on chronic traumatic encephalopathy in American football players, and Pearlena Igbokwe, the first woman of African descent to head a major U.S. TV studio. There is also ImeIme A. Umana, the first Black woman elected president of the Harvard Law Review.
Apart from traditional careers like doctors, lawyers and engineers, Nigerian Americans are also doing tremendously well in entertainment, sports and the culinary arts. Recently, Nigerian chef Tunde Wey in New Orleans made the news when he used food to highlight racial wealth inequality in America.
Elsewhere, Nigerian-British scientist Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock won the 2020 William Thomson, Lord Kelvin Medal and Prize for her “exceptional services to science education and physics communication”, according to the Institute of Physics. This made her the first Black woman to win a gold medal in the award’s history. Nigerian-British author Irenosen Okojie also bagged $13,000 as the winner of the 2020 Caine Prize.