Guilty by association
By Denrele Animashaun
One of the most durable and destructive legacies of discrimination is the way we’ve internalized a sense of limitation; how so many in our community have come to expect so little from the world and from themselves.-Barak Obama
HOW DO NIGERIANS BEHAVE?
Before my epiphany, I used to cringe whenever a Nigerian is caught or exposed as a criminal. I used to get angry, frustrated, ashamed that “ there goes another Nigerian again letting the sides down”, or “why can’t they behave or “why are they disgracing the rest of us law-abiding Nigerians?”.
I remember in those dark days when I cringe as another news report another Nigerian con other people out of their hard earned money.
Actually , does it really matter what others think about a group of people? What matters is , what those people thinking about themselves-what they value: their morals and way of life.
Prior my epiphany, I would go the extra mile, to show others that there are Nigerians like myself , who are law-abiding and honest. I did not want people to know that I am a Nigerian, It gets worse when they patronise you with “ you do not behave like a Nigerian” I mean how do Nigerians behave? Besides, I do not think they know a lot of Nigerians! To be honest , I really do not think there is a type of Nigerian. I mean, there are good Nigerians and there are bad Nigerians.
My moment came when I realised that I am not responsible for every Nigerian/black/African person that happens to commit a crime or misbehave. And it is not my problem that people are not intelligent enough to work out that they are good and bad Nigerians/women/African like everything else. It is so liberating as this is psychologically so burdensome and most of us carry this for a long time and don’t even know it.
Nowadays , I know am a Nigerian and a damn good one to boot! So whatever any other Nigerian do good or bad is not my bag but I will endeavour to remain the best Nigerian I can be, regardless of what other people may think or do. I believe Nigeria deserves better from its people.
2 Controlling the media
A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.-Bertrand de Jouvenal
People, they say, deserve those who govern them. Power drunk politicians are playing with fire if they think they can control what people write, when we know they cannot control what people think.
So the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Finance and Appropriation in Oyo State House of Assembly, Mr. Olusegun Olaleye, intends to appeal to the Federal Government to enact laws that will curtail the misuse of social media by “disgruntled elements in the public”. And he goes on, “In the same vein, I want to call on the Federal Government to generate certain laws to guide against unprofessional practice by some writers who just sit down and peddle unfounded rumours”.
Is he serious? I mean, he is alluding that the disgruntled elements have influenced the media! That’s coming from him. They use and abuse the media when they seem fit and now they want to gag the media? Too late to shut the stable door after that horse has bolted.
The social media has liberated many of us whose eyes were covered, and whose mouth were closed. Freedom of expression is enshrined in our constitution, so where on earth do they think they can control information on the superhighway?
These people are protesting that the minions (us, the citizens) have no right to protest. Don’t you know who they are? They are the honourables, first ladies and so on”. So while they are living large, we should be so grateful that we are at least struggling to survive. We cannot educate our young in a system that is so substandard, that is non existence.
We are feeling insecure at home, at work; on the roads and places of worship! They have no backup plan for the country as they are milking our coffers and taking it abroad so when the proverbial hits the fan, they leave us to fight amongst ourselves.
Our youths have no stake in their future .They spend a fortune on grand edifices, jet planes, overseas shopping sprees, expensive lifestyles and medical tourisms for their own family. The deaths tolls are piling up due lack of adequate roads, substandard transportation, health and social care services and our education system, please don’t get me started! We have to educate ourselves and our young ones to refuse not to be bought nor compromise our integrity. We either succeed together or we might as well die together as fools!
Achebe: Exit of a literary giant