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Guilty by association

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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


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!

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