issues

TAKE BACK YOUR HUMANITY 

SM Evils

I woke up on the morning of Easter Monday, floating back to earthly life from deep thoughts on unspoken matters. I had just been re-energised by simple meditations on beautiful and uncomplicated things, inspiring my heart with a positive outlook to life. My mind was on fire with all the songs I had just finished singing from the previous nights’ concert, and I still could literally feel the bellows of the Church organ resonating in my bowels. Still longing for my bed, I had to wake early to go see my sister, whose birthday it was. I didn’t mind. My legs were tired, but my mind was alive.

Spoiler Alert!

I’m usually alert to spoilers, but not on this morning. I was revelling in unguarded pleasantness, until I scanned through my Twitter feed. Usually, I search specifically for informative content, particularly from individuals who have a history of tweeting articles and following it up with a great conversation. Sadly, my feed was plastered with commentaries on a recent statement made by a traditional ruler, which set Nigeria’s Tweetosphere ablaze. So many tweets were flying around the subject matter that I had to carefully trace what exactly prompted all the vitriol. Unfortunately I followed the Rabbit trail (all in a few minutes of siting in the car waiting for my sister) and realised later that I had squeezed out almost every ounce of joy in my heart. 

How did that happen? While I sat there amazed at how people turned on each other over someone else’ comment, I was ignorant of how the bile had seeped into my mind and cast a dark showdown over my thoughts. I was now thinking on how this might spark electoral violence, ethnic rivalry, and a series of unfortunate events in Lagos. By the time I arrived at the local Catholic church with my sister for the Mass, I was a different man. I had lost the sense of the beautiful I woke up with. I sat in church contemplating Nigeria’s troubles, rather than enjoy the strange art of worship I wasn’t used to. I had just swallowed the bitter pill that online social media serves us daily.

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NIGERIA AT 50: ARE THE “BEAUTIFUL ONES” YET BORN?

Photo by One Laptop per Child

One great advantage of personification is that it helps reduce an abstract entity to a relatively understandable concept. When we use the word “She” to refer to a country, it is because we can append certain human characteristics in assessing its existential issues. This traps complexities into units that the mere mind can comprehend and so pass due judgments. When we say Nigeria is 50 years old, it could be totally lost on us if we do not appropriately personify the country to understand the troubles it faces as well as the gravity of such. Perhaps if we can imagine for a moment a 50-year-old woman who has been severally raped, duped, blackmailed, and wasted, yet still lumbering on a dark road, then we may understand what the country has been through. How many persons of that age would suffer such dehumanization and yet remain composed and pretend to be fine? That is the best way to capture the past 50 years of Nigeria’s existence, or I should say recent history. And worse still is the fact that the woman is still undergoing an immoral bludgeoning by wayfarers and vile caretakers whose bellies and ambitions are their primary concern. So one wonders then for how long her pretense will last without an implosion.

Today however, an encouraging fact to know is that there is an awakening among Nigeria’s children. Silently, many voices are starting to cry out for change, while steadily there is growth in loyalty, like that of a young husband, within the precincts of her communities.  Also there is the rise of an army of technical competence within her young population (disputed by many); an army equipped with the overflows of a globalized world running fast on the cyber lanes. This is one comforting detail I look to when forecasting the trajectory of Nigeria’s growth and development in all sectors.

But I fear. I fear because there lies an apparent disconnect between the visions of these progressive ones and those who hold or seek hold power. A greater fear for me is that more of the “Beautiful Ones” are succumbing to the rot in the system and getting anesthetized by the need to be successful. Those who have stepped out to see the workings and possibilities of other societies have become frustrated and their frustrations are further marinated by the already existing tangible angst on the streets. It sometimes feels like we have lost the present generations to a calamitous decadence, to the point that even the unborn child harbours the seeds of national iniquity. Not only that, but it feels as though we received nothing good from the generation before and then lack the capacity to pass anything good to the generation ahead.
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SOCIAL NETWORKING AND THE TREADMILL DYNAMIC

Okay I agree that I have almost 5000 friends on Facebook, but I can explain that easily. I am not a local champion of some sort, neither a superstar nor some self-accomplished dude with lots of fans checking me out. There are two simple reasons why I have generated this number of people to the point that Facebook has officially banned me from adding more friends and require that I create a fan page. First, I am a functional public relations officer of my Alumni association, and by that privilege, I need to connect with as many members as possible to keep information flowing. These members make up almost half the number of friends I have. The second reason is that from 2005 when I joined Facebook, I had determined that it’s either it is of use to me or I drop it. So when I began seeing its potential as a platform for connecting with positive virtue, I started leveraging its power to reaching out to people who have so far made a huge impact in my life. Only a small number of people on my list are personally unknown.

But in the past months I have be appraising the inefficiencies and deficiencies in my life, especially those having to do with online relationships; those affiliations nurtured by cyber ϋber culture. Just like every other outlet of human interaction facilitated by technology, social networking has proven to be the neo-globalization that makes the economic definition trivial. I have created new friendships, reactivated old ones, facilitated strategic partnerships transcending geography and culture, promoted successful events all through social networking. And we know of course I wouldn’t be wrong if I posit that Facebook is now synonymous with the term social networking. So, most if not all of the above feathers in my social cap were awarded by Facebook. But frankly there lies this little matter that needs to be addressed, and this borders on the nature of cyber social contacts. Have they made the world more closely knit, or simply noncommittal?
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