MC Oluomo is coming for us all (2)
Too many entertainers, not enough disruptors
The only elite space where young, educated and upwardly mobile Nigerians are currently making a real impression and building power and influence is in culture, i.e the entertainment industry and its allied spaces. We have Falz The Bahd Guy, Naeto C, Davido, DRB LasGidi, Denola Grey, Chef Obehi, Moti Cakes, Chidz, Nosa Oyegun, Folayemi Agusto, Isume Omokhudu, Show Dem Camp, YCee, Dami Elebe…I can list more names until the cows come home.
Considering that just 17 years ago, practically nobody from such backgrounds had any kind of foothold in a culture industry that had only a few luminaries like Kenny Ogungbe, Dayo Adeneye and Woody Awah, these are fantastic achievements and an important signal that we can in fact compete and carve out large spaces within areas that we currently have little or no presence.
However – while they are very important – arts, culture and entertainment are not what will save Nigeria or prevent us from being completely uprooted and replaced by the MC Oluomo types. We need more of us to publicly distinguish ourselves, band together and create groups and organisations that project and influence thought leadership in politics, government, law, construction and real estate, manufacturing, NGO and civil society, tech, finance, medicine, journalism and every other space that is critical to the existence of a thriving, democratic society.
If the people who were trained to carry out these leadership functions are refusing to do so because they lack the appetite or they think that engaging with Nigeria is beneath them, that creates the proverbial leadership vacuum that nature hates. When we do not do the job that is expected of us and thus leave a vacuum, it will be filled by people who are less qualified than we are, and this has already started happening. The evolution of a nondescript thug in Oshodi into someone with a huge following and “Politician” as his description on his official Facebook page should hint us as to what is coming.
This new set of ‘elites’ without academic knowledge, exposure to new ideas or the desire to improve themselves intellectually will do much worse than the current people in power. In order to conceal their greed and cluelessness, they will label us as the convenient enemies – something that will be amplified by the visible and disproportionate media presence we currently enjoy.
What happens next is demonisation where we are typecast as “corrupt” and “evil” leeches sucking away the resources of the country at the expense of the downtrodden proletariat. Does that sound familiar? Eventually, this culminates in a violent orgy of physical class warfare where – of course – we are hopelessly outnumbered. All of this has already started happening in Nigeria if you have been paying attention. What Comes Next?
If you want to have an idea of what happens when a sleeping elite through its inactivity allows uneducated and desperate chancers to dictate a country’s narrative, look no further than South Africa. In that country, while the black political and business elites focus on conspicuous consumption and frivolities – leaving the actual work of leadership undone – populist voices have successfully convinced the black majority that their salvation lies in getting rid of foreigners and nationalising white-held assets and businesses.
Eventually, inevitably, when killing Nigerians and seizing farmland from white people do not grow their economy, the next target for violence will be these very elites. Something, something, “enemies of the revolution,” something, something “agents of neo-colonialism,” something something “white monopoly capital.” Again for emphasis, this process has already begun here in Nigeria, under an administration that has successfully labeled people who eat Uncle Ben’s Rice as purveyors of “colonial disdain.”
In 2019 and 2020, Lagos witnessed the spectacle of thugs damaging cars and property while attacking and robbing people in response to the slightest hint of civil disorder. The new set of angry and intellectually incurious faces who are already at the gates of power in the political space either do not know us book-reading people, or pointedly dislike us. The only thing keeping us from irrelevance or outright disaster is the existence of the older elites, i.e our parents.
Said parents, however, are getting older and many have already transitioned. At best, we have a 10-15 year window to stake our claim in Nigeria’s economic and political leadership before our their generation disappears. Except the plan is for an entire generation of us to emigrate or remain here and be gleefully ground into dust by the likes of MC Oluomo when our parents die, I would suggest that we start taking our existence that bit more seriously. If you think things are bad now, wait until the NURTW leadership becomes our state or Federal Government. We are already halfway there.