• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

The way we are

Why the elite cannot help Nigeria

I spent the better part of last week asking myself some truly profound questions. Something has to be wrong with people who seem stone deaf and generally unethical in their disposition. I find my countrymen gracefully descending into places we should never go and acting as if it were normal.

Like I always say, there are universal values… truth, hardwork, kindness, truthfulness and respect. These values were the same in 1923 as they are in 2022, and as they would be in 2023. I believe there are those deluded among us who say, oh, things have changed so much. They opine that we live in a different world and the youths have a different mantra for living.

Yes, it’s true things have changed a lot, technology and shared experiences from the internet may be eroding human relationships and all that, but the universal values remain those values today and will remain so tomorrow.

A hardworking young person will do very well and a kind young person is better overall and is happier. Charity boosts the happiness hormone dopamine and it remains the single most important selfless thing to do in the world

A hardworking young person will do very well and a kind young person is better overall and is happier. Charity boosts the happiness hormone dopamine and it remains the single most important selfless thing to do in the world. What are you doing to improve your corner of the world today?

While you are grappling with that question let me talk you through the way we are and should not be.

So, I walked into church two weeks ago and felt that since there was no immediate change for the N100 bulletin, I will give up my N400 to enable 4 persons to benefit a free bulletin. The bulletin vendor, a member of the church who is volunteering, was pretty pleased with my gesture and invited the next man on the queue to collect a free bulletin. After he collected it, he went and brought his wife to collect a free bulletin. If he stopped there, we might have forgiven him but he went looking for his 13-year-old son to come and collect a third one. See how we are? Our greed is showing at every level of our I stood by the corner of this stand watching as this silly man collected three of four bulletins meant to be shared, for just his family.

How many of you are in charge of scholarships, grants, training and all and only your family members benefit? How many of you are in charge of loans and only your family and friends benefit? It is something we must all collectively diminish in our psyche for Nigeria to become better.

But we are also sick of our stereotypes and narrow-minded character. It has to be only one group of people perpetuating greed, corruption, nepotism, tribalism. But this is not true.

It is a national malaise and the slightest opportunity people get, they run inside their primordial sentiments and become myopic, tribal tin gods.

This behaviour has become quite clearly a selfish, egotistical one that fetches us no friends and grows our untrustworthy position with other nations.

But let’s hold that awhile and read the tale of a security guard in a bank. I was on my way to my tailor. I was driving and decided to come down with a small suitcase full of fabric.

I am quite undecided when I need to give tailors my fabrics for whatever style, so I took a little suitcase full of six fabrics for them to pick two. But I was parked by the road.

Certainly, my little fancy box of fabrics would have attracted miscreants. So I took the box along with me. I then proceeded to declare it at the security post, but I was not so lucky.

The lone security man was present but fully absent. Other than his physical frame, he really was not there. He was on the phone with what appeared to be an Aunty.

The conversation was inane but he kept me waiting for all of 15 minutes, raising his hand 8 minutes into the conversation to non-verbal point on his phone and non-verbally explaining that he was on the phone, urging me with a self-entitled wave of his hand to wait.

He finished his idiotic phone call keeping a customer waiting 7 minutes later. It was insane. I was incensed. A bank security.

If there was a sudden physical threat, would he have had the luxury of making that very social call at work? When he pleaded for the job, did he not swear that he would be the best?

Once he got the job, he started becoming comfortable, it is his father’s parlour. The story of many Nigerians.

Should there be consequences for his misdemeanour, he would describe the prosecuting officer in the bank as wicked or accuse the devil as being responsible for his self-inflicting action.

My father would always say everything is about character and it is so true.

Three weeks ago I arrived again in church on a Sunday to a huge drama.

Our volunteer church security had apprehended and civil arrested a clubbing party of half-naked girls and thug-like men who breached the ribbon-like barricade for managing traffic on the streets around the church.

This has been a tradition since insecurity became heightened and generally for orderliness of cars.

Acting all rude and self-entitled, this unsightly group of persons began to drop the name of a presidential candidate threatening fire and brimstone and acting quite typical of entitled fools with reminder words of ” do you know me?”

One hour later and fully humiliated, they were in front of police officers for breaching the peace and parading an impersonator referring to himself as an Army General. It hurts me to see the way we are.

But entertainers are suddenly taking the cake now in anyhow behaviour, but it did not start today.

Lately, we have heard how the Buga crooner Kizz Daniel whom I had celebrated in this column weeks before dragged a Nigerian’s name in the mud, costing a promoter thousands of dollars because his chain…

Please note, his preferred gold chain did not arrive so he chose to abdicate on his performing contract and failed to show up on a sold-out 5,000 dollars a table show.

Read also: Celebrity trolls: The Nigerian toxic online stan culture

This led to his arrest. Like what? For someone whose song is the most shazamed song in the world… This has to be home trouble.

But seriously bad behaviour never sells. But we are now exporting it to Ghana, Malaysia and Dubai, among several countries.

As you are already aware, the UAE has stopped issuing visas to Nigerians who are under 40, except travelling with a family.

A direct consequence of our bad behaviour in and outside Nigeria. The shame of happenstance by our countrymen behaving badly in faraway lands is incredible. And back home, how are we doing? Not so good either.

So, this week Ice Prince did a dejango with a policeman in his car driving off in what has now been described as kidnapping a police officer and other related charges that come with assaulting a police officer or disturbing the public peace.

In handcuffs, Ice Prince did not look so good. You are a rapper sir… not a poster boy for bad behaviour… keep the law no matter how famous you become.

Impunity, self-entitlement and general bad behaviour are ranking very high now along with other things that ail us.

There is a need for celebrities and their teams to take celebrity management courses and there is a need for the rest of us to conduct ourselves better. This may be the way we are today but it really should not be the way we are tomorrow.

We are supposed to be a role model country to the African continent, in fact, a regional power.

Our celebrities are meant to be role models to the younger generation. But we fritter it all away on either a gold chain or on driving a car without number plates and refuse to accept when told you are wrong.

What’s not cute is people pretending it’s acceptable behaviour and playing the blame game… just the way we are… and this too is unacceptable. I rest.