• Monday, June 17, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Social media savages and Soyinka “Baba Lile”

Social media savages and Soyinka “Baba Lile”

…He is Wole Soyinka for a reason..!

In whatever endeavour we pursue in life, we inevitably encounter both victories and defeats. Losing, in essence, is not inhumane; however, harbouring bitterness in defeat is what I consider truly inhumane. Furthermore, just because someone has bested me in competition does not make them my enemy.

Allow me to share a personal anecdote: During my candidacy for the presidency of the Faculty of Arts Students Association at the University of Ilorin, two individuals fervently supported me. They approached me with a plan to tear down my opponent’s posters under the guise of attending nighttime study sessions in the faculty. I expressed gratitude for their support and explained why such actions were unnecessary. I reminded them that the true prize is not winning the election but rather having a capable individual serve as president. They were not my enemies; they had invested time and resources in their campaign efforts, just as I had. The meat of the matter is that I was able to guide and restrain my supporters, ensuring we conducted ourselves with dignity and respect. Of course, WE WON!

Politics, almost everywhere but especially in Nigeria has always created a sweltering atmosphere and our people tend to worsen it with warlike words thereby creating tribalistic discourses.

Concerningly, Social Media, especially, have become the battleground for most people with differing opinions, insolence and violence have become the umpires of political discourses on those streets. That it is a platform that thrives on near-anonymity has allowed it to blur the lines of respect( morals) and culture. Consequently, Social media has become a fertile breeding ground for loudmouths, enablers of hate speech, tribal bigots, and facilitators of fake news.

The advent of social media in Nigeria has come with many positive developments such as connecting old friends and people generally, promoting business, sharing information with ease as well as serving as education and entertainment platforms, among others. There are several opportunities that cyberspace, especially social networking sites, have opened up for the teeming netizens on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and the rest.

Some of the social media-induced social menace in our society today include giving us a false sense of association, the growing spectre of cybercrime, distraction, crowd mentality (inability to think independently thereby succumbing to groupthink and mob mentality), and breach of privacy.

There is the worst answer, the most saddening dangerous dimension of cyberbullying through which uncouth language is used to relentlessly attack individuals and people whose crime may be as inoffensive as holding a different opinion. On Social media, the word “savage” is now a positive expression used to describe and commend those who can compose the worst form of insult. In fact, those who can insult the more get more “likes and shares” and those who cannot cope with this either leave or remain forever silent.

At the moment, the person on the hot seat of savage is the redoubtable Professor Wole Soyinka because he has committed the grievous offence of “holding an opinion by responding to the question he was asked about a presidential candidate in the last election”

Toxicity is a detrimental character trait. Toxic individuals rarely find success in life. It is only a toxic person who projects aggression and hatred onto others. Similarly, it is only a toxic individual who seeks to dismantle years of hard work and achievement out of anger or disappointment.

Let us, even for a moment, forget about his astounding level of academic brilliance and focus on another unique aspect of him: Prof. Oluwole Akinwande Soyinka is an embodiment of humility and simplicity. “OKUNRIN OGUN, ENI OGUN!”

His densely grey hirsute head is a pretext to his startling level of shrewdness, a textbook definition of perspicacity and creativity. Omo Soyinka’s photographic memory and his ineluctable ears, as legend holds, have combined to give him a gripping prowess for scripting pieces that are compelling reading.

Wole Soyinka is the horseman of captivatingly fluent and flowing words who is not fixated on excessive courtesy; whether you genuflect or stand to talk, he requests you sit, and so on. He is truly the interpreter of the understandable voices of the masses and the corrector of the nattering naysayers who are still suffering from their losses in the last elections.

He is Wole Soyinka for a reason. He uniquely shares name initials with the enigmatic William Shakespeare for a reason. Both have world-class works in the three genres of literature. He is our own Shakespeare, and he has distinguished himself not only through literary activism but also through his powerful physical activism. And that is why I christened him “Baba Lile,” which can be loosely translated to mean a person who is resolute.

I don’t think it is a Herculean task to use social media sensibly. It should not become a social menace. Everyone should have the freedom to associate with any candidate without the fear of being attacked.

Notably, the way you use social media gives a vista into your world; use it sensibly and smartly. Don’t unleash words without regulating them. You can comment without being caustic!

Taken together, Soyinka is a man who neither needs to defend himself nor requires us to defend him; his works and actions readily speak for themselves. In this life that we live, I don’t know of another; Soyinka is a made man! There must be more to carrying Kuti’s DNA!

Folorunso Fatai Adisa is a communication specialist who can be reached via email at [email protected]. He is currently based in Glasgow, United Kingdom.