WHEN PLEASURE TAKES OVER THE PLACE OF WORK
I have been thinking of this for a while now but I took this decision to write about it when I opened my Facebook page last night and saw a flood of post with a particular talking point – the eviction of one Gifty. Initially, I thought Gifty was a mock name for either corruption or recession. Forgive my ignorance about the Big Brother Naija though I will never repent of my disgust about it because it continues daily to give me reasons to abhor it. I have heard so much about the current show but due to the phobia I got from the first Big Brother Africa of around 2001/2002 where nudity was cheaply celebrated, I refuse to be interested in it. It is possible that those obscene scenes have disappeared from the show but I am no longer interested. Anyways, that is not my focus here.
Before the event of last night about the said Gifty, I had observed a group of boys I met in a Church that I had visited discussing the activities of the show. That was a little over a week ago. They were obviously very clear with the minute details. They mentioned about 5 people that could be facing eviction soon; I could remember only 3 of the names they mentioned – Bassey, Bisola and Gifty. What happened was that I tried to do a little cramming exercise but only these 3 registered in my dumb brain. I wish I was amore bright student. I didn’t bother to check the correctness of that dialogue but I was intrigued by the way the discussion flowed as if they were partners with the Big Brother in the planning and execution of the show. I said to myself that “These must be bright children who are indeed abreast with current affairs.” How wrong I was! It is rather the case that the society has given them a wrong orientation about what really matters and provided a deceptive alternative – mediocrity. How did I arrive at that conclusion?
I interrupted the flow of their discussion and pretended to be writing something serious in which I needed someone to remind me the name of the current majority leader of the Senate. I even helped them by telling them that it was the senator that took over from Senator Ali Ndume so that they won’t think I am talking of the Senate President, still just one of them who made an attempt said it was Dr. Saraki (sorry, he does not even know the full names of the Senate President). In the end, they did not even know who was Senator Ali Ndume talk more of Senator Ahmed Lawan, his successor.
Do not blame them for this please! Blame rather the society that prides with mediocrity and undermines expertise and intelligence; a society that welcomes criminals back from prison with a fanfare but neglects retired patriots who served the state with great integrity. Yes! Blame the society that believes that money can buy anything including salvation. That is why ritualists and money launderers find their way into a Church and got inducted into one knighthood or another, and a person who is a terror to his/her family ends up with the Ezinna or Ezinne title because he would attract an additional cash into the Church’s treasury. O yes! Blame the society where our tertiary institutions award honorary doctorate degrees indiscriminately to intellectual morons and moral deviants just because of little excess cash that can flow in to help the school budget. With that knowledge that the society is not interested on how conscious they are about the things around them and how much information they got about the way forward, they recline also to mediocrity; after all, all they need to do is to make money and every other thing would be added unto them. Most times, people with this type of orientation grow up to become the nuisance of the society when they not able to make it rich. Even some of them who eventually made it would become the trouble makers. That is the problem of godfatherism in Nigerian politics.
Some people often mistake such people as never-do-wells or the olodos of the society. Otherwise, how can a secondary school graduate not be able to tell the full names of the Nigerian Senate President? And I will answer, “Lack of interest!” And do not even try to blame it on them as well because many of them are a product of the environment in which they found themselves. I recently conducted a research in that direction and the data I collected show that many of the poor academic performance we record today are as a result of parental negligence when it mattered most. According to Pope Francis, we are being infected with a “society on the rush” where the mother and the father hurry out daily so as to make ends meet in order to provide comfort for the children while neglecting the essential, which is formation. This is when we begin to hear things like, “My children will never suffer what I suffered.” That is of course a good objective for any parent. However, that objective becomes bad when it also means that the children would never go through the kind of rigorous formation that we had to go through.
I remember an experience I had with my mother when I was in Primary 4. At the end of the second term of that class, I came out with 6th position. Before then, I had only taken 2nd position twice. That was when one girl came back from the city and claimed my 1st position, shifting me to the 2nd in third term Primary 2 and first term of Primary 3 – I had been a local champion! Anyway, she got promoted to Primary 4 ahead of us, giving me an opportunity to reclaim my kingship. So my mother was not so much used to hearing that someone passed me in class. Now, 5 good people passed me that term! I wouldn’t know what came over me but it seems my mother knew, for she flogged hell out of me on that day. Wait! Did I tell you that my mother never passed through the four walls of any classroom? O yes, she didn’t! And so, she obviously didn’t want me to pass through what she was passing through as someone who was not well educated.
How many parents still go through their children’s school work in this modern time? All we always do is to complain that we are suffering from JET AGE. That is not false anyway; we are indeed suffering from jet age. The only problem is that we might be having a wrong definition of jet age. To me, jet age is that age and time when many parents fail in their responsibility to train their children well and then turn around to blame technology for their mistakes. The book of Proverbs says, “Teach your child the way he should go, and he will not stray from it even when he is old” (Prov 22:6). Unfortunately, the training that we give our children these days are “comfort without work,” “entertainment without labour.” What is more? They settle better for Big Brother Naija (BBN) more than desiring to settle for Bachelor of Science degree (B.Sc).
I am quite sure that we do not need another prophet Jeremiah to tell us the future with this kind of training, that the future is pregnant with doom. When the evil rain begins to fall, the flood might sweep without mercy. Let us begin now to build our fortress to be strong by training up our children well.
However, I wish to ask the youth one simple question, “Must we keep leaving our destiny in the hands of our elders who are not interested in our growth?” We want to be celebrated like Chiamamanda Adichie and become rich like Mark Zuckerberg, yet we don’t want to develop our brains but instead glue our heads to the television. Hmmmm! Miracles still do happen but even Jesus asked for some loaves of bread with which he performed the miracle of feeding the multitude. Get up and grow up!
See how I dey talk to them as if to say dem go read this thing reach ground before tuning off! That is the youth we have made!