You finally secure a job after years of job hunting. Prior to that time, you had to spend a gruelling year doing the compulsory NYSC (a mandatory year of service imposed on all Nigerian fresh graduates). You were posted to a remote village with almost non existent supply of water and electricity. And just before then, you spent six years studying a four-year course. It wasn’t because you weren’t brilliant enough and kept having to retake courses, far from it. You had simply been a victim of perennial lecturers strike – something you had no control over. At the end of the day, you got through all of that. The strikes, the energy-sapping service year and the seemingly endless years of job search. You survived it all.
Don’t sabotage yourself. Don’t be the clog in the wheel of your own progress. In this age of social media, it’s the easiest thing to do. Seeing that the world is now a global village, and it has become increasingly easier to make friends with people many miles away, and stay in touch with loved ones we have not seen in a long time, everyone feels close to everyone. These days, you just might tweet at Donald Trump and get a personal response from him. It’s why it is easy to be deluded into thinking the next person on Twitter or Facebook is family or a pal whom we can throw jibes at without the nursing the fear of consequences.
Something interesting happened while I was catching up on the second episode of the Voice Nigeria Season 2 on Monday. I had missed the first showing the previous night, no thanks to PHCN and a generator that wouldn’t budge when it was called upon. So, I was lucky to stumble on the repeat show not long after the repair man fixed the faulty machine. I settled down to watch the show and as usual there were music hopefuls who had their dreams fulfilled when one or more of the four judges turned their chair(s) – an indication that they would like to work with the contestant, while others who were unable to arouse the same gesture from them had their hopes dashed momentarily. The show had been going on well without any incident until something interesting happened. Something I knew I absolutely had to share with you.
Salutations steeped in reverence, unhindered access to exclusive places, extra attention, and all round preferential treatment. That must have been the summary of what it was to be Evans (Chukwudubem Onwuamadike) prior to the tenth of June when the long arms of the law finally caught up with him. I also imagine that had he not been apprehended, his wife and kids would have celebrated him as the perfect husband and father to commemorate Fathers’ day last Sunday.
As a writer, I am condemned to a life of observing. As I move around…walk, drive, interact with my environment and people, I take all I can in. I am inspired by the things I see every day – the waste collector who sits on the pile of garbage from different homes without covering or turning up his nose. The gala and pure water sellers who can give Usain Bolt a run for his money when they chase after cars in a bid to make a sale. The traffic warden who stands under the scorching sun for hours to ensure free flow of traffic for a paltry salary at the end of the month, and the conductor who shouts himself hoarse as he “hustles” passengers for his bus.
It’s at the top of our prayer point list – Failure be gone! Nobody wants to be associated with failure. A word that is synonymous for everything bad, everything that spells defeat and rejection and an inability to succeed. No one likes to fail. I certainly don’t. However, I strongly believe that failure can prove to be an ally contrary to what we think.
She had gradually become a regular face in that social space. A convivial setting where old members were expected to be friendly with new ones. On this day I had walked up to her, introduced myself and asked for her name. “Just call me Mummy Ade she replied with something between a sheepish smile and a chuckle.” I was tempted to ask her if Mummy Ade was her real name, the name her parents had given her when she was born, but I held back. I returned her smile and nodded in acknowledgement of her preferred nomenclature.
As a kid, there were not too many entertaining moments that beat the time spent watching a James Bond movie in the company of my siblings, particularly one played by Roger Moore. It was a staple of our developmental years. Not much different from us eating a meal of rice every other day or playing a game of hide and seek.
“Yoruba men are demons”
“Short people have an inferiority complex”
“Feminists don’t make good wives”
“Ijebu people are stingy”
“Northerners are dirty”
“Whites hate Blacks”
…and now “Men are scum/trash”
All of the above statements are only a few of the popular generalizations many of us are familiar with. They probably started as a product of one person’s personal experience(s), but have somehow gained traction and have now sadly become a fundamental part of our thinking. They are stereotypes which like many other fixed notions discourage an independent assessment of a situation.
Over the last couple of months, the #MenAreScum has become a regular hashtag on the streets of Twitter. It started as some sort of curious joke – A typical social media reaction to the endless tales of how men continue to “play” and mistreat women especially in romantic relationships. However, things escalated quickly, and what started as a joke has morphed into a man hating campaign.
The year was 2015. The date was 31st of August. I had traveled to the United Kingdom to spend my vacation and had just one day left before I was due back in Nigeria. So when a friend offered to take me to see the annual Notting Hill carnival, I was excited as I figured it would most likely be the highlight of my holiday. I had heard about the carnival, and watched it a couple of times on TV, so I was quite enthusiastic about finally being able to experience it firsthand. We set out, and two trains later we were joined by four of his other friends, consisting of three guys and a lady.