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.
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.
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.
I was watching the clip of the interview of a young lady who was responding to the unfortunate electrocution and subsequent death of 30 young men who had gone to see the Europa League Quarter Final match between Manchester United and Anderlecht at a viewing center in Calabar. A high tension electricity cable had fallen on the roof of the building, and sadly many of the football faithfuls lost their lost lives before they could be rushed to the hospital due to the lack of first aid treatment and equipment that could forestall or at least reduce such fatality. But that’s a topic for another day.
They say men are moved by what they see. These days however, I am tempted to believe that both men and women are moved by visuals. The word “Goals” is one that is bandied around a lot on social media. It is often used to express a person’s desire to achieve what someone else has or a longing to be like them in one way or the other; usually regarding some marital, career or any other real or perceived significant life accomplishment. However, as with most attributes that are peculiar to the virtual community, the word “goals” is mostly used when for instance, a couple put up their pre-wedding pictures, or a good looking family post photos of themselves. And so, beyond liking the post, some of their followers can’t help but express a longing to be like them. This desire is revealed in phrases such as “marriage goals,” “family goals,” “couple goals” and the likes.
A man decides to end his life by plunging into the lagoon on a glorious Sunday evening. He was a medical doctor. To the average observer, he appeared to be comfortable, or at least better off than most people. In different circumstances, but in clearly another act of suicide, a final year student of a University opts to take his own life by hanging himself in the hostel room he shared with two of his colleagues. They return after a night of reading to find him dangling from the ceiling. Both incidents have sent shock waves down the spine of many Nigerians. A country where the concept of committing suicide is still somewhat alien.