Mr President has returned home after being away on medical vacation for 104 days. His arrival and subsequent nationwide address have been a controversial subject of discourse between his staunch supporters and those who feel his extended stay away and state of health should have been handled a lot better; and possibly prodded him to resign on account of ill-health. It’s a debate that has been ongoing since the first time he was away for medical treatment. The whole controversy stems from a loss of faith by a section of the populace that the current administration has the capacity to lead Nigeria to the promise land.
Scenario 1: The president of the most populous black nation in the world jets off to the United Kingdom to receive treatment for an unknown ailment. His second absent spell. It’s been 100 days now, and his people have no clue when their president will return. To add insult to injury, his party and cabinet members have been jetting off on tax payers’ funds to see him one after the other, yet no one has deemed it fit to address the people on what exactly is the nature of the first citizen’s illness. Protesters were tear-gassed for daring to demand answers. Shameless is the new cool.
The average single woman in her late twenties and above is tagged “Strong and Independent,” while the man whose wife is doing well in her career or as an entrepreneur is always “Loving and Supportive.” “High Flying,” “Strong Black Women” “Big, Bold and Beautiful.” These are all labels that have become permanent features in our daily narratives. They are clichés I often find myself rolling my eyes at whenever I come across them in essays, interviews, discussions or commentaries of any kind. And most times it’s not even a question of whether these assertions are true or false; they have become tiresome simply because they have been regurgitated again and again by society to the extent that semantic satiation has set in.
Just in case you have been oblivious of the development before now, you can now view your street and even your exact place of residence on the internet, thanks to Google Instant Street View, a feature introduced by Google. While it has been in existence in some other parts of the world as far back as 2007, it’s new here and has generated plenty of interest upon its availability in Nigeria. I got to know about the feature through my colleague and instantly tried to find out if it was as accurate as touted by typing in my address in the space bar. It was. The panoramic view of my area appeared before me in few seconds, and the song we used to sing as kids, “Come and see American wonder” immediately started playing in my mind.
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.
“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.
“At Queens, we are classy. We are excellent in all we do, we are the best, Queens College leads, others follow”- Mantra
The above mantra represents all of what Queens College, Lagos is not right now. This assertion is not up for a debate. There is nothing remotely classy about the news that over a thousand students fell ill due to water contamination, and certainly nothing excellent about three pupils losing their lives as an aftermath of this illness. Queens College, like many other erstwhile prestigious institutions of learning in Nigeria appears to have gone to the dogs. It’s another painful failure of the educational system in Nigeria, and by extension the Nigerian State.
The Big Brother Reality TV show has been a subject of debate since it began broadcasting in January. And as the days have progressed the arguments for and against its relevance have become more heated on social media. It’s not a new development. Since the first Big Brother Africa show made its debut in 2003, and the Nigerian version was first aired in 2006, it has courted controversy; plenty of controversy. Apart the “strange” idea of having a group of strangers live together in a confined space without the trappings of gadgets and activities that accompany daily life, there was always going to be concern about what the housemates who are full-fledged adults would get up to within a period of three months where they would have nothing much to occupy them save for interacting with one another.
When I was a fresher at the University of Ibadan, I stayed in the hostel. The prestigious Queen Elizabeth Hall to be precise. There was this girl who was also a fresh undergraduate. We didn’t stay in the same room, nor had friends in common, but I got to know her because she became quite…
I don’t like writing about Nigeria. I try to shy away from writing about Nigeria and her problems. The reason is not far-fetched really. Even a visually-impaired person knows that the country’s woes are self-inflicted. With a leadership that constantly seeks ways to outdo itself when it comes to incompetence and a set of followers who lament everyday, but in the same breath defend the political class who subject them to untold hardship, it’s difficult to believe we aren’t suffering from a collective Stockholm Syndrome. The more our government and political class subject us to different forms of abuse, the more we are wont to vote their ilk when election day arrives.