I like people who do things their own way. People who are not afraid to be themselves or air their opinion regardless of what others think. I like them because I know that one of the hardest things to do, especially in these parts is go against popular opinion. Everyone wants to belong, everyone sees the need to jump on the next pop culture bandwagon. It’s safer to do so. You don’t stand out, you don’t stand the risk of being insulted, mocked, subjected to snide remarks, and sometimes, public criticism. You blend in nicely, and all is well with you and world around you.
A young man is allegedly stabbed to death by his wife on suspicion of infidelity, and there is silence in the land. Unsettling silence, apart from the usual run-of-the-mill reportage by the media and a smattering of social media posts from individuals. There hasn’t been any outcry over the shocking circumstances that led his death. The human rights activists are silent, “social media warriors” are taciturn, and feminists have lost their voice.
We had been given forms to fill as part of the requirements for opening an account in one of the new generation banks. We had only started observing the mandatory one year of national service as fresh graduates and were due to begin receiving the monthly stipends to be paid by the government. I was in the process of filling my form when she walked up to me. Dressed in the traditional light green khaki attire of the NYSC, she was draped in the hijab, and had the unmistakable accent of one from northern Nigeria.
I don’t trust people who are friends with everybody. Might sound judgemental, but I hold the belief that one who’s friends with everyone can’t be loyal to a particular person or group of people. As humans, we have our individual values, standards, personal code of conduct, and principles regarding how we live our lives and the kind of people we would like to associate with. Now, there’s no way every single person we come across can fit into our idea of who a close friend should be.
“Awon wa’ye wa gbadun ni,” he had said in Yoruba. The spectator’s remarks translate literally to “They came to the world to have fun.” His comments were in response to the auto electrician who had expressed his empathy in that exaggerated manner artisans are known for as he fixed my vehicle. The subject of their small talk? Women. The electric mechanic was also quick to announce that he didn’t like to subject women (compared to men) to any stress when it came to haggling about his charges.