I find the bandwagonism that pervades the virtual space annoying. It only takes one influential social media personality to say something and their horde of followers are quick to lap it up. The dearth of independent thinking—the ability to analyse an issue dispassionately—and put forward a personal opinion is a reality of these times. Whether it pertains to more serious issues like police brutality, ethnic or racial profiling, gender discrimination, or matters of less importance such as the debate regarding who’s the greater legend between Michael Jackson and Beyonce, people are often inclined to pitch their tent where the greater population leans. But things have begun to change.
My friend request still lingers on his Facebook profile.
Now I know it’ll never be accepted.
When rumours of his death began to gain traction on social media, I was slightly alarmed but quickly dismissed it as the usual negative excitement that often accompanied bad news in the virtual space. Knowing that people have a penchant for peddling fake news because they cannot be bothered to wait for credible news sources to report events, I muttered a prayer in the hope that it emanated from some mischief-loving individual.
And then it was confirmed.
The gloves are off and the fangs are out. Caution has been flung to the wind and we have arrived at a time when people have no care for the sensitivity of others. You’ll have to be living under an escarpment to miss this trend. As the 2019 elections draw closer, supporters of political parties have grown more desperate to see that their opponents do not gain the upper hand in the jostle for the approval of the electorate. A mash-up of this with the growing discourteous tendencies of young people is snowballing into a society where respect and civility are going extinct.
Last Saturday, a group of young women (and a few men) staged a peaceful protest at Yaba market in Lagos. It was a march premised on a simple admonition: “Do not touch us. Stop harassing women and young ladies who come to the market to shop for clothing items or who are simply walking by. Desist from groping females under the guise of attempting to get them to patronise you.” The women had had enough. The harassment of females at the market was a disturbing trend that had been perpetuated for far too long, and if anything, it’s surprising that no one had thought to do something about it until now.
Once I was chatting with someone who mentioned their aversion for hanging around old people. By old people, he meant those aged 60 and above. “What would we talk about?” He added. This individual just couldn’t fathom being stuck in the same space as a senior citizen for too long. His thinking—they were generations apart—so there’s really no point of intersection in their realities that would make for interesting conversation. I smiled, then reminded him that he would most likely be in the position of the older person one day and wondered how he’d feel if some youngster said the same thing he had just voiced.
Time was when jumping buses was normal. One took bikes, tricycles and weather-beaten yellow buses to every destination. Engaging the services of taxis was a luxury because pockets were shallow, every kobo had to be accounted for. But time…time soon took care of the transition and the Danfo-hopping plebeian could get her own private means of transportation. Nothing fancy, just something decent enough to signify progress and put a permanent end to contending with sweaty bodies and aggressive commuters for limited spaces in public transportation. Now, she could have her privacy; play the kind of music she wanted and not have to endure the cacophony that bus drivers mistook for good music.
It happened on Tuesday morning. Traffic had begun to build up as commuters tried to make their way to work. Traffic had slowed to intermittent stops as it approached the railway intersection. The time was about 6.15 am, there was still plenty of time for the driver to make the office without being adjudged late. As the car inched closer to the tracks, there was some noise…incoherent at first, and then louder, with an accompanying wave of frantic hands as a couple of pedestrians jogged in the direction of the cars who were trying to meander through fellow motorists to get to the other side of the road.
One is an international superstar. Arguably, the greatest tennis player dead or alive and definitely a legend that will be talked about for many years to come. The other is a rising star in Nigeria, one who’s blessed with an abundance of gifts every creative person craves. While these two young women are at different phases in their career, with Serena gradually inching towards the twilight of her illustrious tennis career and Bisola just starting to attract that level of recognition that anyone who has followed her career knows she more than deserves, one phenomenon binds them together–the long, tortuous road to elusive victories.
The general consensus is that the average young Nigerian is unserious. Loafers seeking a free meal ticket. Male and female alike, they shun the principles that guarantee success because they are a pampered generation. Nigerian youths have been touted as unserious lots who are always looking to reap where they have not sown. Little wonder Yahoo Yahoo and other sundry vices are synonymous with them. Young Nigerians have been maligned by even the one person that should be rooting for them – the “lazy youths” insinuation comes to mind here.
In the shadows…behind the scenes
Nodding in the background
Almost non-existent if one were to judge by the physical, yet always there.
Always, always there.
No comments on the blog post. Sparse reactions on the Facebook, yet silently rooting.
Taciturn, shy, reticent but stoic in effervescent support.