Following my previous post,(READ HERE) I got a plethora of comments against the views expressed therein, but none as shallow as that from the Editor of a small campus based gossip-magazine. ‘Do your celebrity thing, but don’t write about politics because you don’t know politics’, he wrote on BBM and then carried on nagging. Other than the
fact that this comment highlighted his ignorance on what I do know and don’t know, I also didn’t understand what he meant by ‘your celebrity thing‘ and ‘you don’t know politics‘. Ironically, this was also coming from someone who via the print medium available to him had dedicated
his entire publishing career to selling mostly entertainment gossip contents as evident in his features and cover pages.
So why criticise someone when you yourself are averse to the subject at hand?
Never contributing by any means but constantly criticising and finding fault in others that dare to do?
In an article titled ‘Pick A Spot, And Start Digging’, published on the 28th of January, 2013 and chapter 34 of his book, ‘Are We The Turning Point Generation’, the Executive Director of the prestigious FUTURE AWARDS, a mentor and someone who happens to be at the forefront of youth advocacy in the continent, Chude Jideonwo, aptly captures my mind.
“We have distinct roles to play – informed by our unique experiences, positions and interests – hence my worry at the tendency of a number of people, some influential, to criticise what others are doing while they do nothing of their own.”
Unfortunately, there are too many people like these – not playing any conscious, deliberate role that will advance whatever cause or issue they believe in, never joining in with any idea to build it, to
strengthen it, to move it towards the ideal that they speak of; never seeking to find their place in that change orbit. While this is a staple of all societies, it is particularly unproductive for us
because Nigeria has collapsed so terribly on all major indices of human development that we do in fact need all hands on deck, doing what they believe in, supporting what they are passionate about, getting in there and doing something, no matter how small, according to their abilities and resources, from whatever corner or platform is closest to them.
As I wrote in a NEXT article years ago, ask many Nigerians, especially a class of young people, why they are not involved with or supporting a particular movement or campaign for change, and their
response is simple: the people working for positive change are ‘not serious.’ The basic problem with most people who say this is that this knee-jerk reaction to efforts to make change is neither supported by reality or facts. They criticise a project for lack of thoroughness, and then you find that they have not in fact taken their time to be thorough in their assertions. They accuse a campaign of lacking vision or depth without even taking the simple step of perhaps checking the accused website to confirm this. They criticise a petition without even reading its contents. They dismiss networks as groups of friends’ without any effort to verify that claim. They nitpick on credibility and sustainability, without any fact checking into the matter upon which they confidently mount a soapbox.
In a sense, this is nothing unusual. Across the world, apathy is always driven by cynicism, another form of resignation and helplessness that effectively hides itself under a garb of worldly wisdom and realism.. Unfortunately, this new kind of apathy refuses to be quiet. Instead, it is resilient, insistent, fed by its own sense of justification, even necessity.
Because the work is yet much, and the labourers so few, rather than criticise those working for change in their little corners, why not take a hoe and start digging where they are not and make the impact that you desire to see.
And that is the stark naked truth.
@Obi_Harri is a Nigeria based Radio/Tv Presenter.
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