Mr. Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye, in Agbani’s Sickening Folly, made the following assertions: (1) Africa is being contaminated by the immoral west; (2) it was a disgrace of national proportion for Agbani to bare her breasts; (3) Agbani needs moral, financial and psychological help; (4) Agbani’s parents needs some advise; (5) it is beneath anyone, especially Agbani, to hold menial jobs; and (6) women are being debased therefore it is of imperative that we find solution to these deviances and aberrations. That’s all he said. That’s all folks! Nothing more!
But you see, he could have said all that in 250 words or less; but he instead spent over 2000 words on “much ado about nothing.” And this is disappointing. Very disappointing! He was a disappointment in terms of his logic; he was a disappointment in terms of his language and tone; and he was a disappointment for picking on a young lady who neither did him nor the country harm. Really, what was her moral or legal offence that he had to spend so much of his time pouring invectives on her; and even questioned the sensibility of her parents — so much so that you’d think the girl and her parents are the epitome of decadence and indecency?
And through it all, the holier-than-thou attitude of Ugochukwu was clear. His puritanism, superciliousness, and self-righteousness were also obvious. He couldn’t help himself. He couldn’t contain himself. He couldn’t help and contain himself so much so he had to break the levee of anger and bitterness in him. For more than a year he had been waiting, waiting for the opportune time to jab and punch her. And when he had the chance, he went for her throat, for her jugular vein.
What is it, what was it about a “bare breast” that so infuriated the author that he couldn’t help but call Agbani all sorts of names? In cinemas, on the pages of magazines and everywhere else, we are inundated with bare-breasts. In art galleries in Europe and elsewhere, there are pictures and painting of bare breasts, bare buttocks and private parts. Not every one of us are comfortable with such images, but still, no one in his right mind would lambast and assassinate the character of those involved. I’d rather ogle and admire Agbani’s bare breasts than engage in hypocrisy and the level of intolerance and bitterness exhibited by Ugochukwu.
And in case he does not know, he should know this: to the extent that Africa is part of the international community — a community that is exposed to the vagaries of modernity and globalization — we cannot escape the “western wind.” Africa also affects and influences the West in all aspects of modernity and globalization. This is not a one-way-street. It is not and has never been. The trouble is that most do no know how much the western culture is affected by the African culture; and if Ugochukwu is in doubt, he should visit Paris, London, New York, Milan, and Washington DC.
What is wrong in Agbani abandoning her formal education for the promises of fame and money in the modeling world? Isn’t that one of the tenets of life: to go in search of your dreams. We all must pursue our dreams and aspirations wherever they may take us. It is better to fall short, to fail, than to not have tried. That Agbani deferred her UNIPORT education for a modeling career is not peculiar and or abhorrent; what would have been regretful was for her to see the beacon, to have a dream, to hear a voice and then refuse to follow her heart. The most successful amongst us are those who dare to “travel the path less traveled.” She may have fallen short for now but that’s ok for tomorrow belongs to people like her, those who dare to climb mountains and sail against the wind! There is no shame in failing; the shame is in being a coward, for refusing to live life.
What is wrong with being a baby-sitter in Europe? Mr. Ejinkeonye suffers from the same ailment most Nigerians suffer from: short-sightedness. In Africa if you are a mechanic, a plumber, a cook, an electrician, or a house-painter — you are considered a “nobody.” That is the African mentality. It was the same mentality that stopped many male secondary school students from learning typing & shorthand (since they were considered soft and therefore girl’s subject). Today — and more so in the West, you’d be at the mercy of others — if you can’t type.
Does Ugochukwu know that most babysitters are well paid? Many lawyers, medical doctors, accountants and professors were babysitters before achieving their dreams. There is no shame in being a babysitter. Did this enterprising young lady dip her fingers in the Nigerian treasury? Did she not execute contracts to specifications? Did she bribe the Nigerian Congress? Was she involved in vote-tampering? Is she part of the group that continues to assassinate political opponents? Or is she a drug dealer? What are this lady’s sins? What, did she do wrong? That she bare her breasts and took menial jobs? That her modeling career has not taken off? What nonsense!
Miss Agbani Darego was a babysitter in Europe? And so what? She was not a thief, or a prostitute. She held menial jobs in South Africa? And so what; that’s not at all shameful. She had a job. She paid her ways. It wasn’t as though she was on government support. And what if she was? There are times when one needs government support — especially in times of emergency — before getting back on ones feet. When did it become a source of shame for a young lady or anyone to work hard to support herself?
Ugochukwu’s insinuations and assertion are vile, offensive and reprehensible. Whatever she did (legally) in Europe or in South Africa to support herself and her family should not even be a topic for public consumption. He should mind his business or spend his time writing about the moral decadence and corrupting practices of politicians in Abuja and elsewhere. He not only owes the reading public an apology for his yellow-journalism, he owes the young lady a world of apology for dragging her name through the cesspool. He should apologize to her for soiling her name. What’s more, he should also apologize to her parents for the pain and anguish he has caused them by way of his disrespectful and hurtful essay. Who in his right mind casts undue aspersion on another person’s parents?
No one who read the trashy piece will take it for anything but trash: trash in and trash out. Haba, has Nigerian journalism sunk so low and so pitiable that the Independent Newspaper had to publish such garbage? It is sad, very sad that a man who sits on the editorial board of a newspaper is capable of such venom. You know, it makes me wonder what his though process is. I wonder. But in the end, Agbani’s Sickening Folly is nothing but a demonstration of Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye’s inner foible: garbage in garbage out!