A few years ago, a Briton packed his bags with amazing haste, gathered his family and hurried out of England into self-exile. Asked to explain what informed his sudden decision, the man minced no words: Twenty years before he was born, homosexuals and lesbians were abhorred and isolated by society, and their reprehensible preoccupationviewed as serious criminal offence that attracted stiff penalties; twenty years after he was born, these perverts began, after some years of being ‘mildly’ tolerated, to gradually garner wider acceptance in decent society; and now, another twenty years have just passed, and they have been formally acknowledged and their abominable act legalized! Now he does not want to take any chances, you know. So, he had to escape immediately before they make it compulsory for every Briton!
Agbani Darego (pix: Unknown)
Unfortunately for this hapless victim of an immorally advanced culture, there is no place to hide, not even’pure’ Africa, which we hitherto thought was immune to the ruinous contaminations of Western moral irresponsibility. Indeed, the so-called Western civilization is presently steeped in very serious crises, and while the few in that society who still retain some vestiges of their morals are highly worried, and hoping they could find a way out of the great moral chasm into which they had willingly sunk themselves because of a very silly interpretation they had given to ‘freedom’ some years ago, poor Africans, ever vindicating a self-destructive knack for imitating bad models so well, have since found ennobling paradigms in the most slimy depth of Western ‘civilized’ rot.
It is just a pity, really. The decay has become so widespread and pervasive, and achieved such glamour, pomp and overwhelming financial backbone, that even people who ought to be more discerning are now falling over themselves to be seen neck-deep in the nauseating pastime of beatifying and celebrating outright obscenity. Indeed, being rotten to the core, and making a big show of it, has become a status symbol, and, sometimes, an easy route to sudden wealth and cheap comfort, so much so that those who insist on remaining outside the band-wagon of the depraved are regarded as ‘uncivilized’ and ‘pre-modern.’ That’s where we are, dear reader, and the most pitiable victims are underage girls, who lack the discernment to know the exact implication of what they are being lured into.
A couple of years ago, a young, undiscerning teenager from Rivers State (and her naïve parents) fell to the most seductive and overwhelming promises of good life, easy money and cheap fame by two smart brothers in Lagos who earn a living by feasting the eyes of shameless voyeurs with the tender flesh of mostly innocent girls. This girl had joined other girls to flaunt the delicate parts of her body before a large audience and battery of cameramen, to service the lust and depraved taste of irremediably prurient men and even women. The event is usually an elaborate one, with lights, pomp, cheers, elite audience and countless pressmen, in a highbrow banquet hall. Now, after the impressively packaged, but empty, unedifying razzmatazz, the girl was told before the cheering audience and flashing cameras that she was the “Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria.” Asalary of N1miilion was given to her for that year. Gifts were showered on her by corporate organizations. Hare-brained analysts and columnists dubbed her a “role model” and asked other girls to emulate her, and be inspired by her “success story.”
Yet, the two, unyielding businessmen brothers were not through with her. They put her in a plane, and jetted out of the country. They told her things that swelled her head, and made her think Bill Gates was miles behind her. After several other carnivals of shame, and further flaunting of her bare flesh and tender honour before audiences abroad, one woman called Julia Molley put a useless crown on her head and told her before an even larger audience that she had become “Miss World” (whatever that means). And a depraved section of the world applauded. Even respected columnist, Pini Jason, crowedthat the “the world (was now) at her feet”! And because of the way the two smart brothers were able to seduce the Nigerian government into almost elevating what was otherwise a private business concern into a national carnival, Ms. Molley, another smart business person, decided to bring her Miss World obscenity to Nigeria the very next year. It was, however, tragically aborted.
You know the rest.
Of course, I am talking about Miss Agbani Darego, who at a fashion show in Lagos last week, demonstrated eloquently to a shocked nation, the extent of rot her handlers have achieved in her. I must, however, apologize for dragging low characters like Agbani and those that set her on the path of perdition into this column. Indeed, fellows like that and the reprehensible trade they are engaged in are very far beneath the dignity of the serious discourse we engage in here every week. But, I am moved by concern and pity, for this hapless girl, and some other unsuspecting girls who may be lured into this same trap tomorrow with tantalizing promises, and parents who think the easiest way out of poverty is to hand their tender daughters over to soulless flesh-flaunters to parade before every willing eye.
At the time Agbani was conscripted into this folly, she was studying Computer Science at the University of Port Harcourt (my alma mater). But the pomp and noise of her crownbecame so overwhelming that she felt she had no more need of the degree. After all, Oluchi Onwuagba, a former bread seller at the Ayilara area of Ojuelegba here was already “making it big” in the world of fashion and modeling, so why bother with academics? That was in 2001. What it means then is that, by now, Agbani should have been a graduate of Computer Science, and a hotcake to employers of labour in this infotech age. But, no, the lure of lucre was so overpowering! Moreover, the two consummate, shrewd, businessmen brothers, unyielding goal-getters, could not let her be.They used every opportunity to promote and showcase her as, perhaps, the wisest, most successful girl in Nigeria, and the best thing that had happened to the country in the recent past. Of course, they neededto promote herand her meaningless crown, so that their business can flourish. Unfortunately, the press also fell for this and lent a helping hand in this promotion of shame.