Two issues grabbed the headlines this weekend. Here, I will try to examine these issues as reflections of the state of our country Nigeria.
First, the #100k issue that trended on twitter this weekend. It was not about politicians. Neither was it about OJB Jezreel’s kidney transplant fee. It was about a poor girl who committed the crime of asking a young man on twitter to help her financially. The guy asked for sex in return for the one hundred thousand naira that the girl needed. Irresponsible and immature as he is, the young man munched the direct messages and released them on twitter. The foxes pounced and began to tear the girl to shreds. While so many people decided to understand the situation as a case of a girl demanding money for sex, they missed the real issue: that the guy had decided to exploit the girl who needed help by asking for sexual favours. He did not ask for sex first, and the girl asked to be paid. She asked for financial help first, and then he demanded sex. But as usual, we refused to see the real message and focused on calling her a whore.
Then there is the sexist angle of bloggers publishing the story and putting up only the girl’s picture. There is a guy involved too, why was his own picture not published? Why was the story all about the girl, with nothing said about the guy’s apparent exploitative nature? That is the story of our country. But then, what’s in a dog? She is a whore, right?
On Saturday, the 6th of July, 2013, gunmen attacked a boarding school in Yobe and killed several school children. The gunmen were said to be members of the Islamist group Boko Haram.Boko Haram has been a menace to the country for a while now, and indeed seem to be the major security challenge facing the Goodluck Jonathan administration. The killing of the school children was a new dimension to their acts, but unfortunately, the president’s response was not completely a new dimension. According to reports, President Jonathan said the gun men will “go to hell”. Killers will go to hell, the holy book has told us. The question though is do we wait for judgement day? Mr. President, should we now say God is the president? Was that what the president of a country should be saying when faced with extreme terrorism? There is nothing wrong with the comment. The problem is, is that supposed to be the response to a terrorist act? The American president would have taken the issue as a matter of national emergency. But then, what’s in a dog? The children are dispensable, right?
What’s in a dog really? What’s in a country where lives are worth nothing? What’s in a country where the leaders are busy fighting each other for the next general elections and care nothing about the citizenry? What’s in a country where school children are brutally murdered and tomorrow, we move on as if nothing really happened? What’s in a country where randy sexist men hug the limelight for good after demeaning poor women in dire need of help? What’s in a country where socio-economic conditions have made young men and women easy prey to the machinations of religious bigots? What’s in a country where a former lecturer sits as the president and universities are closed due to a strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities?
Our dignity has been trashed, and our lives, well, our lives, are they worth more than the lives of dogs?