COUNTERPOINT By Femi Akintunde
As we were saying…last time, we attempted some sort of herd analysis of human pathologies as evidenced in the survivalist tendencies of some Nigerians in a nation affianced with power failure (the non-electric type), grinding poverty, economic sabotages, and such mind-bending happenstances. Really, living and flourishing in Nigeria sometimes need a mindset chiselled in absolute disregard of courtly manners, regular hard work and decent lifestyles.
In introducing the article last time, we made the following statement: “We have profiled ten of many ways intelligent and inventive Nigerians are scooping quality living and survival tools (not necessarily loot) out of the massive dunghill Nigeria is drifting towards. This is not a sanctimonious condemnation of anyone’s understanding of survival tactics, nor is it a liberal glorification of subterfuge. In a jungle of life, prudish gentility is suicidal, and the lion-hearted often live fat and long.” Now, to the final ‘five ways’…
Our sixth behemoth are the Religious Merchants, Intermediaries and Warlords. When a nation is laid prostrate by endemic mis-governance, and thus its people malnourished, and vanishing mentally and otherwise, the easiest escape is in the blissfully unknown. Since numbers matter, and Nigeria is bursting at the seams in uncontrollable population explosion, with more than a hundred million people looking for divine palliatives – these are the prime targets for smart spiritual business men and women. These smart alecs merchandise every item of spiritual symbolism as chattel of fortune without means, protection from deadly in-laws, revenge against witches, advantage against competent contenders, love portion for for restless spouses, easy passage of visa protocols, and countless other gobbledegook!
Others become predictors of great doom and magnificent promotions, depending on the gullibility level of their customers. In the same vein, some self-ordained clerics and canons spit holy fire on government and congregants who seek to erect measures or regulations that may impede easy access to their house of whoreship – regardless of sound scientific reasons for the disruptions.
The other variants are angry, bigoted and archaic champions of religious extremism, hedonism and errant ideologies long abandoned on some modern museum. Unfortunately, many of our internally disoriented and socially distanced youth find attraction and ultimate demise in such bloody scams.
Our next peg is more urbane, professional and covertly more destabilising. It’s the office of Outrageous Spokesmanship. There are many out there spuriously employed for a single assignment: to run the principal’s opponents or former friends into the old dirty ground, with all sorts of innuendos, blatant falsehood, irritating disclosures, cell-level guerilla outsourcing of dirtier junk to the blogosphere…ad nauseum. The trick with these folks, whether they are professional media operatives or wakapass ideologues or quack PR specialists…their primary duty is to be as vile and vapid as humanly impossible. Such people reason that a ‘great’ and toxic performance as talking-heads of their principals is a gateway to higher opportunities and unlimited access to blocs of animated activities.
This is true, for as long as you are blessed with the capacity to swallow your old vomit and fecal deposits with disarming confidence. They also have a reference, as most of their best performing predecessors have since sequined into the general populace, moving into old offices, different direction or simply floating quietly between jobs…all well and unwounded despite vicious chants and threats of social and professional ‘pariahism’.
When my generation were kids, we used to see lunacy as a major illness… something despicable and evil. We never wished it on our enemies, how much more friends and family members. Nowadays, it is a source of escape and prosperity. Deviants rule the world… Madness sells… Insanity is good business. You don’t have to look far: transgenders are celebrities (oh, how I hate that the word, celebrity, has been so marginalised), influencers and crowd-pullers with hundreds of thousands, and even millions, of followers! They make asinine statements and sacrilegious quotes, and our youth lap at the dross…scampering over one another for largesse of unspeakable sources.
Have you opened your phones lately, to read one quixotic statement and, of course, a weird picture of some hitherto incriminating pose – now legitimatise by a careless and carefree generation? Nothing is too mad nowadays (in fact, mad is now a word of affection)…or too sick or bizarre… Denizens of the proverbial ‘global village’ are likely to ‘like’, ‘love’, ‘poke’, and such emojis of adoration and wilful surrender… thereby solidifying the erection of giant egos and cargos…and the madness goes on, along with e-money and cash-driven fantasies.
A close cousin is the fragmented community of net-addicts who specialise in formulating, formating and farming our outrageous lies and lullabies fancifully tagged Fake News. Apparently, the deeper and more inciting the poverty in the land, the more desperate and blatant fake news spread. Many people have been killed online, who have grown tired of telling the world that they are still alive and well. It used to be a novelty, when the media occasionally slipped and announced a passage of a notable personality…only to “error-regret” a tiny piece afterward, to announce their mistake, and somehow apologise. That was zillion years ago. Now, they kill randomly…and bizarrely quote the same ‘corpse’ few days after, to announce his or her good health… without a trace of remorse. And worse things have happened. People have seen clones in ultra-sensitive villas; ghosts and snakes in money chambers… There are daredevil kidnappers whose nationality are usually uncovered by the industrious fake-ists while victims are still in captivity, and the police completely unaware of their whereabouts. Everyone has countless examples of the damage and disruptions these net-cranks have unleashed,and still do, on our social, economic and political lives. But it’s a jungle out there, and they continue to fester and flourish… when law enforcers are busy looking for facemask-less infringers and young techies to extort.
As we wrap up the catalogue of characters that seeks passage to a life of ease and bounty, by whatever means, let us accept that there are several more cadres than we have identified. The last for now is perhaps a silhouette of what the future holds for our children, who will hopefully chaperon the next two decades. Since ‘fame’ and ‘popularity’ have been monetised, the smartphones in the hands of our children have been weaponised in disturbing ways. They flock to deeply de-personalized web-zones throwing up all sorts of ‘challenges’, and our youth warmly jump into the fray without adequate thought to the possible impact on their personal safety, integrity and future commitments.
One of the incredibly silly hot items last week, was the ‘Silhouette Challenge’, where a fully clothed human being (mostly females) will dance to some erotic music, and then flow into a red light or light-out setback, naked! Presumably, this self-exploitation meets some needs in their psyche which hitherto had probably been regressed. We made a point of not opening the several Silhouette-like videos awash few WhatsApp groups we are a part…in quiet protest at the headless madness of self-promotion of nudity and joblessness… even amongst supposedly exposed individuals (not kids). This then shows that not all travellers on these paths are in it for money…some people need to satisfy some inner demons…so they sacrifice their bodies, and dignity