by Abigail Anaba
It was in the news in some quarters yesterday that the students of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, ‘booed and pelted’ President Goodluck Jonathan because his visit to have a meeting with some leaders of the South West zone in their university caused them untold hardships such as walking long distances to their examination hall.
Some of the students also expressed dissatisfaction because of a 150% hike in their school fees by the Federal Government and the fact that the President does not seem to have done anything to improve the quality of education generally.
Twitter erupted with glee at this news. Tweets of ‘Great Ife’ and others congratulating the students for making them proud were put out. I’m actually half expecting someone to take out a newspaper advert so we know it’s real.
While, in some quarters it has been debunked that the news reports were somehow spiced up and exaggerated. it should be noted that when we begin to applaud lawlessness, it never actually benefits us as a people.
I was riding home yesterday when a reckless driver almost knocked the tricycle I was in off the road. When the driver began complaining about this lawlessness, a senior citizen riding with us-he must be in his late 70s commented that the reckless drivers were only following the example of their representatives who scaled fences. I noted that this man did not even remember why the representatives had to scale fences, nor did he seem to care, all he knows is that members of the Nigerian legislature scaled fences.
My people have this saying which when roughly translated means if someone farts and you decide to fart in retaliation, you may end up poo-ing instead. The police took a wrong call but the dishonour is actually on the legislature.
We have become a people that clap lawlessness when we are the beneficiaries of such. Vices are only vices when they do not work in our favour. We cannot continue like this.
If the students of Ife actually stood and jeered their leaders it only shows that they are uncivil and uncultured. I choose to believe the version that says the reports were exaggerated. Our generation has to be different. I choose not to applaud fence jumpers. I choose a more civil alternative.
We are setting a bad precedent. And I must say I am just slightly surprised that we cannot see how this selective consternation over lawlessness is not helping us and our causes. What goes around almost certainly comes around. We should have the clarity of mind and vision to see this.
Talking about precedents, today, the Atiku Social media handlers are still struggling to make people believe that the Atiku on Twitter is the real Atiku we should know, a man who although not well spoken thinks smart. One of the major reasons for this is a precedent that has earlier been set dissociating people who handle media accounts from the person whose handle they run. Comments like ‘NOI should tell whoever is handling her account to…’ Or ‘Do you really think it is Muazu tweeting…’ created these problems. Yet, we never learn.
It may be difficult to be non partisan in a politically divided world but if we continue in this way, we may never really find that change we seek. For every act of lawlessness you applaud, remove the subject and ask yourself, if this was my favoured candidate, will I react the same way?