Every time something bad happens to a particular tribe you see what we really are as Nigerians.
After the sad thing that happened in Ozubulu one Sunday over three years ago, instead of us to mourn together with families and loved ones of those whose lives were snatched, some people opened their hearts for the devil to use. I saw things like an:
Igbo man cannot kill an Igbo man like this over anything. It is Fulani herdsmen.
Igbo men are the new drug lords because they want quick money.
A God that cannot protect the people worshiping him; is that one God?
Those commentators had already investigated the case from their bedrooms, arrived at a conclusion, made jokes at God and went into a hate rage on Social media.
I woke up a day after the killing to these rubbish and calmly did what I know how to do- Unfriended. Blocked. Then I dropped my phone, but just two days after on Tuesday something happened around me that made me rethink this position.
On social media it is so easy to give up on people. Ok, so, I open my twitter or Facebook, I see someone saying what I consider rubbish, and I block and move on. I tell myself it is not my duty to educate these people because I am not their mama. That’s really presumptuous, isn’t it? I mean, really, do I know everything?
People taught me what I know today; I learned from home, school, books, older friends and bosses who turned my feet aright, scolded, corrected me and I am still learning, so why do I get tired of people so easily, especially on social media?
I don’t even try. I only engage with my friends, even then I leave them to their opinions after one or two attempts at changing their perception about something.
That Tuesday, in a bus to work, two young men sat behind me. They were talking about women. What did these boys not say? They talked about their sexual lives, how they treated their girlfriends badly, knowing the girls would stay, buy gifts after misbehaving, etc; there were generally having a good laugh over their own antics.
Of course, I ignored them by trying to tune them out. I thought they were around 18-21 years old, and were probably dating teenage girls because I didn’t think any woman would take the nonsense they were describing to each other.
At some point I had to turn back to look at their faces, brethren they were grown men! Everybody in the bus ignored them, until one lady couldn’t stand it anymore. ‘What is wrong with you guys?’ she asked them in a really calm voice. ‘You have gotten it all wrong. You shouldn’t treat people that love you like this. Girls are human beings, too.’ She went on and on. I thought, sister you are wasting your time, but guess what? They stopped laughing and listened.
When she was done they looked contrite and said they didn’t know, that they thought girls liked all the drama and every other thing they did to them.
The lady advised them to talk to an older man they trust, someone with a good head on his shoulders, then she gave them her card and said they could call her anytime during the day as she wouldn’t mind talking to them and referring them to a better person. They said, ‘thank you’.
I got down from the bus at this point but I kept thinking. I know sometimes when you try to change people’s wrong perceptions, they usually insist on their ways but do we all just give up and say people are stupid?
I have always said my knowledge of maths was horrible, so bad that I used to count my fingers just to do the simplest sums but One of my maths teacher, Mr Obukohwo, God bless him, took my case seriously and would always go the extra mile to make me understand the subject. He would check my work and made sure I followed up.
I wrote WAEC and to everybody’s surprise got a B in maths – it’s all thanks to my teacher’s efforts and encouragement. And he did this for all the special ‘maths students’ in my school.
I’m not saying one should go about correcting every other person or force one’s opinions down everyone’s throat; no. I think we should have an open mind and try to understand other people’s views unless they toe the absurd line.
Nobody knows it all. We are all learning. The worst thing that can happen to someone is when they close their minds and stop learning. It is a huge world with billions of people, so what do you really know? Learn, unlearn, re-learn