Thursday, 28 July 2016 16:57

Nigeria Elite and the Silence of the Lambs

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In The Silence of the Lambs (1991), a young FBI cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims. I see the behavior of Nigerian intellectual elite in Diaspora as comparable. When I read the hundreds of emails that come across my email box, I look for essays of around 700 words that takes an issue concerning Nigeria and argues a position or tries to educate the reading public, but I seldom find them. What I find is “Afis is a thief”, “Inyamiris want your money,” Yorobas are untrustworthy and cowards,” Edo women are prostitutes,” etc. Once any of these statements or others like them are made, watch the internet blow up. Fowl languages flow; curses are placed on the entire tribe of the one making the statement; counter fowl languages and curses follow ad infinitum. When I look up the profile of the men (almost usually men) who write this garbage I notice a series of high level professional and academic qualifications: MD, PhD, VC’s, engineer, JD, professors in any field of human endeavor, CPA, CA, Rev., etc. And I wonder!

The authors are Nigerians in all corners of the globe; USA (a lot), SA, EU, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, you name it. They have many things in common: their Nigerianness; their high credential; their rudeness; their narrow-mindedness; and such attributes. I know that there is something called Mob Mentality or Herd Mentality which is described as:

The term "herd mentality" is often used to something that involves more conscious thought than herd behavior. This type of mentality can be influenced by things such as peer pressure, conformity, the need for acceptance and the desire for a sense of belonging. These things often cause people who are in groups to behave in ways that are similar to others in the group. For example, a person might choose to listen to different music when in a group of friends than he or she would when alone, because the others might make disparaging remarks if another type of music is chosen. Another example might be a teenager who drinks alcohol or smokes cigarettes because of peer pressure from his or her friends. [wiseGEEK]

What I fail to understand is why men of the pedigrees I described above are unable to overcome the pressures. What has their education wrought? Why have the counter pressures from their professional colleagues failed to control their behaviors? Is there a Nigerian DNA and does it overcome and conquer all things?

All is not lost. If one reads Elombah.com, Nigerian Village Voice, ChatAfrik websites there are Nigerians who write full essays and quite strongly defend their positions. You may not agree with them but for the most part they dispense with name calling. But the big popular websites that make up the home for Nigerian browsers is lacking on these essays. Could it be that they allow “anything goes” to fester on their sites?  Sometime ago I tried to recommend website moderators but I quickly saw that it was a very difficult thing to implement. We have and need freedom of speech. But can’t a PhD holder or a professor not apply self-censorship? Self-discipline? Why must every disagreement be personal?

Can Nigerians disagree without being disagreeable? Why must all the Igbo Yoruba, Hausa, Ishekiri, etc., be responsible for my “bad takes” or opinions on any matters?

Nigeria r’onu o; Nigeria chekwa ya eche e o

Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba

Boston, Massachusetts,

July 28, 2016

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Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba

Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba  currently lives in Medfield, Massachusetts.