You are Nigerian, and proudly so. Nothing fazes you, no matter how bad things are, you are reassured by the knowledge that ‘e go better’.
Your finger is always on the pulse of things, You are so interwoven into the fabric of society that you are an active member of the media. The social media that is. You have a smart phone so you can update your friends and followers even when on the move. This is an obligation, no a duty that you take very seriously, at all times.
And so on your travels, you come across a the video of a misinformed policeman who tries to make safe an unexploded bomb with his bare hands. The result is inevitably tragic, and he dies in the process. A sensitive person would pause, say a prayer for him and those he left behind and pass on their way. Or seeing as that prayer doesn’t work, would send kind thoughts towards him and his survivors, and hope for a day where security personnel would be properly equipped to protect and serve. But not you. No. It is your duty to disseminate the grisly images as far and as wide and as quickly as you can. Yes, it is a fellow human being that has just lost his life in such a grisly fashion, but no be your papa, your broda or your friend. Pass that self, no be your pikin! So you hit the upload button and share. And some of your fellow cretins ‘like’ the video, and share it too.
A while later, you come across a downed plane, with charred remains of people who once lived, breathed and walked like you strewn everywhere. Do you catch your breath, look away, and afford them what little dignity death has so cruelly robbed them of? You? Never! You whip out your ‘smart’ phone and start taking pictures, uploading them as quickly as possible, lest the corpses grow cold. And your cretinous friends and followers ‘like’ and share the images, a lot of them under the pretext of ‘how could this happen’? Of course, your papa, your mama, your boda, your sista no dey that plane, dem no even live for the area where e crash self, so wetin be your own?
There is no image too gory to disseminate, no regard for the fact that these people have relatives who might come across these pictures, the huge world we once lived in is now a small digital village, no one knows who their neighbours are….or cares.
So when it came to filming the massacre of four Uniport students, rather than risk the wrath of the mob by trying to save them, you whipped out your phone and began to film. You did not film the faces of the perpetuators in order to assist in their later apprehension. No. You were there to record the final moments of the future of Nigeria. So you could share them with your fellow cretins. Nero fiddled while Rome burned, you have taken it one step further, filming even as the earth is being scorched right underneath your feet.
Compassion? Sensitivity? Who needs such things? Not you. You are a member of the Nigerian public. Everything that is wrong with Nigeria is down to the government. It has nothing at all to do with you.
*Elnathan John is a writer and a lawyer. He neither wrote nor is connected to this post.