With GSM smart phone dangling carelessly in her bag on the platform of Free Market Trade ,some of us who watched Democracy knocking the door of the fourth Republic in 1999 knew that Nigeria never allowed native intelligence and common sense to open the door for her. The drama involving a presumed mother of a school girl, the girl charged with over dressing against alleged school dressing code by riotous school security personnel presents a case study of how we often give One hundred percent loyalty to western paradigm to the detriment of our own culture and identity as Africans. The man or the judge who sits on trial over others may not know that he himself is on trial.
Today those who steal cows are the same people judging those who steal hens. One of the reasons why our society is too docile ,with very few people bold enough to present opposing views is borne out of our “Aso-ebi” mentality, the bandwagon of which so-called activists have joined in . Whatever happens to the days of yore when sworn enemies of convention as real activists were never known for this “Aso-ebi syndrome .This same craze is the junior brother of our school uniform system cultivated from a culture of anonymity which is also a direct offspring of our colonial mentality .The “Aso-ebi” is the same magnet to corruption in its different ramifications.
We have not yet come to the right maturity to realise that the coat, stockings and other English – inspired gadgets we forced on our children in the name of prompting other cultures forward constitute an affront on our own sense of education. Too many criminals, still living outside prison yards are today going about with their smart phones video- shooting and taking snapshots with reckless abandon. As a crack reporter in the early 80s through to 2000, I know the rules and ethics guiding photo journalism. It amounts to expensive blackmail to take photographs of people without obtaining their consents and even journalists ( at their own risk) may have to justify doing so on social responsibility ground which power the constitution spoke of (as mere lipservice) while denying journalists of the power vehemently.
The gate men and others who were falling over one another to snapshot her had already found her guilty even before trial and such sinister motive destroys plea for any fair play on their part. They have inflicted a permanent damage on her for those photographs could end up outside that platform and resultantly used negatively to her discredit. If she had feigned that her action that day was in protest against the hypocrisy of society she could not be faulted and may even win the case . Nobody mentioned anything about her hairdo .She applied paints because her society is too sophisticated to use ” laali” local paints which our mothers used to apply on both their legs and arms . The greatest assault was on her well-plaited hairdo and I can bet it that out of eighty million Nigerian women, hardly would one find eight thousand who are still maintaining their naturally African hairdo. The rest shamelessly live and wear wigs all about as if it were a crime to be an African woman. I could hear rantings of security men and women janitors trailing her with threats that ” don’t come back to Queen school ; that’s the end …” That’s not the end ,it is just the beginning of the end of societal hypocrisy.
(I had written the above yesterday, Wednesday night,November 20,2019 before I got a new information this morning Thursday Nov.21 explaining the circumstances that led to the mêlée and now the girl has been reportedly expelled. I am however sticking to my earlier position believing that this is the beginning of the end to our societal hypocrisy .A girl who was supposed to be at school studying was conscripted as Chief Bridesmaid; a fallout of the same “Aso-ebi” syndrome and with the story of many of our children becoming victims of single mothers and separated homes, who do we blame ?”)