By James Ogunjimi
Loyalty has a new name and face; and right now, to be a loyal Nigerian means to call out the organisers of the Big Brother Nigeria for failing to shoot the show in Nigeria. That is the new face of loyalty.
WhatsApp messages have been flying, threats of marching in the streets to demand an end to this injustice. Some are even calling for a boycott. Don’t watch this show, they said. Let’s tell them that as giant of Africa, we will not take this slight on us lightly.
It’s what it is. Nigerians have always been like this. It’s nothing new. Nigerians will go to war over a private company’s decision to shoot their show in a country where it’s safer and cheaper to shoot but will be mute when Nigeria, a nation financed by their sweat, blood and tears screws them over every day. They’ll rant on Facebook, post a couple of tweets on twitter and that would be it. There would be no WhatsApp messages demanding an end to irresponsible governance. There won’t be WhatsApp messages calling for united action against government waste. There won’t be WhatsApp messages to boycott government work till government works. But a private company decides to do what they want with their money and show and Nigerians will take up arms and say it’s war time. Join us or be seen as disloyal. Join us to boycott BBN or be seen as one who is not a patriot.
Nigerians have always had a twisted definition of loyalty. In the Goodluck Jonathan years, loyalty, to Finance Minister, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala meant keeping quiet and making sacrifices for a government that was living large. She questioned Nigerians’ refusal to allow a removal of subsidy on PMS. She questioned the love they had for Nigeria. She asked them to make sacrifices in other to be seen as loyal, and that while government was budgeting billions for feeding, and budgeting millions for Aso Rock dogs and budgeting millions for flowers, loyalty demanded that the citizens should be the ones making sacrifices to fund that lifestyle of waste.
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I had a conversation with someone about watching matches in the Nigerian league. He asked where my loyalty lies for supporting Manchester United of England instead of Gateway FC of Ogun state. Nigeria does not work. Nigeria does not want to work. While other football leagues worldwide are progressing, putting laws in place to curb indiscipline, Nigerian leagues are still beating up referees and breaking equipments. That was still in 2016. Things that don’t happen even in the third division of some Leagues are happening in the first division of Nigerian leagues. But no, we am supposed to still support their failures and refusal to change, adapt and work just to prove that we are loyal Nigerians.
Look at the argument on seeing foreign films versus seeing Nigerian films. Somebody somewhere thinks it’s a worthy advert to tell you to watch home-made movies instead of the foreign ones. But you sit to watch home-made movies and you are disappointed. You see it littered with wrong lessons. Every problem must be solved by a dibia, pastor or Imam, not a doctor. They are filled with work done shoddily which if there was a commission regulating their activities, would not see the light of the day. To them, loyalty is not churning out good work, loyalty is not producing quality work, loyalty is doing a bad job and expecting praise for it. It is the Nigerian way.
Already, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has joined the list of those wailing against the decision to shoot the show in South Africa. In saner climes, the Minister should be ashamed to condemn the organizers. The organizers have listed lack of constant electricity supply as one of the reasons for not shooting in Nigeria. The Minister is not ashamed that his government’s inability to deliver caused this, instead he is trying to determine if BBN breached any law. For shame.
Nigerians have to get it right. You can’t not hold your government responsible and yet be trying to bully a private show for their decision on where they want to shoot. Who are you? Get your struggles right. When the country begins to work, things will begin to fall into place themselves.