Big Brother, Small Brother: The random thoughts of an angry man

October 10, 2019
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This morning, I woke up seething with anger. “That is not a good start for the day,” I cautioned myself.  “Why are you angry?” I asked myself. The reasons came in torrents – worry, anxiety, disappointments, failed plans, unfulfilled promises, dwindling hope, missed opportunities and fear of not meeting deadlines for various commitments.

The more I became worried, the more my ability to think failed. No wonder after several failed attempts to decide on the topic for this article, now just a few hours to the submission time, I have nothing to show for it!

Then a familiar voice spoke to me, “Why worry when you can pray?” I immediately put a halt to the negative thought processes and prayed for a minute of two. At the conclusion of my prayer, an inner voice told me, “There is a message you have been thinking about passing on to your readers. This is the time to do so.”

Share my thoughts on the pages of the newspaper? Isn’t that dangerous? Thoughts are strictly personal and occupy the secret recesses of our hearts. They are the precursors of decisions, words, and actions. “Watch your thoughts they become your words,” said Lao Tzu. And the philosopher, Bob Proctor said, “Thoughts become things. If you hold it in your mind, you will hold it in your hands.”

While no court of law can convict you on your unwritten or unspoken thoughts, once written or spoken, you’re opened to litigation. There are several terms used by lawyers to define thoughts translated into words considered inappropriate or offensive– slander, calumny, libel or defamation. Words have deep meanings and when exchanged in anger have been known to result in fist cuffs, physical assault and even wars between nations.

Now, I am about to tread on dangerous grounds – about to turn some thoughts into words – words that can land me into trouble! I have kept them in my mind for so long but now about to explode. Recently, a number of yahoo boys were arrested. Why? Why now? Did we not know about their existence since the days of ‘yahoo.com’?

A search of the internet was revealing. In sum, it suggested that the yahoo boy was well-known to every Nigerian (including law enforcement agents) as a young man engaged in 419 activities. He was, until the recent clampdown, an acceptable (even though not respected) member of his community.  There were formal and informal yahoo clubs in many cities. They engaged in competitions flaunting their wealth. I even read a list of the “Top 20 richest yahoo boys in Nigeria,” on the internet.

Going through the mass of information published on the web about the yahoo boys and their activities, it was obvious that the criminal nature of their activities was relegated to the background. Just as Joseph Goebbels said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it…”

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Paraphrasing Goebbels statement, “If you repeatedly turn a blind eye to a common criminal act, you unwittingly confirm legitimacy on it.” Thus the society has unwittingly made criminals of these ‘geniuses’ who by their thoughtlessness have used their intellect on the wrong side of the law.

How do we salvage our collective lack of good sense or foolishness that has turned these exuberant young men into criminals? We must find ways of influencing their minds (not hardening as our prison systems oft do) so that their thoughts become positive and we can then harness their talents into positive actions from which our nations can benefit.

Give me the total pay packet of five Nigerian senators and fifty yahoo boys and in five months, I will give Nigeria fifty laudable innovations that will make our nation proud.

But ‘yahooism” is not just an affliction, it is a symptom of a deep-rooted problem of an uncaring nation, that provides no future for its increasing number of youth whose minds dream about the abundant global opportunities for getting rich. These youths, also, unfortunately, possess the tools for the attainment of these dreams but the much needed local support is lacking.

All the nation needs to do is to channel their thoughts to the positive ways their dreams could be realised. I will provide an unverified statement sent to me on a WhatsApp platform to buttress my assertion. The total number of votes cast during Britain’s Got Talent 2017 was said to be 6.2million votes – less than 10 per cent of the British population of 65million people.

The total number of votes cast during America’s Got Talent 2017 was 52 million votes – less than 16 per cent of US population of 327 million. The total number of votes cast during the Big Brother Nigeria (a show that is said to be unwittingly reshaping the minds and thoughts of our youth) was 170 million – 85 per cent of the Nigerian population (not quite as people were allowed to vote as many times as they wanted. This applies to all the competitions.

The post further stated that whereas the votes cast on either Britain’s Got Talent or America’s Got Talent were absolutely free, each vote cast by sms during the “Big Brother Nigeria” 2018 cost N30. If this is true and my Arithmetic is correct, this translates to N5.1billion. Who is the yahoo boy? Is it Big Brother or the Small Brother?

Now you know why I woke up boiling with anger!

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