Friday, 28 December 2012

Opinion: Nigerians paying to suffer great indignities


It is global no matter how local
The Nigerian Twitterverse was overrun with trending topics earlier today to do with a major concert that featured international artistes at a somewhat exclusive venue in Lagos.
I will not delve into the particular for there is much more to address with regards to the general which pertains to a Nigeria we will do well to divorce ourselves from if we are to make any progress as a people and as a country.
One is concerned that many do not realise that events in Nigeria now have a global audience and are subject to global scrutiny for the better or for the worse that it is important that those who identify as Nigerians both at home and abroad need to be aware of the responsibilities they bear along with the burden of duty that comes with being worthy and commendable ambassadors of our great land.
The concert was streamed live from the venue but that did not seem to compare in any way to the experiences the patrons had.
Oversold and under-prepared
The event would have had extensive publicity and garnered much interest with the sterling list of celebrities invited to compere and perform, it would appear the exclusive tickets labelled for VIPs and VVIPs were oversubscribed and sold but no adequate provision was made to accommodate the egos that thought they had bought exclusivity, comfort and class – nothing could have been further from the truth.
The reality was that the logistics were poor for accessing the venue that the patrons had to walk kilometres to the venue only to be bustled and jostled by bouncers at entry and then having inadequate seating or basic liquid refreshment.
Not what they paid for
To add insult to injury, the host appeared to be nonchalant about the ensuing chaos and like a typical Nigerian he would have attempted to bluff his way through the inadequacies to the extent that the patrons would have grumbled but accepted the indignities meted out to them.
Besides, the internationally renowned actor who was supposed to host the event that ran for hours was apparently only on stage for a grand total of less than 30 minutes.
Things ought not be so, people who have in their quest to sate their hedonistic tendencies by shelling out fortunes for access to glitterati should expect to be treated with dignity, respect, decorum and definitely not shabbily.
The insults we tolerate
But then, it goes without saying that if you are invited to an event you are probably a Very Important Person but if you have to pay to be seen with celebrities, you are anything but a VIP – access does not confer class; you are at best an interloper seeking to belong – I am not particularly sympathetic to people who assume airs of self-importance thinking their money can buy influence and thereby entitlement.
However, that said, Nigerians are in the majority mug-fodder (for mug, Nigerians will understand mugu better) to be exploited by the unscrupulous who trade on the low self-esteem or inferiority complex of the 'successful' but serious wanting in strength of character and demeanour.
It is not so important
There probably is a salutary lesson to be learnt, you do not have to be there if you have not been asked to be there by those who can smooth all the access required for you and remove the inconvenience I dare say rich plebs and wannabes suffer.
But in a country where we all troop like a stampeding herd usually uninvited to pay homage and burnish the egos of the powerful whilst wearing the most expensive watches but are so unschooled in keeping time, only a few of those who complained and fulminated vociferously will decline the opportunity to be treated with disdain if another event is staged at twice the ticket price and even less organisational preparation – we never learn.
His banker is laughing
If however any redress can be sought for the host to first apologise publicly and then offer compensation with the promise to do better, much progress will have been made. Reputations, perception and integrity should become front and centre of public life in Nigeria – crooks and confidence tricksters have held sway for too long.
Sadly, the age-old saying still finds true as it did at the very first time it fell from the lips of the original wise head – a fool and his money are soon parted.

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