There is a strong relationship among those variables in the life Nigerians. The cost of expensive data adds to waste of crucial but wasted social time and both lead to little good but destruction of the fabrics of society and all that hold it for the nation everyone claims; everyone claims to love but few actually do. I have not met one who truly holds Naija above themselves.
And when personal interest is threatened, even the richest outside government joins the low to cry and complain of everything like the cacophony I hear for long, about hardship and hunger. But everywhere you go around most towns and cities you find projects raising private houses and shops, all over the places.
I was driving around town with a friend last week. I asked if they spend the much I do every month, on mobile, social data, whether they see it as costly and quick vanish as I do. Believe that if at my level I complain, then the person I know should cry. But then I remembered at an instance that in Nigeria persons is all equal, the same in advancing selfinterest.
He said yes. “But how do you cope, with your kind of salary?” his only response was the Lingua Franca’s popular spoilword: “to ya za ayi?” I had no further questions. It is the same for all of us, and all are involved in the dilemma of the need for data, its cost and instant finish.
A two thousand data can only last for three days for some of us even with the minimum use. I have been wondering for the years about the cost of that on the networks; how many of us manage to get them for the much use of social media platform, and how same persons manage to cry of hunger and are on the watch for any correctional economic policy of Government to attack for reasons of hardship.
The truth is we try hard or work hard to get data at all costs in order to remain relevant on the social media, and may be in the process end up overlooking or jumping some other priorities. Maybe we ignore even food for self or the family, in the process. I have also wondered over time, the amount of social time many of us have to be regular and awake on the platforms.
I have read about the most essential commodity of this century and digital age. Information is not just a power today. It is more important that anything. For some of us, the social media, programmes on the traditional media and our phones are the first breakfasts on waking up. To illustrate that, I attempted to ask my final year students to submit their phones to the office secretary to collect them back tomorrow. Every one turned away and missed.
In the wake of the fall of Tripoli, the story was told of a woman from Niger Republic who fled. She was caught in the desert finding Agades, barefoot, hungry, thirsty and dehydrated. She was asked: “what is the first thing on your mind right now?” she said, “I want to know how my mum is doing back in my house in Tripoli. Information is becoming something else. It is a human priority.
The social media are growing strong raises for information and alternative personal tools in the hands of individuals. Facebook and Whatsapp, for example, have been key sources of news or news media for me, especially for local news, information and development, news that many times you get late or never get on the traditional media. Thanks to citizenship journalism.
But what do we really see good in them as personal tools that we can use to make or mar anything about us, the neighbourhood, society and the nation? What is this rush to be on the social media about? What are the personal benefits and national efficacy in them and in our use of them? What do we seek some of the information on the social media for? What do we use it for? What type of information do we share on the social media and for what purpose? But what type of citizen journalists are we?
Those are not questions I have answers for. No. I just want us to think about our individual answers and make critical analysis based on the truth, reality, history and the basis, reason and purpose in our collective humanity. But then I know something disturbing that relates to some of them. And that is the extension of some of the bad Nigerian habits to the social media and that only reinforces such bad habits and influences the production of bad characters instead of correcting the existing bads and wrongs.
Truth is we often use the SM to deceive, ridicule and mock ourselves, our origins, our immediate past status and all that we ever stand for; to portray falsehood about us; to lie to society; to reinforce falsehood and support falsehood, cruelty, heartlessness and deceit. We use the SM to mock the low and support the high without regards to reasons for their conditions or the paths they each followed to get there.
We use the SM to preach good habits by sharing and passing the baton of good messages that should change our character, but keep the old habits that keep pulling individuals, groups and the collectivism back. We use the SM to ensure bad happens all the time and prevails against good so that our business hinged on the currents of the bad, can prosper to fetch us; to ensure good does not happen to anyone or to the public, and should come our own way only.
We use the SM to disrespect, harass and intimidate authorities at every level and to actualise ourselves, our personal above other superior interests like those of the neighbourhood, the public and the nation, jeopardising both private and public efforts at productions for economic progress at the same time we complain to be hungry and lack money. Some of such selfactualisation and advancement of personal interests most mock the true poor and hungry and ridicule society by trivialising the serious and demeaning the desirable for collective needs.
We use the SM to showcase self for, mostly, what is unnecessary. We do not seek jobs or offer ideas, proffer solutions to the numerous problems discussed on the social platforms, most of which we give silent treatment as long as they do ot affect us in direct, good ways. Whatever relates to collective bargain for even the much cherished peace must make sense only if our cynic sense does not come across it.
If we support something, it must come from an awoof, loose persons with bad dark spots on their faces. Critical analysis, someone says, is in gross scarcity among us. We criticise only for the word criticism – just to be seen to be involved in destroying good intentions and mock or ridicule every good public policy, public figure, public official or public action as bad simply because it is happening under a regime or done by someone who does not share your interest or bias.
We use the SM to disgrace public officials who make mistakes or could not deliver to your personal expectation – undefined and unlimited, unjustified expectation – because one has no definition of any genuine expectation or good intention outside the one that must service their ego, persons and whims only. We sabotage and discourage a good plan, the goodintended, the hardworking and the suffering on the path of public and national service.
We use the SM as tools for revenge and bad exchanges that ridicule the social substance and injure the social fabrics of the different components of the Nigerian society, thereby portraying everyone as illmannered, illcultured, and illmotived – a gross national jeopardy to the foreign image and relations government is spending money to serve and protect.
There is something that overexposes Nigeria to the outside world about our bad habits and what we fancy most on the social media that makes even some persons in Niger laugh at us. If your personal posts help to that effect, it is gross disservice to other good Nigerians to the governments and to national interests, not to talk about some of such posts the military and intelligence services find too critical to the security of all.
The minister of Communications’ efforts at network and cyber tightening may yield eventual means by which such posts can be detected on dial and culprits be picked. This is a call of warning before that. Whatever hatred we show him, the young man is determined and good Nigerians are praying for him to succeed. Remember many programmes you fought have worked and succeeded. When are you going to stop? So help him God.
We are undisciplined from self to the top. We want to be too free, too lavish and claim extremes even in privileges. Many of us do not know, but know to ignore, our rights and privileges and blindly blame, abuse, ridicule the government for even the undue. If laws are implemented as rigid as some of us think the government is not strong, many will be in jail soon.
And then we turn it all over against the government as failed to provide as reason for your inability to be on the social media. f you must be on the social media only to showoff your arrival; to mock, laugh at, ridicule, sabotage or destroy, use your data money to buy food and eat; hold your anger and stop crying about hunger and poverty.