We versus Them
There is a narrative that I have seen being elevated in our public engagements. I wonder what people tend to achieve when they promote narratives of “we versus them”.
You see, we are all important. We all have made contributions. Each of us also has potential to make much greater contributions.
I find it disgusting, albeit inconceivable, that someone will come to the public square to undermine the image of someone or castigate the contributions of someone, in place of amplifying the image of another or the contributions of another.
Salt is salt. Pepper is pepper. A chef knows the difference and also appreciates the uniqueness and usefulness of each of these cooking ingredients. No responsible Cheff will speak evil of “pepper” because he has to make salt appear more important as an ingredient.
This is what many of our social media influencers are currently doing! Taking sides with this person or this ethnic group, and putting down this other person or this other ethnic group.
When you put someone down because you don’t agree with their views, you have done yourself a public disservice. You have undersold yourself. You don’t become bigger or more respectable in the sight of the public by smearing the image of another or denying their contributions to public good.
I feel pity, particularly, for those of you who have elected to rant on social media, presently, by degrading the image or the contributions of two notable Nigerian literary icons of two distinct generations: the Nobel Laureate, Prof. Woke Soyinka and the Internationally award-winning author, Chimamanda Adichie.
When I read the rantings, the discrediting narratives against these icons by some of people on social media, I quickly check their bio. Most of those that do this have not authored any books, and those that have authored books and doing this, cannot measure up to any of these icons these take pleasure in denigrating. I am an Amazon published author of about 8 books. I am no match to these literary icons, not in the nearest future.
Prof. Woke Soyinka and Chimamanda Adichie are literary icons. They have their views on so many issues. Their views belong to them. It’s their opinion. You have to respect their individual views and opinion on any issue that appeals to their intellectual fancy. They have intellectual liberty to weigh-in on any matter. You don’t have to agree with their views or opinion, but you must not descend to abuse their persons because you disagree with them. If you don’t agree with any of them on any issues, you don’t do so against the backdrop of denigrating their person or pitching one against another.
These two stands on different literary pedestals. They have each carved their niche in different literary genres. Don’t compare. Don’t insult. Don’t denigrate this one, to promote that one. They are both Nigerians of that have made outstanding literary contributions, globally. Respect this fact.
Please stop this bashing of Prof. Woke Soyinka because he made a statement you don’t agree with. Stop this this calling out of Chimamanda Adichie because she wrote a letter you don’t agree with the contents. They are people like you and I. They have made their marks in the global stage. Their voices ring a bell! What mark have you made? What impact is your voice making?
Seek to make your own mark in your field of calling or profession and stop peddling unwholesome gist about those standing way higher than you on the national and global stage.
Get busy with more productive issues than spend time on these base gossiping and comparisons that divide the people.
Dr. Joseph C. Ibekwe
FLED International Leadership Institute, Abuja