by Nwachukwu Egbunike
Nigeria is certainly beset with a lot of crisis, they are thousand fold and I don’t intend to repeat a litany of these wahala’s. A casual glance in any news medium will readily avail anyone who is neither deaf nor dump of the issues which unfortunately has dominated the public domain. In summary, there are economic crises, political crisis, the crisis of virtues and so on.
Does it then mean that since I have not had electricity, all other activities should cease? The fact that the roads I ply daily are strew with potholes should necessary translate that I should no longer enjoy the pleasure of reading or reviewing a good book? The fact that there are a lot of flash spots in the country would then mean that I only write and discuss these problems? If I have the opportunity of going to see a good movie or attend a musical show, should I turn it down in order to prove that I am mortified with the state of things? Or to put it more graphically because others are attending a funeral, then I should turn down all invitations to attend weddings, naming ceremonies or other activities? Or should I perpetually write about the kerosene scarcity to show that I am in tune with the troubles of the ordinary man?
I took this long route to portray what I noticed amongst the enlightened folks who always seem scandalised when a moral issue is addressed, as was the case in the BBA3. Does it then mean that any attempt to put any issue in the public domain that has no direct relationship with our perceived economic migraine is by default a moral crusade, elitist or emergency activism? This is certainly not true or rather being cheese sparing with the truth. Corruption for instance is a metastasis that can only be curtailed via personal as well as institutional solutions. So if some Nigerians decide to spare head this change through a personal witness in their dealings does it then necessarily translate that they are being hypocritical or rather showing off – “I better pass you?” If that were the case then the recent uproar generated by the demotion of Ribadu and co by the Police Service Commission should have been a non-issue.
One of the beauties of democracy is free speech. Since many of us have exercised our human rights to speak out against BBA3 is because we realise the responsibility that this right goes with. Aside the branding (moral crusaders),which seems to be the politically correct poise of those who do not see any reason behind the unnecessary noise against BBA3, I have not yet seen any superior argument that they have offered. Multichoice is certainly not a voluntary organisation, they have never claimed to be the Red Cross or Boys Scout, they like all business organisations are there to make money. I have no stress with that, if not I would not be toiling at a job daily. However, must Multichoice make cheep money at the expense of the common good of others?
It has been repeated that those who do not want to watch BBA3 should not subscribe. What a logical argument, isn’t it? Then I would stretch the imagination a little bit, those who do not like the discomfort of a seat belt should please desist from using one. While those who want to save their life from premature accidents should go ahead and use the seat belt, after all it’s a matter of freedom and we are all adults. Your guess is as good as mine.
Oh I nearly forgot; the long queues of Nigerians eager to indicate their interest to watch the BBA3 shows that all the fuss was the tyranny of the minority, if I may use the words of Mr Osebumere Odia (Guardian, September 3, 2008). The inconveniences that this group of Nigerians are being subjected to would have been avoided had some people keep their big mouths shut. However, nobody seem to have mentioned the greater harm that most Nigerians were made to undergo by been inflicted with the BBA or does their right not count? I have always been wary of statistics, especially when it is manipulated to suit ones opinions. I would really want to know the total number of subscribers that Multichoice had before and the number that have voluntarily decided to add BBA3 station to their bouquet. Or are these groups of people who are lining up now not part of elitist, emergency class of Nigerians who do not care about the travails that the country is going through?
I will add that I don’t expect any further criticism on the political mess of this country, since it seems we no longer care about the quality of our leaders. What justification can anyone put through to condemn bad governance, thuggery, rigging of elections or the imposition of candidates on the electorate? If every aspect of our national life were to be reduced to the impact of the mundane, with morality shoved to the closet, the chaos will certainly be unimaginable.
The BBA3 was the democracy of hitherto gagged and stolen voices who are no longer content to sit back in their comfort zones, complain in private and do nothing. The wise words of Osebumere Odia describe it more poignantly, “this is the lesson of this episode and it teaches that we must deepen our democracy, we must become more vigilant and proactive”. The only difference is that his majority are the minority, and the real majority just woke up from their slumber.