I, The Preacher have dedicated myself to social causes of different genres in the last twenty-eight years. I have not only participated in popular social struggles like the June 12, I have also dedicated myself reading of the fascinating examples of the best of social causes the world over, both in the years past and this contemporary age.
I, The Preacher bear on my body, the brand marks of such commitment, which including beatings, cooling off in detention, escaping the bullets of the law enforcement agents, expressing acute material deprivation, having the sentence of death passed on me twice in my lifetime so far.
I have metamorphosed from one phase of consciousness to another. I have made so many mistakes giving expressions to the depth of my social consciousness and I think I have scored some victories also. I breathe agitations even from within myself. My life has been a struggle, even internally, having fought constantly the battle of transforming myself from the seemingly insurmountable impact of abused or truncated childhood to experiencing a measure of peace as a transformed adult.
Today, at the age of 46, few days away from 47, the age at which President Barak Obama become the most powerful man in the world, assuming the leadership of the United States of America, I can say with all humility that I have seen the best and the worst of social struggles, agitations or concerns.
Social agitators, who choose criticism as their method, often die frustrated, yet they are very many in number. The world is yet to properly evaluate the colossally unfruitful nature of works of critics. I, The Preacher had my background in criticism. With criticism comes anger, with anger comes bitterness, and with bitterness comes abusive language. With anger, we deny the other person, whose actions or omissions, we consider anti-social his/her humanity and the respect deserved thereof.
I charge us to check history; there is no example of where criticism and anger has led to any meaningful and enduring social change. True social change begins with recognising the rights of all to be, empathising with the infirmities of those whose deeds or misdeeds we do not agree with, understanding that imperfection will forever remain an unpayable debt for all the living and above all, accepting that we are never better than the others, whose actions or omission we may not agree with today, we are only fortunate to see better than they see by the grace and mercies of God.
Promoting a moral standard or being a symbol of a positive moral order in accordance with universal principles, established by God, who I wholly believe is the maker of all flesh and things will require a lot of maturity and this maturity, I have chosen to define as love. This LOVE is a personality and the Holy Writ says, ‘Love does not fail.’
Love does not write off nor condemn. Love has constant expectation of good for the transformation of all, including the worst of the anti-social fellows, on who the whole world has given up on.
Love does not criticise. Love persuades and provides positive alternative to all, predicated on divine moral codes or order established by the Almighty Maker of the UNIVERSE. Love organises consensus, without compromising or corrupting the quality of the seed of principles, which germinates into the enduring fruit of social change. It was on this immovable fulcrum that the Ghandis, Kings, Mandelas, Mother Teresas of this world, built all of their social interventions of diverse genres and recorded unforgettable results.
Love employs patience and inspirations as inevitable tools for the change he/she seeks. With love in place, through the instrumentality of patience and inspiration, positive alternatives are provided to social observers and same become a rallying point or a formidable movement for an enduring social change.
Love is power and an unconquerable power for that matter and by her, noble men and woman of old received good reports of successfully unforgettable social intervention. And by love shall noble men and women of this age shall also build a laudable consensus for meaningful social change.
This is the mind set with which I have observed the Big Brother Nigeria reality show and the seemingly disaffection of many, who believe and submit on multiple social media platforms that the show, which has grown rapidly in its acceptance among our youths erode in a most corrosive manner our moral standards as a people.
I think I profoundly share the views expressed in the immediate paragraph above about the reality show. But most importantly, I am most interested in how the show becomes acceptable to our younger generation. It is important to note that whatever is socially acceptable among a people (young or old) is a reflection of their dominant value system. Their dominant value system is built over time, with tacit acceptance or naivety of those who should know better. A dominant value system is often entrenched by a lavish reward system. It is a common saying that what a society rewards, it must automatically possess in torrential abundance, always far beyond its wildest imagination.
Big Brother Nigeria is a fruit of a pop culture, intentionally designed and deployed to achieve certain articulated results, which is often inspired by its commercial value, among many other motivations. Pop culture has been defined as ‘modern popular culture transmitted via the mass media and aimed particularly at younger people.’ It is sad today that we attack Big Brother Nigeria, the FRUIT without paying a carefully designed agenda to tackle the ROOT.
We attack Big Brother Nigeria without addressing the immorality promoted by today’s entertainment world, which is the breeding ground for manifestations likes Big Brother Nigeria.
The question is what positive alternative have we created for the natural energy of today’s young people. Those of us, who claim to have better, superior or even spiritual moral code, are today cut unawares because we did not seize today’s power of the air, known as pop culture when it was near.
I do not envy today’s young people, who are victims, either as participants or viewers of deft pop culture projects like Big Brother Nigeria. Most of our young people are raised as social orphans, lacking moral direction and guidance in the face of an over democratised new media, with the loose temptation of being just a burton away. Even societal private and public institutions, like families, schools and religious bodies, who are supposed to empower our young people with positive value system often promote the lead protagonists of today’s pop culture as role models for them.
Or what do you think we are doing when we play as music, at children and young people’s parties and programs, adult contents, with lewd, sexual and violent contents, expressed covertly or overtly, but clear enough for feed the curiosity of our young people? What they hear regularly, particularly when authority figures in their lives become the sources and ‘validators’ must as a matter of necessity become their insatiable fantasies and lead them to seek by all means, social and anti-social to give expressions to same, feeling helplessly helpless and reeling under the dire consequences like drug addiction, sexual immorality, cultism, bullying and so many other vices too numerous to mention here.
I have nothing against today’s young people and they must not be criticised by us for their seemingly insatiable addiction to immorality and its entire gamut of wild expressions. To criticise them will be to fail in our immediate responsibility as primary and secondary caregivers to repent before God and apologise to our young people for failing to provide moral guidance, when it was most necessary.
Sadly, the acceptance of pop culture projects like Big Brother Nigeria cuts across religious lines. It is important to note that those who are opposed to Big Brother Nigeria today are best referred to as voices from the fringe. Even many, who may not accept the values of the show, may not want to rock the boat by making their views known. They have chosen silence as golden in this time of moral crisis. For me silence is never an alternative. It is ever inferior to an informed response to a moral crisis, which is the duty of every man and woman of conscience.
Therefore, it is time to work out a short and long term commitment to build another pop culture, which must provide positive and attractive alternatives for our yawning and impressionable young people. The proof of true change is deliberate efforts aimed at providing positive and attractive alternative to the energy of our today’s young people.
At our own end, since 1997, we have embarked on journey of orientation and reorientation of our precious young people through our I’M D-SSMARTTEESSTT™ Academy. The academy is a value revolution effort, aimed at helping our young people discover who they are and defend same by defending their dignity of human person from all internal and external attacks. In the last two decades, we have trained thousands of young people and their highly esteemed caregivers on local and international platforms.
We intend to do more this year and the years ahead. We are primarily motivated by our core ideology that that CHANGE IS AN EVER-PRESENT POSSIBILITY FOR ANY ONE, WHO IS READY TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. We hold the words of Clare Boothe Luce to be true that ‘there are no hopeless situations; there are only men who have grown hopeless about them.’ It is also our firm belief as expressed by Edmund Burke that ‘all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.’
Permit me to conclude with this soul searching question: if we do not accept what the present pop culture order is achieving with our young people, what positive and attractive alternatives are we offering them? I guess if we do not sincerely and meaningfully answer this question and deliberately do something about same, we lose our right to complain and must get ready for wilder expressions of the fruits of today’s lose pop culture, fully aided by an over democratized new media. May God help us.
(C) 2017 by Taiwo ‘ODINAKACHUKWU’ AKINLAMI…All Rights Reserved T: 2348033620843, 08056979605 W: http://www.taiwoakinlami.com B: http://www.taiwoakinlamiblog.com T: @taiwoakinlami E: Principal@taiwoakinlami.com