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Atoke’s Monday Morning Banter: Opinions Are Like Eyebrows

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Is it normal to be this physically exhausted on a Monday morning? Because I’m typing this post with my eyes heavy with sleep. If any of you know my boss, please ask her to give me a holiday… I’m terribly sleep deprived! Honestly, we should sign a petition to ensure the weekend is longer than Saturday and Sunday! And even on those days somehow the body clock conspires with some evil forces to ensure that you can’t sleep for as long as you envisage you would. So you find that on Friday you’re telling yourself that mehn… I will sleep till 10am tomorrow and then you’re roused at 5.50am and you can’t go back to sleep. In the words of my fellow Nigerians “It is well”.

We must trudge on yes? Last week I decided to get the renewal of my drivers licence done because I’d tried so hard to get it done in 2012 and it was just so stressful that I abandoned the project. Yes, it is a whole big deal to get drivers licence issued in Lagos. One of the religious books says it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to get into heaven; well, I have discovered that a Rhinoceros and a Camel will comfortably enter that needle before you can get a drivers licence issued in this Lagos. The only thing keeping me going is the fear of being caught by VIO officials.  I hear the VIO guys are on an active alternative income generation drive these days and their first line of attack is “This your licence is fake”

Anyway, as I was cooling my heels at the Federal Road Safety Commission office last week waiting to be attended to, I heard two girls in NYSC garb talking about Big Brother Africa, the nominations, evictions and general shenanigans in the house. They were later joined by a 3rd girl who asked them what they were talking about and she was informed that it was about the reality TV show. Girl 3 draws out a long extended hiss and says “Is it that show where they promote nudity and sexual immorality?”  It was very funny because she sounded like she was reading something off a script or something someone had told her about the show.

I find that a lot of times, some people are so quick to jump on popular bandwagons that they don’t realize they haven’t assessed or assimilated the facts, and then formed opinions of their own. For example, early on Sunday, I noticed that some Nigerians, living in Nigeria, who have never suffered any form of racial discrimination took to social media to protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman. For fun I decided to ask one of the “BBM activists” what his angst was against the judgement. His response “These white people can’t be killing us anyhow”. I asked if he had ever lived in a place where racial discrimination was an issue and he said he hadn’t. I asked him if he had followed the case from the shooting, through the trial and now the judgement, he said “I don’t have to.All I know is that white people keep killing we black people”. *sigh*9:54 AM

I didn’t really have the strength to start explaining the need to form your own opinion outside of the bandwagon syndrome.  Of course this is not saying that people shouldn’t have an opinion on issues that don’t directly border on them, I’m just saying the uproar shouldn’t be more than the persons directly involved/ affected.

Have a fantastic week ahead. I hope you’re in a much better state than I am because I positively knackered and I can’t wait for FRIDAY! WooHoo! (I’m sure you can tell)

Be happy, stay calm, and remember to put a smile on someone’s face this week. Oh, and don’t forget to tell me about your weekend and any hook ups on how to get Nigerian processes done faster would be a huge blessing.

Peace, love & cupcakes!

Toodles!

Photo Credit: indulgy.com

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website atoke.com for more information.

27 Comments

  1. Tiki

    July 15, 2013 at 9:20 am

    I better be first! And I’m with you Atoke, people keep trying to ‘fit in’ and belong with popular opinion, so much so that it becomes ridiculous! What happened to using your own brain to thinnk, rather than recycling someone else’s bias and prejudices?

  2. Jummai

    July 15, 2013 at 9:30 am

    I dont agree with u on this one, are in the person’s mind? How are u so sure that the girl was reading something off a script, this is mere assumption. Every one is entitled to his or her own opinion. Just like u have jst shared ur own thoughts too.

  3. Zizie

    July 15, 2013 at 9:38 am

    God bless you Atoke!!!

  4. Jiddah

    July 15, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Atoke, Atoke…..i have been refreshin this page since.

    I was weak on some people’s account of the Zimmerman’s case. I totally agree with Chimamanda in a recent interview i read on salon.com; shes a breathe of fresh air btw(nohomo). She talked about not being a race in Nigeria. The only thing we know how to be is Black, if at all we have any issues it’s more tribal. And sometimes people people are just a bit scared about presenting their opinions or views of issues lest they seem un-cool.

    I actually dont hate Mondays, not in a dreadful way sha…..Sannu.

  5. jinkelele

    July 15, 2013 at 10:15 am

    followed the case from when it first started, though i briefly followed the trial. that case wasnt prosecuted properly. stand your ground law seems to work differently in different states in the same US!! Fact is trayvon was unarmed and was no threat to zimmerman, if he could call the police after he shot him he could have done the same before. Even the woolwich killers were not shot to kill them and those were police. p.s woolwich killers were armed. Been a BBA follower since it started in with BBN I was on forums and all actively analysing and voting in blocks but i started switching off when they introduced shower hour cos face facts Atoke voyeurism is what keeps people watching its less about the game. I mean what was all the BBA uncut about? See other BB worlwide, besides its all played out they only seem to pick the craziest and adventurous people not cos they can play d game but cos they know they’ll give them the scandal they need to keep ppl watchg. Got better things to do with my time BBA is more like 24-7 Jersey shore, they ply them with alcohol esp vodka for a reason and their activities are so mentally unengaging its ridiculous.

  6. nikky

    July 15, 2013 at 10:26 am

    It is honestly hard to have conversations with people who do not necessarily have even the basic understanding of what the situation is but they have an opinion because it was trending on twitter or something. Your Zimmerman example hit the nail on the head, some people were broadcasting their condemnation on bbm I was chatting with one and he was angry because he thought that Trayvon was African. I was taken aback, i actually thought for a moment that I somehow traveled to an alternate universe where Trayvon was African,then I realized that this fellow came to this conclusion because Trayvon was black. Atoke is not trying to tell people not to have opinions but educate yourself of the subject before broadcasting ignorant opinion.

  7. Cjay

    July 15, 2013 at 10:28 am

    I don’t know about the zimmerman’s case but the BBA I totally disagree.. The girl spoke the truth. BBA is just trash and seriously needs to be looked into.. I can understand Idols or then next movie star or even ultimate search but please tell me the aim of BBA… I know people tend to pick up words without fact but please don’t use BBA as an example anyway I gat ur gist.

  8. Abana

    July 15, 2013 at 10:29 am

    There is nothing wrong with people having opinions whether by first hand experience or by empathy. At least, the people in the examples you use are not ignorant. Not having an opinion, which is usually a sign of ignorance is a far bigger issue.

  9. Neo

    July 15, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Nigerians tend to be overly fascinated with everything “foreign”. Its like we’ve become bored by the politics of our own boundaries that we extend into foreign policy. I’m all for being globally conscious and all that but as they say charity begins at home. During the last US elections there were Nigerians that e remain for them to tatoo YES WE CAN on their foreheads, yet these same ones did not venture out to vote for a Nigerian president. For some its all in a bid to be ‘in”. I remember being with at a friends house with many guys when i was back in uni and they had this friend who happens to be one of those people who knows something abou everything, he held them spellbound with many tales and we were all watching cricket. I remember saying i didnt even understand the sport and all of them looked at me like I was a retard, when he left I asked my friend to explain the sport and this brother couldnt. Who is fooling who?

    As for the Zimmerman-Martins issue, whatever the sentiments the issue is summed up in one phrase “reasonable doubt” Murder is one of the gravest offences, to convict someone for murder there must be proof beyond reasonable doubt. There was doubt in this case, a lot based on hearsay. While race is definitely in issue cos a lot of people believe the case would have been better prosecuted if Trayvon was a white kid, let us bear in mind that Zimmerman is Hispanic also a minority. The sad part is that a kid lost his life and he isnt here to tell us the side of the story. The law is an ass but its an ass thats the law. Simple.

    • nene

      July 15, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      lol. “yes we can” tattoo. u are making sense though.

    • Miss Anonymous

      July 18, 2013 at 10:38 am

      Zimmermann isn’t hispanic.

  10. Cutie

    July 15, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Atoke, you always know the right thing to say. I feel like diving into your mind sometimes.

  11. eniola

    July 15, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Thanks Atoke for yet another refreshment. Yes I’m refreshed :D. This part got me giggling – All I know is that white people keep killing we black people”. eni eleni – LMAO. Well the theme of racial discrimination was the first thing that registered on my mind too when i first heard the verdict. About BBA I’m very much of the opinion that the show is simply to promote immorality, else if there was anything better why isn’t any of such making it to the media, other than the stories about sex escapades, nudity and the likes. PS: That’s rhetorical and my own opinion, i do not expect any response fellow BN commenters. Tainz

  12. Mz Socially Awkward...

    July 15, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Tsk Tsk, Atoke, you shouldn’t be living for the weekends – that’s a waste of 4 possibly fantastic days in between today & Friday.

    So, regarding BBA. I haven’t watched an episode since Bayo contested (how long ago was that? 5yrs? Longer?) but have to say that even my occasional reading of the updates that BellaNaija very helpfully posts to educate us non-followers, is enough for me to form a very judgemental opinion about the shenanigans taking place in that house. So forgive me if I cosign what that 3rd girl said and add my sanctimonious disapproval into the mix.

    And the Trayvon Martin case – no comment. It’s terrible what happened but I haven’t followed the case properly enough to decide either way about Zimmerman. Besides, you shouldn’t be surprised about the Naija penchant of not looking up facts for themselves (despite Google being a free resource) and just distributing “current gist” haphazardly on social media because dem sef wan belong. It’s what we do best.

    As for my weekend, you ask? Filled with lots of sun and food, thank God for the little pleasures of life 🙂

  13. titi

    July 15, 2013 at 11:49 am

    I disagree on this one Atoke, people who decide who join the band wagon have expressed a choice and formed an opinion that should be respected, albeit uninformed.
    About BBA, haba – the fact speaks for itself. and its disheartening that its still being aired.

  14. pynk

    July 15, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Bandwagons seem to be the new cool with the Social media generation. Kinda like how people got on the embarrassing Kony train a while back, and Kony had been out of circulation for years in Uganda.

  15. princess

    July 15, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Do you know you have to fill in a request before BBA is shown on your TV, you know the show is immoral yet you put in the request, sit and watch and shout Immoral!! NA WA!. It is like paying for Porn and criticizing porn stars. If u watch it and you are shouting Immoral, something is wrong with you ghan!. if you dont watch it and you are working with 3rd hand gist, then take atoke’s write up seriously.

    • jinkelele

      July 15, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      u do know that BN is part of the 3rd hand gist too ?
      watched previous versions and stopped years ago, but u dont need to be signed up before u see updates everywhere BN, newspapers, social media. People cant exactly walk around with their eyes closed. AToke asked and we gave our opinions. I’m yet to see even BN put up an update about BBA that had to do with the GAME not ppl kissing or evictions.

  16. Sir Farouk

    July 15, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    I dont think Atoke is against people having their opinions, its having uninformed opinions that can be irksome. I think people need to form opinions based on solid information about situations not just based on hearsay or what they read somewhere. I believe the lady with the BBA opinion might have had an independent opinion but she still sounded like she quoted what her pastor said about the show verbatim, it didnt sound like those were her own words. On another note, I find the Nigerian attitude of being quick to criticize and claim a moral high ground on issues funny. A lot of people criticizing BBA fornicate and watch porn as well. I dont watch BBA because it is immoral, because I m not interested in watching people do regular things normal people do. Shikena!

  17. The Urbane Girl

    July 15, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    People just like gist and to feel among. but we r still entitled to what we think of which yes bba promotes sexuality and stuff

  18. Lana

    July 15, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Atoke, i feel your jist & point but i disagree on the BBA example. That show is pure crap!

  19. Teris

    July 15, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    see enh, just for the title of this article alone: “like”.

  20. ebony

    July 15, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    true talk about the over sabi internal alarm.. anyhoos! its always better to gather facts about an issue before sprouting off in public.. and i think the V.I.O musta rehearsed the “license is fake thingy” cos an officer told my dad who has been driving since 1980 that his id number is fake..lolz.

  21. TA

    July 15, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    My weekend was just fun. loads of it . Though i love Mondays,i actually do!! I kept wishing i had an extra day of sleep? he! he!
    My sister,getting a driver’s license is almost as difficult as getting your passport renewed. *stressful much* Wish i could help,but am at a loss myself how to proceed.
    Atoke of life…hm,did you ask the 3rd girl questions about her opinions? Because am trying to understand how you arrived at your own conclusion that her retort sounded like ‘ she was reading something off a script or something someone had told her about the show’. Maybe she has seen the show and that was her sincere opinion or maybe you are right she hasnt seen it. Like some previous commenters,i used to watch the BBA years ago during the days of Bayo and saw some re-runs of Ebuka’s episode (BBN) and in recent times have read reviews,highlights of the show …and my opinion is that the show is a bloody waste of time…you can add immoral,promoting nudity,alcoholism etcetera ,etcetera… If folks enjoy watching it,well thats their own glass of zobo but me i would rather be catching my beauty sleep than watching a show that promotes lasciviousness.
    Yeah,my opinions like my eyebrows are well defined and neatly groomed 😀
    Peace,Love and cupcakes!
    *cyclesawayslowlyinsearchofasimplestresslesswayofrenewingmydriver’slicense

  22. Naveah

    July 15, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    I don’t care about BBA but I totally disagree with you with reference to the Zimmerman case. I am deducing from your write up that people should only care for or have an opinion about issues happening only in their own backyard. Yes, the young man should have a deeper knowledge of the Zimmerman case but to condescend down to him about his view albeit a surface view I think is a little unfair. There are some issues than transcend our little corners of the world, one such issue was Apartheid which many countries took issues with due to the inhumane nature of the situation. If people had chosen to mind their business, the atrocities in South Africa would have remain until today. Yes, Travon Martin is not Nigeria and the case didn’t take place in Nigeria but that could have easily been a Nigeria kid being profiled and shot dead on the street. We should have an opinion about civil right violations whether it is happening in Nigeria, Palestine, England, America or Mongolia. It affects all us, all of humanity.

    People have a right to their opinions AND YES they should have strong, deep reasons for their opinion…I agree with you there.

  23. sussy

    July 17, 2013 at 1:01 am

    I’ll just like to add my 2cents to say I think the BBA show was created as a forum to unite african countries as a whole. The thing is no one wants to watch a boring show so they choose extroverted contestants who sometyms tend to go wild. I think the shower hour is unnecessary though.

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