By Kehinde Oluwatosin Babatunde
This article is inspired by a single event and that was the publication of my well researched article -‘Putting Egypt in perspective’, the media was agog with details of the article, while some publishers rightly acknowledged me as the author, some went ahead to publish without an acknowledgement in cash and in symbols of name and electronic address. I took all in my stride knowing how much we have paid less attention to little things in the past and how it has become a pain to us as evidenced in our decayed nation’s system. Prior to now i have parroted the essence of critical thoughts and why it should be preserved looked at the retinue of academia who through years of critical thoughts ensure oped pages of print and electronic media are not empty daily ,and I wager- if people like us live in climes where the intangibility of intellectual property is preserved we would be settled for the rest of our lives, this even takes a very high possibility given the knowledge economy every sane nation is working towards, but before my journey into wonderland I came back to myself like the biblical Nebuchadnezzar, I was reminded that this is Nigeria where tangible efforts are not valued let alone intangible efforts. Prior to the event of my plagiarized article i have hitherto engaged intellectuals on why our education system represents a mere dummy and caricature established for the purpose of consistent budget allocation and probably to give the false impression that we also share some trappings of modernity. How do you come to terms with a person who studied Yoruba in the university and works in a bank? No merit beyond favoritism and “a man know man” system that has over the years been engraved in our national psyche opined back then that we would get to a point where we would not only have a brain dearth as it is already but also a dearth in specialty brought to play by the division and exclusiveness different intellectual pursuit provides.
But recipients of such favour did not agree with me but swift to hold their shield of vengeance and reprisal against me. I further recommended that if the system of wrong pegs in right holes continues that the only professions that would worth pursuing in the Nigerian context would either be being a law enforcement agent, a lawyer or a doctor given that such professions are at home with Nigerians default quest for the preservation of life and the prevention of death. life and death in this context is not only the prerogative living or dying in the material world connotes but rather the summary of all we do to ensure that the self is accentuated and gratified. I had opined that the reason we hardly value things including our contempt for humanity is that we only define things in Nigeria in terms of life and death: does it preserve life, does it prevent death? That has been the premise of our existence for ages, if it doesn’t fit into the life-death preservation-prevention terms it doesn’t worth it. A cursory look at our existence as a nation ,all the decay ,the (mis)education ,our comatose infrastructure, the lack of superior ambition beyond those fostered on us by the society, the fear of pursuit that involves denial, written all over it is the concept of life as a preoccupation to be preserved by all means and death as an unwanted inertia to be prevented by all means. Why would somebody siphon money that a generation would not exhaust? Why would a person butcher another person’s limbs, heart and head to buy length of days for himself? Why would a governor erect a mannequin in his state for a President whose ideology is anti-Nigeria only for us to hear such governor hasn’t paid salaries? Why would a police man free a criminal and replace with the innocent? The list is endless but at the bottom of every of such nefarious acts you find the unrelenting love for life and a plucky hate of death as the bed rock
Back to my suggestion of professions to be pursued in the wake of our poorly distributed course for job system. The above suggestion of profession took this order because in the Nigerian context they are the jobs that truly preserve our love for life and death. The chaperon to a sick patient would go all the way to beg, kneel and offer other gestural genuflections to ensure a doctor sometimes not up to the age of her children reduce the fee for a surgery, same goes for police men who would stop at no length to collect bribe to replace a criminal with the just and innocent after heavy persuasion by the rich but amoral family of the criminal, same goes to a lawyer who has the constitutional right to advocate for citizens in the court of law ,he’s pampered and overindulged because his poor judgment in his duty of advocacy might send a life to jail (preservation of life).That my article was plagiarized without acknowledgment made sense to me given that we are a nation whom by years of civic maneuvering have been taught not to value things without tangible life, intellectual property being the greatest victim.
Every logical statement became logical because of the interplay and congruence of the premise and the conclusion ,that our premise is life and death as obvious from the short anecdote of plagiarism and poor value of intellectual property as narrated above only reflects how we conclude and also how we have evolved as a nation.
Kehinde Oluwatosin Babatunde is a public speaker, prolific writer and finance expert from Abeokuta,Ogun-State.