SINCE “LIKES” ARE NOW WORTH MORE THAN IDEAS
– Ridwan Ojewale, ABH PRESS
Many have always held it an opinion that the problem with Nigeria is basically ‘Nigerians’; and considering the fact that the leaders were once followers, we might be safe to conclude that we merely complain about ourselves when we complain of bad leadership. If you choose continuously from a basket of oranges at random and all you choose are bad, then it is either that there are no good oranges in the basket or the good ones do not pick your fancies. This well depicts the situation in Nigeria where the sum total of ideological flaws in our countrymen has proven a force against our national development.
Let’s bring the issue closer…Do we ever consider how much importance we attach to (or belief we have in) our own ideas? Do Nigerians themselves think they’re capable of bringing forth ideas that bring the world to its feet? The subconscious assumption seems either that no matter what the idea is, the white man always has it better or it wouldn’t be significant enough before those whose attentions matter. How else do we explain idea challenges that are adjudged based on the number of facebook likes and instagram follows? A mockery of intellectual prowess of course! Ironically, these challenges do have judges acclaimed to be “experts” in the particular field(s) of interest. So whether the voting/liking comes before the judges’ adjudication or after, it still is irrelevant and logically disappointing. For if voting comes before, even the best idea may have lost out as intelligence and popularity are not mutually nonexclusive. This merely waters down the subsequent effort of the panel (of judges) to select the best ideas. If on the other hand, voting comes after the work of the judge(s), then the essence of the adjudication in the first place is questionable. Is it not appalling that just with your popularity, you can get through to the final stages of most idea challenges regardless of the quality of your work or thought? In fact, many now have a network of followers and supporters that help them solicit votes and likes when they go for these competitions.
Examples of these might be the commonest at the moment as such links pop-up up almost on daily basis on our social platforms and some even from amongst us. Still fresh in memory is the ABH Hackathon organized little over a year ago where participating teams had to plead for vote from people who knew neither them nor their ideas to get to even have an audience with the panel. Obviously, somebody right here does not care if the best teams (and the best ideas by extension) have lost out at the voting stage. After all, the popularity the voting has earned the program, its sponsors and organizers is enough or say, the mere sense of accomplishment that follows a successfully organized program. Whichever one it is, merit of ideas hardly comes in.
Also recently was the ABHPRENEUR award for the best entrepreneur of the year. The network in collaboration with the female affairs ministry would rather judge this by creating an instagram page and requesting that people follow the page and like the contestants’ pages. If one would also ask what brings the “network” the greatest joy; the fact that they have awarded excellence or the fact that they have gained popularity using toils and sweats of those participants. The answer would be obvious.
A law student at the University of Nigeria Enugu founded a literary club he named OKIKE and organized a national writing contest. When asked about his motivation, he remarked that most of the competitions he put in for require him to seek votes and likes and that are usually against big wigs in writing and popularity. So he decided that he would organize one that’ll strictly be based on merit and nothing more. God be praised, he succeeded.
From these scenarios, the common factor seems popularity. Many of these programs are rather interested in selling their names and the rewards afterwards are just for the advertisement you helped them with. I mean how many of them have looked back to nurture and support these ideas to national or international standards? The answer better summarizes this article.
The organizers sometimes argue that marketing ideas is as good as having ideas and perhaps this would hold water where money making is the top priority. However, when it has got to do with impacting lives and changing the status quo for better, commonsense says that idea is first; the more reason ‘inventor’ is in nowhere the same as ‘marketer’. Some others argue that it is to ensure fairness but since when has the opinion of the majority become the fairest?
When we consider the physical and psychological stress that come with this barbaric style well clad in modern regalia, the desperation and frustration that come with waking and sleeping a week long just thinking about likes and follows, the financial cost of keeping online and travelling all over publicizing some organizations just to get appreciated for your ideas, it surprises why anyone would subject inventive minds to such mental, physical, psychological, financial and emotional distress all at once for the mere crime of being inventive.
Our adversities are no meteors from outer space, they are right from us and only when we fix the wrongs within as individuals can we fix our wrongs as a nation.