When that popular Nollywood actor Muna Obiekwe died some years ago, the story that went round was that he had suffered a kidney disease and needed funds, but was too scared of mockery to reach out to people for help. Some of you blamed him for dying in silence. Some judged it as pride……
A few days ago, a popular Lagos DJ committed suicide. Some have condemned him already, saying, “na because of ordinary woman you go kill yasef?” Some have also blamed the death on the woman for not having ‘spirit of forgiveness’!
I have also observed some microwave- overnight-motivators posting things like “speak out, don’t die in silence, we are here for you, nyennyenye!
And, I laugh!
Over time, I have come to find that we as a people are far from being as kindhearted as we are wont to project ourselves to be.
The average Nigerian is not a philanthropist but an opportunist!
There! I said it!
Often times, it is all about ‘showmanship’.
– That is why your neighbor knows that they’d rather eat their cold food in peace than come to knock your door to ask for a box of matches, on that rainy afternoon when theirs suddenly goes too wet to strike or finishes.
– That is why your friend who has had a bladder failure and wet her bed, would rather keep the mattress indoors ( even at the risk of it getting rotten!), than bring it out to airdry.
– That is why some would rather lock themselves indoors, drink garri without sugar for days and keep smiling-pretend, than tell you exactly how it is doing them!
You, yes you, that says you care, do you really care? Are you not just saying it to sound relevant?
– That woman ( single mother of three) that approached you for assistance last term towards paying her children’s school fees, didn’t you turn her down after preaching a long sermon about why women should keep themselves? Didn’t you throw some ‘useful’ advice her way about ‘how not to be lazy’?
– That pregnant girl that died having an abortion, would you have taken her in had she come to you for shelter, in the event her parents threw her out?
– That young man who has approached your gate severally to give you his CV, did you not haughtily turn him down, while murmuring, “Am I Buhari that is responsible for your suffering?”
But, you went on RantHQ to throw around a few thousands of naira, forming philanthropist, because over there, more people will “see” you and “hail’ you and ” pray” for you!
You organise free -giving events, give out publicly for all to “see” because it will “sell” your “brand” not because you really give a hoot whether those poor people live or die!
You can donate cartons of juice to charity but are ready to beat and design your househelp’s body with koboko, over a cup of juice!
– If your intentions for the dying world are truly genuine, look around you: there is always someone, in your hood, your family, your place of primary assignment, your office, whose smile looks out of place.
– If you look closer, it is easy to trace the track of tears on that your friend’s face, no matter how much she masks it…
So, before you go forming ‘defender of the depressed universe’, ask yourself:
– If friend A is in distress and needs a quick helping hand ( without public announcement!)will she come to me?
– If friend B has been diagnosed of a terminal disease or a life threatening one, will she confide in me? Has she confided in me before and I let her down?
– If neighbor C is cooking and her gas suddenly finishes, will she have the boldness to knock on my door, pot in hand, to finish her cooking? If she does, will I oblige?
– If Church member D has a pressing need, (or an insignificant one as little as not having transport to go home after service!), will he/she be bold enough to tell me about it? Will I respond without judgement or will I even help out at all without a sermon?
– If Mrs E, who has suffered a temporary misfortune, comes to me with her pressing need to feed her children or pay some basic bills, will I give without reminding her of how her mates sell pure water or fry akara to eke out a living?
These are the pending issues!
If your answer to the questions above are in the affirmative, congratulations, you are a philanthropist!
If not, it does not matter what image you project to the world, you are nothing but an opportunist, seeking to be noticed by the ‘right’ eyes, in order to use others misfortunes to enrich your greedy self!