Thoughts On Outrage Over Yahoo Boys’ Activities | By Wole Olubanji
There’s been a lot of judges of good conduct and morality online lately. There are a lot of antisocial behaviors in Nigeria; kidnapping is chief among them, and public thievery is King over them all. But the public is particularly angered about the prevalence of internet fraud. That is too convenient. Imagine the task of cleaning an Augean storeyed building; our judges of good conducts want us to start from the basement to the top floor, instead of sweeping downward from the top floor.
Nobody is born a criminal, or born to be morally bankrupt; society makes us who we are. As a personal philosophy, I believe in the inherent good in man – the positive emotional dispositions of human beings. This is in contrast to the belief that man is inherently evil or greedy, and therefore bad. Religion is as old as mankind, and I believe that the capacity of man to contemplate and comprehend religion despite the passage of time indicates an innate disposition of the human mind to strife towards the ideal.
If a man is inherently evil, why has Islam or Christianity survived; why are we not in a perpetual state of amoral conducts, like the Hobbesian world? Why have the religions that teach love and goodness been absolved in lands outside their places of origin? Because of the nature of man that transcends race to identify with goodness. I am not a religious person, however – I still seek for proof, but I learn soberly from anywhere.
The present attempt to excoriate internet fraud, alias yahoo-yahoo, also showcases the instinctive tendency of the human mind to seek rectitude or goodness. But instincts might not be rational; human libido might not be rational – if it were to be rational, you expect that after childbirth sexual urge should cease. But we need to guide instincts by reason. If we don’t, rape would find justification in instinct, and free will and consent trashed. The Vatican will understand me better.
After a priestly attempt to circumvent instinct and chastity, several children and boys have been forever traumatised from priestly molestation. Now the Vatican has eased its stance on chastity – priests can now be human in rural areas. When you design rules for human beings, ensure they don’t conflict with the physiological and psychological fundamentals of being human.
However, I recall an event from my undergraduate days at OAU. I was in Part Two (2012) and under the mentorship of Peniela – who was a year earlier the Clerk of the parliament. I need to say that much of what I now know about gentrification, I learnt from him – including the idea of romantic poems. That fateful day, I needed to use the toilet. All the medical floor toilets were locked, except one that was soiled beyond recognition.
To be frank, I don’t know if I would have flushed the soiled one if there was water – but there was no water, it was one of the days the OAU works department had something to prove. So I just climbed the door of one of the locked toilets, through the opened roof, and eased myself. While climbing, I saw a neighbour eyeing me closely; I ignored him and had a prepared speech for what would come.
“Why did you use that toilet without flushing”, said he. ” Why should you lock a public toilet?” replied I. Both of us danced and shouted around the issue until Peniela prevailed upon me to stop spoiling his good name. I kept the event in mind, and during my constant solitude when I only relied on my memories for company, I kept seeing it in a new light. The gentleman like other medical floor dwellers locked the toilet to prevent guys like me that would use a toilet without flushing. Guys like me would use a toilet without flushing because there was no running water.
There was no running water because the university was stealing the money to run water, or the government was not paying enough. If guys like me should seek alternative, we would probably turn the back of the hostel into a sewage swamp; and Awo boys did something like that with the popular San Siro. But it is convenient for the gentle fellow to direct his moral indignation at me, and not the management. I later became friend with the guy during a struggle for power supply to the residential halls, during an examination, a year later.
The current indignation at yahoo boys is sickening. I don’t sanction what they do; but what else should they do? I don’t hold people to my personal moral standard, because I won’t have any friend if I do. You can tolerate hardship, others might not. But the question is: should anyone have to tolerate hardship? Should anyone have to tolerate hardship in a country flowing with milk and honey?
The human basic instinct is self-preservation, which is more powerful than the instinct of reproduction that the Catholic priests are battling with. Self-preservation is threatened in Nigeria because survival has become elusive. Everybody that is struggling to survive is all the more guided by instinct than reason – hence the futility of sermons. Nigeria was not like this twenty years, ten years ago – some combinations of factors, like crude and stealing leadership, population explosion, deindustrialisation, are responsible for our present quagmire. The tumor is there, why get fussy over blisters? Can the tumor be excised? Let’s ask the Sudanese.
I am afraid of yahoo boys, but not because they are soiling our national image. Buhari and Ngige between them both soil our national image than all Nigerian yahoo boys combined. Yahoo boys are desperate, that’s why they are not resigned to suffering like most of us. And when the fraud stops paying, their desperation and amorality would lead them somewhere else, perhaps to something more deadly than virtual crime.
We already read stories about people stealing pants to augment yahoo. I don’t believe those mysticisms anyway, because I know there would not be any crook left in politics if pants are as lucrative as being suggested. But what about the time the equally fraudulent herbalist is no longer requesting for pants, preferring organs to lingerie? The poor people would be the victim of such desperation.
Even today, our elites have embraced train transportation to avoid kidnappers; they would simply fly their children out, buy more jets, and build more airports if the worse comes to worst. Or the President and his cabinet would be ruling from anywhere assuming the worst scenario.
We should not be afraid to face the problems of our country, of our generation. It is our political leadership. Why is any governor earning security votes? Why do we still pay middlemen to get things done, when many youths are jobless? It appears to me that we have leaders who are certain of the gullibility of our people and therefore act the absurd, and nothing happens. Except for show of measured righteousness.