Dear Writer, Journalist, Blogger…
Before you pick up that pen, lightpen, keyboard or whatever input device, take a pause! It is very important that you read this. I recently stumbled on a program on local T.V and I feel I should share from the epiphany I had from watching that program.
It was The Sun Newspapers Annual Awards. However, what intrigued me wasn’t the quality of the stage design or the performances from the popular artistes that entertained the guests which by the way were not in short supply. The highlight for me was the story of one of the recipients of the awards, Mrs Felicia Akande. Before then, I must confess that I’d never heard her story so you can understand the fact that I immediately engaged Google and voila! I got the information I needed about this great Nigerian.
Well, the abridged story is that Mrs Akande as an officer of the Nigerian Authority and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), serving in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital had been deployed to one of the polling units in Ibadan as a security officer. She was offered Five hundred thousand naira cash (N500,000) to look the other way while fraudsters manipulated the elections in the centre where she had been posted. She stoutly refused and for that, she was beaten to stupor (read the full story here .
Her story for me was a breath of fresh air (not the type our politicians promise though). At a time when we are daily inundated with news of government officials stealing in billions and trillions, when police officers dislodge bullets into innocent Nigerians over N20 bribes and the likes. I think stories of bravery like Mrs Akande’s needs to be amplified and celebrated, and I must commend The Sun Newspapers who have already done that.
The whole world ought to know that in the same Nigeria where a politician will steal the people blind, there is a certain Mrs Akande who will reject huge bribes and stand for what is right. Someone said after Ibori had pleaded guilty for fraud in UK that every Nigerian is just a thief in waiting i.e once s/he gets the opportunity won’t be any different from the looters but the story of Mrs Akande gives a fresh hope that certain values like honesty can still be found within us.
As a writer and moulder of public opinion, in as much as you have a duty to bring to focus the vices in our society, you equally if not in a wider magnitude hold the responsibility to bring up the stories of likes of Mrs Akande that often times are seldom heard. Our children need to know, the world needs to hear it that we all are not corrupt.
Therefore, before you write that next article or tweet that report about the ‘corrupt Nigerians’, remember Mrs Akande and countless honest Nigerians in their millions that your story inadvertently casts aspersions on. Remember that for every thieving Ibori out there, there is a Mrs Akande with an honest heart. Remember that for every corrupt civil servant, there are countless Mrs Akandes out there who will bravely turn down any bribe regardless of the difficult financial situation confronting them.
Now you can go ahead and write your story, tweet your thoughts, but remember Mrs Akande.
By Tomi Adedeji


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