Gideon Okeke, Dino Melaye…When Butterflies Think Themselves Birds
By Chris Ihidero
What is it about Twitter that turns many people into blubbering idiots? This certainly isn’t the first time in human history that Homo sapiens will be presented with a platform to air their thoughts; We’ve had Facebook for a while now, and before that, blogs, websites, newspaper comment sections etc. On none of these platforms have I witnessed the sheer volume of pedestrian thinking and subsequent insipid tendering of opinions that is constantly available on Twitter. Far be it from me to suggest a Twitter closure or police what people do with their own timelines, but when what they believe is their rightful opinion borders on being recklessly insensitive, an engagement becomes imperative.
Dino Melaye, currently jobless, was a one-term member of the Federal House of Representatives, who contested on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, representing Kabba/Bunu/Ijumu federal constituency. That’s his claim to fame and the sum total of his achievements thus far in his existence. Apparently, once you have ‘served’ in the Nigerian House of Assembly, no matter how inconsequential your contributions to national development, you somehow acquire the divine right to open your mouth and let loose torrents of idiocy.
This country amazes me. How we condone people like Dino Melaye, I’ll never understand. After his time in government and the prerequisite participation in the sharing of the national cake, he began posturing as a latter-day activist, showing up at rallies, mouthing inanities that should make us forget that he was once a part of the party/government he’s now rallying against, and that he achieved nothing of any worth in his time there. But who am I to begrudge him for seeking some relevance in his life? Reuben Abati, the current Aso Rock pet dog is already planning to write a book about Mr. President’s greatness, once his time perambulating the corridors of Aso Rock and employing his PhD in the huge task of holding the microphone when the president speaks is over. His predecessor, Olusegun Adeniyi, the former Aso Rock pet dog, has already written his own. My grouse with Dino of the deteriorating relevance lies elsewhere.
A few weeks ago, the former Honourable (a misnomer, mind you) member of the house, in his wisdom, or lack thereof, tweeted this statement: “@dino_melaye A 40years old woman without husband need to work on character and carriage.” I will not bother you with the grammatical issues bedeviling this statement. Just take a moment and meditate on the fact that the man who tweeted this used to make laws for this country. Need we seek further reasons why our polity stinks? If unformed minds like that of Dino Melaye are responsible for making laws for a nation, what can one expect? In Dino’s pedestrian understand of life, if a woman is 40 and unmarried, it must be because she doesn’t have good character or carriage. Exhibiting such chronic ignorance, it serves no purpose to invite unformed minds like this to a discussion of how a woman can choose, in the year of our Lord 2012, to be single, childless and happy, with great carriage and character to boot! No, we must leave failed politicians seeking social media relevance out of discussions above their misshapen heads; we must discard their thought-deficient minds to the rubbish heap of inconsequentiality where they will find cosy company with empty tins of sardine and sanitary pads.
If we ascribe the stupidity of the likes of Dino Melaye to whatever he ingested while in Abuja, to where do we trace that of Gideon Okeke? I started noticing his tendency to mouth off on Twitter a few months ago when someone on my timeline re-tweeted some nonsense he tweeted about the writers of Tinsel, the MNET produced daily soap where he plays a lead character, Philip. Here’s what he tweeted: “TINSEL writers… our audiences are smarter than you think they are…WAKE UP” This will only sound smart to an untrained actor. What cheap public glory was he trying to gain by dissing the people who write a soap that brought you to public reckoning? Has someone never told this young man that you don’t pee in the pot you drink from? I re-tweeted and followed up by saying, if he had been on a television soap I was producing or directing, his character would have gone on very long holiday until he learned some manners. If you have issues with something you are a part of, common sense dictates that you deal with it in-house. If your attempts to deal with it in-house fail, it is your prerogative to dissociate yourself from it, and not be further unevenly yoked with the nonsense.
Since the producers of Tinsel did not deem it fit to straighten him out, Gideon has now sought to expend his circle of critical influence. A couple of weeks ago, he tweeted: “@OgidiGada: Screenwriters y not try writing more stories 4 African cinema dat are backed by genuine causes? What’s with the inane commercial BS?”
Who am I to stop Gideon from aspiring to higher heights? However, if all you have been is a Big Brother Nigeria house-mate, model and actor in a TV soap, should you be so quick to demand for an exploration of ‘greater causes’ when your existence so far shows no sign of such attempts? Isn’t this what is generally referred to as hypocrisy? Minuscule celebrity status should not bestow on anyone an exaggerated notion of self importance.
When butterflies begin to think themselves birds, let us remind them that both may flap their wings but heights attained and distances covered are as far-flung as the forehead to the tip of the nose.
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