Oluwatobi Odeyinka

I should not bore you with the cliché on how power corrupts. The black man in position of authority is absolutely easily intoxicated. Do you wonder why your chief tenant seems more brutish than the landlord? He is in POWER!

This write-up was inspired by the rants of some students that I overheard. They were lamenting the unfair treatment they get from people from whom they least expected. People you would ordinarily expect to be soft and approachable, but they turn out to be more beastly than those we often dread. One of them lamented thus:

“The way some people behave ehn… just because UI furnished them with tie and suit and ask them to collect some documents from students. They see themselves as gods…”

“Guy, your own is small. I am so angry right now. Imagine! Ordinary Class Rep asking me to go to hell. I almost gave the fool a dirty slap…” Another chipped in.

Many of us can relate to similar treatments from officers who are merely just climbing the ladder of leadership. One can only imagine what they become when they eventually get to the top. I remember asking an official at the Information Technology and Maintenance Services (ITEMS) for direction to where I could make complaints (since it was my first time there), he retorted in total haughtiness, “you see me standing at the entrance and you’re asking me question, can’t you look for an office?” I was awed. How does my harmless question warrant such outburst? I simply gave a reciprocal hiss to revenge the treatment he gave me. What do you say about respect…?

One of my lecturers, in one of his classes raged about how indiscipline we are as students. He claimed to have taught some American students who he thinks are more respectful and disciplined than we are. In his words, “some lecturers treat you like animals because you behave like animals.”

Those words sounded harsh, but they call for cogitative sobriety rather than objection. Does being Nigerian make us less human? Is being in a position of authority a license to disrespect, or be rude to fellow humans? If we are being treated like animals because our behaviours call for such treatment, wouldn’t we grow up to give the next generation worse treatment with the same flimsy justification while the circle continues?


Now, hear this, Mr. Blackman, you yourself must have, at one time or another worn this garb of disrespect. You must have been condescending to people simply because you find yourselves in the position to be.

It is even appalling that Mr. Blackman belongs to that religion which its devotees pride themselves to be in a ferry, heading to a paradise inside the skies. Do we need to remind him that his saviour actually preached love as the summation of all rules? And Blackman may even be a faithful of the world’s most peaceful religion. The bombings are testimonies. My dear Blackman, no doubt, you are one of the world’s most religious people, but your Godliness is a gap that begs to be filled. Our endeavours, in this transient world, can be akin to planting of trees; the fruits, whether sweet or bitter would be judged by posterity. It actually does no harm to be kind to fellow man. In fact, I think every human deserves to be respected, regardless of age, class, position, and what-have-you. If you can’t respect people for the fact that they are humans and that blood runs through their veins like it is with you, then you are no better than an animal.


I should keep my ink for another day and leave you with the words of William Lyon, who says, “The final test of a gentleman is his respect for those who can be of no possible value to him.”


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