Image: Free Images Live
Now, this needs to be clarified. This is not replicating advancing technology, or improving strides in medicine or stuff like that. It definitely isn’t that. What this type of imitation does is copy the things that are unimportant and in some cases, just plain wrong and stupid!
When the Apple products came into the country, the same frenzy was seen; only much worse. People could do all types of crazy stuff to own an iPhone, iPad or a MacBook. The craze is still on! Reflect back to when the iPhone 6 came out? Ha! Crazy stuff!
Another glaring way our people copy things is shown in our art; from music videos to movies to our fashion and more. We have seen cases where music artists have copied already existing videos when making theirs. This is a case clearly shown in the ‘Skelewu’ video of music artist, Davido; the one directed by Moe Musa is the one I’m talking about. It was an obvious rip-off of the ‘Party Rock‘ video by LMFAO and the movie ‘28 Days Later‘. The question that comes to mind is, ‘Do foreign music artists copy stuff?‘ The answer is yes! But do they do this as blatantly as Nigerian artists do? I wouldn’t be so sure. The same trend is seen with Nigerian movies that are just poor replicas of Hollywood and Bollywood movies. This is especially sad because our talents are now being exported to the world. What message are we sending?!
Other ways where copying stuff has been glaring are with social media, and most predominantly, Twitter. A while ago, #FollowFridays was the rave. Timelines were flooded with people who were all too eager to jump on the follow wagon. Then came the #FollowBack wagon and then #TwitFights. Like candy given to children, the twit fights became so popular. The fights ranged from amateur to downright mean and dirty and it even had some people permanently deleting their twitter accounts.
|Protesters demand a return of the Chibok Girls who were abducted from their school on April 14, 2014.
Image: Ayiba Magazine
To make matter worse, we made ourselves look like complete fools when awareness increased for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. It is a disease that affects nerves in a degenerative process until the sufferer is progressively unable to feel sensations in their muscle, resulting in weakness of the muscle, impediments in breathing, atrophy, paralysis and eventually, death. At this point, I am 100% sure many Nigerians do not even know what I’m talking about. So, I will say the same thing again, but, in another way.
This theory was put to the test when awareness increased for the #IceBucketChallenge for ALS. Ah! I see the comprehension finally dawning on many.
As usual, our Nigerian celebrities were one of the first to jump on this wagon, filming themselves allowing a bucket of ice cold water get dumped on their heads. What was shocking was that, when they copied, most of them didn’t even know what it was about. It was just another trending thing that made them look cool. When the E!News crew accepted the challenge, they took the challenge outside their studios because they respected how much things cost in their workplace. Fast forward to when Ehiz of MTV Base did his own challenge and you’d see that he did his in the studio. He and his crew were too eager to jump on the new cool trend that they didn’t care what the effects to their studio equipment would be. Even if they had a huge tub to dump the water in, Ehiz still had to contend with the microphone coming in contact with water. But the loss of equipment was nothing as long as one looked trendy and cool.
This is the same mentality many Nigerians have. They want to be cool by all means and be accepted by many other countries. We do have our own problems that should be addressed by our celebrities but they do not because they haven’t copied it from somewhere. When someone like Yvonne Nelson refused to partake in the ice bucket challenge, she came under serious backlash but many people refused to see that she showed herself strong and unwilling to be foolish just to be cool. She listed points on why the ice bucket challenge was wrong on all grounds for Africans and that showed that she had done her research!
Like she postulated, the ice bucket challenge was not something that we should have copied because, many African countries are without water or access to water. Even here at home, many communities in Nigeria are also without water or access to it. That one bucket that was wasted in the quest to be cool could have been a haven for someone without water. It will be far-fetched to say Africans do not have ALS but then, the cases are more predominant in other countries. What this translates to is that ALS is not our problem! But Malaria is. So are Maternal Mortality, Cholera, Typhoid, Cancer and now, Ebola. Poverty is also our problem, poor education and health facilities too. We cannot even stop there: poor social amenities, bad leadership and governance, human trafficking, increased drug abuse and misuse, increased crime rate and an all-time high level of corruption. These are our problems, not ALS or any other thing that doesn’t affect us.
|Ice Bucket Challenge bring awareness to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in 2014.
Image: Time Magazine.
There are somethings we cannot help but copy but we shouldn’t have to always copy stuff, especially stuff that doesn’t concern us, just because we want to be socially accepted. As a nation, we cannot thrive on copying and imitating other countries. The simple fact is that most nations are great because of their innovation and not how well they copy others!
As clichéd as this might sound, I end this piece with the famous words of Herman Melville.
‘It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.’