Tuesday, April 10, 2007

No 'Igbo Kwenu' for Uche Odoputa!

Something funny is happening that once again (in my opinion) mirrors the both differences in behavioural pattern of societies, and how people live out stereotypes.

When Wunmi, the Yoruba ‘star’ (depending on who’s watching the galaxy) actress, was caught with drugs, before you could say ‘Yoruba parapo’, the Yoruba acting community had formed a big circle around her: they attended court sittings every day, they watered down the offence, they held series of meetings, and they worked the press so hard the judge caved in. And Wunmi found her way out.

Uche Odoputa is caught; and immediately, while people were expecting that Ndigbo (who own Nollywood anyway) would rise up in one accord and scream 'Tribalism' if he isn’t given the Wunmi-style rub on the head, the Igbo actors and directors and producers rise up in one accord yes, but only to drive the nail deeper into the young man’s coffin! ‘He hasn’t acted in five years!’ they declaim, ‘He is now a taxi driver in London’ ‘He hasn’t paid his dues’ etc etc etc.

All of these denials mind you are simply because, according to one of them in a warped interview with thisday, this might smear them and deny them little ‘perks’ like visas and grants.

If I hadn’t seen this young man cavorting at BOB TV with these same characters (sadly, I can’t mention names) that now deny him with so much poetry, I might have been taken in by their grandstanding. Or not. Because if perhaps their argument is, ‘We cannot align ourselves with crime’ or ‘Ours is not an organization that will cover up a crime with stardom’, then it would make sense: but their argument is ‘He hasn’t acted any movies!’ And I ask, when last did Ejike Asiegbu (the Actor’s Guild president) act any movie?

And you wonder: what has the fact that he hasn’t paid his dues got to do with his propensity for crime? Does it mean that if perhaps he had paid his dues, they would have rallied round him, or perhaps they would have been more lenient towards the crime?

Or should we just throw away all political correctness and admit that this says something about the ‘republican, egalitarian, above-board’ character (some will say get rid of all the hyperboles and call it by its name: irritating selfishness) of the Igbos that saw the West rally round Obasanjo in 1999, but sees the East rallying round … oh nobody … in 2007?

P.S: I am Igbo as well, so let no one even begin to spray any ‘anti-Semitic’ chant near me.

13 comments:

Chude! said...

This is for Wole's Girl. Since this latest post is about Uche Odoputa; before people start commenting, I am possting my reply to your comment on the first Uche post I did ... you thought I had forgotten abi?!?!lol

Let me start by saying sebi you know me. The only thing I am un-ambivalent about is my moral ambivalence. Not for me the public argument and the private argument. People can keep saying how disappointed they are in my leanings and opinions, but I will not hide from the ‘extreme liberal’ accusation, and I say what I believe: I am for sexual alternatives, I am for euthanasia, I am for abortion, and I am for stem cell research. Unambiguously.

Peju, the fact that Mark Foley and Dick Cheney and George Bush and other ‘conservative republicans’ cannot live up to the same moral certainty they demand of others proves to me just how empty a moral high ground can be. It breeds so much hypocrisy it is amazing.

The reason why liberals continuously seek to push the moral envelope is because nothing promotes bigotry, discrimination and oppression faster than a sense of moral superiority. Racism (if that is the one thing at least that Amazing Grace did say eloquently) came from this sense of moral superiority that even the church supported it; with the benefit of hindsight we know it was senseless, but at that time it was the prevailing morality. Do you know, for instance, Peju that if we were not equivocal about oru religion, if we were really to practice it in all moral certainty, then you and I shouldn’t mix with the Muslims?

Do you know how much bigotry would plague the world if we were to be un-ambivalent about religion? The bottom is that, whether we admit it or not, we are a morally ambiguous people, compromise here and understanding there is what has kept us going: and so for conservative republicans or for anyone else to pretend to some high sense of moral certainty is rather … faulty. And it is this stubborn sense of moral certainty that feeds a President who lied his people into a war but is still ‘certain’ that the morality of that war is sound. That is moral certainty Peju; in all its glorious fullness, and ugliness.

To claim any moral authority when we are usually so privately flawed is in itself transparently hypocritical! We are all flawed! Some more than others – some more in public, some on a larger scale – but all flawed we are! We have base instincts – and put under certain conditions would do things we would rather not. Americans thought only Africans could stoop very low in times of distress – until Hurricane Katrina came. Whilst we must congratu,ate ourselves when we resist the temptation to succumb to base instincts, that cannot stop us from identifying with those who are weaker, or who have surrendered to weakness at some point or the other.

It is the reason why even Jesus Christ abhorred moral certainty: remember the prostitute and her oil? Remember righteous Peter and the ear he slashed, and how God used the very next day to teach him a lesson about moral certainty? Aha!

Much as integrity might be what will rescue Nigeria; integrity is not what has rescued any of the nations; what I will however agree with is the concept of crime and punishment, which is what has reigned these societies in, rather than any inborn or even strived-for integrity. So that whilst I agree that Uche has done the crime so he should do the time, the question is: what if it weren’t a crime? Is his situation once that we can empathize with?

So in essence you see we agree; we are all flawed, we are all sin-inheritors – crime is not about morality; you see we are agreed! What we don’t agree about however is how we should react to these breaches of either crime or morality. I say walk a mile in the other’s shoes first: it is easy for you to say hang them, but for me what is easy is to say ‘he who is without sin …’

Finally, what you refer to as the ‘prevailing trend of political correctness’ is not about standing for nothing; it is rather about saying while you are standing, give allowance that the ground might be shaky, and that the other person’s ground is not necessarily lower. So that if you fall, in others you can find as much redemption as you gave them in their own time of weakness.

Calabar Gal said...

I am watching this saga unfold keenly.......

Wole's Girl said...

My darling, darling chude...
as the elders would say, you have asked me...and i shall tell you...
The concept of moral authority, or certainty, to use your own words…is just that, a concept. It is not, in reality what any human possesses, and really, very few people have ever been foolish enough to self-proclaim possession of this, as humans were not born with it.
What the people or institutions that SEEM to promote that moral high-ground that you hold in so much disdain is this….…
“These are the conceptual human standards of morality that will make living in a communal society, a unified existence, much easier and better….Brother, ..the road maybe long and the journey tortuous, but let us not relent in attempting to reach for our CONCEPTUAL excellence.”
With this thinking will necessary be related a certain level of societal disapproval when it is found that some human beings that by a blanket assessment, not tried hard enough to meet the minimum amount of effort to remain on this path.
If you are proposing Chude that this assessment should be used in a less than blanket manner and matters judged on case per case basis…I agree with you…. ( oh, by the way, on case per case, Uche failed that one too in my books)
For crime matters….this is maybe perhaps the judicial court, the elected figurative custodian of these standards, gives you a chance to “explain” yourself…

My lord…I know I did it..but this was why…

My Lord…na lie them talk..no be me….I’m not stupid enough to do anti-social things..

Note that the court does not ask you if you pray 5 times, or give alms, or smile at little babies…what goes on in your heart is your business, but as long as you are willing to live in the human society, you are bound, dammit…so behave!
So what is the relationship between human beings and morality? What is the thing that is required of us?
Only this…that we should STRIVE for it…..
Not to worry about failing….already it is rather pre-ordained that we will fail somewhat anyway…but we press on anyway, leaving no man behind.
Let is not mix up the fine principles of understanding, tolerance and human empathy with moral laxity or worse, apathy.
Crime and punishment helps to trim and keep in place the edges of the society, but integrity, borne out of a genuine devotion to your society, your heritage, your country, your people, has been at the roots of any great nation.
Not by the entire populace……no, there are those who spear-head the direction, they live, they love, they lead (and they die for this cause) and we the people can only in gratitude follow the general direction of our ideological fore-fathers. (To those who led that path before me, in spite of their human fallibility, I always drink to you)
I’m sure I have missed the meaning of moral certainty in your post, because from my hazy days at church and Sunday school, long, long time ago( kai!…God should forgive me o….) I recall a certain Jesus telling us to be “holy as your father is holy” and “prepare for the day when the unrighteous will be cut off”
What he didn’t want was for us to PRE-OCCUPY ourselves with the failings of others and not cut them off because of same.
How ever no where in there did He say that we should tolerate sin, both in our selves, and in others.
So what he means is this, sin will come….somehow that’s part of the plan, you might succumb, maybe part of the plan too….but make him uncomfortable WHEREVER you find him….lest you, and others become like the swine that delights in mud…(ok, I don’t think Jesus said that, but I think he might agree with me…)
So is George bush fighting a moral war? No. Is Dick Cheney a saintly guy? (are you kidding me?) and is Mark Foley (puh-lease!) but they do not stand before me as men unto themselves, rather as symbols ONLY of the moral authority that we all should look up to and continue to strive forward towards…..
The political distinction of the liberals and the conservatives that you so succinctly made scares me…you seem to say the liberals are better in touch because they “push a morality envelope” that kind of argument is worrisome.
Because what you have just said is that every year, more and more people can do more and more of exactly what they want……because a moral high ground is impossible, so we should foggerit abi?
Much as I think that’s not what they are trying to say, supposing it was….Is that the kind of freedom that guarantees a better world?
So the liberals continue to push the moral envelope…but under what thinking? People will do what they want anyway…so lets declare a free-for all, so everyone will like us.
This is a dangerous thinking….and I assure you, a lot has been negotiated on the altar of votes…
My consolation, by the time the chaotic results of this blatant namby-pamby ness hits the world, I PRAY I shall be long gone, hope fully I shall only be chuckling my I-told-you-so from a celestial distance.
I’m not ignoring your take on Racism, sure it came from a warped sense of superiority, but I’m not so sure moral superiority is the word you were looking for. Lets discuss this elsewhere…
And for that golden closing statement…..
Finally, what you refer to as the ‘prevailing trend of political correctness’ is not about standing for nothing; it is rather about saying while you are standing, give allowance that the ground might be shaky, and that the other person’s ground is not necessarily lower. So that if you fall, in others you can find as much redemption as you gave them in their own time of weakness
Do you mean by this a do-me I do-you forgiveness, mutual concordance to say: remember-I-did-not-shout-on-you-when-you-did-your-own-so-don’t-shout-too-much? Tufia! I don’t want any part of that kind of understanding from anyone….Amen.

Im thinking we continue this in private where we will not run the risk of boring everyone with our pig-headedness…

On a lighter note…Chude darling, why do you have such issues with marriage and your mum when you know that however, whenever, you want to get married, I’m supposed to be first in line for consideration? Abi you now want to back out ni?
Shalom o jare!

Chude! said...

Lol. Exactly the reason I am delaying: I need enough money for that GRAND wedding! On continuing this exchange outside this sphere - roger that: see you on yahoo messenger!

mystoriesmytestimonies said...

i am ibo oooo...
look at anambra state wahala
we are cursed ....ibo people are cursed...only God can save us...

i pity uche odoputa...cos no ndigbo will be in that court ...
sad sad sad.....

My Talking Beginnings said...

chude and co, i didnt read the long tory that you pple wrote, hope it made sense sha!
That said, your argument on Igbo cohesivness is a valid one however i do not think this senario is a good example. Here's my own bit of a double standard i suppose!

ababoypart2 said...

Question: Or should we just throw away all political correctness and admit that this says something about the ‘republican, egalitarian, above-board’ character (some will say get rid of all the hyperboles and call it by its name: irritating selfishness) of the Igbos

Answer: Lamentably, It is...

Vera Ezimora said...

That's just sad! I dunno why Ndigbo do these stupid things. He hasnt acted in years, my ass. Wetin concern yansh with toothbrush? One thing has nothing 2 do wit the other. Mmmm.

Kafo said...

i dunno
i was always of the mind that Igbo ppl protected their own and helped advance others. i mean the moment u see one person in a town in a matter of months u have 10 of ten flourishing and doing business.

i dunno
i would like to believe that the reason y this fella is hung out to dry has more to do with some personal offence to one of d Powers that be and not just cuz it is the Igbo ppl.

Osa said...

As you stated, they don’t want anything to halt their “perks” lol…Naija ( they have a point there sha)… Ah! you no fit blame them for this one o, Females have sympathy and people are quick to be invective on Males when circumstances like this occur. On the other note, the Ibo’s do need to synergize to move futher..

Chude! said...

@mystories,
we can only pray, abi?
GB,
so elaborate!!
@ababoy,
sad eh? thanks for dropping in
@vera,
abi o my sister!!! Dem think say we no get sense??
@kafo,
maybe. actually the kinship of the igbos in terms of resourcefulness has been seen as selfish in a certain way too. they cannot trust anyone - their 'brethren' are the only ones they can half-trust. but then i might be completely wrong. its just upsetting the callousness in thsi matter
@osa,
ur point about male and female dichotomy is actually true, yeah ... where you dey since by the way?lol

Kpakpando said...

Is the Actor's Guild for Igbos only? Are any of the statements made regarding his inactivity false? I think their president is simply trying to distance themselves from what might be perceived as a trend among actors, not acting/speaking on behalf of Igbos.

Chude! said...

kpakpando,
1. Yes, the Actors guild is actualy the 'Igbo' Guild, even though it pretends to be for everyone. Core Yoruba Filmmakers/Actors have severally dissociated themselves from their counterparts in the AGN. And like I said, thier statements abourt his inactivity are dishonest. I did say that. Cheers and thanks for dropping in.