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Why free Evans campaign imprisoned the remnants of our Nigerian values.

Just a few days after billionaire kidnapper Evans was apprehended, free Evans campaign was birthed. Not only does this present a challenge to the moral fabric of our society, it exposes our fragile psyche as a Nation motivated and driven by unspeakable vices.

A kidnapper who is apprehended – under no form of duress or torture confesses to all his crimes, produces more than enough substantial evidence including names of the kidnapped, names of gang members, the location of cash and assets, modes of operation and even ransoms received.

In any other part of the world, a certain DA(district attorney) would be invited to convict Evans who at this point fully deserves his day in court. But not in Nigeria, never in Nigeria. Firstly, Evans must be dragged through the court of public opinion, which holds a far more damning or liberating verdict than any other court in the country. In this court, the best actors are always the winners.

And we recently saw a masterpiece in acting delivered by no other than the wife of Nigeria’s most successful kidnapper. this gave birth to #freeevans on Twitter and Instagram.

free evans

There’s something inherently ugly and damning about our present society and the birth of this distasteful campaign. So I asked a couple of whys’ so as to get to the root of #freeevans.

Why would anyone want Evans to be freed? Answer: It’s not about the man, It’s about his status as a billionaire.

Yes, usually the money comes first, and all other things follow. The first reason anyone would want the government to free Evans is that he became a role model of a broken society. Like the fictional Gotham City where everyone bowed to The Joker – “a billionaire kidnapper” has a certain ring to it. It didn’t sound good all of a sudden.

It was a gradual process where everyone who got rich overnight via dubious process was praised each time they flaunted their wealth on social media. It sounds good because the sole measure of success in our society is money. Loot it, Kill for it, Embezzle it, even mint it in your bedroom – you’ll be on the end of the spectrum that justifies the means – however ugly the means.

naija big boys
Naija big boys

we are now a society of slay queens and ballers, and no one can point a finger. Because for each finger you point, there are a thousand accusations of your “hater” status by those whose ultimate goal is to “slay and ball”.

Why would anyone listen to pleas from an estranged wife? Answer: It’s not about the wife, it’s about sensationalism.

Do you remember #basedonlogistics, or #HallelujahChallenge‏ or #bobriskysomething??? The first one was real, the second one is still real, the third one I just made up. But you believe it could be a trend? Yes? That’s sensationalism at best. And just like the “billionaire kidnapper”, it has a certain flair to it. In mid-2000’s, a certain Linda Ikeji Blog was created based upon a deep understanding of the new Nigerian. The new Nigerian is lazy, unscrupulously and unapologetically lazy. 

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There’s laziness to read the news, laziness to innovate, laziness to learn. Hence an attention span less than a goldfish and inability to read any content beyond gossip. LIB’s understanding created a new generation of media based on gossip and sensationalism; her huge success then created a vicious cycle that encouraged lazy people to create more gossip blogs to cater to more lazy readers. 

At the end of this cycle, we found ways to bring jungle justice to the internet. Just look at this poll on Twitter.

Why would anyone want to be a part of this conversation? Answer: We lost our ability to be shocked or surprised.

As excellently put by this article in the vanguard, “In a country where billions of Naira sit in apartments or sewers, I suppose we have lost the ability to be shocked by such, and more notably, greed makes us accept any and everything without question…. What happened to asking questions, digging deep and questioning the status quo?”
I would like to add that while greed propelled us to be interested in the story of Evans and all the surrounding fallout; it is a systemic embrace of injustice and corruption that led us to become a part of the conversation.

Show me something of shock value to the Nigerian youth, I dare you. It’s scary to think that most of our leaders came from the beginnings of Evans. Kidnapped their way into power, and forced us to bow to their deeds with stolen wads of cash. They are our new symbols of success and achievements. Publicly paraded as chiefs, Amanyanebos, Obas, Emirs, and easily given honorary doctorate degrees – why then should we not be a part of the conversation?

Why were the contents of the acting so significant? Answer: A sprinkle of charity and religion is enough opium to go round.

Read these four sentences from Evan’s wife, then you can get a grasp of how high Nigerians became at the little dose of opium.

  1. He reads Psalm 23 a lot.   Even his phone, he sets alarm for 12 noon to read Psalm 23.   He took part in our daily prayers in the morning, evening and night.
  2. Have mercy on us. He did not know what he was doing.   He did not know what came over him.
  3. All those he injured or took their money should please forgive him because of me and my children. They should kindly forgive him, he will repent.
  4. Evans is a good man.  Since I have been living with him, he has never injured anybody or beat me.
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Now imagine the contents of Psalm 23, and apply these prayers to the deeds of a “good man” Evans. Do you see the hypocrisy there? No? Well, If you can’t then you are as high on religion as a significant part of the Nigerian population. Without mincing words, criminals pay tithes in the millions to churches who then offer prayers of blessings for their endeavors.

Perhaps, there is no coincidence that four of the Ten richest pastors in the world are from Nigeria. Or that Nigeria was the second most religious country in the world as at 2015 (we know it grew exponentially!) Yet, we have more criminals, more marijuana intake, and more corruption.

Behind all of this saga is the most damning verdict of all – that we’re all mostly ok about it. As long as Evans gives back what he has stolen, makes donations to charities and pays huge church tithes, then it’s ok.  Which begs the most pertinent question of all:

Why is Evans’ case not in the criminal courts yet?

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  • […] will briefly skip over the sparse details of his biography to why he was caught. He was a high-profile kidnapping suspect on the run from the police till he was caught on June 10, 2…. Not long afterward, an interview was arranged with media where gave details of his exploits and […]

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