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Opinion

Jagun jagun and the culture of misplaced activism By Abdulrazaq Hamzat

I hardly watch movies, but some how, I watched jagun jagun movie.

In the movie, while many are mesmerized with the custume, action and others, the only aspect that spoke to me is that part that I can simply describe misplaced activism.

So, what is misplaced activism? In jagun jagun training camp, one of the soldiers, Gbotija protested against the small portion of food, given to them by the Agemo lady.

In his protest, he said the portion of food given to them was small, beyond the normal portion they are expected to get. He therefore sent message of protest to Agemo.

When Gbotija protest reached Agemo, she was infuriated and instantly went to the camp, in search of the protester.

While at the camp, Agemo asked for those who protested over the portion of food and Gbotija confidently stepped forward, in the usual activist arrogance.

He spoke about the small food, which couldn’t satisfy the soldiers and he emphasize that he’s not scared to say the truth.

Naturally, he was punished. In the mind of Gbotija, he was being punished unjustly for speaking truth to power, but in the mind of Agemo, she was being criticized irrationally for going extra mile to ensure the fighters get something to eat, no matter how little, while they are still sourcing for more food that would be sufficient at a later time.

After the punishment, Agemo had to educate Gbotija that the shortage of food was due to food scarcity, but she went extra mile to get what was supplied to the soldiers, pending when more food would be available.

She felt outraged that instead of being commended for going extra mile to provide for the soldiers amidst food scarcity, Gbotija was protesting against her unjustly, claiming he was saying truth.

At the end of the day, Gbotija also realized that the person he was protesting against was actually the one who meant well. He realized that the small portion of food from Agemo, was actually a gesture from a concerned heart, not an attempt to starve the soldiers unduly. When Gbotija realized this, he apologized to agemo and they both became friends, then lovers.

The message here is actually for all of us, especially the activists. We react to things as they appear, when in fact, they are much more to it. Unfortunately, we don’t really have the ability to seek the other side without casting aspersion, neither do we have the patience required to comprehend the whole situation.

We are quick to say we are saying truth or speaking truth to power, when infact, we may just be speaking out of ignorance, being unjust in the process. We label people with all sorts of names, when in fact, they may probably be the best amongst us, or even better than us.

Our limited access to information, circumstance or insight, hinders our appreciation of the whole situation, but we are quick to react and jump into conclusion. This is why some activists eventually turn friends with their former tyrant, when they eventually know them better, get to understand things better, like Agemo and Gbotija.

The other point is that, proactive communication may have prevented the problem in the first place.

This is why I have often maintained that Nigeria doesn’t have any problem that communication couldn’t solve. Communication is everything and with proactive communication, we could have averted many unnecessary situations.

If Agemo had communicated the food shortage ahead of time to the soldiers, when the small portion she struggled to get eventually came, they will appreciate her, not protest against her. But lack of adequate communication saw her efforts not appreciated.

My take away here is simple, we should move away from misplaced activism, to genuine collaborative approach to solving issues. Those in authority should also know that, communication can solve all of our problems.

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