Ayodeji Rotinwa: We are a ‘mediocre’ people! (30 Days, 30 Voices)

You are also perhaps the type that feel those that ‘fight for their rights’ on roads and haggle with policemen are stupid and should just ‘settle them’ instead. What does this say of you?! Damn poverty of the mind, if you ask me!

The word ‘mediocre’ is described by the dictionary to mean: ‘of only ordinary or moderate quality; neither good nor bad; barely adequate’ or ‘not satisfactory; poor; inferior.’ The latter definition would be more apt when describing Nigerians. Now, I don’t mean mediocre as human beings, it’s our thinking that is mediocre thus making us mediocre people (myself inclusive, at some point or the other.)

Still don’t get it? Let me explain. The average Nigerian is one that looks down on himself, who doesn’t believe there could or should be any better. In some very terrible cases, in my opinion, he is one who feels he doesn’t deserve any better. It is something I have come to discover, is ingrained in us as a people, but it is something I have refused to accept. Let me paint out a few scenarios.

1- You are on your way going somewhere; you’re on the service lane or side street (or somewhere else along these lines) and you get stopped by one of the many law enforcement (yeah, right) agents that plague this country. To your knowledge, you haven’t broken any traffic law or committed any crime. Your headlights and co are in perfect order, you are not on the opposite end of a one-way street, hell, you haven’t even dared to veer onto the exclusive BRT Lane.

As the men in uniform approach, you are quaking in your well-worn shoes. You are aware that you haven’t done anything wrong but you have already concluded in your mind, for these ‘agents’ to have stopped you, something must be wrong. Before they get to your car, you have arranged a little ‘something for the weekend’ that will ensure they let you go, even when you clearly haven’t done anything wrong. You have accepted fault even when innocent. Why?! Because the men in uniform know better? You are also perhaps the type that feel those that ‘fight for their rights’ on roads and haggle with policemen are stupid and should just ‘settle them’ instead. What does this say of you? Damn poverty of the mind, if you ask me!

2. You are a middle-level employee at some company. First, the working conditions are not exactly enabling; second, you are inhumanely treated by your superiors but you stomach it all because the woman/man is an ‘Oga’ so you assume he/she is in his right of place to talk down at you as they’d like or treat you as though you’re less of a human being; on top of all that, the salary’s laughable and not even regular.

But yet, you feel you don’t deserve any better or even if you do believe so, you say to yourself, were you in their position, you too would be bossy and ‘declare’ as you’d like. You do the company’s work on your own tab; at most you’d grumble and then say to yourself ‘One day, e go better’. Utter, complete NONSENSE!

3. This third scenario is a bit of a break from the first two but I reckon it’d be the one easiest to relate to here. It’s the mediocrity in Nigerian music, ladies and gentlemen.

– Nigeria is perhaps the biggest market for sonic rubbish. The jargon that we love and then assault our ears is legendary. As of right now, any song that doesn’t have fast-paced beats, not filled with meaningless slangs, quips and phrases, that one cannot apply rave dance moves-of-the-moment to, is referred to as ‘dead‘ by an alarming number of the listening public.

We do not appreciate or expect quality, by Jove, we almost abhor it! Sure, we have the Asa, Bez, Darey Art Alade fans but you can’t compare their numbers to the other lot! I’m not saying ‘dancehall’ tracks are mediocre, sometimes it’s the content (lyrics and what not) that make most of them up that are. We turn up our noses at anything ‘slow’ or that even has the the tiniest hint of depth, we’d much rather stick with the basic, ‘put your hands in the air, wave ’em like you don’t care’ lines that we must have heard only about a million times over! It’s gotten so bad that even artistes have accepted this mediocrity and have been ‘forced’ to break away from genres that best express their talents, to make music for the people A large number of artistes have gone down this route, living a lie, as it were, with their music. I shall not name names.

These are only but a few of scenarios in which we continue to sell ourselves short. The third scenario in my opinion should even be an article all on its own! It’s a scourge that must be tackled. Yes, I feel that strongly about it. I however, expect a large number of people to disagree with what I’ve said as a whole; some may even throw some verbal barbs but the truth sometimes is a bitter pill and I daresay, this one is just what the doctor ordered!

My name is Ayodeji Rotinwa and I make no apologies.


About the author: Rotinwa is the Editor of The Urbane Mix  an online magazine on lifestyle, culture, and opinions. He is also a columnist with This Day (Style) Newspapers.


Editor’s note: Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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Comments (7)

  1. Ayodeji is right. This mediocrity also affects our thought processes- both in business and governance. Until we begin to challenge the system, e.g asking the police officer why he stopped you- nothing would change..

  2. Ayodeji has said it all. Thing is until we all individually begin to change( e.g questioning why the LASTMA guy has wrongly told you to park) we won't progress. This mediocrity has even affected our thought processes and it is just sad….

    Below is another nice read http://esosays.blogspot.com/2012/05/impunity-is-n….

    I'm out.

  3. The 3rd point, especially. Couple of days ago, when it broke out that Ice Prince had received an award nomination from BET, I tweeted saying that wouldn't automatically transform him into an awesome rapper. Some folks attacked me for 'bringing down a fellow Nigerian'. One said I should support him even if the music is crappy since he's my fellow Nigerian. Nothing defines mediocrity more than this

  4. So now that you have idenitified the obvious, what next? I was hoping you'd profer some solutions or at least some reasons as to why this is.

  5. Wow, this guy is on point! I thought I was the only one, as a result , I no longer listen to the radio- 80% of the music out there is a reflection of what our socity has turned into – "a lot of gra gra, high pitched voice and adrenaline pumping atitude in traffic, banking hall and all other public places.

  6. I cannot agree more. I have been in this place and maybe at this point I still am. We tend to endure things just because we have lived with it for so long. It has become "standard living" just because we refuse to force our minds and push ourselves.
    I dare say we need to stop thinking we can't be better, or do better or even deserve better. Amazing how one can give this advice so freely though but yet finds it hard to live it.
    Thank you for sharing and for not making apologies too.

  7. Personally I think the situation is worse than a horror movie. Quite very alarming. Especially statements like "what can I do"? Then the shrug that comes after it. Sad. Ayodeji you can never be more ryt

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail