Why is Cousin Yemi and family more about respectability politics than correcting a generational error?

Beating about the bush and begging the question are no new concepts to conservation societies. Societies where cultural and morally-defined concepts like respect are sung into the ears of the ‘future generation’, so they pass on like oral tradition. Societies where remodelling ideologies are thrown out like some small rat covered in drainage mud. Societies where real issues are de-prioritised and unreciprocated respect is made the opportunity cost.

Interestingly, if you were to dig deeper to understand such societies, you will be overwhelmed by the apparent loss of societal values and the hypocrisy that thrives on perfectly-maintained backwards-thinking support systems. But this is Cousin Yemi and family’s utopia – a regressive world of the underdeveloped and the poorest mindsets you can find around.

Knowing that you are also in a WhatsApp group that deals with how ‘Mummy Ngozi, who is a new wife and young, did not wash Mama Iyabo’s pants when she came around for Big Mummy’s 80th birthday celebration’ irritates you the more, but that’s the reality and, respectability politics must be refined to suit the dictates of a post-medieval society. Oh! Cousin Yemi forgot we are now in the 21st Century, not the post-medieval ages. We almost forgot too so we lost guard there.

The gist:

A Twitter user, Timilehin, tried to gain access to his family’s support system to spread the gospel of #EndSARS but hardly knew that he was running and jumping towards a clay brick wall defined by people who have insisted that we sing Sha-Rock‘s songs in place of ‘Fantasy’ by Niniola ft. Femi Kuti. Timilehin’s response was ‘FEM’ by Davido. Classic!

In the WhatsApp group chat, you experience people who pay irregular attention to certain words in a chain of sentences and dismiss the intent of a conversation rather than the issue itself. But, it is not just that. You also realise that Nigerian youth hardly have the support of a generation who experienced ₦1 to $1, ₦2,500 for a Mercedez Benz (instead of inhumane costs like pant), 50kobo for a bottle of coke, 25kobo to travel to Ibadan from Lagos and back, one full chicken on their plates in higher institutions, ‘funny’ fashion sense that did not attract blazing guns and extortion, etc, and don’t want millennials to enjoy something close to that.

You will also see a generation who hardly understand the internet and how the world has evolved and will not ask questions. They prefer to add tags like ‘yahoo-yahoo’ to your government name to validate their bias. Ultimately, a generation of people who either moulded Nigeria into a conducive space for organised corruption and compromised security systems or looked away while it happened.

But, guess what? Timilehin, one other young hero fighting on Nigerian streets to stop police brutality and demand police reforms, asked them questions they always try to redefine to sell their ‘respect your elders’ narrative. He is a man schooled in the art of telling elders off knowing they failed this generation.

This is what happened:

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