It was some years ago when my organisation was hiring new staff.
Part of the recruitment process was a writing exercise to test the applicant’s ability to spot some basic errors in English.
It wasn’t anything complicated. It was more like elementary English, something anyone who went through an average secondary school and stayed in class during English lessons would treat as dessert.
But this guy, who had been recommended for this position was an uncommon disappointment.
His performance was just heartbreaking. When they brought his result to me and I saw his score, the disappointment was major.
He had scored 17 per cent.
That for me was the end. I mean, where do you want to start to help such a candidate?
And that was just what I told the fellow that brought him days later when he came to appeal for my help.
I moved on.
Days later I noticed that this candidate kept hovering around the newsroom, and that one or two people were always listening to whatever story he was telling, and giving him these pitying looks, like he was a victim.
Still, I moved on.
Then, the fellow who had brought him initially came to my office one day and told me why the guy had refused to give up and continue his job search elsewhere, even when it had been made clear to him that with his performance there was no way he would be offered the job.
The job seeker, he said, had told him that he knew that I was the one that didn’t allow him to get the job.
Now, how did he know this?
Oh, his religious leader had told him before the interview that one woman would be his obstacle in getting the job.
Apparently, that was also the sob story he had be selling to everyone around and begging them to come and appeal to me.
I had never seen him before then.
I didn’t set the test.
I didn’t administer the test.
Yet, I was the obstacle.
Someone told him this and he believed it.
That he saw his own score and how abysmally he performed wasn’t a factor here.
I was his ‘Village People’ and for as long I was not appeased or perhaps, neutralised, he was helpless in that instance.
The earlier we pull ourselves by our bootstraps, face what this new phase brings, internalise the lessons therein, and make the inevitable amends, the easier the entire experience would be
And because he had believed that obvious lie, I didn’t see him doing any better in a similar exercise later, unless he changed his mindset.
If you’re familiar with the Nigerian edition of social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, you would have heard of the ‘Village People’ phenomenon.
For the sake of the ‘uninitiated’, I will attempt an explanation here.
The village people are those usually responsible for all our woes. It does not matter what it is; failing an exam or a job interview, losing a job or getting into an accident; whatever it, so long it isn’t positive or beneficial, the village people are always ‘involved’.
The concept of the Village People has been with us for so long that it has become a part of who we are.
We have forgotten what it means to take the responsibility for anything, both the leaders and the led.
Are you then surprised that we’re also at the forefront of every conspiracy theory associated with this COVID-19?
True, these conspiracies didn’t originate from us, but the manner in which we ‘carried them on our head like gala in Lagos traffic’, spoke volumes.
For days, the social media was on fire. Even those who many had hitherto seen as thought leaders, were running from post to post, spreading unfounded rumours and confusing people further.
First, it was Bill Gates and his grand evil plan to implant microchips in everyone ostensibly for COVID-19 vaccine.
Bill Gates, the newly crowned antichrist, will ultimately use the microchips to enslave everyone for his master, the Devil.
Apparently, nothing excites us like the possibility of a global villain to bear our collective blame.
Yes, bring Bill Gates, crucify him and bring his head on a platter. Maybe then, his death and blood would appease the god of COVID-19 and this scourge would go away.
Then came the hues and cries over 5G and all its evil fallouts and how COVID-19 was one of them.
Suddenly, we all became wireless technology radiation and energy experts.
You know all this time the cry over 5G was going on, one picture that kept playing in my head was that of the proverbial snail parading itself in a gathering of horned animals.
You mean Nigerians truly believe we are anywhere near those countries we’re mimicking in terms of technological advancement, wireless or not?
COVID-19 itself would certainly be chortling at the hilarity of it.
But it is easy for us to jump on that bandwagon, and waste energy that would have been put to better use.
Like I already said in an earlier piece, this COVID-19 didn’t come to play.
The earlier we pull ourselves by our bootstraps, face what this new phase brings, internalise the lessons therein, and make the inevitable amends, the easier the entire experience would be.
Our world is set on a different course and each will have to decide for themselves how they would fare in it.
There is no ‘Village People’ anywhere to take the fall.
Not this time. Not ever again.