I know that during the recent disagreement in COSON of which I am Chairman, some people were sure that their pay day had finally come. “Yes! This man that behaves as if he is beyond destruction has been squashed at last! Let’s celebrate!”
As their big guns targeted at COSON and this writer boomed, all the smaller people with one issue or another lined up to fire their own pot shots.
The laughable thing is that a good number of the people who talk about me and beat their chests with so much certainty do not know me. They probably have never spoken to me and know nothing about the issues for which they are losing so much sleep.
They have just inherited other people’s hatred, covetousness, jealousy or envy. If their guy does not like me, then, they too must not like me. It does not matter if their guy has told them a big lie. They will join a fight they do not understand and break a head that has done nothing to them After all, how do they prove to their guy that they are loyal?
Those who do not know my values talk as if I were them and would think like them or act like them. That’s how they justify what they do.
I know one young lady who I truly like because I have always thought she is brilliant and ought to be part of Nigeria’s future. A few months ago, she was all over Twitter and Instagram heaping insults on me and telling so many half truths about me. I understand her.
About a year ago, I went to court against her principal who had published blatant lies against me. I went to court because I want her principal to come to court with his facts and establish the truth for the benefit of the young people whom we lead and whom we must not mislead. I understand that she is doing what she is doing in what she considers loyalty to her principal. If I was her principal, she would be saying exactly the opposite of what she is saying now.
In fact, I worked very closely with her principal for over seven and half years and for much of that period, I was a very good man. Now, I disagree with her principal and overnight I have become evil. The truth is that I neither hate her nor her principal. They are just behaving like average Nigerians.
Not long ago, I was asked by a lady journalist what my reaction was to the relentless attack on me. The lady seemed shocked when I said that my real focus is on the work we must do for the progress of the Nigerian creative community.
I have learnt that hatred of anyone is like the coronavirus. It can easily kill! If you hate someone, you will probably find it difficult to breath well, eat well or sleep well at night so I wear a mask against hatred and socially distance myself from anyone whom I suspect will transmit the hatred virus to me. As you nurse the virus called hate, unknown to you, the object of your hate may indeed be snoozing away and living a good life. Who is the loser?
I have trained myself to stay away from hating anyone. We carry too much burden as it is; why do I want to add another heavy burden on my shoulders? There are some of my friends who think that I am too tolerant of people they think have openly betrayed me. I tolerate them because I do not want to hate them. I am not perfect, so rather than hate a man for what he has done, I give him another chance to redeem himself.
When you think of it, a lot of people should be pitied and not hated. When you analyze them, they are driven by ignorance or fear of some sort, lack of self-esteem; religious or tribal bigotry; mental poverty, jealousy or envy, etc.
Because of the passion I express for what I do, I have found myself being the victim of hate by some people who really do not know me. I am aware that there are those who pray all the time that I fail in what I do. The fact that the Almighty has not allowed me to fail drives them even more mad and makes them to even hate the more.
I have met many in Nigeria who are driven by love and the desire to do good for the greatest number. The problem is that some people believe that everyone is like them. They cannot understand how someone can sit down and think of how to better the lives of people he does not know. They believe that when we announce that COSON is distributing millions of naira to thousands of musicians, it is a scam. In their heads, they cannot imagine how anyone can give away millions of naira to people who were not there when the money was made. ‘How can someone give away that much money without pocketing some?’, they ask.
I find that with such people, no explanation is good enough. No evidence will satisfy them. Crooked people believe that everyone else is crooked. The fact that you are driven by other values than lust for money makes no sense to them. They shoot at you from every corner expecting you to crumble. When you don’t crumble, they conclude that you must have a very strong juju man working 24 hours a day for you.
When you are driven by hate, you can never experience true happiness because there is always something new to hate. Every day, I try to create some new and beautiful purpose to keep me busy. I make sure that love and the good of the greatest number are central to what I do each day of my life.
Yes, I drive on a full tank of faith and love is my engine oil.
See you next week.
– Okoroji is the chairman of COSON