I was comparatively late in having a Facebook account. I was worried about the distraction and addiction. I hate addictions. Well, all these are in the past now. I have been on Facebook for a while now. I see a Facebook page as a home. Each person builds his house to his specification and decorates the inner space to suit his personality. If your Facebook page does not give an idea of who you are – your profession, family, likes dislikes, etc – I get suspicious.
It is your entitlement how you build your home and arrange your space as long as it is not against public policy. That is why I scarcely join issues with people on their Facebook pages. For me, na their house, I nor fit carry fight go meet person for im own house. But if you are mature and intellectually engaging, I might engage you on your Facebook page. I might also inbox and raise the issue if I feel it is better discussed privately. But if your stock in trade is to pour insults on people, I mind my business and waka pass. Sometimes when I feel strongly about the issue and do not want to join issues with the person, I go to my page to put forward my own perspective on the issue. After all, we all have our Facebook homes, sorry, pages.
Facebook has also become an amusement park for me. Normally, before I send a friend request to anyone, I will go through his/her page to be sure we share similar values, areas of interest or the person’s Facebook page is engaging. Facebook users send friend requests for different reasons. Some are just to defraud people. I have received over 20 friend requests from a supposed customs officer, Ruth Adeyemi, obviously a fake name. Apart from Ruth Adeyemi, other “custom officers” also send me requests. I just laugh, delete and block. What is my business? I am a chartered insurance broker and a media person, not a customs agent or clearing and forwarding agent, so why should I be crazy about being friends with custom’s people on Facebook? Even if I import an item, I will engage the services of a clearing agent. I believe in division of labour, specialisation and professionalism.
I also get many requests from “oyibo widows.” They live in Manchester, London, Sweden, America, yet they have no single oyibo friend. Their friends are mainly from Zamfara, Ogoja and other places in Nigeria and Ghana. I just laugh. I simply, delete and block. The few oyibo friends I have on Facebook are those I met during my travels. Any friend request from oyibo will meet a stone wall, unless it can pass through the eye of a needle I have put in place.
Also, I always go through people’s Facebook pages before I accept their friend request. I have seen an irritating trend among young people recently. If you go through their profile, you see, went to: “University of Oxford,” “University of Cambridge,” “University of Harvard” “University of Abadeen (Aberdeen).” What? Without a passport and visa? You studied abroad when you have probably never been to an international airport? How many Nigerians will study abroad for years without taking a single photo of their campus environment? Even those who did three months courses proudly tell you they are alumnus or alumna of Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, MIT, etc? Yet in your case, your page is filled with photos you took in your local environment. Some other youngsters claim to have attended Nigerian universities, but if you look critically, it is not true. Why can’t young people be comfortable with who they are?
I also get so many friend requests from those who are into betting and match fixing. Let me tell them my story so that they can understand why I will never be involved in their activities again. In 1980, my father gave me money to buy provisions to take to school. I can’t recall the exact amount, but it was definitely less than N10 (the younger generation can never comprehend this). I left home with one of my brothers. We could have stopped at Kingsway Store or Leventis Store around Enerhen Junction, near Warri, Delta State, where sardine was sold for 20 kobo, Carnation milk was nine kobo, while Peak Milk was 18 kobo, but we decided to head to Igbudu Market, in Warri.
At the entrance of Igbudu Market, some women were doing “try your luck” (a form of gambling). Greed took over my young mind. I decided to try my luck so that I could double my school money. Before I knew it, I had lost two naira. My brother, who sensed trouble, urged me that we should go. “Mo ayaran o (let’s go o),” he kept urging me. When the women felt I wanted to listen to my brother, they would tilt and manipulate the board and I would win. I would then tell my brother, “Can’t you see I am winning?” This continued until I had only N2 left before I reluctantly listened to my brother. Una see wetin Igbudu Market women do small pikin? They could not even drive me away at the first instant, being that I was under aged.
With the N2, I bought milk and sugar, may be one tin of sardine and geisha each. That was all I took to school to augment school food for six weeks. I didn’t have the courage to tell my parents what happened. I suffered in school for those six weeks before mid-term break. Forty one years later, I still remember the hunger in those six weeks. My upbringing was so strict, begging friends for provisions was out of the way. It was like my mother was watching my every move in school, though she was at least 20 kilometres away. That was when God delivered me from the vices of greed and desperation, the very ingredients (ignorance inclusive) necessary for you to be duped.
So guys, stop wasting your time. I don’t need your friendship. Gambling and betting do not interest me. If it’s insurance, media and communications, writing, etc, I am all ears, let’s talk business. But leave me out of betting and gambling; the probability of winning is too low. Let me stick to what I understand which also have reasonable higher probability of success.
Also, those babalawo, who want to make me a Dangote overnight, stop sending me requests. I am a systems and processes person. I still do not understand the systems and processes you want to use to perform that magic. Let me stick with the systems and processes, which though are like building a house one block at a time, will get me to my destination someday. They currently put food on the table, give me a roof over my head, keep the children in school and take care of other bills, including affording me a few luxuries. Above all, they give me peace of mind and I cherish peace of mind.