By Lexzy Ochibejivwie
here is nothing wrong with pursuing the right cause. But pursuing the right cause in the wrong way is wrong. Whether in the US or wherever else in the world, there is really nothing wrong that cannot be solved with what is right.
Last Sunday, I stumbled onto a viral video on Facebook. The content of the video is an example of how not to respect a leader. It is an invasion on the privacy of an individual —- a pure insult on the dignity of the human person.
The content examples a complete misunderstanding of the right to free information. The video is sharp, clean-cut and has the appurtenances of a typical social media content —- brisk and gratifying. Two persons drive the content of the video.
Of course, It is only 3.05 (three minutes and five seconds) in length, and credited to the blog of a certain Kofoworola Omoshalewa.
The title of this video, couched in Yoruba, is noticeably one-shot and framed in the mode of a backbiter: Lobatan. Mr Aregbesola re ooooo, meaning: It is finished. Look at Mr Aregbesola.
The Gist in ‘Lobatan. Mr Aregbesola re ooooo’.
It is at an eatery in the US. Voice of a man is especially heard in the recording. Few whites are at the eatery. The camera moves slowly. A man is captured. The man’s attention is elicited with a casual compliment, ‘hello’. He turns to the recording.
The man is about to respond, but hesitates. He tries to continue to serve buffet. He hastens up on realizing that he is being recorded. He gingerly walks up to take a seat to enjoy his meal. Then, the recorder enters into a derisive laugh. He reveals the man as Aregbesola. He laughs, pointing out that his compliment is rebuffed by Aregbesola. He then boldly walks up to Aregbesola and tries to confirm his identity. Aregbesola asks him politely what the problem is.
Unsettled by the recording, he tells the man to introduce himself. Aregbesola also requests that the recorder states what he wants. He does not want anything. He goes on to say he thinks he recognizes Aregbesola. Aregbesola, on realizing that the recorder is a Nigerian politely asks him to take a seat besides him. Initially, he accepts. But changes his mind. He addresses Aregbesola with his official title, ‘Your Excellency’. He then goes on recording.
On seeing that the man is bent on recording, Aregbesola makes for his phone. He says Aregbesola has no right to it, and that this is America, not Nigeria. He repeats this and adds that Aregbesola cannot touch his phone. But Aregbesola reminds him calmly not to invade his privacy. But he would hear none of this. He claims that they are in a free country.
He also claims to do whatever he wishes. Aregbesola reminds him again that he can’t be recorded without his consent. He responds that not even Biden can stop him from using his phone to film. As Aregbesola again makes for his phone, covering his own face, he tells him not to touch him, and that should he do so, he will sue him. Their altercation becomes more intense. A woman besides Aregbesola interfares.
While Aregbesola insists that he cannot be recorded without his consent, the man insists he can. He insists that not even Biden can tell him not to record whenever he wishes to. He says they are in America, not Nigeria and becomes combative. The woman believes that the man is sick. By now, their altercation becomes full-blown. A third man tries to intervene. While the woman insists he has no right to record, he says he does. Aregbesola is heard expressing displeasure on his privacy invasion. The man turns his camera elsewhere., He goes on insisting that this is America, not Nigeria. End of recording.
What’s wrong is wrong?
What’s wrong has never been right and will never be. The recorder is a Nigerian but US-based. His recording shows deep resentment for Nigerian leaders. He shows his resentment through Aregbesola. Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola) was Governor of Nigeria’s State of Osun ( 2010-2018). He is currently Nigeria’s Minister of the Interior, and has been since 2019. He deserves some respect.
By recording him without his permission, the recorder did not take due propriety. If one requires authorization from artists or authors to consume their products, how much more a live recording of a person of no less standing as Aregbesola? It is standard practice to obtain due authorization, before airing a person’s view or image.
Media organizations, recognized by law, do this. It is only procedural to obtain authorization before recording a person. What was he thinking? He did not show respect, not just for his status, but for the dignity of his person. Here is a man who leaves the shores of his country and gets embarrassed in another by his compatriot.
The experience must really be horrible. I am not oblivious of the fact that Nigerian leaders have not performed creditably. I know there are many in Nigeria who are boiling in anger. I know the hatred is palpable. I am however not sure, if it is expedient for someone to go the way the recorder did in expressing his displeasure.
There was neither tact nor pragmatism in his action. Even when Aregbesola tried to be warm and mature, the recorder kept on being surly. His actions were premeditated. It is bad enough today that Nigeria has a negative standing in global rating. It may not be necessary to complicate it. I am really not sure if what the recorder did has popular support. If his recording achieves anything at all is its failure to achieve anything enduring.
Mass movement is what Nigeria needs to go pass her leadership quagmire. It is not that kind of embarrassing show put up in the video. And in the end, what did the recorder achieve? Nothing of worth. Yet he blew away a rare opportunity. It is not always that a person runs into a Rauf Aregbesola in the US. He could have used the opportunity to remind Minister Aregbesola that Nigerians are determined to flush out failures in government positions, as the Sri Lankans did recently in the ousting of their President. In that country, going solo to reject bad leaders was never an option. The option they took was mass mobilization — that determination that the people are stronger together and can make great things happen, if they bond together.
Another thing the recorder hammered on is the freedom to record without permission. I am not sure this is right. Your right as an individual ends where another’s begins. Rights do not clash; they compliment. It is within one’s right to use a phone or any other gadget to obtain information. But I am not sure if it is one’s right to do so without the necessary procedures.
The recorder reserves the right to record, Aregbesola equally reserves the right to refuse being recorded. The right of the recorder in America is not made to cancel out that of Aregbesola.The end of the recorder’s right is the beginning of Aregbesola’s. The recorder believes President Biden can’t stop him from recording. Indeed, Biden can’t, provided the recording does not infringe on the dignity of another person.
Let’s call a spade what it is, the recorder does not fully understand the import of obtaining information by coercion or even by intimidation. What if Aregbesola presses charges against him on grounds of harassment or privacy invasion? The recorder deliberately ignores the fact that there is something as the individual’s right to privacy. And that is what Interior Minister Aregbesola continue to stress in the recording. Record any video of your choosing or even record me, if you will, but let there be authorization.
Yet another thing the recorder points out is that the United States is not Nigeria. Sure. In the US, people are free to live their lives. But freedom in that country is not reckless. Freedom has its limitations. The framers of rights know that rights are subject to abuse. They know that for law and order to thrive, rights must have limitations.
There is no country in the world that supports taking of laws into one’s hands. The recorder took laws into his hands. It would seem he has some grudges against Aregbesola, as a result, sets out to embarrass him. He confronted him, with the intention to provoke to anger, to disgrace him publicly. I am not sure this is right. Aregbesola may have erred or may be erring in his public duties. It is not enough ground to attempt to snatch his dignity. What Nigeria really needs at a time as this is not just leadership, but followership.
The question of followership has been glossed over. All fingers point to leadership failure, as the bane of Nigeria’s woes. Agreed, Nigeria has leadership problem. The problem of followership exists too. There is and always will be a seamless transition from followership to leadership. What kind of leader will the recorder become? Is it one that undermines the private life of followers? It is not right to disrespect public officials.
But it is right to make them know when they err. It is not equally right to invade one’s privacy, be you in the US or any other country. Not right too is the mistaken belief that because there is such a thing as freedom to obtain information, it can be done by any means possible.
Ochibejivwie writes in from Warri