Shettima: Lazy Youths and the Disease of Ignorance, by Lawan Bukar Maigana
“To know that you don’t know is the best. To think you know when you do not is a disease. Recognising this disease as a disease is to be free from it.”
– Lao Tzu
One of the many iconic words or phrases that President Muhammadu Buhari has added to our political lexicon/dictionary, in the course of his eight-year eventful reign, is the concept of “Lazy Youths.” Though he didn’t actually use the word ‘Lazy,’ he, while attending an international conference in London in 2018, painted a picture of many young people in Nigeria who had not gone to school or acquired any common knowledge but who in their desperation to live in luxury think the country is indebted to them.
It was the news media that ‘helped’ the President to coin the phrase ‘Lazy Youths’ while reporting that address, and since then it has stuck. Since then, anytime a group of young people behave like a mob and act in ignorance especially on social media, the phrase, ‘Lazy Youths’ easily comes to mind.
It was difficult if not impossible for the phrase not to come to mind recently when this sort of ignorance-inspired outrage and mockery greeted the manner of dressing of the All Progressives Congress (APC) vice presidential candidate, Senator Kashim Shettima, at the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) annual conference in Lagos.
The flame of ignorance that ran wild on the internet almost set Facebook and Twitter on fire as ignoramuses who do not follow the latest trends in the world of fashion went on rampage, mocking the stylish appearance of Shettima.
These empty-headed characters thought they knew a lot but in reality they know nothing. George Bernard Shaw had warned them many years ago when he wrote that: “Beware of false knowledge, it is more dangerous than ignorance,” but they failed to heed that timeless warning.
It is ludicrous for anyone to try to teach a first-rate banker how to wear suit knowing full well that no one dresses more corporately than bankers. Shettima is a rare gem in the banking industry considering his remarkable achievements and contributions to the growth of Zenith Bank in Nigeria.
To cure the emptiness of these ignoramues, we need to remind them who Shettima is. The APC vice presidential candidate joined the banking industry in 1993 as head of the accounts unit at the defunct Commercial Bank of Africa Limited in Ikeja, Lagos. He later joined the African International Bank Limited as a Deputy Manager in 1997. He was subsequently promoted to the rank of Manager in 2001 because of his outstanding performance as deputy.
He later got a juicy offer to work with Zenith Bank as head of its Maiduguri main branch from where he rose to the position of Senior Manager, Assistant General Manager and lastly Deputy General Manager. Is it the person with such a rich CV in the banking industry that some dunderheads wanted to teach how to wear suit?
The ignoramues do not know that it is a trend to pair suits with sneakers. A lot of these people are still unaware that a pair of designer shoes alongside a favourite suit is trendy and in line with contemporary fashion.
Shettima’s appearance at the NBA conference is a testimony to his familiarity with the contemporary global trends and that is why he and his running mate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, always talk about the need for a 21st century, knowledge-driven economy in Nigeria.
According to Ralph B. Perry, “ignorance deprives people of freedom because they do not know what alternatives there are. It is impossible to do what one has never heard of.” Again, these ignoramuses do not know that Cristiano Ronaldo and other leading celebrities across the globe have appeared on red carpets with classic expensive suits with sneakers and that has become a global fashion considering the massive popularity they have. A Google search of “pairing up suits with sneakers” will display the trend and those who follow it.
We should not however dissipate too much energy in blaming these ill-motivated critics. This is because it is only good fruits hanging on a tree that get stoned by people who are desirous of eating healthy. Bad fruits are not noticed at all. That explains why Shettima got all the attention and the criticisms even though he was not the only candidate in that NBA Conference. Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi, was there. His counterpart in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, was also present but none of them got the kind of attention that Shettima got, both during and after the event.
Shettima arrived the venue with a lot of swagger, poise and charm, full of confidence in his own capacity and in the pedigree of his running mate who he sold to the audience in a convincing manner that drew series of resounding applause. He dominated the intellectual exchanges with thought-provoking, brilliant ideas that will leave an indelible mark in the minds of the lawyers and which will go a long way to guide the choices they will make on the day of the presidential election.
Other presidential candidates were mere onlookers compared to the impact Shettima made on that event. Shettima’s impact made sure the event kept on trending on social media weeks after it was held. The organisers must be glad he attended their event.
That is why all these politically-motivated children of anger on social media, in their ignorance and mischief, having found nothing with which to attack the fine gentleman, took to dissing his dress sense which in their warped mind was out of fashion.
The best way to conclude this piece has to be with the evergreen wisdom of American civil rights icon, Dr Martin Luther King (jrn), who famously said: “Nothing is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
Lawan Bukar Maigana writes from Abuja and can be reached via email: [email protected]