Nigerian Spice: “Sentiments”
By Emmanuel Adebayo:
“This is favouritism and nepotism,” my cousin yelled as we stepped into the compound. We had just returned from a song rehearsal and some people had received special treatment. My cousin, who is five years older than I am, was obviously angry and he made it clear that at the next meeting he was going to let the choir coordinator have a piece of his mind if he repeated the same thing.
We've got sentiments involved in everything we do and every decision we make. There is always an informal group within every formal one. The informal groups are most times based on religion, tribe, school, age, level of education etc. We just seem to click better with people we've got something in common. You step into an organisation for the first time, declare your state of origin and you automatically are classified! People begin to call to your 'brother and sister' to pull you into their circles within the organisation. They give you tips as to what is acceptable within the organisation, tips you won't come across in your worker's manual. After a few tips that save you some hassles, you begin to feel indebted to them; hence a new member of the solidarity union is born!
A friend got a job with a big National organisation once and in the zone he was assigned to work, he noticed that most people, including himself had their Masters' degree from the same university. At first he shrugged it off as coincidence but was quick to dispel the coincidence theory when he found out that the head for that zone was a graduate of the same university, so…
I personally don't see anything wrong with sentiments if only they did not impair our senses of good judgement. In recruiting an assistant, you as a person would have preferred to hire someone suitably qualified for the position, but here is a man sent to you from your village elders who is not as qualified as another, you know if you do not hire him, you'd be the theme for discussion in the town for a while. Sentiments are one of the reasons we do not have fair treatments anywhere. I should be able to go anywhere as long as I am qualified, but because I know it will be difficult for me to get what I want I'd rather stay within my 'catchments' area.
Last month a boy told me of his ordeal in trying to secure admission into a higher institution. He had scored 275 in his Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) examination and 75% in his post-JAMB, but got no offer of admission! I am 100% positive that there are several who didn't do as well as he did but got admission because they had relatives working within the system.
Sentiments cloud our judgement and leave a lot of people hurt and displeased. Justice and righteousness will never rule, we will all not be happy and free until we let go of our sentiments and be pragmatic about our decisions. Sentiments only lead to fights, troubles and unnecessary deaths. Let's let go of them and give way to fairness and justice.