Following Bishop Sam Zuga’s open letter to Tiv youths of Benue State yesterday, October 5th, Comr. Kuusu Solomon has replied the clergy man through an open letter too.
COMR. KUUSU SOLOMON’S OPEN LETTER TO BISHOP SAM ZUGA ON BENUE YOUTHS
October 6th, 2019.
BISHOP SAM ZUGA
General overseer of House of Joy Ministry,
YOUR LORDSHIP BISHOP,
Thank you for your letter dated 05/10/2019 concerning BENUE YOUTHS.
I appreciate your commitment to this cause and I will be pleased to make contributions to this worthy topic.
Sir, I believe in social psychology, so I’m interested primarily in the situational and contextual factors that drive people behavior. When you’re seeking to predict or explain a person’s actions, looking at the social norms, and the person’s context, is usually a pretty safe bet. Situational constraints typically predict behavior far better than personality, intelligence, or other individual-level traits, so I av seen that It’s really helpful to respond to a person’s ineffective behavior with curiosity rather than judgment.
An old man once taught me that judging homeless people for wanting to buy alcohol or cigarettes is utter folly. When you’re homeless, the nights are cold, the world is unfriendly, and everything is painfully uncomfortable. Whether you’re sleeping under a bridge, in a tent, or at a shelter, it’s hard to rest easy. You are likely to have injuries or chronic conditions that bother you persistently, and little access to medical care to deal with it. You probably don’t have much healthy food.
In that chronically uncomfortable, over-stimulating context, needing a drink or some cigarettes makes sense to them. As he explained to me, if you’re laying out in the freezing cold, drinking some alcohol may be the only way to warm up and get to sleep. If you’re under-nourished, a few smokes may be the only thing that kills the hunger pangs but unfortunately only smokers in this situation will agree with this statement.
Few people who haven’t been homeless think this way. They want to moralize the decisions of poor people, perhaps to comfort themselves about the injustices of the world just as you have mentioned only your achievements without telling us a little on how you started making money at that young age. For many, it’s easier to think homeless people are, in part, responsible for their suffering than it is to acknowledge the situational factors.
And when you don’t fully understand a person’s context — what it feels like to be them every day, all the small annoyances and major traumas that define their life — it’s easy to impose abstract, rigid expectations on a person’s behavior. ‘’All jobless people youths put down the bottle and get to work’’. Never mind that most of them have mental health symptoms and physical ailments, and are fighting constantly to be recognized as human. Never mind that they are unable to get a good night’s rest or a nourishing meal for weeks or months on end. Never mind that even in my comfortable, easy life, I can’t go a few days without craving a drink or making an irresponsible purchase.
Sir, Every October 1st of the year, the nation goes agog with the Independence celebration. October 1st 2019 was not an aberration. This celebratory experience is similar every May 29th when the nation marks her Democracy anniversary. This time, as usual, the media was awash with a stream of anniversary remarks, press releases, and commemoration messages from government officials, political leaders, individuals, and corporate bodies. Like I expected, the duo of bad governance and corruption had another terrible day, as both equally bore blames of stifling the country’s progress. And guess what, the harbingers of our collective doom are the ones comfortably engaged in this game of blame. At that point, what puzzled my mind was if bad governance and corruption are the real problems the country face and if they are exclusive in themselves. Maybe. Maybe not.
With regard to whether corruption and bad governance are the real time challenges facing the country, the answer is already known to all. It is an emphatic ‘yes’. Corruption is a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the fabrics of the nation, as the cliché runs. By the same token, the country’s underdevelopment has been associated with years of maladministration, misappropriation and wanton embezzlement on the part of the sleazy government leaders and officials, but unfortunately no one talks about this publicly. This is very true. It is an open secret to which the whole world is privy but it’s pitiable that whenever prominent people like you come out to talk you shift all the blames on the youths. As much as I would love to cite facts and figures to assert this claim, I would not want to do more harm than good by worsening your blood pressure.
For some years now, I have joined many others in professing that corruption and bad governance are our greatest problems not the behavior’s the youths or their dependence on the government, many people tag it arrogance.
Sir, I wish you understand that BENUE and Nigeria at large has more enemies than friends. It has a horde of wicked, fiendish, greedy, nepotic, heartless, myopic and unpatriotic sons and daughters who, like the legendary Fautus, have sold their souls to the devil. It is a country of a million enemies were the rich commits all forms of atrocities and put the blame on the poor. And this is what I perceive as its biggest problem. Of course I do not demean the contributions of corruption and bad governance to our present pitiable state. I only strongly propose that these two banes, like other forces, are traceable to a diseased heart, because I av not seen any BENUE youth that studied thuggery in any tertiary institution.
And that’s why I’m writing this piece to you. I’m hoping to awaken my fellow Benue sons and daughters — of all levels — to the fact that if a young man is struggling, they probably aren’t choosing to. They probably want to do well. They probably are trying. More broadly, I suggest all people to take a curious and empathic approach to individuals especially BENUE YOUTHS whom they initially want to judge as “lazy” or irresponsible.
If a person can’t get out of bed, something is making them exhausted. If a student isn’t writing papers, there’s some aspect of the assignment that they can’t do without help. If an employee misses deadlines constantly, something is making organization and deadline-meeting difficult. Even if a person is actively choosing to self-sabotage, there’s a reason for it — some fear they’re working through, some need not being met, and a lack of self-esteem being expressed.
Sir, am sure that no BENUE YOUTH will choose to fail or disappoint. No one wants to feel incapable, apathetic, or ineffective. If you look at a person’s action (or inaction) and see only laziness and misbehavior, you are missing key details. There is always an explanation. There are always barriers. Just because you can’t see them, or don’t view them as legitimate, doesn’t mean they’re not there. Look harder.
Maybe you weren’t always able to look at our behavior this way. That’s okay. Now you are. Give it a try.
Your lordship Bishop,
I remain respectfully Sir,
Comr. Kuusu Solomon.