Days ago, I wrote about the issues surrounding the Ekiti State Social media and bloggers forum. In that article, I presented why there was nothing wrong with such an initiative. The event now over, a crisis is raging over how participants were paid the sum of N50,000 to cover their expenses or as remuneration. I am glad that I did not attend said event (I wasn’t even invited), for that puts me in a good position to write as one who is not trying to cover his tracks.
In my earlier article, I presented why financial compensation is not an issue, and so I will not go into it all here again. I also dealt with the subject of objectivity, even where remuneration is involved. If you have not read it yet, you need to: The Social Media/Bloggers forum with Ekiti State Government. The real issue now is that certain key participants at the event have been highly vocal in criticizing similar initiatives when they were executed by the opposition in the recent past. A clear case of double standards.
One of the lessons that people learn as they mature is not to label an activity as wrong just because it is their opponent carrying it out. The joke on them is that some day in the future, as we see here, they will find themselves in a situation in which they see the benefits of the very same (or similar) activity, participate, and become entrapped. People who watched them lash out at other parties in the past will not forget.
People who are permanent critics of the government are simply unreasonable and unruly. Government does not always do bad, and government does not always do good. Hence, fairness to all sides is key and should be upheld. The following tweet summarises things:
If your standard of wrong/right is based/depended on who does the act.. then your objectivity is seriously compromised. You need help! #50k
— Wonderful Michael (@MichaelAgada) February 11, 2014
Those who are also permanent critics of an opposing political party are dangerous. They cannot be counted as reasoning and reasonable human beings. PDP does not always do wrong, and does not always do right either. Same goes for APC or any other party. I find it problematic when people cannot evaluate the merits of specific actions and situations, but must tear down simply because it is the opposition involved. Yes; people who decide what is right or wrong just because of who is carrying out the act are a real problem, and I see a whole of such people on blogs, social media and offline every day.
Compensating people for their time and perhaps travelling expenses is standard, ethical practice worldwide. It isn’t a bribe and it isn’t unethical. The sum of N50,000 seems fair enough in this instance. I remember that when certain similar events held recently, with other parties involved, there was an uproar. Back then, I passed comments to the effect that lots of people were being naive. Being naive is a horrible thing. A naive person sincerely believes himself to be right, yet is so off the mark. I have seen comments demanding that the participants needed to have stated that they were paid a stipend. I disagree. They are not under any obligation to publicly declare. They are not public servants, but private individuals, some of who blog or write as a business concern. The public did not send them on an errand.
Accountability is built on a premise. For public servants, it is based on the premise that they are elected or appointed by or to serve the public, and are paid from public funds. As a private citizen running my blog with my money, I do not owe the public any details of my income. Asking Oprah how much she was paid to go appear at an event is just the same: none of the public’s business. Again, I can imagine that some of those who got compensated for this exercise would have screamed blue murder if it had been members of the opposition involved instead. The same game of double standards. As such, the anger of certain people is justified. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
But to insist that private individuals owe the public information about financial compensation for an exercise like this is to be unreasonable. If I had gone on that trip, I would not necessarily feel obligated to announce to the world that I was paid, and how much I was paid.
Naive people owe it to themselves to come to terms with the fact that people get compensated for their time. I wrote my earlier article days ago before this money issue broke out, and in it I stated that I very well expected them to be compensated. Why? Because that is the right thing. I would have been disappointed to find out later that they went out on that exercise at their own expense. No man goeth to war at his own expense, and, The labourer is worthy of his hire. That is right where I stand.
This uproar over the Ekiti State social media and bloggers forum is nothing but a crisis of double standards. I shall repeat the words of Michael Agada: If your standard of wrong and right is based on who does the act, then your objectivity is seriously compromised. You need help! What a lot of us need to develop is the ability to be fair to our opponents at all times and not be cruel when we duel. Very few people ever attain to this. Of course, payback time always comes. Just like has now.