While on my blog rounds one morning three weeks ago, I got a message on Facebook from a fellow nominee that Feisty Pen had received 7 blog nominations at the Nigerian Blog Awards. The tone of that message set the pace for my perceptions towards the ensuing campaign.
“You go fear fear. 7 nominations??!!! Only you.! Na you biko!!!
I laughed. Indeed, na me biko, I thought, and now I have to prove that.
Let me clarify by saying that the 7 categories were the ones I asked folks that I be nominated in. They were the categories that I felt my blog fit in and I would have a good chance of clinching. My blog is new; less than 1 year, I am Nigerian Based, I write humour, I inspire from time to time, I have a unique voice to my writing, and of course it was nice to expect to take the World Cup home; Nigerian Blog of the Year.
So, I set about campaigning. I did a blog post, notified certain friends who read my blog on Facebook, posted on Twitter a few times, set up an event on Facebook; although people kept ‘attending’ rather than voting and had to be subsequently reminded.
My thinking then was: if you asked to be nominated, the least you can do is give it a fair shot.
I understood what it was all about. There was an emotionally charged thread on the Nigerian Blog Awards site, and someone was disparaging the politicising of the awards and another responded that it was a case of Oscars vs MTV viewers choice awards.
The former being an award to reward excellence based on certain tangible parameters outlined by the Academy and the latter based on popularity and the ability of the artiste to mobilise fans to vote.
The Nigerian Blog Awards is like the latter. Fullstop. And I knew it. I am not deluded into thinking I am the best writer in Nigeria because Feisty Pen won Best Writing Blog. Infact I laugh just writing that. Tolu Ogunlesi does have a blog, after all.
Are there better writing blogs in Nigeria? There may be. But, they did not subject themselves for the voting process.
I know I'm not the only one who has said that the Most Beautiful in Nigeria is simply the most beautiful girl among the contestants because of one girl down the street who looks far better than this crowned queen.
I have learnt a few things from this awards.
First I got an aha moment about my long time amazement of how the PDP has been able to rule Nigerian since 1999. Were Obasanjo, Yaradua, and Goodluck the best leaders in the country? Subjective responses are expected. If the appointment to Presidency was given by an Academy of Leadership set up by God himself, would these guys have won? Note that this God is the God of all creation and is.. ahem .. de-tribalized.
We never really know and I do not believe that God installs all leaders. I know he leaves certain things to us.
Secondly, rigging aside, why is this behemoth able to lay hold on the largest chunk of the voting population. Resources! Of all kinds. Financial, human, etc.
Take the Nigerian Blog Awards as an example. What resources will one need to win in many categories?
In this case the typical voter is one with a valid email address irrespective of color, race and creed. So, the person who can reach the largest number of valid email address owners is the winner. You will need to spend lots of time near your computer or phone, be unashamed in soliciting votes from family, friends and enemies, be creative in attracting attention to yourself and the blog and be resilient all the way.
This is precisely why the pure technocrats in this county may never rule us. They simply do not have what it takes to go this route and will at best be appointed to head ministries which ... er... in some ways is still politicised.
So Goodluck is now President of Nigeria after elections that were adjudged largely free and fair, and all speculations as to the truth of that belong in another post. Not this one. In this one, I am saying that the expectation of Nigeria is, well, as you are now President, show us that we can at least show you off and not feel ashamed about it.
The onus is on Goodluck to prove himself. The onus is on Feisty Pen to prove a point. By writing better and better.
Anybody who has won an award and does not recognize the honour and the expectation of improvement must simply lack understanding.
Your integrity is at stake to prove that you have not become like all those political career men who are round pegs in square holes and which we are all too happy to criticize.
So since Feisty Pen is voted Best Writing Blog by the NBA 2011, it is my request that all subsequent posts from this period on are judged as if the reader were reading a book, a short story or an article.
And oh, last lesson, I do after all have a political bone.