I have watched the Kechi Okwuchi video at the America’s Got Talent (AGT) many times and I still get fascinated each time I see it. It’s the beauty of a human’s triumph in adversity. The lady’s story is really interesting to me for two reasons; firstly, the plane crash experience itself (I was at the airport when the crash happened and for some reason, I thought only one person survived the crash. “Believe me” (quoting Donald Trump), I felt this human joy when I saw her video and realised that two lives actually survived that crash) and secondly, the way a lot of Nigerians celebrated her performance, hmmm, Nigerians!!
In 2005, I was a single guy who had no kids, working with a firm in Port-Harcourt Nigeria. I had no knowledge of what it meant to have children of your own and to care deeply about them. I always thought my parents worried too much.
On that fateful day, I had gotten to the airport about the time the plane landed. I had a parcel to collect in one of the airline’s office. There were lots (and I mean lots) of parents by the arrival “exit” area. I was to enter through the departure hall to make my way to the airline’s office. From a distance, I could tell that something was not right. The worried looks on the parents’ faces and their anxiety was visible. I entered the airport office, picked my parcel and while on my way out, I saw an old friend that worked at the airport. He told me that something terrible had just happened and most of the parents outside did not know.
Straightaway, I made my way to my car and left the airport. My heart bled as I drove off. The initial impression I got was that no one survived. The heavy burden in my heart felt a little bit better when I heard that a lady survived that crash. It was only her story I heard in the news, so I had the impression that she was the lone survivor. I believe in God and I also believe that the almighty always has a reason for doing the things he does. Every life matters to me, no matter who they are.
Now, imagine my joy when I heard Kechi tell her story to Simon Cowell and the rest of the judges. Another one survived!!! Finding out about her after 12 years since the incident still brought joy to my heart. And by the way, she can sing too.
Then, I saw the reaction of a lot of Nigerians only. The first thing that comes to my mind is that: “will an average Nigerian accept Kechi the way she currently looks?” Probably not. Most of us only accept a finished work; we don’t give any “work-in-progress” person a chance. Kechi has done well for herself mostly because she is an environment where people are accepted for who they are, notwithstanding of their predicaments. The way we treat people with certain kinds of predicaments in Nigeria, the young lady may not even have the confidence to say anything in public talk less of singing to a crowd.
Following the social media buzz about the Kechi story, I noticed that some people even mentioned Government in the matter. Before pointing the finger at the next guy or girl or Senator or Governor, point the finger at yourself and ask: “how am I treating the guy or girl that looks like Kechi in my neighbourhood or school or office or church etc?” The reason Kechi is living her life is because of the environment she is growing up. Infrastructure does not create a good environment; it makes a good place better. Humans interactions create good environments. So, before you shout government or politicians, talk to yourself and be sure you have not contributed to the decadence of this environment.
A wise person once said that a person’s integrity or level of humanity is not measured by how he or she treats their colleagues or people who are better off but by how they treat the people they are supposedly better than.
[highlight]Hey, before you start arguing, just think about it.[/highlight]