Tuesday, 14 October 2014

A Case for Linda Ikeji

Linda Ikeji, the most successful Nigerian blogger was
recently accused of plagiarism. She wasn’t sued but  majority had already sentenced her to death.
Fortunately, Google has found her not guilty. Mr. Ayedee whose real name has
been rumoured to be Muhktar or Emmanuel or both  claims she used content from his blog without
his permission or giving him due credit. Linda insists it’s not true; she
didn’t seek permission but she credited him.(The post was taken down). She
further adds that she has no time to wait for permission as she’s in the
business of breaking News but she always adds ‘culled from’. Is this enough? I
do not know.  I’m no lawyer. But from a lay man’s perspective,
I did not think Ayedee’s case would survive in court. I was really hoping this
would end up there so I would be proved right or right.

I am not a big fan of  Linda and here’s why. I’m uncomfortable about
people who display their material wealth. 
It worries me that owning Prada bags have become more important than
content of character. I feel that celebrities birthed this trend. From the
musician who posts pictures of his new house online to the actress who
instagrams her entire shopping trip in Italy, one designer bag after another, to
Linda who recently posted pictures of her newly acquired Range Rover.  
What are we teaching our children? But I
respect the young lady. She’s worked very hard and she’s made me very proud of
my generation and gender. This is a clear case of building something, something
very big out of nothing. I stood up for her because I felt she was being
bullied. I still do not understand why we chose to swallow an anonymous
blogger’s allegations hook, line and sinker and completely disregarded
Linda’s. I believe in crime and punishment but it must be in a bid to correct and not to destroy. Linda's case seems to be to me, a matter
of class. How dare Linda succeed when she didn’t go to an Ivy league
university, when she didn’t return from the Diaspora to show us how to do
things, when she doesn’t speak with an acquired accent?

Ikhide Iheloa, a literary critic pointed out that while he
is not dismissing the allegations against Ms. Ikeji, he wanted to understand why
she was being singled out, he reminded us of an online magazine
who still owe him money and other atrocities they commited, If
anyone responded to him, I missed it or they missed  his Tweets. They were too busy
chanting crucify Linda! Someone even said, in justifying Google’s take down of
her blog, that she had gotten away with murder for too long and it was time
justice caught up with her. Hian! It reminded me of our political class,
patting politicians on the back for stealing millions, and sentencing a goat
thief to life imprisonment. This is Nigeria. We choose whom we love. And hate.

I am a writer, as such I understand intellectual property.  But Ms Ikeji is one of the very few young
women who have excelled at her craft with very little or no help. It is not
what she does but how she does it. That girl is diligent!  We should seek to build and not destroy her.
Did any one of the intellectuals write her,since they know so much, telling her to
stop using other people’s content? Did anyone reach out to her to help her take
LIB to the next level? She could be Nigeria’s Oprah. LIB could easily become a
talk show, a TV station, and more but she cannot do it alone.  We cannot continue to berate the younger
generation while we make no attempts at helping them grow. Mark didn’t build
Facebook alone. People  identified the
talent, the potential and helped him take it to the next level.  Nigerian youths deserve the same if they must
shine bright.

Ironically, the person who encouraged her would turn around
to be the person who would seek to destroy her. 
History has shown that many people who bring cases on Twitter are
seeking vengeance and not justice. People who want justice go to courts of law.
But Nigerians do not remember history.
Even when it repeats itself a thousand times.

In a lot of ways, Linda reminds me of Nollywood. An industry
that has built itself from nothing and is constantly condemned by the middle/
upper middle class.( I initially typed upper class but upper class people don’t
watch films, do they?)Why? Because it didn’t come from them.  A people with basic or no education built
Nollywood and sustained it. As Linda Ikeji built her blog. Deal with it.