Like the popular verse in the good old book which says, ‘give us this day our daily bread…,’ many young Nigerians have not only looked to the high heavens for divine provision, they have earnestly sought their daily provisions through several means including waiting on giveaways like the Patriarchs of old did wait on God for downpours of manna.
Recently, with the world ravaged by a global pandemic, there has been an upsurge in the giveaways deployed as palliatives and stimulus packages to cushion the effects of the lockdown and help Nigerians survive the harrowing effects of hunger occasioned by the disruption of their means of livelihood.
The social media has also seen significant rise in giveaways especially on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Although, giveaways on social media have been known to be an avenue for brands to expand their influence by rewarding their customers, fans and followers with cash prizes and other freebies as determined by the organisers of such, current trajectories have, however, proven otherwise.
Just like the political class has, through the instrumentalities of stomach infrastructures, weaponised poverty, the Nigerian celebrities and influencers have become culpable in the indulgence of beggary and sycophancy among Nigerian youths who only want things on a platter of silver and sometimes do not mind trading off their ‘birth rights’ for freebies.
Undoubtedly, giveaways are becoming gimmicks for the pauperization of an already pauperized cohort. Many giveaways today are shrouded in noble intentions of charity and love for humanity while they have steadily perpetuated the vulnerability and dependence among the young and dependent population of internet users.
The stan culture today is reinforced by timely giveaways hence, celebrities do not undermine the role of giveaways in keeping a fandom of hungry and vulnerable youths. Even though some of them have come out to express their displeasures at the number of DMs they get from their fans seeking to be helped, some have, however, played on the vulnerability of their fans by organising giveaways in form of competitions which undermine the dignity and decency of their fans.
Consequently, human dignity and social decorum have been relinquished for clouts and freebies; the feeling of entitlement has found solace in the hearts of many. It has degenerated to the extent that young internet users now drop accounts details on every thread and comment section begging politicians, celebrities and even self-acclaimed influencers for money without any iota of decency.
Clearly, this new low shows a drift from the core issues and conversations of development especially among a cohort who has been, for a long time, schemed out of development frameworks in the country. Hence, there is an urgent need for youths to rightly channel their energies to continue to hold government accountable, and on its toes. Such energies must seek inclusiveness and an expansion of the capacity of the youths for innovations and creative thinking.
With several projections and indications showing a likely economic crisis in Nigeria owing to the effect of covid-19, it is clear that no amount of giveaways will salvage us from what is about to hit us, as such, brand owners, celebrities and influencers must re-access their strategies and re-focus their goals to ensuring that giveaways targeted at fans are not deployed as tools for furthering subjugation and estrangement of an already deprived population while also ensuring that they promote the empowerment of young Nigerians.