I’m always so curious about the incapacity of man to live and let live. Everyone would bear the consequences of their action and inaction, here or in the hereafter (for those who believe in that prospect). Why are we then so insistent on judging, condemning and sometimes, forcing our standards down the throats of others?

So, singer, songwriter and one of Nigeria’s most prominent musical exponents, Tiwa Savage, recently revealed an attempt to blackmail her with a sex tape she had made with someone she claimed to be dating right now.

Savage, who spoke in a Power 105.1, New York radio interview, then talked about her determination not to indulge the blackmailer. “No part of me wants to pay the person. That is what is getting me angry. If you want to put it out, put it out. I am that crazy that I can put it out myself. You are not making any money from me. This was an intimate moment with someone I am dating…” She acknowledged the hurt that the video’s release would cause her son, family and fans but realising that this was a situation that already got into the hands of a third party, nothing else could be done but await the consequences and live with them!

Unlike some of the comments I have read about Tiwa’s submission, I find it quite courageous and appropriate. Many Nigerians seem to have a problem because she made a sex tape (which they find unnatural) and naturally categorise this as one of the “outrageous tendencies of this generation.” But can Tiwa be said to be of “this generation” at the age of 41? Even if she were, can anyone legislate about what people do with the people they love or think they love in the confines of their bedrooms?

I do not think so! As in this case, people, who are adults, have the freedom to privacy, and nothing they do in those private moments, if they do not infringe on extant laws or impede on the liberty of others, should be subjected to the judgment of other people. As they say in common street parlance, “Is it your blackmail?” or “Is it your sex tape?” If this video, assuming there is indeed one (given that celebrities can swing anything as publicity stunts at any time), no one would have heard of it if it didn’t get into the wrong hands, and it would have remained a non-issue.

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Of course, there are consequences to every action taken by a human being, whether done in public or private. As a result, everyone must be ready to accept the aftermath of their actions, which is the recording of an intimate moment, the so-called mistake of the other party to post it on Snapchat and the resultant leakage and blackmail. Such equanimity is what one feels in Tiwa’s acceptance of the situation at hand; the decision to seize the narrative, the recognition of, and regrets about those who might suffer from it. It is the way of life; sometimes, people bring trouble on you, sometimes, you court trouble with your own hands, win some, lose some, and learn to do things better.  Ultimately, life goes on, and what does not kill you will make you stronger!

One intriguing thing about Nigerians, though, is the impression they give that morality starts and ends in the bedroom! Here is a country where churches, mosques, and all forms of religious organisations spring up daily without reflecting on our individual disposition to the country and other people. Here is a country where compassion and fellow feeling preached by the three religions we practise are virtually history, where poverty, cheating, corruption, all forms of wickedness and man’s inhumanity to man manifest on grand scales. Yet we imagine that what constitutes the end of the world are the sex tapes that people record?

And speaking about sex and videos and all, data, over the past decade puts a lie to the hypocrisy and bursts the bubble on those who still live in the illusion that their country is a haven of purity.

In 2016, social media strategist and data analyst, Subomi Plumptre, disclosed in an insightful article titled: “Nigeria, we’ve got a sexuality problem!” Nigeria has overtaken the US for most search for pornographic content online. She wrote that in 2015 when this study was conducted: “The number of average monthly searches by volume was 135,000 and the states with the greatest popularity for porn searches (from high to low) were Enugu, Oyo, Ogun, Rivers, Lagos, Abia and Cross River. The relative popularity of rape porn videos was also above 80, with Lagos State leading the charge. In 2014, Nigeria ranked third globally for the most Google searches for gay porn!” In 2019, Pornhub claimed it gained a 32% increase in traffic from Nigeria and suggested that more Nigerian women were embracing the indulgence. That same 2019, Nigerians topped the list of searchers for videos on Big Black Women (BBW)! So, here is the point: There is so much hypocrisy in this country where religion is so often substituted for righteousness.

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To be clear, however, this is not suggesting that morality is not critical to national development. It is just that we cannot pick and choose those values that are important and trivialise others. If we are genuinely concerned about the devalued state of morality in our country, why doesn’t every one of us take care of ourselves?

First, ensure that you bring up your children with the correct values. With where our country is today, we could use more of God and the holiness that He teaches through all the major religions we practise in Nigeria.

At the centre of the faiths rooted in our country is the requirement for unconditional love for God and other human beings. If we all take that seriously and don’t get spent on fighting unnecessary wars, none of the atrocities threatening to tear us apart as a people would have the hold that they have on us.

Making Nigeria a country of pride is a much more uphill task than the videos people record in their homes. Let every man and woman who preaches morality do what they preach before they sermonise. Then, they will find that with their conduct, they will win more people than any sanctimonious clatter would ever achieve.

And for Tiwa and the few Nigerians blessed with statuses that attract millions of followers from across the world, there is so much you can do to make Nigeria better and write your name in gold.  This is even more so for a woman who lives in a country where women and girls are so deprived. It is significant that she spoke up against rape in 2020. Yet, there are so many other ways, like child marriage, compulsory education of girls, female genital mutilation, that people with her clout can work to improve the condition of girls in the country. She is a model that millions of girls sure look up to and stand up for and others who do not even know about Tiwa Savage. Such progressive actions constitute the way to build the legacy that would complement her phenomena professional success. It is something that the lady of songs should consider.

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