In The Eyes Of The Public

You know we don’t usually like hearing the truth but truth is truth anyway no matter how annoying it sounds. Even when we mock someone and call them “holier than thou” just for saying the truth, it doesn’t stop the truth from being truth.

Many years ago, I was on my way back from Awka to Onitsha. Our bus had issues on the way and we went through a lot of stress. Before I could get to Onitsha it was night. I decided to stop by a shop, get a bottle of cold malt and rush it down before going home.

Well, there was no open shop except for one place like a bar, music was playing and there were fancy lights all over the place. I walked into the place. There was all manner of ladies there and they were all wearing things that looked sexually provocative.

At this time, I had never seen a woman’s nakedness before except my siblings that I grew up with. I didn’t know there was any such place where women would be wearing such things and walking about. I was a bit naive, only exposed to things around Church, our streets, my workplace and other places I usually go on duty.

I didn’t know I was in a brothel. I didn’t know what was brothel at that time as I had always thought brothel, motel and hotel are all similar. I went straight to the bar, demanded malt, rushed it down while still standing, paid the bartender and started walking away.

Before I could walk a few steps, I bumped into a young guy that I had always invited to our fellowship. He was shocked and he asked what I came to do, I told him I came to drink malt. He laughed, his laughter was deceitful and we parted ways.

Some few years later, my brother came back home and said he was at a bar when he heard some people talking about me. He said thus: “I heard them talking about you and they said you are a fake Pastor and you go from one brothel to another patronizing prostitutes”.

I was shocked to the bones, it depressed me for some time. While I was able to remember the incident and explain to my brother who quickly understood, there were several other persons, so many of them that I couldn’t convince. I was in the eyes of the public and therefore I was a subject to be discussed in the public.

Another time…

I was in a Keke some years ago and I was on my way to the hospital to take a routine injection. I needed to eat something and the only thing I had was oranges. I ate it in the Keke.

That evening, I got four different chats from different people and each said they saw me in Keke eating orange. Can you imagine? I’ve always had people see me and chat me up online and I am usually scared to do certain things for the fear of being misunderstood.

If you are in the eyes of the public, then be ready to be accessed by the public. If you do good, the public will hail you, if you do bad, the public will stone you. To some extent, every public figure is accountable to the public. That is why a public figure would apologise for making a tweet that was disturbing or doing things that weren’t acceptable.

If you don’t want public attention, then don’t exalt yourself to the stage where all eyes are on you. My Pastor will always say “on the stage, you must be accessed”. If you don’t want any audience, then leave the stage.

If you are a public figure, you must be careful what you do because the same people who hail you when you pleased them will stone you when you displease them. As a public figure, you’ve become more of a subject of an opinion poll, everyone must have an opinion about you.

You have no choice here, the only choice you have is to control what should be said about you. You may not be worse than those stoning you but the difference is that you are in the eyes of the public, you are more of a role model than they are.

Some people who are stoning you are also people who have looked up to you only to be met with huge disappointment. Some will feel that you have betrayed their trust especially when you’ve been presenting yourself as infallible.

If you are a Pastor, you aren’t the same with the Church brother who has been climbing from one woman to another. He may do it and nobody will hear about it, it won’t even trend because nobody knows him but if you do the same, your fame will go abroad.

A brother may get six different women pregnant and it will be settled in the village but when you get just one person pregnant out of wedlock, you’ll face panel, the blogs will carry it and you will get suspended from the organisation. The reason is that you are the face of the organisation but the other brother isn’t known for anything.

People are bored and they are looking for what to talk about. If you want to give them something to talk about, then go ahead and mess up as a public figure.

If you aren’t ready for this, if you still want to live your life like every other person, then you must never climb the stage. There are people who visit brothel every day and it isn’t a problem but if you mistakenly pass by it, you are in trouble. The same person who went about gossiping with my name met me at the brothel. It was not a problem for him but it was for me.

The public doesn’t necessarily hate you for nothing, you’ve always been thrown to their faces and therefore anything you do will also be thrown to their faces.

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