Warning: Bambiala Twitter, coding branch, exit right.
Twitter is an amazing place. It is a melting pot of ideas and opinions, culture and gossip, poetry and news, saviours and masses.
In his ultra-simplistic, reductionist model the equation looks something like this.
Nigerian coders + solar power/ poverty capital = Fat cash cow
It is a beautiful model. So enticing and promising that it tempts him everyday and whispers to him promises of Bill-Gatian fame.
But the model is flawed, deeply flawed and it came crashing down yesterday.
I want to spare a moment to reiterate something that has become development space common sense by now: you can’t create hypothetical solutions to real problems. You need a lived experience.
You need local content. You need context, you need background, you need to know the difference between Lekki, VI and Ajah.
Jstut should know this. Everyone in any form of development knows this. It is why companies insist on working with people who have experience working in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC). It is why funders leave their cozy homes to travel to resource constrained settings. In development, it is everything.
But yesterday Jstut decided to show just how poorly informed he was in the very thing he is obsessed with by recalling is with a series of spectacularly irksome tweets.
It began here:
And continues here:
Then the grand finale:
Later he would try to apologise for the second tweet but the effect was negligible. Lines had been crossed and damage had been done. 200 million free laptops can no longer blind people to the very truth: this is just another exploitative white with a saviour complex.
It would take all day to unpack the layers of self -deception, arrogance, ignorance, cluelessness and cultural insensitivity buried in those tweets.
I could write a whole book on the tweet two alone: You Call Me Stupid, You call Me Smart.
The premise would of course be based in his own tweets where he had extolled Nigerians for being very well educated and compared our tertiary education statistical to those in the United States. ( Of course he totally missed the nuances of funding, standards and necessity but I am sure we can all agree that is on brand by now.)
Instead I will prescribe five self-help projects and hope a good spy in the audience takes the message to him:
1. Visit Nigeria
2. NEVER MAKE FUN OF/A JOKE OUT OF CIVIL WAR WHEN TALKING TO NIGERIANS!!!
3. Sign up for the following online courses:
4. Read the following books:
- How Not To Be An Idiot
- Arm-Chair Development Will Disgrace You
- Local Content or Knowing Fact From Truth
- Proper Apologies: Art, Science and Practice
- Tan Your White Privilege
- My Poverty Is Not Your Plaything
5. Stop tweeting about the Nigerian educational/economic/technological space.
We already have folks doing that and they are doing a great job.
Just leave Nigeria out of your syllabus because you are sorely ill-equipped for that subject.