A story said:
A night in Lagos, a guy got out of the bar, excited and joyful. While he was going back to his car, his right hand got hit by something in the dark and his car and house keys fell down. He immediately started looking for them.
Unfortunately the place where the key fell was all dark. There was no light close. But, seven meters from there, was standing a street light pole, close to his car.
He couldn’t understand why the street light was not close to the place he has lost his keys! He walked toward the pole, and started walking in circle, wandering angrily and desperately.
A passerby stopped and asked him what was wrong. He said he has lost his keys but can’t find them. The stranger then asked “where have you lost them”, and the guy pointed his fingers to the place in the dark 7 meters away.
“Why aren’t you looking for them there?” wondered the passerby.
“Because there is no light there!”, replied our unfortunate nigerian guy.
In Africa, we are massively subjected to a lot of deception and hidden agenda. Most people aren’t even aware of them, or can’t find them out till it’s too late. And, when there seems to be a light, unfortunately the light is not always there to help uncover the deception.
In this post, I’m sharing with you 5 simple questions you could always use to get your head start ventilating hard when you meet people bearing gift or a project on the continent or when you heard about some new projects or initiative on the continent.
#1. Who is behind this?
This should be always your first question when you are presented with something, and you have either some doubt or you want to make sure you’ll not be victim of deception.
Try to make a difference between the screen players (people who act in the public or are visible) and the employers of the screen players. Generally the screen players would lead you to their employers if you ask good questions.
In some cases, it’ll be really hard to spot the real sponsors, because of the multi-level screen players. In this case, patience and paranoid curiosity will give you a good kick.
#2. Who is financing this?
The moment you know where is the money coming from to finance something, you are only few steps away from finding the real sponsors of any project or decision.
Try to find up to the 3rd level of the financing source. Who is financing who.
#3. Why are they doing this?
Here, you should never believe any of the publicity material or media coverage. The first question should be “Why now?” and “how is it related to this and that”.
Real motives are always hidden, so complete disbelief of publicized intention or pretenses should be your radical rule when it comes to people bearing gift for the continent or what you hear in the medias.
#4. What is the background of the people?
People background speaks a lot about who they are and what they are currently doing. But don’t get too much bugged in speculations. Just find out:
- – Who are the friends of the person?
- – Where does he or she spent his leisure time, and with whom?
- – Who is his current employer or sponsor?
- – Which association or secret society does he or she belongs to?
- – his or her past writing, speeches, and social medias history.
#5. What is the hidden Agenda here?
The hidden agenda is often 100 times bigger than the short terms motives we have seen on point #3. Maybe you’ll never find it out, but always keep this question in our mind. Ask it more to yourself as a way to evaluate things than something you put in the public domain.
Naiveté has been the curse of African people, and it still is one of the greatest weakness of us. With the above simple but straightfoward questions, you may be able to limit the effect of pervasive deception on your family and your country.