“He that stands for nothing falls for everything”
The above epigraph depicts the position we take in life at various times based on our convictions. In clearer terms, our actions, inactions, alliances, and ‘enemies’ are made based on our convictions and beliefs. In reality, we are who we are based on what we stand for. And what we stand for is determined by our convictions and beliefs. I will not want to dwell on how convictions and beliefs are determined, as it will make this article bogus, so permit me to restrict the discussion to the price we pay for having certain convictions.
In 2011, while I was graduating from university, we had dinner and award night for my graduating set. I was nominated for different categories of award, but three stood out because they were areas in which I believe I had paid my dues to earn; El Political, Most Influential, and Most Popular, were the three categories I felt I had a chance to win fair and square. However, there was a clause. All the nominees had to canvass for votes by convincing students to vote them online. That was against my personal conviction, as I am of the opinion that an award is a recognition of one’s contribution in a particular field and should not be lobbied for either by financial inducement or any other means. If your effort is well recognised, then those voting should be able to see it and vote for you without you reaching out to them.
Based on my conviction, I refused to canvass for votes neither did I make an effort to lobby the committee to help me clinch at least one of the awards. Unfortunately, the community did not see my opinion as the best, as the convention was that the highest bidder gets the award. So I was not surprised when the event was held and I didn’t get any award from the various categories I was nominated for. I have no regrets because I stood by my conviction, and till date, I still share that opinion, and I am still paying the price. I won’t lobby for an award.
There are so many people that lose their originality by having no stand on any issue. Some are scared to take a stand because they want to be loved by everyone, or out of fear of being attacked for daring to be different. In some other cases, some never take any position due to inferiority complex. The world has evolved and still evolving because men and women stood by their convictions, and also made discoveries to defend their convictions. At a time, the Earth was believed to be flat, and those that propagated that theory were convinced about it and they stood by it. But someone else shared another opinion and made an effort to defend his opinion too. The research carried out to prove to those that might have attacked him is part of the price we are talking about.
Many people live a life they regret because they don’t trust their convictions, and so when the chips are down, they are discouraged for taking that position. John the Baptist for instance at a time when he was incarcerated before his execution, started to doubt his convictions. It got to a point that he had to send his disciple to ask Jesus if he was the expected Messiah or should they wait for another? This was the same John that saw a vision of the heavens opening and a dove descending from heaven confirming it that Jesus is the son of God, and the expected Messiah to save the world. But in the time of adversity, his faith started to fail him, and he questioned his previous convictions.
There are morally upright men that served this country as civil servants and public servants without taking what does not belong to them via corrupt practices. After retirement, the neglect from the government they served, and their retirement benefits that fail to come is making some of them doubt if the uprightness with which they discharged their duties was the right thing to do. In the same vein, there are young men and women under serious intimidation from their peers because they refuse to be part of the illicit activities others are engaged in, or because they are not following a retrogressive conventional norm.
Some businesses are suffering today because the owners don’t want to cut corners. In a country like ours where the incorrigible are treated like criminals and outcasts, while the fantastically corrupt are adored and worship, those who share the conviction that true patriots should be incorruptible, must be ready to pay the price of their convictions.
Conclusively, the fact that you’re convinced that what you’re doing is right, does not shield you from attacks, trials, and obstacles. Howbeit, your conviction gives you the courage, strength and peace of mind as you soldier on.
Social Watcher, Edo State.
IDEDE Oseyande, a graduate of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, is an unrepentant believer in the Nigeria project.
His concern for the actualisation of a prosperous nation and the continent, in general, is reflected in his written works.
He currently runs an online advocacy platform (www.socialwatchdog.ng) where he engages the government and the people.
Among his published works are ‘What is Left of What is Right?’, ‘The Portrait of a Revolutionary Leader’ and ‘Warri No Dey Carry Last’.
He is a guest writer for several blogs and his Attitudinal and Behavioral Coaching classes has transformed many lives.