A friend and I were gossiping recently about a woman down the street who sells provisions in a store and everything she sells a lot more expensive than everyone else around her. It is so bad that with the relative improvement in power, everyone has reverted to the old price of selling sachet water for five Naira but she sells at three for twenty naira. I couldn’t help wondering why people buy from her. I mean, why would any right thinking person add an extra Naira or two to make a purchase somewhere when less than a minute away you will get the same article at the right price?
After I left my friend, I got thinking. The trader had a right to sell at whatever price she wanted. It is a free economy anyway, but the customers also have a right not to buy. It is actually a matter of choice. For instance, when the ministry of aviation lifted their suspension on Dana air, I remember telling a friend that flying or not flying Dana was actually a question of choice. There is a carrier available for flights, but it is the people that would decide whether they want to fly them or not.
Moving away from economic transactions, everything we do in life is actually a product of choice. We choose to go to school, to marry, to have children, to live and even to die. As you may already know, some have chosen death even while they live. Was it not Wole Soyinka that said the man dies in every man that bows to the yoke of oppression?
Yes, every action we take is a choice. Granted some of the choices we make can just translate into our losing a couple of naira but some other choices have far reaching consequences. Imagine a man who decides to get into in a business venture. The entire premise is wrong, but he is more interested in the gain. He receives a call out of the blue about a long lost ‘uncle’ who has left him a fortune. Of course he knows he doesn’t have an uncle anywhere, but he chooses to believe that he does. And when he is asked to pay a certain sum which might represent his whole living, he willingly does so. Would you not say being swindled was his choice?
Or would you say of a young woman who chooses to dress indecently. She comes on social media and all she does is post nude or semi nude pictures of herself. She would be the first to contribute to trends like boobsThursday, NopantiesWednesday and the like. She feels that her body is hers and she has a right to do with it whatever she chooses. She is free to show what she wants when she wants. But the facts remain that same way as she has made these choices, every other person also has a right to make his own choice; the man who sees her and chooses to see her as a sex object or chooses to believe that her manner of dressing is an open invitation for him to take her whether she consents or not.
Some choices we make literally have life changing consequences. For instance, Toke decided he has had enough, life had been too tough on him. He feels no one understands him and nothing he tries to do ever works. It’s just time, as far as he is concerned, to put an end to it all. He comes online and makes what he hopes will be his final post. No one ever notices his status updates anyway. But on this day, someone chooses to respond and instead of making fun of his status, this person chooses to spend kind words on him. At the end of their conversation, Toke threw the drugs he wanted to overdose on into the trash. He had found a friend.
Sometimes, we make choices we are forced to live with for life. The man who chooses to drive even though he is drunk and ends up killing someone while driving recklessly; The young girl who gets pregnant and chooses to have an abortion and later discovers that was her only chance at ever having a baby; The spouse who decides to cheat on her partner and in that instance contracts an STD.
We need to exercise caution as we go about making daily choices. Whether they are little decisions that make us lose a few Naira or bigger ones that can have life changing consequences. We must never forget the saying goes “you’ve made your bed and now you must lie in it”. So as you picks your choose, remember that you’ll lives with it.