I’m not your role model

I don’t think Linda Ikeji is a role model. She’s a gossiper, She sells gossip.

With those now famous words a little known On Air Personality (OAP); Toke Makinwa started a firestorm that culminated in a rather gracious response from blogger Linda Ikeji. Linda decided not to throw any invectives at Toke in response. Instead, she simply told her rags to riches story and then let her rabid fans tear into Toke like starved hyenas. Her post has racked up over 1,500 comments as at the time of writing this post.

Who decides who is a role model? No one exactly appoints themselves as anyone’s role model. If you smoke weed then Snoop Dogg may be your role model. If you’re a Christian maybe you look up to Rick Warren or Enoch Adejare Adeboye. Yet others swear by Kim Kardashian because of her glamorous lifestyle. You’ll be surprised that even famed pornographers Larry Flint, Hugh Hefner and John Stagliano have teeming fans who hang on to every word they say. The adoring rented crowd outside James Ibori’s trial venue in Southwark should tell you that even the Devil has worshippers.

Toke comes from a slightly middle class background and can’t seem to understand why anyone would idolize a “lower class” (according to her) girl like Linda Ikeji. Why would anyone look up to a “gossip” who makes money at the expense of the misfortunes and private affairs of others? A “gossip” who runs a simple blog that garners comments with every post and is currently ranked 29 in Nigeria (Alexa ranking). A one (wo)man blog that makes enough money for it’s owner so she doesn’t depend on anyone for her upkeep.

Young people are always looking up to those they can emulate, admire and perhaps become in the future. I look up to Baba Soyoye; owner of Helios, Bayo Ogunlesi, Jamsedji Tata, The Sawiri family, Segun Demuren and other private equity owners, hedge fund managers and entrepreneurs. I decide who my role models are as you decide yours. Some people may even consider me a role model of sorts to which I say “I’m humbled but please set your sights much higher”. Each individual decides who they bestow that honour upon. My spiritual guidance still comes from Dr. Okey Onuzo, John Piper and Steve Farrar. So if you like to knack akpako by all means worship Terry G. I’m not going to decide that’s a wrong choice for you.

So Toke, please let people decide if Linda Ikeji is a role model. She obviously is not in your books. I’m not a big fan of her site either but I’m not going to use my tiny soapbox to denigrate her. By now, the comments and Twitter mentions should have shown you that her Voltrons outnumber yours.

After all one man’s role model is another’s scumbag.