Soaga Olayide Oluwafunmilayo.
Being crowned with an award is a big flex for most people and sits on the to-do list of most people particularly when it is based on merit.
Awards serve the purpose of rewarding people for being undeniable champions in their field while also encouraging them to reach farther than the stars and what lies therein.
To some, an award is a mere piece of wood or a paltry piece of glass; nothing more, maybe less. Silas is one of such people who do not get hyped about awards. ‘I don’t trip over awards when I know it can be bought ’. This is exactly what happens in the status quo, a new societal norm on our campus where awards are bought and sold to the highest bidder. This takes away the legitimate motive behind awards and tilts it to a more illegitimate axis. This particular nuance is one we’ve consciously or subconsciously subscribed to. The implication of this, however, is that people who are deserving of such awards are stripped of this virtue while betrothing it to others who are less deserving.
Marvelous, a 400 level student of Sociology has represented his faculty in Interfaculty quiz competitions and took his faculty, faculty of social science to the semifinals round in the just concluded Interfaculty quiz competitions. Being the captain of his faculty’s quiz club and discharged his duties to the glory of his faculty’s quiz club. Marvelous got nominated for Orator of the year of his faculty without anyone vying for the award with him. One would have envisaged him being crowned with the award as he stood till the end of the voting process without any opponent. As history may have it Marvelous lost the award. His faculty excos had asked him to pay a sum of 10,000 naira two days to the dinner and award night under the guise of telling him he was merely paying an access fee. Unable to pay, Marvelous lost the award. Just like Marvelous, many others have suffered this fate.
The awards auction is stealthily gaining ground on our campus and most, if not all faculty and departmental excos are found guilty of it. To them, they see it as a luxurious avenue to acquire and accumulate funds to finance the budget of their faculty or departmental annual dinner and award night. Some students pay as much as 100,000 or more in some cases p they could be crowned the Money bag. What happens in this instance is that others could also be vying for this award category but they do everything within their reach as long as their account balance and reputation are involved to atone for the award and the winner takes just as is the practice in auctions. This nevertheless can be overlooked because the category is not one of merit but for flexing the muscles of their net worth.
When this happens, as in Marvelous case, what is being done in that scenario is reducing the quality and standards already set because anyone and everyone would begin to have a feeling of entitlement to what veritably does not befit them; you’d only give them a crown too big for their heads and shoes two times larger than what they can walk in. By so doing, Awardees who are unfit for societal consumption are produced with the society at the losing end; no one would like a sip of an adulterated bottle of coke or a substandard medicine for consumption even though they may appear scintillating at first but the result is hideous.
On another level, what this does to People like Marvelous is to demean them because after all, they are the most deserving of it. They could begin to inherently lose faith in themselves and feel they are not good enough.
Judging by the complexities that dwell in human psychology, we could trigger an imbalance impulse with long-lasting consequences. The last thing we want in our world is having more people being psychologically affected by making them feel as though they are not worthy of merit after championing a good feat.
How then do we purge society of this vile norm that has graced our campus? Purgatory. To tilt award presentation to a more legitimate ground, there should be a line of distinction that is crystal clear between awards of merit and other categories including money bag and other associated categories.
Another important step in doing this is to make the basis, criteria and eligibility made known to all and sundry; this is in terms of the principle of transparency.
The prospective awardee must be someone who is most deserving of it and the only way one can get a prospective awardee who is most deserving is through proper scrutiny, observation, and examination when need be. There is no limit to the process of cleansing our campus of auctioned awards.