Dreams are not fickle. Without dreams, human beings are nothing. The idea that you have something to look forward to is dream enough.
A dream triggers excitement and enthusiasm. The absence of enthusiasm and excitement could mean depression and blandness. For those who can’t relate to the dreams we have, they judge us and what we do. But unless the dream is general, it is unfair to judge anybody for choosing to chase a dream.
That’s the story of 29-year-old Khafi Kareem, the Ekiti State, Nigeria native Big Brother Naija contestant.
The Khafi Story
It is no news that she is a Police Officer in the UK. But what has since become headline is how news broke that she ‘skipped’ work to join Big Brother Naija, 2019.
In the words of Africa Magic, she is in the show to win it and use the money worth 30 million naira (£68,000) to do good and host a travel show in Nigeria. She also intends to invest in charitable causes.
An Africa Magic statement in the aftermath of the drama reads, “Police officer Khafi Kareem believes that you can have it all if you believe in yourself.
"She is not only hoping to win the prize money but she wants the exposure that being in Big Brother Naija House brings so that she can do societal good.
"What people don't know about her is that she is secretly talented in spoken word, singing and dancing. She is an Ekiti native who resides in London."
The truth of the matter
Nigerians have conflated the truth with their perception of it, but here is the truth.
Khafi is currently an off-duty officer who was granted unpaid leave ahead of appearing on the show. While she requested to be a part of the show, her request to participate was denied.
The statement by a spokesperson for Scotland Yard reveals, “A PC, attached to the Met's transformation command, requested permission to take part in a reality television entertainment show in Nigeria. Permission was not given.
"The Met is aware that the officer has since appeared on the show without authority.
"The Met does not support the officer's appearance nor does she represent the Met whilst appearing on the show."
Scotland Yard has only denounced Khafi’s participation as a representation of the British Police. While she might face misconduct proceedings, that is not set in stone. She has to breach police standards of professional behaviour for that to happen.
The curious case of Khafi
While Khafi was already subject to the brunt of Nigerian hypocrisy for consistently having sex on live television, the scrutiny on her was intensified as word of her standing with the British Police became public knowledge.
A lot of people do jobs they don’t like to make ends meet. A lot of people go through life not knowing who they are or what they want. What they understand is survival and procreation - it is enough for them.
For people like Khafi, just surviving and procreating is not enough. Neither is simply having job security that most Nigerians dream of. But the problem is that most people project their dreams and insecurities on Khafi. They forget that she is a different person and she has the right to do anything she wants with her life and her body.
If she chose to defy Scotland Yard to take a risk, it means she understood the consequences. It is her life, and people should let her live it. They didn’t help her get through the rigorous screening for Scotland Yard. If she chose to potentially throw it away, it is her decision.
The part of the average Nigerian saying Khafi acted carelessly by risking job security as an ‘immigrant’ is understandable. Most people would kill for her job. But then, most people are not Khafi and Khafi is not them.
They should stop also criticizing her for choosing to have sex with her own body. Nigerians should leave her to do whatever she wants with her life and face theirs.
Khafi’s dream is who she is. She is nothing without it. Trying to make her something else is reducing who she is. Criticizing her for chasing her dream, no matter the cost is insensitive. Trolling her for it is stupid. Saying she’s having sex while she should be working is stupid.
But on the side of Scotland Yard, their angst is understandable. They don’t want the reputation of their body to be used for votes on a reality show. They also don’t want to be used for cheap manifesto and social media madness. They had to get ahead of it.
However, in no way did they criticize Khafi for joining Big Brother Naija. They only stated that they rejected her request to appear on the show for obvious reasons of the optics, especially as Khafi was once used as a face for inclusion by the body.
But then, except it’s expressly stated in their Laws that an active officer cannot participate in a show or the rejection of her request to participate in BBNaija is treated as disobeying a direct order, then punishing Khafi might be harsh. However, only Scotland Yard can decide that.
The Sun UK didn’t help matters
Not for the first time in history, The Sun UK milked a sensitive situation for cheap clicks. It also didn’t help that what they picked on was that Khafi left her job to go have sex on live television.
It tied into the Nigerian hypocrisy of Khafi and some of them accepted it as cold hard truth when it was just a twist of facts. Media should be responsible.
In the aftermath of the issue, Khafi made a statement via her Twitter page that addresses the Sun’s claims as “defamatory outburst.”
The feed reads, “Khafi's side of the story is deliberately and conveniently omitted… this comes from a repressive culture of shaming and characterising women for their sexual decisions and life choices."
Whatever the case is, Khafi will be fine. She knew what she got into. Nigerian and optics managers should face their lives. As Khafi said, her side should be heard. Even if her side doesn't make sense, Nigerians should still mind their business.