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Do Not Assume, Verify!

By Folorunso, Fatai Adisa
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In 2010, when I was in my first year as a student of Mass Communication in MAPOLY, Dr. Sina Julius Aina relentlessly hammered on one of the core features of a genuine journalist: he would remark, “If a good journalist is in doubt, he verifies; he double-checks”.

As a matter of fact, you needn’t be a journalist before you activate the attitude of verification. I’d always tell those who are close to me that assumption, oftentimes, plunges one into the river of ignorance and embarrassment. A simple move in the lane of verification could save more than a life.

This young man, *Prince Mohammed Ataba Ayodele,* is a vibrant volunteer who always hit the streets in search of the depressed and oppressed: in his own little ways, he’d assist them and ensured they smile.

Should my brain serves me well, a week between a month- 2months ago, I noticed some kinds of melancholic posts on his WhatsApp status. It was becoming recurrent and disturbing. Therefore, I had to message him in the middle of one of those nights to inquire what was happening to him. *I, myself the talker, was having #75 as my account balance but “Kilo kan iru awa bayi? Emi ti mo shi fe ra Beensi... mio kin ri ro “.* I briefly talked to him. I assuaged him; and the rest is history.

The meat of the matter here is that: there are a number of people around us who are deeply unhappy. Social media is a levelled playground for everyone. As such, you mayn’t notice the depression that has enveloped your friend, courtesy of window dressing.

A young pretty poet, aged 20, committed suicide some few days ago. A journey through her wall presents to me a fertile mind who had her way with words. In those words were punchy messages and pointers of depression. However, her words were fine but she was deeply unhappy and unsettled.

It is important to note that most poems are products of anger, sadness and sometimes happiness. Only if attention had been paid to her; only if she had been helped; possibly her untimely death would have been averted.

Dispiritingly, probably, if she were a nudist on this street she would have been noticed. She would have been attended to and rewarded with cash as a lady of her age who could immorally flaunt her nude would have got it. But she was a literati. A poet. She bled out words. With wonderful words, she inspired awe. But depression drove her out of this wicked world, unappreciated.

Of course, a happy man today may be an unhappy man tomorrow- that is more reason you need to check on people around you. Talk to them. Persuasively sermonise them. Jolt them back to their sense! We shouldn’t wait for government to do everything - let’s help ourselves.

Let me quickly state it here that: it is important for parents to pay attention to their teenage children/young adult. They shouldn’t assume s/he is now a tertiary institution student, a graduate or worker; Thus, S/he is fine or has the mental solidity to stabilise him/herself. Experience counts, court your children!

Don’t wait to write an enthralling elegy or epitaph! Save your family and friends from dying from helplessness and solitude.Don’t assume they are fine; kindly verify.