The world we live in is an evolved world of true things, things that have to be true to be real. If you agree with me, there is a huge difference between a writer and someone who merely scribbles words on a sheet of paper, a pen-pusher.
The difference between writers and pen-pushers is likened to the difference between a leader and a boss. A small paper signpost on one of my bedroom mirrors read:
The boss drives his men, but a leader inspires them;
The boss depends on authority, but the leader depends on goodwill;
The boss evokes fear, but the leader radiates love;
The boss says I, but the leader says we;
The boss shows who is wrong and apportions blame, but the leader shows what is wrong and corrects it;
The boss knows how a thing is done, but a leader shows how to do it;
The boss demands respect, but the leader commands it;
Therefore, try to be a leader, not a boss.
There is no true leadership in Nigeria. On hearing this, one would think that maybe I’m pessimistic or I am one of those people wey just dey talk and soon stop. The fact is that truly seasoned men and women of recent, contemporary descendants of this country have said this. From the words above, one can conveniently say that we have Nigerian bosses at the helms of affairs who only know how to boss us around, and who would fight tooth and nail to maintain their stance.
A Pointer newspaper reporter made an erroneous mistake by likening himself to a pen-pusher. This means that he would just scribble words on paper to please a particular reading audience, just for the sake of his personal survival. I would have said that all reporters are pen-pushers, but I would be making a terrible mistake myself.
A writer is a person who brings up (a) salient issue(s) and researches evidence(s) to back up this or these issue(s). A pen-pusher is more or less a people-pleaser and someone who harmfully circumvents the rules and regulations of spelling, grammar and punctuation. He tells all and sundry about his perennial starvation in life and even displays the degree of that starvation in the presentation of his words on paper. A true writer is a well-researched thinker, while a true pen-pusher starves his brain and wants by all means possible to satisfy his stomach, forgetting that the stomach remains in perpetual garrulousness if not controlled by the brain.
The words of a writer jump out of the paper to confront the reader, thereby surprising that person. The writer may have a particular audience in mind when writing, but his duty is to make sure that his words and what he has said are both without age. A pen-pusher is dutiless, that is, not dutiful. A political thug hires his services because he can get him cheap. One has to feed words to a pen-pusher because if left on his own, his words and what he has said would ache the eyes of the reader of sound mind and intellect, and ordinary people would only have their eyes fed.
If I can make a direct comparison with the signpost I illustrated above, I would definitely say that a writer is a leader while a pen-pusher is a boss. Hear the legendary Peter Tosh:
Everyone is crying out for peace
No one is crying out for justice (2x)
I don’t want no peace
I need equal rights and justice
I’ve gotta get it
Equal rights and justice
We need equal rights and justice
Having peace alone isn’t it. Peace alone can be tampered with. If the right thing is done all the time, peace will definitely come and that peace will be maintained and preserved for a lifetime to come. Several notable pen-pushers spread around newspapers and magazines like a virus. All you have to do is read them. May your eyes ache! I can definitely say that pen-pushers have contributed to the minus-zero reading culture in Nigeria.
True writers do not blow their trumpets, and I guess very few of them have trumpets to blow. A writer is a dark horse, while a pen-pusher is a glorified pimp. If ever I personally drift into pushing pen on paper, scold me! I wish not to waste ink. Thank God it is only a drift.
So, I sincerely wish that Pointer reporter to retrace his steps and correct that statement he made. Note this, though: The tail-end of a recently televised, Africanised Guinness advert (which I have recently seen on several billboards and heard in a popular FM radio station) says: “There’s a drop of greatness in every man, yea.” In a way, this statement goes for pen-pushers as well, but who would you rather be?