A Flawed and Vague Sense of Morality and ConscienceFeatured Contributors/Columnists, Latest News Saturday, September 6th, 2014
Akintokunbo A Adejumo, (firstname.lastname@example.org)
“Ex-Governor Storms Capital; Declares Intention to Return to Government House”
By the way, the above caption is mine. But I will not be surprised if many newspapers have this as their caption anytime.
Yes, former Governor of Oyo State, Otunba Dr Adebayo Alao-Akala “stormed” Ibadan, the Oyo State capital recently, 4th September 2014, with thousands (I will actually say, hundreds) of his supporters (possibly rented-crowd or just plain deluded) driving crazily and in flagrant abuse of both traffic laws and public decency, in cars, motorcycles, vans and buses, waving flags (I even saw some with cutlasses and guns), accompanied by several police escorts all over Ibadan to declare his intention to return to the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan for a second time, or is it, third time?
The amiable ex-governor himself was in an open-topped van, waving to imagined or imaginary “supporters”, mostly hapless onlookers like me who just happened to be on his campaign route at that particular instance or time, not particularly because we wanted to see him and hail him on his quest, caught in the abuse of traffic laws. All in all, it would seem to him, perhaps, with the whispering of his retinue of sycophants and flatterers, that he’s enjoying tremendous public support to stage a comeback.
Well, as a Nigeria, I will always accord everybody their right to association, and especially in this political and democratic environment, the right of any citizen to contest for any elective post. The sky is the limit for any Nigerian for this.
But what has happened to our sense or perception of morality, and our sense of remorse; or maybe conscience, in this our downtrodden society? This is a man who still has a case going on in court brought by the toothless EFCC for massive fraud and mismanagement when he was a governor (the last time I heard, the case has not been dismissed nor has he been acquitted, has he?)
So has he been cleared by INEC to contest? No, of course! But wasn’t it the same INEC and other “responsible” authorities in Nigeria, who allowed Mr Fayose to contest and win the recent Ekiti State gubernatorial election, despite having a fraud case in court with the EFCC and a murder case against him in a criminal court? Yet, nobody breathed a word about this when he declared his intention to contest. Last time I heard, these cases have not been dismissed, but as soon as he is sworn in as governor next month or so, he will be covered by the Immunity Clause, and at least he will be able to breathe easier for the next four years, knowing nobody can prosecute him or bring up the old cases.
I later passed in front of the PDP Headquarters or Secretariat in Mokola area, towards going to UCH, and there are the campaign posters, pictures and intentions of all the PDP gubernatorial candidates in Oyo State. It was not a pretty sight or thought at the ambition of some of them.
It is a right old Rogues Gallery of some of the most undesirable and undesirous political elements one can think of in Oyo State. I dare not mention some of the names, but one thing for sure, if some of them were to get to power, the developmental gains and progress of Oyo State (and even the South West Zone) in the past fifty years will be wiped out in one day. That is how bad it is. Again, please, I am not denying them their right to aspire to be anything. But I would not be proud to be called a citizen under most of them if Oyo State were to be unlucky to elect some or any of them as Governor, or even as any kind of leader.
Nigeria is debased completely. And the people are folding their arms and looking and waiting for their fate tamely, crying to God for help, while not doing anything to help themselves; in fact, we are aiding and abetting the politicians in perpetrating their evil deeds on us, knowingly. All because some of them are going to benefit from the injustices being perpetrated. The attitude is “What concerns me? As long as I am benefitting personally from the tenure of Governor X, what do I care about the rest of the people?” That is the mentality of the majority of the supporters of these incompetent and corrupt politicians. We know they are doing the wrong thing, but our blind and misplaced partisanship will not allow us to criticise or even oppose them, because of our own selfish interests.
Human nature is naturally good. At least it leans decidedly toward an awareness of the good, and a preference for it, over evil and injustice. If we are so ideal deep down, why are we such disappointments everywhere else? Why do we fall so characteristically short in our characters, societies, organisations, governments and communities, showing all manner of vice and corruption, and making a cruel and violent mess of our immediate society and the general world?
Either the outside world corrupts us—a world we cannot well control. Or the inside world corrupts us. The human part of our aspiration comes weighted with, and mired in, the lustful, grasping, animal portion of our culture and legacy, a portion not only difficult to control but bent on running us morally out of control. Or most ironic, we corrupt ourselves, conspiring unwittingly with these other corrupting influences (and other people) due to the imperfect state and function of our all-too-slowly developing capacities.
There is always, in every nation, a body of citizens more intellectual than the average, who see the issues between their own and other bodies in the same nation more clearly than the ignorant patriot, and more impartially than the dominant, elite and political classes who seek special advantages in national resources, discourse and political matters. The size of this group varies in different nations. Although it may at times place a check upon the more extreme types of national self-seeking, it is usually not powerful enough to affect national attitudes in a crisis. And such is the way it is in Nigeria. The larger, noisier, wealthier ignorant, largely unpatriotic, self-seeking group have taken over the country; always thought they are the right and only competent group to rule the country or have a monopoly of knowledge and ability to determine the country’s future.
There are two things that should be of concern to right-thinking and truly patriotic Nigerians. First is the fact that our rulers are oblivious of their misrule of this country, or if they are not, then they do not have enough conscience or remorse to give a care about it. In other words, they do not give a damn about the way they have been running and ruining this country. It is apparent to us in their everyday utterances and actions, both past and current rulers. Our past or ex-rulers often come out and give often late advice, criticism and suggestions which they themselves did not heed or acted on when they were in power. But outside of power, they now see the light, but often ignore, or perhaps, do not recognise their own failures, incompetence, corruption and misrule.
Secondly, the concern is about members of the society who are political jobbers, sycophants and flatterers who spur evil and bad leaders on and make them think they are the next best thing to God. This group of people never tell or advise their principals that what they are doing is not right. They will never see the evil in the ways of those who appointed them into positions simply because of their own selfish agenda and lack of care for other people, as mentioned above. The people of this ilk abound all over the place. They have suffused every area of the society and government in many different guises. They know what is right to do, but will turn a blind eye to wrong-doings. They are in the same category as hired thugs who do the evil biddings of their hirers.
We do not want saints or sanctimonious do-gooders brimming with righteousness to rule our country. In fact, we don’t want rulers; we want leaders, the right, truly God-fearing, competent, honest, sincere, compassionate leaders who will take bulls by the horns and do the needful; for their people, without self-seeking or self-gratifying consideration for themselves or their families, ethnicity or religion.
I have always maintained that in world history, saints, be they Moslem, Christian or other religions, have never ruled nations. If they do, they will be poor leaders and bad rulers. Someone once disagreed with me on this and insisted that in the Moslem world, Caliphs are regarded as saints. But if they are, then caliphates are not really nations, are they? And caliphs are not religious leaders, only political leaders infused with Islamic wisdom, much like Christian Popes and Hindu or Buddhist gurus.
So, really, it is sinners who have ruled majorly in the nations of the world. And several of them turn out to be good sinners, if we can call them that.
Am I not a sinner? Are you not a sinner? Are we not all sinners? In fact, most of us the followers commit more sins and more heinous sins than those ruling us and that we are castigating. So what is wrong with our own sinners in Nigeria, and indeed in Africa? Our own sinners have no sense of remorse; they do not even recognise or admit their own frailty, failures and shortcomings, they lack conscience and compassion, and we know it is only when a sinner admits to being a sinner that he gets redemption and forgiveness. People who lack compassion are often evil and murderous. They can never want the progress or welfare of other people. They will be selfish, corrupt and inconsiderate. So they will never make good leaders. It is impossible for them.
It is possible to forgive mediocrity, cluelessness, incompetence; these are human traits which may be innate, such as certain forms of disability; but what should not be forgiven are outright evils like greed and rampant materialism, lack of compassion to fellow human beings, selfishness, corruption, flagrant misuse and abuse of power, authority, resources and common wealth.
We must reject these ex-rulers, who did not perform, stole our money and now want to come back to government. Some of them have even stolen back into the thick of governance as Senators, making laws for us. These are people, who when in power, disobeyed the laws of the land and ignored the constitution they swore to defend and uphold with impunity, and now they are in charge of making laws. How can that be possible or progressive for us?
They looted, they raped, they embezzled; some of them even committed murder, and yet they forgot something in the Government House, or they feel the Government House belongs to them permanently. They feel it is their exclusive right to remain in government; they feel they have a monopoly of knowledge and experience in ruling their people.
I know power is addictive; it is more dangerously so with the jobless and the mediocre who suddenly find themselves in power or who cheated, maimed or rigged their ways into power. Examples are replete in Nigeria. And that is why we may find our way out of the political mess we have created for ourselves.
These recycled and utterly selfish, greedy and corrupt politicians must be rejected. They must not be encouraged to think they are the only ones who hold the key to our progress, our welfare. They don’t!
To us the followers, search deeply into your innermost conscience, put political partisanship, religious and ethnic affiliations aside and weigh whether what you are supporting or promoting is the best, NOT for you personally, BUT for the general good of your people. This is where God and Man will eventually judge you for what you have done for humankind during your lifetime. It will not be based on what money and power you get from evil leaders and politicians.
Tell them the Truth (as I know it) always!
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