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My heart bleeds as I write; I can’t help but ask how did we get into the sorry pass? How did we sink this low? Where and how did we lose it as a people and a nation?
Nigeria is rapidly becoming a theatre of the absurd, not a single day goes by without news of one sordid tale or another. In Nigeria, the obnoxious and awkward does not rain, it pours! Nothing is news in Nigeria anymore. Nigerians have sadly developed a thick skin for bad news. Nothing shocks Nigerians anymore. According to the late cerebral journalist, Dele Giwa, Nigerians have been shocked to the level of “un-shockability.”
In just three weeks Nigeria have witnessed enough absurdities that would probably totally crumble some other countries. In the last three weeks, news headlines include stories of multiple buildings collapsing in a day, in a country where there was no natural disaster. The incineration and painful death of 42 innocent persons in a school in Yobe State; children whose only crime was seeking for knowledge. The scandalous score line in two football matches, (67-0 and 79-0) which is reminiscent of the Nigerian example of democracy, where 16 is greater than 19 and 5 is greater than 27. Add to these, the River State House of Assembly mayhem, the news of a pastor raping two eleven years old girls and the Senate’s indirect approval of marriage of underage girls.
If happenings in Nigeria in recent times are indicative of the future, then I am afraid we are in big trouble with our leaders both spiritual and temporal as their only purpose it would seem is to ruin the country. How else does one explain the sight of lawmakers frolicking and associating with miscreants? How does one explain the rape of children by pastors? How does one explain the circuitous endorsement of marriage to minors by people who should be making laws against such condemnable practices?
Nobody is in doubt that cultism, rape and pedophilic activities are very prevalent in Nigeria and constitute a real menace. But it becomes particularly worrisome when leaders both spiritual and temporal indulge and actively promotes the very evil they are supposed to fight against.
The first case in point is the River State House of Assembly mayhem. Watching the YouTube clip of the melee, one couldn’t help but cringe in horror at the barbarity of the whole thing, the vulgarity, the viciousness and savagery, I couldn’t help but shudder in disgust at the kind of leaders (I find it very difficult to call them leaders) we have in this country. Is this the kind of democracy Nigerians deserves? Is this the democracy we fought for? Rivers state legislators seem to have contrived their own version of democracy; democracy of thugs for thugs and by thugs?
Watching the clips, I was appalled by three things; The invasion of the hallowed ground of the state assembly complex by hoodlums and the chanting of cultist slogans right in the presence of so many law enforcement officers. Apparently, the security officers were so focused on making their individual paymaster happy that they simply forget their duty and joined in the fight. The sight of a lawmaker boasting to fellow cultists about how he viciously attacked other lawmakers made my gut churn with revulsion. But the most brutal and unforgettable image was that of a lawmaker attacking a fellow legislator with the intention to maim/permanently incapacitate him. What kind of human being does that if not a hoodlum or hired killer? In saner climes, all the lawmakers and officers who took part in that show of shame would have been rounded up and brought to justice.
But this is Nigeria, a country where anything goes. The only thing that matters is the power behind you and the higher the power behind you, the greater the level of obduracy.
Watching these clips, I am deeply worried about the future of the country. A lot of people in Nigeria agitate for the generational shift in terms of leadership. They oppose the preponderant proportion of those they see as old and tired men holding political positions. They desire more space for youths in our political landscape. While, I share the same sentiments, however the “wrestlemania” fight in rivers state has partially forced me to have a rethink. Most of the gladiators in the melee were youths full of gladiatorial energy and they exhibited it very well in their fight. So how are we sure the youths are better than the so called elders?
Away from the Rivers state brouhaha, it is clear that the country is descending into moral anarchy when news of pastors who are supposed to act as moral guides raping underage girls turn to a daily headline. How come pastors who are supposed to be on higher moral grounds are descending to the level of brutes? What could be responsible for this perversion? How come the so called spiritual leaders are giving in to the allures of the flesh? How come our spiritual leaders who should serve as moral compass for the nation have become the very people committing the most heinous crimes?
While one is reluctant to comment on the current controversy in the senate concerning the age of marriage because of its controversial nature, suffice to say that considering the precarious state of the girl child in Nigeria, any law that remotely looks like it supports underage marriage is simply abhorrent. While on the surface the bill may have nothing to do with underage marriage, however its passage will embolden pedophiles (especially people like the bearded senator from Zamfara state) with such sentiments.
In conclusion, while, the Fela Anikulapo Kuti called those in high places VIP (vagabonds in power) I chose to call them CRPP (cultists, Rapist Pedophiles in Power): In all honestly, there is no gainsaying that conduct of our leaders (spiritual and temporal) leaves a sour taste in the mouth. If we don’t get it right morally, how are we going to get it right developmentally and technologically? The truth is with these kinds of morally bankrupt leaders Nigeria might remain in the cul-de-sac of underdevelopment for a very long time.
Everything happening in Nigeria points to a nation that is plummeting, a nation that is decaying, a nation whose moral fibers is been torn to shreds by its leaders. Nigeria has become a nation of cultists, rapists and pedophiles in high places. Can we continue like this? I seriously doubt it, something just have to give!
Brandenburg Technical University, Cottbus, Germany