Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Harvest: the Coming of Age of a Lawless Society!

I have never been one to seek popularity, and I am now at an age, when I really do not have much use for it!

When a man is lazy and indolent, like Unoka, the father of Okonkwo, the central character of Professor Chinua Achebe's, Things Fall Apart, we are often told that if that man wants to know the source of his failure in life, he should look in the mirror!

Many times, we fail to discern that our thoughts inform our actions, and our actions lead to our habits, and our habits are actually the bedrock on upon which our character is founded!

In the life of nations, the collective, progressive, and consistent, individual actions of the citizens, actually give birth to the national ethos, and value system of that nation!

Our nation, Nigeria, is no different from any other nation on earth! As true as that statement might sound, it is actually false, when closely examined! Every nation is like an individual, it is unique, and is the product of the actions of her citizens!

In less than two weeks, Nigeria has witnessed the extrajudicial, and criminally motivated killing, of young undergraduates!

In one incident in Adamawa state, the innocence of the over twenty students killed, was not in doubt! In the second, there is a measure of controversy in determining the innocence, or guilt, of four undergraduates, who were beaten, and set ablaze, by a mob in Aluu, a community bordering the University of Port Harcourt! What is however not in doubt in this second case, is the wrongful death caused by people taking the law into their own hands!

There is no decent person who has heard the account of their death, who would support the action!

How did we arrive at this sad, insidious, and chaotic state of affairs?

A careful look at our immediate history in the last thirty five years, would suffice! 

The first culprit in this disaster, is the government! There is a culture of impunity in government! People in government believe they, and their actions, are above the law! This dubious belief, was institutionalized  in the dark era of military rule in Nigeria!

One famous incident from that era, was the sacking of Kalakuta Republic, the home of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the famous Afrobeat musician! For those who do not know, or remember, in that incident, the government sent armed, not police men, or court bailiffs, to destroy a man's home! In the process, they killed his mother, apart from destroying his home, and injuring his family members!

They were not executing a court order, judgement, or relief! It was just a case of someone in government deciding to execute the law, the way he deemed fit!

Another regular example of government impunity, is how various governments across the nation, demolish people's homes, and business premises, without a proper, and valid, court order!

The executive arm of government, seems to believe that it has a right to be a judge, and plaintiff, in it's own case!

Need I talk about how public funds are spent on personal matters, by politicians, and civil servants!

The citizens have been very good students! They have seen that might is right, and the doctrine of striking first, and talking later, is always a safer, and better option! That is why we see some people carrying horsewhips in their cars! They regularly bring this out to flog 'erring' road users! Others enter into contracts, and refuse to honour them! Many buy goods, or ask for services, and refuse to pay! People employ staff, refuse to pay them, and subsequently sack them for insubordination, because the demanded their unpaid wages!

In different spheres of life we see illegality at play! The landlord who removes his tenant's roof, after breaking down his door, and throwing out his property, all in a bid to evict him!

We have a nation that glamourizes people who were successful, in their criminal endeavours! We refer to them as being sharp, or smart! We do not call them thieves, instead we give them national awards, titles, and government appointments!

People who fail to obey traffic lights, and even drive against traffic in a one way street, do not see themselves in this category of lawless people! They view their actions as just benign, and innocent, mistakes!

I beg to disagree, I believe that each time we break a law, or contribute to the breaking of one, or encourage another to do so, we are actually contributing, to the building of the stage, where another set of innocent lives would be lost!

Lawlessness, is nothing less than what it is, a crime, an abuse of the nation, and a kick in the teeth for the constitution of the land!

You might not have beaten a boy in Aluu, neither did you shoot a student in Adamawa, but if you open your eyes, and knowingly break a law, to gain an unfair, and illegal, advantage, you are contributing to a culture of illegality!

The people of Aluu community did not kill those boys alone, all of us, who promote,and believe in any form of illegality, were remote contributors as well!

Let us all take a long look at the mirror. for therein lies the guilty!


1 comment:

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