By Osho Samuel
Good news spring forth from its fountain but lasts only for a night while news about disasters lingers for a decade. The receptiveness of human senses for bad news is inundating to say the least and as for journalists they leverage on this known perception to bug the senses of their audience with that which they would like to hear. From the headlines on the front page of tabloids to the stories on the back page; news about disasters, terrible accidents and absurdities get the nod to make it first.
The recent good news hitting the giant of Africa is no doubt the successful containment of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). After weeks of hanky-panky laced with an atmosphere of rapt information about the outbreak of Ebola virus, Nigerians can now let out a sigh of relief following the statement by the Nigeria Health ministry that “as at September 22, 2014 there is no case of Ebola virus in Nigeria. All listed contacts who were under surveillance have been followed up for 21 days.”
In response to the assiduous efforts of the Nigeria Health Ministry, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that Nigeria had not reported any new cases since September 8 and if no further cases are reported, Nigeria will be declared Ebola-free on October 20, 2014. The heroics of Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh will always be remembered and the eight people who lost their lives during the outbreak will serve as the indelible scar the virus left on the fabric of Nigeria.
Inasmuch as the nation would like to revel in the loch of ecstasy precipitated by the gospel of Ebola victory, it would be an act of prejudice to overlook the searing pains that the image of the nation has suffered on the plains of international media. Nigeria has almost – if not completely – turned herself into a laughingstock in the committee of nations.
There’s the September 12 collapse of a six-storey guest house in the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) which prompted volumes of punch lines from the lips of South African President, Jacob Zuma aimed at reprimanding Nigeria’s carelessness. The death toll of the collapse has been put at 115 as of Monday, September 22, 2014 with South Africa losing 84 of its nationals who were said to have lodged in the building which was under construction. Apart from the collapse is the interesting discovery of $9.3m, two Nigerians and an Israeli in a private jet owned by President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) which landed on the soils of South Africa on Monday, September 15, 2014. The Federal Government was quick to respond that the money was for the acquisition of arms and ammunition to fight the insurgency of Boko Haram which has ravaged the North Eastern part of Nigeria.
The responses of the government and the way these cases were handled portrayed schemes of corruption and the hypocritical nature which have dominated our polity aided with unapologetic nepotism. It is needless to bore anyone with unending criticisms and analysis that have flowed like a mighty river through the nooks and crannies of the nation in the past one week. Amidst all these anomalies and ludicrous answers which cannot be stomached by a fool even for a second, it is important to concede to the fact that what is needful is to find a lasting panacea to rot of corruption and lawlessness in Nigeria. Quite appalling to see lawmakers boldly break laws with stark impunity and see the masses celebrate corrupt leaders who are only fit to be behind the bars with tremendous gusto and mirth. Shall we continue this way? What will be the fate of the future generation if the nation never decides to take its stinking garment to the laundry for cleaning? Imagine what $9.3m an equivalent of 150 billion naira can do in a Nigerian University.
No doubt about the obvious fact that Nigeria stands tall among nations gifted by nature with tangible substance in the head and soil, the main challenge has always been the big fox; corruption which destroys the vineyard built by heroes and heroines of struggle.
Two unmistakable words synonymous to Nigeria are corruption and religion. It is sensible to assert that religious people should be miles away from the mills of corruption but reverse is the case as corruption becomes the meal of both leaders and followers for survival. According to a report which says that 50.8% of Nigerians are Christians, Muslims are at 47.8% while other religions and beliefs share the remaining figure. Nigeria is one of the most religious nations in the world which depicts that a vast majority of them believe in the existence of God. A quick survey of the nation shows the boulevards of wealthy personalities and alleys of peasant villagers laced with churches and mosques.
It will be safe to assume that if religious leaders will take the bull by the horn and chastise political leaders publicly for a wrong-doing and not in the hanging gardens of their abode, Nigeria might get it right. For readers of the Bible, Elijah the prophet was a man sent by God to the people of Isreal and he never cared whose ox is gored in proclaiming the message of God even if it does not suit the haughty spirit of Ahab or the proud mien of Queen Jezebel. It was in the public square of Jerusalem that Prophet Samuel told King Saul that God has desired to tear his kingdom apart. Majority of Nigerian leaders from the level of Local Government Chairman to the bigwigs on the streets of Abuja all attend either a church or a mosque. Learning to stand for what is just and right which of course is pleasing to God will be the remedy to our current predicament. It is a clarion call for all religious leaders to say the truth and burn their beautiful robes of hypocrisy in the fiery furnace of open rebuke.
A popular saying has it that; “where there is no law, there is no sin”. In Nigeria, the malady of corruption never stemmed from the absence of laws but because of law breakers walking free on the streets without any iota of guilt or remorse for their wrong doings. There are laws, law breakers but handicapped law enforcers who have decided to feed on proceeds from bribery. There are numerous law enforcement agencies in Nigeria which can be best regarded as toothless bulldogs. For a population of over 160 million people, the nation has Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigerian Custom Service (NCS), Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS). A strong force of ten law enforcement agencies and yet the overwhelming cloud of lawlessness baffles the mind of a concerned Nigerian. It would be safe to assume that if the law enforcement agencies are at their best to uphold the thorny pillars of justice, then the current spate of corrupt activities should abate. No one is above the law and as such everyone should be ready to face the consequences of their actions.