In Nigeria the ignoble has become fashionable because some of those values we used to cherish as a people no longer catch the fancy of many. In fact, these days it is the fools and idiots of society who still live in the past that cling to such ideals, one of which is a good name. Accompanying this is proper upbringing of children and good breeding.
To achieve all these, parents in the past strove within their means to rear good children by giving them good education. And a good education is not the commercialised stuff of nursery, primary and secondary schools of today. There was a time when the nation’s public schools were a treasured asset much envied in the Commonwealth. Those days of yore, however, were made possible when men of breeding who had vision were in control of our society. We are talking of the likes of Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Ahmadu Bello. And these statesmen had quite a following. Some of their disciples were men of character always eager to serve society in the tradition of the footsteps of their ‘leader’. That was the golden age of Nigeria, an age that seems to have passed away. In its place is the present rut we have found ourselves. It is to be expected though. Whatever a society sows, so shall it reap.
The Yoruba have a saying that when peace and harmony are present in any home, it is because the rascals, or is it the ‘bastards’, are yet to grow up. That today is the bane of our nation. Our rascals have grown up and they have assumed commanding positions of our national life. No sphere is spared. They are in politics, economy, business, judiciary, law enforcement, health care, religion, and journalism among others. And mark you, they believe in God. In fact, many of them occupy the front rows in our churches and mosques. They have built and dedicated monuments, churches and mosques, to the only living God. But the real god they worship is money, which earned them their ‘leading role’ in our spiritual life. Sadly, they have become the role models of millions of youths. Thus many are ready to draw blood on their behalf for a perceived slight. And when the ‘insane’ are condemning the malfeasance of their role model, his protégés become spin doctors.
Imagine the celebrated case of our one and only James Onanefe Ibori, who was for eight years governor of Delta State. He has pleaded guilty to money laundering in a London court. And Delta is already salivating the return of the millions of dollars recovered from Ibori. Judgment will be delivered on April 16. And in spite of what his spin doctors are saying, Ibori, aka Ogidigborigbo (the invincible Godfather), is not likely to escape imprisonment this time. His wife, mistress, sister and lawyer were jailed in 2009 for assisting him in his criminal enterprise. The former governor, in spite of two previous convictions in London and one in Nigeria, made it to the top of the political ladder because our society has gone to the dogs. And his kind is all over the place.
Nuhu Aliyu, a retired deputy inspector-general of police, who became a senator in 2008, disclosed on the floor of the House that he had at one time or the other interrogated some of the then lawmakers for being involved in advance fee fraud. His flustered colleagues castigated him without let. Against that backdrop, how can we be sure that many of the active participants in our political life today are no drug or armed robbers’ barons? After all, money determines who gets what here. And this group of people is not in short supply of it. That is why instead of them running the country, it is being systematically ruined by the political misfits. Simply because we have become a society of anything goes. So are we surprised that even as Ibori readies himself for his just dessert, his spin doctors are still at work trying frantically to make reason walk on its head? Indeed, the ignoble has become fashionable.