The Bible, the book of global best practice, maintains that, as long as the earth remains, three things shall never cease. They are seedtime, harvest and -wait for it- poverty. The first two speak to the inevitability of work and the concomitantability of reward. Since seedtime and harvest are barely intelligible, let’s dwell on the more complex third.
Poverty is mankind’s number one tormentor. By the way, this is not necessarily about money. This is about the human mind. This is about our spirit.
When Jesus (the king of parables) retorted that the poor shall always be with us, he wasn’t referring to just the money poor. He meant also those I call the poor rich; those with fat bank accounts, luxurious mansions and monstrous motors but whose hearts bear no drop of humanity. No matter how materially rich, such a one is poor overall if wicked or selfish or harbours any of the derivatives of these vices. I shall return to expatiate on this, presently.
Meanwhile, let’s check out one area that’s always glossed over. Poverty of the mind is poorer than that of the pocket. That is, poverty of the pocket is richer (in fact wealthier) than that of the mind. While money poverty discourages and limits goodness, mind poverty manufactures and distributes wickedness.
There exists an elite class of really peculiar human beings. These people are wealthy in all ramifications: up and down, in front and behind, right and left. However, only a tiny minority belong here. Alas, this piece is not about them.
Back now to the unfinished business that we kept for this juncture. One of the most inhuman derivatives of the culmination of wickedness and greed is injustice. A spirit poor man (or woman or child) blessed with money (or power or fame or what we call connection) always evinces a degree of godlessness or witchcraft, or both. Yes, the purveyor of naked or disguised injustice can be said to practise the lowest and highest forms of witchcraft combined.
The warlock is the worst devil incarnate alive. This is no laughing matter. Rather, we should weep seeing that most of our very sanctuaries of power nationwide are peopled by these dangerous men supported by a handful of even if more deadly witches. Or, how else can we explain away the monumental injustice Nigerians suffer in the hands of their governments?
To be sure, nepotism is injustice. Corruption is injustice. Mediocrity is injustice. Religion too, when slanted against a human being -any human being.
An unjust religion is a godless religion. Ditto an unjust society or an unjust education system: they go nowhere, they build nothing. Since it cannot suppress or oppress any individual or group forever, injustice only succeeds in breeding and sustaining permanent suspicion, enmity, and fighting. An unjust leader or cabal cannot not fear tomorrow.
So, why go through all that torment? Why deny others like you the rights you know they shall one day get? Would you swallow the pill you want others to smile when you force it down their throat? Would you have your victims treat your children the same way?
Don’t you care about posterity or the memory you’d leave behind? The office you hold today, are you sure when you get out as you very soon must, your life would not be shortened if your successor dealt you a tenth of the hard blows that people endured in your heyday? Just why does injustice come so easily to power holders Nigeriana? Just why is it so difficult for political incumbents to ensure justice for everyone?
Just why is Nigeria so hypocritically unjust? Just why does our country revolve in the vicious cycle of injustice? The federal government demands justice for Nigeria from the international community but back home that same federal authority continues to ignore an identical plea by state governments who in turn have permanently kay-i-veed similar requests by local governments. Sssh, don’t pity local governments: entreaties upon entreatries for justice made by clans, communities and villages have either gathered dust on the chairman’s table or been ravaged by rodents who believe the best way to bury such inhuman injustice is to eat it up!
Somewhere in the deep south, Oro people are calling out the Ibibios for proper inclusion. To the east, the Amasiri and Afikpo ethnic minorities are crying for the majority Igbo to treat them better. These majorities gloat away but, as these things go, the Hausa/Fulani majority at the centre also pay deaf ears to the Ibibio and Igbo cries of marginalisation. The beat goes on.
It’s a clear case of yu du mi, oda pipul du yu. That is the Nigerian reality. Everyone is playing everyone. There’s no one with an iota of power or reach who is not treating another to a piece of injustice.
Instead of using their blessing to bless, they deploy it as a curse which shall sooner or later haunt them. This is not a prayer, God forbid. I only drew the lesson from former occupants of life topmost floor who today languish underground swearing to no avail they have learned enough and are ready for an elusive second chance. Nigeria, know thyself!
Stop addressing your people’s quest for their inalienable right(s) only after they join a cult, or carry a gun, or activate a public showdown. Stop jailing people based on political, ethnic, religious and personal differences. Stop the unjust deployment of persons and unfair distribution of resources. Stop using injustice to make us enemies against ourselves.
President Muhammadu Buhari, state governors and local governments should start thinking of rallying the executive, legislature, judiciary, traditional rulers and the citizenry to speak the language of justice. Nigeria must start giving justice even to perceived enemies. Nigeria must start stopping the annoying lip service it has been paying to justice. Justice is the cure this country seeks – and urgently so.
God bless Nigeria!