By Fr Pat. Amobi Chukwuma
There is nothing the eye sees and becomes blind. Also there is nothing that the ear hears and becomes deaf. An Igbo adage says, “Aru gbaa afo, oburu omenala.” That is to say that if an abomination clogs a year, it becomes a tradition. God created heaven and earth. The former is located upwards while the latter is located downwards. The law of gravity is natural, such that what goes up must come down.
Physically, it is impossible for man to reverse the positions of heaven and earth. But mentally man is turning everything upside down in these days of atrocity. The other day I saw a young man walking with his two hands down, using the palms as legs while the normal two legs were upwards. I stood still to see how far he could go in that reversed position.
In my vision, I saw God sitting on his throne above and was laughing at the young man who was attempting to reverse the natural structure of a human being. Acrobat can never be sustained for a long time. After walking reversely for about three poles, blood began to flow down from the nostrils of the acrobatic young man. At the same time, his breath was choking him. His brain cavity was disordering gradually. Dizziness set in. Immediately, he stood on his feet and sat down for some minutes to regain his physical and mental balance.
Where am I going? Some days ago, a popular married and corrupt politician organized the naming ceremony of his first grandson in an exorbitant way. He invited his friends and well-wishers. Gate crashers were uncountable. Numerous retired and serving politicians were physically present.
The number one citizen of the country sent a representative, because he was engaged in an unofficial assignment that took him outside the country. A questionable Man of God said the opening prayer. The chairman of the occasion delivered a marathon opening speech, which was concluded with a loud applause from the invited and uninvited guests.
Then the corrupt politician with his wife, son, and daughter in-law carrying the newly born grandson danced colorfully to the naming arena for the climax of the occasion. On reaching the stage, the corrupt politician carried his grandson and raised him up for all eyes to see. Then, he took the microphone and shouted, ‘My distinguished guests, Your Excellences, honourable and dishonourable Members, Ladies and Gentlemen, I hereby declare as the grandfather of this my worthy first grandson, that his name is Corruption!” All corrupt hands clapped exceptionally.
Few men and women of repute stood up and walked away. A respected elderly man among the guests raised his voice and said, “This name is an abomination. It is the immortalization of societal evil. Tufiakwa!’ He was manhandled and whisked away by paid security men.
Indeed, I extol the brave elderly man, because an elder does not stay at home while a pregnant goat gives birth tethered. What it takes evil to thrive is for good men to keep silent. Unfortunately, many men and women in our society today are deaf and dumb in the face of evil.
The next item on the naming agenda was free speeches. Some opulent and evil-minded persons eulogized the convener of the ceremony and prayed for the growth and success of the newly born Corruption. Various gifts were presented to the couple and their child, named Corruption.
A popular music by late musician Osita Osadebe titled “Osondi owe ndi” (some are happy, some feel bad) rented the air. All rose to dance and to make merry. Assorted foods and drinks were served. A certain wise mad man after eating and drinking to his satisfaction shouted, “Corruption is a bad name –o-o-o!!! I never see!” He was beaten and sent away. I am just imagining what the grandson named Corruption would be when he grows to maturity. Towards the end of the occasion, the paid questionable Man of God sneaked away. His pricking conscience did not allow him to say the closing prayer.
At this point I was constrained to consult my dictionary to ascertain the actual meaning of Corruption. Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (New Edition) using the adjectival form explains ‘corrupt’ in the first sense as “using your power in a dishonest or illegal way in order to get an advantage for yourself.” In the second sense it means “to encourage someone to start behaving in an immoral or dishonest way.” As a noun the dictionary defines corruption as “dishonest, illegal, or immoral behaviour, especially from someone with power.”
In essence, anyone can be corrupt morally, insofar as we are doing the wrong thing or choosing evil is concerned. Essentially corruption manifests itself more on those in corridors of power because they are being looked upon as models. It is said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Those in religious and civil authorities can be guilty of corruption. Embezzlement of public fund is financial corruption. Acting in an immoral way is a moral corruption.
Many of our past and present leaders are corrupt in themselves. That is why after many years of Independence, we still have a long way to go before we reach the Promised Land. The immediate past civilian Administration of Muhammadu Buhari lamented that if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill us. Indeed, because of corrupt practices, he didn’t achieve much in eight years. He fought corruption but corruption sent him home. Corruption walks freely along the streets of Nigeria.
If we really want to fight corruption, then, we must maintain the moral value, which states that the means justifies the end. Corruption maintains that the end justifies the means. That is our Nigerian problem till today. If we can get it right in our electoral practices, then corruption can begin to go to oblivion. Rigging and manipulation of electoral result is corruption at work.
Thus corruption was exalted in the General Elections of 2023. The climax of it all was on the 25 February 2023 Presidential Election. The election was not free, fair and credible. Electoral violence was witnessed in many places. Many electorates were prevented to vote the candidate of their choice.
Finally, Corruption counted, collated and announced the Presidential result in the dark hour of the night. It was not really Election but Selection. If it was Selection that was intended, why did the Federal Government squander billions of Naira on it?
As numerous disappointed electorates await the result of the Presidential Election Tribunal, the onus lies on the Judiciary to prove that the Court is really the last hope of the common man. From time immemorial, I have been hearing of “the Incorruptible Judge.” Are there still incorruptible judges in Nigeria?
The proof of the pudding is in the eating. If the judges and justices who are learned get it right this time, then corruption will suffer shameful defeat. If not, it shall be the perpetual crown of corruption and the downfall of justice. For now, let us be prayerful and keep our fingers crossed.