Fr. Pat Amobi Chukwuma
There was a young man called Badmus. He came from a remote town known as Isiagboncha. Since his childhood, he has seen his ears with his two eyes. Suffering was his second name. In fact, he was a school dropout. He went into business as an apprentice in Lagos. Due to lack of sufficient learning, he couldn’t make it.
Therefore, he had no choice than to return to his native home to do menial jobs. Whatever he put his hands upon slipped off him. At the age of 40 he was still single. A fool at forty, they say, is a fool forever. To contradict this saying, Badmus forced himself into getting married. Unfortunately, all the girls he approached turned him down. Many called him Badman instead of Badmus. Others called him Badmust. He saw himself as a reject in the society.
At a time he thought that his name, Badmus, was the cause of his ill-luck. Hence, he changed his name to Goodmus. Instead of seeing improvement, he saw more deterioration in his life. One day, he contemplated committing suicide to end his woes. After tying a rope on a tree behind their house, his spirit was reproaching him seriously. Consequently, he untied the rope and postponed the suicide.
In the night of that same day he attempted suicide, he dreamt that his parents were the cause of his woes. Immediately he got up from bed in the morning the next day, he was very furious. He walked fast into his parents’ bedroom to confront them for his woes. His father was 70 years and his mother was 66 years by then. He shouted at them and accused them of bewitching him. As his father opened his mouth to speak, Goodmus gave him three dirty slaps. The old man’s jaw was shattered instantly and seven teeth dropped on the floor. Blood began flowing out of his mouth like flood. The old man cried like a sick baby. The mother started shouting and calling for help. Goodmus shouted at her to shut up her mouth. The mother insisted. He angrily gave her three blows on the face. Having been sickly, she slumped on the floor. Sympathizers rushed the wounded couple to a nearby hospital where the medical doctor on duty confirmed the mother clinically dead. When the father perceived that his wife has died, he sighed and entered into coma. Every effort was made by the doctor and nurses to revive him, but it was too late. Two corpses lay side by side.
The matter was reported to the Police. By then Goodmus was at large. The police made every effort to arrest him, but he was nowhere to be found. After three days, his lifeless body was seen floating on the river which was few meters away. What a show of shame! I wonder what Goodmus would tell God in the world beyond. Imagine the scenario of late Goodmus and his parents standing before the judgment seat of God as a result of the show of shame!
Barely a month ago, two gorgeously dressed women, who had been rivals, met at a very busy market place. Both were Principals in different secondary schools. One of them unintentionally marched on the other due to the crowd in the market. Because they have not been on speaking terms for over seven years, the attacker could not say sorry to the aggrieved. Also the aggrieved could not endure the marching. Pride covered their countenances. It became a time for vendetta. The aggrieved retaliated by slapping her rival without uttering any words. The latter slapped her back with venom. Severe fight ensued between the duo in the market place. Trust women. Both principals stripped themselves stark naked before the public. Their students who came to market on that day were most ashamed of them. The people gathered in hundreds and were shouting, “Madness! Madness!!! Madness!!!” Were they not mad? It is generally believed that any madness that reaches to the market level is incurable. What a show of shame between the two principals! Two policewomen arrived at the scene. The two mad women were handcuffed and whisked away. Consequently, they were compulsorily retired without any benefits.
The show of shame is taking place presently in the Nigerian political scene. For any democratic institution to thrive, there must be an opposition. From my primary school days, we were taught about words and their opposites. The opposite of man is woman. Without the two coming together sexually, there can be no procreation. We all came into existence through the act of opposition. The opposition checks the excesses of the party in power. An unopposed government is bound to crumble. Constitutionally, anyone is free to join the party of his or her choice. One is also free to change party affiliation at any time. It is unlike marriage where you retain your partner for better, for worse. In politics there is no permanent enemy. However, what is constant is interest. Often there is conflict of political interest which can lead to a show of shame.
The crippling of opposition has caused a show of shame in our democracy. It is on record that the ruling All Progressives Congress came as a coalition of parties to oust the former ruling party – the Peoples Democratic Government (PDP). They promised us change and to fight corruption. Hence, Nigerians voted massively for them. Due to selfishness and lack of vision, the expected change became an unfulfilled dream. The fight against corruption is lopsided. Corruption is seen mostly in the opposition. The corrupt politicians in the ruling party are sacred sheep. Some corrupt politicians who joined the ruling party became incorruptible.
The Police force is created to maintain order, to protect lives and properties. She is under the control of the Federal Government. The state governors are powerless over them. They take order from above. That’s why many Nigerians and groups are calling for the creation of State Police. Of recent, the Police are involved in the show of shame in our democracy. It was not long that some policemen were ordered from above to lay siege at the Benue state House of Assembly. They prevented the majority group of the members belonging to the opposition from entering into the Assembly Complex while they protected the 8 minority members belonging to the ruling party to sit. When an honourable member misbehaves, he or she becomes a dishonourable member. The Police should be neutral and not partisan. A partisan police cannot police well.
Sometime ago, I was behind the steering travelling to Auchi. As I was accelerating on a dual road, a fierce looking policeman stopped me at a checking point. He asked for my car papers. I showed them to him. He asked for my identity card. I produced it. He asked for my Permanent Voter’s Card. “What! Are you INEC Chairman?” I asked. Nevertheless I showed it to him. Then he asked me to show him my ATM card. I became enraged and I asked him, “Are you a policeman or a banker?” He shouted at me: “Obey the last order!” I told him that I would only obey the first order which I had done. He cocked his rifle and shot sporadically in the air. Then he shouted, “Choose between life and death!” I replied, “I want both.” He retorted, “Are you mad?” I answered, “Everybody is mad including yourself. Your madness is in its first degree.” He aimed his gun at me and shouted, “Say your last prayers!” I shouted, “Jesus Christ, Maranatha!” He slumped like an empty sack beside the road. I drove away triumphantly after the show of shame.
There have been shows of shame in the National Assembly in the distant and the near past. They had fought, threw seats at one another. Often they have fought over the Mace, which is the Lawmakers’ symbol of Authority. On the day there was free-for-all fight in the House of Representatives, a 10-year old son of one of the Lawmakers engaged in the fight was watching his father in the television in the very act of fighting. When the Lawmaker came home at late evening, his son welcomed him home. Not waiting for the father to remove his shoes, he asked him, “Daddy, I saw you fighting aggressively with many people in the House of Representatives today. But you told us not to fight because those who fight will go to hell. Therefore, Daddy, you will go to hell. Please pay my school fees before you go.” The daddy Lawmaker shamefully scolded him, “Common get out of here, stupid boy!” Who is more stupid: the father Lawmaker or his son?
Some months ago, a group of boyish men invaded the Senate and made away with the Mace as the helpless Senators were watching. The invaders escaped freely. They discarded it under a bridge in Abuja. What a show of shame! What baffles me so much was that the invaders were not confronted by the Police. The boyish men who made away with the mace might have been sponsored by the powers-that-be. My Igbo people say that the spear a child used to kill a vulture was constructed by an elderly person.
Just recently, on 7th August 2018 specific, a show of shame took place at the gate of the National Assembly. Some masked and armed men of the Department of State Services (DSS) stationed themselves before the entrance of both Chambers. They forcefully prevented the Lawmakers of the opposition party from gaining entrance into their offices. Men of the press stormed the venue to cover the show of shame and transmitted it to the whole world. Buhari watched it from London where he was on vacation. The Acting President Yemi Osinbajo watched it from Aso Rock. The Senators and Representatives of PDP confronted the armed masquerades, who were acting on the order from above. The above was later traced to the Director General of the DSS, Malam Daura. He was fired immediately by the Acting President. More heads will roll.
The tussle for supremacy is raging in the Senate because the Senate President defected to the opposition party, PDP. Let us watch and see the shame of show that will be displayed when the House resumes for plenary. Lord, have mercy on our democracy under threat!