LETTER FROM THE SON OF MAN vol. 4 by ‘Lakunle Jaiyesimi

Dear Hannibal,

“Inspiring scenes of people taking the future of their countries into their own hands will ignite greater demands for good governance and political reform elsewhere in the world, including in Asia and in Africa.” – William Hague.

While the statement above is true, so much needs be done by the people of Nigeria, who necessarily have to take the future of their dear country into their own hands. Otherwise, it must be borne in mind that with governments coming and going, the country may as well remain stagnant or at best, taking two small steps forward and a giant one backward. It can be likened to boarding a commercial bus, driven by someone whose habits and inclinations had hitherto not been known. Does he drink and drive; has he leprosy; is he suicidal; is he afflicted with unknown worries that may hinder safe-driving? The lack of knowledge of the driver’s state of being hands some responsibility to the passengers to check the manner in which they are driven. This responsibility, or its like, is expected of citizens of any country who expect to be governed rightly. However, in a country as Nigeria, where many of the governed walk and work around with acquired but reasonable fear, the onus is on the people occupying the seats of power to do right for the country. Although, this fear is gradually being jettisoned by the youth who yearn to have their say through different platforms and who the government is well-advised to respond to their articulated queries, it beseems the current government of Nigeria is one whose words the people can hold on to irrespective of the state of followership. It is a new era!

While that is so, I cannot agree any less with Oyekan Adeolu’s commentary on Big Brother Nigeria as you pointed out, “Perhaps the reason why the programme was considered commercially viable is the high hedonistic taste of the present generation”, he wrote further, “We may shudder at the grim possibility of resolving our existential problems, if in spite of their seriousness, we have chosen to prioritize leisure and pleasure”. How will it not be so apt when this “hedonistic taste”, aimed at sating the wanton pleasures, although not anywhere close to being gratuitous, of the teeming youth is what any budding artist who hopes to make a mark and a living out of his art is advised to feed? Nudity, sex-appeal, shameless ”Bobriskyism”, material aggrandizement. You really do not need the length of years sitting in front of a schoolteacher to achieve the kind of resounding success you would if you feature any or a combination of these in your art. Who consumes such arts and makes the producer a success; ghosts? If you want to be a millionaire overnight, just secure yourself a few seconds opportunity in front of a national TV and boom, go naked. Who enjoys such sights, or the sounds of it in private if not some of us who find it convenient to condemn BBN while leaving the driver of the bus to drive as recklessly as he wants, this driver being the government of his or her country?

Further confirmation that “the current government of Nigeria is one whose words the people can hold on to irrespective of the state of followership” is the almost daily bombardment of the airwaves with news of corruption-related arrests, trials and conviction, though sometimes too, adjournment as is in the case of Femi Fani-Kayode, a former aviation minister, whose trial for alleged diversion of N26 million obtained from the office of the National Security Adviser was stalled due to the absence of the prosecution witness in court.

While though there may be more crimes to his name, this N26 million diverted by Mr. Femi is pathetic sitting beside the N450 million allegedly laundered by the team of Mohammed Belgore, a former Minister of National Planning, Abubakar Sulaiman and world-acclaimed Diezani Alison-Madueke, former Minister of Petroleum Resources. This country will be better! Also, while admitting that the issue of court jurisdiction is fundamental, it is disgraceful that 23 INEC staff, even while remaining innocent on the account that they have not been convicted, could be challenging court’s jurisdiction to try them in Abuja over an offence allegedly committed in Rivers State.

While the drive of the current government of Nigeria is ongoing to sanitize the country, it is pertinent to check certain constitutional provisions and continue to push for a review of those aspects that may ultimately not be in favour of Nigeria and her people. Section 308 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states “no civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against the President, Vice President, Governors and Deputy Governors during their period of office.” The sole purpose of such an immunity is to enable heads of state and governments to perform their official assignments without distraction, especially from the opposition, in which case allegations of wrongdoing may be mischievous. However, this principle is anachronistic, having being founded on “rex non potest peccare”, which means that “the king can commit no wrong”. This is so with some heads of government, a shining example being the Professor of Politics in Ekiti State, as you have mentioned, who blatantly goes wrong, making boasts of it. Worse still, he is a major distraction for himself, devoting much time to stopping by to serve and relish the taste of ewa aganyin cooked by the road sides, dramatically poses with tailoring machines for photo-shoots, while claiming never to miss actively participating at the ”agbo jedi” sectors. If all governors and heads of state were to be like him, it is certain there will be no money in the country’s coffers to be looted because of course, no one will care any longer about nation-building. If we still care so much about the constitutional immunity clause being a weapon to protect governance, then we need to ask the many civil servants in Ekiti State how many months they are being owed in salary arrears.

With the series of sexual accusations and counter-accusations bordering on the alleged indiscretions of the bald-headed Preacher Suleiman (nay, Suleimanhood), I cannot agree any less with your assertion that “It is a well-known fact that our legal, law enforcement, civil, religious, political and economic institutions need repositioning”. In all honesty, it has come a time when the Preachers need to be preached to by those who they have previously sermonized. If it is true that an alleged person remains innocent until otherwise proven, then it must be agreed that Apostle Suleiman is nonetheless innocent. This is in agreement with the comment of one Reno Omokri, “Some of you are here on facebook spitting venom on Apostle Johnson Suleman for an accusation whose veracity you are not sure of. I just read from a fellow on facebook who wrote a statement with a lot of ifs.”

In a similar vein, I wonder what the Apostle, like his peers; stands on the pulpit preaching to the congregation. Sermons essentially are corrective! What then is the need of these sermons when what you are trying to correct in your congregation is yet to be proven by any court of law? Why would your members admit to doing any wrongs, for which you sermonize them to change, when actually the only ‘earthly’ accuser is you? Are they not as ‘innocent’ as you claim to be? If they are, why preach? If they are not, why preach?

Yours, always

Son of Man

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