They are common sights on major roads across the country. They are vehicles with divine messages of hope, faith, righteousness, piety, patience, love and fairness. The messages are printed in such colourful and attractive fashion that easily attracts attention.
At first, the general presumption about such vehicles is that, with such unambiguous godly messages, the drivers should be heaven-bound men or women who are just marking time in this sinful world of mortals. Experience has, however, shown that drivers, and sometimes, occupiers of such vehicles, often act in manners that make nonsense of the messages conveyed by their vehicles. Sometimes, drivers of the piously emblazoned vehicles drive in such reckless, and ungodly fashion that makes one wonder if they actually know anything about the God.
This, of course, is the tragedy of our nation. The scenario painted above isn’t restricted to vehicles and roads. Metaphorical representations of such vehicles and drivers abound in every facet of our national life. They are everywhere. They occupy high places at the corridor of power. They hold high offices in religious circles. They occupy strategic positions in the education sector. They even operate within the various national security outfits. These are men to whom talk is cheap. They are men who don’t act what they preach. They are men of two parallel worlds. Inside, they are snakes, but, they pretend to be doves outside. Hypocrisy is their stock-in- trade, deception their trademark. They sing the national anthem with pride; recite the pledge with relish, but stab the nation in the back at the slightest opportunity.
As a nation, we have not made much progress due to our hypocritical and deceitful inclinations. At their inaugurations, our leaders often swear by the holy books to uphold the constitution and operate in the fear of God. With stories of several billions of naira either missing or being misappropriated, over the years, one wonders if our leaders actually believe in the sacredness of their oath of office. It is amazing how we play fools with God. Whom do we actually take God for? A dumb deity who sees nothing and hears nothing?
We have turned deception into an art. We claim ours is a constitutional democracy but in all honesty, we operate a system that promotes injustice. While some hapless citizens rot in prison for offences considered trivial, many who should have been forgotten in jail remain strategically positioned at the corridor of power determining the fate of millions of their ill-fated compatriots.
This, of course, has been the unfortunate tale of our country. Unfortunately, the hypocrisy bug has gotten to hitherto revered religious institutions where, naturally, one should expect a reasonable measure of godliness. Today, we have prophets, seers and clerics, of all shades, who desecrate the name and altar of God, like the biblical Esau, for a pot of porridge. The altar of God is now being corrupted by those who claim to know God but whose god is actually mammon. The traditional institution is not faring better. We have monarchs, who occupy sacred ancestral thrones, but carry themselves in manners that would actually incur the rage of the gods. We complain of bad leadership, but we are partially responsible for what some of our leaders do. Is it not amusing that people place curses on their relations for upholding integrity and honesty while holding political offices. This is, to some extent, why some of our compatriots could compromise their electoral preference for a paltry sum as low as a thousand naira.
*Published in the Daily Times newspaper of Friday, January 9, 2015