Nigeria has truly become a theatre of absurdity. Our senses are constantly being barraged with utter gibberish and confusion. This ordinarily should propel tears out of our eyes. But alas like the common saying ‘the eyes that had seen several oceans cannot come before a pond and be terrified’. We are used to all manner of anomalies to the extent nothing moves us anymore. The survival strategy put in place by an average person is making everyone becoming so ingenious in creating loopholes. No one seems to care again about the level of comic this may contain. The big deal is just make sure the end justifies the mean: put food on your table and move on.
As a grownup who had seen quite a few of how demeaning many can go to assault the sensibilities of others, yesterday’s arrival of modern day make- believe ‘bishops’ who attended the unveiling of All Progressive Congress(APC) Vice Presidential candidate beats my imagination.
When I watched the arrival of the ‘bishops and men of god’ to the venue, the video of which had gone viral; I knew something must be ‘fishy’ somewhere. But for the benefits of doubt, I kept my mind on the event’s proceeding hoping my fears would not be confirmed along the line.
Mere looking at the apparels of the bishops sent a wave into my spine. Something did not just add up. I am not a soothsayer neither do I have a clairvoyance ability but I knew these set of marauders who posed as men of god may not be what they claim to be.
One thing that first gave them out was that none was willing to speak to the press or express their joy, purpose for attending the event. In addition to this, some were seen trying to cover their faces from the prying focus of the camera. I mean, if you planned to attend a meeting where you knew press men will be attending with their camera and you are so proud of your attendance why cover your face?
Again, while we do know COVID-19 is still much around, at least based on statistic released about a week or so ago by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control(NCDC), the kind of face masks used by these so called men of god sold them out. Some have their face masks entirely covering half of the face.
My fear about these men and women of god, the group has female representative indeed, was later confirmed before the close of the day.
Social media platforms were later to be littered with true images and personalities of our ’sponsored men of god’ to the event. Some of these men and women of god were allegedly identified by those who knew them personally or those who know how to fact check image.
I used to think women are more discreet in such a situation like this. But hey, the level of poverty in the land has become a major issue where many want to put food on the table as long as the crime is not about carrying a gun to kill. But if these charlatans understand that deception also can kill and lead to several other mental health issues for their victims they will think twice.
I asked myself in dismay “What is the difference between these kind of trade and being a bandit?”. But before I could answer or find anyone that could help, the thought is are you not living in a country where terrorists had been nicely tagged as bandits loomed large in my heart? A country that will rather be soft on wicked criminals and press so hard on innocent souls who are trying to make an end’s meet.
I have tried to find out what bandit means. And some of the words dictionary used in describing one are robber, thief, crook and outlaw in some cases. So who can we say these ‘bishops’ are if not bandits. Anyone who is a crook is also a thief, robber and can be an outlaw. But our society never believe this. We forgot that crooked person, professing to be whom s/he is not is destroying the image of the impersonated person.
For this offence, an individual who is guilty should be treated as a robber or thief with the same weight of punishment the other offender in that category is treated. But we will not. We will rather laugh and move on. This is especially so, when the supposed crime was committed by member of the ruling party.
The question is if a ruling party can have and accommodate such a number of crooks and criminal minded individuals who had the gut to stage managed such an act on behalf of the party, it may be difficult to imagine what such party cannot do
These individuals, fake bishops and party members inclusive, would have promised the party they would be able to invite the right audience to the event. Right audience will be anyone that can give credence to the adoption of party position. This may be to send wrong but acceptable signal this target audience, which will include clergy and men of god from the Christian faith had endorsed a muslim Vice president. The purpose is to affirm Nigerians do not care about a muslim-muslim ticket. Which may be true but criminally presented in this instance.
We do know many of the event’s crowd in a political rally, hungry individuals are often paid just to fill the space. But why ‘buy men of god?’. Anything is possible in a banana republic where everything is in disarray; hunger and poverty had gone beyond what many can handle.
Another question in my mind in retrospect is, do people who engage in this kind of criminal tendency understood the time we live now is different from 1960s where it would have been difficult to ascertain the truth within few hours. This with regards to the identity of the audience? Especially the audience who stood out because of the regalia they put on and the impression they are trying to create?
Do APC leaders also think about the level of damage this will do to their image and credibility? A party trying hard to sell itself to Nigerians after almost 7 years of abysmal performance. A pathetic situation where the level of poverty and unemployment continue to be on the downward trend without strategic effort at addressing the issues aside from name calling and blame trading?
But whatever we say, our bishops turned bandits are members of the Nigerian society not ghosts. Whatever we see on our national television is a reflection of the decay in the society. This did show our morals and consciences had fallen into a ditch. The writer thinks family must wake up to this reality. Nigerian and African values are gradually being eroded to give way to the popular ‘end justifies the means and not the process’. How long can we have a sustainable society if we run on this notion will be determined in no distance future.