There is a disturbing trend that has shown a deeper attachment of the Nigerian society to the worship of money and power. The increasing rate of ritual and other related killings in the country reveals how sick and banal we all have been transformed into as a people in search of resolving the poverty that harangues our lives. Hardly a day passes without a news report of one gruesome act of ritual killing in the hope of satisfying the unquenchable thirst to survive and live comfortable far beyond our legitimate means.
Unlike the past when younger generations were expected to take care of aged parents, children nowadays do not give a hoot about toying with the idea of killing their parents in cold blood in order to become rich. Bizarre and grotesque killings have become the order of the day for a society that is on the fast lane of material acquisition with little emphasis on the dignity of labour. When a society places premium on the end, rather than the means, the consequence is what we are now witnessing. As long as society is concerned with only the acquisition of money, so long will we continue to justify all forms of wealth acquired by people who do not have visible means of income. It is the trait of a corrupt society that is Hobbesian in nature that thrives on the strength of a man to survive outside the accepted norms, including deploying all manner of arsenal for a quick fix to attain wealth.
Those whose vision is to make money out of the system have always sought solutions outside the books. In a society that does not honour hard work and integrity, the resort to black power has always worked magic to control physical forces. In the early 1990s, a south-easterner was appointed head of a juicy parastatal by former President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida. When he arrived in Lagos to take charge, he discovered feathers of some strange birds and stains of blood in the office. He was horrified at the sight and later told friends that he was thinking of quitting.
The new appointee was persuaded not to give up, as rituals are all part of public office. He needed to clear his doubts and, therefore, took some days off to clear some unfinished businesses. Days later, he returned with a half-clothed person, with white painted face and feathers adorning his head. At the gate, the security men abandoned their post and raised an alarm that a medicine man had invaded the premises. At the gate, the bulky man with a white face blew smoke into various directions as he walked into the premises, with his back turned.
Those who were too afraid to catch a closer glimpse watched from a distance as the smoke-spewing man made his way to the office of the DG, closely followed by the new appointee who now looked confident and followed by three tribal chiefs clothed in traditional attire. The man with the white face was later to spend three weeks to complete the cleansing and exorcise evil powers against the new occupant of the office. Weeks later, postings and redeployments were announced, with the new DG surrounding himself with cronies. That is the way it worked then and it has remained so. Those in government surround themselves with cronies that will take care of issues in both physical and spiritual realms for survival and perpetuation.
With government becoming yet another extension of yet another money-thirsty cabal, no one gives a damn about what happens. The engagement of prayer warriors to entrench their stay in the corridors of power seems to be the official pre-occupation, just as the rules set by the books are neglected. It is common place that prayer warriors are transported to foreign lands for effective concentration, while those who cannot afford the high cost of sponsoring foreign prayers are quick to meet with those under the bridges. The relevance of engaging clerics and spiritualists to battle political opponents has become part of the game. Some knowledgeable in politics as it is practised in Nigeria are quick to say that without spiritual backup, it is difficult to survive Nigerian politics. Reports of politicians getting sick when in power are rife. Reuben Abati’s article on his sojourn as Aso Rock’s spokesman speaks volumes about unseen evil powers that have found comfort in the seat of power.
The traditional system that is supposed to check the rot of sleaze of the society has been subsumed under government. Unlike in the past when community leaders were symbols of truth and expected to raise the alarm over issues that may threaten peace of their people, they have now resorted to defending only those who have money. Having discovered that money has become the god that ensures earthly comfort, village and district heads now conspire with the black sheep of society to enthrone injustice and corrupt the pristine culture of transparency traditional rulers were known for. With the dregs of society embracing ritual practices to make it to the top, those in the corridors of power also engage spiritualists to perpetuate themselves in power. The fallout of this is the entrenchment of a society that does not have respect for ethics and set rules.
Ahead of the 2019 polls, incidences of rituals are increasing by the day, while politicians, aided by cronies and cheerleaders, are leaving no stone unturned to gain re-election. With those in government and outside competing for wealth, the prospects for salvaging our country from the hands of these black powers are dimming by the day. That explains why Nigeria has become a farm house for the production of wealth by any means, fair or foul. That is the reason why our leaders who steal from our common patrimony do not want to invest in the country. That is the form of wickedness that has perpetually kept our country in the dungeon of hopelessness we now find ourselves.
The rituals and corruption and other forms of inexplicable inhuman practices are fallouts of a system that is sick and needs immediate deliverance. These black powers and ritual killers are around and among us, and they find comfort in the heart of a country that is excellent in embracing hypocrisy. The corruption in the system that is becoming deeply privatised in the current set-up has acquired solid munition for defence.
We live in changing times and the days ahead are fraught with wearisome anxieties over our corporate existence, but we can only pull through when those who should speak the truth remain committed to holding the flame of hope. Our hope will never come from these politicians who are irrevocably committed to their financial empires; it will come from men and women who are committed to what is just and fair for all. But can our country rise up to become a just system for all despite the strong ethnic sentiments being promoted by those who hate us the most? Those who think in the negative are yet to come in contact with the force of unity. Those who think in the positive should never relent in their pursuit of truth and justice. When men and women of good conscience keep silent over injustice, the arms of the oppressors are strengthened, but when they speak out, the arms of the oppressed are strengthened.
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