By Muyiwa Adetiba
Betrayals come in different shapes and forms. There are family betrayals, business betrayals, political betrayals, love betrayals etc. And they all have two things in common; relationship and trust. Without these two, you really cannot talk of a betrayal. Generally, the greater the relationship, the deeper the trust, the less expected and therefore, the more painful the betrayal. In many cases, people are blindsided because of their closeness to the perpetrators.
A couple of weeks ago, my sister and friend, Vanguard columnist, Ms Bunmi Sofola gave us an account of how a man’s only son impregnated his fiancé. This was after this man had paid good money abroad to ensure the lady in question could get pregnant. In one stroke, he had lost a lover and a son. A week later, another Vanguard columnist, Ms Yetunde Arebi wrote about a lady whose kid sister to whom she was very attached, got pregnant for her boyfriend.
A few years ago, there was a well-publicised story of a prominent man who got his son’s wife pregnant. We can go on and on; men impregnating mothers and step daughters; men sleeping with their best friend’s wives and daughters; guardians impregnating wards etc. And on each occasion, the pain upon discovery is very devastating leaving some victims permanently damaged. Part of the damage is in seeing and living with the betrayer. Who do you cut off in the circumstances—your spouse or your child or both?
Business betrayals might not be as emotionally damaging but they take their toll as well. There was the story of two Senior Managers in a multi-national oil marketing company. One gave the other a detailed information about how the company was losing customers in a zone. This Manager now fed the information into a larger picture to prove that the company would lose a significant market share in the near future. The expatriate boss who had the parent company to report to, got alarmed and called the two managers.
To the utter surprise of the other manager, the one who supplied the information betrayed his colleague by flatly denying his input thereby making the other manager look like a mischievous doomsday sayer. This was about 20 years ago. The company did eventually lose a significant market share but it was no consolation to the manager who got fired.
Family betrayal takes different forms. People setting up businesses and putting their siblings in charge only to find that the company had been sucked to its shell upon examination. There was a story of a man who put his wife as the head of administration in his company. He was shocked to the marrow when he found his wife had colluded with suppliers to dupe the company of huge sums of money.
There was another story of a man who lived abroad and wanted to build a house in Nigeria. The most logical person to trust was his senior brother. Not only was the money sent home misappropriated, he was continuously lied to. The photograph of a house was sent to him. He was encouraged to come home for Christmas so he could enjoy his beautiful home. He was killed on arrival.
Political betrayals are everywhere. They dot the landscape in Nigeria. Political godsons betraying their godfathers. Political godfathers reneging on promises made to their godsons. Dogs not only biting, but savaging dogs. Just when we thought we had seen it all, there was the case of a son who betrayed his father who had installed him in high office when it came to choosing his successor.
This is the season of the mother of all betrayals. Anybody who has been to church in the past couple of weeks, would have been refreshed with the biblical story of Judas Iscariot, the disciple of Jesus Christ who betrayed him for 30 pieces of silver. He was one of the 12; divinely chosen not according to flesh, but by the One who sees the heart of man.
The pain of Jesus might have been made worse by the fact that he was betrayed by someone who dressed like him, ate and slept with him, walked with him and heard his words, was his ‘minister of finance’ who might have put his weary head on Jesus’ bosom at one time or the other. On the night of his betrayal, he had dipped his bread into the same bowl with Jesus. More was to follow as His disciples deserted Him. None came forward to counter the false witnesses. None stood for and with Him as the accusers had a field day. Those He had healed and performed great miracles for were either silent or absent. Even Peter denied Him thrice. It was, as human experiences go, the night of the great betrayal.
As we relive this Gethsemane experience and point accusing fingers at the betrayers of Jesus, we should be wary of the little fingers pointing back at us. How many times have we betrayed the cause of Jesus or His representatives on earth—the poor, the widows and the needy? How many times have we betrayed those who have reposed a great trust in us in our business, personal and political lives?
In the biblical experience, the followers betrayed their leader. That happens very often in the real world. That’s what coup plotters do. And there are coup plotters in associations, communities, companies and countries. In fact, anywhere two or three are gathered, there is a likelihood of betrayal. But then, leaders also betray their followers. It is a betrayal of the people when a free and fair election is annulled. It is a betrayal when money meant for the poor is diverted into private pockets.
It is a betrayal when money meant for projects end up building private castles. It is a betrayal when people wallow in poverty and their leaders swim in obscene wealth. It is a betrayal when a leader uses religion to manipulate his people rather than buy vaccines to heal them. It is a betrayal when a potentially rich country like Nigeria is listed among the famine stricken countries in the world. It is a betrayal when the church gets richer to the detriment of the congregation. It is a betrayal when many are taxed to provide a life of leisure for a few.
Yesterday was Good Friday when several acts of betrayal brought Jesus to the Cross. Tomorrow is Easter when life triumphs over death. We rejoice at Easter because we believe Jesus has given us a second chance at life. We can make restitution for our several acts of betrayal by giving others another chance at life too. We do this when we meet the medical and educational needs of our poor neighbours. We do this when we provide a canoe and a fishing net for those who otherwise would be hungry. We do this when we determine to lift the country’s poor out of poverty and disease.
May the message of the death and resurrection of Christ speak to us at this season. Happy Easter.