By Tony Momoh
This is such a serious matter that we must widen our horizon in discussing it. You may therefore find it heavy-going. You see, there comes a time in the affairs of men when they  must decide whether what makes people do what they do is in themselves or in their stars?   

We will be missing the point when we say that what happened on Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at the House of Representatives was because Nigerian politicians are undisciplined. It is like reducing the height and might of Mount Everest to the size of a hillock.  There is more fundamentally wrong in the behaviours of men than we usually consciously concede.

I have watched on television many people, white, not black, tear their clothes, wrestle the one carrying the mace, symbol of authority, to the ground in parliament,  and throw punches to demonstrate distaste at what they are railing against.

So the human person is the matter here.  Even here in Nigeria, we have done a great deal to show that there is running in our veins, that speech-plus approach to settling issues that touch us in the most secret place, that try to punch holes in our groins. How painful it can be when you are touched where it is most painful, when you say you have been driven to the wall and that, even like the goat, you had to bite.

So, what happened in our House of Representatives on June 22 was not new.  I have told you in this column what happened in the House of Assembly in the Western Region in 1962.  The man on whose head the weapon of war, a mace seized from Speaker Adedoyin, was landed, was my elder brother Kessington Momoh.  But the broil and boil was not because of that type of greed I have described as osami.

They had principles to defend.  You can say that osami is osami whatever colour it wears. But they believed in the leadership of  Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and were not ready to accept the incursion which was being schemed by the joint efforts of the NPC of the Hausa/Fulani in the North; and the NCNC of the Igbo of the East, through Chief Ladoke Akintola of the West, as the entry gate.

They wanted him changed, but the mentors at the centre came in full force, imposed a state of emergency, and organised the creation of a State, the Mid-West Region which up to now is the only constitutionally created state in Nigeria.  The others, 32 of them, were by military fiat.   But, as I have said, the problems that come when people lose their temper can lead to the greatest of embarrassments.

Since the return to civil rule in 1999, I have lost count of the number of times lawmakers have fought, injured themselves even died making a point they would have handled more maturely.   So, be it in Bayelsa or Edo or Oyo or Plateau States; be it at routine political party meetings or campaign rallies, the person we call the politician has records  to set him aside as knowing no shame, as letting his ego count where that open proof of narcissism ought to be silenced, quietened.

But no, the politician is predictable in his (mis)behaviour, because of the group he falls into in the classification of human types.  So, believe me when I claim that what happened in the House is not news. Those who say they are progressives allege that there had been fraud in the management of House funds by the House leadership.  But where is the petition to that effect, crow those who say the protesters calling on the Speaker to resign have another agenda.

There is a procedure in the House rules to attending to issues of that nature, they say.  But whether there was a petition or not, it is wrong, in my view, for any impression to be created that those who handle public funds should leave the public in doubt about how honest or sincere they are in being such custodians.  But what of the tear gas in the hallowed chamber and  the vuvuzela  someone smuggled in  to blow in disturbance of the proceedings of the House?

The noise and the teargas canister, and indeed the fire extinguisher someone used to break the arm of a colleague, were all meant to intimidate, to make a point outside due process.  So this type of behaviour calls for looking more deeply into the calibre of man the politician is, whether he is in Nigeria or Japan.  And that is the point I am making, that in classifying the human person on earth, the politician belongs in a class that can be appreciated when you take the analyses out of the earthly domain.

So when, with more sympathy than anger, we look at what the politician does, the way he behaves, the way he genuinely plays God, I want you to believe that  we have on our hands, even more, humanity has on its hands, a very serious and difficult-to-heal virus  of  homo sapiens to contend with.

They have a hierarchy of wants, not of needs.  Wants may well be what man desires to have, what he believes is the good life—money, women, wine, security. They will tell you it is this world, this earth, they know and that the heaven prophets speak about has no meaning for them.

But the truth is that whether the politician or anyone else accepts it or not, there is a hierarchy of needs for man.  You are spiritual man, not intellectual man, not material man.  You are a sim card on which has been registered all you need to grow to be a worthy child of creation.  As I have said, sim stands for spirit, intellect and matter.  Instead of the ‘s’, we can be trapped in the rim (religion, intellect, matter).

Or even worse, be among the ‘mis’ group, those who know the material and will do anything to gather material wealth in the wrong belief that they will be happy doing so.  Politicians belong in the ‘mis’ slot in my own way of assessing the human material populating this earth plane.

I have addressed this slotting before, and I must recall that ranking here because in the creation story, it is only this earth plane we are told, we have the good, the bad and the ugly, mixing freely, living together; not anywhere else in the whole of this thickly populated creation.

Elsewhere, the good go together, the bad go together, and the ugly rub shoulders with their kind. See why we must look at a wider circle when we address the ways men behave, or groups of men and women behave. Choosing ‘sim’ is choosing life.  Choosing ‘mis’ is choosing death.  It does not depend on what you believe.  The politician has chosen and the choice is in himself, not in his stars. One day is one day, as the saying goes.  That day shall come and then, they shall know.

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