By Dele Sobowale
“As from today, you are expected to represent Christ. You are an ambassador of Christ. Never again will the name of God be soiled through you.” — Venerable Tayo Aduloju, talking to Bode George, February 26, 2011, at the Christ Church Cathedral, Lagos.
The poor Venerable might as well be talking to a wall because those to whom he spoke were hearing without real ears and seeing without eyes. Shortly after the church service, it was business as usual. Said George to his admirers, “There is a job at hand for us to do and now is the time to win Lagos State.” Not a word of remorse from the new “ambassador of Christ.” Just win Lagos – even if you have to do it the way NPA was run down.
The case against Bode and others was brought to the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) – an agent of the Federal Government of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). And, the case was prosecuted to its logical conclusion during the tenure of the Yar’Adua/Jonathan government – at a time when Jonathan was still pretending that he also endorsed zero-tolerance for corruption. We know now where he stands, don’t we? What with an Attorney-General whose brief apparently is to get crooks off the hook and now sending a delegation to give a hero’s welcome to someone his government jailed, this President is really a breath of fresh air. And, therein lies the madness.
How could Obasanjo who passed the law, and during whose tenure the case started; Jonathan whose government prosecuted the case and sent the man to jail, join others who obviously have taken leave of something important, to welcome a man they collectively turned into a convict? If that is not madness, I want to know the definition of the word?
As for the crowd of party members and freeloaders, the whole scene reminds me of that line I read in the 1970s in a book by Saul Bellow in HUMBOLDT’S GIFT, “By a damn peculiar arrangement, lunatics always have energies to burn.” I laughed then; I am not laughing now because this thing could become infectious in Nigeria.
A former President was in the congregation; nothing new about that. He, as everybody knows, would always be there for anything reprehensible. President Jonathan was ably represented by a minister – undoubtedly to demonstrate that the breath of fresh air promised has not started to blow. Meanwhile, the nation was treated to another whiff of the old foul air for which PDP had become globally famous (Alams, Dariye, Ibori, Igbinedon etc). A retired General, Chief of General Staff (rtd) was there. A sitting governor was also there – broadly smiling as if attending a coronation. In fact, the entire gang of people who disgraced Nigeria with the 419 election of 2007 was there — all sharing solidarity with Bode and reaffirming their eagerness to repeat the feat of 2007 for Jonathan. Breath of fresh air? Forget it.
The only person who deserve my kudos was the Reverend conducting the service. He is certainly several years younger than Bode, OBJ and Diya – to mention a few. But, he had the honour and privilege to lash the “hero” of this ridiculous show with words that others will long remember. Again, where is honour?
In the old Lagos, where Bode and I grew up, it was considered an immeasurable disgrace for an elder brother to conduct himself in a manner that would invite insult from his juniors. But, here was one of us, dragging himself, and a gang of like-minded fellows in tow to the Christ Church Cathedral to receive a well-deserved slap in the face.
And, to show that he meant every word, it was announced that the donations from “the august” visitors will not be accepted by the church – they will be donated to charity. God and mammon should not mix. So, all those who wanted to dazzle the church with their shady dollars will find them in the hands of lepers. Thank God, we still have people like that in some of our churches; unlike the “prosperity churches” which accept donations of jets from Executive bank robbers.
Once upon a time, in our Lagos, an ex-convict does not return to the old neighbourhood if he could find somewhere else to go – for shame. And, if he could not, he would sneak in at night and hide from view. PDP wants us to clap and dance for someone they themselves convicted of heinous crimes. That shows what sort of political party they are – Jonathan included. I know the President’s inept spin doctors will soon find a laughable excuse for this moral lapse. We might even be told that the minister attended in his own private capacity. They should say that to the marines. They forget that Nigerians are wiser now. No minister attends such an event without clearance from the President. At any rate, we, at UniJankara, don’t fall for such nonsense. That is the kind of rubbish members consume at the PDP headquarters. Unfortunately for Bode, this show of shame can never be erased from memory. As Omar Khayyam, 1123 A.D, had written about a thousand years ago:
“The moving finger writes; And having writ moves on; Nor all your piety or wit; Shall lure it back to cancel half a line; Nor all your tears wash out a word of it.”
For as long as Nigerians exist on earth, this stupid stunt by PDP will carry Bode’s name attached to it each time people recollect it. What a way to make history!!!
NITEL: JONATHAN MUST READ THIS
Sir, kindly help us publicise our problem to the President. I’m a staff of NITEL after sign all the voucher no money in our various banks. Pls tell the world and president.
President Jonathan, somebody is keeping NITEL staff money in a fixed deposit account. Please, sir, order it released.