By Dr. Ugoji Egbujo
Weep not Ozubulu. We weep with you. Ozubulu, you are not alone. We are with you. We are you. What a man sows, he shall reap. We taught our youths ruthlessness. We filled them with the love of money. We had no jobs for them. We catapulted them far and wide. We sold ancestral lands to procure visas.
They besieged South Africa with greed. They didn’t find milk and honey. They took to bloodletting, drugs and violence. They menaced their hosts. When the South Africans raised their brows, we called them ingrates. We reminded them how
we fought Botha and De klerk, for them. When they sought to take back their streets, we called it xenophobia. Our vultures,Ozubulu, have come home.
We used to purge ourselves of thieves and robbers and drug dealers. We used to find repugnance in ill gotten wealth. Now, our moral compass is lost. We threw away Amadioha for Jesus. But it is with money that we have pitched. We have lost our souls. So our boys leave the village empty, and head to south Africa with only desperation. They come back with bags of money , blood and drug money. And we fall over them. We no longer have taboos. They will build huge mansions and they will become sign posts. “When you get to the red and white castle, you turn right….”At Christmas, they are the peacocks. We gather and envy evil.
They donate to the church and they are made knights. They build roads and become role models. They give cash handouts and the elderly shower blessings on them. The elderly, they have become as impressionable as children. They mock conscientious youths— – “look at your mates!” The children watch and imbibe the wrong values.
We have blurred all the lines, we have chosen blindness. With us, no philanthropy is dubious. So drug lords become chiefs rather than thieves. They are venerated. Women want their daughters to marry ‘ndi south,’ as they are fondly called. Men queue up early in the mornings at their gates. They are not really there to beg for fish. They go to beg that their sons are taught how to fish in the deep waters of South Africa; that they are taken as apprentices; that they are shown ‘the way.’ They want their own to ‘make it’ like others.
It is written, money destroys the understanding of the wise. It must be worse in Nigeria where there are many booby traps and no social safety nets. You can retire from the senior civil service into delayed pensions and abject penury. So values can be mere niceties. That is why we ask no questions. We refuse the urge to ask questions. We know the answers. We don’t want to know. They are businessmen. They are kind-hearted philanthropists. They are children of God.
Fathers once prayed that their sons took the oath of celibacy. And became catholic priests. Now, they pray that their sons make tons of money and build huge cathedrals. And everywhere you go, you are confronted by synagogues built by the filthiest of men. The idea that God can be settled has fueled unbridled covetousness. Bishops gather and consecrate churches built by men of the underworld. They, like their counterparts in politics, give the glory for the triumph of evil to God. The Bishops don’t just turn the church into a den of thieves, they dismantle the moral framework of the society. The Bishops have provoked many to call for the return of Amadioha. The Bishops lay hands on the heads of the gangsters. The gangsters lay hands on the weary pockets of the bishops and leave them heavy laden. The exchange is completed. The Bishops will then lapse into esoteric theology to deaden their conscience.
They will remember God said, judge not! Because that would allow them to close their eyes to the filth. They will proclaim: ‘All have sinned.’ That would allow them to pinch their noses and forget the stench. They will say the church is a spiritual hospital. So in essence nothing and no one is too rotten. So the rotten money bags are sinners on the mend. Their offerings are cleansed and clean. The Bishops and the gangsters all remain lords.
They wont say –- ‘whatever you sow you shall reap.’ Because that would mean that a foundation laid with the blood of others would have a bloody appetite. They are men of faith. Only with their eyes shall they behold the works of the wicked. They have covered themselves and all generous donors (partners) with the inexhaustible blood of Jesus. They won’t tell themselves that Chinua Achebe said that whoever takes an ant infested firewood home invites lizards for lunch. They won’t, because they are not of this world. They are the citizens of Zion. Whatever they bind on earth is bound in heaven .
They won’t tell anyone about the day Jesus chased out money changers from the church. Because that would mean their own quit notice. They won’t tell that on that day, Jesus actually knew that all had sinned and fallen short, yet he chased out only money changers. He chased out those who had corrupted, perverted, the purpose of the synagogue.
Weep not Ozubulu. You paid the price. Your are the handwriting on the wall. The fore-runner of that which is to come. Wily politicians cannot be relied upon to confront a demon that frolics with bishops. The church must redeem itself. When advertised fraudsters became traditional rulers and governors and legislators, we knew we would pay handsomely. When we sent out boys and grinned as they sowed tears and blood in South Africa, we knew we would pay heavily. We know the chickens would come back home to roost, one day. They, their guns, the drugs, their blood thirstiness and the violence.
Chickens always come home to roost. Our vultures are coming home to brood.
Weep not Ozubulu. We weep with you.
My deepest condolences to the victims.