There is obviously no limit to the stretch of religious dogma among some Nigerians, irrespective of their social or political status. That alone perhaps explains the judgemental theory of the Zamfara State governor, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, who concluded that the outbreak of meningitis in parts of the north, including his own Zamfara State is all because of the tons of sins of the people. He explained that the “nefarious” and immoral acts of the people are responsible for the outbreak of the disease, which as at last Wednesday, had claimed over 336 lives in the affected states. According to Gov. Yari, the epidemic is therefore God’s own way of not only punishing the people for their sins, but also a warning meant to pull them out of their evil ways. That is a state governor! A man on whom the well-being of millions of people is entrusted. Worse still, that is the same man who is the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).
Gov. Yari is so obsessed with the disgusting sin of his people so much that he does not or refuses to understand that meningitis is largely caused by viral or bacterial infection, which thrives in hot and overcrowded settlements, and that the states in the northern belt which experience the hottest measure of temperature, and are shielded by no vegetational cover, are most susceptible to dry hot breeze which blows from the Sahara Desert. And that the states nearest the desert are therefore more vulnerable to hot weather and the concomitant effects. Yari is too religiously paranoid not to reckon with all the hue and cry about climate change which accounts for the amount of heat hitting the earth. For the likes of Yari, all the talk about destruction of the ozone layer and the direct effect of sunray on planet earth is scientific balderdash. It is certainly the sins of his people which have invoked the scourge of meningitis!
He is too holy to spare a condolence thought, even if it is pretentious, for families who have been affected by the outbreak of the disease. The first public statement to flow from the mouth of this governor whose people have suffered most from the epidemic is to rebuke them for their sins. It is like adding salt to injury.
He explains that while his government had taken precautionary measures to prevent the disease by immunising the people against Virus A of the disease, their continued sins pushed God to send type C of the virus, knowing that type C virus does not have a vaccine.
Hear him: “However, because people refused to stop their nefarious activities, God now decided to send Type C virus, which has no vaccination.
“There is no way fornication will be so rampant and God will not send a disease that cannot be cured.”
He threatens with ecclesiastical authority that
“People have turned away from God and he has promised that ‘if you do anyhow, you see anyhow’, declaring that “that is just the cause of this outbreak as far as I am concerned.”
Like Biblical prophets of old, Governor, no, Saint Yari noted that the amount of fornication among the people is what has irked God to visit the affliction of meningitis on the people. It was a heartless and inauspicious sermon from the governor.
Mr Governor, how much of fornication and general immorality did those infants commit to incur the wrath of God? Or is God so unjust as to punish the innocent infants for the lasciviousness of their parents? Is the governor saying that those spared from the scourge are the holy ones in the affected states?
And Saint Yari, are there no fornicators down south who are neck deep in “nefarious acts” to provoke and incur the wrath of God? How come the middle belt and southern states many of whom have worrisome figures on HIV /AIDS infection were spared the punishment for fornication and unholy living? Or is it turn-by-turn?
And Mr Governor, how come this same vengeful ‘God’ has not visited a deadlier variety of meningitis on the clan of thieving governors and other public officials across the land? Or do the governors also enjoy immunity from God’s anger and punishment?
Without trying to justify or classify or grade sin, which one is a worse sin: immorality or treasury looting? In the former, the lives of only two persons are directly involved, but in the latter, the lives of hundreds of thousands of people are involved. How come the governors who steal the money meant for the welfare and development of the people are spared the wrath of God, whereas God is so mindful of the infatuational inclination of two youths or two adults as to strike them with a killer affliction?
Gov. Yari is simply tied to pristine and primordial dogma and is so blinded by it, and so suffers a closed mind to science-related realities.
I recall how this same mindset triggered great violence in Borno State about eleven years ago.
Weeks before the day, meteorologists had been announcing that there will be an eclipse of the sun for a given number of hours and that it is a normal celestial phenomenon.
On the said date and time, the eclipse occurred and there was momentary darkness across the land.
Pronto, Islamic youths in Maiduguri, the state capital, sprang up and started attacking Christians and churches, hotels and bars claiming that the eclipse of the sun which brought momentary darkness, was as a result of the sins of the “infidels”. Some churches, bars and hotels were razed down. But for the quick intervention of police and even soldiers who patrolled the streets, there would have been casualties.
Responses from the public explaining that the eclipse was a natural and scientifically-foretold occurrence was considered as mere dress-ups to explain away the wrath of God which came in form of the eclipse.
But if we blame the illiterate and uninformed Almajiris who took those actions at the time, how shall we explain the heartless and misleading vituperation of Gov Yari who was obviously blabbing silly narratives?
It is the likes of Yari who will explain away every accident as “an act of God”, even when it is clearly a fault of human error. It is a mark of gullible acquiescence and undue attribution of man’s foibles on God.
Why was God not provoked when one individual used N270 million to clear grass for Internally Displaced Persons? Why did God not release the rain of leprosy on those who dug new soak-away pits to hide fresh bales of $1 million? Where was Yari’s quick-to-judge God when one fellow hid $9.8 million and some other currencies in a slum in Kaduna?
All our commonwealth being stolen, leading to untold and avoidable hardship to Nigerians are not enough to cause God to release the plagues of Egypt on the offenders? Pray, what is a greater sin than what Boko Haram is doing? Using the veil of religion to slaughter and kill thousands of innocent and hapless people? Where is Yari’s God? Somebody should tell him to urge this his G(g)od to come fight for us all and leave the poor lascivious sinners alone. The criminals in high places are ensconced in their air-conditioned toilets, homes, cars and offices and thus shielded from the fatal blight of meningitis. But Yari interprets it all differently. God have mercy!
Pix– Gov Abdullaziz Yari
Why is Babachir Lawal Still in Office?
I had so believed that this fight against our enemy is blind. And that whoever dresses like our enemy is considered an enemy automatically without having to do a forensic audit of the texture of the dress.
Who is this enemy you are talking about and what exactly are you referring to?
What a question! You mean you don’t know our collective enemy? Isn’t it corruption? What other enemy is troubling us fiercely as a people?
So what makes you think that the war against it is not being fought blindly?
Have you not heard of the many accusations that the war is only being fought within the territory of those that are against the presidency?
But you know it is not true. Don’t mind those mouthing such infamy. It is just a way of corruption fighting back. Have you forgotten that Jafaru Isa and Mohammed Umar who are Mr President’s associates and chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were arrested at one time or the other over allegations of corruption? Did you forget also that one of them, Isa, actually refunded N100 million looted fund to the EFCC? So how else can a fight be blind?
But people are asking why Mr David Babachir Lawal, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) is still in office after the damning evidence against him on the grass-cutting saga where he awarded grass-cutting contract to a company he has substantial interest in to the tune of N270 million and N200 million of the sum found its way into his company’s bank account. The Senate committee which investigated the case indicted the SGF with proofs of compromise, yet the man remains in office as if his case does not qualify to be described as corruption.
Or is it a case of all animals are equal but some are more equal?
Hmmmm, you speak with so much oracular certitude. Do I need to tell you that this is politics? And that in politics, things do not always seem as they appear?
Do you realise that the so-called indictment from the Senate committee that investigated the matter was tagged an interim report? What is the final report? Are you aware that a group called Citizens Action to Take Back Nigeria (CATBAN) has actually carried out independent investigation into the allegation and cleared the SGF of any blame?
I am not moved by those arrangee reports by unknown groups. Do you realise it is that same CATBAN that organised a public hearing on the matter and invited the Managing Director of Josmon Technologies, Hussaini Abdullahi who, while speaking at the public hearing, claimed that the money paid into the account of Rholavision Engineering (owned by Babachir Lawal) was a payment of loan advanced Josmon Technologies to enable it complete the project within the stipulated time? Have you asked yourself who is funding CATBAN? Apart from the grass-cutting issue, have you ever heard of CATBAN commenting on any other matter in the country? Does that not tell you something? Look, all these, are afterthoughts. Just a way of wriggling out of the noose which everybody knows was tight on the SGF’s neck. Were it not so, why did Lawal refuse to appear before the Senate committee after several invitations? Do not forget also that the Senate said Mr. Lawal remained a director of the company till September 2016, more than one year after his appointment, in breach of Nigeria’s code of conduct for public officials as enshrined in the 1999 constitution.
Look, we can reasonably conclude that only the guilty are afraid and that the SGF was afraid to appear before the Senate committee, because his hands are not clean; so he cannot even plead a case of no fair hearing, because he was given the opportunity to defend himself.
Do not forget also that the presidency had written to exonerate him of any blame, pointing out that the so-called report recommending his sack was merely interim, noting also that only three out of the nine members of the ad hoc committee signed the report, thus making it a minority report.
It is that kind of defence coming from the presidency that fuels the belief that all animals are equal, but some are more equal.
It is all looking like magic. The more we look, the less we see. Government is using the structures and instruments of state to bungle this case, to unduly protect one of its own.
A man awards contract to a company where his company is a consultant, and eventually the contractor returns N200 million of the contract sum to the company of the man who awarded the contract, and you say it is not corruption. They cook up a story that the sum refunded was a loan and you think we are all so gullible to believe such cock and bull story? Why did the contractor not obtain the loan from a bank? Let me tell you, if Babachir Lawal is not dealt with decisively, nobody will take the fight against corruption by this government seriously anymore.
Well, you are only being emotional unduly. We have to deal with hard facts. No responsible government can act merely on flying and unestablished allegations.
Ok, what about the latest allegation that the contracts awarded under the Presidential Initiative for the North East (PINE) were awarded to 20 ghost companies? That too is not a hard fact? Are the names of those companies found in the register of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)?
Did you not read the response of the SGF? That his office does not award contracts? And that the contractors in question were certified by the BPE before they were awarded the contracts? One thing you must always remember is that no matter how sharp a knife is, it cannot cut its own handle. I will not say more than that.
(thinking deeply) Oh, now I understand what you mean….. awww…. We should call on Alan Paton to write part two of Cry, the Beloved Country.