The birthday bash in Haven Amen in Lagos is insensitive, writes Abdulwarees Solanke
You never know the power of the state and the strength of the law until the rich and the powerful run foul of them.
If the rich offends the state or the classy commits an infraction against the government but escapes the law or the state looks at the other way, we call it impunity.
When impunity is the culture of a people, the society becomes a lawless one.
Everyone lives in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. The state is Hobbesian. Might is Right. Life is short and brutish. Only the rich rules. The open streets become a jungle and hounds prey on the weak or justice is instant, without recourse to the law.
In this state of lawlessness, the mighty makes mess of the state by open disregard for the law, by side-stepping the rules and regulations, by buying their ways, by greasing palms of street level bureaucrats and by bridging processes.
So doing, the resolve of the lesser endowed to rise to wealth and fame at all cost is strengthened. In such state competition is heightened, just as corruption is endorsed.
But in reality, such state is weak and the government and justice are in the pockets of only the tiny rich and powerful.
Such is the state where citizens run over one another and cheat the system.
Such is the state where all sorts of cults are created, with maddening followership or membership in the belief that it guarantees their security, protection or immunity when they are in need of anything, including escaping the long arm of the law.
With a call to the top where they are connected, they can kill and not be caught. They can rape and not be reported, not suffering and repercussion of their action.
They can loot or steal blindly and the state and its agents turn their blind eyes.
There is always disdain for any measure to rein in abuses. So in this culture of disdain and disrespect for the law is the fault line of most underdeveloped countries of Africa and Asia.
It is at the root of violence and bloodshed that signpost many of our major cities. It is at the heart of disorderliness of our towns and municipalities.
It even explains horrible traffic congestion on our roads, pervasive pollution of our water, land and soil and noxious emission into our air.
It is behind accepting noise of the highest decibels as fun or spiritual fervour in our neighbourood without attracting sanctions.
It also explains the thriving business of fake or substandard products, the ascendancy of touts as kingmakers in our polity when they take over the motor parks as lords milking commuters through inflated fares.
It explains why abhorrent behaviours are celebrated as popular culture, and so derelicts and drug addicts become models for the young, justifying deviance as a virtue but morality and orderliness as stupidity.
So it came to be that in this season of coronization and quarantization when there is a call for social distancing, even a total ban on public gathering jncluding coming together to serve our GOD, some people felt it was an opportunity to celebrate profanity in organizing a birthday bash.
At the centre of this indiscretion is Sister Jenifer, the popular thespian who thrills us with her hilarious show on the tube and cable channels.
The place was the haven of the rich nestling Eleko Beach where the breeze from of the Atlantic sweeps every exquisite home in the exclusive.
It is a place of answered prayers, proudly declared as Amen Estate. All Who is Who in music and theatre were on ground to repulsively shame the law as they loudly sang, danced giddily, ate voraciously, drank to stupor.
In their carelessness, they posted their libertarian engrossment in the social media. What an affront! What and insult on the state, not just Lagos but the very federal government that declared total lockdown on Eco Aromisalebelebe.
Will Mr. Sanwo-Olu and Dr. Hamzat as drivers of Lagos look the other way to this infraction?
Even if they do, will Baba Buhari, just pat Jenifa? This party, even if in ignorance of the law, is a test on the government.
As they were rounded up, and are now offering public apologies, should the state excuse them? I think no.
For whatever it is, ignorance is no excuse before the law. They are sufficiently informed especially as they are all icons.
Thy should be setting examples and so examples should be made of them on the repercussion of lawlessness.
This is the beauty in some excesses, indiscretions or mistakes we can capriciously or ignorantly commit.
How will we know that a law is in place or is effective if it is not tried or tested?
The sanction against the offenders must be sufficiently strong and uncompromisingly deterring so that others who may be secretly working against the law can be shown that the law is an ass with respect for no one.
This birthday bash in Haven Amen is not one to be forgiven for it is an insensitivity to the mood of the world when thousands are dying of a pandemic that is threatening our humanity.
How can some favoured people be dancing at a time hordes of coro-infected people are dying everywhere? It’s callousness. It’s insensitivity.
Abdulwarees is an assistant director of strategic planning & corporate development at Voice of Nigeria, Lagos