Secundus the third: Enthronement of Secondhand life
Let us begin with the multiple worlds in which we live. We live in three worlds and these three worlds are not unrelated to the three worlds of the living, the dead and the unborn. We live in the world of prayers and miracles, we live in the world of the beads and tradition and we live in the world of democracy and electoral price tags. These worlds share the same space. Priests and pastors rule the world of prayers and miracles. Chiefs and Kings reign over the world of beads and traditions. And just in case they forget their sometimes long-winded traditional titles and epithets they are some times written on their picturesque head gears. Governors and presidents take turns to manage the world of democracy and electoral price tags.
The world of prayers and miracles ruled by priests and pastors invokes the afterlife variously described as heaven with or without capital, the abode of the Almighty. This here life is billed as a preparation for the life hereafter. And the emphasis is on the uselessness of possession, earthly possession in the life hereafter. So build not treasures on earth where “moth and rot” doth corrupt. Yet the places of worship as well as the peoples of worship live in splendour.
The world of beads and traditions where chiefs and kings reign is full of pomp and ceremony. Beads heavy in rounds and cubes. Crowns fashioned out of varied materials and technologies. Along with variously painted men and women as entourage beating drums, sounding gongs and trumpeting forth their fame in battles long gone. Who benefits from these masquerading?
The world of democracy and electoral price tags where politicians, governors and presidents, rotate the management things, is the newest of our three worlds. It is the world that has or should have the greatest effect on the everyday lives of everybody in the country. It is the one that has the best chance of benefitting the people but it is the least effective. In fact, it is a world that appeals for the world of prayers and miracles for prayers and miracles. It also appeals to the world of beads and tradition for help to keep people calm and make them not to make demands on governors and presidents. This is the world that is first to abandon its responsibilities to other worlds. The newest and the first to give up responsibility.
Otherwise, this is a world that asks for, seeks and demands to be given more time to carry out its responsibilities. Rome, they insist was not built in a day.
The world of beads and tradition can do nothing because nothing has been allocated to it to do. Yet, that world is still the place to go to when push of contemporary suffering comes to the shove of extended families. Someone bewitched their co-wife’s son and he failed his JAMB. What Kabiyesi does must not be heard by the governors and presidents of democracy and electoral price tags. And then even when they hear what can they do?
The world of priests and pastors waits on prayers and miracles. Here, the wait for Justice is for the patient. Without giving up hope of going to heaven people must wait on the Lord for Justice and truth. All the three worlds have no answers to the day to day challenges that baffle the human person: unnecessary suffering; cruelty imposed by humans on other humans; Chance encounters with good and bad not equally shared. Yet, talk to any lawyers of ecumenical, traditional of democratic jurisprudence, you will be told that there are laws against these misbehaviours and misdeeds.
If religious commandments are broken forgiveness comes out straight and forgives the offender who is repentant. And he can be repentant seventy times seventy times before there can be any punishment.
Traditional laws and punishment are no longer on the statute books. There can be no eye for an eye any more. Our traditions have been destroyed and sometimes bastardised. So our imperial majesties are all sound and furry.
Under governors and presidents there are laws against the importation or second hand clothing. There are laws against the importation of second hand vehicles and vehicle parts. There are laws against the importation of second hand electronic and electrical devices. The laws are not obeyed. The laws are not enforced. So, it is not just governors and presidents who have impunity as well as immunity. Everywhere you look second hand rags are on sale. Second hand wrecked vehicles litter our motor paths. Second hand electronic gadgets, ancient by all standards are in our offices and in our homes.
Those from whom we buy these wrecks, these rags dispose of their third industrial revolution debris as they prepare for their fourth industrial revolution. They are into the internet of everything while we are still at the stage of analogue of all things. As they put driverless vehicles on their roads we clog our motor paths with all sorts of wrecks. And as they prepare to send new generation satellites into orbit to seek new worlds we here are satisfied to enjoy our tokunbo, their debris, their discarded commodities. Where does our satisfaction with second hand materials come from? Is it because of our poverty?
Priests and pastors tell us that the poor shall inherit the earth. As other countries of the world seek planets that can be inhabited by humans there is this nightmare of others – Caucasians, Asiatics – leaving this earth to go and colonise new planets and leaving a second hand third rate earth for us to inhabit. After all we are the poor ready and prepared to inherit the earth. It would be an earth that has been filled up with plastics, polluted by fumes from the initial industrial revolutions we had no path in. It would be a world of melt ice and rising see levels, an earth with trees destroyed and many species of every thing in Noah’s ark only available in pictures and three dimensional replicas.
The possibility of a new earth and a new heaven recedes everyday. Technology matches on relentlessly. Progress in one area spells doom in another area.
Maybe one day the priest, the pastor, the Chief and King, the governor and the president will appear in ONE person uniting our three divergent worlds and make them one against a second hand third-rate existence.