The vortex of malevolence
‘I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him’ Booker T. Washington.
One piece of news that was trending in the social media last week, was the case of a grandmother who merchandised her seven year old grand daughter for the meagre sum of one thousand and five hundred naira per session of rape by an adult male customer. It was a case of violent paedophilia. The following day, we learnt of another case of sexual assault of an 87 year old stepmother being molested by a 65 year old step son.
Beside cases of sexual violence, daily, our collective psyche suffer a huge sense of assault and violence from the terrible vomit of human bestial passions. We have become so accustomed to news about road accidents in our nation that any additional information about wastage of lives and property through automobile accidents means little or nothing to us. And one asks, is it truly an accident when we all know that our roads are death traps?
Also, arson is quickly assuming a major contributor to the menace that Nigerians face in our contemporary time. Hardly, a month passes without hearing about cases of fire outbreak in markets, houses or offices. Meanwhile, these wastages are occuring in a country that is seriously battling with astronomical levels of inflation and depression. We are experiencing all these economic disadvantages in a nation that is already suffering financial hemorrhage.
When one considers abuses in the health sector today, the idea of living in a vortex of malevolence becomes clearer. First, we are faced with the double troubles of inadequacy of health professionals as well as brain drain. Next, there is the huge problem of lack of medical equipments. Also consider the consequences of the prevalence of quark medical personnels and inefficient drugs that have bedeviled our nation. Add to these disadvantages, the diversity of substance abuse and one will understand that both in the medical and pharmaceutical sections of our nation, we are fast moving from the frying pan to the vortex of a conflagration.
A look at our workforce both in the private and public domains confirms the fact that we as a nation are in trouble. The level of productivity per manhour keeps diminishing because of lack of patriotism and nationalism. Selfishness, clanism, tribalism and despotism have replaced the sacred work ethics of meritocracy, excellence, honesty and diligence. Meanwhile, our elasticity for a consumerism culture keeps expanding. The problem is that we hardly get ashamed of the substandard lifestyle which is becoming our second nature.
Does one need to belabour us with tales of unbridled violence, wickedness and horror which are daily implemented by the armed bandits, unknown gun men, herders, and Boko haram terrorists? Do we need to remind us about the number of orphans, widows or bereaved families created daily in our nation? Some other times entire families or communities are wiped away and these forms of wickedness may occur without any body or news agency reporting it. One actually asks what could be the motive for these unbridled and uncanny carnages and execution of horror on fellow mortals? Our nation can be far better. Our standard of living can be far better than it is.
Every sincere and successful effort to bring transformation in our nation must begin from the point of understanding the reasons for the increasing degree and diversity of wickedness in our land. Why are we no longer our brother’s keepers? Why have most of us become hedonists and sadists? Why is the bestial and ignoble aspect of humanity overpowering the humane and noble parts? Let me proffer a few pluasible reasons why we find ourselves in this vortex of malevolence.
First, is the increasing inability of Homo sapiens to handle delayed gratification. Like one T- shirt cartoon has it, we all want to be patient but we want it now! The exact words of the cartoon says’ God, give me patience and give it to me right now’. Our lack of patience leads to the execution of heinous crimes against each other. It promotes tribalism, racism, ineptitude, and all kinds of bestial attitudes which promote degradation and destruction on every way. Lack of delayed gratification leads to the exacerbation of bribe and corruption, creates huge problems in all forms of human relationships, and finally leads to the destruction of the fabrics of the society. Examples include couples who divorce or kill each other because of ‘irreconcilable differences’, tribes who attempt enthic cleansing on others because of bitterness, people who take to robbery and carnage because they refuse to work honestly hard.
Generally, the bestial nature has a strong natural appeal to mortals. The reason is because it appears to be the easier way to obtain solution. For example one cuts corners to create wealth or pass examination. Yet, such an inept way and means of obtaining results is short lived and harmful to all parties involved. A business man buys stolen goods at a cheap price and when the long arm of the law gets at him, everybody in the line of buying and selling bears the consequence.
In the developed nations of the world, governments evolve workable legal systems which are strictly implemented on the basis of meritocracy. The system recognises neither favouritism nor tribalism. The Constitution and the rule of law are sacrosanct. Nations and societies who pay lip service to the sacredness of their constitution and the rule of law create the monster of the unbridled anarchy.
Furthermore, evil multiply in every environment where those in authority model, encourage or become taciturn in the face of malevolence. This is very crucial. A dispassionate evaluation of the three arms of government in our country show that they are directly or indirectly, complicit. How do many Nigerian government officials account for their nouveau rich status, the ineptitude, bribery, brigand attitude, tribalistic and nepotistic tendencies that are on the increase on a daily basis? How can many of them explain the gapping lacuna between their campaign promises and their actual performance in the office? This brazing fraternity with double standard of living, fans to flame the embers of malevolence and wickedness in our nation.
Our leaders at all levels of governance and climes, need to engage in deep meditation to discover the solutions to our nagging national anarchy or posterity would be harsh on them. In the words of Zik of Africa, all of should remember that, ‘No condition is permanent’. Life here on earth is brief compared to eternity. We all need to think about the type of legacy we want to leave behind.
Inspite of the perversity of evil in this season in our nation, one believes that there exist several men and women of noble character. Like Booker T. Washington demonstrated in the opening quote of this article, never permit ignoble souls to affect you negatively. Be steadfast in being the lighthouses of your families, communities, cities and nation indeed.
Let me end this discourse by referring to the immortal words of Edwin Markham who rightly said, ‘He drew a circle that shut me out/Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout/But Love and I had the wit to win/We drew a circle that took him in’. Truth will always prevail over lie and the good over evil. We wait until light triumphs over darkness.
Amaraegbu, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and preacher lives in Lagos.
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