There is an Igbo adage which says “Onye huru ebe okuko n’avonsi, ya chupu ya maka na amaghi onye ga eri ukwu ya” meaning, anyone who sees where the domestic fowl is scratching faeces with its legs, the person should chase it away because nobody knows who will eat the legs when cooked.
Most Igbo adages mean so much to the extent that our forefathers used to speak either in parables or in tongues though not the modern speaking in tongues by some perceived Christians.
What has drawn the attention of this newspaper over the operations and activities of the men of the Federal Road Safety Commission may have been a long orchestrated bribery racketeering within the Imo State Sector Command over the years.
But like the above adage postulates, we shall not all be cowards or keep quiet in the midst of fraudulent activities of some supposed public office holders whose personal intention may be to drag the name and reputation of their organisation to public odium.
It may be important to once again draw the attention of the Imo State Sector Command of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to the edict and enabling law which established the Corps assuming he has forgotten.
But we strongly believe that he should not because, even the lowest staff of the commission cannot claim to have even with their weekly briefing and debriefing on operational standards and techniques.
It is very worrisome to note that the commission in Imo State has recklessly compromised the ethics of the commission in their shameless bribery spree. It beats the imagination of unsuspecting road users who after manoeuvring the police checkpoints will finally be trapped by men of the FRSC who now collect as low as fifty naira from motorists for minor offences.
The FRSC as we are made to understand is to maintain driving standards on the highways. This they do by controlling speed limit of drivers as well as ensuring that they obey all traffic rules. But rather than do this diligently, the men are now more concerned with extorting money from motorists who in most cases are in a hurry to move on.
Ordinarily, when an FRSC officer stops a vehicle for such offences like over speeding, not strapping the seatbelt, expired fire extinguisher or no brake lights among others, what is expected in the circumstance as observed in other States is to caution the driver and in some cases, book the stubborn ones. The alternative to cautioning should not be asking for bribe.
A typical example of this unholy act is a situation where an officer is demanding bribe from a motorist because his brake lights or indicator lights are bad or that the fire extinguisher has expired. That is ridiculous. Should that officer be told that there is the possibility that the lights could go off by only skidding into one pothole?
Should such an officer be told that one may even buy a fire extinguisher without knowing that it is expired among other such minor traffic offences? We think that under such situation, the driver should there and then be reminded to fasten his seatbelt rather than demanding bribe.
The men of the FRSC should not force motorists to see them and believe too that their purpose of being on the road is for gratification. That will be too bad for the image of the commission especially in Imo State. The work of the commission is more of charitable and in the general interest and sanity on our roads.
Anything contrary to this tantamount to dragging the reputation of the commission to the mud and therefore should be checked by its high command.
Sunday, Sunday Medicine
People who say the Whiteman has not tried for us aren’t being c completely honest. It is true that they have exploited us in certain dehumanizing ways and that we have a bitter history with them that we cannot just wish away but we can’t throw away the other aspect to our encounter. We had our science, though called mundane, naive, native, traditional and other derogatory words. But they worked for us, at least to a certain degree. For example, we had our traditional ways of treating certain illnesses like malaria, it is true that its efficacy is not as good as that of modern medicine, but it worked for us. I won’t make mention of terminal diseases like cancer; those were seen as plagues by the gods. But modern science has revealed to us that one of the characteristics of living organisms is adaptation. An organism will learn to live in any environment no matter how horrible or threatening, even if it means lighting back – viruses and microbes not exempted. What is more, we know the African attitude towards medicine and health; once we feel lit, we abandon our medication even when the prescribed dosage hasn’t been completed thus giving the parasites a fighting chance. And again, they adapt; learning to light our medications. And people were dying. Then came the white man with all his wahala…but also with his drugs. The evolution of malarial drugs has been a steady one concomitantly with the changing limes. Once, it was the Sunday-Sunday medicine – a preventive therapy embarked on at die beginning of every week to stall die effects of mosquito bites. It wasn’t a curative therapy.
The attitude we have always had towards medications also manifests in our daily living including in our spirituality and in our attitude with others. We have adopted the Sunday-Sunday attitude of being saints on Sunday mornings and sinners die rest of the week. It strikes as puzzling how every Sunday, the streets are emptied like a ghost town; everyone inside their churches, singing and praying but the very next day, all hell is let loose. Cheating, bickering, stealing, lying, extortion, exploitation, maiming and even killing occur the next day. We are just churcheous but the true essence of churching, which is communism, is forgotten. After invoking and seeking the face of God, we become iniquitous to our neighbour whereas, “he who claims to love God but hates his neighbour is a liar”, and “God hates lies”. Who actually is our neighbour? The person living next door or close proximity with us, or die fellow with whom we do business in the market place? No, Jesus categorically explained neighbour with the allegory of the (food Samaritan. “Faith without good works is dead.”
We want our nation to get belter but we forget that “if the people whom I have called by name humble themselves and call on my name, I will be there with diem, I will heal their land”. And we think that die solution to our vices is just political.
The truth is that even the so-called Christians are just association of churchgoers. We carry die bible to church every Sunday but barely study word of God and let his wisdom prevail in our lives. God’s word is not a cake for special occasions, but the bread for daily living. This Sunday-Sunday lifestyle even manifests in our economic life. People hardly want to toil any longer. We wish to sit and wait for the heavens to rain manna. Because of this we will go to extremes to get comfortable irrespective of how we make others feel. Civil servants no longer put enthusiasm and dedication to their work; files with urgent need for attention sit on tables for months and if you question them, they lash hateful words at you. They can’t wait for Friday, to close the week and abandon pressing needs that demand critical consideration, unless you can squeeze a little paper into their hands. The market place is no better. Everybody wants to cheat or outcheat the other.
Get rich quick syndrome – no one wants to be an artisan any longer, especially among Igbo youth. The excuse is that of poor patronage. But poor patronage persists because of shabby, shoddy working. Surely, improving die quality of services will attract and keep customers. Another thing is the demand for exorbitant pay for menial jobs. A blue-collar jobber will ask you, “How much do you spend for just breakfast at an eatery that you should pay me N50?” And you find yourself paying even N200 for something that ordinarily is worth N50. The neo-Christian teaching of spiritual-materialism makes matters worse. People don’t believe in suffering and hard work any longer. They are encouraged by these preachers that a true Christian is not meant to suffer, forgetting that clay is hardened by lire. It is part of this life’s path that people work hard, “till the soil to eat” as God told Adam, even for the upper crusts of the society. This is the major reason why everyone is jumping into politics to ‘chop oil money’, leaving the Nigerian people as a consumer society instead of a producing society. Shepherds should begin to water down more important virtues like honesty, patience, humility, diligence, self-control, respect for elders et cetera to their flock. Money will come but seek ye first the kingdom of God and every other tiling, money and prosperity inclusive, will be added onto you. Merry Christmas.
Ekele Ofiako is a pundit with Trumpeta Newspapers. You can reach him on 08067305615 (sms only please).