What strange spirit is it that has come upon our land that many Nigerians no longer appear to have a sense of self-worth, a sense of dignity and a sense of self-confidence that ‘’I am above certain things?’’ That, there are certain things that I cannot do? That, no matter the circumstances, I can never be involved in acts of stealing, lie-telling and dishonesty? That, if I do not do certain things I can still survive and not perish? Is it the terrible economic situation in the land that has brought about severe lack and dried up even hope, that is responsible?
But lack and deprivation have never been acceptable excuses for misbehaviour. In fact, it is their presence and your resolve to survive in spite of them that is a true mark of a person of faith and contentment, a person that God will approve of and reward for fearing him and honouring him with your conduct.
The Bible in 2 Kings 5: tells the story of the widow of Zarephath. There was a severe famine in Israel as a result of the word of Prophet Elijah. For three and a half years, there was no rain and therefore no planting and harvesting. A widow was gathering sticks with which she hoped to cook what remained of her last stock of food for a last meal for her and her child to eat and then die. Apparently, because of her good conduct and fear of the Lord, God sent Elijah to no other widow or person in Israel but to this widow to save her and her child.
Whatever may be the peculiar, unusual, uncommon or abnormal circumstances which we think has come upon us for which we think we must react in an equally unusual way, I cannot rationally understand the scant regard for our persons and the universal principles of decency and decorum which govern the world today.
I had cleared a field of weed for a cassava farm. In the process, I gathered firewood for a niece that told me she needs such. Two days later, I returned to the farm and discovered that the stack had been depleted a little bit. Three days later, it went down again, confirming to me that someone was systematically stealing from the gathered firewood. A week later, I went and caught my thieves red-handed! And who were these?
It was the wife of a retired armed forces officer I know very well and her grandchildren. She farms near me and must have seen the fine specie of firewood I had gathered but lacked the courage or the decency to ask me for some of it. I went to the farm at an unusual time of the day that day. She was working at the other end of her farm. When she noticed me, she was motioning to her grandchildren to leave my farm and leave the firewood they had gathered into their hands to carry away. Since the children do not know me as the owner of the farm from which they were stealing, they could not obey her instruction and were packing the wood as they walked passed me. I still have my own decency about me. I did not want to embarrass her and belittle myself by asking the children to drop what they knew they were stealing in my farm, apparently at the knowledge and command of their grandmother, a person any one should, ordinarily, hold in high esteem.
Has life in our country gone to this desperate level whereby a woman in that station of life will participate in the stealing of something like ordinary firewood? Are these things just in the blood and people get to do them just because it is in them or are they compelled by necessity to do them as many will want to rationalize such indefensible actions? There are many proverbs in all our languages about certain things that should not be done. One of them says no one should carry a piece of alibo, dry cassava, and dip in oil and eat because of hunger!
So many unspeakable, unexplainable, irrational things are happening in our country and those in power must rise up to the challenges that are raising their heads everyday or else one day there will be an implosion.