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The desecration of honour

It was little surprise that after declaring an undeserved legislative recess, Melaye and his group of nine issued an ultimatum to Bankole to resign; promising…

It was little surprise that after declaring an undeserved legislative recess, Melaye and his group of nine issued an ultimatum to Bankole to resign; promising to exhume the entire corpse if that did not happen. In their euphoria, the putchists failed to do their homework well. For one, things have not been hunky-dory in the House, but Bankole, the monarch, has been making the booty go round. And in Nigeria that is a recipe for stability, making it go round is the sanctification that turns universal haram into globally tolerable halal. Melaye did not bother to check for numbers of possible supporters. The man he was fighting had the support of numbers – numbers count where people have lost conscience; numbers count where morality has taken the back door – where graft has been enthroned – numbers are not difficult to gather for vultures where there is carrion.

At the expiration of Melaye’s ultimatum, he did actually go to the EFCC with a long petition, which in some civilised societies, is enough to make a political tsunami that would have drowned him and most of his colleagues. In such climes, we would have been talking of mass resignations; gross explanations and snap elections into every constituency in that green chamber. But, heh, this is an unshockable nation. We tend to bicker and shout and then cool off like boiled water taken off the cauldron. Because Nigerians know the lack of character of majority of the members of the so-called legislature, nobody bothered calling for heads, because headless hinds need not fear decapitation.

The fun part is the involvement of the agents of the state. By last weekend, prelude to the most dramatic and most shambolic show of shame so far recorded in parliamentary history, a curious item on the news was the arrest of innocent printers at the UTC centre in Abuja. The offences for which the printers were arrested for were printing anti-Bankole posters! Excuse me? When did it become a state offence for anyone to print a poster expressing his anger against anything or anyone in a democracy? But the police arrested the printer and had the temerity to insult our intelligence by announcing that they are helping them in their investigations! Somehow, none of the so-called human rights lawyers said a word of protest against that illegality. When did Bankole become the state even with all his IPA phonetics? Insult and insolence!

Truth is that when Melaye and his minions walked into the National Assembly on June 22, they had sealed their own fate. If they had read the mood correctly, they would have made Nigerians ignore the fact that they are guilty of laches and acquiescence when they exhumed corruption charges that they knew existed, indeed were beneficiaries of, but did nothing about only to complain when it no longer suited them. Melaye confessed receiving the items improperly purchased by Bankole and when he found out the outrageous prices of those items which have no correlation with the ability of any legislator to perform his duties, neither Melaye nor any of his friends returned their ‘loot’ as would have been required of real men of honour and integrity. No. They kept their loot but want Bankole roasted for it. Problem is, in the eyes of the law, both the thief and the receiver of stolen items are equally guilty before the law. But things are not as straight as they seem.

We are a nation crazy with titles. We appropriate them. Nobody wants to share the commonest title with the hoi polloi. No politician wants to be called simply Mr In civilised lands, even those who earned legitimate titles chose, out of modesty, to keep it simple, but here, we covet titles and if we do not get them, we either invent them or buy them. For instance, what is honourable about the average honourable in the green chamber? Very difficult to find honour in those thugs who freely tore the dainty clothes off the back of their colleagues, gave a woman a black eye and dragged her on the bare floor just because she said they showed follow due process. So, why should anyone dignify these thugs with a honorific title or the money we spend on them?

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