The first was the birthday party, arrest and conviction of Funke Akindele and her husband JJC Skillz. The facts of the whole affair have been rehashed in the public domain and I don’t intend to dwell on them.
The other incident is much more serious, unbelievable and damning and the events took place at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital ( UITH ). Because the facts are less known I will give a brief recap. Sometime last week, a visibly sick man was taken to the hospital accompanied by a staff of the hospital, a professor of medicine- Kazeem Alakija Salami. Popularly known as Professor Abdulsalam, he is said to be a relative of the patient.
The patient presented symptoms of Covid- 19 from the onset but on inquiry by the hospital, he denied having just returned from abroad and with the influence of the accompanying professor, was admitted in the A&E department of the hospital instead of its isolation center and given VIP treatment. He died hours later and his body was hurriedly released to his family for burial without any autopsy done especially since he was a Muslim.
That was the end of it or so the hospital thought, until anonymous calls made public allegd that the man, a prominent and influential businessman, had recently returned from the UK and that the professor was in the know.
The professor, by the way, is a professor of Internal Medicine with research interest on infectious and non-infectious pulmonary disease, who should have and did in fact know that the patient had Coronavirus.
At first, the hospital denied and tried to cover up the case but the calls kept coming persistently until the cover was blown by a journalist Fisayo Soyombo who incidentally is the only African journalist on the longlist for One World Media awards international Journalist of the year 2020.
With the pressure mounting, UITH had no choice but to admit the facts publicly through a press release and though they accused the professor of “unethical conduct,” they still sought to protect one of their own by concealing his name. The professor’s name was revealed by Mr. Soyombo and at the time of this writing at least 2 people had tested positive for the virus and about 25 medical personnel who attended to the patient have been placed on self-isolation.
The facts of these stories reconfirmed the following
1. We are largely a people who do not care what happens to others s long as we and our loved ones are safe.
2. We will do all we can both legitimately and illegitimately to ensure that the people we love and care for do not suffer the consequences of their actions and we are willing to support evil shamelessly so far as it favors us.
3. We expect that if people apologize and/or ask for forgiveness after disobeying the law or committing a social infraction, they should be let off the hook and that the people they have hurt should not insist on their rights.
4. We don’t understand that our every action has a ripple effect. This is especially true as the Coronavirus has spread due to the actions of the few people who returned to the country and did not self-isolate as advised.
5. We have the mindset that money and connections can always get us out of any mishap.
We are a people that will castigate, hound and vilify others accused of a crime or misdemeanor until it hits home. When the person who has done wrong is a family member, relative, neighbor, colleague, beloved celebrity or party member our tune changes. We tend not to be able to think rationally and act responsibly. We throw all caution, including the little integrity we may have, to the wind and start making excuses for the person even when their actions defy reason.
In the two incidents referred to there were people, who should know better by virtue of their education and exposure but yet tried to justify the actions of both F7nke Akindele and Professor Abdulsalam. People who said they shouldn’t be punished because they were intrinsically good people. People who agreed that they behaved untowardly but who wanted a reprieve for them because they like them.
People who are like the colleagues of a medical doctor whose negligence caused the death of a mother, wife and daughter and who want her family to leave it in the hands of God because after all nothing can bring her back.
People like the neighbors of the man that sexually assaults a minor who plead with the parents to accept money and forget about the crime because after all what is done is done.
People like the kinsman of the politician accused of embezzling public funds who have no doubt as to his guilt but counter that the charges against him are politically motivated afterall, he is not the only one who has dipped his hands in the national coffers.
People who worship at a church and cry touch not my anointed or create #Istandwithmypastor when their man of God is accused of a wrong; rather than look at the facts, dispassionately.
It is an irony really when we then wonder why the country is the way it is, why things don’t work, why the developed countries are better. The difference between the developed countries and ours is the fact that the systems work and people pay the price for crimes, civil disobedience or unethical behavior.
Am I therefore advocating that we should not support our relatives, friends, celebrities, politicians when they get into trouble. Of course not! We can support the person and not their actions. We can stand by people in their darkest hours without justifying their bad behavior, we can look our friends in the eye and tell them they did wrong and still stand by them.
My reading of the Bible tells me that the government is Gods tool for vengeance for it is ordained by God to avenge all disobedience to the laws of the land; let’s allow God, through the government, to avenge all disobedience.