In recent times, our society has become more chaotic, yet more predictable, especially if you understand the basics: we have become a society of impunity and impoverishment, immunity and immutability, and yet of constant change.
In recent times, for even time has changed, the gods of our land have finally ordained impunity for the froth, and impoverishment for the dregs, since we are beer, a fermented society that we have become.
So that the cabals continue to haul protuberant tummies off us, alcoholic hepatomegaly immune to the hard times that the common man faces, while the poor, as the Lord had said, continue to be amongst us...
In recent times, it starts like this...
The nomination form for presidential aspirations is nearly thirty million naira, and you usually don't get chosen the first time. So you must have romanced the government for quite a while. From contractor to Ward Councillor to House of Assembly to Local Government Chairman to House of Reps to Senate to Governor.
Then you must be re-elected, by hook or by crook, deservedly or not, and whoever stands in your way must fall, physically or metaphysically. You must have saved up over the years, in money, in goodwill, in friends, and in crimes. And something changes in you: you are never quite the same.
You must have worked hard over the years, plotted, schemed. You must have lied, confabulated, signed unholy deals, and been to scary places. Maybe even (be rumoured to have) decapitated a few neonates. All so you must be invincible, immutable, immortal.
Your word must be law, your image must be flawless, and whoever dares to call you controversial must be detained, in this world or the next; you are the upgrade of impunity: Mbunity. And if you are lucky, Baba nominates you for VP and orchestrates your Presidency.
But since there is more to being President than buying the nomination form, your committee of 'friends' rallies round, raises the money, makes the calls, gets the thugs... anything for His Excellency, yet nothing goes for nothing: you become a means to an end, their means to be heard, powerful, untouchable; to be Mbuious, Amaechiphobic, anointed from above, to issue the trending “orders from above”, since constitutionally guaranteed immunity no longer holds...
They hold rallies, organise kerosene and import rice. They walk the length and breadth of the land, comb every nook and cranny, stopping to greet every monarch and G.O., settling the baba isale's of each and every adugbo, abandoning their private jets and Banana-Island houses to play shoeless and deprived. Yet, there can only be one President at a time, even if your friends make the land ungovernable for the chap that outwits you all.
Alternatively, you could just be in the committee of friends, dictating government policy yet seemingly aloof, raking the economy into your bank accounts, securing your presence in every edition of Forbes, annihilating the competition, and bankrolling political campaign after campaign, financing President after President. So long you are untouchable, anointed to last forever, and present at every national economic meeting. You are indebted to all the banks, but as you have bought all their CEOs, they cannot breathe without your say-so. Besides, who dares put you out of business? You are in every Nigerian home!
Alternatively, you could just be the Pastor-in-Charge, the go-to MOG, installing President after President. Whatever you say is the Lord's, so you squash legislation, you must not pay tax, and your church members must not be prosecuted, so long they are channels of seeds, continuously sowing in the vineyard.
But even Jesus paid tax, and God did not interfere with his prosecution. But you are not Jesus, and need not even be like him. Your Convention Ground sits astride a petroleum-product pipeline, yet who dares say? Your congregation holds millions of commuting Nigerians to ransom every now and then; who dares complain?
Your building is down, taking with it scores of innocent lives, or not so innocent; who cares? You alone are the architect, the surveyor, the town planner, the estate manager. You are the government, what can the Governor do?– even the President commiserates with you. You saw it coming, maybe even orchestrated it, but you definitely allowed it, yet you cannot be arrested, tried, or jailed for premeditated murder. You are God. Your hand is enriching; you hold the fuel of life, and whoever gets fuel money from you, like the woman at Sychar, shall never run out of same.
You are the sixth arm of government: the religiosity. You make the government tick. You give what no one else can: endorsements, clarifications, campaigns, prayers, confirmations, even private jets to do the government's dirty bidding. You own a jet; no, it is the Lord's. You were given; no, your ministry was.
It was anonymous; no, your wife was aware. All of a sudden you cannot queue at the airport, the passengers can no longer be preached to by you, levels don change: now you must fly solo, the anointing must not be diluted, contaminated or ebolarised in a commercial jet. Yet Jesus walked, trekked, and travelled, with the masses... But then Jesus was touched for free; your touch is hot!
And why wouldn't it? You worked hard to get here. Once you were called by God, or not, you gathered a few people into your room, then sitting room, then compound. And the Lord was faithful. So you built a shack, then a shed, then a church. And since the people are faithful, you must have a permanent site, then a mega church, then a convention ground. Then you get bodyguards, exotic cars, and private jets.
And God punish any sister that does not join your personal ushers, all delectable females. Then you have branches all over, forwarding proceeds to you, and then you build a university. There is never a saturation point, not for you. You must keep your members busy, sowing, till they have no saving, no fruit for their labours, and cannot afford the university their labours built.
You are god, like the Psalmist observed. Your word is law. Your voice is God's. You are God. And whoever examines your fruits, your works, as Jesus admonished, must be sent out, empty-handed, the labours of years past lost. No retirement package, no pension, no gratuity. No life without you... And if he proves formidable, especially if he is a foundation member, your indoctrinated followers attack him, physically and otherwise, defame him, and force him to recant! You are the anointed, and the Scriptures say, "touch not", but did not say "torch not".
So that your works now burn in the fire, as Paul predicted. The reputation you killed to build, the falsehood, lust, ambition, theft, swindling, bullying, manipulation, bribery, fake healings, hollow promises of wealth and divine reimbursement. They manifest. The wind is blowing and your anus is showing. So much that you are banned from sane societies for psychological manipulation and money laundering.
But back home you are Bishop, Reverend, Most Holy, Prophet Touch Not. Yet... For soon, we shall exhume you, your bones, your works, and torch your sepulchre. After all, money burns and that is all you have amassed. Perishable things. Vain glory. Fame. You are Not: naught, froth, nothing. And we shall prosecute you, and the shameless egomaniacs you impose upon us. Come 2015.
But how did we get here as a people? Could it be our traditional concept of imposed seniority and associated impunity?: The father has the final say? The elder never lies? The king never errs? The leader is always right, and all-wise? And God help you if say otherwise! Especially if you are a perpetual whistle-blower, and you run out of public sympathy or tolerance. And especially if you, as I only recently learnt, are of the sort that has congenital enmity: nothing you do, however well, pleases people; they will rather quiet than praise you, and rather criticise you than be quiet.
You criticise the Rep and the class designates you common enemy. It does not matter whether you are right or wrong; you have crossed the line: he who breaks the hedge, the snake bites; and whatever innocent explanations you give on any matter henceforth must be deformed, twisted and transmitted, since you must even be cocky, by popular demand. (I can't laugh.)
The lecturer that never comes, or never teaches, blames his student for not knowing anything and has the effrontery to mark attendance that one time out of a dozen His Lordship has come! The Pastor is statutorily right, even if he incorporates the church and commercialises the service?
The President is the Lord's anointed even when he is clueless and has obviously bitten more than he can chew? And oh, all critics of the Governor must be incriminated, or cremated. Yet the evildoer is the anointed, and must not be touched!
And who knows? If you disrespect the President, you will likewise be disrespected when you are President. If in fact they let you be President. If some power-drunk AIG does not detain over your exercise of constitutionally entrenched freedom of speech, to buy himself some good standing with the powers that be. If some ego-driven Special Assistant does not sanction your assassination first. Na chop-make-I-chop na!
What sort of people are we?
Why do we lay everything at God's feet? Why do we find much unity in evildoing? Why are we allergic to blunt truth? Why are our mouths heavy whenever the anointed falters, and perpetually too? Are we a hypocritical people by nature? Hiding our failures and dying in same when we can easily be helped by crying out and voting right? Can't we come together and torch the untouchables, annul the anointing, incinerate the anointed? Are we that fake, warped, deluded?
I suppose we are...
Ayk Fowosire is the writer and can be reached via twitter at: @adelayok