“I will practice what preach or change my speech”. Those were the words that came gushing from his mouth or at least when translated from vernacular, it was the end result.
He stood there with his fellow mechanics gourmandizing a bowl of fufu and giving no regard for his digestive system. From his tone, I could tell he was deeply pained, not just from the ache in his swallowing throat, but in human nature. “What nature?” You may ask. Well, it is the nature of pretending to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs and principles that one in actuality is not only void of but, whose actions belie stated beliefs; feigning desirable or public approved attitude.
Yes, I am talking hypocrisy. A vice sometimes found in the least expected places, but always in abundance.
Seemingly scarce but so ubiquitous, so overlooked but has dealt significant damage to this blue globe. But, for God’s divine intervention, hypocrisy should have achieved a state of omnipresence in all spheres of Nigerian activities. I am talking politics, religion, family, law, education, business, music, you name it. Halting my thoughts, I lapsed back into this fellow’s lecture. He was finally done with his humongous meal.
“If poor man lie to people wey dey government, na felony dem dey call am; but when dem lie give us, dem go talk say dem dey play politics”.
His lecture had taken to the tune of political hypocrisy; the most prominent form of hypocrisy in Nigeria. I was at this moment bedraggled at the way this unkempt mechanic was giving lecture on political science.
“Even our constitution is not exempted from hypocrisy” (he said in lingo).
In truth he was not by any means wrong.
A people of whose constitution in Section 224 reads: “The programme as well as the aims and objects of a political party shall conform with the provisions of Chapter II of this Constitution.”, and in Section 6(6 (c), declares such provisions as contained in Chapter II as non-justiciable, should not be surprised when their politicians promise utopic realizations, only to end up in an utter and unqualified failure. Since the Nigerian constitution by implication supports promise and fail in respect to political manifestos, we the citizens are simply doomed to the “fool me twice” lifestyle.
“I no know why pastor go dey collect money from big man make e pray for am!” Yelled the fufu seller. She stood there waiting for the balance of her meal (blessed memory) and could not help but overhear this didactic conversation.
“Some go even dey receive money from dem talk say na seed” added another.
“Make I tell you!” bellowed the first mechanic. As lead speaker, he had regained control of his seminar on hypocrisy in Nigeria. They had threaded into the realm of the spirit.
“Spiritual Hypocrisy!” He yelled.
“Even bible don talk am say; when end time don reach, we go see many fake prophets”. He was at this moment quoting Matthew 24:11 and so many other bible verses. Wow! A behaviourist constitutional scholar and biblical don! I could not be more impressed. The bulk of this arc of the seminar centered on the opulence of our Christian leaders. They are simply so damn loaded!
What happened to Christ’s analogy in Matthew of a rich man, a camel and the eye of the needle? Modern pastors according to the speaker where more interested in the reward of Christianity than the sacrifice involved. What happened to God feeding Elijah with ravens? Our modern pastors have decided to feed themselves and save God the stress, wallowing in complacency and smugness while their so called “flock” are fed with the generous proceeds of privations and kept alive with hopes of miracles, spiritual rewards and the afterlife. Our churches are engulfed with preachings of Abraham’s sacrifice and the widows mite but no heed is given to the Matthew 19:24 and Mark 10:25. Our pastors and spiritual leaders in general simply need to do more of giving; and I do not mean that in the spiritual sense. “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17).
Our churches preach many good deeds, and to a great percentage our constitution is sufficient. Why then is our society plagued with prodigious botherations? The answer is quite simple; “actions speak louder than voice”. Ralph Waldo Emerson confirmed that “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say”.
Citizens are more concerned with what the government does than what it says and vice versa.
A good government begets good citizens and good citizens in turn establish good governments. A canal minded member closely watches out for his spiritual leaders in order to justify his mistakes with theirs. The fanatics on the other hand are overwhelmed with what others do wrongly that they simply forget their own shortcomings. I remember the old saying: Don’t judge someone else just because they sin differently than you. “First remove the log from your eyes!” We all have our shortcomings so no need for the “Holier than thou” attitude.
Hypocrisy thrives in families; the grassroots of the larger society. It is here youngsters learn to behave this way in the first place. Very few parents are known to tell their children “You need to steal! Stealing is profitable!” Indeed even the archetypal robber would give his child an intense spanking swiftly followed by a lengthy speech on righteous virtues, for swiping an old lady’s purse or less, for stealing meat from the refrigerator. What they fail to grasp is that an average child has keen senses of curiosity. Time flies and he or she takes up the family business of thievery without even being told. Why? Who sinned!? The thieving father of course!
Do not let your lips and life send two different messages! An ass whooping and the right behaviour is message received for an average child. However, a hundred flagellations at a child may not be enough when such a child gets a hold of the fact that he is just a chip off the old block. Every veil secretly desires to be lifted, except the veil of hypocrisy. This by implication means that a conscious effort must be made in ameliorating and eliminating hypocrisy. Actions speak so loudly that voice is seldom heard. Hypocrisy can be ended by acative expression of our statements. “Husbands live peaceably with your wives” says the preacher.
Such a preacher will most likely find marital harmony in his congregation if he lives in congruence with his spouse. Likewise, the people respond to a leader who fulfils his promises. Such a leader will be extricated from the physical and spiritual implications of a warring society. A kind father, who constantly gives will be amazed at the benevolence of his offspring.
Hypocrisy kills! Hypocrisy is vice genuflecting at the presence of virtue. As Socrates would have it “The only way to live with honour in this world is to be what we pretend to be”. Let your actions speak and the world will hear; wise words from an illiterate mechanic.
Introducing: ISIBOR KELVIN NNAMDI.
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