Wednesday 15 October 2014

Nigeria: The Collapse of Order

Collapse upon collapse
Like the head of the synagogue upbraided Jesus for healing the sick on the Sabbath, the contemporary head of the synagogue now threatens us with wrath, retribution and terror for asking the sensible questions. A collapse of reasonableness.
A month has passed since a building collapse claimed over a 100 lives of which more than 80 were South Africans, the many who had come on a sort of pilgrimage to Lagos to prolong their lives with the expectation of miracles bordering on magical acts for healing, peace or some particular touch of grace, mercy or favour for this man of God. A catastrophic building collapse.
The man has every right to go about his business, but it must not be at the expense of lives carelessly lost for the very likelihood that building codes were flouted and ignored. Yet, this is a collapse of institutional heft to ensure laws are adhered to.
The untenable collapses
The whole idea that some unidentified flying object hovering over the building shook it to its pulverised destruction according the head of the synagogue is as fantastic as it is risible, yet this atrocity has had no one held responsible for it. Suffice it to say, this is a collapse of reason.
Each apparent message that appears to come out from the establishment seems to put the focus on the head of the synagogue as the victim of machinations both spiritual and temporary, his own personal crisis that he intends to overcome. No doubt the collapse of accountability that is the everyday expectation of the powerful in Nigeria.
The hapless victims sacrificed to this atrocity have been labelled martyrs and surreptitiously this characterisation lends itself to exculpating the whole officialdom of the Synagogue Church of all Nations (SCOAN) from any responsibility for the deaths of these people. Besides the collapse of responsibility is the collapse of real compassion for the lost.
The inexcusable collapses
The government itself has been derelict in its responsibility too by pandering to the whims of men of God, fearful of their power and followership that the law consequently grants immunity for more impunity by these demigods. The collapse of the lien of civil authority to ensure public order is kept by holding everyone equal before the law.
The president and the governor should by rights have visited the site of the disaster, but were ill-advised to have a photo opportunity with the head of the synagogue until they had established the truth about the building collapse. The collapse of discernment and discretion on the part of people who should have known better.
Besides, the visit could have precipitated a diplomatic crisis with South Africa and soured relations with them, considering South Africa was more forthcoming about the numbers of their citizens lost than the head of the synagogue who while schmoozing with the press for favourable coverage wanted them to concentrate on mentioning survivors of the mishap. A collapse of diplomatic tact considering the number of foreigners that perished in the incident, it was utterly careless.
Avoid more collapses
Sadly, if nothing is done to bring the law to bear on this event with at the minimum indictments of manslaughter imposed on the leadership and the corporate person of the (Synagogue Church of All Nations) SCOAN, we would have lost the best opportunity to show that no one is above the law regardless of whether the person is a religious leader or not, and that someone can and should be held accountable for avoidable accidents as a result of people acting unlawfully and carelessly. A collapse of our criminal justice system resulting in the collapse of justice for the victims and of judicial process.
Nigeria needs to be delivered from the stranglehold of untouchable men of God answerable to no temporal authority and thereby are deluded into acting with untrammelled licence leave destruction in their wake and leaving God to clean up their mess. Here we risk the collapse of the primacy of the secular state that applies the law equitably, expeditiously and rightly.

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