I may not be as old as a man you would assume has wisdom and experience, but naturally, I can boldly say I am neither as dumb as my friend who, seeing me enjoy a plate of delicious rice, finds the situation deliriously inexplicable and still ask for confirmation…. ‘Hey man, are you eating?’ So, my level of prowess which presumably, falls in between wisdom and dumbness is enough for me to pick stuffs from what I hear, read or see. In one of those times, I picked up a Yoruba adage that says oruko rere san ju wura ati fadaka lo. It means a good name is better than silver and gold-dignity is better than prosperity. The long and short of it is not to say prosperity is bad, but to substitute it for a good name is what the society frowns at. But one wonders if it’s meaningful to protect a name in poverty and wretch? The answer over centuries of wise inclination is an emphatic yes. A good name has been proven to be powerful than an island of gold and riches in diamond. If not, the entire generations of pharaoh in the bible should have their names carved in a golden page of the bible.
Name isn’t just a particular word or words people are known by although in most cases, it may be the first thing people know about a person. It’s also a reputation or general opinion people have about a person. When one makes a name for himself, he has built a reputation worthy of mentioning. It also bestows to someone an identity of recognizable relevance. Thus, the good deeds of a man go before the name he is known by sometimes . A name, as word(s) one is known by or as a reputation is interwoven, but literally, can’t be used interchangeably in some instances. A name that sound good to the hear cant substitute for a bad reputation but a good reputation fills almost all vacuums in a name one is known by.
The period after independence has produced a society of gold name individuals in public and private workers. The pre and immediate post colonial era experienced the emergence of individuals with dignity and hunger for a good name. The era of oil boom introduced a dimension of individuals that lust after gold name. General Gowon’s presidency, according to history was the first to experience huge amount of revenue after the realization of oil, its exploration and sales. The funds so accused was diverted into personal pockets of the existing opportunist at that time. Unfortunately till date, the oil revenue being proceeds from the sale of crude products has provided a channel of inflating the accounts of almost all public office holders.
The military interregnum, occasioned by the willing power transition from the military to the civilian government in 1999, was seen as the best thing that could happen to the entire populace. A school of thought would even argue it to fit in the euphoria that took place after independence. The reason shouldn’t, I argued, be far-fetched; a long term of hard military junta, devoid of constitutional and equitable discharge of duties, where the country experienced a rule by force and decree. Hence, producing an era of absolute intentional collapse of constitution; leaving room for no equity or freedom of speech, life, expression, opinion, society and lots more. The era instigated the death of great Nigerians, thinkers and freedom fighters. Leaving Nigeria to the mercy of men with agonizing approach (military might) even when the environment ought to be war free.
Since 1999 till date, at least after the expiration of the first tenure in 2003, almost all the public officer or as I call them, public offenders have their names dragged in the mud. Instead of building legacies and imprinting their names on peoples mind by doing their constitutional obligation, elected office holders choose to ignore the path of honor and toll the path of dishonor. As at the moment, referring to public officials is like mentioning corruption, expecting anything good from them is like expecting the end of the world. The situation has gone terribly off the balance that when a public official greets you good morning, endeavor to confirm the authenticity of the acknowledgement.
Leaving the past in the past as it was filled with various corrupt escapades one may not know where to start from. The recent international degradation of James Ibori and the consistent political embarrassment facing most of the recently erstwhile governors and other public office holders succumb their mental fitness to doubt and worries of what kind of people emerge as our leaders. On one hand, the worries stem from the justification of behaviors of those in government. They feel justified to embark on the same journey after their predecessor, when it’s obvious such adventure would land them in the public glare as thieves and corrupt minded. The second reason to check their sanity would be on the reason they adduced as important in stealing from public treasury when such reason will eventually give them bad names and their lineage an infamous image. The audible impression is that to have a wealthy lifestyle filled with corruption, embezzlement, wicked acts and hatred is better than a healthy name.
Naira land forum made public the arrest of Daniel-it says, ‘news on the local TV just announced the arrest of Former Gov of Ogun State Otunba Gbenga Daniel on corruption charges’. In March, on-line punch says ‘Gbenga Daniel still has a case to answer – EFCC’ six months after he was discharge and acquitted .The funny report insinuated Gbenga Daniel has more case than not as he was re-invited by the anti graft agency for further charges.
The dark Yoruba man turned yellow, former governor of oyo state was reported in the dailies to have also been arraigned again for corruption.
The shadow man from bayelsa who is hunting his own shadow has been in hiding since he left office. His name has changed a long time before he finished his tenure- on Sahara reporters, the caption goes thus; ‘EFCC Slams Money Laundering Charges Against Former Bayelsa Governor, Timipre Sylva’.
Daily trust put it in a more patronizing format for the former nasarawa state governor Doma- CORRUPTION ALLEGATION – Ex-Gov, Akwe Doma’.
Though was meant to be public hearing on the unhealthy state of the Nigerian capital market, it turned out to be a public hearing on accusations and counter accusation. It was a show of shame, an open indulgence of corruption in the house. The eagle on-line reports–‘ The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on the Capital Market, Hon Herman Hembe, has resigned his position following the allegations of corrupt practices leveled against him by the Director General of the Stock Exchange Commission, Arunma Oteh’. Other reports indicated hon. Hembe had documents that showed Oteh’s approval of an offer worth of N30m to the committee as bribe demanded by lawmakers. Claims show that the agency was on the verge of making the payment but became inquisitive when it was approached again a day to the hearing with N5m cash request. While two days to this accusations, the lawmakers had accused Oteh of alleged financial recklessness in spending N30m on hotel bills in eight months, in breach of public service rules. She was also accused of spending N850, 000 and N85, 000 on feeding on separate days in the same hotel. She, however, denied the allegations.
While the father of them all, who had his name bastardized in different forms and destroyed from different angles. His love for money placed him on a hierarchy as the most corrupt former governor, who having been initially convicted for similar crime in U.K, find his way to Nigeria to replicate his prowess and this time, like wine, he got better at it with time. He also became the most infamous because he was able to carry his wife, mistress, sister and lawyer along. A deeper inquest might unearth his children could be as guilty of corrupt offenses as their entire parents.Punch news papers respectfully captioned- ‘Ibori as a metaphor for corruption ‘. This is more like saying the psychology of stealing. On ibori’s case, let forget about English or metaphorical explanation of his acts. Ibori is a hardened corrupt politician, if there is anything like that like we have a hardened criminal. The guardian news paper- ‘wife, sister, mistress, lawyer serving time for fraud, he could not have wished the fate for them but the reality is that three female family members of former Delta State Governor, James Ibori, and his lawyer unwittingly ended up in jail on account of their involvement with his criminal enterprise’.
People who are particular about a good name have few things in common; they always want to do the right thing. Most times they want to sacrifice their comfort, fight and live for the truth. Unconsciously they can’t tolerate weakness; they exude might, focus and determination. Over someone else’s issue they mostly have a sleepless night; strategically thinking how to make the right thing happen. The opposite is what people after material things exist for. Money, money, and money-all they care about. You fumble-you crumble before them. You slack a bit they plan the hit, taking full advantage until you are heated out. They care less about people but more about themselves. At the end no one remembers them.
If a gold name was better than good name, all of the people mentioned above should have been riding on a flying ship instead of cruising in the disgraceful van of anti graft agencies. Their names, when mentioned have no positive impact. Unlike some of our fore fathers whose impact and achievements lingers on our mind, these people are already forgotten even before the expiration of their tenure. Otherwise, there names should have been written with few millions on each street and/or a million worth golden pen be used in writing their names on every man’s heart. Let us make the right choice-gold name or good name.Its very important to choose which side of the divide to belong. life is not necessarily about what glitters as they somehow have the tendency to break. To live for nothing is to die as nothing. Watch you steps and mind your head, there is more to life than what life can give.