Were it for Nigerians that God gave Moses the 10 Commandments, He would surely have added an 11th: “Thou shall not be a hypocrite.” For me, hypocrisy is the worst sin. It’s worse than murder, adultery and robbery combined because committers of these three sins can repent and earn salvation. But it’s not so for hypocrites. For the hypocrite, truth, reality and repentance are unattainable. Satan was the first hypocrite and hell, his kingdom, brims with hypocrites.
Morning, afternoon and night are the three-piece suit that clothes the nakedness of each day. Voodoo, corruption and hypocrisy are the three-piece babanriga of shame worn by the Nigerian political class. Before each day goes to bed, the freshness of the morning dissolves into the energy of the afternoon that melts into the serenity of the night. Even while the average Nigerian political leader is asleep, fraud, greed, laziness and pride lay awake as sentries to the four corners of his bed.
When some gunmen shattered the peace of the Ibadan residence of Nigeria’s Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige, on the night of December 23, 2001, his political party, the Alliance for Democracy, was cocksure a former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Iyiola Omisore, masterminded the killing of the Aare Alasa of Ibadan. For 17 years, members of the AD, who metamorphosed into the Action Congress in 2006 and transmuted into the Action Congress of Nigeria same year, before collapsing into the All Progressives Congress in 2013, accused Omisore of killing the Cicero of Esa Oke. Omisore and 11 other suspects spent 18 months in detention over the Ige murder case until they were discharged and acquitted by an Oyo State High Court. Omisore’s acquittal in 2004 was described as a travesty of justice by Ige’s political family.. Every year, during the anniversary of Ige’s death, curses were rained on Omisore, former president Olusegun Obasanjo and the other ‘killers’ of Ige. After 17 years of hypocrisy and deceit, however, the quest by the APC to retain the governorship seat in Osun became the hyssop that washed Omisore clean of the blood of Ige, and the vultures of the APC carried the Apesin of Ife on their bald heads, singing his praise and chorusing, “Omisore was our deputy governor before the PDP corrupted him.” Well, Omisore is back home now, as clean as a whistle and as bloodless as the Lion of Bourdillon. Before he died in the late 2000, ACN’s forensic expert, Adrian Forty, must have investigated Omisore and declared him guiltless in the killing of Ige. The APC only waited till last year to uphold Forty’s guiltless verdict on Omisore because the party abides strictly with the words of Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” 2001 to 2018 was a time of hypocrisy. Last year was the year of truth.
In 2003, when Governor Chris Ngige of the Peoples Democratic Party and his godfather, Chris Uba, found their way to the Okija Shrine for oath-taking, the AD grabbed a Bible in the right hand and a Quran in the left, shouting, prancing and predicting doomsday for Ngige, who was the governor of Anambra then; Uba and all the supporters of the PDP – if they don’t repent and join the AD. “Resign or face impeachment, AD tells Ngige,” a headline must have screamed at the time! “Shame on Obasanjo’s PDP and Ngige,” a statement from the AD must have read. The AD was a party of the saints. Its members were the direct disciples of the legendary Obafemi Awolowo, the best president Nigeria never had. But the tent of the AD collapsed to infighting three years later and from its ruins emerged the Action Congress. Today, Ngige is the highest-ranking member of the APC from Anambra.
In 2009 when the Ogun State government of Gbenga Daniel and 15 members of the state House of Assembly were enmeshed in ritual oath-taking scandal, the ACN bitterly lamented the desecration of the nation’s democracy and decency. Specifically, the ACN called on Daniel to resign from office, telling Nigerians that the PDP, which Daniel and the warring lawmakers belonged to, had sold its soul to the devil.
Robert Bentley was a man of God and Governor of Alabama. Shortly after his inauguration in 2011, he declared: “Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.” Bentley’s wife of 50 years later caught the incumbent governor on tape professing his love for the wife of a church member, Rebekah Mason, whose husband, Jon Mason, was his aide. Rebekah ran Bentley’s re-election campaign communications in 2013 when they became close. Bentley resigned in 2017. He was banned for life from holding public office in Alabama as a result of the scandal and financial misdemeanor.
If Bentley had no shame, the leaders and members of his Republican Party had. Also, the American society he lives in has zero-tolerance for the politically despicable. But this isn’t so for the APC, which again wore its garb of hypocrisy and ignominy in Osun when the news of the lawmaker representing Ilesa-East State Constituency, Timothy Owoeye, broke. Owoeye was caught nude in the dead of the night by vigilantes in Osunjela bush where he was allegedly bathing with blood. In the nude video, Owoeye was beaten with cutlasses and marched towards his vehicle which had a bucket containing blood in its boot. In the video, Owoeye claimed the blood in his boot was a cow’s and not human. An unmistakable Owoeye, who mentioned his name in the video, was ordered to kneel down by the vigilantes who thoroughly lambasted him and vowed to post the video on the internet.
There’ve been many versions to the ritual bath story. One has it that Owoeye, who attends a white-garment church, was a victim of swindlers that fleeced him of N38m. Another version says that while in search of political power, Owoeye got enmeshed in a vicious web spun by spiritualists who blackmailed after swindling him. The son of a prominent chief in Osunjela and many other persons were arrested by the police over the scandal. In all the various sides to the scandal, Owoeye has failed to tell the world what he was doing naked at midnight in a bush with a bucket of blood. When God ordered Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his son, he physically provided him with a goat. Where’s Owoeye’s cow? Before the police arrested many persons in Osunjela community and released them FREE on bail, was a test conducted on the blood in Owoeye’s car to determine if it was human or a cow’s?
The Ijesa have six local government councils – Ilesa-West, Ilesa-East, Atakumosa-West, Atakumosa-East, Oriade and Obokun – two LGs more than the Ife. Each of these LGs produces one lawmaker except Atakumosa-West and Atakumosa-East that produce one. This means that the Ijesa state constituency has five lawmakers in the House of Assembly. This means that apart from Owoeye, the Ijesa have four more lawmakers that can be presented for the post of Speaker. Why must it be Owoeye, whose nude picture had assaulted the sensibilities of world? By enthroning Owoeye, the APC sent a message to Nigerian youths: A godfather will wash away all your sins.
Timothy, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary, is a perennial grass native to Europe. It also means ‘honoring God’. The first definition better describes our Timothy, a stubborn grass. When the nude news broke last year, I predicted that Owoeye would stubbornly go ahead, contest and win the Ilesa-East legislative ticket. I thought that was the worst the APC could do. I forgot that hypocrites are shameless.