Gone are the days when Nigerians from different walks of life set store by virtues like honesty, forbearance, industriousness, faithfulness, holiness, and truthfulness.
At that time, not a few Nigerians took pride in possessing the virtue of probity. And parents would inculcate family values into their children and wards. Those parents were conscious of the fact that the formation of the personalities of their children of impressionable ages would be determined by the parental upbringing given to them.
But with Tempus fugit, we started witnessing the erosion of family values among us. Today, there is an upturning of moral values in Nigeria. So, we perceive wrong as right; and view bad as good. That is why a poor man, who possesses the virtue of probity, is the butt of our jokes while we deify and lionize the rich man, who has no moral scruples.
The erosion of family values among us as well as the upturning of our positive morality code is traceable to the fact that our possession of wealth is the index or benchmark that qualifies us to be called successful and responsible people. So our insatiable quest for money is understandable. Our deifying rich people as well as acquiring money through fair or foul means is the zeitgeist and the weltanschauung in 21st-century Nigeria.
Were Nigeria a sane clime, Bulkachuwa and his wife would have been guests of the Nigerian Police Force for questioning regarding their desecration of our temple of justice. But that has not happened.
So our rationalization of evil things perpetrated by our youths should be situated within the context of the existence of the culture of corruption in Nigeria.
That is why job seekers offer bribe to senior officers in state and federal establishments so as be employed in those government establishments. That is why invigilators and supervisors for examinations like SSCE and NECO would compromise on their morality codes and permit examination candidates to perpetrate examination malpractice during those examinations when they are offered inducement. And that is why police personnel mount roadblocks on our highways to extort money from commercial bus drivers instead of combating crimes.
So nobody can gainsay the fact that a culture of corruption thrives and exists in Nigeria, now. Parents wittingly socialize their children into the despicable and odious culture of corruption.
And our religious clerics do not help matters, either. Aren’t Pentecostal pastors preaching the message of prosperity, which propels adherents of Christianity to seek wealth through fair or foul means?
So it is obvious to us that the agents of socialization- school, family, and religion-have failed abysmally to rein in the excesses of Nigerians. And they are no longer effective tools for effecting moral regeneration among us.
The consequence is that no systems of doing things are working in Nigeria. Everything is topsy-turvy. And that explains why Nigeria is trapped in the cesspit of national underdevelopment.
Since those who pilot the affairs of Nigeria at different tiers of government are our third eleven politicians, who got into the saddle of political power through corrupt means, they cannot drive developmental initiatives in our country.
Rather, those political leaders who are without moral scruples do gloat over their defeated political rivals and act with impunity. And they exude the air of being the untouchable owners of Nigeria.
And the Freudian slip committed by Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa during a valedictory session for the ninth National Assembly depicts the magnitude of the ramifications of our culture of corruption and impunity.
The octogenarian senator, who is in the twilight of his years on earth, narrated how he influenced his wife, Justice Aisha Bulkachuwa, to pervert the course of justice so as to favour his friends.
Were he not hushed up by the immediate past senate president, he would have gone into details about how his wife performed the sordid and ignoble deeds of the perversion of justice.
So it would be difficult for Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa’s defenders to put a spin on his disclosures so as to gloss over his self-indicting and condemnatory revelations. Were Nigeria a sane clime, Bulkachuwa and his wife would have been guests of the Nigerian Police Force for questioning regarding their desecration of our temple of justice. But that has not happened.
Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa’s voluntary confession is proof that our judicial system is neither independent nor resilient. And it shows that it is not impregnable to being corrupted. The stark fact is that our temple of justice is peopled by justices and judges, who are compromisable and buyable.
Now, the hallowed chambers of our courts are where bargains for the purchase of judgements are made. This sordid and despicable state of things in our judiciary portends a grave danger to the survival of our democracy. The desecration of our judicial system is akin to driving a knife into the heart of Nigeria.
Is a robust, resilient, independent, and impartial judiciary not a bulwark against the collapse of our democracy, and by extension, the disintegration of Nigeria? If politicians know that their electoral victories got through electoral malpractices will be invalidated by the courts, they will not spend huge sums of money to manipulate electoral processes and rig elections because it will be a Sisyphean curse.
And if elections that are conducted in Nigeria are free and fair, then, it means that our political leaders’ occupation of exalted political offices is a reflection of the people’s political will. And our leaders will not battle with legitimacy problem.
Following Bulkachuwa’s self-damning revelation, Nigerians are now acutely aware that the presidential election cases, which are being heard in the presidential election petition court are susceptible to manipulation.
Nigerians are following the presidential election petition court’s proceedings with emotional detachment and keen interest. They are on the look-out for legal manoeuvring that will do a disservice to the course of justice and cause the derailment of our democracy.
So it behoves our judges, who are the custodians of the temple of justice, to live up to our expectations by giving fair and unbiased judgements on the electoral cases brought before them. Their doing that will redeem the battered image of our judiciary and restore people’s hope and confidence in our courts.