Reflections

Corruption: Its Symbols And Sinfulness Amongst The Yoruba

Reflections

By Taiye Olaniyi

Corruption comes in myriad of ways but then is an anti social attitudes detested in the individual as a sin committed against God, the deity, the people in the community and the nation as a whole.

Though an individual bad behaviour in the midst of others, it is greatly frowned at as a communal sin requiring condemnation and certain degree of punishments including death.

During our childhood days at Offa in particular and the entire Yoruba land, to avoid being corrupt, corrupted or be corruptible, dignity of labour was a topical issue usually taught at home as “Alo” moonlight stories, proverbs in gatherings, schools and in churches and mosques.

It was compulsory then for us to memorise, recite with pride and also to internalise “Ise ni ogun ise, mura si ise ore mi. Ise ni a fi ndi eni giga, Iya re le ni owo lowo ki Baba ni esin lee kan, ti o ba gbo ju le won, o te tan ni mo so fun o……” J. F Odunjo in one of his books as here excerpted, still is relating to us all that dignity of labour is a panacea to poverty and that hard work is a ladder to individual progress. That one’s reliance on parental affluence could make one empty and indigent tomorrow but self reliance and Honesty are an impetus to progress and successful life.

Similarly, we used to sing those days of old, ” Kini ngo fi ole se ni Aiye ti mo wa, Kini ngo fole se laiye ti mo wa? Aiye ti mo wa, kaka ki njale ma kuku di eru ki ni ngo fi ole se ni aiye ti mo wa. Eni ba jale adele ejo, eni ba jale adele ejo, adajo a wa fewon si lese bi eni ti nrago, Kini ngo fole se laiye ti mo wa.

“This in a nutshell was a song discouraging one from” Stealing” which president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan aptly described as the crux of ” Corruption” in Nigeria and which the “Olode” night watchmen in Offa used to sing as “Ogun momo je mbi Omo ole kinje ki eniyan ko ni lari” that may Ogun deity never bestows a thiefing child for such a child never succeeds in life.

Stealing is not the only aspect of corruption in Yoruba land of old, “Jegudu jera” embezzlement, “Doko doko”, sexual way wardness, being despotic, tyrannical and a weakling as ruler were other aspects of corruption amongst the Yoruba. In ancient Oyo Empire if an Alafin was taken very tyrannical like Abacha’s regime was, the Oyomesi would approach such an Alafin with white calabash and say, “The earth rejects you, the people reject you and so you must commit suicide”.

For a weakling, the proverb goes thus, ” A kuku joye, o ya ju mo joye enu mi ko ka ilu lo” better never to ascend the throne than being there and not in control. The ” Olobinrin Ile” womenfolk or guild of same compound then had their ways of meting appropriate justice and judgement to corrupt, rude and lazy wives in the compound, ” Agbo-ile”.

Today, everywhere in Nigeria we germinate, copulate and breed or/ and rear corruption in large doses. We are so corrupt to such an extent that the name Nigeria and our people carry and are a stigma of corruption. We individually and collectively plunder, launder and murder the commonwealth to such an extent we are left with nothing of wealth and wealthy for commoners in commonality. Nigeria our beloved nation has been sapped, sucked and sacked to the bone marrow. When we occasionally reflect on the golden admonition of our parents and their native wisdom.”

Remember the child of whom you are” we sorrowing, why is our nation especially those germinating in corridors of power made Nigerians so corrupt that only God is the incorruptible Judge when even the “men of gods” are equally fetish and idolatry in money-making, corruption. We however need to make the best of a bad situation, we need to himself-reflection,self-appraisal, self-reliance and self-determination in the clarion call for Mother of all wars and battles against corruption. No single individual no matter how Buhari the posture is, can bring sanity to our corrupt Buhari on but believing in the glaring fact that the incorruptible Judge, the Just God sees us all through and from Him, we cannot run, His eyes are well on us. Go ye and prove ye this political era whom you would serve, God the Creator or man the created in the “War Against Corruption”. God Bless Nigeria.

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