BURNING POT BY DR. PRINCE CHARLES DICKSON
Ayefele vs Oyo; In our systems, a deficiency in integrity
"Book knowledge or academic degree is no education at all. What is education is honesty with firm principle. To be able to stand against all odds. In the face of palpable injustice. A single honest and principled man among a thousand standing alone forms a majority. Late Justice J. I. C. Taylor, one time Chief Justice of Lagos
If you don't take the dead rat out of the room no amount of fresh air can give you a fresh breath.
As reported by PREMIUM TIMES
Fresh FM, an Ibadan-based radio station owned by veteran musician, Yinka Ayefele, has been demolished. The demolition exercise began a few minutes past 6’o clock in the early hours of Sunday.
The location of the station has been a subject of controversy in recent times, with the management of the station and the Oyo State Government locked in a war of words. The government had warned that it would take down the building.
Earlier, reports said Mr Ayefele has taken the matter to court, alleging political victimization.
But on Sunday, our reporter gathered that the demolition exercise began. A staff of the radio station who craved anonymity confirmed the development to PREMIUM TIMES on telephone.
“They have destroyed the building; they have ruined multi-million naira investment,” he said on telephone Sunday morning.
It is not immediately clear whether the Oyo State Government authorized the demolition Sunday morning.
Efforts to reach the Morohunkola Thomas, an aide to Governor Abiola Ajimobi on political matters, were unsuccessful. Toye Arulogun, the state Commissioner for Information, could also not be immediately reached Sunday morning.
The management of Fresh FM is yet to react to the demolition exercise. Multiple calls placed to Akeem Kareem, a top management staff in the station’s Human Resources department were not attened to Sunday morning.
The demolition exercise was ongoing as at press time.
So this my take, like all things Nigerian by Monday morning, there will be various versions, blame games will be played everywhere but the key issue, yet to be addressed and certainly never be addressed. The handmaids of propaganda would be holding sway as you read this column.
Year after year we seem to be squatting at the same spot; sometimes the greatest effort we make will be a leap from the ground unto the top of an anthill which always attracts maddening cum thunderous applause that we have achieved a lot without realizing or remembering the legendary adage that, “A bird that leaps from the ground and perched on an anthill is still basically on the ground”.
Let me proceed to tell us a story; a mother once brought her child to Gandhi, asking him to tell the young boy not to eat sugar, because it was not good for his diet or developing teeth. Gandhi replied, "I cannot tell him that. But you may bring him back in a month." She had traveled some distance, and had expected the great leader to support her parenting. She had little recourse, so left him.
Four weeks later she returned to the sage. The great Gandhi took the small child's hands into his own, knelt before him, and tenderly cautioned, "Do not eat sugar, my child. It is not good for you." Then he embraced him and returned the boy his mother. The mother grateful but perplexed, queried, "Why didn't you say that a month ago?" "Well," said Gandhi, " a month ago, I was still eating sugar." I have often summed up Gandhi's life by saying that he was ready to do what everybody could do but would not do.
For the past 2 months, my character-building theme has been on: Integrity – Doing the right thing even if no one is watching.
I’ve largely concentrated on the small things like, picking up litter without being asked, and not eating that second piece of candy when been told to take only one, knowing this is the right thing to do. These and other such little courtesy define integrity. And have inspired me and prompted me to consider why the concept of integrity deserves deeper consideration in connection with the ways in which we adults operate, individually and collectively.
“Integrity,” an article from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy first published in 2001, then updated in 2017, provides helpful insights into the concept’s many dimensions. While we generally think of integrity as part of a person’s character, there can, as the article points out, be integrity of an environmental ecosystem, or of a musical composition, or, of social and political structures. In all of these examples, the essence of integrity is maintaining wholeness and intactness. I learn from this that examining our own sense of integrity, as well as the systems around us, could help us better understand not only our own personal dilemmas, but also how divisions or polarities within our social, political and economic environments have an impact on us.
I’ve come to regard dimensions of integrity like a set of nesting dolls, where we, as individuals, are the inside doll, and the situations we encounter with our families, our work, our communities, our country, and our world nest around us. For me, the layers around me include the Nigerian Constitution and our democratic system governed by the rule of law, as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, all of which connects me to the rest of the world and provides a framework for what every human being ought to experience so as to be treated equally, with respect, justice and dignity. I believe that integrity provides structural soundness to this nesting system, in which a breakdown in integrity at any level can have a rippling effect on individuals and society as a whole.
So, for the government of Oyo State, for Yinka Ayefele, for the governing or ruling APC government, the opposition PDP, the questions are;
What does it mean to “do the right thing”?
How do we practice integrity in our interactions with others?
What circumstances can cause us to act outside of integrity?
How can integrity guide us to speak up and/or take action when we see a situation that needs attention? If we don’t speak up, does that imply a lack of integrity?
Could considering it in the light of integrity help us name what needs to be addressed in a given situation?
If integrity is lacking in any layer, in what ways does this affect the whole system?
The more and the truthfully we discuss these questions with our family, friends and colleagues the better for our nation.
Let me end my admonition in this manner, in the Sarduana Sir Ahmadu Bello 1959 addressing Christians made a broadcast that I will reinvent to Muslim faithfuls as we celebrate the sacrificial Sallah…We are people of many different races, tribes and religions, who are knit together by common history, common interests and common ideals. Our diversity may be great but the things that unite us are stronger than the things that divide us. On an occasion like this, I always remind people about our firmly rooted policy on religious tolerance. Families of all creeds and colour can rely on these assurances. We have no intention of favouring one religion at the expense of another. Subject to overriding need to preserve law and order, it is our determination that everyone should have absolute liberty to practice his beliefs... Let me conclude this with a personal message. I extend my greetings to all our people who are Muslims on the great feast day. Let us forget the difference in our religion and remember the common brotherhood before God, by dedicating ourselves afresh to the great tasks, which lie before us. And all these can only be achieved if like Gandhi we are resolute with integrity, if we are honest with the little things, if we are not like the Oyo state government and Ayefele, our choices—Only time will tell