24 February 2013, Sweetcrude, Lagos – It had to be Oprah Winfrey, African American entrepreneur and entertainer who redefined her show into a platform for morals in America, a meeting point for intellectual discourse of every kind, a book review club and a charity organisation. Last week the entertainer let it be known that Lance Armstrong, disgraced former holder of seven grand slam titles in the elite Tour de France had confessed using performance enhancing drugs in a recorded programme on her show. Yes, it had to be a Ms Winfrey that would winkle out such scandalous information from a man who was not necessarily penitent.
I was only able to watch snippets of the interview but I was chilled by the sense of nihilism in Mr. Armstrong: At the time you took the performance enhancing drugs, did you feel some sense of guilt? No!
Did you feel bad? No!
Did you feel like you were cheating? No!
His face was an expressionless mark; just a jaw, a conk and two black dots in the background of a cadaverous canvass, his pale flesh.
Lance Armstrong’s are not the kind of morals you find easily in a Texan community. Texans are conservative church going Christians who abhor the new fads that American society is relaxing the rules for. These are the kind of non-morals you find easily among many politicians in Nigeria. The governors, chairmen and their predecessors who win non-laurels at the expense of the unfortunate men, women and children who form their constituencies. Lance Armstrong’s criminality was not detected by the promoters and organisers of the Tour de France and of sister events held in the United States, the Emirates and Asia. Was it because those who had the duty to investigate were incompetent or lacked the will or were corrupt? These are Nigerian values and any pretense by the civilised world to lapse into them would constitute a breach of Nigeria’s patent rights over them.
Yes, incompetence, lack of a positive political will and corruption are those patents protected by the leadership of Nigerian society, for which Nigerian societies continue to pull away from progress, attract Foreign Thieves in place of Foreign Direct Investments, remain perpetually short of basic infrastructure and continue to thrive as the chief hiding place for old criminals who commit crimes against their own societies.
That is why after all the hoopla made by the EFCC and ICPC over prosecuting the corrupt governors of Nigeria only Efe Ibori found himself in jail, and his, a foreign jail. Efe Ibori was galvanised into that residence by the will of a foreign government. We have the same set of rules but different values so that for some operatives our national rules are chips for negotiation or pathways to their enrichment. Governors, ministers and local government chairmen will undermine our commonwealth, the police and sister organisations will bicker until all the thieves have been exculpated by the courts or independent investigative panels and then having been well entertained by all, the society will applaud. This is how we work towards the south side of progress.