“May I follow you so that you teach me something of the Higher Truth? Musa asks Khidr the mysterious being.
“You will not be patient with me,” Khidr said. “How can you have patience about things which are beyond your knowledge?”
“You will find me truly patient, Musa replies, nor shall I disobey you in anything”.
“Okay. Follow me and ask me no questions about anything until I myself speak to you.”
They proceeded until Khidr scuttled the boat that they were in.
Musa said, “have you scuttled it in order to drown those in it? Truly a strange thing you have done.”
Did I not tell you that you can have no patience with me? Khidr reminded him.
They proceed until they meet a young boy and Khidr slays him.
Musa says, “Have you slain an innocent person who had slain none? Truly a foul thing you have done!”
“Did I not tell you that you can have no patience with me?” Khidr reminded him
“If I ever ask you about anything after this, keep me not in your company,” Musa says.
They proceed until they came to the inhabitants of a town, they asked them for food, but they refused them. They found a wall on the point of falling down and Khidr sets it up straight.
Musa said, “You could have exacted some recompense for that”.
“This is the parting between me and you and now I will tell you what you were unable to hold patience. The boat: it belonged to certain men in dire want; they plied on the water, I but wished to render it unserviceable for there was after them a certain king who seized on every boat by force. As for the youth, his parents were people of faith and we feared that he would grieve them by obstinate rebellion and ingratitude. We desire for them in exchange, a son better in conduct and closer in affection. As for the wall, it belonged to two young orphans. There was beneath it a buried treasure to which they are entitled; their father had been a righteous man. We desired that they should attain their age of full strength and get out their treasure. Such is the interpretation of those things which you were unable to hold patience.”
This story in The Cave (Quran Chapter 18 verses 66-82) has multiple lessons: faith, trust, the qualities of followership and leadership, the importance of past knowledge, vision, doubt and the human need to understand and thus to question.
Is the current unfolding situation with Senator Saraki in the best interest of Nigeria? 2015 is almost gone – a year in which, for many, little has been achieved first because of expectations of a violent general election and then the wait for the policy directions of the new federal administration. We are broke, our major revenue earner is down and national security is compromised. Can we afford an unsettled National Assembly and acrimony between the legislature, executive and the governing party? Is this the best time for the country to bear the brunt of whatever political fall out will accompany latest developments?
Some think anything done towards curing the cancer of corruption in Nigeria is justified. Someone needs to be made an example of and it does not matter if that person is not in the good books of his party and his president. Besides, this group points out, as Senate President, Saraki has an obligation to respect institutions – he should have honored the invitation of the Code of Conduct Tribunal and defended himself against the allegations the way Tinubu did in 2011? Why did he seek to stop the Tribunal through the Federal High Court?
For others, including those who do not like what Senator Saraki has come to represent, there is concern that the CCB’s sudden alertness to disclosures made in asset declarations in 2003 is too convenient. Even the wind of Change is not enough to explain why only now and why only Saraki. This group is worried about the constant manipulation and politicization of institutions and the judiciary. EFCC has still not recovered from the manipulations of the Obasanjo era, and it will take a while for the Financial Reporting Council to live down the role it played during President Jonathan’s attack on the independence of the Central Bank of Nigeria. A reminder that in 1984 the CCB played a key but controversial role in then Head of State Buhari’s anti corruption crusade raises even more questions.
We are being reminded of how compromise-able our institutions and our legal systems are. Instead to dealing with the substance of the allegations raised by the CCB, fundamental questions are being raised about the dangerous precedents being set for inferior courts (CCB tribunal) to willfully disobey superior courts (Federal High Court) and the rights of superior courts to interfere.
If perception is reality, then the perception that anti corruption rays only shine on those who are not in favour is a bad one. It means that even before the fight really begins, the warriors have been compromised. The divisions in Nigeria are deep – ethnicity, religion, partisan, class, age, gender; we should be wary of a fight against corruption where public opinion is split, not on the merits of the case, but on the technicalities and the perception of abuse of power.
Underlying many of the questions is the issue of diminished trust in our institutions. It will be impossible to rebuild this trust if those in authority keep playing by the same fifty five-year-old rulebooks for managing political differences. Maybe there are things beyond general public knowledge that those in authority feel reluctant to explain, but past experiences provide the locus for citizens’ to keep asking questions regardless of who is in charge.
It is the only way to ensure that Nigeria is the ultimate winner in the fight against corruption and impunity. That is one truth.