Daily Trust

Not in Thailand!

The Thais are in the news again, and for all the wrong reasons.  If care is not taken, they’ll wipe off the global award of compliments, for sparing nothing to rescue the boys and their coach from the cave. To rescue children destined to be reincarnated, as termitarium is no mean feat or as they say in Naija – no be moinmoin. In our land of stomach-churning news, if we had the luck of Thailand, the ICC would not have denied Sai Baba’s integrity. Our unlucky president would have shut down the entire nation for the next four years for fear of jeopardizing good luck. 

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We would have done more to keep our space in the Guinness Book of Records as the giant of Africa. We would have given James Ibori the kind of state pardon that would have wiped off his London prison term. We would have sent a posthumous state pardon to both Lawrence Anini and Ishola Oyenusi for the crimes for which they were executed. We would’ve cleared Sina Rambo to contest elections and sent an emissary to governor of Lagos State and by God we would have gone to Ila to garland Tafa Balogun with membership of the prestigious Association of Pardoned Criminals, APC.  Literally, prison doors would have been flung open. 

If we had one whole week of good news in Naija, America would know that there is an African superpower. Nothing would gladden the hearts of Sai Baba and the anti-corruption crew than to open up the newspapers, or tune in to international news and hear of those exploits only they and their supporters dream of every day. But even in the recuperation land of London, every time our president approaches local news, he is inundated with the very things he was leaving from. Stories of men killing their wives for daring to belong to the kitchen, the sitting room and da oza room. News of parents selling their children to ritualists. Tales of elementary school pupils joining cults and engaging in sex orgies. All these are just a tip of the Naija bad news iceberg – there is the unending news of the grandfather of them all – herdsmen slaughtering people in their sleep after herding cows to decimate their entire year’s harvest. Then of course there’s always the news of the technically defeated Boko Haram still rearing its ugly head. 

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Readers would remember that I had wanted to trade my Green passport and all the privileges it offers in ECOWAS for the Thai flag, but being a consummate patriot, Sai Baba has no such choice. If he dropped his passport, who would lead the pack ruining Naija as the best Naija ever had? 

Now the Thai, what did they do? Placing Wirapol Sukphol, a trendy Buddhist monk on trial and sentencing him to 20 years in jail is not the best way to keep a positive image going. The law sent him to 114 years behind bars but he could only serve 20 for the offence he was charged.

Trouble started when the ascetic monk released a video in which he was having a romance with the unrighteous mammon, a.k.a the American dollar on a plane. An investigation found him guilty of sexual exploitation and sundry crimes. He was subsequently defrocked leading to a five-year enquiry for which he has now been found guilty. His ‘sin’ is living a lifestyle that signposts many of Naija’s God of men as the authentic body double of their American pentarascal counterparts. At the end of the investigation, it was discovered that he was living a ‘jet-set’ lifestyle that fetched £4.6 million in his account, 22 Mercedes Benz cars to his name and a mansion in California. 

For those who know, the kind of chicken feed that has now made Thailand not my kind of place to do God’s business is the kind that is unlikely to make any of Naija’s five richest pastors lose Forbes rating. If Supkhol’s ‘wealth’ were subtracted from David Oyedepo’s earnings, it’ll probably not leave any reverberating aftershock. Forbes’ claims Oyedepo’s empire is worth $150 million. Chris Oyakhilome makes more selling Rhapsody of Realities than this monk made swindling his flock. A copy goes for $1 and he has two million print run. TB Joshua, Matthew Ashimolowo and Kris Okotie are wannabes and Adeboye is too holy to be evaluated. Although we haven’t counted our population since the hen lost its teeth, we’re bigger than the Thai’s, so nobody has ever tithed the tithing pastorpreneurs or investigated the incredible miracles they peddle.

The reasons for the complicity of silence in Naija are legion. Officially, nobody wants to confront the wrath of the gods these men and women serve not for fear of divine repercussion but the sheer numbers of die-hard supporters and their electoral value. Naija politricians are busy adding and subtracting those who stay in camp for the long haul and those who betray. Loyalty to the ruining order is a criterion for canonization with the usual sprinkle of exemptions to the general rule. When it comes to what happens in the shrines, politricians are wont to align with those who say we should let all impostors to the verdict of the god they serve who is kindlier than Amadioha and Sango combined. 

In Naija, the tremor of jailing a God of man could be worse than the last earthquake. There is paradise after jail for Sukhpol if he could truly perform miracles. If he knows how to peddle his trade here, he could retire here and make it big without scruples. Not in Thailand, nobody is crying for him. Shame.