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INSENSITIVITY-THE ANTI-SOCIAL PHENOMENON By Joe Etokudor

Sophocles, a Greek Philosopher writes: “one word frees us of all the weight and pain of life. That word is love”

Nigeria with multi-ethnic nationalities is a country with divergent interests, cultures, and attitudes. It is a country with contrast where the producers of the wealth of the nation are often subjected to penury, psychologically and politically suppressed into a position of second class citizens simply because they belong to the so called minority ethnic groups. On the other hand, the majority ethnic groups or the privileged ones keep on wallowing in stupendous affluence with the master-servant egoistic attitudes and behaviour.

A man’s highest calling is to serve the people and to fight for their happiness. The good leader is one who as a matter of principle acts from the laudable persuasion that every measure taken by an individual must have some connection with providential injunctions and human interest-“love your neighbour as yourself”. To the good leader, the plight and agony of the suffering masses of the people should be a source of sore distress and worry. The welfare of the less privileged segment of the society should be uppermost in the mind of any good leader, the gamut of his efforts and initiatives should encompass divers recipes generally destined to alleviate the burden of human existence, to bring peace and comfort to those without hope.

The good leader is the one who opines that the poor and the handicapped should not be abandoned. He is the one who knows that pity alone would not do the trick. What is needed above and beyond all, is practical and sustained effort to meet the basic requirements that would enable them live fully and usefully not only to themselves alone, but to the society at large.

To all intents and purposes, selfishness is an anti-social phenomenon, and as such, must be condemned by all and sundry without any reserve. It is a matter of regret that the indifference of some of our well-placed leaders has of late vis-à-vis the issues at stake, grown to a scandal. They block their ears against the despairing cry of hapless souls doomed to live best they could in a benighted world. “Each man to himself and the devil takes the hindmost”. They do not find it inconvenient to covert, or even expropriate the meager asset of the poor for the expansion of their own personal aggrandizement and diabolical possessions.

There is a surfeit of evidence that would bring the pitiful episode of the biblical vineyard to mind, the bone of contention between Ahab and Naboth, which cost the former sleepless nights with no desire for food, until the latter, a poor humble peasant, was maliciously exterminated to give comfort to his oppressor. What a shame! Naboth was sacrificed on the altar of greed and covetousness just to satisfy the whims and caprices of Ahab, a ruling potentate, whose spiritual and civil obligations included protection of the weak and helpless members of his realm not excluding Naboth but betrayed his trust and failed to live up to expectation.

This is not the place, however, to recount the atrocities of the so called elite of our community-shameless demagogues, impostors and sadists, who in all actuality are responsible for the deplorable rottenness of the Nigerian Society-the main target of the rebranding crusade.

The gulf between the haves and the have-nots has never been wider than it is today. According to Dr. Martin Lather King Jnr. The American Civil Rights Leader, it is unchristian and unethical for someone to wallow in the soft beds of luxury while others sink in the quicksand of abject poverty and agony.

Providence uses people to solve the problems of men. He, from his invisible majestic kingdom, would not come down to make us whole with the touch of his magic wand. “man is God to man’ is a well-known aphorism. And those still living in their false paradise should begin to rethink. Greed, insatiability and insensitivity cannot take us anywhere. Yes, the situation is that bad, for some Nigerians nay Akwa Ibomites now eat from the dustbins, like birds and animals starving in the midst of plenty.

A British philosopher and author of welfarism, Greellet, Stephen (1773-1855) gave a classic and alluring portrait of the issue at stake, which I hereby supply as a closing remark, so that those who have ears to hear might hear. “I expect to pass through this world but once, any good thing that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now, let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

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