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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Department Of Common Sense – By Perpetua Ihebom



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Someone has called for the establishment of an agency for common sense in Nigeria and I wish to use this medium to lend my voice to that timely and very important call. By extension, our universities should have department of common sense or at least a course called common sense which every student must study and pass before he or she can receive a certificate. It may sound ridiculous but considering how scarce common sense is even among the elite in this society, I think it should be seriously considered.
Perhaps common sense is the missing link we have been looking for in an attempt to figure out why abundance of natural resources should not translate into abundant life for all citizens. It is the lack of common sense which makes a governor or president to steal public funds like a moron without realizing that he is actually rendering his children and children’s children useless by that singular retrogressive act. Of course apart from the negative karma that follows such callous acts, the natural tendency is for such children not to be motivated to struggle and contribute meaningfully to society. They are usually failures in school, business and any other endeavours for obvious reasons.
It is lack of common sense that makes it possible for an academic guru to abuse his students, usually very young girls sexually thereby reducing himself to nothingness before the entire school population.
Common sense deficiency is also responsible for many sharp practices in the manufacturing and business sector. When you intentionally adulterate goods and use various tricks to sell them to consumers, it may appear like a clever move but in the end, it boomerangs. Just a little common sense would have told such perpetrators that they are better off making moderate profit over a very long time than making huge profits in the short run and losing the confidence of consumers.
However, it is in the religious community that common sense deficiency is most alarming. In such places, common sense is undermined, castigated and dislodged from the minds of the faithful believers until they actually begin to see intelligence as more of a vice than virtue. People who show evidence of intellectual prowess are encouraged to keep it aside as they get into the ‘house of God’ so that they may not sin against the most high. This situation creates the atmosphere under which any sharp practice can thrive even among very intelligent people. It would not ordinarily be possible to get right-thinking adults to abandon their businesses on a Monday morning to attend prayer meeting so as to unlock the floodgates of success locked by witches. It would not be possible to convince people that God said they must not leave the place of worship with any money in their pockets; that they must empty everything into the offering box. Some bizarre stories of so-called men of God sleeping with women as part of the process of praying for them to conceive, of forcing people to ingest all kinds of things they would not ordinarily touch with a long spoon, of men of God bottling water and selling to worshippers at exorbitant prices in the name of wonder water, healing water, etc would not have been if only we kept our common sense intact.
If a man rapes your teenage daughter, common sense demands that you call such a man out to answer for his misdeed. But ‘uncommon sense’ says’ be careful. He wore a collar when he raped her. Touch not my anointed bla bla bla…
Common sense dictates that a man that has four jeeps and two duplexes should be the one to give money and other material things to the mama put seller who has to train seven children from her tasking toil. However, ‘uncommon sense says no. She has a duty to keep giving to the man who has more than he needs. Common sense dictates that the children of members whose contributions were used to build the school arm of the church should be trained in such schools free of charge or at a reduced rate but the strange uncommon sense makes it alright for only the owner and his or her family to benefit from the business.
Common sense dictates that we have a duty to love and accommodate each other for a full life but ‘uncommon sense’ forged in certain religious houses says only those who adopt some belief patterns deserve to live. By extension they violate the sacredness of human life in the negation of common sense.
An Igbo proverb says arusi kpawa nganga, e gosi ya osisi e jiri tuo ya. This means that whenever a deity becomes overbearing, the people will show him the tree from which its physical form was carved. What this means is that every deity derives its power from its worshippers. No single deity is exempted from this rule. Yes, it is the people that create and service their gods. From the above proverb, the Igbo had a clearer understanding of how things should stand between the worshippers and the deities and their attendants. The messengers of the gods could not afford to take the people for granted. That was the era when common sense prevailed. Now that we have been convinced to drop common sense and adopt animal sense, things have really fallen apart. Hence this call for a return to common sense.
We must not allow ourselves to swallow the questions that rumble within us. Any religion that discourages questions from adherents or answers them halfway is hiding something they should reveal. We should begin to raise eyebrows about all these men and women that receive heavenly calls every day. They all claim to be healers, miracle workers and so on. So why do we still have a crowd of sick people on our streets. These guys stay there from year to year begging for a living while we have people with the solution to their problems. Does that not sound like wickedness? Or is it only on crusade grounds that these powers are manifested? Federal government of Nigeria, please consider this humble proposal for an agency or department of common sense.
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