Thursday, 16 October 2014

Never Fear to Pursue Justice

Never Fear to Pursue Justice
“Two men were dismissed from work in similar circumstances. The one thought for a week on what to make of the situation while the other sought to hit back at those whom he thought dismissed him unfairly. The one invested what he had saved during his years of work in a business and God helped him, the business picked up and yielded dividends. Meanwhile the other man kept pushing for 'justice', thinking ambitiously "if I can get back there...I will recover what I am spending now in a day". While the business of the one blossomed, the pocket of the other dried up.
“Hey! Every situation is neutral, how you react to each is what makes it a blessing or a curse. Whatever you cannot fight, thank God for it. Whatever you cannot change, thank God for it.”
The above was a post on a friend’s Facebook wall, apparently in a bid to drive home the message about the need to be wise in our choices of how we respond to the contingencies of life, as they can make or mar us depending on how we deal with them. Of course there were lots comments concurring with the post.
Very true as the scenario painted above might be, it also holds within it some subtleties that need unpacking. For me, these subtleties define to a large extent how society turns out: how individuals and groups relate to the society within which they find themselves; whether cordially or with hostility. These subtleties reside within the region of perception.
From the anecdote, we have a man who considers his dismissal unfair and decides to seek justice – never mind that he sees seeking justice as a means “to hit back at those whom he thought dismissed him unfairly” or that he will recover his money someday. But it is legitimate to seek justice even if on weak grounds in as much as one perceives having been treated unfairly. At least the legal system will clarify things for one. The possible danger of not doing anything is that one will go on with bitterness which one can transfer to children and relations. Such bitterness is dangerous to society because people such as those could rise up to unleash terror on a society they feel has been unjust to them. Perception, right or wrong, is strong and can lead to untold consequences. No matter how foolish we think of a person's decisions, if such a person feels unfairly treated, let him seek redress either through the legal system or by some peaceful alternative means. That way, things are more conclusively resolved.
It is easy to construe that the second person, who invested his savings and went on living comfortably, did the right thing. What he did is not wrong but it is not necesaarily better for society as that amounts to what the Hausa say “in dutse ya wuce kai na to ya fada a kan ko ma na wane”, meaning loosely, everyone to himself. That action is totally nagates the concept of human solidarity which is what really keeps society together. Moreover, the fact that such a person walks away does not mean that he never felt unfairly treated. If he felt unfairly treated, then society can never expect any wholehearted goodwill from him as he would give only because he directly benefits and will stop at nothing to deal dastardly with society when the opportunity arises.
Peace – enduring peace – is a product directly related to justice. Seeking justice, apart from setting the records straight, leads to a systemic kind of correction which could save others behind us, probably less fortunate with resources to put up a fight against perceived or real injustice than we are. That is a noble cause and service to society. This means that we don’t necessarily get back what has been taken away from us or are indemnified, for it may have even been a case of death where such a quest is not achievable.
The reason why we look to other countries where things work with envy and call them developed is because things have not been left to chance and at the mercy of those in authority. Their citizens have at all time sought to put their monies where their mouths are; hence, whenever they perceived injustice or misconduct, they were ready to challenge it in using the legal system. Sometimes such challenges have lasted decades, but rulings from the courts have largely put such matters to rest.
On its part, the Nigerian state must make sure that, as a path to creating lasting peace in the society, the legal system must be enhanced and insulated from mischief. The judiciary must be allowed to carry out its responsibility without interference and intimidation. That is the only way by which citizens can have confidence and go to it to seek succor when the need arises.
Of course we must be wise enough to choose our fights. But we are not called to acquiescence as it does not build society.

BLUEPRINT Newspaper; August 7, 2014

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