Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaMonday, August 29, 2016
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ew days ago, I travelled to Asaba metropolis in Delta State with a young man, her sister and a little girl for a friendly visit. This little girl of eight years just came back from London with her mother to spend holidays at home. There is nothing like home. Even if you travel to the moon or sun, you will later desire to go home to your fatherland. In 2001 I travelled to Germany for the first time in my life. The night leading to the day of my journey, I was intoxicated with joy such that sleep eluded me. I was imagining what that country would look like. I convinced myself that even if I die on my way to Germany, it will add prestige to my obituary. Eventually I saw myself in that foreign land. After spending two months in the language school at Bonn, I began to feel home-sickness. The Germans call it "Heimweh." From that time I started counting when I would travel home in years, weeks, months and days. I laughed at myself saying, "Look at an old man like me feeling like a child looking for its mother." All efforts to dispel the home-sickness proved abortive. No wonder the little girl and her mother left the pleasures of London and travelled to their remote village to feel at home. You can never feel abroad.

As soon as we arrived at our destination in Asaba, the little girl was pressed. She requested her niece to lead her to the toilet to ease herself. Her niece led her to a nearby grass land and asked her to urinate there. Surprisingly she rebuffed the offer and said, "No, no, I cannot just open my dress to urinate in the public. We do not do such in London. Please take me to the toilet. Even if it is dirty, I will use it like that. When I return home I shall take my tablet." They went to the toilet in a building nearby. Unfortunately the water closet was under lock and key. All efforts to locate the person keeping the key became futile. By this time the pressed little girl was already shouting for help. To avoid urinating on her nice dress, she unwillingly consented to urinate outside but on the condition that the three ladies around should shield her by standing round her while she urinates at the centre. This was done. What a disciplined little girl!

It is always an eyesore for me to behold men and women urinating by the roadside like untrained dogs. Trained dogs never urinate indiscriminately. How can men and women endowed with reason and created in the image and likeness of God degrade themselves by committing the indiscipline of urinating in the public by the road side? Recently I saw a man in American suit coming out of his air conditioned jeep along the expressway in the ever busy temporal site junction of Nnamdi Azikwe University in Awka. I thought he was a perfect gentleman. Shamefully he stood near a deep gutter. He zipped down his trouser and brought out his manhood and started urinating. I was tempted to take a photograph of him and post it in Facebook. Instantly I remembered that we are in the Year of Mercy. Hence I had mercy on him by sparing him public ridicule. However, I went closer to him and said, "Sir, what you are doing is indiscipline. How can a gentleman like you be urinating in the public like a bush man?" He looked fiercely at me and said, "Does it concern you? Get out of my sight before you join your ancestors now!" He cut his urination half way. Then he quickly brought out his cellular phone and furiously started making a distress phone call as he was trying to open the door of his jeep. Because I was not yet ready to join my ancestors that day, I quickly jumped into my car and vanished like lightening. I glanced back through the mirror and saw him pointing at me with a sharp edged dagger. He was also cursing me. But at least I have passed my message to him at a high cost. The Church should declare me immediately a living martyr. On her own side, the Government should award me a certificate of being a Discipline Crusader. Am I not? You yourself should join in this Crusade.

As I was driving towards Enugu that day, I applied the break at four-corner and watched the four corners of the road before I crossed over and negotiated left. Accidentally my innocent eyes caught an ugly sight of a gorgeously dressed woman standing beside the busy road and urinating in a female manner. I couldn't control my temper. Through the window of my car I threw a sachet water bag at her. She cut her urination sharply and turned with trepidation to ascertain the source of the attack. I shouted at her, "Woman, in the name of my mother I appeal to you to stop abusing womanhood. You are guilty of gross indiscipline!" She came closer to my car and apologetically asserted, "Father, forgive me for committing the sin of indiscipline by urinating by the road side. By God's grace I will never do it again. Please bless me." I mercifully blessed her saying, "I hereby forgive you for behaving like a bush woman. Try to discipline your indiscipline. Go, do not do it again." In the course of time, this very woman was made the Commissioner of Environment in her State.

It is a pity that most people are guilty of the indiscipline of throwing empty sachet water bags, cans and take away plates along the streets, highways and inside the water ways. This creates an ugly sight. When it rains the gutters are filled up with these waste products which block the flow of floods. Consequently the floods flow into the road. Since most of these used materials are combustible, why throw them away? The empty cans can be assembled for recycling. The take away plates should be taken home and not thrown away. Every private or public vehicle ought to have a waste basket for collecting refuse.

Recently, a regrettable incidence happened along the Lokoja - Abuja expressway. After eating at a hotel in Lokoja, a business woman bought some wrapped edibles which she ate along the way as one of the occupants of a commercial bus. She slept off after the consumption. Suddenly she woke up and wanted to throw away through the window the waste products of the edible items which she wrapped together. Being absent minded, she threw away her purse containing N200, 000 instead of the wrapped waste product. Realizing her mistake, she tearfully beckoned on the driver to stop so that she may search for her purse full of money. By that time they have driven over a half kilometer. Out of pity the driver drove back but the exact place the money purse was laying could not be located. She wept for missing such amount of money in this time of economic hardship in Nigeria. The lucky person to pick the money later will thank God for answering his or her prayers. This incidence thought the woman a lesson on discipline. In other words, her indiscipline was disciplined for better. We learn from others mistakes.

During the military junta of General Muhammadu Buhari and General Tunde Idiagbon in 1984, the War Against Indiscipline (WAI) was launched and enforced by the soldiers. Nigerians learnt to stand line by line at bus stops, filling stations and public service places. Anyone who jumped the line and was caught faced the wrath of red-eyed soldiers who were waiting anxiously to practice their military arts in war fronts. But after General Ibrahim Babangida overthrew Buhari and Idiagbon in a bloodless coup, the War Against Indiscipline became a thing of the past. Today Buhari as a transformed civilian president is trying to apply the WAI Brigade again. To this end, the Nigerian masses have reacted angrily. Most people are of the view that President Buhari should as a matter of priority fight the hunger in the land. They argue that hunger is indiscipline itself. It negatively disciplines the stomach and makes one to lose balance. It is when a person eats satisfactorily that he can to stand one by one for line. Hunger has no respect.

Indiscipline takes its toll on our roads. Some drivers do not obey traffic rules. This causes regrettable and bloody accidents from time to time. I have seen some drivers overtaking dangerously. Often some overtake at a bend. Some drink alcohol and drive dangerously under its influence. Some take hard drugs. Some drivers make and answer calls while driving. There are those who drive at night with only one head lamp on. When you see such you would presume that it is a motorcycle coming. One may not give the necessary space. What happens then is a fatal head on collision. The way tricycle (alias Keke Napep) drivers and Okada riders drive on the road is terrible. They jump from left and right. They come out at any time without looking behind and sideways. They even stop at the centre of the road to pick or drop passengers. This gross and costly traffic indiscipline merits those drivers involved a hot place in hell.

Sin is the highest form of indiscipline. Murder, assassination, character assassination, libel, kidnapping, armed robbery, theft, fornication, adultery, abortion, envy, injustice, bad governance, illegal padding, embezzlement, lies, deception, unhealthy rivalry, unhealthy power tussle, abuse of power, sit-tight ruling, conspiracy, ghost working, dangerous driving, etc are menacing our society today. You and I are sinners. Is it not high time we disciplined ourselves? An inquisitive young man asked Jesus, "Good Master, what must I do to inherit the Kingdom of God?" (Mtt 19:27). Jesus asked him to keep the Commandments of God and to give charity to the poor. How far do we discipline ourselves in order to keep the Commandments? How often do we come to the aid of the less privileged in our society? Saint Paul says, "Each and every one of us will account of himself to God on the last day" (Rom 14:12). During my secondary school days we had a disciplinarian prefect whose function was to check the excesses of the students and to mete out adequate punishment for each offence. However the onus of discipline lies in the self. Let us discipline ourselves for our own good, for the good of the society and for the glory of God.