The Palm Kernel Merchant And The Merchant Of Justice | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Columnists, Uncle Sam's VOICE

The Palm Kernel Merchant And The Merchant Of Justice

Posted: Jul 9, 2015 at 4:19 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

There is this story – the story of a palm kernel merchant who had an accident on his way to the market. The vehicle he was travelling in had a head-on collision with another vehicle. He was sent into a coma by a metal that hit him on the head. Regaining his consciousness several days later, the man found himself in a hospital run by a church. He noticed that the walls of his ward – where he was being treated – bore colourful pictures of Jesus Christ. Everything in the room, except the pictures of Jesus Christ, was white. All the nurses were nuns, pretty innocent-looking creatures draped in immaculate white attires. Being illiterate, he could not understand the language they were communicating in. The only person who had spoken English to him in his entire life never sounded like any of the nurses. He thus concluded that that must be heaven: he must have died in the accident and got to heaven. To him, the ladies in white were angels. Remembering what he had been told sometime in the distant past about the reward of righteous people in heaven, he became elated, thankful to God for his decision to live a godly life. He beckoned on the supposed angels and indicated that he wanted some food. In no time, a variety of dishes were presented for him to choose from.  He ate to his satisfaction and fell asleep. He woke up and found himself surrounded by another set of angelic creatures. For a whole week he was treated like a king. On the 8th day, he requested to be taken for a walk.

While on the tour of his heaven, he saw a man lying on a bed in a room not too far from his. He stopped, took some steps backwards and resurveyed his environment. The scenery was too beautiful to be on the planet Earth, a reality that bolstered his conviction that he was truly in heaven. But something was fundamentally wrong. The man on the bed was familiar to him. He was a crooked magistrate famous in the community for selling justice. It couldn’t be! For a man who was so perverse to be in heaven! Certainly, God must have made a mistake. Our man became agitated. The fact that the nurses couldn’t understand him aggravated his plight. Fearful that he was suffering from a relapse, the nurses bundled him, and returned him to his bed. Sedated, he fell asleep. In the middle of the night, he crawled out of his bed and went to the room where he had seen the rogue magistrate. Luckily for him, he found the magistrate alone, fast asleep. He woke him up and started interrogating him, asking what he was doing there, how he got there, and so on. But before the rogue magistrate could utter a word, the man had started shouting – in spite of himself: You have always lived a despicable life perverting justice, selling judgment to the highest bidder. You abused the power that God gave you to dispense justice and maintain peace in our land. Contrary to everyone’s expectations of a man of your status, you became the very problem of our society. You were the embodiment of everything evil. But for you, our community would have experienced fewer cases of rape, murder, arson and other crimes. We would have had fewer wars, less evil and less sorrow. Many men and women would have been disciplined enough to understand and abide by the word of God. This heaven would have been filled with many of our countrymen and women who had died before us. I know something is wrong. Seeing this place and watching what the angels are doing here, I know someone – God or one of His angels – must have brought you here by mistake. Well, as a brother, I’d advise you to confess your sins to God, telling Him the whole truth about who you were on earth.

The rogue judge bore the chastisement with candour, and told the man that they were actually alive, not dead. He explained that he was in the other vehicle that collided with the man’s vehicle. Both of them had fallen into coma. They were revived by the good personnel of the hospital to which they had been rushed. The ladies in white were not angels but catholic nuns who were the nurses of the hospital. Though disappointed by the fact that he was not in heaven, he was relieved that the rogue judge had not gone to heaven with him.

The pious man in this story could be said to have over-reacted. He may have been selfish – both in thought and reaction; but the story says a lot about the magistrate accused of selling judgment. From our home to our schools and offices, the person who holds the balance is the person with the power to dispense justice in a transparent manner. No society can develop beyond its justice system. It is in this spirit that I defer to those who have made the judiciary the poster element in the corruption quagmire that we find ourselves in this country.