THE LAW AND SOCIETY By Lucky Egede
On March 20, 2022, I awoke on a bright and sunny day. I was reminded that my 60th birthday was approaching in roughly ten days. I reflected on my own life, that of my country and the current state of affairs in my country. Many people resigned from their jobs to obtain alternate residency and citizenship creating vacancies in a variety of fields. There is also widespread unemployment as a result of an educational system that produces and certifies essentially unemployable individuals who lack the skills they claim on paper.
I recall my legal education and how I obtained the education that I am so proud of, which came from Nigerian public schools. Is it possible that my country has failed its citizens? What role did we play in getting our country to the point where we’re all looking for alternative citizenship?
There are several countries that our children aspire to explore, and most of our children do not value Nigeria as much as we did as youngsters. I recall being offered a trip to the United States of America, which I declined, and another offer to go to Canada, which I declined because I felt I was better off in Nigeria.
In my country I have accomplished literally everything I have wished for but that is not the tale of most people. The nations we desire to run to were built by people. Those nations are no accidents. They were planned and built on strong principles and laws. These laws are obeyed by everyone regardless of how highly placed in the society. The only difference between the nation that is working and one that is not is the observance of the laws.
Let me begin with our familiar environment. Natural laws exist, such as the law of gravity, which is well-known to most people. We understand that everything you throw up must come down in the most basic sense of the term. To avoid intruding into physics, I’ll leave it at that. If I chose to break the law of gravity by jumping from a 10-story building rather than using the stairs or taking the lift, I will almost certainly arrive at the ground broken while the law of gravity will be intact. We can see that laws are unbreakable from this example.
In the Christian community, we follow the Bible, also known as the book of the law, which states in Joshua Chapter 1 verse 8: “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”
Individuals which have upheld the ideals of integrity and love for one another, among other laws, have been successful, as have nations that have lived by these rules. The same laws have also made one person wiser than the others as it is written in Psalm 119:99 “I have more understanding than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes”. Disobedience to laws is foolishness. Nothing good comes out of it.
The world is comprised of Nations and every Nation is founded on laws which guide and direct them. For instance, the opening paragraph of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as Amended states thus, “we the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, having firmly and solemnly resolve to live in unity and harmony as one indivisible and indissoluble….and to provide for a constitution for the purpose of promoting the good government and welfare of all persons in our country….” From this, the aim of laws is to foster progress, development and to ensure that the welfare of all persons in the country are met. Thus, a nation is as strong as the respect for her laws.
Whether we actually came together to give ourselves the constitution or not is a topic for another day. Let us take the content on the face value without thinking of its origin. If the tenets as enunciated are observed, there will be no secessionist agitation, banditry, or insurgency.
Using the story of Chukwuemeka Ezeugo (popularly known as Reverend King) for an example. He was a Christian preacher who rose to nationwide notoriety following the murder of a church member, which subsequently led to his death sentence. The law against taking the life of another remains.
We also read of One Lanre, a staff of first bank that masterminded the violent robbing of the bank. The law against bank robbery or robbery of any form remains. Lanre is broken and can never be mended. Same goes for Evans and so on.
Our nation will compete with any nation in the world in growth and development if these laws are enforced against people in high places without regards to their religion, tribe or political affiliation. Where sins are forgiven merely by crossing from one political party to another and the accused suddenly becomes the prosecutor can never build a virile nation.
For a nation to remain, obedience to her laws should be rewarded and disobedience is punished. Where we collectively agree to perpetuate evil people in power and get those who violate our laws as our leaders, we all see where we are as a nation, and we see our children gravitating towards nations that have respect for their laws.
There are no actual beneficiaries of corruption. When we attempt to break the laws, we do not really succeed, we break ourselves, our institutions and our society, making it uninhabitable for both the corrupt and his supposed victim.
Organizations are the building blocks that keep a country running, and they are based on laws known as values. Every organization has its own set of values, which are the acceptable behaviors inside that organization. As a result, a company with no values will not be productive. Assume that A and B both start at the same time at a company as entry-level employees. A is a law-abiding and exceptional employee, whereas B enjoys “breaking the rules”. A has progressed to a managerial position in that organization after only five years of service, whilst B’s employment contract has been terminated.
This demonstrates that laws remain unbreakable, but those who attempt to defy them are the ones who are broken. We can see from the hypothetical scenario that obeying the law would be rewarded, which should serve as a motivator for society members. No organization can grow greater than its adherence to the laws and values that govern it.
Families are represented in the organization. The family is both the smallest and most significant social unit. This is because the family plays a significant part in the education and training of their children, who eventually become members of society. Every family has its own set of rules and ideals that bond them together. It begins with teaching a child how to greet, then progresses to teaching the child how to pray, and finally to teaching the child basic morals, instilling discipline in the child.
Children are eager to imitate and display particular character qualities as a result of the ideals they have been exposed to. As a result, parents and guardians owe it to the nation to ensure that members of their families are instilled with positive values, as the family’s progress is only as good as its adherence to the family values.
Individual members of the family construct their own set of rules and ideals. Every individual is supposed to follow specific rules, morals, beliefs, and values, which shape their way of life and lifestyle choices. For example, if one of one’s values is honesty, he will make sure that this value is reflected in his contacts with other people and in his day-to-day activities. An individual is not superior to the laws and ideals that he or she has established, often known as guard rails or limiting points.
Every individual possesses his or her own laws. Following on from what was said before about people making their own rules, the purpose here is to align with his or her personal aims and wants based on future projections. For example, our personal objectives of achieving greatness in life, which would be impossible without school education, motivate us to attend to school, stay in school for years, and submit ourselves to school laws.
Every person has a career they want to pursue, a project they want to start, or a level they want to reach in life, and this is natural because no one likes to stay in the same place for very long. Discipline and respect for established laws, on the other hand, are the keys to success in life. We see time and time again that only disciplined persons who respect laws and principles can achieve and exceed their personal goals, whereas individuals who have little or no respect for laws cannot in a rational society.
Hence, to appropriately function as a society, the individual must subject himself to the family, the family to organizations and organizations to the nation as they are all important components of the society.
In all of these, no individual, family, organization or nation has ever thrived from “breaking the laws” of where it belongs. Where laws are not adhered to, progress and productivity cannot be achieved.
We owe our progress and growth never to disorderly conduct but to respect for our own laws which laws are subject to the family and family to organization or society and society to nation.
As such, the responsibility of building our nation is saddled upon every one of us because it starts with abiding by the various laws which are present in wherever we find ourselves, as this in turn will lead to progress, productivity, growth, and development of our nation.