Rev. Ladi Thomson and the coffin.
Placed conspicuously on the altar of the church headed by Rev. Ladi Thompson is a shining black coffin. And as the visitor is still wondering at the unusual spectacle, he is again confronted with another coffin in the office of the man of God.
On each of the coffins is an inscription expressing the death of corruption, which he prefixed with titles like Mr, Mrs, Pastor, Imam, Reverend, Senator and so on.
Asked why a clergyman would keep coffins in his church and office, Rev. Thompson laughed and said he was on a mission to wipe out corruption from the polity through a native approach that he had termed omoluabi (a Yoruba word for gentleman).
He said, “You would notice that all the steps that have been taken to fight corruption have failed. The EFCC has not been able to achieve anything because its method is punitive. But with the Omoluabi doctrine, the scourge is bound to die. I am celebrating its demise already.
“When you have the Omoluabi doctrine in you as a public official, you will not embezzle public funds. Nigeria ranks the highest in terms of infant mortality rate, which is as a result of corruption. In the days of old, whenever there was a calamity of such scale, the Oba was presented with a calabash which he had to open for him to pay the supreme sacrifice. It was the Omoluabi in him that was working.
“Until we all go back to inculcating the Omoluabi doctrine, fighting corruption with any other means will not yield any result.
“With Omoluabi doctrine, we are not out to apportion guilt. It is a sort of building consensus that all of us are guilty of corruption. Then we seek a solution instead of persecution or name calling. Omoluabi doctrine is a gift from.
“You know the progenitor of Yoruba, Oduduwa, came from the northern part of Africa to settle in Ile-Ife centuries ago. That is why African civilization is by far ahead of the American or European civilization. It is a historical fact.”
He explained that great men like the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo made good use of the doctrine to administer the old Western Region when he was the premier. “That is why till date, nobody has matched his record in terms of achievements. What did the magic for Awolowo and his team was the omoluabi in them, which is better than the western democracy being practiced now.
“When you have the omoluabi thing in you, you will not go to sleep until your neighbour is happy and not hungry. You would want for your neighbour whatever you want for yourself. One thing most of us did not realise is that among the Yorubas, there is something called omoluabi, which would not allow one person to cheat the other. Omoluabi is a gift from God. It means omo ti oluwa bi (one born of God), given to Oduduwa who came to West Africa from North Africa. Oduduwa was in Ile-Ife, which existed from time immemorial. If we study omoluabi properly, we will find out that it is a gift that is even better than democracy.
“Instead of looking for someone to punish, what we should do is for all of us to admit that we are all guilty and look for a way of solving the problem. I am not alone; there are many others who share similar views. We are working to get about five million signatories to go to four major areas in the society and plead with them to help us. I will not disclose their names now, but they are notable figures and omoluabis in the society.”
Thompson who took a radical stance as a young man when he decided to opt out of a family of doctors to study architecture, wants people to realize that a closer look at the origin of the Yoruba will do the nation a whole lot of good. “The doctrine of omoluabi has always been in the Yoruba, starting with their progenitor, Oduduwa. Look at the infant mortality rate in Nigeria, which is the highest in the world. In the days of yore, any leader who had too many deaths on his hand would be presented with a ‘calabash’ which he opened and paid the supreme sacrifice. Then, the leaders believed that a supreme being appointed them. I tell you that if the rest of us have omoluabi in us, corruption will be eradicated without a shot.”
The man of God, who said he never believed he could become a pastor, disagree with the opinion that it was becoming a fad that professionals like himself become pastors.
He contended that pastors were the real ‘oracles’ and as such should be knowledgeable enough to be able to solve all problems. That, he said, was the reason why the number plate of his jeep was marked ‘Oracles’.
The Reverend who used to be a big time dealer in wood, which he exported to Europe , said he gave up the business when he got a call to serve God.