By Snr. Chief ‘Lekan Alabi

IBADAN – As it’s the universal practice, today, Monday, December 26, 2022,is another Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, when boxes delivered by Santa Claus (Father Christmas) are opened to remove the gifts contained therein.

May we celebrate many blessed seasons in good health, protection, peace, progress, joy and contentment. Amen.

With Boxing Day comes the openings of wrapped gifts, their possession, distribution, appreciation etc.

As these gifts, particularly cash gifts, exchange hands, these times call for great personal sacrifices, such as self control, honesty or integrity, if you choose, clean hands etc, moreso as Nigeria, nay the world, like never before, is in deep recession, depression, inflation, instability, sinking morals and what other thinkable evils. May God cleanse the world.Amen.

The above sermon is brought to the fore by the report, “The, Minister Must Hear This”, published 26 years ago, on Sunday, November 3,1996, in the Guardian on Sunday weekly of the above-named date.

In that report, in its “Cocktail Circuit” column, the Guardian newspaper reported that the press secretary of a Minister had played a hanky-panky game with the end-of-year gifts meant for reporters covering the Ministry.

The press secretary was alleged to have cornered (stolen) most of the gifts handed over to him/her by the Minister and which were meant for the reporters covering the Ministry.

The suspecting press corps, decided to blackout the Minister and the Ministry.
As expected, and in order to cover his/her tracks, the thieving press secretary decided to prevent the press corps from seeing/making direct/physical contacts with the Minister.

Such condemnable act is not limited though to press secretaries/journalists, pros alone, but other channels/conductors meant to pass on gifts to members of the public.

Many of these channels, as it were, are thorough-bred professionals who live aboard board.

Sensing that something was fishy, the blocked public (pressmen) of the Ministry in question sidetracked the press secretary and met the Minister.

The bubble, of course, burst when the Minister and the pressmen met face to face. The thievery of the press secretary was blown open.

As indicated by the title of this post, we are now in a season of gifts and their exchanges.

I implore all men and women whose duties are to convey gifts, particularly cash, to the public/individuals to shun all temptations to make them tamper, steal or fiddle with gifts entrusted to their care.

If lies travel ahead of truth by a thousand nights, truth will, one day, eventually catch up with it.

The best attitude is to be contented, shun the temptation to appropriate or steal other people’s property.

26 years ago, Sunday, December 22,1996, the Guardian newspaper published my reaction, titled: “TREADING A THORNY PATH”, to it’s earlier story of Sunday, November 3,1996.

In my rejoinder, I made it clear that not all press secretaries or pros are thieves.

Many are well-bred professionals with steel attitude to etiquette, fairness and good reputation.

This is Year 2022, 26 long years after the incident, as reported by the Guardian newspaper, on which this post/sermon is based. It is intended, nevertheless, like the proverbial 20-year old pounded yam can still scalp it’s consumer’s palm, to be a guide to those (PROs, PAs, Secs etc) in positions of delivering gifts to would-be recipients to be straight and fear God in their conducts.
Happy Boxing Day.

*Senior Chief ‘Lekan Alabi, Maye Olubadan of Ibadanland and the first Culture Ambassador of the National Museum and Monument, Ile Ife writes from Ibadan, Oyo State capital.

A copy of my Sunday,22nd December,1996 rejoinder to the Guardian ‘exposè’ of the unbecoming act of a press secretary to a Minister,published in the Guardian on Sunday weekly issue of December 22,1996 and on page 101 of my 2000 book: “ALWAYS FOR PUBLIC GOOD”.


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