THE American pop artiste, Andy Warhol, is often quoted as stating that “everyone has a fifteen minutes of fame”. In the case of Pontius Pilate, the fifth governor of the Roman province of Judea, it has being never ending centuries of infamy in the spotlight.
The notoriety of Pilate is associated with presiding over the trial of Jesus Christ and ordering his crucifixion. Although academic, jurisprudential as well theological discourses and disputations continue on the interpretation of the Roman Law of Condicions as applicable to the case of Jesus Christ, the overall verdict is that Pontius Pilate is the ultimate bad man in the historical span.
In rightly condemning Pilate’s miscarriage of justice, a lot of people do not first of all remove the log in their own eyes. At the time of the infamous trial, Pilate had a lot on his mind much of it far removed from a turbulent Judea. He was roughly fifteen months from retirement to a comfortable villa in Rome, augmented with a superb pension. In addition, Pilate who married late had a young wife and little children to think of and provide for.
Like much of today’s public servants, he placed saving himself and protecting his own privileges above principles, doing the morally correct thing and interpreting the statutes impartially and with analytical rigour.
Sadly, nothing has changed over the centuries since the crucification of Jesus Christ. Self serving bureaucrats and political party apparatchiks have no time for principles, institutional memories or faithful recollection of facts; it is all about self. In the ultimate immorality, the principle of collective responsibility is gleefully repudiated when it becomes convenient and political expedient to do so. Nigeria’s carpet crossing political establishment are clearly not in a position to cast any stone at Pontius Pilate and his unprincipled, reprehensible behaviour.
It is another Good Friday and we pray to see more. We should also at a time of uncertainties and heightened anxieties across a world full of strife, discord and disharmony interpret into the events of Good Friday something deeper than just the vilification of Pontius Pilate.
People must return to principles, stop ignoring inconvenient facts, and go back to the notion of building and sharing community values on the basis of societal solidarity and the quest for social justice.
We wish our esteemed readers, their families and loved ones a blissful and fulfilling Easter.