Good name is better than riches

Good name is better than riches is a Nigerian Igbo proverb that has its roots in the Bible.

According to Proverbs 22:1, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”

Although the proverb is self-explanatory and simply means that one’s good reputation is worth more than money, the meaning transcends the ordinary and this is clearly exemplified in the life of Goodman.

In Nigga lived a man named Goodman.

Nigga was a country in dire need of good leadership. In fact, it was desirous of change in all facets. Many supposedly charismatic leaders had emerged but the story had remained the same.

The country became synonymous with corruption. The economy remained in shambles following decades of officially sanctioned plundering. Security was a thing of the past as its territorial integrity continued to be threatened on a daily basis.

So Goodman came to power, albeit by chance, possibly out of sheer luck going by his political antecedents, but he was expected to fix all the problems bedevilling his country.

His arrival marked a watershed in the annals of history of his nation. He was voted massively and was sworn in amid high expectations.

He enjoyed public goodwill in the first half of his tenure but the people’s confidence began to wane in the tail end of his administration.

The people never received the fresh breath he promised them. They became disenchanted with the way and manner he was handling the affairs of the nation and were now clamouring for change to right the wrongs of his government.

They accused him of being too slow, inept and superintending over a corrupt administration. So, he must be shown the way out.

They succeeded. The change they had yearned for had come at last and Goodman was to leave power and all its trappings, something difficult or sometimes impossible for his predecessors or colleagues in other climes to do.

Goodman did the needful and handed over power to his successor, having lost an election that could have brought him back.

Before the official announcement and declaration of results, he phoned the leading candidate and congratulated him on his election victory.

Although this did not go down well with some people who thought their future was at risk, this singular act doused the mounting tension in the land, calmed frayed nerves and avoided the attendant wantom destruction of lives and properties.

In fact, his refusal to quit office could have caused a civil war even as the relics of a previous one were still very much visible.

Goodman displayed a true spirit of sportsmanship of being gallant in victory and gracious at defeat. He was ready to leave the spoils of office despite all odds.

His action was greeted with wild jubilations both at home and abroad. It drew international attention and attracted commendations from across the globe.

Nigga had remained one, indivisible nation and continued to coexist peacefully. Goodman continued to be remembered for giving peace a chance and ensuring the unity of his beloved country.

Posterity wouldn’t have forgiven him if he had clung to power tenaciously but he had written his name in gold by leaving office willingly and such an act would remain indelible. Riches fade away.

The story of Goodman aptly illustrates the saying: Good name is better than riches.

Do you believe that good name is better than riches? Leave your thoughts in the Comments box below.

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