Few years ago I was pasturing the Flock of God at Abagana. On a certain day I drove into one of the villages in the town to visit a sick woman in danger of death. After anointing her, I entered into my ecclesiastical car and was driving back to the rectory. Unfortunately the car broke down on the rough village road. I did everything in my capacity to track the problem and put it in order. All my efforts yielded no fruit. As a priest I can repair a human soul by the grace of God but not the soul of a car. I was thinking what next to do when a familiar lorry driver came across on foot. He saw my gloomy face and my cassock soaked in sweat. He greeted and asked me, “Father, good afternoon. What is wrong?” I pointed to my stubborn car. I told him that I have done my best but all to no avail. He assured me that something must be done. I smiled hopefully. He removed his shirt. What did I see? Laughter nearly slaughtered me but I controlled it. The man had a huge protruding belly. He managed to sneak under the car to find out the problem and the solution. After doing all he could, he tried to come out but could not because he was exceptionally “pregnant.” His head, hands and legs freely came out but his protruding belly refused to come out. Hence he was held hostage under the car. I held my two hands over my head because I was confused on what to do. I tried to lift up the car alone but I ended up polluting the air. I was laughing and serious at the same time.
Fortunately, two healthy men came across. I pleaded with them to help me bring the trapped pregnant man out. Before doing anything, they laughed at the trapped man and asked him to go and eat more. After laughing they told me that something must be done. My face beamed with smiles. They requested me to bring the car's jack. I complied instantly. They knelt down and jacked the car up a bit. By so doing, the trapped man's belly was freed from captivity. I heaved a sigh of relief. Indeed something fruitful has been done. All of us including the pregnant trapped but freed man entered into a deep laughing session until tears started running down our cheeks.
Currently our country Nigeria is in a quagmire. The clouds are thickening. Things have fallen apart and the centre can no more hold. Nigerians are angry and hungry. Nepotism, tribalism, sectionalism, lopsided appointments, corruption, terrorism, kidnapping, blood-letting, menace of bloody Fulani herdsmen and so many atrocities are bedeviling Nigerians. Biafrans want to go their own way due to injustice. Arewa Youths issued Quit Notice to the Igbos to leave the North before 1st October 2017. The Niger Delta Youths have also issued Quit Notice to the Northerners to leave the area before 1st October 2017. The Middle Beltans are not comfortable with the present state of affairs and have indicated that they would not join the Northerners as before in case of any eventuality. The South Westerners would like to be on their own should the country disintegrate. Most Nigerians are losing sleep over the tensed condition in the country.
Evil begets evil. My ears are almost deafening with bad news. After hearing the Arewa Quit Notice to the Igbos living in the North, and that issued to the Northerners by Niger Delta Youths, the three youthful children of an ageing couple gave their parents three months to quit the house for them. According to the three children, their ageing parents have served their usefulness in the family. Since they have refused to die despite the injustices metted out to them by the dissident children, they must leave the house to somewhere else, even though they (the parents) built the three storey family house at Kano. As if enough is not enough, the wife of a retired Manager of a popular Aluminum Company gave her husband three months from the date of issue to quit the family house at Asaba or face the consequences. According to her, she is tired of the marriage. Similarly, in the animal world, the rats met in a crucial meeting and arrived at a crucial decision. The Chairman of the Rats' Council in part reads as follows: “After considering the menace done to the rats by cats since time immemorial, we hereby sternly issue a quick notice to all the cats to leave the Animal Kingdom with immediate effect. Enough is enough! If they fail to vacate at the expiration of the three months, we shall use all available weapons in our arsenal to destroy the cats.”
There is real danger. God is the Creator and Owner of this Country Nigeria and the entire world. If He gives us Quit Notice, where shall we run to? Therefore we must guard our utterances and mentality. God loves us despite our sinfulness. In the same vain we must love one another despite our cultural, ethnic and religious dichotomies. Hate speeches should be avoided. Fighting begins with exchange of words, followed by pointing fingers at the mouth and culminates in physical fist.
The Acting President Professor Yemi Osibanjo is running around the regions dousing tension. He has gone to the human and animal worlds to seek for truce. Many sections of the country have voiced out their grievances. There is a clarion call from well meaning Nigerians to restructure the country for the good of all. The 1914 rough Amalgamation of the Northern, Southern, Western and Eastern Regions has expired. The South East, the South West, the Middle Belt, the Niger Delta and few Northerners support the restructuring of Nigeria. Unfortunately, the Arewa Consultative Forum rejects it. Why? It is better to restructure now for good than to draw swords. Nigeria cannot afford another civil war. No Nation survives two civil wars. The 2014 National Conference organized by former President Goodluck Jonathan settled most causes of the current agitations. Hence many Nigerians have called for the implementation of that Confab. However, if we feel that it’s not generally accepted, then let the different regions sit down again in a round table to review it and make amendments. If we agree to continue living as one Nation, then let us live in peace. On the other hand, if we decide to go apart, then let be done in peace and not in pieces.
President Buhari has been away from the country for more than two months now. He is on medical treatment in London for an undisclosed ailment. If Nigerians had known the nature of his sickness, more effective prayers would have been channeled towards that particular ailment. The truth is hidden from us. They tell us he is recuperating fast. How fast? Recently the Acting President Yemi Osibanjo visited the ailing President Buhari in London. Also, we are told that the APC Leader Chief John Odegie Oyegun, the Minister of Transport Rotimi Amaechi and four APC governors visited Buhari in London. We saw them on a banquet table, eating and drinking with the sick President as table head. I shouted, “Banquet in hospital? Wonderful!”
The sickness of our president has affected the Nation. Nigeria is gravely sick. The Cabals have hijacked the country. How powerful is the Acting President? He is acting and the Cabals are in charge. From time to time we hear “The Presidency says”. Who is this Presidency? We elected the President but the Presidency has taken over. The truth cannot be hidden for long because the Bible says that whatever is concealed shall be revealed. After hearing the agitations from the various sections of the country, the Acting President boldly said, “Something must be done.” Let the something be done immediately to avoid medicine after death.
The Federal Character should reflect in the appointment of officers in the three Arms of Government. The members of the Cabinet in the Presidency should be equally distributed among the regions and religions of the country. Lopsided appointments must be avoided. The Service Chiefs must not come from a section of the country. Nigeria belongs to all. The President should maintain the “I am for everybody and for nobody” slogan. There should be no first class or second class citizens. Nigerians should be free to live peacefully and do business without molestation in any part of the country if we believe in One Nigeria. Injustice is the main cause of agitation and call for secession. We must avoid robbing Peter to pay Paul. The three Rs: Reconciliation, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation proclaimed by the former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, at the end of Nigeria – Biafra Civil War should be completed to heal the wounds of the civil war. The sore of unhealed wound is ever fresh.
The Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East is yet to be over. The evil terrorists are regrouping. Yes, they have been routed but not conquered. They have been chased out from their base in Sambisa forest. Their new based is yet to be discovered. Until the rotten tooth is pulled out, the mouth must chew with caution. The sponsors of the bloody terrorists are yet to be fished out. Can there be accomplices in the rank and file of the Nigerian Army, Police, Customs and Politicians? Who supplies the weapons used by the dreaded terrorists and from where? The Nigerian borders should be adequately manned. The internally displaced persons must not live forever in the make-shift camps scattered here and there. One cannot be a stranger in his own country. The sacrifice made by the Nigerian Army in fighting the dreaded terrorists must not be in vain. Many valiant soldiers have fallen. May they rest in perfect peace!
Another menace staring our country Nigeria in the face is the bloody Fulani herdsmen. In the past, the herdsmen have been pasturing their cattle without much harm to Nigerians and their farms. But since the inception of the present Federal Government, cattle and Fulani herdsmen are everywhere causing bloody harm and destroying crops in this time of famine. Who owns these cattle? Who supplies the herdsmen with Ak-47 and other dangerous weapons? In the past, the herdsmen carry sticks along as they pasture their cattle. Today the sticks have been thrown away in place of guns, knives and bombs. Some of the herdsmen now kill, rape and kidnap innocent Nigerians going about their daily businesses. The present Federal Government has not done enough to fight the menace of the Fulani herdsmen. He who keeps silent in the face of evil is a suspect. The Fulani herdsmen must be disarmed with immediate effect. Since business men and women build or purchase shops and warehouses for their businesses, the herdsmen should build ranches where they pasture their cattle. Open grazing should be prohibited nationwide.
Something tangible and urgent must be done in the energy sector. We are still living in darkness despite the billions of tax payers' money pumped into it so far. Many investors are abandoning Nigeria to other countries where there is constant supply of electricity. We have all it takes to provide constant power supply. Our problem is in leadership and management. It is quite certain that generator business tycoons would not want to hear about constant power supply just as the vulture is never happy whenever a corpse is about to be buried. How long shall our country Nigeria remain among Undeveloped Countries? The use of generating machines has done more harm than good in this country. If there is reincarnation, I pray to be a citizen of a country where there is constant power supply.
The move to eliminate Christian Religious Knowledge in the Nigerian Education Curriculum or to combine it with Civic Studies is totally wrong. Christian Religious knowledge and Islamic Religious Knowledge should stay as separate subjects. The Federal Government should not open all war fronts at the same time. Arabic or any other language should be optional.
On the ecclesiastical level, the Ahiara Bishopric imbroglio is an indelible scandal. I am not aspiring to be a bishop. The cross behind it is as big as the Mitre won by the bishop and as hot as the skull red cap. Those tussling for the bishopric are neither interested in the conversion of souls nor in leading them to Heaven. They are interested in its social benefits, power and prestige. My humble suggestion is that no bishop should be henceforth appointed for his diocese. In addition, I suggest that the bishops should be transferred from one diocese to the other after a certain number of years. This will enhance the Unity and Brotherhood of the One Holy and Apostolic Church. The Pope must hear this.