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Atsar Terver
Public Commentator
Port Harcourt
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more articles by Terver

Nigerian
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‘Of course no. But his Special Assistant on Media said that severally when he was with the Guardian. In 2008, when Asari described the North as parasites, he immediately took it upon himself the task of giving credence to the totally unacceptable outburst from the Millitants, asking the Northen governors who justifiably took exception to the outlandish outburst to show some humility to the Militants! In fact that must have been what endeared him to the President. Yes, how else can one comprehend why an impartial President who loves the whole country would choose a man who believes and preaches ethnic superiority as his image maker?’

 

Why Nigerians Should Stop Praying

Recently I had a squabble with a friend. He is a businessman and a Christian leader. We were held up inside a taxi in a nasty traffic snarl on our way from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja as we sought to catch up on an appointment in the Central Business District of the capital city. The argument started when he made a remark about Nigeria’s future being great! I had asked him why he believed Nigeria will become great but was annoyed at the simplistic answer he gave me.  He said that since Christians were praying for Nigeria God will one day give us a good leader.

 

I began to laugh and laugh and laugh. I laughed so hard that the taxi driver thought I was drunk.  My friend is actually the patient type, so he waited for me to finish my long satirical laughter before he attempted to find out what I found so terribly funny in his answer. 

‘Everything!’  I said. ‘Everything is wrong with a people  who think God would one day come down and do for them what He has placed in their hand to do’. I asked him; ‘for how long have Nigerians been praying?’ To this question, he asked; ‘Do you doubt what God can do?’

‘No’, I said, ‘I do not doubt what God can do. I am only telling you what God cannot do!’

‘There is nothing impossible with God’ he insisted’.

‘Look my friend, I know the awesome power of God but there are certain things he has committed into our hands to do and we must do them if we want to progress as a nation. One of them is nation building! We cannot be pulling this country down every day with our own hands and then we rush back to the churches and mosques to pray that God should give us a leader. The Bible doesn’t  say that prayer exalts a nation rather it says it is righteousness that exalts a nation!’ Then I went into a long sermon.

‘The reason why Nigerians have been praying for 53 years and it appears God is not answering is because of our unrighteousness. We are way too corporately religious but individually outlandishly hypocritical. Why is our religious piety not reflecting in our official conduct? We bear religious names without knowing their meaning. Why should people who bear James and John cheat each other in business? Was John a cheat? Why do we leave ‘Christlikeness’ in the church halls? All of us are guilty. Look at this taxi driver who convinced us at the Airport that his Cab Air Conditioner was working perfectly only to tell us halfway through the journey that it has (just) failed;  If you investigate, he may be a respected elder in his church’.....

‘Haaaaa Ogaaaaa’  interrupted the driver.. .but I cut in.

‘Tell me you didn’t know about the fault of your car and I will double your fee’. He kept quiet!

‘You see this is the problem’, I continued,’ until we individually change our attitude to our neighbours and obey the simple golden rule that Christ gave; do onto others the way you would that they do unto you, prayers will just continue to message our spiritual egos, while Nigeria continues to go down.

‘When we look unto our leaders for guidance, they also look unto us for approval. It is when we approve of their evil conducts that they are encouraged to do more. Just imagine that the over 150 million Nigerians decide to do righteousness in all their dealings, will an ungodly President feel comfortable in ASO Rock? The reason why a President, Governor, Minister, Commissioner, Senator or Local government Chairman could do wickedly and not feel an ounce of remorse is that he is surrounded by a horde of godless men and women cheering him on. Was Bode George not given a hero’s welcome from prison?  And the President recently nominated his (Bode’s) wife for a presidential appointment, then the Senate confirmed! What message does that send to the younger generation, other than that corruption pays?

And talking about the President, who is there to challenge him to do the right thing, when the Senators and House Members who ordinarily should be a check on him, only look for ‘what-is- in- it-for- us’ from every unkind, cruel and self-serving policy from the President?

Nigeria will only begin to rise from the ashes when we change our core value system. A country that has no sacred principles of conduct for every citizen is doomed and there is nothing prayer can do about it. Didn’t we call out our church members in their millions for prayer and fasting before, during and after the April 2011 Elections?  Did Jonathan not receive endorsement from Redemption Camp in the run up to the election? Did God go to sleep while we prayed? How did we end up with a lame, clueless, cold-hearted and insensitive President?

‘Oga, this thing wey you de talk, na true o!’ The driver said soberly. It was then I realised I had been talking alone for over thirty minutes. The holdup was easing gradually. We had gone pass a FRSC check point. I remarked that, these officers (FRSC) are supposed to find out what is causing the hold-up down the road and mitigate it immediately. For goodness sake this is the gateway to the Capital city of the biggest black nation! I exclaimed in despair.  Some meters ahead, not too far from where the FRSC mounted their extortion point was a broken down luxurious bus right in the middle of the service lane the cause of the 6km long traffic queue!

My anger soared higher! ‘Imagine!’ I shouted! Mr. Chidoka or (what is his name?) collects money every year to maintain towing vans for situations like this but see what we get in return. Yet this same man is unabashed enough to introduce a new Number Plate scheme as a solution to Boko Haram! A man who cannot mitigate mere traffic congestion wants us to believe he can curb a sophisticated gang of bomb-makers!  And to think that Jonathan bought easily into the scam is astounding. What database does he have?’

The driver came in again: ‘The man don see opportunity to chop him own now, when another man come, him go change am again so that we go pay again.  All of them get their share!’

‘But these Boko Haram people are making a big mistake o’. I said

‘What do you mean?’ My friend answered. He had been quiet all the while.

‘Remember that October 1st 2010 bomb blast in Abuja?’

‘Yes!’

‘Who gave a statement denying MEND’s involvement?’

I think I get where you are going!

‘That’s not all, even the spokesman of the MEND spokesman used to be a MEND spokesman!’

‘You always complicate simple stories. What has being spokesmen got to do with Boko Haram?’

‘Everything! That’s the mistake whoever is behind  Boko Haram is making. They think the MEND spokesmen are bothered about their bombs. Truth is that they are not! In fact they are having a good laugh’.

What do you mean?

‘As long as these attack remain in the North and oil continues to flow in the creeks of the Niger Delta providing enough funds to squander, while Israeli agents provide security for Mr. President and his boys, those who think Ebele is losing sleep are mistaken. The guy is simply enjoying himself.’

‘You have strange theories’

‘Remember what his brother, the NSA said after about 150 people were killed in the bomb attacks by the Boko Haram bombs in two Northern states? I know you won’t remember so I will remind you’.

‘Ehen?’

‘The guy said there was no cause for alarm! When the United States warned of possible new attacks in the Federal Capital Territory, the guy still remained adamant describing it as a non-news’

‘Meaning?’

‘Meaning the BH can go on and destroy the North. Who cares? It means 150 people killed in cold blood and still counting, does not provoke any grain of sympathy or concern from a sitting President and his ‘boys’. So as far as I can read his demeanour, the Boko Haram menace is making things easier for him. For one, it is diverting attention from his gross ineptitude, wanton squander of state resources and providing a ready excuse for his failures. Secondly the violence provides ready justification for looting in the guise of security votes can’t you see he has allocated 900billion to security in 2012 and nothing for subsidy. You and I know that security votes are not accounted for. So that effectively makes him 900 billion richer by next year. If he gathers this for the next three years, and add that to the 1.3 trillion Naira he would be raking in annually from subsidy removal that’s an enormous war chest to prosecute his 2015 Presidential ambition’.

‘Hmmm. I know your problem; you just don’t like Jonathan, but why?’

‘Tell me why I should like him first!’

‘The man has a good name that brings luck to Nigeria! Can’t you see that even Obama likes him?  The IMF and World Bank are happy with his transformational agenda!’

‘I don’t really care. By the way, what’s the difference between Obama and Osama?’

‘Be careful. After all, the man said he is on top of the security situation’

‘Aaaaaah, maybe he thinks ‘security situation’ is the same thing as the Dame Patience’.

‘Stop the mischief’

‘How else should one interpret such a reckless statement?  They have always claimed to be on top of it while the bombs keep exploding! I really smell a hidden agenda’.

‘Agenda?’

‘Yes, the two MEND spokesmen have a plan to annihilate the North. Something some people call the ‘Northern Cameroun treatment’. They say the North is a huge parasite. You know the leech now? Yes, something like that’

‘Did Jonathan say a thin like that?’

‘Of course no. But his Special Assistant on Media said that severally when he was with the Guardian. In 2008, when Asari described the North as parasites, he immediately took it upon himself the task of giving credence to the totally unacceptable outburst from the Millitants, asking the Northen governors who justifiably took exception to the outlandish outburst to show some humility to the Militants! In fact that must have been what endeared him to the President. Yes, how else can one comprehend why an impartial President who loves the whole country would choose a man who believes and preaches ethnic superiority as his image maker?’

‘But the guy is trying’

‘Which guy?’

‘The President’.

‘I think so too, but the difference is that I think he is trying his hands on all the wrong things!’

‘How?’

‘Check out his priorities and you will see what I am saying. From Six-year single term to fuel subsidy removal, new plate number scheme and the infamous interference in the PDP primaries in Bayelsa, you know he is misdirecting his energies. Nigerians need electricity, security and good roads and not a meddlesome demi-god kingmaker’

‘But he should be interested in who becomes governor of his home state at least’

‘Yes ‘interested’ is just the right word. He is free to be interested but he must allow the people to choose their leader. Why must a sitting governor be barred from contesting for a second term? Remember last year his supporters argued that it was not proper to deny a sitting President the opportunity to contest for the Presidency’.

‘That was then, and this is now!’

That’s  the very reason Nigerians should stop praying, because a system build on falsehood and double standards cannot stand.

 

 


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