25 Nov 2021
INSINCERITY OF HEART IS THE BANE OF NIGERIA
It is very common to read certain messages at the end of calls, whether answered or unanswered, some short wishes to Nigerians like: “happy independence day celebration” and some other glib pieces of advice like: “No nation is perfect. It can only be made perfect by me (sic) and you”. One finds it difficult to fathom such glib talks from faceless “patriots”. How can this country be made perfect by “you and me”; not “me and you”, as used in the above example, when in practice leaders of Nigeria treat “you and me” as mere pawns in their political chessboard? “You and I” go to the polls to elect leaders “according to our conscience”. University professors are enlisted to pronounce near perfect or near genuine results. Those who offered themselves for elective posts convert courts to INEC, and as soon as the law courts had dealt with the electorate by standing truth on its head, the churches are swarmed with platitudes of “leadership is, or rulers are, ordained by God”. The next we would hear is: “pray for our leaders/rulers for they are representatives of God on earth”. What a mockery and misrepresentation of God’s dignity and His real intention for appointing those “Judges” anointed with a miniscule portion of the Holy Spirit in Moses for His chosen race.
When God instructed Moses to select 70 elders of Israel for them to be imparted with only a “miniscule” of the prophetic power Moses had, the implication was that God of all creation, is interested in the leadership pattern known as ‘gerontocracy’ which in itself has been the natural way of acceding to leadership that can claim its ‘representation coming from God’ and not this mangled political leadership of our day, leadership negotiated and imposed to serve particular interests at the expense of the larger group. The quoted self-appointed nation-builder’s pep talk presents him as a sincere patriot trying to do all he could to make the masses of the people imbibe a warped opinion that “no nation is perfect” and that if any nation is to be perfect, that the status envisaged must be the duty of “you and me”. Ab initio, the glib talk portrays the insincerity of heart of a Nigerian image-maker, since it is the hallmark of a cheat. If that flier comes from MTN, as its own contribution to making its users fall in line with a country that is lying prostrate, then the strategy has fallen flat. If this style of marketing or advertisement had said: “it can only be made by ‘them(those who appropriate leadership), then ‘you’ and ‘I’ can only queue up to help make the proposition work, that is, if understood to mean that “all hands must be on deck” to improve the lot of this nation in chaos. This giant country of Africa with the foot of clay has, on several occasions, caused herself to stumble over in a bid to make honest efforts in building a virile nation.
This glib talk has been the pattern of building this Nigeria since the Igbo had been eye-marked to overlabor like monkeys doomed to work and build a nation that has defied all efforts to make it perfect, so that the over-pampered baboons should continue “to chop” even at the expense of true democracy in a truly federated union. Oh Nigeria! Our Nigeria, their Nigeria, who has brought you to this present imperfect state where it has become safer and more realistic to say: “Indeed there was a Country”?
There was a country called Nigeria because it is no longer feasible to continue in the present manner where life is daily wasted with live ammunitions by the supposedly professionally trained soldiers in a state already adjudged “a failed country”. Soldiers and armed policemen are drafted to subjugate and oppress Igbo and other native communities by show-casing ruthlessness of a wicked, unforgiving and authoritarian tribal warlords/cabals. Any person blaming the massacres going on presently all over Igboland on IPOB/ESN, has not been in touch with trending events of our time since 29th May 2015 and cannot claim to be honest with himself/herself. The glib platitudes are pointing out one major characteristic of Nigeria, to wit: INSINCERITY OF HEART when considering national existential realities. This present APC-led Federal Government has not hidden its inclination to use force as the only option that can stop separatist agitations as witnessed in the handling of issues related to Biafra and Oduduwa “republics” which the international community under the UNO has said is of inalienable human rights and not in line with criminal acts. Mr. President’s first public statement about Biafra movements talked of another looming war that must be launched and that was after he had circumscribed MNK as a terrorist and clamped him in prison.
Our Editorial opinion is that a nation could be made perfect if the leadership is tolerant and very sensitive to the yearnings of the youths to whom the future belongs. Mr. President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as the acclaimed leader of Federal Government of Nigeria by the Fulani tribe of West Africa, cannot keep Nigeria one by endorsing tacitly the elimination of autochthones from their ancestral homes and we aver that it is impracticable going along with what was practiced in Rwanda as “ethnic cleansing”. Many youths, especially the many unemployed graduates, have resigned their fate to anything goes. Would you want to go down in history as Pontius Pilate did? And are you okay being recorded by history as that President of Nigeria whose government made it possible for the quick disintegration of his country?
BLESSED PERSONS IN THE NT BIBLE
10.0 JOHN THE EVANGELIST AND BELOVED DISCIPLE IS BLESSED: John and his brother James, the sons of Zebedee, were called boanerges (sons of thunder) for their hot temper. Like their father they were fishermen before the Lord Jesus called them to be his disciples. Being the beloved disciple of Jesus, John enjoyed special favours not given to his brother James and to Peter the prince of the apostles. At the Last Supper John reclined next to Jesus and at the instance of Peter leaned close to Jesus’ chest to find out from him that Judas Iscariot was to betray him (cf. John 13:2-26). At the trial of Jesus all the apostles fled but John flowed him into the high priest’s palace and also facilitated Peter’s entry (cf. John 18:15-16). WithPeter and James John formed the inner circle of the three apostles that witnessed the special moments in the life and ministry of Jesus: at the healing of the daughter of Jairus (Mark5:7), the Transfiguration of Jesus (Matt 17:1; Luke 9:28), and his agonized prayer in the garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:33; Matt 26:37). John was with Mother Mary at the foot of the Cross on Calvary where Jesus gave his Mother over to John as his “new” mother and John took her into his protection as her “new” son (cf. John 19:25-27)). As seven of the apostles after the resurrection of Jesus were at an unsuccessful toil of fishing, only the beloved disciple John recognized Jesus who from the shore commanded them to cast their net for a haul of fish (John 21:4-7). Of the twelve apostles only John survived his being martyred and his feast is celebrated by the Church with the Liturgical white colour. John wrote the Book of the Revelation, the Gospel and the three Letters that bear his name. He is truly a blessed apostle.
11.0 BARNABAS IS BLESSED: The early Acts narrative singled out and extolled the holiness and superb charitable life of Barnabas: He “was a Levite of Cyprus origin called Joseph whom the apostles surnamed Barnabas (which means ‘son of encouragement’). He owned a piece of land and he sold it and brought the money and presented it to the apostles” (Acts 4:36-37). When the news of the nascent, flourishing Gentile believers at Antioch came to the ears of the Church in Jerusalem, Barnabas described as “a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith” (Acts 11:23) was sent to Antioch to encourage them to remain faithful to the Lord with heartfelt devotion. From Antioch he went to Tarsus and brought Saul with him to Antioch where two of them spent a whole year successfully instructing a large number of the faithful in that Church (cf. Acts 11:25-26). Under their tutelage the Antioch disciples were called Christians. Barnabas with Saul delivered to the elders of Jerusalem the relief materials from Antioch for the famine stricken Christians of Judaea (cf. Acts 11:27-30). On their return to Antioch and while with other prophets and teachers they were offering worship to the Lord and keeping a fast, the Holy Spirit chose Barnabas and Saul for the work to which he had called them. After prayer and fasting they were ordained and sent off on their first missionary journey (cf. Acts 13:1-3). On their return to Antioch Barnabas and Paul were sent to Jerusalem to settle the circumcision controversy at the first Christian Council (cf. Acts 15:1-35). At the inception of their Second Missionary Journey, Barnabas sharply disagreed with Paul and separated from him because of his refusal to allow John cousin and their erstwhile deserter John Mark to accompany them (cf. Acts 15:36-40). Paul recruited Silas for his Second Missionary Journey while Barnabas sailed off with Mark to Cyprus. This quarrel exposed the weak side of the good, very generous, inspired Barnabas, But thanks to God that both ended up as blessed Saintly men celebrated annually by the Church.
12.0 SILAS IS BLESSED: Silas or Sylvanus (wooded) was a Roman citizen. With Paul Silas was imprisoned in Philipi (Acts 16:25-39). He was a leader in the JerusalemChurch and a Christian prophet (Acts 15:32). Silas and Judas Barsabbas in the company of Paul and Barnabas took the apostolic letter of the Council of Jerusalem to the Gentile Church at Antioch to resolve the heated controversy over the non-circumcision of male Gentile converts to the Christian faith (Acts 15:22-35). He became Paul’s missionary companion after his separation from Barnabas (Acts 15:36-41). Silas with Timothy was commended by Paul for their work in Corinth (2 Cor 1:19) and both were associated with Paul’s writings (cf. 1 Thess 1:1; 2 Thess 1:1). Sylvanus was also Peter’s helper in his writings to All Christians (1 Pet 5:12). The profile of Silas depicts him as a very impressive Church leader, prophet, patient suffering missionary, an apostolic delegate and helper to Peter, the prince of the apostles. Silas is simply a blessed man of God.
13.0 JOHN MARK THE EVANGELIST IS BLESSED: John Mark (large hammer) was the son of Mary who had a house Church in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12) and the cousin of Barnabas (Col 4:10). John Mark followed Barnabas to Antioch (Acts 12:25), was the attendant of Barnabas and Paul in their First Missionary Journey (Acts 13:5) but deserted them at Perga in Pamphylia (Acts 13:13). Paul rejected John Mark for their Second Missionary Journey (cf. Acts 15:37-39) and for his sake Barnabas quarreled with Paul and parted ways from him. In the eventide of his life Paul approved of John Mark as a useful helper in his work (cf. Tim 4:11). Peter also adopted John Mark as his son and companion (1 Pet5:13). Blessed Mark wrote the Gospel that bears his name and is annually celebrated by the Church on April 25 as Saintly Martyr.
14.0 LUKE THE EVANGELIST IS BLESSED: Luke [another name for Lucius (of light)] was the author of the Gospel that bears his name and of the Acts of the Apostles. He gave us the fascinating story of Zechariah and Elizabeth, the conception and birth of their son John the Baptist and most of the infancy narratives of Jesus (cf. Luke 1 & 2). Without him all these would have been lost in oblivion and our Church would have been totally bereft of her vital early history and mission as narrated in the Acts. Paul calls Luke his “dear friend the doctor” or physician (Col 4:14) and journeyed with him at some points of his missionary enterprise (cf. Acts 16:10-15; 20:6). When all deserted Paul only Luke clung to him as his faithful companion: “only Luke is with me” (2 Tim 4:11). Luke’s Gospel depicts him as a hymnologist: the Gloria in the highest sung by the Angels at the birth of Jesus, the Benedictus Canticle by Zechariah, the Magnificat by the Virgin Mary and the Nunc Dimmitis by the aged priest Simeon were all from him. Luke is a lover of prayer; he is a picturesque narrator of God’s love for the poor, widows and sinners (cf. Luke 15). Luke the Evangelist is the blessed physician and kind missionary whose feast is annually celebrated by the Church on October 18 as a Saintly Martyr.