This is in line with the divine law that says what you sow is what you will reap.
The people of Plateau State have suffered severally from ethno-religious crisis and it is understandable how they view with suspicion everyone that is not of their faith or similarity in ethnic minority status, but they should not allow their feeling of hurt and desolation to cause their love for God and love for neighbours and enemies alike to wither. It is the commandment of Christ, and adherence to His commandments is the only thing that can guarantee our safety and lack of disappointments. It is because God knows that love without finitude is what nourishes and upholds salvation He gave us that commandment, anything outside that means we are trusting in our own devices and trusting in our own devices means we are trusting in the arm of flesh, and any good Bible reader knows that trusting in the arm of flesh is a curse! Proof of this is in the book of Prophet Jeremiah chapter 17 verses 5 to 8.
All the crisis that have happened, or are still happening in Plateau State should cause the people to go into truthful introspection, and begin to ask whether Christ has long departed from the State or not, for if God leaves He doesn’t announce His departure as experienced by Samson in Judges chapter 16 verse 20, you only know through series and series of unpleasant occurrences and a pervading sense of fear, nakedness and hopelessness. Once upon a time, Jos, the state’s capital city was known as Jesus Our Saviour (JOS) or Joy of Salvation (JOS), the people should ask, has it now become Judas Our Saviour (JOS) or what? How much of character in the state reflects Christ? Are the majority of the indigenes known for drunkenness or not? How much of Christ have their leaders demonstrated over time? And what has been the attitude of the people against the corrupt practices of some of their leaders? And the Christian clergy, the shepherds, what was their attitude to the corrupt practices of some leaders of the state in the past?
When Governor Joshua Dariye engaged in a looting spree of the state and was arrested for money laundering in London, he jumped bail and fled back to Nigeria where he had immunity from prosecution as governor, but what was the reaction of the people? They engaged in series of solidarity marches for him; barely was there even a whimper of condemnation from any quarter in the state. In fact, one of the churches with her national headquarters in the state went as far as doing their handing over ceremony in the governor’s office, instead of the church, in firm solidarity with him. To show how much they agreed with his administrative style they finally sent him to be a lawmaker for four years for Nigerians in the 2011 elections. Lawbreakers as lawmakers is how low we have sunk as a nation and how low we have sunk in our religious faith! In all sincerity, does anyone expect laws made by lawbreakers to be honoured? What laws will they make considering how they have not been respecters of laws? We seem to practice our religion without its righteousness, for if not so our country will not have been in her current mess.
The December 2011 Christmas day attack on the Jos branch of the Mountain of Fire church and the suicide bombing of the St. Theresa Catholic church, Madalla was in vengeance against the massacre of Muslims at their praying ground during one of the Eids, as claimed by the Boko Haram terror group. In their statement of claim, the terrorists alleged that the flesh of Muslims was cooked and eaten publicly in Jos by the killers and that there was no condemnation of it by the Christian leadership, neither was there anything done to apprehend those who committed such barbarism. And if true, as claimed by Boko Haram that this act was perpetrated by Christians, then it is another low in the practice of Christianity, for it is unchristian, no matter the quest for vengeance or provocation to surround some people at their prayer place and kill them and then proceed to eat their flesh! This is strange! The worst part is the silence of the church leadership over this as claimed by the group.
Like I said in as the Church Slept…., which was serialized by the LEADERSHIP newspaper from 1st August to 5th and from 8th to 12th August 2011 the church needs a fresh revival to get her back on the path of truth, righteousness and justice. If not, we shall continue to harvest series and series of insecurity for God may have left us and we knew not, as was the case of Samson. We need to have God’s presence restored back to the church and then God will fight for His church. The people and the church in the Plateau must put off the garb of Judas Our Saviour and put back Jesus Our Saviour, shed off bitterness and hurt and have themselves filled with love and stand and fight for the cause of truth and justice and see what God will do for them.
I don’t know if the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (C.A.N.) has realized by now that she has goofed big time by endorsing the candidature of President Jonathan at the 2011 general elections, considering that his election has not helped the cause of the church in whatever way since then, and also considering that there is an overwhelming sense of regret among majority of those who voted for him and not the P.D.P., the popular refrain then, due to the fact that since his election till now the fortunes of this nation have not advanced any better, rather both the economy and social life have continued to tank, and there seem to be no radical and visionary drive to alter the standard of living of Nigerians for the better, instead it is the same old system of corruption that is being promoted in every sphere. I believe that if a group, a body or institution endorse any person to run for political office it is with the hope and belief that the person so endorsed shares the belief system, philosophy and ideology of the group or institution concerned. Also, it is expected that such endorsement, upon the victory of the endorsed, will boost the collective interest of the endorser, be it economic, security, education or whatever. But when the C.A.N. leadership, on a visit to President Jonathan on 28th December 2011 after the Boko Haram bombing of the St. Theresa Catholic church in Madalla, said “The Christian community in Nigeria is deeply sorrowed over the deteriorating state of insecurity in the country and apparent inability of the government to protect and guarantee lives, churches and properties of our members….. The concern of the Christian community is further heightened by the admittance by government itself that it has knowledge of the perpetrators of these crimes. Unfortunately, there are no convincing high profile arrests to assuage public anxiety over this matter…… The Christian community is fast losing confidence in government’s ability to protect our rights to religious liberties and life. The consensus is that the Christian community nationwide would be left with no other option than to respond appropriately if there are any further attacks on our members, churches and properties….”, and in reaction to the suicide bomb attack on the COCIN church headquarters in Jos on Sunday, 26th February 2012 the Sun newspaper of Wednesday, March 7, 2012 on page 8 quoted the C.A.N. leadership saying “….the greatest danger was that government had failed to confront the nature of the threat Nigerians were dealing with.”, it became clear that President Jonathan has failed to live up to the expectation of C.A.N. for whatever reason they “anointed” him except if that “reason” is yet to begin bearing fruits. But if the fruits being awaited are good fruits, then, from the look of things we are all due for a very long, long, long wait, for nothing currently going on now in governance suggests anything genuine and concrete is being done to make Nigerians live better and worthwhile lives.
Nothing in President Jonathan’s past and present suggests he is a presidential material that should be endorsed by any serious body talk less of the church. It is no longer a hidden thing that the only reason they endorsed him was the thinking that he is a Christian and the strange belief in his legendary luck, which seem to have run out now and in doing so the ever gullible and susceptible “fish and bread multitude” in the church were not told President Jonathan’s Christian testimony. No one said whether he was or is born again, and if so, when? When was he baptized? And if baptized, what manner of baptism? What are his views on marriage? Does he believe in the Christian marriage principle of monogamy? Which service unit in his church does he serve God in? Does he firmly and truthfully believe in national unity? Does he have a proven compassion for the poor? What are his anti-corruption credentials in his previous public service sojourn? Does he drink alcohol? Sadly the answer to this last question was missed or cleverly avoided by the Christian clergy in The NEWS magazine of 22nd November, 2010 captioned, The Untold Story of JONATHAN. The last paragraph on page 29 has the magazine reporting that “The President is also said to be a sociable man. He drinks moderately. His favourite drink? Brandy.”
Now, to casual Christians and liberals drinking alcohol is no problem to them, which is why most alcohol drinkers in bars and other joints are supposed Christians. But the Holy Bible, which is the compendium of the Words, guidance and instructions of God Almighty, has a strong rebuke against the consumption of alcohol, whether in excess or moderate. After all, what measure of consumption even constitutes moderate? The Bible says in 1st Corinthians chapter 5 verse 6 that “Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” There is no quantity of consumption of alcohol that is acceptable to God, no matter how small or by whom.
Proverbs chapter 31 verses 3 to 7 are very instructive concerning human relationship with alcohol. Verse 3 says, “Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.” And what is it that destroys kings? Verse 4 gives us the answer thus: “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:” And why shouldn’t they drink strong drinks? Verse 5 gives us the answer that, “Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.” So, we know that if kings drink alcohol they will completely forget the rule of law and will embark on a project of the perversion of judgments and justice such that even the simple principle of honouring agreements will be anathema and principled judges who have chosen to insist on delivery of justice will be hounded like felons out of office and policies that will not ease the lives of people afflicted by poverty will be pursued with committed unpatriotic determination. Such a king could, because his sense of reasoning is numbed by strong drinks, assume his subjects are well fed and therefore appropriate for himself huge chunks of money to feed on designer foods. To such kings debauchery is nothing but a game to be cherished. But curiously, in what seems to be a contradiction of sort, verses 6 and 7 seem to allow for the consumption of alcohol. It says “Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.” The Bible only permits those that want to perish to consume alcohol and when they perish they can forget their poverty of spirit, compassion and dignity. However, they will have to contend with the hereafter judgment.
The C.A.N. leadership, in endorsing President Jonathan, did not provide Nigerians with answers to the questions posed above, for the answers could have helped the multitudes of ignorant church goers and Nigerians generally make sound voting choice. Recognizing the possibility of people becoming victims of satanic deceptions the Bible encourages us in Romans chapter 12 verse 2 to “…..prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Decisions made without data or information to influence the process of making those decisions could render the decision faulty. To endorse politicians, I believe the advice given us by the Apostle Paul in Galatians chapter 6 verse 4 that “But let every man prove his own work” should always be the template for endorsement. And for a weighty matter as the choice of national leadership a well informed decision cannot be taken lightly, because an error could cause the whole nation to come under the crushing weight of a morally and ethically bankrupt leadership and God will have a good laugh as He is having over the Nigerian church now.
Yes, it is true, God does laugh over the calamity of people that have, in pursuit of selfish and foolish desires, forsaken love over sentiments; forsaken truth over falsehood; forsaken justice over injustice; forsaken the poor and needy over the thieves oppressing the poor and needy. When the C.A.N. leadership began talking of Christians “fast losing confidence in government’s ability to protect our rights to religious liberties and life” because of the increased wave of attacks against Christians and church buildings the Lord God began a very hearty laugh in a “I thought you should have listened to me very well” kind of fashion.
The Lord God Almighty, speaking in Proverbs chapter 1 verses 25 to 33 said, “But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.” Can you see that? It sounds strange, but God does enjoy Himself when a people are visited with the consequences of their hate-filled decision; decisions not made based on the love of God and man but on inane sentimental reasons. But can prayer save them from such calamity? No, said God Almighty. Continuing from verse 28 He said, “Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.”
It is a tragedy of monumental proportions if God, to Whom prayers are said, says He will not answer the prayers of the people under calamity and siege! His reasons are that they hated to seek for appropriate knowledge that could have helped them make informed decisions, and because their decisions are not based on His knowledge they have aligned themselves with ungodly rulers who dislike the fear of God, rulers whose only quest for political power is to steal, to kill and to destroy in fulfillment of the three fold ministry of their lord and god, the devil. By this they have allowed fools to prosper and this same prosperity of fools will destroy them! Isn’t this what is happening in Nigeria now, that persons who should be in jail because of corruption and electoral thefts are the ones being festooned with honour medals and making policies and decisions on behalf of all citizens and perhaps even discreetly funding some groups that are attacking churches? God has labeled them as fools but the church has, by self commission, allowed them to continue in their acts of foolishness and thereby making Nigeria a foolish nation. Well, God has said the church shall eat the fruits of her own ways. Like I said earlier no one abdicates responsibility without getting stung by the result of that act of irresponsibility. Some of the fruits of excellent corruption – the Nigerian type – are violence and insecurity and there is no way the church being an institution ordained to fight corruption and injustice can escape eating the fruits having turned her head away from her ordained mission.
God will continue His hearty laugh against the church until she traces her steps back to her salt and light of the world status. As long as she remains in her current state of inertia towards corruption and social injustice no amount of prayer or prophetic declaration can save or deliver her. God cannot establish peace in an atmosphere or climate of excellent corruption, fraud, debauchery, deception and all manner of immorality such as in Nigeria, for it will amount to putting a seal of approval by Him on such a chaotic, disorderly and stinking environment. The Bible says in Isaiah chapter 32 verse 17 that “….the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever.” And Psalm 85 verse 10 says “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” These two Scriptures have established an unbreakable link between righteousness and peace, which means each time there is unabating violence against a people their righteousness meter should be checked and if it is reading low then they should “work” on raising it to achieve peace, which means it is possible not to pray for peace if the people in a nation are engaged actively in the works of righteousness by way of promoting social justice, fighting the cause of the poor and needy and a constant, unwavering fight against corruption.
After the Sunday, February 26, 2012 terrorist attack on the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) headquarters in Jos the LEADERSHIP newspaper the following day reported the President of the church, Rev. Soja Bewarang saying, “Only God knows why He allowed it to happen because we have always done our best to secure the place.” Let me submit here that man’s best could not be God’s best. If we as Christians diligently and wholeheartedly follow God’s principles and pursue, without relenting, His designs and purpose for our nation then we wouldn’t have to embark on our own best to secure ourselves, rather His own best security will be our hedge and canopy. And under no circumstance are we even expected to trust in our own devices or ways to secure us. It is this kind of attitude that makes the church put their hope and trust in corrupt, thieving politicians instead of on God and His proper counsel. Psalm 125 verses 1 and 2 say “They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.” This Scripture is as clear as God’s transparency and can be banked on at all times. So, if the trust of the church is in God, and not in some corrupt politician, she will not be moved or shaken by any circumstance, not even all the terrorist organizations on planet earth can shake her, then verse 2 becomes her portion as long as she maintains that trust in God: “As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.”
In the wake of the Jos COCIN terror attack THISDAY newspaper of Thursday, March 1, 2012 reported the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria (PCN) calling “for a national emergency prayer network of all Christians to rise to the occasion, call on the God of Elijah, the Lord of Hosts, to arise on our behalf and let our enemies be scattered.” I have also read a national call to prayer by the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) calling on Christians to fast and pray against the insecurity ravaging the nation and for the dignity of Christendom. This is a good step, but like I said earlier, drawing inspiration from Proverbs chapter 1 verses 28 to 32, no amount of prayer without a deliberate action process against the causes of violence and insecurity in the nation will move God to rise and scatter the enemies of peace. Psalm 34 verse 14 says “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.” Here again we are shown that the conscious work of departure from evil and the pursuit of the good of all is the process to peace. As long as the unsavoury social conditions that are breeding grounds for kidnappings, armed robbery, drug pushing, prostitution, child trafficking, cultism, drug abuse and terrorism are still prevailing and the church has no action plan to fight them, then our prayers shall be in vain. Rather, God, instead of answering us, will continue with His hearty laughter and mockery! The social malaise that has given birth to the current violence and bedlam in Nigeria is such that the violence and bedlam cannot be just wished away by prayer or a seven days time-framed prophecy without a conscious and repentant return to the duty post of ensuring social justice and accountability. It cannot work.
The situation in Nigeria requires action from all genuine patriots and the Nehemiahs and Phinehases in the church to restore sanity and orderliness in the conduct of our national life. The DAILY SUN newspaper of Friday, February 24, 2012 on page 8 reported the Women Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (WOWICAN) calling for action to save Nigeria. The newspaper quoted them saying that various heinous crimes were being committed in Nigeria, which include armed robbery, kidnapping, bribery and corruption and political thuggery, but the “incidence of Boko Haram and terrorism in Nigeria has become such a terrible menace to the existence of human beings in this country, that we can no longer sit, watch, complain and pray.” I don’t know if in their own thinking armed robbery, kidnapping, bribery and corruption and political thuggery do not constitute a “terrible menace” which requires action against, considering that they seem to have singled out Boko Haram and terrorism as a terrible menace, but the salient point in their statement is the assertion that “we can no longer sit, watch, complain and pray.” The newspaper went on quoting the women as saying “it is terribly awful beholding our young men slaughtering human beings like goats and fowls, pregnant women cut into two alive, their wombs cut open to kill even the babies in the womb, a mother forced to watch the killing of her children one after the other in the name of Allah….”
As terribly unpleasant this picture presented by the women is, it is instructive to once again be reminded of the Scripture read earlier: “…..whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.” And because the hedge of protection was broken by the person or persons the hedge was meant to protect the Lord God Almighty said, “I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror….. And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies….” God can ordain terrorists and terror to whip people into a line that will bring them back to their duty posts. It is one of His means of wiping away irresponsibility from people He has made and ordained to be responsible, and in the course of that He spares no one, not even children. The Lord Jesus Christ, while warning the churches against shifting focus from the purpose of their ordination, in Revelation chapter 2 verse 23 said this very, very scary thing: “And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” Christ Himself has said it all – that He will kill the children of Christians! Check out the casualties of recent terror attacks against churches, among them are children just like the Christian women have lamented. All these killings should be soberly and repentantly viewed by Christians as reward for forsaking love and truth and siding with hate and falsehood. God summed it up in Isaiah chapter 5 verses 20 where He said, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” The role majority of churches and Christians have been playing in our body polity over the years is a firm attestation to this Scripture and harvest time has come.
Well, the DAILY SUN newspaper finally reported the women as saying that “with a mother’s soft heart, they call for action by those who could help in the situation and bring peace to Nigeria.” This call for action is apt and timely. It is time to act to restore sanity in every facet of our national life. But who are those to act to bring peace to Nigeria as the women have demanded? The church cannot escape the reality that she has the corporate responsibility to remove Nigeria and any other nation where there is a church from the bondage of corruption and its consequences, which are terrorism and every other violent crime the nation is bedeviled with at the moment. The Bible has made it very transparently clear in Romans chapter 8 verse 19 that “….the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” All of creation is tired sick of all the evil going on around them just like the Christian women are. But somehow there seem to be an inner knowing among the creature that it will take the deliberate action of persons that have cultivated godly virtues to liberate them, that is why they are hungrily and passionately expecting such persons – the sons of God – to manifest. Verse 21 captures it succinctly saying, “Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” That means the children of God should be in a state of liberty from the bondage of corruption to be able to liberate all other creature. But in Nigeria the children of God seem deeply enmeshed in that bondage, so who does the liberation? The same children of God in bondage should and must do the liberation. I have said earlier in this treatise that the church in Nigeria should soberly and repentantly return to her duty post of ensuring accountability if she wants to enjoy liberty from the consequences of irresponsibility. This has been my battle cry in all the As the Church Slept series.
Let the church take a cue from the children of Israel. In Judges chapter 6 verse 1, the Bible says “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.” If you read the story further you will see how that this delivery into the hands of their enemies brought a lot of hardship on them, such that they often had to run and hide in caves. Their enemies would often come and destroy their crops and property and leave them bare. But verse 6 says, “……and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD.” That cry was the cry of repentance from the evil that was the root of their calamity. The short of the story was that at the end of it all God raised for them a genuinely meek and humble man called Gideon who fought and defeated all their enemies with just three hundred men. This highlights another wonderful dimension of God, of not placing much capital on large or low numbers to achieve a certain task but rather on the willingness and obedience of the consignee of the task, no matter how small or little the consignee may be. David’s fight and victory over Goliath is a good example here. On this note it was needless of the C.A.N. leadership to have engaged on any argument with any religious group over which religious group in Nigeria has the largest population. In a response to an earlier claim by the Muslim leadership, the J.N.I. that “our love for peace must not be mistaken as a licence to make us second class citizens in a country where we constitute a majority.”, the C.A.N. leadership, in response through an advertorial signed by Sunday Oibe, her Public Relations Officer, said “The Islamic body also claimed that they constitute a majority in Nigeria. This self-conceited and phoney claim by the JNI is another attempt to heat the polity. Where is the figure that placed the population of Muslims in Nigeria above that of Christians? How did JNI come about the Muslim majority status? It is a mark of our unwavering confidence that we (Christians) are more in population than Muslims that Christians insisted then that religion and ethnicity should be reflected in the last census in order to settle the status of each religion…… In any case, empirical evidences from several researches conducted have shown that there is nowhere in the world where those inhabiting desert areas of a country are more than the people in the mangrove regions….. We state, unequivocally, that this illusion by the JNI of being more in population is false and that Christians in Nigeria remain, unquestionably, more in population than Muslims.”
I don’t know how the C.A.N. leadership may feel about this, but, if it is true as they claim that Christians constitute a majority in Nigeria then it is a shame that this majority has not been beneficial to the nation considering the kind of darkness, wilderness and desert Nigeria has been turned into by corruption and her derivatives. Christians have the divine mandate of being the light and salt of the world, but going by the monumental corruption, joblessness, economic collapse, educational collapse, infrastructural collapse, deafening immorality and systemic poverty that have pervaded the nation it is apt then to say this light is no light one bit, just as the Lord Jesus Christ said in Matthew chapter 6 verse 23 that “…. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” Any keen observer will not miss the fact that the bulk of those that have given Nigeria a bad name locally and internationally are Christians. Let any investigative journalist check out Nigerians serving time in foreign jails, they will find out they are majorly Christians from a particular part of the country. Since the commencement of illicit drugs trade in Nigeria the usual suspects often arrested and paraded through the media are majorly Christians. What about electronic mail fraudsters? What about local and international prostitutes with Nigerian passports? What about the bulk of kidnappers and armed robbers operating in the country? How about those perpetrating visa, passport and certificate forgeries? It is this hypocritical Christianity practiced in Nigeria that makes Christians to be blind to all the corruption going on in public offices that Christians are part and parcel of. If Christians abhor corruption then all the daily thefts of public funds going on couldn’t happen since the processes to move such funds illicitly must pass through the desks or noses of some Christians. I doubt if there is any federal public agency in Nigeria today without Christians such that thefts could just occur without their knowledge and consent.
While I don’t know the veracity of the claim by so called researchers that mangrove areas are more populated than desert areas, to me I don’t see how that has any bearing to fertility or whether it makes couples in those areas more sexually active such that they can be breeding children more frequently, but I would rather the believers of this claim take notice of the fact that majority of non-Christians practice polygamy. So instead of arguing on who is more populated than the other the church should engage more aggressively in raising high quality Christians in the fashion of David that can and will be ever willing to slay the Goliaths of corruption and social injustice in Nigeria.
Another area of dispute between the J.N.I. and C.A.N. is on those perpetrating terrorism against the church in Nigeria. The J.N.I., after a three day retreat in Kaduna in February 2012 issued a communiqué as reported by THISDAY newspaper of Friday, February 17, 2012, in which she called on “Federal and affected state governments as well as all security agents to, as a matter of urgency, investigate the several reported cases of Christians who disguise as Muslims to burn churches. JNI can no longer tolerate this double face attitude. Thorough investigations must also be made to unveil the sponsors of those Christian terrorists.” To this charge the C.A.N., through her spokesperson, Mr. Sunday Oibe replied that “It is very irrational for any right thinking person to say that a Christian could disguise as a Muslim and go throw bomb at churches and kill people in places, like Madalla, Jos, Maiduguri, Adamawa, Damaturu and other places….. Their allegation that Christians disguise as Muslims to bomb churches is baseless and senseless.” To this response I screamed within me, saying “not so fast, C.A.N! Not so fast!” Just about the space of a week or so after this heated debate came the Bauchi seven caught with explosive devices allegedly on a mission to bomb the COCIN church at Miya Barkatai same day the COCIN headquarters church in Jos was bombed by suicide bombers. As it turned out the Bauchi seven were Christians and members of that same COCIN church! But even before the discovery of the Bauchi seven I had my reasons on why the C.A.N. leadership shouldn’t have rushed at making that categorical denial. There are Scriptural basis as to why the J.N.I. allegation could be true, which does not however exculpate Muslims from being responsible for a lot of attacks against the church in the far and recent past.
First, let the church reckon with the signs the Lord Jesus Christ gave us as symptomatic of the end times. One of such is found in Matthew chapter 24 verse 10 in which He said, “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” Another, which sounds like the clincher is what He said in Luke chapter 21 verse 16 that “And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.” Now, if it is still not clear for you I think Christ made it clearer in Mark chapter 13 verses 12 in which He said, “Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.”
The recurring word in those three verses is betrayal. The Encarta dictionary defines it as “to deliver somebody or something to an enemy”, which means somebody not within your interest group or family cannot betray you; it can only be from within. The action of Judas Iscariot against the Lord Jesus Christ was termed betrayal because he was a part of the twelve people closest to Christ. For the term to really answer its name the mischief has to be carried out by somebody within. The common phrase for it is “the enemy within.” Now let me establish some examples of cases of betrayal within the church so that we can have a good grasp of what Christ was prophesying about the end times.
Number one: Before the phrase Boko Haram was known up till now, kidnappings and armed robberies have been taking place right inside churches in southern Nigeria, and these nefarious activities are carried out by church goers and because it’s a recurring thing it is safe to say they have not yet repented. This is a case of Christians betraying Christians and Christ.
Number two: Before the phrase Boko Haram was known up till now, a lot of the hired killers traversing the length and breadth of the nation are often people from supposed Christian areas, and if caught are found to bear Christian names. It is also safe to say they are still in the trade since the business is still on. This is betrayal of the faith.
Number three: Before the phrase Boko Haram was known up till now, occultism by students and non-students is rampant in supposed Christian areas and perpetrated by supposed Christians. It is also an ongoing trade. This is betrayal of Christianity.
Number four: Before the advent of Boko Haram up till now, persons bearing Christian names have been caught with large caches of arms. Some are currently undergoing trial in Ghana. It begs the question, what are people bearing Christian names doing importing large caches of arms and ammunition? This is a betrayal of the tenets and honour of Christianity.
Now, it is important to establish the motive behind all these immoral and criminal acts. The love of money is their motive as revealed in the Bible in 1st Timothy chapter 6 verses 10. The verse says “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
If you look at the verse closely it talks about people of the same faith of which some erred out of it because of the love for money. Now, the Bible does not say money is the root of all evil; rather it is the love of it. Those who love money above all else will do anything to get it. That is why we hear of people killing their loved ones for money; kidnapping their loved ones for money; organizing armed robbery operations against their loved ones for money; organizing scam mails against their loved ones to defraud them of money; organizing international and local scams for money; becoming hired assassins for money; becoming thugs for money; trafficking children and women for money; doing local and international prostitution for money; trading hard drugs for money; making fake pharmaceutical drugs for money; making counterfeit money for money; doing ritual killings for money; rigging elections for money and so on and so on.
Now, if we have church goers who do all of these things and even more for money, what makes you think they will not receive money to burn or bomb churches, even with worshippers inside bearing in mind that they have committed robberies, murders and kidnappings right inside church buildings? They will, without doubt, for to lovers of money the world to them begins and ends with money. They covet after money and have therefore erred from the faith just as the Scripture has said. Their lust and love for money have become the hot iron with which they have seared their conscience with. Since our Lord Jesus Christ has prophesied that a brother shall betray a brother to death, fathers shall betray their children to death and children shall rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death, is it then reasonable or logical for any Christian to outrightly deny the possible involvement of Christians in the series of attacks and bombings against churches and Christians?
This now brings me to the opinion that has gained ground in northern Nigeria that there are two Boko Harams – one founded by the late Yusuf Mohammed who was murdered in cold blood by the police, perhaps conveniently for those who didn’t want Nigerians to know the truths the deceased could spill out during interrogation, and the other one is a clone of the original, which is being used to further polarize northern Christians from the Muslims so that a southern political hegemony could gain root. The calculation seem to be, a united north will be a potent threat to the agenda of the marginalization of the north politically and economically by the south, for the experimentation of this division has paid President Jonathan handsomely in the 2011 election, an election empty of anything called honour. Therefore, considering that it is now clear that President Jonathan is not prepared to leave office by 2015 in spite of his lackluster and uninspiring performance since he became president in February 2010 till now, to continue to have the north disunited, probably in his thinking, will help his cause. Evidence of this thinking can be gleaned from Prince Tonye Princewill’s reply to LEADERSHIP newspaper’s Hannatu Musawa’s back page column of Wednesday, March 14, 2012 in which she questioned his claim that the south-south may not give up power in 2015 as if the era of miscounting of votes and cheap mediocrity over competence and honour will continue unabated. In his right of reply published on the same back page on Wednesday, March 21, 2012, after flaunting his supposed belief in national unity by his investments in some film productions (as if that’s not business for financial gain) he still maintained his stance that President Jonathan, his fellow Ijaw kinsman, may as well win the 2015 elections because, among his reasons, “The north is not organized politically and, if they start to now, the agenda will be seen from a mile. Added to this is Jonathan’s loyal northern constituency, Niger Delta backing, increased consolidation in the southeast (facilitated by Ojukwu’s burial) and the influence of big money politics.”
Six inferences can be deduced from Princewill’s theory. Number one: that the north is in disarray politically. Number two: that if the north begins to get her act right the agenda will be seen from far, and that means the agenda will be sabotaged. Number three: because the agenda to further polarize the north along ethno-religious lines is an ongoing thing President Jonathan has a loyal northern constituency which he can bank on at any time any day. Number four: President Jonathan has Niger Delta backing. Number five: because President Jonathan has given the late retired Lieutenant Colonel Odumegwu Emeka Ojukwu a state burial the Igbos will be ever grateful to him as their problems have become solved by that singular act. And on this, one Darlington Agomuo in an article he wrote on page 43 of the DAILY SUN newspaper of Thursday, March 29, 2012 agrees with him. He wrote: “Those who are demonizing some of us for supporting President Jonathan should come out and complain now, if they can. They didn’t see what some of us saw. Unless we want to deceive our self, no Nigerian leader has benefitted the Igbos more than President Jonathan. If President Jonathan did not support and approve all that happened during Ojukwu’s death and burial, nobody would have known that such a great man died. If Ojukwu had died Ten or 20 years ago, he wouldn’t have been so honoured. The burial of Ojukwu has made the Igbo-man proud, but if President Jonathan is not in power, who would have done it for the Igbos? So while we are celebrating the burial of Ojukwu which is unprecedented in the history of the world, those of us who campaigned and supported President Jonathan to be in office, should be appreciated too. There is a saying in Igbo land that when a corpse start smelling, a friend that is better than a brother will disappear.” That’s it. Darlington and co saw that Ojukwu will pass away at this time and among all the presidential contenders during the campaigns none could give him a befitting state burial except Jonathan and having achieved that they should be appreciated and not demonized, for the Igbos are now proud Nigerians because of a burial and as such no leader has ever benefitted them Igbos like Jonathan did. Hmmm, please, don’t laugh; it’s a serious matter. Number six: even if all these other inferences don’t pay off, rich man Jonathan Goodluck will spend his enormous wealth to buy his way back to office just as was done in the 2011 elections. Truly we’ve seen this principle work well seeing how some mouths and minds did flip flops on the contentious zoning issue of the P.D.P. prior to the 2011 elections and isn’t this another evidence of how the petrol subsidy money jumped from its usual range of two hundred and fourty billion Naira to more than two trillion Naira in an election year, an increase of about nine hundred percent without a corresponding increase of nine hundred percent purchase of automobiles by Nigerians, considering also that the economy during the period under question did not perform to any level that could have made Nigerians have such increase in cars and hence, petrol consumption.
It is worthy of note that Tonye Princewill did not say anything about the southwest. Could it be that the “influence of big money politics” will settle that side of the country? And was that what settled that area in 2011 such that the pilot piloting the aircraft carrying Nuhu Ribadu en route Abuja landed in Otuoke town in Bayelsa State with a brief maintenance stop over in Osun State?
Well, the point I want to dwell on here is the other Boko Haram northerners believe is being used to destroy their local economy and set them against each other so that a “loyal constituency” can be preserved for the masters of divide and rule. It is important we establish this issue of betrayal beyond reasonable doubt so that the church – and here I mean true Christians – will know that it is true what our Lord Jesus Christ said that “behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.”
The reality of the existence of a faction of the Boko Haram came to the fore when on Tuesday, January 24, 2012 the DAILY SUN newspaper on page 3 carried a story titled, FG uncovers plot to bomb INEC, CBN offices, which was reported by Murphy Ganagana from Abuja. The story reads thus:
“Defence authorities have reportedly uncovered a plot to bomb the national headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“Also on attack in a fresh orgy of violence set to be unleashed on Abuja, the federal capital, is a highbrow hotel in the heart of the city (name withheld by us).
“However, detailed analysis of the plot, which was said to have been picked by the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) as well as the Defence Intelligence, reportedly indicated that it had a political undertone and was part of the fireworks over next month’s gubernatorial elections in Adamawa and Bayelsa States.
“Military sources confided that the planned attack on the critical facilities, if executed, would be blamed on the rampaging Islamist sect, Boko Haram, but an analysis of information available to the military intelligence authorities traced the plot to the machinations of ‘do-or-die politicians’.
“Specifically, the plot to bomb the INEC head office in Abuja is said to be linked to the governorship polls slated for Adamawa and Bayelsa States on February 4 and 11 respectively…….
“Intelligence sources said the bombings on the CBN headquarters and the hotel had been planned to take place simultaneously to give an indication of coordinated attacks on national assets with a pre-arranged plan for a fake Boko Haram spokesman to announce through a foreign media station that the sect was responsible for the attacks…..”
This story should have caused alarm bells among Nigerians that there seem to be an active connivance of certain politicians from northern and southern Nigeria to turn our national assets and the lives of people who may be in those buildings expendable properties. The objective the planners of those attempted destructions wanted to achieve by bombing buildings crammed with people in Abuja over elections in Adamawa and Bayelsa may only be known to the DMI and the DI, for the story did not disclose that objective. But the point is, there is a counterfeit Boko Haram, or we could say there have been terrorist attacks perpetrated by certain persons and on each of those attacks someone had picked a phone and claimed responsibility in the name of Boko Haram. It is instructive to take into notice that this particular attack that was botched by the DMI and DI may not have been an isolated case, for several may have been done or are still being done by some other interests and a “Boko Haram” spokesman will claim responsibility on behalf of the group.
Now, even though the DMI and DI did not disclose the identity of the politicians involved in the planned bombings which would have been attributed to Boko Haram they have attributed the plot to the machinations of do-or-die politicians. Now, relax and think very well and you will remember that do-or-die politics is a nefarious exercise practiced by both Christian and Muslim politicians. The way heartless, mindless and conscienceless politicians in the north sponsor killings and rigging of elections so also do their heartless, mindless and conscienceless counterparts in the south. And all of these kleptomaniacs and megalomaniacs from both sides of the north-south divide will do anything evil under the sun to maintain their firm grip on power for its benefits to them but not for public service. In fact, the phrase do-or-die was popularized by then President Obasanjo, a church goer, in the run up to the 2007 general elections. The level of evil perpetrated in the 2007 elections must have made Satan envious of the capacity of man to surpass him in the conception and birthing of evil.
So, the DMI and DI said the planned bombings in Abuja were connected to the governorship elections in Adamawa and Bayelsa states, which means there was a collaboration of some kind by some politicians from the two states to bomb places in Abuja, not minding the human casualties, just to gain some advantage over their rivals in the race. This collaboration does not have to be along party lines but could just as well be across party lines, more so if there is some kind of shared belief or philosophy, be it good or evil.
To me, I perceive that in the case of Adamawa State somebody may have wanted to gain some psychological advantage and sympathy votes considering the good mix of Christians and Muslims in the State while the case of Bayelsa could be an attempt to paint someone important there as an anarchist, but who that person is may not be known now.
But, why should Abuja be the theatre of the attack? Shouldn’t the theatre of such organized violence be in those states concerned and not in some far place? Well, in psychological warfare distance does not matter, rather what matters is the effect the sponsored action is meant to have on the targeted group. We have seen how certain occurrences in the Middle East and elsewhere cause some kind of unpleasant reactions here in Nigeria or in other places. So, in an election week in Adamawa State a bomb or bombs going off in Abuja of which “Boko Haram” has claimed responsibility could remind gullible and uninformed Christians in the State of their “enemies”, the Muslims and would therefore “vote according to faith” with even the possibility of gaining some sympathy votes from “the enemy” camp, for it is hard to see how this bombing could be of help to any Muslim candidate in the election. This postulation may not be so, but it is based on the ability of the Nigerian politician, whether Christian or Muslim, to pull off earth shaking mischief, and it is also based on what the Lord Jesus Christ said about betrayal. Just like in vengeful Plateau State now anybody with the mind of Judas Iscariot could possibly take advantage of the vengeful atmosphere and blow off some place of worship so that a certain division can be maintained. Manipulation of religion by corrupt and incompetent politicians in Nigeria is not a new thing and neither is it going to stop soon until when the publics across the faiths become tired of such manipulations and deceptions and their consequences.
So, without doubt there is Boko Haram which aims to establish, according to them, a just social system of governance as they understand it, which path to its establishment is strewn with violence and there is a “Boko Haram” which uses the violence of the authentic sect as a cover for its own violence aimed at psychological warfare, the need to maintain the status quo of northern division and to, through massive propaganda, cast a select set of northern leaders or politicians as sponsors of terrorism “because they have lost political power.” Any objective observer couldn’t have missed how through massive propaganda certain northern politicians are being made to look like the sponsors of the terror group because of their insistence on President Jonathan to honour the zoning agreement of his party, the P.D.P., cleverly avoiding the fact that the terror group’s existence preceded the zoning debate. In fact, this deliberate misinformation and miseducation will benefit more those who want to perpetuate the ethno-religious division in the north as these select northern leaders are cast in the mould of the Hausa/Fulani enemies of Christianity bent on enslaving or exterminating the northern minority tribes to engender a Hausa/Fulani hegemony or oligarchy. This latter “Boko Haram” could possibly be a mix of some Christian and Muslim psychopaths who can do any work for money in the same fashion as there are gangs of armed robbers with memberships cutting across religious and ethnic lines.
Evidences of my claim are:
(1.) The reported arrest of the suspects that sprayed bullets on the Gombe Deeper Life Church worshippers of which the suspects arrested were alleged to be Igbos. Keen observers would remember that “Boko Haram” claimed responsibility for that attack. Noteworthy also is the fact that the arrested suspects were moved from Gombe to Abuja and since then nothing has been heard about them.
(2.) Shortly after the Gombe Deeper Life Church massacre, following quickly also after the Gombe township bombing fiesta two men, named Hassan Ojudu and Samaila Yakubu, all of them Christians, were arrested in the same Gombe town with a vehicle loaded with explosive devices and ammunitions. If they were part of those who did the bombing fiesta Christians should note that “Boko Haram” also claimed responsibility, and if they were not a part of the bombing fiesta be assured that if they had not been arrested and they succeeded in using their own merchandise “Boko Haram” would have claimed responsibility. Curiously, since they were moved to Abuja nothing has been heard about them.
(3.) If the eight COCIN church members arrested with explosive devices at the Miya Barkatai branch of the church in Bauchi State had succeeded in detonating what they were arrested with, be assured “Boko Haram” would have claimed responsibility and since the village is near Jos, Plateau State some brainwashed youths with hearts filled with hate would begin to pounce on any available Hausa/Fulani on sight for revenge.
(4.) If Miss Lydia Joseph had succeeded in burning down the St. John Catholic church in Bauchi city be assured it would have been attributed to Boko Haram or to Muslims.
(5.) If Emmanuel King, the guy who disguised as a Muslim wearing a turban and kaftan, had succeeded in bombing down the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Yenagoa the Bayelsa capital “Boko Haram” would have claimed responsibility, and the intended desire for reprisal would have further brought the real desire, which is polarization. It doesn’t matter whether the guy is sane or insane as he was later touted to be. Also, possibly in further pursuit of this polarization agenda some persons were reported to have burnt down a worship centre of the Church of God Mission International in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital as reported by the LEADERSHIP newspaper of Sunday, January 15, 2012 on page 9. Who did it may not be known now, but there is the possibility it could have been meant to trigger some kind of attacks against some undesirable elements with the added benefit of maintaining a national division.
(6.) If Madam Ruth had succeeded in bombing down the ECWA church in the Kalarin area of Kaltungo in Gombe State verily, verily I say unto thee “Boko Haram” would have claimed responsibility notwithstanding whether she was hypnotized or not as some may want to claim.
(7.) After the COCIN church headquarters bombing in Jos defence authorities issued a statement disclaiming the man lynched while trying to escape from the vicinity as not a soldier, whereas the man was wearing military uniform and was later identified as a member of the church. To lend credence to this possibility the Special Task Force (STF) on security in Jos on Sunday, March 25, 2012 paraded one Mr. Alex Danladi who was caught wearing army camouflage t-shirt, cap and boot while parading himself as a soldier. He was paraded alongside one Mr. Dung Bulus, a suspected fabricator of guns and some others whom the authorities said are students of the University of Jos. Also on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 the 2 Brigade, Nigeria Army, Bori Camp, Port Harcourt paraded one Abba Ibrahim allegedly caught with military uniforms and other gear including weeds suspected to be cannabis. He was said to be a dismissed military personnel and hails from Billiri, a predominantly Christian town in Gombe State and that at the time of his arrest he was standing trial for another case of impersonation (see THE NATION newspaper of Wednesday, March 28, 2012 page 57). Now, for a fee wouldn’t this Alex Danladi, donning his military gear, ask some persons manning some church entrance to open the gates and some paid murderers would drive in and detonate their bomb laden car? Or wouldn’t this Abba Ibrahim do the same for money?
(8.) On January 11, 2012 two Nigerians named, Sunday Eze from Anambra State and Samuel Taiwo from Ogun State and some three Ghanaians were arrested in Ghana with some heavy weaponry carefully concealed in a truck, which was to be brought to Nigeria. Opposing bail for the suspects in court on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 the Office of the Attorney-General of the Republic of Ghana said “the arms and ammunitions seized on transit to Nigeria were to be used to fuel terrorists’ activities in the country.” See the DAILY TRUST newspaper of Wednesday, March 28, 2012 page 3. These Nigerian suspects are from southern Nigeria and bear Christian names. So, on whose behalf were they bringing in those arms of which the Ghanaian authorities said were to be used for terrorism in Nigeria? And which terror group do they belong to?
(9.) On Tuesday, April 10, 2012 a 38 years old man named Monday Davou was arrested while planting a timed Improvised Explosive Device (IED) or time bomb, if you like, at the Makera weekly market in Riyom Local Government Area, Plateau State. This was with intent to commit mass murder, for that is what planting a bomb in a market will do. Now if Monday Davou’s bomb had exploded be sure that a “Boko Haram” spokesperson will have claimed responsibility and even before the statement of claim comes Monday Davou’s kinsmen would have launched “reprisal attacks” on any person that looked like Hausa/Fulani and their properties, and would have probably roasted some of the Hausa/Fulanis and eaten them like they did sometime in 2011.
(10.) The DAILY SUN newspaper of Monday, February 20, 2012 on page 12 reported the arrest in Akure, Ondo State of a gang of five armed robbers led by one Evangelist Wale Adelu, “an evangelist of one of the old generation churches, which has branches in the state capital…..and they were said to be meeting in his church before they proceeded on any robbery operation.” Wouldn’t this “evangelist” and his gang agree to bomb churches for a good fee?
(11.) Similarly, the SATURDAY SUN newspaper of Saturday, March 10, 2012 on page 10 reported that 11 cartons of explosives imported from South Africa and “carefully packaged to beat security checks” were intercepted by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos. The consignments were said to be for “Miero Marble Granite and Stones Limited in Kaduna State, with one Mr. Michael Awara Ernest as the representative to collect the explosives at the cargo terminal.” The Customs Area Controller in charge of the airport, Mr. Charles Eporwei Edike while parading the suspect said “If these items were released to him, they could have been used to cause mayhem; we are now going to hand him and the items over to the police for further investigations.” Well, since the handover to the police nothing has been heard about it again. And let the Muslims bearing Michael Awara Ernest step forward to the nearest police post for proper identification and documentation, please.
(12.) The THISDAY newspaper of Friday, January 13, 2012 on page 6 culled a news report from the BBC in which a British-based arms dealer, Gary Hyde was being prosecuted in a London court for unlawfully arranging the shipment of about 80, 000 guns and 32 million rounds of ammunition from China to Nigeria in 2007. But, the big question is, to whom did he make his shipment? To Muslim radicals or to some church going criminals?
(13.) On Sunday, February 19, 2012 four persons were arrested while trying to detonate explosives at the St. Theresa’s Catholic Parish, High-level in Makurdi the Benue State capital. The LEADERSHIP newspaper of Wednesday, February 22, 2012 on page 10 reported the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the state’s command, Mr. Alaribe Ejike as saying those four persons arrested were Christians and not Boko Haram members as speculated by members of the public. He said “We are still trying to find out certain things about them, but we have not confirmed whether they are Boko Haram members. It remains one thing, and as soon as we find out, we shall inform you accordingly.” Up till now nothing has been heard from the police. But, poor Alaribe Ejike may not have known that there is a “Boko Haram” with members possibly cutting across religious lines impersonating Boko Haram for some people’s strategic interests.
These few examples are possible involvements of Christians in betraying the church and Christians and the nation.
Someone may ask then whether Christians can participate in suicide attacks. Well, suicide attacks, whether by bombing or whatever, though majorly associated with Muslim fundamentalists is not an exclusively Muslim or Arab affair. In fact, the first part of the Wikipedia answer to the question of who the first suicide bomber in history was reads thus: “During the Crusades, the Knights Templar destroyed one of their own ships, killing 140 Christians in order to kill ten times as many Muslims. Another early example of suicide bombing occurred during the Belgian Revolution, when the Dutch Lieutenant Jan van Speijk detonated his own ship in the harbour of Antwerp to prevent being captured by the Belgians.
“Modern suicide bombing as a political tool can be traced back to the assassination of Czar Alexander II of Russia in 1881. Alexander fell victim to a Nihilist plot. While driving on one of the central streets of St. Petersburg, near the Winter Palace, he was mortally wounded by the explosion of hand-made grenades and died a few hours afterwards. The Czar was killed by the Pole Ignacy Hryniewiecki (1856-1881), who died while intentionally exploding the bomb during the attack.
“The ritual act of self-sacrifice during combat appeared in a large scale at the end of World War II with the Japanese kamikaze bombers…..
“In Northern Ireland, in the early 1990s, as part of the Provisional IRA campaign 1969-1997, the IRA used the tactic it called the “proxy bomb” – a sort of involuntary suicide bomb, where a victim was kidnapped and forced to drive a car bomb into its target. In one infamous operation in Derry in 1990, the PIRA chained a Catholic civilian to a car laden with explosives, held his family hostage and forced him to drive to a British Army checkpoint as a “human bomb” where the bomb exploded, killing himself and five soldiers…..”
So, by these few instances out of many it is a fact that Christians, or rather church goers have engaged in, or have been manipulated into suicide attacks over a cause they thought they firmly believed in or what their manipulators believed in. But the question now is, do Christians in Nigeria have a cause over which they could engage in suicide attacks to promote or defend? I don’t believe there is any cause for that. However, since we have in our midst conscienceless and brutal politicians who pretend to lift up “holy hands” in church on Sunday mornings but go about corrupting every corruptible thing in our national life every day including the Sundays then we must look at the possibility of the “proxy bomb” theory.
The Niger Delta terrorists and criminals whom some tout as fighting for a just cause introduced the crime of kidnapping in Nigeria when they started kidnapping the white contractors contracted to develop infrastructure in the area they claimed lacked infrastructural development, which exposed the lie that they were fighting a just cause. And when the white contractors stopped going anywhere near that area they resorted to kidnapping their kith and kin of high means for huge ransom payments, which again exposed the lie that they were fighting a just cause. Since then till now there usually are allegations that some of the kidnappings were politically motivated, and when you consider the inexhaustible capacity of the typical Nigerian politician to be mischievous you cannot disagree with their very possible involvement in kidnappings.
So then, is it not possible that some desperate politicians in collusion with some security contractors have understudied the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) “proxy bomb” model to perpetrate the agenda of maintaining a loyal constituency and to also feed fat on security contracts? Consider that the Defence Headquarters (DHQ), not long after the COCIN church headquarters suicide bombing in Jos identified Mr. Adams Joseph Ashaba, a member of the church “as the Boko Haram suicide bomber” who allegedly masterminded the bombing. They said, “During interrogation, it was discovered that the alleged suicide bomber who was lynched by the worshippers and in military uniform was the same Adams Joseph Ashaba. With this development, Reverend John D Harung and two other clergymen from the COCIN Headquarters were invited to HQ STF to ascertain that he was a member of their church and not a soldier as alleged.”(See the DAILY SUN newspaper of Tuesday, March 6, 2012 page 5). Readers should remember that shortly after that bombing some youths went on rampage attacking any person that looked like a Hausa/Fulani and their properties in Jos!
Proxy bombing may have also been the tactic deployed in the 2012 Easter day bombing in Kaduna in which more than 40 lives were lost. The account of the police command in Kaduna on the day of the bombing was that a police officer was pursuing a couple of vehicles which intelligence reports indicated were carrying bombs for attack and that one of the bomb laden vehicles rammed into the other one and exploded, making it look like a suicide attack. But the NATION newspaper of Saturday, April 14, 2012 exclusively reported that “preliminary investigations into the Easter Day blast in Kaduna confirmed that a time bomb was actually planted in the car that killed over 40 people most of whom were commercial motor-cyclists.” So, it makes it highly likely that the person driving the bomb laden car may not have known that he was driving himself to death. There also could have been another car carrying someone with a remote control, keeping a safe distance from the bomb laden car, which, at a predetermined place could trigger the explosion from the handheld device.
In Nigeria and with Nigerian politicians anything evil is possible. It is worthy of note that the identities of the alleged suicide bombers we have had so far have not yet been officially established and independently verified through their DNAs so that we can know whether all of them were Muslims or not. And even if some or all of them were Muslims the possibility that they and some of their loved ones could have been kidnapped and blackmailed or threatened to drive bomb laden vehicles to hit designated targets should not be ruled out, for to the sponsors of such evil the end justifies the means. It is even possible that voodoo is used as a means of controlling the assignee of such attacks in that we live in a society where supposed Christian politicians are known to take or demand some bloody oaths in some satanic shrines.
Another means of manipulating persons to unwittingly commit suicide attacks is by means of drugging them with some specially made LSD drug, made specifically to control humans like they are robots. In an article titled America’s destabilization plots against Nigeria: The Boko Haram angle, which was written by Iliyasu Gadu on behalf of GREENWHITE Coalition published on page 49 of the Weekly Trust newspaper of Saturday, February 25, 2012 the group said, “For sure, Nigerians are not unused to sectarian violence. But the ones we have witnessed in this country have been predictable and the modus and fault lines have been well known to the authorities who have always done well to keep them within tolerable limits.
“The Boko Haram of Mohammed Yusuf which predated this new one can be so categorized and was well known through its operations, leadership and locations.
“But how did a rag-tag collection of largely half-literate unsophisticated persons operating mostly on motorcycles transform almost overnight into being a resistant army able to design, manufacture and deploy bombs into buildings and vehicles, and carry out attacks in several locations around the country? How have their reach grown from just a corner of Nigeria to virtually everywhere in the country? For them to be able to mount such a sophisticated operation, they must necessarily have a well-structured command and control system which in spite of their best efforts at concealment cannot remain undetected for long. So how have they seemingly defied the best efforts of combined security agencies in the country in detecting and foiling their activities?
“The GreenWhite Coalition can reveal that the current Boko Haram campaign is a covert operation organized by the American Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA and is coordinated by the American Embassy in Nigeria. For sometime now, the CIA has been running secret training and indoctrination camps along the porous and vulnerable borderlands of Niger, Chad and Cameroon. At these camps youths from poor, deprived and disoriented backgrounds are recruited and trained to serve as insurgents. The agents who supply these youths lure them with the promise of a better life and doing the work of Allah as well as indoctrinating them to believe they are working to install a just Islamic order different from the ungodly one that currently holds sway in Nigeria. The American CIA programme officers of this project prudently remain in the background, leaving the day to day running of the camps to supervisors of Middle Eastern origin, especially recruited for this purpose…..” The article went on to narrate how they are trained on weapons handling, survival tactics, surveillance and evasion techniques and how the attacks are mounted and how they escape. But the last part of the article was what caught my interest very well. It says “….If on the one hand, the attack is to be carried out by a suicide bomber, the person to carry it out would have been severely drugged with CIA manufactured LSD to disorientation. In his state of mind he would have no clue as to what he is programmed to do having been turned into a veritable human robot.”
Now, I don’t know what tangible evidence the GreenWhite Coalition has in her possession to actually link the insecurity in Nigeria with the activities of the American CIA, but even if it is true it should shock no one because of the prophecy of the Lord Jesus Christ. If parents, children and brothers can betray one another to death then it will not be out of place for America, a supposed Christian nation to have a proxy killing machine that could destroy churches and Christians if it could create conditions favourable for her national interest. Moreover the Armageddon war, which the nations of the earth will wage against the nation of Israel, will be fought with Israel having no nation as an ally on earth, because at that time all the powerful nations that are currently seen as the backers of Israel will desert her in betrayal. So, betrayal is a well documented and prophesied matter in the Bible. Again, it should be recalled that in January this year, after an expose by the BOSTON GLOBE newspaper the CIA came out openly to admit that the former Liberian president, Mr. Charles Taylor was one of their agents. So also it should not shock anybody if in due course we get to know that some persons in government currently or in the past are or have been CIA agents. It’s just a matter of time.
But the point I want to emphasize is the possible access to this LSD drug by security contractors. If the CIA has an LSD drug which they administer on an assignee to control him like a zombie to commit suicide bombing then it is possible that such a drug can be accessed by some security contractors in alliance with some unscrupulous politicians who could use it to conscript certain persons under
Therefore, considering the discovery by the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) and the Directorate of Intelligence (DI) on the attempt by some persons to sponsor the bombing of some targets in Abuja in connection with elections in Adamawa and Bayelsa States of which a fake Boko Haram spokesperson will claim responsibility for the group, and also considering the analysis of the possibility of Christians betraying fellow Christians to death it is not fair therefore to categorically deny the possible involvement of Christians in the current wave of attacks against the church and such a denial could, possibly due to ignorance, be an attempt to present the prophecy of the Lord Jesus Christ on children, brothers and parents betraying one another even to death as untenable.
Surely, the actions of the first Boko Haram also borders on psychological warfare but the difference between it and the latter type is that the latter is purely being used by politicians and possibly security contractors whose carrier must survive on ethno-religious divisions and continuous insecurity respectively. Remember that the Bible says “the love of money is the root of all evil” which has caused some to err and deviate from the faith.
The possible existence of this latter “Boko Haram” could also be gleaned from The Associated Press’s interview with the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Terence P. McCulley. Speaking on Boko Haram in the interview he said “We’ve seen an increase in sophistication; we’ve seen increased lethality. We saw at least a part of the group has decided it’s in their interest to attack the international community.” See the DAILY TRUST newspaper of Friday, February 24, 2012, page 3. Sounding diplomatic, the Ambassador inferred that “a part of the group”, not the whole group, has decided to attack the international community, which shows the possibility that the U.S. is aware of the existence of another Boko Haram more sophisticated and lethal than the former irrespective of whether the claims and accusations by the GreenWhite Coalition against the United States herself is true or not.
The sponsors of this “Boko Haram”, due to their possible indefinite interest of maintaining the division and pauperization of a given area may not be inclined to the resolution of the Boko Haram conundrum. If dialogue with the original Boko Haram succeeds and they lay down their arms then the fake or latter “Boko Haram” will lose the raison d’être for its existence, for they hide behind the veil of the former to perpetrate their own manipulative agenda, which is to sustain a divided north. That is why there appears to be a deliberate foot dragging or outright sabotage of the dialogue with the Boko Haram. Tonye Princewill still reiterated his view to newsmen in an interview that “The country is now more divided than it had ever been and that trend is set to continue. I don’t see anything stemming the tide. I think if anything at all, the 2015 election will probably accelerate rather than dampen this mood.” Along what lines is the country more divided than before and who caused the division? And why is it that he thinks nothing will stem that tide of disunity? And whose 2015 election agenda will further accelerate this disunity and why? Tonye Princewill has not told us.
If Christians or any Christian still has any illusion about the possibility of some Christians betraying other Christians even to death then they should meditate carefully on 1st John chapter 2 verses 18 and 19 which say “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us….” The Bible warns in what you just read that as at now, this very moment you are reading this, there are many antichrists in operation and they operate from the church. So, think.
Just recently, a journalist named Ahmed Salkida reputed with good links to the leadership of the late Mohammed Yusuf faction of the Boko Haram and who was also alleged to be the facilitator for dialogue between the group and government, petitioned the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) that he was being threatened with death through calls “he believes are coming from government security agents” and that “They said that as far as they are concerned, they will never allow anything like negotiation. They said they have it on authority that I am the link to the negotiation process. That I should desist; otherwise they will descend on me.”
Again I must assert that only those who stand to gain from this continuous insecurity perpetrated by Boko Haram and “Boko Haram” will frustrate any dialogue aimed at resolving the Boko Haram issue. It should be remembered how Sheik Datti Ahmed and his team whom Boko Haram nominated to negotiate on her behalf recently walked away from the negotiation process alleging deliberate leakages of the negotiations to the media whereas it was agreed that the whole process should be discreet. And when you add it up with this threat to Journalist Ahmed Salkida you have a good picture of the sabotage.
In Nigeria where some people have developed a rabid hatred for the north, hatred occasioned by what I think could be Hausa/Fulani phobia and inferiority complex coupled with the fact that some people in power could steal well about two trillion Naira without the blink of an eye just to buy an election it will not be out of place to believe they will have their eyes fixed on the about one trillion Naira they budgeted for security in the year 2012 and to have the north politically divided along ethno-religious lines for their long term political gain. Some analysts have posited that the huge security budget amounts to spending about 2.3 billion Naira daily. So, if there is no reason to spend this huge amount the money will have to be accounted for. This could be the reason, along with the strategic interest to have a divided north those wet jobs operatives told the journalist that “as far as they are concerned, they will never allow anything like negotiation.”
Sunday Njokede, in an article titled Boko Haram’s Terror Is Jonathan’s Profit which he posted on saharareporters.com on March 26, 2012 said “The reason why government is acting like this is to use delay tactics to prolong Boko Haram terrorism. The longer the mayhem last, the better opportunity Jonathan has to tell off the huge money budgeted for security. The sooner the bloodshed ends the more problematic to explain away or corruptly corner the almost a trillion Naira security money……”
Also, perhaps thinking along the same line, the ace newspaper columnist, Chidi Amuta, writing on the back page of THISDAY newspaper of Tuesday, February 7, 2012 said “Somebody or some groups are benefitting from the perceived weakness of the Jonathan presidency. There seems to be a correlation between these attacks and their ready and rehearsed linkages to the weakness of the Jonathan presidency. And each time the government is accused of weakness, its standard response is to increase the financial allocation to internal security through new security contracts. Is there any linkage between the security contractors and the makers of the IEDs that are causing mayhem and necessitating the services of these contractors? The antidote to every poison is best sought from the native doctor that provided the poison in the first place.” And expressing his own suspicion further he queried, “Finally, what if there is no Boko Haram in the way it has been advertised and marketed in the media?”
The DAILY TRUST newspaper of Wednesday, April 18, 2012 on page 14 reported the erstwhile National Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Hon. Dr. Usman Bugaje as telling the Hausa Service of the Voice of America that “The incapability of the Federal Government to tackle the recurrent activities of Boko Haram sect in the country is an indication that government is probably not interested in ending the violence.” The paper quoted him further saying, “Taking this long without addressing the Boko Haram problem, I am beginning to assume that this administration has cause to allow the crisis to continue unabated because of a hidden agenda.” To mask their activities to look like they are Boko Haram the politician said “criminals have also adopted the use of slogans like “Allahu Akbar” during their operations…” while giving instances of how some Christians were caught attempting to burn churches. He also said the fact that President Goodluck Jonathan has said “Boko Haram has infiltrated his government was a pointer to the fact that same government could be involved in the violence” and as such challenged the president “to expose them in order to end the violence.”
Again, the DAILY TRUST newspaper of Thursday, April 19, 2012 on page 9 reported a former Minister of Steel in the Second Republic and a frontline Middle Belt politician, Chief Paul Unongo saying “Our problem is this issue of Boko Haram, some think it is only Northern Nigeria’s problem but it is not true. Armed robbers, politicians from the North and South have joined Boko Haram in disguise. They think this is a Northern problem but some southerners were arrested and there are Christians and Muslims in Boko Haram….”
Also, a retired Bishop of Owo Diocese, James Oladunjoye was reported by the DAILY TRUST newspaper of Monday, April 23, 2012 on page 2 pointedly saying “I can tell you that President Goodluck Jonathan knows those behind this ugly act. He is taking it with levity; he has refused to expose them.
“The president is demonstrating his weakness and telling the whole world that he is not capable to rule the nation. I want those of you here who are very close to the president that I, Oladunjoye, the Bishop of Owo Diocese said so. And if Jonathan continues like this, we are going to wipe away Nigeria.” The Bishop was speaking concerning the Boko Haram or “Boko Haram” menace at the 5th anniversary celebration of the late Chief Adebayo Adefarati, former Ondo State Governor at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Akungba-Akoko.
Also, the Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Dr. Adewale Omirin, in an interview with journalists on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 blamed the rising insecurity in the country on President Goodluck Jonathan’s alleged plan to seek a second term in office by 2015. He was quoted by the media saying, “African leaders are not honest. If somebody who begged for a term is now seeking a second term, there is no honesty in that….”
And, very importantly, it seems the State Security Services (SSS) is also thinking along that line now, for at the International Security Awareness Summit on Terrorism and other Related Crimes facilitated by The Sun Publishing Limited held on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 in Abuja the Deputy Director of Public Communications of the agency said this: “On the talk about Boko Haram, the media has refused to understand that Boko Haram has become a franchise, permit me to use that word. There are so many people who have come under the guise of Boko Haram to commit all kinds of criminal things on Nigeria and Nigerians.”
This sums up the fear or suspicion of discerning intellectuals on the ongoing pussyfooting over whether government should dialogue or creatively and decisively deal with the original Boko Haram or not.
All this talk about government not knowing who to dialogue with since Boko Haram is faceless is just yatter meant for deception. Boko Haram is not faceless, for the Niger State Governor, Alhaji Babangida Aliyu has said one time that government knows the sponsors of the sect and President Jonathan has also said the sect has infiltrated all the three arms of government and the security forces. They couldn’t have made those statements without some kind of positive identification. And moreover some key members of the sect have been arrested, so the issue of facelessness does not arise anymore. All President Jonathan needed to do was to get the senior members of the sect from the respective arms of government and their senior members in the security sector alongside those sponsors known to them and dialogue with them or even arrest them. But President Jonathan has severally said Nigerians have to live with these terror attacks on the ground that it’s a global thing. But perhaps, it could be due to the long term strategic interest of maintaining a divided north and the financial benefit that will accrue to security contractors.
But then, again, when you put this Boko Haram and “Boko Haram” messes in proper context, vis-à-vis who benefits most from it politically, no northern politician of worth will sponsor such terror groups for political gains. The two groups appear to be at war mostly with Christians in the north with the latter evidently having a good mix of both Christians and Muslims as members as highlighted earlier. The northern politician who wants to really win any election in Nigeria will want to have a united north behind him, for a splintered north along ethno-religious divides will badly hurt his or her chances of winning an election. The real beneficiaries of the two Boko Harams terror have quickly gone to town with propaganda that aggrieved northern politicians are the sponsors of the groups, conveniently not telling us what benefit could accrue in the accounts of the so called aggrieved northern politicians both in the short and long terms by sponsoring the groups. Those spawning this mischievous theory harp on the claim that some northern politicians, in the heat of the efforts of Jonathan to subvert the zoning agreement of their party, the P.D.P., said they were going to make the country ungovernable for Jonathan if he successfully subverted the agreement and wins the election. But we must factor in that it is the country they threatened to make ungovernable, not the north alone. It is only a foolish or mad person that will set his own house on fire and considering that those northern politicians at the forefront of demanding the moral adherence to the zoning agreement are not mad or foolish rather those who aided and abetted the breaching of the agreement can be said to be mad, then it becomes untenable to blame them for setting the north on fire for there is no way it will benefit them. But then, considering that the country, at least a greater portion of it, is governable for President Jonathan it is safe to say these so called aggrieved northern politicians have not carried out their threat to make the country ungovernable for him.
If we are to believe Henry Okah (and so far there is nothing to suggest we shouldn’t), the MEND leader facing prosecution in South Africa, in his allegation contained in a sworn affidavit deposed to in court in that country that President Jonathan, through his close aides contacted him to organize the October 1, 2010 bombings near Eagle Square in Abuja and thereafter shift the blame on northern politicians, because “the Northern region of Nigeria was doing everything to prevent Jonathan from being the president”, then it becomes extremely difficult to actually exculpate President Jonathan from blame for the bombings. The detained MEND leader was quoted by the media as saying in his deposition that “The bombing on 1 October 2010 was a platform for the elimination of political opposition from the North in the form of General Ibrahim Babangida. The bombing of 1 October 2010 was also intended by the President Goodluck Jonathan Government to create anti-North sentiments nationwide in order to galvanise support from other sections of Nigeria against other northern candidates in the Presidential elections.” (See DAILY TRUST newspaper of Thursday, May 3, 2012, front page and page 5). Well, the bombs went off and MEND quickly claimed responsibility, but President Goodluck Jonathan suddenly appointed himself the Public Relations Officer of MEND and also quickly issued a rebuttal dissociating MEND from the attacks. Who did it? That’s the angle where Henry Okah’s claim that the bombings were intended to be blamed on northern politicians looks credible. And truly, as everybody knows, the Jonathan campaign for the 2011 presidential election was run purely on sentiments against the north, against morality, against compassion, against justice and against God! The way ethno-religious sentiments were whipped up against northern politicians before that election you would think God did not create northerners in His image and likeness.
When you look at Henry Okah’s allegation and the drama of the October 1, 2010 bombings vis-à-vis Jonathan’s not so hidden quest to contest the 2015 presidential election, which if he does will be no less acrimonious, then it can only be logical that the “Boko Haram” attacks in northern Nigeria can only benefit a southern politician. Because each time a bomb blows in any part of the north and a “spokesperson of Boko Haram” claims responsibility on behalf of the sect it further alienates northern Christians and Christians elsewhere from northern Muslim politicians. That is why many are of the opinion in the north that if President Jonathan wants Boko Haram and “Boko Haram” to stop they will stop. But it was to emerge later that the chief saboteur of the talks between government and Boko Haram was the President’s Principal Private Secretary, Hassan Tukur as revealed by Dr. Ibrahim Datti Ahmed, the person that took it upon himself to engineer some kind of negotiation and truce between government and the Islamist sect (See the DAILY TRUST newspaper of Wednesday, May 2, 2012, front page and page 5). It’s most likely Hassan Tukur, a former intelligence officer, as the paper reported him to be, is keenly aware of the benefit of the existence of the group to his principal, hence the deliberate sabotage of any negotiation with the group to end its nefarious activities. Though he later denied his involvement in the sabotage of the peace talks, throwing it back at his accuser, Dr. Datti Ahmed, but the fact still remains that the peace talks were sabotaged and Boko Haram walked out of the process. I have already stated earlier that the programme to finish off the north politically and economically could have the active participation of some northerners from both the Christian and Muslim communities who could do anything for money and influence, no matter who the paymaster is. It is only left to northerners, both the Muslims and Christians, to open their eyes wide and see how they are being used against one another for political and economic gains.
For another example, look at Mohammed Haruna’s shocking revelation in his Wednesday, May 9, 2012 back page columns on the DAILY TRUST and THE NATION newspapers wherein he said: “Take, again, the case of last Christmas Day bombing of a Catholic church near Abuja whose mastermind has since been arrested and which has resulted in the dismissal of the commissioner of police in charge of the case. The mastermind reportedly fingered five others who are not Muslims as his accomplices. Nothing has been heard of the fate of those accomplices, and the mastermind himself is yet to be tried.”
Come to think of it, is it not all so curious that Kabiru Sokoto, the alleged mastermind of the St. Theresa Catholic Church Christmas day bombing has not been presented for trial in court several months after his arrest? Is it not that because there are five Christians (most likely very prominent ones) involved in the terror as reported by Mohammed Haruna that this same Kabiru Sokoto has not been brought to court for fear of spilling the beans? Curiously also, Kabiru Sokoto’s relation in whose house he hid in Dan Anacha town near Sabon Gida village in Taraba State when he was on the run was, along with five others, rounded up by armed men in military uniform who came in about seven vehicles (jeeps and Toyota Hilux vans) and took them to a nearby bush and shot them to death (See WEEKTLY TRUST of Saturday, May 5, 2012). It is possible Kabiru Sokoto may have confided to his relations who his church going accomplices are and therefore the mopping up operations to prevent leakages.
Mohammed Haruna continued that “Again, take this year’s Easter bombing in Kaduna. Daily Trust published the plate number of the car used for the bombing. The police traced the ownership of the car to a non-Muslim living in a predominantly Christian Kaduna South. Since then nothing has been heard about the case from the security forces.” Of course, the identity of this non-Muslim who “donated” his car for this “proxy-bombing” operation by “Boko Haram” will be concealed by the patrons of “Boko Haram” to avoid shock among the unsuspecting body of “believers”. But verily, verily as time goes on the Lord God Almighty will create situations that will cause their identities to be known.
Again, re-echoing the popular belief in the north about the existence of “Boko Haram”, Mohammed Haruna said: “The point of all this is that there is probably much more to the Boko Haram story than the authorities are telling the public. At any rate the popular thinking in the North is that Boko Haram has become a potent weapon in the hand of the Jonathan presidency for keeping any Northern opposition to Jonathan seeking re-election in 2015 on the defensive by further widening the region’s existing deep religious divide.”
Of course, the anticipated result of all these “Boko Haram” bombings is what a group that calls itself Northern States Christians Elders Forum (NOSCEF) is threatening to repeat. In a well publicized communiqué after their meeting on Sunday, May 6, 2012, which was carried by most national newspapers next day, Monday, the group said: “We want to remind the Northern politicians that 2015 is close by, their silence and inaction concerning our plight strongly noted. Let none of them come near our doors, saying we are one hence it is time to canvas for votes.”
When I read that portion I laughed heartily: for its dishonest claim, its blackmailing intent and its self defeatist posture. Seriously, was there an election in which there was a supposed Christian southerner squaring up against a northern Muslim and the northern Christian bloc voted massively for the northern Muslim? I think NOSCEF should give us an answer to this. But to me there was none. If they will claim that they voted massively for the late Yar’adua in 2007 it was simply because it was a choice between General Buhari and the late president and they opted for Yar’adua because he was the choice of Obasanjo, a southerner. Is it not for that reason that some morally bankrupt southern politicians are banking on a so called “northern loyal constituency” for the 2015 elections no matter their malfeasance in office? Let NOSCEF analyze very carefully the votes that made former president, Alhaji Shehu Shagari President and see where and where in the north the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe won votes in the north. Of course, the 1999 election was so convenient in that it was a choice between Obasanjo and Chief Olu Falae. In 2003 Obasanjo defeated General Buhari in areas in the north NOSCEF is controlling. The 2011 presidential election? Argggggh! Bad story! NOSCEF knows better what they did. So, with what oneness are they trying to blackmail northern politicians? And by the way, who are the northern politicians they are trying to blackmail? Are there no Christians among them? Have NOSCEF foreclosed the chance of an honest and charismatic northern Christian contesting for the presidency in the near future, for to say northern politicians should not come near their doors suggests they have given up their lawful rights as Christians to seek the office of president? And that is self defeatism occasioned by self imposed inferiority complex. No elective position is given; it is sought for through campaigns, negotiations and agreements within and among the various interest groups. You don’t just sit down and expect that some persons will ask you to occupy the position; rather you seek for it by building bridges, trust and confidence among the various interest groups around. As such, nothing stops a northern Christian politician from seeking for the presidency. He or she doesn’t have to win at first try, but with consistency and seriousness and good relationships with immediate neighbours in a matter of time the immediate neighbours will help in securing the remote neighbours. I think NOSCEF and the people they speak for should get off the self pity party train and do the needful. They should think carefully and appreciate why God chose to put them in an area called north. I think and believe that it is so that they benefit from the teachings and provisions of Matthew chapters 5, 6, 7 and Luke chapter 6 verses 38, which, like I said earlier, Christians in Nigeria have abandoned and hence the troubles besetting them.
For claiming that they have noted the silence of northern politicians concerning their plight I think NOSCEF, again is neither truthful nor fair to their target. Since Boko Haram was cloned and the copy became very well equipped and ruthless I cannot remember any northerner of note that has not spoken against the group. Except if NOSCEF and other southern groups who are still claiming that northern prominent people have been silent over the terrorists have not heard the various condemnations of the group from these northern prominent people I advocate that these northern influential people should embark on a door to door visit to every house in the south and in Christian areas in the north and declare their condemnation of the group, or in the alternative all the security agencies should be turned over to the Hausa/Fulani completely so that they can arrest and finish off both Boko Haram and “Boko Haram”. Of course, all these puerile and untenable claims are done with the clear objective of passing the buck of ensuring law and order and security from the table of President Jonathan to those who are not empowered to do so. NOSCEF, in their communiqué said: “We hereby call on the Northern Elders and Muslim Ummah to call Boko Haram to order. The members of Boko Haram are not spirits. They are flesh and blood. They live in houses, eat food somewhere and sleep somewhere. How come village heads and traditional rulers claim not to know them?”
Perhaps without knowing it but I think NOSCEF has made it simpler for President Jonathan and the security organs he commands to bring to an end the Boko Haram and “Boko Haram” scourge in Nigeria. NOSCEF and all other groups asking northern leaders to end the scourge cannot be sincere, for they know pretty well that none of them controls even the police force not least the Army, Air Force, Navy and all the intelligence agencies. So, for saying the terrorists are not spirits and that they eat and sleep somewhere they should re-direct their demands to President Jonathan and these security agencies and units or better still, they themselves should arrest the terrorists since they are not spirits and could be identified. After all, there is no law that forbids Christians from pursuing and catching thieves or criminals that are Muslims in the market place or neighbourhood. So also there is no law that forbids Muslims from doing same on Christian thieves and criminals, for we all live in a common environment under same laws and social conditions. All these spurious demands on northern leaders are done with an air of mischief; it is laced with the usual dishonest and mischievous thinking that these northern leaders created the group and as such should end it. But then, why did they put Jonathan in office as President? Certainly it cannot be for him to be drinking brandy and expect others to do his job. They should ask him, as President and Commander in Chief of the armed forces to end the scourge and ensure the security of Christians instead of using them as collateral damage for maintaining disunity and a remnant loyal constituency up north. Asking the Muslim Ummah, traditional rulers and northern elders to call Boko Haram to order on the puerile ground of members of the group not being spirits is akin to asking Bishops, Pastors, traditional rulers and southern elders to end kidnappings, armed robberies, drug traffickings, hired killings, rapes and occultism in southern Nigeria also on the grounds that members of such groups are not spirits. NOSCEF and other groups that think like them should rather pressure government to do its work and stop helping corrupt and incompetent leaders in dividing the country further through blood letting and more importantly, begin to look inwards for possible traitors of the church who are members of “Boko Haram”. Grandstanding in hypocrisy is not what will save the church, rather NOSCEF and their like in the north should be the ones seeking for reconciliation up north for being bad neighbours during the zoning debate and aligning with practitioners of fake Christianity down the Niger contrary to the teachings of Christ. Shouldn’t it be a shame for some people by now for helping in birthing this kind of government we now have so much as even threatening to repeat similar type on unfounded basis? With the current mess of a government, whose pride is hurt most now? That of the Muslim north or that of the church that blindly kowtowed the path of immorality in enthroning it?
NOSCEF, again in their communiqué, said: “What took place in Bayero University Kano (BUK) would have not happened if the Christian community were allowed to have their own Chapel.” And to that I say, really? Is this some joke gone too far? Come on, come on! Asking for land to build churches is a legitimate demand but tying it to what happened in BUK that it couldn’t have happened if the victims were in a Chapel cannot be an honest claim. I think the St. Theresa’s church in Madalla, near Abuja and COCIN headquarters in Jos and so on and so on will not agree with this claim. Let NOSCEF be serious, please.
President Jonathan most likely fancies himself to be the only presidential candidate from the south in the 2015 presidential election as he was in the 2011 one, but considering his uninspiring, corrupt, corrupting and woeful performance since he came into office in February 2010 the only way he could win the election will be if “Boko Haram” extend their bombing festivals to the south so that the southern voters will hate northern politicians more than they were suborned to do in 2011 in addition to the “loyal constituency in the north” that will have been preserved through hatred for northern Muslims via “Boko Haram”. So therefore, Nigerians should not be surprised if “Boko Haram” becomes active in parts of the south in coming months. Nigerians should bear in mind that politicians who can cook up some stupid security reports against a serving Governor or even unleash murder on a serving Governor’s aides while attempting to murder the Governor himself through some stage managed accident just to make grounds for the rancorous take over of the area can do anything to enhance their selfish interest, even if it includes mass murder! Of course, with innuendos going round attributing the mass murders committed by “Boko Haram” to aggrieved northern politicians, in contemporary Nigeria, one could say that committing mass murders cannot be the exclusive preserve of northern politicians, as any politician or group of politicians capable of arming thugs to become militants, are capable of sponsoring mass murders if it will enhance their collective or individual interests.
Raising the stakes further, the WEEKLY TRUST newspaper of Saturday, May 5, 2012 on page 7 reported the renowned Kaduna based Islamic scholar, Dr. Ahmad Gumi saying “Yes, we have Boko Haram sect in the North but they are not the ones planting the bombs in the Northern region. The advocates of SNC are responsible for the numerous bombings and killings. They are doing it to tell the world that we can’t live together.
“These evildoers are doing it bit by bit, they are through with Maiduguri, Kano now Kaduna and their plan is to move to Sokoto state all under the guise of Boko Haram….. If we allow them to succeed in disintegrating the country, it will not be good for all of us including those claiming ownership of the crude oil.”
Dr. Gumi’s postulation is also food for thought, more especially in the light of noises being made in clamour for Sovereign National Conference since the quick cloning of Boko Haram took place and bombing festivals became the order of the day. Certain groups have not hidden their desire for the balkanization of this country, with some of them hiding behind the façade of the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference so that “ethnic nationalities can determine the future of the country.” Therefore it is possible for some extreme elements to pursue this path. Fair minded and progressive Nigerians only need to be vigilant and begin to organize to frustrate the activities of shady politicians suffering from inferiority complex bent on destroying the country.
Well, still on the issue of betrayal as prophesied by the Lord Jesus Christ in the Bible let me mention a few more examples so that we can put it in proper context.
Considering that the Bible, in Ephesians chapter 6 verse 1 has revealed to us that our pastors are also our parents (in the Lord), and Jesus Christ has prophesied that parents will betray their children even unto death, therefore it is betrayal for pastors to preach against consumption of alcohol and then turn around and endorse or anoint a brandy consumer for president whereas in the same election there were candidates who don’t drink alcohol. This is akin to some Christians coming to a motor park for a trip and faced with a choice between two drivers, one drunk and the other sober they knowingly chose the drunken driver because they see him in their church on Sundays. Will God answer their prayer for safety when the driver begins to swerve dangerously on the highway? No, God will have a good laugh at them instead.
It is betrayal of sacred Scripture and commandments when pastors preach and teach that Christians should not worship nor serve other gods but turn around and lead the sheep they are meant to guide in truth to the worship of goddess Fortuna, the goddess of good luck, which is an indication of how much the evil woman, Jezebel has penetrated the church and commands influence. A simple etymological check could have revealed to them what they were dealing with, just in the same manner no sane Christian could knowingly name his daughter as Diana, for Diana is a demon (see Acts chapter 19 verses 23 – 35). In the process our pastors have fulfilled the lamentation of the Lord God Almighty in Isaiah chapter 9 verses 16 wherein He said “For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.” Ah! Haven’t Christians and Nigerians generally suffered enough already as a result of this indiscretion? Again, in Jeremiah chapter 23 verses 13 the Lord God the Almighty lamented that, “And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to ear.”
If our pastors or bishops or whatever title don’t know that their indiscretions and alliances with thieves in national politics would cause national calamity like we now have then they should check the part b of Jeremiah chapter 23 verses 15, which says “for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land.” And if they think they will not be punished for their sizzling romance with corrupt and incompetent rulers then they should check part a of the verse which says “Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall:”
It is also betrayal when the president anointed by our parents in the Lord on the grounds of luck (ah! Jezebel, the seducer of the unwary!), ethnicity and supposed Christian religion chose a time when Christians travel the most – Christmas time – to unconscionably hike the price of petrol, supposedly on a removal of a controversial subsidy regime which caused prices of goods and services to move up astronomically instantly, for which so many Christians became stranded in their towns and villages and most had to sell their belongings to be able to travel back to their places of work. This is parents betraying their children and at the end of it all majority of Christians who “voted for Goodluck Jonathan and not the P.D.P” felt and are still feeling like a woman sexually exploited by some mischievous man who expertly masqueraded as her husband only to discover after the passion that he wasn’t.
It is also a case of parents betraying their children to death when the children rose up to protest against the hike on petrol price by the unconscionable partners of their parents in the Lord and more than twenty of them got murdered on the behalf of, and for the benefit of those who hiked the price. The children became direct victims of the violence of the friends and partners of their parents in the Lord. Hmmm……the blood of those youths is crying unto the Lord like Abel’s for vengeance! And God the avenger will keep His promise…..
It is also betrayal when, after all the huffing and puffing by some of our parents in the Lord against Islamic banking in Nigeria, Christian President Goodluck Jonathan went on seeking a loan for the Federal Government from an Islamic bank, and for God to have a good hearty laugh some of the funds from the Islamic bank will be used for the further development of the ever busy Lagos – Ibadan expressway, a road known to be busy during some Christian programmes that take place along that road several times a year. In a story titled Jonathan seeks capital funding from Islamic bank on page 8 of the DAILY TRUST newspaper of Friday, March 16, 2012 the paper reported that “The Federal Government has asked the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to inject more capital to support infrastructural development and general economic development of the country.” In response to the president’s request the President of the IDB Group, Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali disclosed that the IDB has committed about US$470milion to projects in Nigeria. He listed the intervention projects they are undertaking in Nigeria as “the National Programme for Food Security, Zungeru dam project, Mambilla hydroelectric dam project, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway project, National Railway Rehabilitation project and the Shagamu-Benin dual carriage project.” So now, what will our parents in the Lord who huffed against such a bank in Nigeria do, considering that their anointed has embraced it and its money? Will Christians use the trains or the electric power or the roads that would be partially funded by the Islamic Development Bank? God must be having a big laugh.
Christian leaders should have been cautious when they were opposing the establishment of Islamic banking or non-interest banking in Nigeria, for they conveniently chose to ignore the fact that a church going Chukwuma Charles Soludo, the former Central bank governor was the one who initiated the bank and curiously, President Jonathan whom they anointed president to protect the interest of Christians maintained a deafening silence when they were huffing against it. It is the height of irresponsibility and mischief to then expect that when the applicants for the bank come for a follow up and they meet a certain Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as the new helmsman he should decline their legitimate request on the grounds that he is a Muslim like them. Already there are schools built along religious lines in the country serving the interests of either of the religions, so why not banking? In a country almost evenly divided along religious lines opposing the legitimate interest of the other religion could breed resentment and aggression. Nothing then stops them from asking for the delegitimization of Saturday and Sunday as work free days as Friday, their special day of worship is a work day. As Christians in a secular society we should be mindful of our own legitimate interests and the legitimate interests of others. If we are not interested in being a secular society we have the option of evangelizing the whole nation so that Nigeria can be a Theocracy but successful evangelism can only be done in love and compassion, not by being hostile. That is why our Lord Jesus Christ said to us in Matthew chapter 5 verses 16 that “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” The way and manner it seems there is some kind of gang up by a supposed Christian south and a supposed Christian Middle Belt against anything far north or the Hausa/Fulani in Nigeria does not project us Christians in any way as letting our lights to so shine before them so that our good works may be seen by them, which will cause them to glorify God. We carry on with arrogance and with a mindset that fools us into thinking the problem of Nigeria is the far north and the Hausa/Fulani whereas we are the principal culprits. The far north or rather the Hausa/Fulani are projected as poor, lazy, parasitic, uneducated, unaccommodating, terrorists, etc, etc, etc, but is the north truly Nigeria’s problem?
If you read certain comments from some supposed Christian personalities, more especially from the south and you look at the kind of language they use against the north you cannot help but be scared that certain minds are being programmed to unleash genocide against certain set of people. For example, Emmanuel Onyejena titled his article published on page 18 of THISDAY newspaper of Monday, March 5, 2012 as The North as an Albatross in which he said “….if we may ask what did the rulers of the North do with all the wealth that accrued to that region since independence? It is an incontrovertible fact that the North has run the show for more than two-thirds of the nation’s political life, are they just waking up to the reality of poverty? What have the northern elite done to alleviate the poverty in their midst, like eliminating culturally-imposed inequalities, encouraging their kids to go to school and stay at school till graduation?“ Looking at Mr. Onyejena’s questions you would be carried away to think poverty rests only in the north and that school truancy is not found in the south and also only northern rulers mismanaged the wealth of the north. He forgot to inform his readers that as there are James Iboris and Lucky Igbinedions in the south so there are in the north. Such racial, ethnic and regional supremacists are up till today projecting northern leaders as corrupt people that corrupted Nigeria while conveniently forgetting to mention that the Gold Medal for corrupt leadership was hungrily seized by Obasanjo and if diamond is better than gold, the Diamond Medal for corrupt governance now hangs fashionably on the neck of Goodluck Jonathan’s government. So, can we get off our high horse of hypocrisy, please?
If you read such propaganda, which is often, the north is projected as poor and illiterate while the south is projected as rich and educated. But my immediate concern now is the title of Onyejena’s article, which says the North is an albatross. I believe it is too strong a term to use against a people. An albatross is an oppressive burden or hindrance which must be removed. So, over time if certain people are fed with this kind of impression that the north is an albatross to the nation these certain people could develop genocidal tendencies, for this is the kind of propaganda and miseducation that fuelled the Rwandan genocide in which the Hutus felt they were a supreme tribe over the Tutsis and could not cohabit with them.
Another example of unfair projection of northerners is found in Godson Offoaro’s article titled Northern elite impoverished the North published on page 19 of the DAILY SUN newspaper of Monday, April 2, 2012. In it you could clearly see how the writer was intent at manipulating the thoughts and minds of gullible readers into believing that northerners or their leaders were single handedly responsible for the nations woes as if all through the years of the so called northern political domination southerners have not been governors, ministers, heads of agencies, heads of military and other security formations, though in his warped thinking and foolish desire to present these other office holders from other tribes and regions as saints he claimed they were “co-opted or press-ganged into this bizarre consensus at resource plundering and treasury-looting” and that they “were unsuspecting folks from other ethnic groups essentially to make such acts of daylight brigandage have a quasi or complete national coloration.” Mr. Offoaro did not tell us what these “unsuspecting folks from other ethnic groups” did to bust the plunder of national resources by northerners since they were saints without the genes or DNA of stealing, which is peculiar to northerners as is commonly insinuated by mischievous writers like Offoaro. In Offoaro’s journey of darkness, hate and mischief he effused, “They appointed and deposed sultans, emirs; obas, obis and obongs at will”, without telling us whether anyone was above the law if the action was lawful at that time. When a sick mind inappropriately named Godson says “They decided how many (un)qualified persons got university admission” and “They recklessly offered overseas federal scholarships lopsidedly to members from their ethno-religious clan” you would be tempted to think all the Vice Chancellors and Registrars of all the universities in Nigeria were northerners and you could be tempted to believe only northerners staffed the Federal Ministry of Education and the Federal Scholarship Board such that only northerners got scholarships to study abroad. And for a region commonly derided by some persons as “educationally disadvantaged” is it not then a contradiction of sorts to claim they were enjoying a monopoly of federal sponsorships and admissions as claimed by Offoaro?
Offoaro’s dim mind and hatred against the north was not yet done, he said “They created schools of basic studies to help children from their geographical expression that could not stand the rigors of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC)” as if it was a crime to do so and again as if there were no such schools in southern Nigeria. His claim that northern students could not stand the rigours of WAEC and so needed to attend some schools of basic studies insinuates he means southern students are smarter and more intelligent without telling us whether examination malpractices and certificate forgeries are the measurement for superiority of intelligence. Not yet done with spewing hell stuff he further asserted that “Not satisfied, they created NECO as a counterpoise to WAEC” without telling us whether southern students don’t sit for NECO exams and without further telling us what instruments he used in measuring WAEC standard to be above that of NECO. To further paint northerners as monopolists his dim bespectacled eyes saw that “The civil service was theirs for the asking. Some very sensitive positions for over forty years were the exclusive preserve of men and women from their ethno-religious groups” without giving us examples of those positions and without telling us how is it that when you visit all the federal ministries and agencies in and out of Abuja you see only few northerners in all the offices.
This Offoaro, in a manner of drunkenness made worse by madness, climbed the mountain of clowns to say “they constantly appointed people who have never, ever played football or known what a modern stadium looked like (except on TV) to head the Nigeria Football Federation with millions of dollar yearly budget. Ever since, the Super Eagles have known no victory.” Offoaro should have helped us with the names of all the chairpersons of the NFA and sports ministers since inception till now and for the suggestion that the Super Eagles have not known victory ever since left me confused as to what he meant. But I thought he should have been a little bit fair, even if he hates fairness, to tell us that Nigeria first won the Under 17 Football World Cup in 1985 when General Muhammadu Buhari was Head of State and won again in 1993 when General Sani Abacha was Head of State and won again in 2007 when late Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adua was president. He should have balanced his argument by saying the Super Eagles won the African Nations Cup in 1980 when Alhaji Usman Aliyu Shehu Shagari was President and again in 1994 when General Abacha was Head of State and qualified for the first time to the FIFA World Cup same year. He should have also said Nigeria won the Gold Medal of the football event of the 1996 Olympics when General Abacha was Head of State. And in all these victories the chairpersons of the NFA in those times have not been footballers like Offoaro fancies and may have not seen modern stadia like Offoaro has seen countless times. The current decline in our sports generally is a lesson God wants to teach us not to ever, ever depend on luck for anything, for if we keep depending on luck we will be unconsciously worshipping at the feet of goddess Fortuna in contravention of God’s commandment not to serve or worship other gods.
Offoaro, in his articles, has never ever betrayed his rabid hatred for the north and northerners. In the usual fashion of painting everything north in bad light, he said this of the CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi: “Look at his record: unilaterally, he sets up Islamic banks. Singlehandedly, he approves donations of hundreds of millions of naira to his cousins affected by self-inflicted Boko Haram atrocities. He refuses to submit his CBN annual budget for scrutiny by the appropriate oversight arm of governance.” I have spoken of the lies and hypocrisy of all the nonsense arguments against the Islamic banking issue earlier. Offoaro and people who think like him have, since the CBN donated one hundred million Naira to victims of Boko Haram or “Boko Haram” in Kano, raised all hell against Lamido Sanusi. Now Offoaro has converted one hundred million Naira to “hundreds of millions of naira”, but when Mallam Sanusi donated five hundred million Naira (now this is hundreds of millions) to Offoaro’s cousins in the University of Benin our ever champions of equity kept a deafening silence. Faced with the dilemma of moral high ground in their argument against the Kano donation a few of them are now belatedly referring to the UNIBEN donation. Morality demands that they should have raised all the morality noise since then. On this score I would rather Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi ask the CBN Board to publish all the Corporate Social Responsibility donations or activities done by the bank before and during his tenure as CBN boss. Offoaro should have also been gracious to tell us when Chief Chukwuma Charles Soludo as CBN Governor submitted the banks budget for scrutiny and approval by the legislature or whether any other CBN boss or board before Soludo and Sanusi did so, and whether the CBN’s refusal to submit her budget for scrutiny has anything to do with the north, and also whether the CBN’s Board and management staffing is a completely northern affair.
The peak of Offoaro’s bid to portray the north and northerners as a bunch of unfair, aggressive and unaccommodating people was when he said “Sometimes, I’ve imagined what the situation would have been had oil been first found in the north; who on earth would have given a pint of it to Yinka or Chukwuka or Ibinabo?“ The stormy petrel found good company in Ms Annkio Briggs, a Niger Delta activist in asking that question. The SUNDAY SUN newspaper of February 26, 2012 reported her asking, “If oil is found in any of the 19 northern states, will they share it so freely with the rest of Nigeria the way Niger Delta people share theirs?”
Offoaro and Ms Briggs have not told us the circumstances that led them to think and portray the north in such bad light. Their submission projects the south and southerners as overly generous while the north and northerners are contrarians of generosity and hospitality. But in the case of Ms. Briggs’ submission I find it curious that she could lump the 19 northern states together, aren’t the Middle Belt states no longer the darlings of Ijaw nationalists’ propaganda? Well, any little educated and unanalytical mind and at best an educated and analytical but subjective mind that reads Godson Offoaro’s articles will receive the poisons and lies that are his submissions as true. I believe people like Offoaro are cashing in on Nigeria’s declined and declining quality and standard of education to miseducate and idiotify a lot of people for easy manipulation by dishonourable politicians who can only thrive on the polarization of the people. It is this successful idiotification process that made some people say “I voted for Goodluck Jonathan and not the P.D.P.” and now the fruits born out of that idiotification process are stuck in our throats, too bitter to swallow and in our typical hypocrisy we are waiting on God to pull them out of our throats whereas we have hands to pull them out, for that is the reason He (God) made the hands in the first place. God must be having a good laugh at us to His pleasure.
But is the north and northerners as Offoaro projected them to be? The loudest no is the answer to Offoaro and others who think like him.
Without a blink of the eye I assert that the north and northerners are the most hospitable, fair minded and accommodating people and I have reasons.
Reason number one: Those abusing the north and northerners argue that northerners have dominated the leadership and political landscape of Nigeria for the greater part of the nation’s existence since independence and “have nothing to show for it in the north.” When they argue like this they paint a picture of a rich and developed south and a poor and underdeveloped north. It then means all the while northerners were ruling Nigeria they put in a lot of energy in making policies and programmes that favoured the south at the expense of their own people, for you can hardly separate government influence in the socio-economic well being or development of a people. Even if you argue that southerners are more entrepreneurial than northerners, a wicked, evil and domineering northern oligarchy perpetrating a Hausa/Fulani hegemony that has dominated Nigeria’s rulership, as they are often portrayed, would have gone all out to frustrate the entrepreneurial development of southerners by governmental force. But since they encouraged prosperity of the south at the expense of the north then it will be a misnomer to label them as unfair and unaccommodating. Stretching the argument further, one of the reasons President Jonathan was aided to dishonour and murder the zoning agreement he was part of was that the northern leaders insisting on the retention and honour of the zoning agreement did nothing for the north. So, in other words Jonathan should be allowed to dishonour the power sharing agreement, become president and eliminate poverty from the north since the so called northern leaders have failed the north when they had opportunity. Given that the pro-Jonathan argument has won him the Presidency what are we seeing today? Nothing but the deliberate skewing of our national budget in favour of the president’s province while the north is being racked with bombs and still being accused of inflicting poverty on herself and being insulted as a no good parasite.
During the heated debate on zoning some northern traitors were recruited, commissioned and presented as the true northern leaders and they held jamboree economic summits purportedly for the economic development of the north just to present Jonathan Goodluck as someone who cared for the north, since those others insisting on the honour and retention of zoning were projected as having failed the north. But after all have been said and done and Jonathan won the big prize what has happened to all the fine speeches, communiqués and blueprints made from the so called summits? Nothing. Only a few people may have been deceived to believe the so called northern economic summits held by those cheerleaders were anything serious but a parade of deception. I think it is important the north wakes up to the realization of those in their midst that are their saboteurs, who at the right fee would do anything to perpetuate their disunity.
Reason number two: The north, as at today, is the only region in Nigeria that a non-northerner can stand for election and win. Ask Senator Grace Folashade Bent if this is not true. Having won the Adamawa South senatorial seat she felt so much at home that she could even sponsor her Special Assistant to unseat a House of Representatives member from the district, a project that collapsed like a pack of cards. Juxtapose this with the hell raised in Lagos when President Jonathan decided to honour Chief Olabode George for doing very well what the P.D.P., their party does so well by appointing his wife into a national position. In their position statement against the appointment of Mrs. Roli George (a southerner) the Lagos State government drew the attention of President Jonathan to a law that says a woman married to a man from a state other than hers shall not be treated as an indigene of the husband’s state, which means she cannot enjoy a national appointment to represent her husband’s state. The people of Adamawa State, in their hospitality and accommodation did not bother about this law and thus allowed Mrs. Folashade to represent them in the Senate. Now it remains to be seen whether at any point in the future such will be replicated somewhere in the south.
The LEADERSHIP newspaper of Wednesday, April 25, 2012 on page 8 reported Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmadu, a former Special Assistant on Political Matters to the Kaduna State Governor debunking speculations that have been making the rounds in the country that the current Vice President, Architect Namadi Sambo hails from Edo State, south-south Nigeria, describing the rumour as pure political blackmail. Well, it is understandable the kind of discomfort this kind of speculation will cause the Vice President and those benefitting from him, considering that in the short or long run he may want to contest for the presidency as an aspirant from northern Nigeria. But, even if it is true that he is from Auchi, Edo State as is being speculated, he and his supporters need not worry, for in the natural tradition of accommodation and hospitality of northern Nigeria he has risen through the ranks of politics in northern Nigeria to even become the Governor of Kaduna State in 2007 up to when a south-southerner became President and chose him to become his deputy. And, again, if it’s true he is from Edo State then Nigeria has made good history in that we have an “elected” government in which the President and his deputy hail from the same region and yet northerners did not make any fuss about that.
Reason number three: The north, contrary to how her haters project her as tribalistic, monopolistic and power hungry, is the most liberal and accommodating in terms of national elections or power sharing. While some persons have fixated themselves on a phantom Hausa/Fulani hegemony that is spreading like wildfire to consume the entire nation into slavery and submission facts on ground suggest otherwise. This Hausa/Fulani phobia or north phobia by historical evidences started even right after our national independence. At what point did it become established that the north was dominating political power such that just five years after independence some terrorists within the military set out at killing northern leaders and a few southwestern leaders so that they too could establish their own hegemony? Northern military officers were or are still being projected as coupists, but if coup making was the exclusive preserve of northern military officers could there have been an Aguiyi Ironsi coup? Now northern bashers sometimes seem confused; they talk of the Hausa/Fulani dominating or enslaving Christian Middle Belters one day and in another day they lump up the Middle Belt with the far north together just when it suits them. But for the sake of their arguments let me ask, if there was a Hausa/Fulani hegemony dominating and enslaving the Christian Middle Belt could there have been a General Yakubu Gowon coup such that he ruled for nine years? And after the General was dithering on a transition to civil rule programme he was toppled by the General Murtala coup d’état who in turn got assassinated by a Middle Belt military officer in a failed coup attempt. If there was a Hausa/Fulani hegemony could a General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma fish out a cowardly General Olusegun Obasanjo from hiding and make him Head of State immediately after the failed coup?
Now after all those military adventures into governance General Obasanjo’s transition to civil rule programme threw up Alhaji Usman Aliyu Shehu Shagari as Nigeria’s first democratically elected executive president, though there were allegations that some tribalists had wanted a situation whereby General Obasanjo should have manipulated the election in favour of his kinsmen, but could it have made sense that an election in a Nigeria with sectional and tribal consciousness since independence could have thrown up a winner from the south who picked his running mate from the same south? Well, Shagari’s civil government drifted into a sizzling romance with corruption and was toppled by General Muhammadu Buhari whose government instituted the most genuine combat against corruption, waste and indiscipline till date. In order words not all northerners are corrupt as is sometimes insinuated by some hate-filled regionalists. Sadly, I say this without apology, the Buhari regime was cut short and the war against corruption, waste and indiscipline was also cut short. Another Middle Belt led military regime was set up with General Ibrahim Babangida at the top, which lasted for eight years. Talk of the Middle Belt being marginalized.
This Middle Belt regime went on a political marginalization of the far north as, in its transition to civil rule programme, the late General Shehu Musa Yar’adua and Mallam Adamu Chiroma (all from the far north) won the presidential election primaries of the two government-instituted political parties but got the results annulled. Politicians were banned and unbanned until when it seemed the regime was ready to truly handover because of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, which turned out also to be another wasteful adventure as the results were annulled. Now it should be borne in mind that late Chief M.K.O. Abiola’s victory in the June 12, 1993 election has as its foundation an injustice done to others whose presidential primary elections results were annulled by the same annullers who annulled his election.
Now, I hope the reader is still remembering that I am trying to establish that northerners are fair, generous and accommodating?
Well, not minding that the victories of their kinsmen have been annulled in previous presidential primary elections which paved way for the June 12, 1993 elections the Hausa/Fulanis voted massively for Chief M.K.O. Abiola such that his rival, Alhaji Bashir Tofa lost woefully in his home state of Kano and neighbouring Jigawa State. The point and moral here is it’s not fair to categorize a people as a bunch of unfair, aggressive, power hungry and unaccommodating people. Critics of the annulment, particularly from the south, later slipped into the mistake of lumping the sin of the annulment on a so called Hausa/Fulani hegemony bent on retaining power at all cost, a criticism most convenient for the annulling Middle Belt officers who are now opportunistically aligning with southern politicians to gain from something they aided and abetted.
Now let’s analyze the 2011 presidential elections and see those that are tribalistic, aggressive, desperate, power hungry and unaccommodating.
First let’s have as a background that after the annulment of Chief M.K.O. Abiola’s electoral victory there was a crisis of monumental proportion engineered by moralists and purists who saw nothing wrong in the fact that his own election was premised on the unjust foundation of injustice done to others whose elections were also annulled, for if those primary elections that were annulled had been upheld there couldn’t have been a June 12, 1993 presidential election. Military President, General Babangida had to step aside. Then entered Chief Ernest Shonekan as Head of Interim Government, a southwesterner like Abiola himself. His kinsmen went to court and had his government declared illegal. Confusion. Now note that it wasn’t the Hausa/Fulani that went to court to have Shonekan’s government declared illegal so that they could perpetuate their much feared but nonexistent hegemony. General Sani Abacha stepped in after what looked like Shonekan’s forced resignation. General Abacha’s government was given some tough time by moralists and purists who had Shonekan’s government declared illegal on grounds that Abiola must be made president. The General had Abiola hauled into detention. More confusion everywhere and General Abacha died in office.
Then came in General Abdulsalami Abubakar as Head of State from the Middle Belt. Abiola also died in detention under mysterious circumstances. And in the midst of local and international pressure General Abdulsalami set up a transition to civil rule programme. Now the people who are much maligned as selfish, aggressive, unaccommodating, power hungry and intent on maintaining a Hausa/Fulani hegemony on the rest of Nigerians reached out and pulled every stop to make sure a southwesterner becomes president and General Obasanjo was pulled out of prison and won the 1999 elections against a fellow southwesterner. Obasanjo went on to rule for eight years and in the course of his rule the zoning of presidential power between competing interests in the north and competing interests in the south was agreed so as to further reassure perpetual pessimists that there is nothing like a Hausa/Fulani hegemony or oligarchy bent on ruling forever to enslave everybody else.
Well, Obasanjo served out two straight terms totaling eight years. But it turned out that he wanted to perpetuate his own hegemony (or is it a southern hegemony?) by seeking a constitutional amendment that could enable him do three terms, and mercifully the project collapsed. Faced with the prospect of ensuring compliance with the north-south zoning agreement, Obasanjo foisted a terminally ill Umaru Musa Yar’adua from the north as President alongside a lackluster, uninspiring and luck dependent Goodluck Jonathan as Vice President. And as the schemer for a southern hegemony envisaged, Umaru Musa Yar’adua died in office. And then it became clear that moral bankruptcy, lack of compassion, impatience, hatred, pretense and injustice are the stuff a lot of our politicians and most of our Christian clergy are made of. Jezebel, the evil woman that has long hoisted her throne in many Nigerian churches bared her fangs and went to work. Deceptions of all kinds took over the socio-political landscape. The evil woman deceived the church into missing out on a golden opportunity to “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” as commanded by Christ. Instead, the church, led by their clergy did everything under the instruction of Jezebel to go contrary to Christ’s commandments so that they could satisfy the secret desire of Obasanjo and Jonathan. The church threw her sense of empathy to the dogs and helped Jonathan and Obasanjo dance with joy on Umaru Yar’adua’s grave. It was contrived as a moment to hit back at these Hausa/Fulani northerners who are no good to the nation. Remember, someone said the North is an albatross. Christian Bishops and Pastors, under the twin influence of Jezebel and “prophet offering” helped Jonathan in denying the existence of zoning; not because it doesn’t exist and Jonathan was a signatory to it but because they hate the Hausa/Fulani, and in doing so missed out on a great opportunity for impactful evangelism.
Well, in their grief over the death of President Umaru Musa Yar’adua and Jonathan’s denial and dishonour of the zoning agreement, how did the far north fare in the 2011 presidential elections? Were they tribalistic and unaccommodating in their voting pattern? Did they demonstrate any trait of a people hungry for power for the purpose of establishing hegemony?
First let’s start with the P.D.P. presidential primaries held on January 13, 2011 at the Eagle Square in Abuja, which was largely a contest between President Jonathan from southern Nigeria and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar from northern Nigeria. Alhaji Atiku is from Adamawa State and President Jonathan is from Bayelsa State, so let’s see how accommodating people from the two states are. Bear in mind that at that time the north was mourning the loss of power because of the death of a president and someone was breaking every rule of morality to usurp their moral right to finish their mutually agreed limited terms. Atiku, in his home state of Adamawa got 31 votes against Jonathan’s 76 votes, which means the people of Adamawa, in their grief and despite having one of them as a contender to the presidency were so accommodating and not aggressive to prove there is nothing like a Hausa/Fulani hegemony. Compare this with Jonathan’s Bayelsa. Atiku got zero votes there while Jonathan got all the 67 votes, which means among all the voters from there none was sympathetic to the north even in death! The whole of southwest had a total of 507 votes with only 24 of them sympathetic to Atiku and hence the north. The southeast had 446 with only 23 sympathizers with the north over the death of Yar’adua. The south-south had 624 voters with just 9 sympathizers!
Now look at Katsina State, the mourners-in-chief – the home state of the late president. They had 158 voters, but in the true spirit of northern hospitality, fairness and accommodation and to further debunk the existence of a Hausa/Fulani hegemony and to prove also that they are neither a bitter nor a religious sentimental people 147 of them voted for Jonathan with only 11 of them opting for Atiku. Regionally, the northwest had a total 787 votes but 422 of them voted Jonathan with 365 of them opting for Atiku. About the same pattern was obtained in the northeast. I will not include the north-central (Middle Belt) in this voting analysis for obvious reasons.
So it begs the question to people like Offoaro, and there are so many of them: now, who are the desperate, unfair, aggressive, unaccommodating and power hungry people?
Now, coming to the general elections proper held in April 2011 in which nothing immoral was spared, including religious, tribal and regional sentiments by Jonathan and his crowd, let us see also whether the north was aggressive, unfair, unaccommodating and power hungry to establish a Hausa/Fulani hegemony. Again let us examine two states, one from the north and one from the south in the first instance. Since INEC, the P.D.P. and the courts have insisted that the figures in the 2011 presidential election were accurate and “reflected the will and choice of the people” it is therefore safe to use the figures for my argument. General Buhari is from Katsina State, the same state late President Yar’adua hailed from and was clearly the most favoured in the north to win the elections while his main opponent, President Jonathan hails from Bayelsa State in southern Nigeria. But while General Buhari got only 6, 910 votes from Jonathan’s home state President Jonathan, on the other hand got 282, 477 votes from Buhari’s home state. Even if you argue that Katsina State has about twice the total voters in Bayelsa I will concede to you to divide the Katsina State voters by three and make the comparison, you will still see that they have demonstrated to be fairer, hospitable, accommodating, tolerant and not bitter. They have also debunked the stereotyping of far northerners as power hungry people intent on becoming slave drivers. In fact, in all the far northern states there is no state that Jonathan got less than 200, 000 votes in spite of their grief over Yar’adua’s death and Jonathan’s shameless denial and breaching of the zoning agreement whereas in the south, General Buhari and Nuhu Ribadu had a combined vote of exactly 212 votes in Akwa Ibom State! So, who are those that demonstrated tribalism or regionalism or religious sentimentalism in the 2011 voting, the North or South?
Whatever arguments anyone may use to justify Jonathan’s jumbo votes in all of the northern states against the very, very paltry votes all the northerners in the election were scoring in the southern states will not validate the unfair projection of northerners as unfair, unwelcoming, unaccommodating, aggressive and power hungry people. Rather the north has shown severally that it is willing and ready to have a nation that is home and fair to all just like Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the Hausa/Fulani man who is busy distributing his wealth and creating jobs in Federal Character fashion without minding all the insults being hurled at his kinsmen. But rather than being understood the north is being insulted and derided and projected in bad light. And through a massive wave of propaganda some people want to see the fragmentation and destruction of the north, something that, I insist, is due to inferiority complex, for it seems that rather than building workable bridges to achieve what they want to achieve some would rather have a destroyed north for them to have what they think they want.
Offoaro again, in pursuit of the devious agenda of splitting the north along ethno-religious lines wrote another article titled Middle Belt people of Nigeria, arise published on page 19 of the DAILY SUN newspaper of Monday, March 12, 2012. As usual with his write ups fashioned along his sizzling hatred for the north this article is filled with bare lies purposely cooked in Satan’s kitchen to whip up emotions of disaffection. The title itself suggests like the Middle Belters are down under the jackboot of some kind of colonial oppressors or slave drivers and should therefore heed the call of Offoaro their liberator and work and walk with him in exodus fashion to their freedom.
Apparently Offoaro hates to see a united north and by extension Nigeria in general, for he seemed to be irked by Dr. Junaid Mohammed’s statement in an interview with the DAILY SUN newspaper in which he said “Let me tell you, in the event of the breakup of Nigeria, the north is the component that will remain one and united” of which Offoaro used as the opening quote for his contradictory article and therefore formed the plank on which he stood to market his venom. Why should Offoaro not be happy that Junaid said the north will be the only united component in the event the not so hidden secessionists’ agenda being drummed up in some parts of the country materializes? Has it dawned on Offoaro that indeed those who are, due to what seems like an incurable case of inferiority complex, pursuing their secessionist agenda have internal contradictions that could throw their newfound republic(s) into unbridled fratricidal wars and as such, driven by envy he wants to cause conditions that could render the northern oneness unattainable? Why is Offoaro instigating the Middle Belters to rise? To rise from what? Who has chained them? The last time I checked and the next time I will check it’s not the Hausa/Fulani Offoaro hates with passion that are governors in Middle Belt states. They are not the ones occupying slots for national positions allotted to Middle Belt states. They are not queuing up at military or police recruitment venues masquerading as Middle Belters to usurp their quota. They are not asking for federal allocations meant for Middle Belt states to be redirected to their states. Even in national elections Middle Belters have often voted along lines they felt best fulfilled their aspirations and desires. Offoaro should check his much beloved Middle Belt very well: it is not the Hausa/Fulani that are making it difficult for the Idoma to be governor in Benue State neither are they the ones making it difficult for the Egbira to be governor in Kogi State. Let him do his research very well and he will find that minority tribes like marginalizing other tribes they also call minority tribes. Even in Boko Haram and “Boko Haram” there is marginalization. Were not some Nigerian newspapers awash with stories recently of the alleged confessions of some kingpins of the Boko Haram sect in which they alleged that the minority Kanuri leadership of the sect selects only the Hausa/Fulani, Nigeriens and other tribes among them for suicide operations? Again, even in Boko Haram the Hausa/Fulani are hated and a minority tribe is marginalizing other minority tribes to death! And what about the 2012 national budget, some people have already pointed out that the budget is skewed in favour of the President’s immediate province contrary to even being partial to the National Association of Minority Tribes of Nigeria (NAMTN) who overwhelmingly supported him as being one of them. So, the minority also marginalizes the minority. This underscores the truth that what Nigeria truly needs is selfless, incorruptible, morally sound and compassionate leaders to be in power and we have them in all parts of the country and when Nigerians get tired of being manipulated by all these five for one kobo politicians they will bring those people to power and then the country will fulfill her prophetic destiny.
Offoaro, in the said article wanted to paint a picture of a Middle Belt under Hausa/Fulani oppression but ended up contradicting himself by naming the very high achievements of the people in the military, politics and business all under Hausa/Fulani oppression. The venomous man, in desperate pursuit of calamity and disunity said “I want to use this sacred podium to call on the people of the Middle Belt of Nigeria to rebel against the tyranny of the Hausa/Fulani or forever remain the most backward and endure accordingly.” And the white bearded old man who shouldn’t be anybody’s role model further added, “People of the Middle Belt, arise; you have nothing to lose other than your chains.” Exactly the tone of Satan when he was deceiving Eve into trouble. And you would think Offoaro’s backyard is an Eldorado such that he wants to replicate same for others, just the same way Satan takes trips out of hell to couch hell as heaven so as to draw many into it.
Well, since Offoaro has seen the Middle Belt people in chains such that they are not at liberty to do anything at all, as a liberator par excellence he should just mobilize all the chain cutting machines and gadgets with him and zoom off to the Middle Belt and saw off those notorious chains, for it is impossible for a people in chains to arise and free themselves. Someone has to do it for them, for even when Paul and Silas, as anointed as they were, were in prison it took an angel to come and cut off their chains. So, in the case of the Middle Belt it is either God did not see the chains to warrant sending an angel or it is Offoaro who has seen the chains and should therefore, patriotically and lovingly move urgently to undo the chains only his dim bespectacled eyes can see.
As an anarchist in the class of a suicide bomber in a large market place, Offoaro let us into his mind to know his kind of heroes when he said, “Come to think of it, why can’t the guy, Gideon Orkar, be likened to Odumegwu Ojukwu, as a visionary who came before his time? Is it because he is not Igbo or Yoruba? Didn’t he once upon a time, properly, redraw the map of Nigeria to the secret applause of many?” Here, according to Offoaro every secessionist is a visionary in the mould of the late Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu. He probably doesn’t know that a sound and clear vision based on a righteous and truthful foundation leads to the liberation of a people into peace and prosperity. That is the reason the Lord Jesus Christ said if the blind lead the blind they will all fall into a ditch. Offoaro’s visionaries caused the death of many people they wanted to liberate, and that is the ditch Christ was talking about. It was the ditch Offoaro’s visionaries saw and that’s the same kind of vision Offoaro and his ilk are seeing now. And for appropriate map drawing by the lunatic Orkar which Offoaro and his many secret anarchists applauded, has it ever occurred to this cloud of haters and bitter souls that Orkar’s new found republic minus the cut off area could have turned out to be the most cantankerous and crisis filled republic ever by reason of the very glaring desperately big egos of some groups who will want to assert themselves over the others? Let them think of the usual inter and intra ethnic wars and crisis that are the usual identity marks of Offoaro and Orkar’s fantasy Eldorado Republic.
In the last paragraph of Offoaro’s article he asked some questions which I will provide answers to.
QUESTION 1, Offoaro asked: “Now, if the aforementioned people all come from Nigeria’s Middle Belt region, and have been at the corridors of power (following Hausa-Fulani up and down like mumu) for as long as God knows, why is it that their area has been some of the least developed in Nigeria second only to the Niger Delta?”
ANSWER: Thank God, at least the Hausa/Fulani have developed Offoaro’s southeast, the southwest and the far north leaving out only the Middle Belt and the Niger Delta. So it’s not all gloom and darkness during the Hausa/Fulani era, is it?
QUESTION 2, Offoaro asked: “Why are there no good roads in the Middle Belt area of Nigeria?”
ANSWER: Because President Obasanjo, a southerner, and Chief Tony Anenih, another southerner and former works minister, both whom, like Offoaro should never ever toy with the interests of the Middle Belt people forgot these roads when they were in power.
QUESTION 3, Offoaro asked: “Why is the road from Keffi in Nassarawa through Makurdi in Benue, a living hell? Why has that road not at least been dualized?”
ANSWER: Because the Senate President, Middle Belt governors of the states concerned and the Senators and House of Representatives members from the area are in chains and are waiting for Offoaro to unchain them so that they can ask the federal government to dualize it.
QUESTION 4, Offoaro asked: “Why are there not (except Dangote Cement) any industries of repute in the region”
ANSWER: Because their Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) and federal allocations are sent, by provision of the law, to the Hausa/Fulani states to industrialize them. And their rich businessmen have followed suit.
QUESTION 5, Offoaro asked: “Why are the people’s brand of agriculture not being revolutionized?”
ANSWER: Because the agricultural revolution going on in Offoaro’s backyard has to be completed first so that Offoaro’s experts will come and lend them a helping hand; and that will also be after their chains are broken off by Offoaro.
QUESTION 6, Offoaro asked: “Why is there runaway unemployment in the Middle Belt zone?”
ANSWER: People in chains cannot look for jobs so Offoaro should hurry, and in James Bond fashion rescue them so that they can fill their entire federal quota.
QUESTION 7, Offoaro asked: “Why didn’t the leaders, earlier produced from this region do enough to uplift the quality of lives of its people?”
ANSWER: Oh, sorry, please….. Come again; I thought there were never ever national leaders produced from this region and were all under Hausa/Fulani tyranny. Aaaaah!
QUESTION 8, Offoaro asked: “Why are the political wishes and destinies of the people of the Middle Belt (who arguably make at least a quarter of the Nigerian population) still tied to the apron strings of the Hausa/Fulani oligarchs? Why?”
ANSWER: Because the Hausa/Fulani held them at gun point to forcibly vote for Alhaji Shehu Shagari in 1979 and 1983 and for Buhari in 2003 and 2011. Offoaro should check the results and see the proof of this tyranny.
QUESTION 9, Offoaro asked: “Why is it that every important political appointment meant for the north always ended up in the kitty of the Hausa/Fulani?”
ANSWER: Does Offoaro mean all the important federal appointments held by Middle Belters which he himself listed in previous paragraphs of his article?
QUESTION 10, Offoaro asked: “Why is it that any important federal investment meant for the north ends up in the belly of the Hausa-Fulani geographical area?”
ANSWER: Which investments? Offoaro should do a follow up article and name them. In case he finds any he should check very well whether there is no such in the Middle Belt and if not he should as a matter of urgent national importance prevail on President Jonathan to immediately bring federal investments to the area.
QUESTION 11, Offoaro asked: “And why is it so, that the area belonged to the north only in name?”
ANSWER: What is Offoaro’s worry here? Is he not trying to convert the place to the south in deed and in name? Let him just hurry!
QUESTION 12, Offoaro asked: “Why doesn’t the Middle Belt area of Nigeria have anything to show for the political support it had shown to the core north?”
ANSWER: But they have a lot to show for supporting Obasanjo and are still having a lot more to show for supporting Jonathan. What is Offoaro’s worry about?
QUESTION 13, Offoaro asked: “When will the Middle Belt region be liberated?”
ANSWER: When Offoaro comes like Moses or James Bond to lead them to a free and liberated southeast or any other place of his choice.
QUESTION 14, Offoaro asked: “Why is it that the people from the area do not have a voice of their own?”
ANSWER: Because their Councilors, Council Chairmen, State Assembly representatives, Governors, Senators, House of Reps members, ministers and so on and so on are Hausa/Fulanis. Is there anything Offoaro can do about it?
QUESTION 15, Offoaro asked: “Why are there not visible coherent political pressure groups like the Ohanaeze, Afenifere, South-South Elders Forum, and or the MASSOB, the OPC, and the BOKO HARAM in the Middle Belt region in spite of the area’s strategic importance?”
ANSWER: Because Offoaro has taken over the job and voice of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) and if he wants them to own terror groups like MASSOB, OPC and BOKO HARAM he should just offer them free consultancy and logistics services since he wants to liberate them to a liberated and prosperous land.
That’s the kind of propaganda being churned out there just to programme the minds of a targeted people to hate others and be easily manipulated and nothing convinces me that it is not driven by what seems to be an incurable phobia for accommodation, selflessness and unity. Asari Dokubo, the stormy petrel, in an interview with the LEADERSHIP SUNDAY newspaper of March 18, 2012 said “We are starting a programme to force the presidency to make sure that one dime of our money does not come up North. Nobody can take our resources.” How he and the other cantankerous people in his team will do this is not known, but it seems Dokubo and his team may have dumped the northern branch of the National Association of Minority Tribes of Nigeria (NAMTN) who in submission to the usual strange and questionable liberation propaganda of Offoaro’s type staked their northernness in the 2011 presidential election for Jonathan whom they saw as a member of their Association. The same Dokubo has been holding meetings of so called ethnic nationalities including tribes from the north. Will their programme to force the presidency to block “their money” from going up north fashion a way for “their money” to go to the minority tribes in the north or is it a case of use and dump? Will Dokubo and his team sponsor a legislation in the National Assembly “to force the presidency” to effect that or is it a wider plot that involves Terrorist Tompolo given official powers to patrol Nigeria’s high seas for God knows what? The DAILY TRUST newspaper of Friday, March 30, 2012 on page 5 quoted an ASSOCIATED PRESS (AP) news item which reported the Special Adviser to the President on Maritime Services, Leke Oyewole as saying “Behind the scenes, Tompolo has been offering his advice to the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan” and you wonder what manner of advice will a known terrorist offer any government.
A clearer picture of what the programme may be is given by Annkio Briggs in an advertorial on page 33 of the DAILY SUN newspaper of Thursday, March 1, 2012. In it she said, “Just as our leaders in 1958 felt that they will not develop in an independent Nigeria and they have been proved right, we today declare our unshaking support for Dr Goodluck Jonathan to remain the President of Nigeria. But we painfully admit that the Niger Delta will not develop in Nigeria under any government, now or in future, because past governments have failed the Niger Delta people.” Even after having a president of the nation from their stock she still believes that her people will not develop under his government or in any other future government of the Nigerian nation, a conclusion she may have reached after consulting with the gods of the Ijaw nation. So what is next? This is one of the reasons I believe “Boko Haram” engaged in “proxy bombing” may not let up so as to create a perfect platform for Dokubo and Annkio’s “programme to force the presidency to make sure that one dime of our money does not come up North” and “Nobody can take our resources” ambition to materialize. And your guess is as good as mine what this is all about.
The DAILY TRUST newspaper of Wednesday, January 18, 2012 on page 13 carried a prediction contained in a report made by the United States group of military experts released by the Centre for Strategy and Technology, Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The predictors claimed that Nigeria will disintegrate by 2030, but that before then the country will be engaged in a multipartite civil war like it happened in Lebanon in 1975 and Somalia in 1991. According to them “Nigeria’s lack of unifying national identity, history of corrupt governance, religious and cultural schisms, and shifting demographics may cause the state, over time, to break apart.” They added that “a history of tribal and religious conflicts, endemic corruption at all levels of government, poor national planning, uneven development, social disorder, rampant criminality, violent insurgency, and terminal weak governance provides an environment that could portend imminent collapse and failure.” They also said “the more destructive the civil war, the greater the chance of genocide and other horrors that leave an indelible stain on human history.” Alarmingly, they posited that “By 2030 MEND should be able to maintain a well-trained force of up to 10, 000 fighters who will conduct raids against national oil infrastructure, both on and offshore.”
When you put these submissions by these U.S. military experts vis-à-vis all the threats and blackmails by people like Annkio Briggs and Asari Dokubo and with Terrorist Tompolo displacing the functions of the Nigerian Navy at our coastlines then it’s not difficult to figure out what the agenda is all about. They have upped the ante now by recent attempts and maneuvers to blackmail the nation into swallowing again the bitter government of Goodluck Jonathan beyond 2015.
The LEADERSHIP newspaper of Wednesday, April 11, 2012 reported that some Ijaw leaders held a meeting in Lagos at which they discussed on how to prevail on President Jonathan to recant on his declarations that he would serve only one term, which, according to them, “could cause a serious political setback for their region.” To them, it will be “so as not to mortgage the opportunity of the South-South to enjoy eight years presidency.” In a manner that tends to denigrate other people with sound character and integrity from the region who may want to contest the election the newspaper reported one of them as saying “Jonathan is the only person in the South-South who could run and win the presidential election in 2015.” How one of the most unpopular presidents in our nation’s history could win re-election in 2015 could be one of the wonders of the century. And faced with the moral dilemma hanging on Jonathan’s neck when he breached his party’s power sharing agreement which has successfully cast him as a dishonourable politician, which made him to publicly state that he was going to serve for just a term vis-à-vis the immorality of him recanting again his stated desire to serve only one term, the newspaper reported Joshua Fumudoh, a former president of the Ijaw National Congress as saying that “the meeting considered that the statement by the president at the time was meant to douse tension in the land.” That means they played a very fantastic fraud (419) on all Nigerians to get what they want and thereafter use threats, blackmail and force to compel us to re-swallow the fraud and the misgovernance that came along with it. Well, if they play along this line and president Jonathan agrees with them they will have succeeded in eternally giving him the reputation of a serial liar and the Bible says in Psalm chapter 63 verses 11 that “…the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.” Nigerians need to stand up and call the bluff of these contrarians of honour and morality.
Here I must advise the northern power establishment and their businessmen and women to pool resources together to begin to exploit the huge oil deposits and abundant mineral resources within the north to free her from the stigma of being called parasites by cantankerous people. Oil is not an exclusive preserve of any type of geographical area, for if desert Arab lands down to the Niger Republic can have oil then nothing stops it being in the north. In the past there have been sabotages of the exploration and exploitation of oil in the north by people who derive pleasure in labeling the north and northerners as poor uneducated parasites and cannot stand the prospect of an oil rich north, for such people suffer from a very bad case of both inferiority and superiority complex. That is why the Director General of the Energy Commission of Nigeria, Prof. Abubakar Sambo told newsmen on March 19, 2012 in Abuja that “Exploitation of oil in the North is yet to begin because of politics.” He emphasized that even though there is proof of the existence of oil reserves in Bauchi and Gombe states but that their exploitation is stalled because of politics. The Bible has proven in Psalm chapter 104 verses 24 that no part of the world or earth is without riches. It says “O LORD, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.” So, the north and other parts of Nigeria can do well to diligently begin to explore and harness the resources made available by God within their domain and be free from the blackmail of a few implacable people, for God is set to settle some arguments in this nation by Himself. And that’s very soon!
While the far north is being misunderstood, abused and turned into a subject of ridicule and also being projected as Nigeria’s problem I believe that they hold lessons for us Christians to learn from. God has often, in the Bible told us Christians to learn certain principles of life from certain things we probably despise. For example, in Proverbs chapter 6 verses 6 to 8 God has instructed us to learn the principles of discipline, hard work, teamwork and savings from the ant. He instructs: “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.”
The north and northerners are often derided as poor and parasitic, but curiously they have the lowest number of criminals home and abroad. Before Farouk Abdulmuttalab and after, northerners were not and are not the reason Nigeria’s green passport has become an object of unpleasant attention abroad. Northerners are not the ones packed in foreign jails doing time. Northerners are not the majority of people queuing up in front of foreign missions desperately looking for visa to ship out and do whatever. Northerners are not the majority involved in illicit drugs trafficking. Northerners are not the majority doing international and domestic prostitution. Northerners are not the majority involved in armed robbery and the hired killer profession. Northerners did not create the kidnapping industry in Nigeria. Northerners are not the majority involved in electronic mail scams. So, if we are to be called Christians let us be Christians in deed but not just in name. Instead of looking for and finding faults with the northerners we should first heed Christ’s instruction in Matthew chapter 7 verses 5 wherein He said to us “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” A beam is made up of motes, which means what we are hypocritically accusing others of is just a tiny component of our own faults.
So, the Hausa/Fulani man, in his poverty and deprivation will rather be a shoe shiner, a seller of fruits and veggies in wheelbarrow, a mini trader, a suya seller, a mai guard, a water vendor in hand pushed truck, a tea and bread seller by the street corner or at worst a beggar than being a local or international criminal. At least it’s more honourable to beg than to be a criminal. And, hey, am not saying they don’t have criminals. It’s the comparative proportion am talking about here. The Lord Jesus Christ told us in Luke chapter 21 verses 19 that “In your patience possess ye your souls” but we appear to be the most impatient people in this country and the consequences of our impatience are what has set the country on edge, and instead of collectively taking on the divinely ordained task of rescuing the nation we are busy engaged in provincialism and, in cowardice and sheer hypocrisy, hiding behind the veil of prayer for the nation to escape confronting the butchering monsters and thieves we have aided and abetted to be in government. And while still hiding in our cowardice agents and prophets of doom are busy fanning the embers of discord and further pushing the nation to the brink because we have refused to fill the gap we are ordained to fill, for it seems we have not reckoned with the fact that gaps hate remaining as gaps. It is either the right persons fill them up or the wrong persons will. And this is how and why the original Boko Haram came to be.
It is only a complete sense and state of hopelessness that could propel a formal school graduate to tear his degree or diploma certificates to shreds and take up arms to wage war against a system he has rightly observed as unjust, rotten and corrupt. A system that does not reward hard work, creativity, honesty, integrity and merit but rather chooses to garland thieves with medals of honour and prop them to be rulers of the people is a system that is doomed to attract various malcontents to rebel against it. This is the state Nigeria has found herself in, but instead of the church to rise to the occasion majority of her shepherds have transformed into butchers and have formed an alliance I will call the National Association of P.D.P. Pastors (NAPDPP) to enthrone and strengthen another cadre of butchers with bigger knives, mouths, jaws and throats that can slice, chew and swallow the people running helter-skelter looking for salvation. The few shepherds that have refused to join their butchering club have become target practice for their arrows of mischief and propaganda. At all cost the people must be butchered, so their actions suggest. While God has ordained and anointed them to be the voice and protective cover of the poor the sweet scent of the aroma of filthy lucre has attracted them and, like Gehazi in the Bible, they have lost their skin and garment of prestige and honour both before God and man. And like David would say of the death of Jonathan (the selfless one in the Bible), “How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished.” Ah! The weapons of truth meant to fight the cause of the poor in Nigeria have been turned to fight the cause of the wicked in high places and has consequented into the perishing of the land. Ah! The schools, the hospitals, the roads, the power supply, the water supply and housing have been swallowed down the throats of thieves wearing nice clothes in offices. Morality and good conscience have both journeyed abroad in search of a receptive land. Bedlam that loves their absence has offered to replace them and with two hands and a hug we accepted her. Ah…..
So who bails the poor from the buccaneering grip of the butchers in high places? The Nehemiahs and the Phinehases strategically hidden by God within the church must step forward. The time for which the sons and daughters of men will see their manifestation is now, for the Word says for everything there is a time and season. The time and cup of the butchers are full and now is time for reclamation and restoration. It is time to march the streets and occupy public buildings and offices and demand accountability, and also demand the complete eradication of corruption from the conduct of both public and private businesses.
Pastor Tunde Bakare and a few other pastors in conjunction with other good conscienced and well meaning persons and groups stood out to make a positive difference in our nation by mobilizing and galvanizing all their time and resources in defence of the cause of the poor after the Satan inspired removal of subsidy on petrol. But what did they get from some so called pastors? Condemnations. Rebuffs. Slander.
Faced with the dilemma of how to recoup back to the treasury funds stolen to buy every buyable conscience in an election which compassion, morality and honour were sentenced to death by hanging, it took the nudging of a certain Christine Largade from the ever dubious IMF and some locally based neo-liberal economic experts with expert skills and knowledge on how to ‘remove the ladder’ of industrial and economic growth from developing nations so that they can remain perpetual economic laggards for a phantom subsidy on petrol to be removed so that Nigerians can be overtaxed and overcharged over a product they have in abundance just to create a safety net for thieves to pay back to the treasury what they stole and to re-steal it again. That was what the whole gambit of fuel subsidy removal was all about. And for this cruelty against the poor overbeaten, over flogged and over deceived people of Nigeria God was and is still angry, but majority of our pastors were not angry one bit. But why should they even be angry, after all they are assured of a steady stream of monetary and material income since, come rain and come shine, people must come to church with tithes, offerings, seed offerings and prophet offerings?
The mass of Nigerian people trooped the streets to show their anger and displeasure at what the butchers in government have been and are still subjecting them to. All of a sudden the same people that were, a few months earlier, divided by characterless and colourless politicians along ethno-religious lines became united in the realization that these butchers have after all not singled out any ethnic or religious group to be spared from their butchering knives. There were not going to be petrol stations strictly for Christians and neither were there any for Muslims with the ones for the other having cheap price advantage over the ones for the other. Neither also was there markets divided along those lines with cheaper goods shipped into the markets for the preferred people of our dividing politicians. It came to pass that the people realized that we are all Nigerians after all. There went Muslims and Christians, tribes and all, hands locked together and all together holding the Green-White-Green flag that banners our Nigerianness, all protesting against the unquenching thirst and desire of our ever thieving politicians to steal more and inflict the burdens of their thefts on the people they lick instead of lead. The youths that were deceived with free disco dancing sessions across the major cities of Nigeria to vote for only Goodluck Jonathan and not the P.D.P. all came out to denounce the evil project of making them and their parents pay for those free discos at the fuel pump and the markets. Someone needed to identify with these people and speak for them and fight their cause. The Lord God the Almighty commanded in Proverbs chapter 31 verses 9 that anyone that cares and still has his or her good conscience intact to “Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.”
Pleading the cause of the poor and the needy has always been the central plank of the Gospel; it is the heartbeat and heart cry of God Almighty. In fact, it is the reason He prospers people.
I believe Pastor Tunde Bakare and a few other Nigerian pastors, including that noble Catholic Bishop in Ado-Ekiti understood this truth very well and they came out and identified with the people to plead their just cause – yes, it was and is still a just cause the quest to demand the restoration of fuel prices to their pre January 1st 2012 position. If anything the only thing that Nigerians get from their governments since 1999 is lower fuel price. Even that, successive governments have often jerked up the prices on the guise of the removal of a so called subsidy with the usual lies of raising enough money for infrastructural development and job market growth, but at the end it is government officials that end up becoming billionaires at the expense of the people. The jobs will not be seen and the infrastructure still remains as relics of a war territory.
For daring to step into the fray and open his mouth as commanded by God to plead the cause of the poor and needy, members of the National Association of P.D.P. Pastors (NAPDPP) descended on Pastor Bakare, heaping all the names that are their names on him. Even when the pastor joined politics to help bring sanity and accountable governance to the country, to them the pastor has lost focus and has derailed from his calling. And to “help” him regain his focus and calling they mobilized the “fish and bread multitude” that are their congregations to vote in the same way those Pharisees and Sadducees of old mobilized the same “fish and bread multitude” that the Lord Jesus Christ fed to vote against Him in favour of a thief and murderer before Pilate the Roman governor! It was the same epic drama replicated again in another form, and here we are shuffling our feet and sighing in pain and boredom at the epilogue of the drama.
Ah, whenever they attack Pastor Bakare for daring to join politics they quickly develop an emergency amnesia, for right inside the party they love and romance with are Pastors like Jonah Jang, Jolly Nyame and many others occupying either elective or party positions in various states and local governments. Probably to them, it is only alright if a pastor joins politics through their party for they have never taken full page newspaper ads against these clergymen in their party like they have often done against Pastor Bakare.
They probably may have not reckoned that whereas Joseph served as Prime Minister in Egypt he was also a prophet; that prophet Moses was the political leader of the Jews until his death; that Joshua who took over from Moses served as their prophet and political leader also; that king David, while being king over Israel was also a prophet and the same thing for his son, king Solomon. And when you move a little further into the years of exile of the Jewish nation, Daniel served as Prime Minister in the kingdom of Babylon, but the Lord Jesus Christ called him a prophet in Matthew chapter 24 verses 15. And, come on, the titles of Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords are all political leadership titles.
So what is the argument all about? Is it because Pastor Bakare has refused to be corrupted and suborned to wage war against the glorious destiny of the Nigerian nation like many others in the priesthood have allowed? Well, no matter how corrupt and decadent any nation or society may be God will always have for Himself at least a group of seven thousand persons whose knees have refused to bow in submission to the deceptions and trickeries of Baal the corrupter of nations (see 1st Kings chapter 19 verses 18). It is these remnants that, like the prophet Elijah, will stand up to evil kings like Ahab and his notoriously evil wife, Queen Jezebel and destroy all their Satanism which has robbed some nations of the earth of God’s glory and blessings. There can never ever be a complete surrender of all people in any nation or church to the inglorious majesty of Baal and Jezebel. So, if the pastors and bishops of many Nigerian churches have transformed into prophets of Baal like the four hundred prophets in 1st Kings chapter 22 verses 6, Pastor Bakare has refused to be so transformed. Even before he joined politics he has been a consistent voice and mobilizer against any form of injustice, even in favour of his current traducers who have benefitted from his crusades for justice. And that is the context in which the pastor joined and mobilized against the ill willed Jonathan’s policy of overcharging and over taxing Nigerians on the cost of petrol for more money to be stolen.
One Pastor Ojang Agba who labeled himself as “A Worker in the Lord’s Vineyard” took out full page advertorials in major national newspapers in the course of the morally and legitimately right protests against the evil hike in petrol price to paint Pastor Bakare in the garment of a false prophet for daring to step forward to fight against the evil that they “true prophets” in connivance with the butchers they helped put in government unleashed on Nigerians. O, yes, their complicit silence in the face of that horrendous act by the ruling cabal is evidence enough of their endorsement of that evil. Not once have I ever, ever seen any such advertorial coming from this so called Pastor Agba rebuking corruption being perpetrated by evil rulers, but he found it so convenient to put up his (?) resources to put up ads attacking someone who was fearless enough to confront the Ahabs and Jezebels on behalf of the poor. So, whose cause was this Pastor Agba and other members of the National Association of P.D.P. Pastors that were attacking Pastor Bakare fighting, the cause of the poor or the kleptomaniacs stealing from the poor?
Pastor Agba, in a conspiratorial tone asked, “Did you watch Tunde Bakare heaping curses on President Jonathan and other members of the administration? I did. And I began to wonder what my bible says about that type of behaviour. And I found the following; “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse” Romans 12:14.” But Pastor Agba did not tell us in his ads what the Bible says about corrupt rulers who derive ecstatic pleasure in oppressing and stealing from the poor and what prophets or pastors or the church should do to them. I bet he and his type will easily find answer and solace in the usual verse of Scripture they use as hiding place to escape confronting the thieves they help in government. I’m talking of 1st Timothy chapter 2 verses 1 to 3, which asks for prayers for all men, and for kings and all those in authority. The problem is, the church has been praying for donkey years for all manner of rulers that came and went and nothing has changed. If the people in authority you are praying for are not in a right position to be beneficiaries of the answers to the prayers of the saints it will end up as mere bodily exercise. For example, if an angel of the Lord, in answer to a certain prayer is coming with the gift of wisdom to deposit in some ruler but finds the ruler in a drinking spree or some compromising situation or discussing how to frustrate some judges of integrity out of office or strategizing on how to rig another election the angel will surely turn back. Most importantly also is the spiritual state of those praying: are they living in love for even their enemies? Do they condone corruption and injustice? What is their view of all the people in the nation they live in? Do they view people of other tribes and religion as low castes and slaves that should be dominated and relegated? All these and more are important in determining God’s response to these people praying for the nation. But considering the rot the Nigerian nation is in, God could be telling us something else. Perhaps, our prayers for the nation may have been hanging in the clouds.
Moreover, even if we are praying for the well-being of the nation God expects us to work the answer with Him. And this is where the issue of cowardice comes in. I am sure quite a number of clergy in the Nigerian church find it convenient to perpetually hide behind the veil of prayer while avoiding the work part, for working for the rescue and salvation of any nation, more especially ones like Nigeria ridden with thuggish and criminal politicians, requires an extraordinary dose of courage. When God was instructing Joshua on how to take over the nations and cities He has given the nation of Israel He told him and the people to be strong and courageous three times (see Joshua chapter 1), for He knew the occupants of those nations and cities would not give them up without contention because of the sense of entitlementalism. Now, if you look closely and carefully all the thieves that have been ruling Nigeria till date walk with swagger because of this sense of entitlementalism. They seem to have this uncanny confidence which kind of suggests they believe they have an inalienable right to practice and multiply corruption. And just to prove that, they deploy both official and unofficial powers to scuttle any genuine effort at fighting corruption. Verily, verily I say unto you that they will not give up corruption without a fight! This is where the work part which requires courage comes in.
And the Bible gave us a clue to this fact and truth when it says in Mark chapter 16 verses 20 that “….they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them…..” It didn’t say the Lord worked for them, but that He worked with them. They collaborated with the Lord in working together, not the other sitting aloof while another worked. Acts chapter 5 verses 12 also say “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people….” God did not use His own hands literally; rather He used their own hands to bring reformation in the lives of the people. They too had the choice of hiding their hands in fear and faithlessness, but they embraced and deployed faith and courage and it worked and you cannot tell me that they have not been prayer warriors, too. But fearful and hypocritical Christianity will rather wait for God to come and do what He has given them hands to do. When you meet Nigerians bemoaning what has become of their country, you would detect an expectation for God to come down with the heavenly host to fight corrupters of the nation and turn it to an Eldorado. And that’s not gonna happen.
If God were to fight our battles without our spiritual and physical input we may end up not appreciating the task involved and would therefore not savour the joy of victory, and, most importantly, the change He may have given us on a platter of gold could be allowed to fritter away due to lethargy. People are able to manage effectively and prudently what they labour by themselves to attain contrary to what they may have been given freely (not all times, though). That was how Adam and Eve abused the privilege of owning and enjoying free things given them in the Garden of Eden. I believe this is the context in which Pastor Bakare actively mobilizes for social justice and the liberation of the poor from oppression, which is even the mandate of all the prophets of God and hence the church. Any pastor or prophet that, at any given time and situation, does not identify with and speak for the poor and the oppressed should better examine his or her stance with God, it is most probable they have transformed into prophets of Baal without knowing, or maybe even knowingly.
So, was Pastor Bakare raining curses or abuses on President Jonathan at the Gani Fawehinmi Memorial Park in Lagos during the mass protests against the unjust fuel price hike? Except if the ever fault finding Pharisees and Sadducees have a new definition for curse, what the Pastor was saying at the rally did not amount to him cursing the President. If boldly demanding for the restoration of petrol price to what it was before the inhuman price hike and the moral demand for accountability and social justice were what constitutes a curse in the eyes and ears of these cowards in priestly garb then they need to start school afresh. The Pastor didn’t curse the President, rather the mass of protesters nationwide were the ones holding all manner of banners and artworks depicting the President in unpleasant terms, and of course many rained verbal curses on him and at the end of it all, President Jonathan now holds the Google record of the most cursed president in the world! So we have a cursed ruler in our hands! Lord, have mercy!
It is true, the Bible says in Ecclesiastes chapter 10 verses 20 that “Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.” But the reason King Solomon issued this advice is, any act of disobedience to the Mosaic regulations or to any of God’s commandments naturally attracts a curse, and therefore it becomes unnecessary for one to pronounce a curse on such a disobedient fellow. This is the reason most afflictions (not all) are due to certain misdemeanor or sin. So whether the people curse a wicked and corrupt ruler or not the fact that he or she engages in corruption and debauchery is enough to place such a ruler under a curse. Curse is a natural consequence of an evil action. Proverbs chapter 26 verses 2 confirm it thus: “As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.” But, in what looks like a permission for people to curse evil rulers Proverbs chapter 11 verses 26 says, “He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.” So, evil rulers who steal public funds meant for public good like housing, roads, health care and medicare, education, electricity, water supply, food production, job creation and industrial development shall be cursed by the people even though they needed not to pronounce it, but as an expression of their angst, anger and frustration they pour it out as a means of easing themselves of bottled up pressure. When Christ was angered and frustrated by the absence of fruits – and it was the season of fruits – on a fig tree He cursed the tree and immediately, the tree dried up.
Evil and corrupt rulers are fig trees that are withholding fruits from the public, and as Christ was hungry before seeing the fig tree so also are the people hungry for social services, food and infrastructure. But the rulers, standing as the corrupt and wicked fig tree have denied the people the basic needs of life, instead they have and are still accumulating for themselves all it takes to produce the fruits just like the fig tree was filled with sap and everything it takes to produce fruits but chose not to. Such selfish fig trees are always looking lush and green because of accumulated sap and nutrients that nourish only themselves, probably not knowing that yielding what they were meant to yield would make them greener and lusher. And Christ cursed such a tree to become dry, since it would not use its power and resources to provide succour.
So, what are our prophets doing against the fig tree at the center of power in Nigeria, which has been denying the fruits of living from the population? Christ pronounced judgment on the unfruitful fig tree, but what judgment are our prophets pronouncing on the Nigerian unfruitful fig tree? I can’t remember any prophet of note in the Bible who did not pronounce one judgment or the other against evil rulers of their time. If the prophets in Nigeria have devoted time and energy at cursing out the evil fig tree of corruption and bad governance out of Nigeria in the same way they lead the church in the “curse your enemy” kind of prayer and followed it with action Nigeria will have been a sane society to live and do business in by now.
Another clergyman that went on misfiring his mouth against Pastor Bakare for mobilizing and leading the massive rallies against the callous thievery perpetrated by some government officials in conjunction with their accomplices in the private sector in the name of subsidy payments was Dr. Sunday Ola Makinde, Prelate, Methodist Church, Nigeria. In a press release, which was posted online by nairaland.com towards the end of January 2012 the cleric said, “The role of any clergy is to stand in the gap between the government and the people. They should intercede on behalf of the people. Divine intervention is better than any rally. A cleric should not lead in any rally, but advise government on what they should do. You don’t lead the crowd. By doing so, you are telling us that God is weak in dealing with any situation.”
Here again we are faced with a situation of someone confused as to what the role of the clergy is in a corrupt, oppressive and brutal nation like Nigeria, where the mass of people are left on their own without any governmental care. In Dr. Makinde’s understanding organizing and participating in rallies is faithlessness in God, as it portrays God as weak. Now, when you read Pastor Sunday Adelaja’s book, CHURCH SHIFT, in which God clearly told the pastor to organize rallies in protest against the oppressive dictatorship in Ukraine, a revolution that was successfully executed, you would think that, by Dr. Makinde’s postulation, God is a confusionist. By Makinde’s postulation the clergy are a detached group of persons from the people and should be mere negotiators between the government and the people, as it is clear this is his own understanding of standing in the gap. He thinks the prophethood is a mere advisory office that should just be advising governments on what they should do. But what if the thieving and oppressive governments like the ones we have been having in Nigeria till date refuse the advices of the prophets? And what advices proffered to thieves and oppressors in power by Dr. Makinde and the others who think like him have been accepted and used? Is Nigeria being run since 1999 till date according to the kind of advices Dr. Makinde and the other advisory prophets proffer? If so, then their advices must have been inspired by Satan but definitely not God as there is nothing on ground to suggest that this country has been run according to godly counsel in the period in question.
Let Dr. Makinde and the other kid glove prophets go back to the Bible and do a comprehensive study of all the prophets, they will see that none was a kid glove prophet. But rather, they were making bold and courageous demands from the kings on behalf of God and for the people. What should they be negotiating for? That some thieves who came to power on the back of Satan in a docile nation have decided to make life more unbearable for the people and the prophets should just merely walk up to them or merely call a press conference to advice them to do it gently, gently? That was not what Moses the prophet did. If Moses were to be in the fashion of Dr. Makinde and the other lily livered prophets here in Nigeria then the nation of Israel could still have been in Egypt bound in slavery till today! Satan and his representatives are not to be negotiated with by the prophets of God, rather they are to be told “Thus saith the Lord, let my people go” and not to be cavorting with them at the expense of the people. Recent examples of the lives of Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and the late Rev. Martin Luther King Junior should be an inspiration for cowardly and docile pastors to live up to the truth of activism.
Dr. Makinde further said, “We know Bakare is a politician, whether you like it or not. For him, political assignment is his primary while his religious obligation is secondary. I can call on government or advise the government to do this or that. But when a clergyman embarks on a rally or protest, it is inciting the people against the government. Area boys (miscreants) can hijack it from him and begin to unleash terror before our very eyes. ‘Oh, look at our pastor’. It is very easy to set up a fire, but difficult to quench it. When the government is doing something that is bad, we speak out. We can call for a press conference where we advise the government to do what is right.
“This man (Jonathan) we are talking about needs our prayers, whether you are a Muslim or Christian. He needs our prayers in order to govern well. I was in the Holy Land (Israel) when I heard what was going on and I thank God for intervening. I thank God for answering our prayers.
“I appeal to clerics not to use their cassocks or positions to get involved in any rally. For Tunde Bakare, we all know him as an activist; he was a running mate to the presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), who was defeated in the 2011 presidential election.”
That is a statement filled with hypocrisy, pride, ignorance, deceit and self righteousness in the order of the Pharisees. I have already dealt with the issue of whether prophets can be kings or not earlier, as Dr. Makinde and his ilk, in the narrow confines of their vision and understanding concerning the purpose of the priesthood, have often, as he has just done, assumed Pastor Bakare has fallen off his calling. Sounding judgmental he has even asserted that the pastor has confined his religious faith and obligations to a secondary matter without telling us whether religious obligations do not include, first and foremost, the quest for social justice and the people’s welfare. In their usual Pharisaic pride, arrogance and aloof posturing he alluded that the prophet cannot mix with miscreants in any rally, as, according to him, they may hijack it and unleash terror. In order words, to maintain the status quo of corruption and governmental terror on the population the clergy, being clean, descent and noble people, should keep far from miscreants, even if the same miscreants have been made miscreants by thieves in power and are looking for a role model who feels their pain and have identified with them and has devoted his life to fighting for a cause that could free them from being miscreants. The Bible has already said there is nothing new under the sun; whatever we see today has occurred in like manner in time past. The Dr. Makindes of old have constantly derided the Lord Jesus Christ for fraternizing with sinners, so it is nothing new if Pastor Bakare is being derided for being in the midst of Area Boys on the spurious claim that “it is very easy to set up a fire, but difficult to quench it.” And you wonder who started the fire he is talking about? The actions of a corrupt, thieving and unfeeling government targeted at oppressing the poor and needy are enough fire already, combating it is what will quench the fire but not being lethargic, cowardly and aloof as the members of the National Association of P.D.P. Pastors will want the public to be.
Dr. Makinde said he thanked God for intervening, and one wonders, how did God intervene in the matter? By the murders executed to thwart the protests? Or by the deployment of armoured tanks and heavily armed security men to occupy protest venues and further murder anyone that dared them? Or by tear gassing elderly people on peaceful protests march on the streets of Lagos? Or, as in the case of Kano, when a grand protest rally was fixed for Saturday, January 21, 2012, very conveniently for those who never wanted such protest rallies “Boko Haram” executed a bombing fiesta on the city on Friday the 20th and the protest rally could not hold, is that the kind of answer and divine intervention Dr. Makinde is talking about? Shortly, I will prove scripturally whether the clergy or the church can organize or take part in rallies in consideration of Dr. Makinde’s plea that clerics should not use their cassocks or position to get involved in any rally. But I must state that Nigeria with clerics like Dr. Makinde will remain perpetually under the oppressive jackboots of cruel thieves that have cashed in on the docility of the people engendered by a complacent and pliant theology of the type spawned by Makinde and his type. They are the type Christ rebuked in Matthew chapter 23 verses 13 saying “But woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” The Makindes have not been known to champion any cause that will bring social justice to the oppressed poor and they will neither allow the few among them the clergy that want to fight for social justice to do so without facing their hypocritical, unjust and deceptive criticisms and evil gang ups.
Dr. Makinde, in the last paragraph of his statement, said of Pastor Bakare that, “For me, government cannot take him seriously. He is fighting for his belly; he’s fighting for the theology of his stomach. We should not mix politics with religion. It is very dangerous for our nation. Bakare is mixing politics with religion and I advise that no cleric should mix politics with religion. May God bless our Fatherland. Amen.” This is the deepest pit a cleric can fall into in the art and act of treachery, dishonesty, deception and outright slander and lies against a man of God. Only insane or mad people are said to not be taken seriously. Dr. Makinde admonishes that a corrupt government should not take the efforts and actions of social justice crusaders like Pastor Bakare serious, which means, to people like Makinde, everything is alright with the polity, therefore only insane or mad persons are making noise against it. This must be the reason for the complicit silence by majority of the Christian clergy during and after the criminal and unconscionable hike in the price of petrol, for they may have thought like Makinde that only people who should not be taken seriously protest against corruption and social injustice. When Pastor Bakare and others marched the streets of Lagos and Abuja, demanding for the swearing in of then Vice President Jonathan as Acting President in 2010, I am sure then, to Dr. Makinde and the same Jonathan they want to protect, Pastor Bakare should be taken seriously. But if it is for the poor mass of people whom Jonathan wants to make shoeless like he was, then the pastor should not be taken seriously.
Now, I wonder, how did Dr. Makinde arrive at his claim that Pastor Bakare was fighting for his belly such that his theology was the theology of the stomach? When the pastor and other compatriots with him rejected a gift (or was it bribe) of fifty thousand US Dollars from this same Jonathan in Aso Rock, which gave us an inkling of how the other clergy who often troop into the villa are treated, where was Dr. Makinde? And have Dr. Makinde and his type ever rejected any such gifts from politicians like Jonathan? And come to think of it, if Pastor Bakare is a pastor of the stomach as claimed by Dr. Makinde couldn’t he have aligned himself to the wagon of the National Association of P.D.P. Pastors, make cool money and look the other way when both minor and serious acts of corruption, thievery and oppression are being perpetrated against the nation and hence the poor? Between Pastor Bakare and a few other clergy that have also been vocal against the oppression of the poor and the pliant and subservient ones like Dr. Makinde, who between the two camps can be said to be pursuing the theology of the stomach? The poor people of Nigeria, the Area Boys, the miscreants and the other downtrodden know exactly who their friends are among the clergy. So Dr. Makinde and the others in his kind of theology should save their breath from ranting their poisonous effusions against people that have chosen not to be cowards and have taken sides with the poor and the oppressed. Let them remain as prophets of Ahab until Jehu is anointed, if not already, to slay Jezebel their mistress whom they commit adultery with, but before then they should brace up for their own judgment on Mount Carmel!
And as for mixing politics with religion, Dr. Makinde must have again lost direction at which he should have directed his advice. When Pastor Bakare was canvassing for votes never did he ask people to vote for Buhari and him on the basis of his Christian faith. We all know who did that and that was why the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to which Dr. Makinde actively belongs adopted Jonathan Goodluck as their candidate. So at what point did Dr. Makinde discover that mixing politics with religion is dangerous? Is it after we are now experiencing the disastrous consequences of their political indiscretion and lack of wisdom that he has discovered mixing politics with religion is dangerous? Oh, come on! If anyone should be asked not to mix religion with politics, Dr. Makinde should look inwards at their conclave of priests with unenviable record of backing corrupt and thieving politicians. Now that it has emerged that about two trillion Naira was stolen from Nigerians in the name of petrol subsidy payments, which from all indications was used to prosecute and conquer the 2011 presidential elections it is only a matter of time before we know how much of that stolen money was used to buy off these priests that, at any given time, with trembling lips and knees go about defending Jonathan’s government in spite of the glaring incompetence and massive corruption going on in the country. Haven’t such priests been praying for certified thieves like James Onanefe Ibori while they were busy looting treasuries and frolicking with mistresses?
Another cleric who showed his mind as working according to that of Dr. Makinde is Apostle Anslem Madubuko, the General Overseer of Revival Assembly, Lagos. In an interview he had with Sunday Oguntola of the NATION newspaper published on page 68 of the papers edition of Sunday, February 12, 2012 the cleric, in an apparent attempt to defend and absolve President Jonathan of blame in the mass protests occasioned by the wicked hike in the price of petrol said, “President Jonathan has been spiritually programmed to fail and without strong intercession, he will definitely fail. So, our job as a church is that we should continuously break the spell over his presidency; the bad spell that the wicked people have cast over his government. If we just keep talking about him, all of us will go down, the nation will go down, Jonathan will go down and we will all perish. But if we call upon the name of the Lord, there will be respite.”
That is one of the greatest public relations campaign done on behalf of an unfeeling and incompetent ruler by a cleric to the best of my knowledge. Even Bishop Sunday Mbang, the chief defender of the corrupt and evil regime of Obasanjo did not go this far as to attribute the incompetence and corruption of a ruler to some spiritual programming by some wicked people for the ruler to fail. How about someone coming out to say Adam and Eve were spiritually programmed by some wicked forces to fail in the Garden of Eden? So, all the failures Nigeria has been experiencing in governance can be attributed to some wicked spell cast upon each of the rulers by some wicked people so that their governments could fail? So then does it mean, going by Apostle Anslem’s theory, Prophet Elijah should have spared the evil regime of Ahab on the grounds that he could have been spiritually programmed by Jezebel to be wicked and to fail, or Prophet Samuel should have pleaded with God to spare King Saul when the Lord rejected him from being king due to his indiscretions on the ground that King Saul may have been spiritually programmed by his enemies to fail? How is that an excuse before God? So the decision to ask people to pay more than necessary at petrol pump stations so that enough money can be recovered to cover up the trillions stolen was programmed spiritually by the President’s enemies, and as such the people should merely understand this and not protest? Apostle Madubuko says “we should continuously break the spell over his presidency”, which means it’s going to be a continuous thing. In that case, according to the Apostle’s theology, each time the president misbehaves or anything untoward happens in the course of his government we should embark on breaking the spell responsible for that malfeasance. Is that how rulers should govern people? Is it an act of spell that some politicians have cultivated an attitude of dishonouring agreements reached at negotiations or being serial liars?
And for intimidating or blackmailing the nation that “If we just keep talking about him, all of us will go down, the nation will go down, Jonathan will go down and we will all perish” Madubuko needs to know that this country is bigger than Jonathan and will not sink because people talk about him or not. Nobody will perish because a president is being talked about. Rulers have come and gone before Madubuko’s Jonathan and people have talked about them and the nation has not perished. What will perish a nation is if the church and the people in that nation don’t stand up against corruption and social injustice and demand accountability from those in political powers, but not by merely talking about some ruler. It sounds like a fairytale story where an absolute monarch cannot be spoken of nor his name mentioned anywhere by his subjects. Nigeria is not such entity and will not be.
Asked by the interviewer why some of them, Christian clerics were not on the streets during the national protests and whether their absence and silence meant they were in support of the removal of fuel subsidy, Apostle Anslem said “People have different callings. I was not called to stand on the road and be cursing the president. That is not my calling. Unfortunately they used that to judge who is a man of God and who is not. The truth is that we are called for different purposes. You don’t expect Papa Adeboye to come out and lead such protest. No, that is not his calling. They talk about Martin Luther and I say that was Luther’s calling.”
I wonder what Apostle Madubuko’s concept of the Christian calling is. It seems he thinks marching the streets in protests is all about abuses or curses just like Dr. Makinde and the others think. But when Rev. Martin Luther was marching the streets of America along with many others he wasn’t abusing anyone. So also when Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu was doing same in then apartheid South Africa he wasn’t abusing or insulting anyone. So how does Madubuko’s priestly calling differ from theirs? But he betrayed his main reason for not being part of the protests, which is pride. His suggestion that no one should expect Papa Adeboye to come out and lead such protest casts his argument on the platform of pride. It suggests, him, along with Papa Adeboye are too holy, too gentle, too descent, too anointed and too disciplined to be in the midst of everyday people to protest against what was rightly a case of social injustice. It was the time to identify with the oppressed and send clear signals to the oppressors in government that the prophets are against corruption and social injustice no matter if perpetrated by whom. Madubuko may not have known that their absence from the protests and silence over that wicked and evil hike in petrol price and even after some protesters were murdered for the benefit of the thieves that stole those trillions showed how much they have lost their sense of empathy for the poor and the needy, and their silence and inaction is similar to the reason Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said “In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.” Christ showed example by being friends with the poor and needy; feeding, healing and providing for their needs. But today’s Apostles have pitched tent with the very enemies of the poor and have joined in the operation of the despoliation of the nation by the thieves they adopt, anoint and put in office.
Apostle Madubuko may not have heard or read or he may have chosen to conveniently forget how Pastor Adeboye said severally that he was going to lead nationwide protest rallies if the 2011 presidential elections were rigged. That means the Papa Adeboye he was imagining would not be part of any protest rally actually believes protest rallies are not a sin and are a part of the legitimate processes of seeking redress in a corrupt and oppressive atmosphere like we have in Nigeria, even though till now the Pastor has not called a press conference to tell Nigerians whether he thought the elections were free and fair and whether free and fair includes breaching an agreement the supposed winner of the supposedly free and fair elections was a signatory to, and again, whether it is right for businessmen and women to opportunistically breach business agreements and come to church to share testimony of a “divine breakthrough” after “successfully” breaching the agreements. So what gave him the drive to drag the pastor’s name in such untenable argument that pastors should not be part of any rallies?
To further argue his reasons for their silence and absence he said “So, we cannot be what we are not. You don’t know what he is doing in the secret. For all you know, that may even be more important than what those on the streets did.” It is very essential now for Apostle Anslem to tell Nigerians what they did in the secret and what the results of their secret action during and after the protests are. We know that military tanks were used to occupy protests venues. We know that more than twenty people were murdered by the police for daring to protest against corruption and oppression. We also know that “Boko Haram” helped in stopping some massive protest rallies. We also know that the price of petrol has not been reverted back to sixty-five Naira per liter. We also now have proof that actually, monies were stolen in an unprecedented scale in the name of subsidy payments in an election year. And we also know that “Boko Haram” attempted to divert attention from the tension raised by the subsidy probe report by bombing some media houses, particularly one of them that published a scathing editorial against a church built for the President in his country home by a foreign contracting firm doing business in Nigeria. This was also quickly followed by the Bayero University, Kano (BUK) attack on Christian worshippers on Sunday, April 29, 2012 in which several lives were lost. The LEADERSHIP newspaper of Tuesday, May 1, 2012 reported that in the same BUK the Anti-Bomb Squad of the Kano State Command of the Nigeria Police defused a timed bomb planted near the Mosque of the University’s new site. Now, in a highly religiously volatile city like Kano a bomb blowing off a Mosque is most likely to trigger a religious war, which must have been the intent of those who planted the bomb. Could Mohammed Yusuf’s Boko Haram intentionally target to kill Muslims massively like that, or was it “Boko Haram” intending to trigger a religious war between Christians and Muslims to deflect public attention and increasing demands for government to punish those who stole monies in the name of fuel subsidy? Also the DAILY SUN newspaper of the same Tuesday, May 1, 2012 on page 12 reported that one Stephen dropped an Improvised Explosive Device in the house of one Mr. Aboho, a relation of his in New Nyanya, a settlement town in Nassarawa State very close to Abuja. The newspaper said “The quick response of the security operatives and the confirmation that the object was an explosive device heightened tension and anxiety among many residents.” Clearly, if that device had blown off Mr. Aboho’s house and the adjoining properties with the attendant great loss of lives it could have thrown that bustling town into some kind of reprisal wars, as every Muslim could have been a potential target for a supposed reprisal attack for an attack engineered by a Stephen. Let the Muslims bearing names like Stephen step forward, please! Again, it could have drawn public attention from the sickening Lawan Farouk probe report. This also reminds me of the bomb thrown at a football viewing centre in the Tudun-Wada area of Jos, a predominantly Muslim populated area on Tuesday, April 24, 2012, which also raises the question of which brand of the Boko Harams could have wanted to kill, in all likelihood, Muslims watching a football match. All of these shortly after the Farouk Lawan committee report was submitted with very strong demands for the punishment of the thieves. It is pretty curious. Again, I must assert, Christians need to open their eyes to the possible existence of enemies within the fold as prophesied by Christ. Anyone denying this possibility is just as well questioning the Prophethood of Christ!
So what were or are the results of any secret action done by anybody to ensure Nigerians were not shortchanged by official thieves? Are such secret actions mindful of what the Bible says in Proverbs chapter 27 verses 5 that “Open rebuke is better than secret love”? So then, nothing done in secret by Apostle Anslem and his think-alikes was better than what the protesters did, rather it is what the protesters did that was far better than the secret actions of Apostle Madubuko’s crew, for at least the pressure built by the protests led to the investigations done by the House of Representatives of which proof now abound that the whole thing was a stealing spree against the country by those who should ensure there is no stealing. And the thieves, because they believe they have the fundamental human rights to be thieves and to be corrupt and to multiply thievery and corruption as enshrined in the Sick Head Charter of the Corporation of Kleptomaniacs and Megalomaniacs (SHCCKM) are not willing to resign their appointments even since when the protests began. Definitely this is by no means the result expected by the population of a so called secret intervention, if any, by any cleric. So should the nation be stuck with thieves and corrupt people in power because they have been spiritually programmed to fail, according to Apostle Madubuko’s theology? Why shouldn’t they be pressed to quit so that they can have enough time for themselves at Apostle Madubuko’s church for the Apostle and his congregation to deliver them of the evil spell so that the nation can have the opportunity to be led by people who are not and cannot be programmed spiritually to fail by their enemies? And after they may have been successfully exorcised of the demons that make them corrupt and they want political power back, we will be privileged to demand from them a certified true copy of their liberty from the tendency to steal public funds and to oppress the poor. So simple a task and that’s all.
Still deriding the street protests as insignificant and unnecessary Apostle Madubuko said, “The people that stood on the streets, what did they gain at the end of the day? What did they gain? Many people lost their lives; the nation lost a lot because this is not a battle to be fought physically. I believe that if we have suggestions or if we have something against the president, you can look for a way to get to him or to those close to him. We are not to use the media to be raining abuses on him as if he is nobody…… We can’t do things because Egypt did it. We are not Egypt. This is Nigeria. Egypt did theirs that way but it does not mean that is our business with God. Our own business is on our knees; we are to stay on our knees until we see the desired change. So, this is our nation and we have to salvage it. We can’t just allow things to go wrong. We have to keep talking to God until he hearkens to our cry.”
Apostle Madubuko has shown to us why most of them, clerics stayed away from the protests and they did not only stay away but they made sure members of their congregations also did not take part in the noble and righteous war against corruption and social injustice. His reason, probably speaking the minds of most of them who didn’t participate, is that they foresaw that no gain was going to come out of the noble exercise and as such, it was going to be a wasteful exercise. And he mockingly asked, “What did they gain?” but failed to inform us what the nation gained from their silence and abstinence from a just and righteous cause, and till now we have not seen the result of their non-physical battle with the thieves and oppressors in government. Rather, what we keep having is series upon series of malfeasances being perpetrated by these public officials. But to the credit of the protesters, like I said earlier, we now have a well documented probe report on the scale and magnitude of the thievery that took place in just one year of corruption! Now the thieves have been put on the spot: the little shred of honour they hitherto had is now gone. And because if they resign their appointments or positions poverty and hunger would kill them they have set themselves in battle to rule and mismanage our resources by force! At least the protesters have gained a lot in that they have succeeded in drawing them out to battle and this battle is not for the lily livered but for the courageous in the fashion of the Calebs, the Joshuas, the Moseses, the Phinehases, the Daniels, the Elijahs, the Elishas, the Nathans, the Jeremiahs, the Isaiahs, the Samuels, the Jehus and so on and so on.
Apostle Madubuko scorned that many people lost their lives in the course of the protests, but he may not have reckoned that in all manner of liberation wars there usually must be such casualties. No one expects that people who live and survive on corruption and thefts of public funds will give up easily. They will fight for their survival in that they believe they have a Satan given right to corner what belongs to all to themselves and their families, for if they don’t fight everybody standing in their way of thefts they will die of poverty and hunger. So, in their own sense they are fighting their own version of a “righteous cause.” The House of Reps speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal got it spot on when, at the consideration of the Subsidy Probe Report by the House Ad-Hoc Committee, he said, “Let me also remind you that we are fighting against entrenched interests whose infectious greed has decimated our people. Therefore, be mindful that they will fight back, and they do fight dirty.”
There were undenied media reports that the Speaker himself has been the subject of plots for impeachment by elements outside the House who stole the monies they expect the masses to pay back because of his refusal to prevail on the House Ad-Hoc Committee that probed the thefts to submit a report that the thefts were committed by students, farmers, labourers, civil servants, petty traders, job seekers, the poor and needy and the homeless. That’s how shamelessly dirty they fight, and in times of war there are times of prayer and times of openly confronting the enemy. When David was about to slay Goliath he said a prayer before “physically” slinging a shot at the people’s adversary. He didn’t cower somewhere, pretending to be praying and waiting on God to do what we humans have been empowered to do as the Madubukos would want us to. Also Christ did not choose to climb the Mount of Olives, as His custom was, to stand or kneel in prayer for God to chase away those thieves and dishonest traders desecrating the Temple, rather He physically and angrily went into the Temple with a whip in His hand and chased them away. So Nigeria, being God’s property and by extension His Temple what are Christ’s followers doing in response to the despoliation and plunder of God’s material resources by Satanists in it?
Christ has already warned and prepared us for times like these when He said in Luke chapter 17 verses 33 that “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.” Christ knew that there shall be times when despots, criminals and all manner of tyranny shall be confronted by His followers and even non-followers, because the tyrants and oppressors will not just give up their oppressive enterprise without a fight. The confrontation between the prophet Moses and King Pharaoh is a good example here. When “saviours” are lily livered and hiding in cowardice in pretentious prayers then the saviours and those to be saved will be crushed and consumed by the very object or institution the people need to be saved from. So, these are not times to fear death or any official terror in the quest to establish a sound and working society full of fairness and social justice and empty of corruption as God destined nations and societies to be. And this is the work of the church. Hiding from your ordained responsibility because you think corrupt people will roll out tanks and policemen with live bullet rounds is not what will guarantee your life, rather it is coming out in faith and courage to fight the Goliaths, like David did, that will guarantee your life. God made sure that Goliath was unable to kill David because David understood the verse Jesus Christ said above very well and so he dared to lose his life for a just and righteous cause, but at the end of it, it wasn’t his life that was lost but that of the people’s obstacle. So, if the church led by earthly cowards and hypocrites thinks she will be safe by staying away from what she is Biblically ordained to do, then she has a big think coming. Her current insecure situation should be enough instruction. It is either she comes out boldly and courageously to fight the very fountain of terrorism and criminality, which is corruption or she gets consumed by the very products of corruption. It’s a choice to be made. The Christian calling is not just bread and butter calling, but a call to make the bread and butter. God promised the children of Israel the land of milk and honey, but before they accessed the land they fought series of battles. So then, it means milk and honey don’t drop on the laps of cowards and hypocrites who run away from their divinely ordained challenges on the pretext of prayers. And this reminds me of what Pastor William Folorunsho Kumuyi, the General Superintendent of Deeper Life Bible Church said, that “Our country Nigeria likes prayer. But prayer alone will not move the country forward. We need to work and pray…. Our resolve to work together and address our national challenges will make us to get quick answers to our prayers. But prayers alone will not solve our problems. If we can resolve to work together to build a better country I believe we will be better off in 2012.” (See the DAILY SUN newspaper of Wednesday, January 11, 2012 page 31).
I hope cowardly pastors and Christians will ruminate over what this level headed Man of God said.
Talking of fighting back against the demand for accountability and good governance during the nationwide protests, for which military tanks and heavily armed security men were deployed to occupy protests venues in Lagos, the Minister of Defence, Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed was reported saying, “We learnt through security reports that some people were trying to take over the protests to cause anarchy. Some of these people threatened to continue the protests, even if the organized labour decided to suspend the strike.
“From the reports available to government, these people were planning to ignite actions typical of what is going on in Syria and other Arab countries and there is no way any responsible government would fold its arms and watch some people destabilize any part of the country.
“The deployment of soldiers was meant to forestall anarchy so government stepped in to control the situation so that people with the wrong motives can be put in check. The soldiers will be withdrawn as soon as normalcy returns to the streets of Lagos and other parts of the country where soldiers are on such duties.
“Let me emphasize that under no circumstances will government stand aloof while some misguided elements unleash violence on the society. The administration is committed to promoting the greatest good for the greatest number of Nigerians irrespective of tribe, religion or political affiliation.”
What Minister Haliru, himself an international bribery scheme suspect, refused to tell in his forces-of-occupation-style-speech is that the protesters largely behaved themselves peacefully. It was only after the police, in their usual overzealousness to protect the interest of corrupt people in Nigeria, started shooting on the protesters with live bullet rounds that the protests began turning violent. It is typical of the Nigerian police that each time there are protests in Nigeria they turn it violent. Nigeria may be the only “democratic” country in the world today where live bullets are used against protestors and this is deliberate, as the police couldn’t have engaged in such murder without their usual “orders from above” clichés. Nigeria’s corrupt rulers will do anything, even if it means committing mass murders with armoured tanks, to sustain their evil grip on power to fester their thefts and corrupt practices, for that is the context in which Minister Haliru was justifying the deployment of armoured tanks, otherwise why should any responsible person or persons in government deploy and threaten the very people they “govern” with mass deaths? Must they be in government? For what and for whose purpose must they be in government? Minister Haliru called the protesters misguided elements, but when you put the protesters and those in government on a diagnostic meter that identifies and measurers misguided people and actions the meter will identify those in government as the misguided lot who allowed their greed and light-fingeredness to guide them into stealing from the protesters. Minister Haliru and the government he represents would rather we operate a docile and complacent society where thieves in government will steal trillions of Naira and have the population jumping and jubilating on the streets with placards reading, “We Love You, O’ Oppressors!”, “Steal More, O’ Oppressors!”, “Live Forever, O’ Oppressors!” Fortunately for Nigeria and unfortunately for her oppressors Nigeria is not and will never be like that. God has destined it to be so, that at any given time there will be people who will rise up against tyranny and thievery.
To Minister Haliru and the government he works for the mass murder being committed by Hafiz Assad in Syria against the Syrian citizens is a responsible action by a responsible government to forestall the destabilization of the country, which explains their shameless and unconscionable deployment of armoured tanks and armed men with live bullet rounds to butcher anyone that dared question their thieving and oppressing skills. In order words we must tolerate them as our lords whether we like it or not, and we must never, ever complain or murmur or protest against anything they do to make us shoeless, foodless, moneyless and homeless. They are like the North Korean rulers who in January 2012 were reported to have punished every citizen that did not publicly cry with tears over the death of their maximum ruler, Kim Jung Il in December last year. You must mourn by force, was what their action meant. So also in Nigeria, Haliru and co would rather we clapped for them for allowing the thefts of trillions of Naira and we should patriotically and joyfully accept to pay back the stolen funds at the fuel pump stations.
One thing that reveals the complicity of top government officials in this whole fuel subsidy scam against the nation was government’s desperate efforts to suppress the protests and to kill whatever was going to be an indicting result of the probes instituted by the National Assembly.
First was government’s attempt to stop the sitting of the House of Representatives from considering the situation at that time and to pass a resolution. All manner of intimidations were brought on the House Members to stop them from sitting for an emergency session on Sunday, 8th January 2012 considering how tense the nation was as a result of the criminal, callous, heinous, unconscionable and unpatriotic hike on the price of petrol by the government. When all intimidations and blackmails failed a last ditch effort of religious sentiments was brought in by President Jonathan and his handlers, very typical of them indeed. The House was told that it was not proper to sit on Sunday being the Christian worship day; that sitting on a day like that could smack of insensitivity to Christians as if the Lord Jesus Christ did not work and heal on the Sabbath day. The government felt threatened its intention to make the citizens payback what a few people stole was unraveling. In this quest of using religious sentiments to frustrate the sitting of the House, even the C.A.N. President, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, also backed those using Sunday as an excuse for the House not to sit. The DAILY SUN newspaper of Thursday, January 12, 2012 on page 13 said “The CAN president challenged the national legislators of playing politics with the lives of fellow Nigerians, arguing that if they could just muster the same patriotism they had shown by cutting short their holidays to address the fuel subsidy removal, the Boko Haram menace would had been a thing of the past.” The newspaper further quoted him saying “Much as I identify with the pains of Nigerians at this dark moment of the nation’s history, I think those guys were on an ego trip, otherwise the security situation in the country should have been their number one priority.”
Pastor Ayo was echoing what a clandestine group, purportedly claiming to be a group of House Members who took newspaper ads asking the House to focus on insecurity instead of probing the fuel subsidy fraud as if President Jonathan does not have the Police, Army, Air Force, Navy and all the Intelligence Agencies at his command to fight Boko Haram and other criminal groups, also as if the unconscionable hike in petrol price was not going to be another cause of insecurity itself. But all of the propaganda was because the House dared call an urgent emergency session on a Sunday and a desperate regime bent on covering its malfeasance was deploying every trick to frustrate the session even if it meant whipping up religious sentiments like it did during its election. But favourably, the House Members stood their grounds and sat on that Sunday full house. None abstained because working or sitting on a Sunday infringed on his faith as a Christian.
As a fitting response to President Jonathan’s maneuvers to whip up religious sentiments against the House, the House, through its Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Rep Victor Ogene, reminded the President and his field soldiers that “Ironically, the President on the same Sunday after Church Service launched the Federal Mass Transit Scheme. Ironically too, the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, removed the contentious fuel subsidy on Sunday January 1, 2012.
“The state of emergency in some parts of the country was declared by the President on Saturday December 31, 2011, a day of worship for a section of some Christians. The President also sent the declaration of State of Emergency document to the National Assembly on a Saturday to take advantage of the planned sitting of the House of Representatives the next day on a Sunday.”
What a way to shut the mouths of liars and dividers! And let me quickly add also that President Jonathan found it convenient to work on Sunday, August 20, 2011 to announce the suspension of Justice Ayo Isa Salami from office as the President of the Federal Court of Appeal and thereafter his replacement reconstituted the trial panel hearing the presidential election dispute, which expectedly agreed with INEC chair, Jega’s claim that if the fraud in the 2011 presidential election was proved beyond reasonable doubt it could create national insecurity and instability, perhaps worse than what “Boko Haram” is doing now. What a country!
Another means the beneficiaries of the stolen “subsidy” funds used in their attempts to stifle the popular nationwide protests were the deployment of thugs with official backing, typically the P.D.P. way of doing political business in Nigeria. Sanusi Abubakar, an ace columnist with the DAILY TRUST newspaper wrote on his back page article of Tuesday, January 10, 2012 that “The government should come down from its high pedestal and start listening. All this yapping by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Labaran Maku won’t take it anywhere. Neither will the attempt to divide the protesters on tribal or regional grounds, nor will the circus of some 50 hired thugs, escorted by 20 fully armed soldiers in 5 Toyota Hilux, from Guards Brigade I saw yesterday morning on Herbert Macaulay way, here in Abuja. What I suspect is that we are being told half the story. This official desperation suggests that the government is short of cash and wants to borrow from IMF or World Bank….” And truly, there were reported incidences when some official thugs attacked some protest groups in Abuja in order to scatter the protesters.
To demonstrate how murderous these corrupt people can be former Osun State Governor, Oyinlola, current National Secretary of their party angrily ran his car against the protesters in Osogbo, the state capital on Monday, January 9, 2012, injuring many in the process.
The DAILY SUN of Friday, January 13, 2012 on page 12 reported that an apparently sponsored group of about 50 thugs stormed the venue of a rally organized by Occupy Nigeria and beat up the labour leaders before dispersing the protesters and destroyed their public address systems. The Vice President of the state’s chapter of the Civil Liberty Organization (CLO), Wisdom Durueke accused government of sponsoring the attacks, according to the newspaper.
There were cases where labour leaders were outrightly arrested, given a kangaroo trial and sent to prison as in Enugu State. And in Abuja some thugs were hired to go and cause mayhem at the NLC headquarters, but couldn’t. Afterwards they were seen sharing the money they were given to come and attack labour officials.
All these and many more were actions done by government to make sure people were happy by force over their wicked action against the same people. So how can any cleric support such a government if not the ones that have lost their sense of empathy for the poor?
And proof that government and the beneficiaries of the stolen monies couched as subsidy payments have something to hide from Nigerians came when news started filtering out to the public that government agents were doing everything within their ability to frustrate or sabotage the probe instituted by the House of Representatives. First to break the news was the DAILY TRUST newspaper. The paper, in their Monday, January 30, 2012 edition on page 3 reported that “Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of the House of Representatives is under intense pressure from the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Presidency over the ongoing investigation into the management of the petroleum subsidy regime, Daily Trust heard in Abuja yesterday…. Sources in the National Assembly told Daily Trust that the presidency was “very uncomfortable” with the probe which may “nail” some prominent figures of the government and the PDP.
“The source said some “traditional rulers, elder statesmen, and influential citizens” were among those drafted to plead with the House leadership on the investigation.
“Also, committee chair Lawan, according to the source, was said to have been summoned to the villa…… Lawan himself according to sources has come under pressure from people that “are likely to be affected by the investigation” including major oil marketers who have been accused of forming a “cabal” in the oil and gas sector.”
Since that story broke out up till now government did not deny the story and in a sane, non-complacent society it’s enough to bring down such government, for a non-complicit and incorruptible government will not want to shield any so called “prominent figures of the government and the PDP” from any legitimate action that will “nail” them for corruption and thefts, which, again, is an indictment of the Christian clerics that were and are still rooting for these thieves pretending to be leaders in government. Why should any presidency be “very uncomfortable” with any probe whereas it is expected to back any such probe instituted to help it govern transparently in the general interest of all? In whose interest is such a presidency in power?
And while the House committee probe was going on, amidst public outcry for those being probed, particularly the petroleum minister and the NNPC bosses, to resign their appointments so as to ensure an unhindered, unfettered and transparent probe, about one hundred House Members were set to move a motion to that effect on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 as exclusively reported by the LEADERSHIP newspaper the week before but were stopped from doing so by their leaders. The LEADERSHIP newspaper of Thursday, February 16, 2012 on page 41 quoted a source from among the lawmakers saying “The leadership of the House met with us immediately the story was published by your newspaper and appealed to us to forget about the motion because of the effect it will have on the country. You know, the party put pressure on them to stop the motion from being moved. And that is in addition to the pressure from the presidency urging the leadership to ensure that the issue doesn’t come up during plenary.”
This story was also not denied and it shows how all the talk about separation of powers and the rule of law is mere lip service in our polity. Also, it shows why President Jonathan and the ruining P.D.P. were desperate to impose a Speaker made in their image and likeness on the House in June 2011. For a presidency to ask legislators to forget about a motion that was to ask top officials of government whose agencies were being investigated to resign for proper and unfettered investigation on the untenable and laughable ground of “the effect it will have on the country” means only one thing: that the presidency is complicit in the financial fraud being investigated and that this presidency is of the type that conceive their personal interest to mean the interest of the nation they lead, no matter how immoral that interest may be as in this instance. Again, it proves that the protests against the malfeasance were right and justifiable and this kind of leadership, like the prophet Elijah dealt with King Ahab, should be so treated. This can’t be the kind of leadership that God will honour. Never!
Yet still, the probe committee of the House continued its investigative hearings wherein more and more shocking discoveries were made as to the dimension of conspiracies, frauds and thefts perpetrated against Nigeria and Nigerians. The Presidency, obviously uncomfortable with the shocking discoveries being made at the hearings, THE NATION newspaper of Sunday, February 26, 2012 on page 2 reported that, “Top presidency officials are uncomfortable with the House of Representatives probe of the controversial N1.3trillion oil subsidy.
“They fear the report of the probe could damage the government. As a result of this, machinery has been put in motion to limit any such damage, sources say.
“The first step, is mounting of pressure on Speaker Aminu Tambuwal and the chairman of the Ad-hoc committee, Alhaji Farouk Lawan by Presidency officials to water down the committee’s report or dump it altogether in the “national interest”.
“The other is to give government officials that may be indicted in the report a soft landing.
“It was learnt that certain top presidency officials and lobbyists acting on behalf of major stakeholders in the oil industry met separately with Lawan and told him why the report of the committee should be softened in order not to “embarrass some government officials”.
“They allegedly expressed concern over the likely backlash of the report from foreign investors in the oil sector.
“Some of the lobbyists were even said to have subtly threatened that Farouk Lawan might not get the governorship ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kano State in 2015 should the panel report hurt the government.
“It was however learnt that Lawan insisted on doing what is right in the interest of the country.
“A reliable source, who spoke in strict confidence, said: “Ahead of the outcome of the report of Lawan’s committee, some government officials have been lobbying the panel to soften its report in the national interest. But none of them could define this interest.
“In fact, some of these officials pleaded against the release of a damning report that could have an adverse effect on the oil sector.
“Some expressed fears that the report could bring down the government of the day in the light of the expose’ on some functionaries.
“At a point, some said the report could make or mar the 2015 governorship ambition of Lawan and they advised him to have a rethink because of his political future that he is so passionate about.
“But Lawan told one of the emissaries that he will prefer to put the nation above any other selfish interest.”
To prove that this sensational and scandalous story was not a mere attempt by some persons to tarnish Jonathan’s government the newspaper contacted the House Committee Chair on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Zakari Mohammed to confirm or deny the story and he said, “The House is under intense pressures from different quarters on the report. However the House is focused, it will not abandon the probe midway.
“We would be fair but whoever is indicted will be made known to the public. It is then left to the government to determine what to do with the report.”
Now, these are the kind of delinquents in power that the Makindes, Madubukos and their likes would want the church and Nigerians to treat with cowardice and kid gloves. And these are probably the results of their secret engagements with the thieves in power against the public pressure of protests.
Thanks be to the Almighty God we still have people like Hon. Farouk Lawan and his team and also for a Speaker like Alhaji Tambuwal, otherwise the thieves would have succeeded in bringing out a report reading that it is the shoe shiners, water vendors, petty traders, unemployed graduates, peasant farmers, taxi and bus drivers, low level workers, students and the homeless people that stole the monies and that’s why they are being made to pay it back through the fuel pumps, which, to them, could be an act of official mercy, for they could have opted to send these poor Nigerians to jail for stealing petrol money!
To underscore how Nigeria and Nigerians have sunk so low in docility and complacency, that newspaper report could have collapsed any government fingered to be complicit in such fraud in any part of the world except this country. The prophets in the land kept mute and among them, the ones that dared challenge such thefts are labeled by the compromised ones as false prophets, whereas it is they the compromised ones that have metamorphosed into false prophets.
After submitting his committee’s report to the House, Hon. Farouk Lawan confirmed that truly, they have been subjected to immense pressure to compromise their report and among those mounting pressure for the report to be compromised were religious leaders. The front page story of SUNDAY TRUST of April 22, 2012 began like this: “Governors, government officials, traditional and religious leaders as well as other prominent citizens are mounting pressures on members of the House of Representatives to kill the report of the Farouk Lawal-led ad hoc committee that has indicted key government agencies and officials in a massive fuel subsidy fraud.”
The story did not reveal whether it is the Muslim or Christian religious leaders that were part of those mounting pressure for the probe report to be killed, but when we consider that the majority of those indicted are supposed Christians and there is also a “Christian” government in place it is not difficult to discern that their Pastors, Reverends and Bishops may have been suborned to help make a “breakthrough” testimony for these church going thieves. Certainly, these cannot be the Christian leaders that joined in the January protests against the thefts or those who vehemently spoke against the thefts. And this is ample evidence of the extent to which corruption has invaded the church in Nigeria. So, among the enemies of poor and needy Nigerians are prophets! What tragedy is this?
So, at least we have some evidence of how and why some Christian clergy asked their congregants not to participate in the January 2012 nationwide mass protests, because it was all about protecting the interests of the privileged official thieves in their congregations who also double as the official oppressors of the poor and needy they pastor. But in spite of all those desperate attempts by the corrupt clerics to hoodwink Christians not to be part of the protests a lot defied them and participated. Mohammed Haruna, the Wednesdays back page columnist of DAILY TRUST and THE NATION newspapers wrote on the January 11, 2012 edition of the papers that, “It seems in spite of the determination of the rump of the Church to resist being used to undermine a united front against the subsidy withdrawal, the authorities have remained undeterred. At least in Kaduna where I live several churches in Kaduna South told their members not to join the demonstrations. In metropolitan Kaduna, the calls appear to have fallen on deaf ears because Christians and Muslims alike turned out in their massive numbers to protest the withdrawal.”
Apart from being corrupt, I also suspect that some of the Christian clerics, as usual, fell to the cheap divisive propaganda that came from the thieves in government that the protests were organized and funded by “aggrieved northern politicians who lost out in the last elections”, but then, even if it were true, do the aggrieved northern politicians have a right or not to protest against the desire and intent of the “successful” politicians to inflict unwarranted and undeserved hardship upon them? Governor Peter Obi of Anambra was also saying the protests were organized by “failed politicians” and you wonder whether Nigeria doesn’t need the “failed politicians” to govern her, for the country and her citizens have been having a hell of a time under the “care” of the “successful politicians” and, moreover the thefts in question were perpetrated by “successful politicians” with the active collaboration of their equally “successful” friends. Nothing can be more painful than for some thieves in government to loot the treasury blind and then turn around to use their powers to compel those they stole from to pay it back.
On Thursday, January 12, 2012 I watched and heard Kingsley Kuku, President Jonathan’s Special Adviser on Niger Delta Militants Amnesty Programme saying on AIT that “the protests have been hijacked by politicians who lost the last elections; politicians who” in his opinion “have arrogated to themselves the status of those born to rule and cannot bear being out of power for mere four years!” Kuku was desperately attempting to lay the blame of their malfeasance, as have been their custom, on northern politicians. And you wonder whether Kuku was thinking Obasanjo who ruled for eight years was a northerner, for it is untenable to claim that some people cannot bear being out of power for mere four years, which is a clear reference to northern politicians. But then, again, if the protests were organized by failed northern politicians and considering how massive the protests were, does it then mean these failed and aggrieved northern politicians are more popular than Kuku’s principal, President Jonathan? And again, when subheads were being created on how to spend the “subsidy” monies taken in an election year and bearing in mind that there were aggrieved northerners because of the shortchanging of the zoning agreement, shouldn’t a subhead in the “election” budget have been created with enough funds to buy very strong ropes to tie these stubborn northerners so that they would not cause any problem at all, all through Jonathan’s tenure? Hey, we are talking of trillions of Naira stolen; enough money to build new cities, at least some could have been spared to buy the ropes that will tie northerners so that they don’t cause any troubles in case the public, including the northerners were going to be asked to pay back the stolen trillions at the fuel pump stations. I think politicians, no matter how corrupt, should at least cultivate a little bit of decency by owning up to their “mistakes” instead of looking for scapegoats. At the rate the Kingsley Kukus are going, it may come to pass that even if monies are looted from the Niger Delta Development Commission and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs the thefts may be blamed on “aggrieved northern politicians” that lost out in the last elections. At least as evil as “Boko Haram” and Boko Haram are they often claim responsibility for their evil enterprise, why shouldn’t Nigeria’s brand of politicians and their advisers learn from them?
Again it reminds me of another shocking revelation I read on Adamu Adamu’s back page column of Friday, May 4, 2012 on the DAILY TRUST newspaper, titled Azazi: Ambush of the Defender? Drawing analogy from Henry Okah’s claims linking President Jonathan with the October 1, 2010 bombings in Abuja of which desperate efforts were made to heap blame for the bombings on northern politicians, Adamu Adamu said, “Not long after it, a Gaza-bound cache of arms from Iran was intercepted at the port in Lagos and M Abbas Jega has been in detention for 19 months. Investigations have conclusively shown that the consignment was not destined for Nigeria. Jega was approached by government officials and promised his freedom if he would agree to implicate Northern leaders but he refused. And he has still not been taken to court.”
Morally and ethically bankrupt politicians south of the Niger seem to have developed an incurable phobia for the north and hence an acute case of inferiority complex. Otherwise, why should they spend precious time always scheming of how to paint the north black or how to divide it? I think it will do us all a lot of good if some people can cure themselves of this chronic phobia for northerners and their leaders and get down to work patriotically and honestly instead of looking for who to blame when they commit acts against the well being of the Nigerian State.
And there was also Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State on television sardonically blaming some well heeled members of society as sponsors of the protests. To him it was inconceivable that all those Lagos based super star singers, musicians and movie stars who turned up at the protest rallies came out without being sponsored. He probably conveniently forgot that the same stars were hired to perform severally during President Jonathan’s election campaign rallies; at the time Nigerians were deceived into thinking and believing that Nigeria’s destined growth was tied to Jonathan becoming president because of the luck in his name, which is even unbiblical. Governor Akpabio may also have not reckoned that these same artists, just like most other people who may have been paid to do one or other things at the President’s campaign rallies, must have felt bitter on realizing that what they were paid as fees for their services are now being cleverly withdrawn from their pockets and bank savings through the mischievous hike in price of petrol, which has a multiplier effect in the markets. So, do they have to be paid by anybody to come and protest? But most likely Governor Akpabio and his team mates may have assumed all these stars or the alleged wealthy sponsors of the protests have lost their sense of empathy for the poor and needy and therefore expected that they were going to keep a compromised silence while the crime against humanity was being perpetrated by thieves in government, or most likely, Governor Akpabio assumes it is only the P.D.P. and President Jonathan that reserve the right to hire musicians and movie stars to perform at rallies.
There was also Pastor Jonah Jang, the Plateau State Governor insulting Nigerians. Riding on the roller coaster of the comfort provided him and his family by his office as Governor the P.D.P. Pastor insulted Nigerians that they like “awuf” a lot, literally meaning Nigerians like free things without working for it. In his state of complete loss of empathy for the long abused and battered Nigerians the Pastor Governor forgot that majority of the country’s citizens cannot afford medicare even here in Nigeria talk less of traveling to India or other foreign lands for health care like Pastor Jang does, or he has also forgotten that majority of the citizens are jobless talk less of appointing for themselves their sons as aides as the Governor was privileged to appoint his own son as his Special Adviser on Special Duties. So, shouldn’t they protest against rulers determined to further ruin their lives? Or shouldn’t they protest against nepotism, which is the word that describes the action of a public official that appoints his own son as his adviser? And should Christians practice nepotism? What happened to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works” which is a call on Christians to show good examples at all times?
Loss of empathy for the poor and needy by Nigeria’s rulers is at the root of the country’s travails. Professor Pat Utomi rightly observed in The NEWS magazine of April 30, 2012 that the Nigerian government is a criminal enterprise. Once we have compassionate and patriotic Nigerians occupying leadership positions Nigeria will rise to her rightful position of honour and glory among the nations of the earth.
Again, this is where the church must “lay aside every excess weight” and authoritatively ensure that the rule of law, morality and social justice prevails in governance at all levels in our country. The church must ask herself and answer truthfully, whether it is normal and acceptable that corruption and oppression of the poor and needy by rulers can exist alongside the church in the same environment without one giving way for the other? All the stories in the Bible suggest it is either righteousness flees for evil to exist and dominate or evil flees for righteousness to exist and dominate. So, if evil dominates the environment as is the case with Nigeria, then it means righteousness has fled. In other words, the church is asleep or non-existent that’s why evil boasts everywhere, even in church buildings. The saviours commissioned by the Saviour to save His resources and the people from bandits have abdicated the commission and you hardly distinguish them from the bandits, and therefore the fruits of banditry have grown like some sea monster and are fearlessly attacking and destroying the commissioned saviours. So, who becomes the bailer?
At a two day seminar on national security organized by the National Defence College in conjunction with the Alumni Association of the college in January this year, the college identified “endemic poverty, corruption and uneven distribution of national wealth as the cause of social upheavals in the country…..lack of access to social services including safe drinking water, electricity and healthcare services as well as corruption were the major grounds for insecurity” (See DAILY TRUST newspaper of Thursday, January 26, 2012, page 8). Now this was not said by Sanusi Lamido Sanusi who echoed the same thing but was almost roasted alive by some caustic and subjective tongues because he is Hausa/Fulani, rather it is the country’s Defence College that said it and must be taken seriously. And, hey, even the President’s National Security Adviser, General Andrew Owoye Azazi, at the Northern Impact Summit held on Thursday, May 10, 2012 in Kaduna said “I can certainly assure you that the lopsided economic growth is not in the best interest of our national security….”
There has been this raging debate about whether Boko Haram’s raison d’être is caused by poverty. Some have argued that because the sect operates with sophisticated weapons the members couldn’t be poor to have the ability to acquire such weaponry. But whether the late Mohammed Yusuf led Boko Haram is poor or rich to have such weapons is beside the matter. The important question is why did they spring up? What are the social conditions that warranted their birth such that some political opportunists have cashed in on their existence to clone the group for their own selfish and mischievous ends? Members of the original Boko Haram have never ever stated that their membership drive is exclusively a poor persons affair; rather, their recruitment ideology is for willing and courageous people who will sacrifice themselves for the enthronement of a just and fair society as they best understand it. Earlier on in this treatise I quoted what the spokesperson of the group said as the reason they sprang up: “It’s the secular state that is responsible for the woes we are seeing today. People should understand that we are not saying we have to rule Nigeria, but we have been motivated by the stark injustice in the land….. Poor people are tired of the injustice, people are crying for saviours and they know the messiahs are Boko Haram.”
Now you cannot fault the group’s claim that there is “stark injustice in the land” and that “poor people are tired of the injustice” and because there appeared no concerted effort was being made to mitigate or eradicate this injustice which breeds poverty the poor people are yearning for saviours, and therefore, they (Boko Haram) have assumed for themselves the position of saviours. So, where has the church been all this while when all manner of injustices were being perpetrated that some people have assumed their place as saviours? Asleep?
If Yusuf Mohammed’s Boko Haram wants to eradicate our secular order to establish a different order which, to them, will enthrone a just society that will make good things happen you cannot blame them, for they have good references to which they can point to prove the efficacy of the kind of order they want to establish. With the exception of Somalia hardly can you point to a Muslim country you can call a failed state. Even terror ravaged Afghanistan has social services working better than Nigeria’s. And let the church going thief that has stolen public funds and has not been going to Dubai for holidays or shopping sprees or birthday parties step forward for proper identification! James Ibori, the certified thief and ex-convict that ruined Delta State for eight years was comfortably ensconced in Dubai when the rule of law of Dubai extradited him to the U.K. for trial. So, how could you conveniently blame the Boko Haram people for admiring, nursing and attempting to enthrone the ideology and philosophy that made those nations model societies when they have not seen the alternative to it working in Nigeria? There was and there still is a gap which must be filled – it is either filled by the church in cooperation with other courageous civil groups or alternative bodies will attempt to fill it.
Ed Silvoso, in his book, TRANSFORMATION said: “The Church needs to cease being a spectator and play as if it is convinced that it can and will win. The first step is to realize that we are called and empowered to disciple nations and will succeed if we try. At first, trying could mean scoring small victories that may be followed by major setbacks; but as long as we are heading in the right direction – to disciple nations – we are bound to win in the end.”
Discipling nations, being the core commission of the church, means causing every aspect of a nation’s life to conform to the dictates and principles of God, and such a nation so discipled should wear a distinct look that evidences God as the Supreme Head of it. Hey, does Nigeria in any way look like that at the moment? Nope! A nation ravaged by corruption and misrule does not and cannot be said to have God in her midst. A nation whose identity is mass poverty amidst abundant wealth cannot be said to have God as its Supreme Head. And as Ed Silvoso rightly said, the church cannot afford to be a spectator, she has to be actively involved in ensuring corruption and misrule and poverty are wiped off where she lives. So, the church must benefit the society wherein she operates and not just herself. Again, Ed Silvoso says, “As long as our focus is exclusively religious, society will not welcome us or any form of growth or expansion of our ministry that produces no benefit to the community at large. This becomes evident when growing congregations find themselves in a dispute with City Hall over building or users’ permits; or the fact that the secular media sees no value in reporting religious news, since they see no significance for such news as far as the daily life of the city is concerned.”
This hits the bull’s eye. God has divinely ordained the church to be of benefit to nations, societies or communities, but if the church fails to be of benefit and instead engages in acts of hostility to the beneficial interests of the community she lives in, then she would constantly be at the receiving end of hostility from a malcontent society. Underscoring this point further, Ed Silvoso said “In order to have favor with the people, we need to do favors for the people. And if we do favors for all the people, we will gain favor (confidence, loyalty, appreciation, openness, etc.) with all of them. That is exactly what the Early Church did as part of its lifestyle, creating an environment that made conversions appealing and compelling.”
A recent drama that underscores this point was the decision of the Lagos State government to shut down seven churches because they wanted to reduce the noise level in the State. The DAILY SUN newspaper of Wednesday, February 22, 2012 on page 7 reported that “Determined to stop negative effects of noise pollution on residents, the Lagos State Government has shut down a branch of the Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Ministry and six other churches in the Lagos metropolis.” The newspaper quoted the General Manager of the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), Rasheed Shabi saying “the state government was determined to reduce noise pollution in the state because of the anomalies and diseases related to it.” Hmmm, so all the praise and worship and sermons in the church have become noises that pollute the environment and could even cause diseases! But if the church had been beneficial to the cause of social justice and has been known to go all out fighting the cause of the poor and needy the noises she makes would have been sweet music both to God and to man and no one would have bothered or thought of restraining her from her high praises and charismatic teachings. And that was God speaking to the church in His (sometimes) metaphorical ways.
Making it very clear that when we lose sight of our purpose and calling as a church our praises, worship, prayers and offerings will become mere noises to Him the Lord said in Amos chapter 5 verses 21 to 23 that “I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.” This gives the divine backing to what the Lagos State Government did. However, I must point out that God was so discreet that this action was not done by any northern Government, for had it been it were any of the far northern States that did this the roof would have been almost brought down on that Governor. But since it was a southern Governor (even though a Muslim) that did this, there was deafening silence. To God, whenever we as a church abdicate the cause of disciplining nations to conform with His divine principles then everything we do becomes mere noise, and that is how the society will consider us and then we become open to all manner of ridicule. Because miracles and sound teachings still take place in the church should not be mistaken that God is present or happy with the church, for the Bible has made it clear that the working of miracles, tongues speaking, discerning and revelation knowledge that births sound teachings are just gifts from God to the users and you don’t have to be there for the person you gave a gift of money to spend it.
So, how does the church benefit society? The major ailment afflicting dysfunctional societies like Nigeria is systemic poverty, so if the church deploys its power to uprooting the cause of systemic poverty she will be of no small benefit to the society. Again, Ed Silvoso: “Nowhere is the kingdom of darkness more entrenched in the world today than when it comes to the manifestations of systemic poverty. Systemic poverty is not a peripheral issue in the Bible. The elimination of poverty is central to the gospel message of redemption, and for that reason it is both a by-product and the most tangible social evidence of true, biblically based transformation. In fact, Jesus began His ministry by announcing good news to the poor….. The elimination of systemic poverty may sound like a radical statement, but it is fully biblical and, if embraced, will have tremendous repercussions for the Church as we know it today – and even greater and more glorious ones for the world around us.”
Some Christians live in surrender while pretending to be waiting for the hereafter, that famous moment of the sweet bye and bye but Ed Silvoso cautions thus: “Our view of the future tends to focus almost exclusively on escaping this sin-sick world to the exclusion of the potential of bettering things on Earth in general and of resolving the plight of the poor in particular.”
So, without contradiction fighting for the resolution of the plight of the poor is the calling of the church. And how does the church fight the cause of the poor? Ed Silvoso says “Because this evil is systemic, it will not be eradicated by simply taking care of individuals at the micro level or providing massive aid at the macro level. It must be uprooted.” Uprooting poverty means confronting the very forces that engender poverty and this is a call to battle those forces. Like I said earlier, these forces cannot give up their evil system just like that. They believe they have a right to monopolize the wealth and resources that should be a commonwealth. Ed Silvoso highlights it thus: “One reason that poor people are kept poor is because those who control the marketplace live in emotional and spiritual poverty themselves, even though they are materially rich. Enough is never enough for them, and the resulting fear causes moral paucity.
“The result is that the rich get richer, through hoarding, but not happier or more fulfilled, and the poor are enchained to hopelessness. As a result, the future of the nation is mortgaged because its main assets – its people – have been bridled.”
This is a shocking current ugly picture of Nigeria just as I have highlighted earlier. The man of God says the people made poor by greedy kleptomaniacs and enchained in hopelessness are assets to the nation and therefore they must be freed. And when you free them, Ed Silvoso says “The crime rate goes down, per capita income goes up, more students are graduating.” Again, according to the man of God, “These are measurable social indicators” that proves poverty is in the decline.
This brings me back to the issue of the January mass protests against the determined efforts of the spiritually bankrupt rulers to increase the poverty index of the people.
Some pastors restrained their congregations from joining the massive protests on the basis of what Eliphaz, Job’s friend told him at the peak of his suffering in chapter 22 verses 29 of Job’s book that “When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up….” , which truly reflects the status of everyone that truly walks with God. Walking with God in truth and in faith elevates you to the position where storms of life wouldn’t have adverse effects on you. But then, it doesn’t mean that because you are comfortable you should be unconcerned with the plight of the poor. So assuming every church goer is a multimillionaire and can afford to maintain their comfortable lifestyle, no matter how much petrol costs does it then mean they should lose all empathy for the poor and the needy outside the church fold? If so it demeans the Christian to the status of a selfish person and it then negates his calling to uproot systemic poverty from his sphere of influence, which is the environment. Most likely, it is this feeling of self comfort that made some of these clerics to stay away and even encouraged their congregants to also stay away, for without doubt most of the Christian clergy today are very wealthy, which is a good thing. But it is dangerous if it creates insulation between them and the oppressed poor out there.
And this brings us to why God prospered Job. Even though Eliphaz told Job that if he walked with God he would be prospered such that even if others were wallowing in socio-economic hardships Job could afford to say to himself that there is a lifting up, but all the same, Job revealed to us the hitherto hidden secret behind his wealth. In chapter 29 and verses 12, 13, 15 to 17 of his book Job gave us deep insight into how and why God prospered him. He said: “Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy. I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out. And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.”
So without doubt Job was a social justice crusader. He didn’t just relax in his comfort so that when the poor were being oppressed through bad economic policies that favoured those in government stealing from them he could just declare, “when men say there is a casting down I shall say there is a lifting up for me.” If he did that he would have been a selfish rich man who didn’t care how government ran the economy, education, health and public works and how they impact on the poor and needy. Job was a courageous social activist who never feared confronting the wicked on the behalf of the oppressed. He was so fearless and so concerned that he could break the jaws of the wicked and pluck from their teeth what they stole from the commonwealth, which shows Job was angry whenever corruption was perpetrated by those governing the people.
At about the early stage of this treatise I said an important evidence of genuine love for your neighbour is when you are angry if they are being oppressed or cheated. It is called holy anger and holy anger is biblical. Mark chapter 3 verses 5 tells us that Christ was angry at an attempt by Pharisees and Sadducees to stop Him from being a blessing to a man with a withered hand just like the present day Pharisees and Sadducees are conniving against the liberation of the poor and needy from government oppression. The point is Christians must be sufficiently angry at anything that will ever be done to pauperize the people. They must be angry against corruption and, like Job, pursue the wicked people in government and seize from their hands what they stole from the people. That was Job’s ministry and the secret behind his righteous wealth.
Nigeria at the moment needs reconstruction. Our walls have collapsed and all manner of evil creatures have rushed in and have taken residence in the crevices and even in our most hallowed places and sanctuaries. But we must, like Nehemiah did in Jerusalem a long time ago, rebuild the broken walls of our nation and flush out the strange creatures that have transplanted our sense of integrity and honour with mediocrity and vice. But it needs a heavy dose of holy anger to rebuild our nation; an anger that will blind you against tolerating the corrupters and spoilers of our nation; an anger enough to drive you in love to fight for what is right for your neighbour, whether they are of your ethnic or religious stock or not. It is time for seizing the spoils of thefts from the teeth of thieves in government like Job did. And in doing so let us take example from the prophet Nehemiah, which also will help prove the biblicality of protest rallies as a tool against oppression and corruption.
The current picture of a Nigeria under siege by kleptomaniacs and megalomaniacs is the exact picture of the nation of Israel in Nehemiah chapter 5. The nation was in ruins, no thanks to a thieving elite that held her by the jugular. The commonwealth of the people was cornered by those thieving elites so much that parents had to give out their children in exchange for some kind of handouts for living. People were mortgaging their lands, gardens, farms and houses to the thieving elites for some mere handouts to live. Morality got broken down and extortion was the order of the day just like Nigerian government thieves will steal trillions and expect the poor and everyone else to pay it back. But in verses 6 look at what prophet Nehemiah said: “And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words.” Again, we have proof that prophets can be angry against social injustice, corruption and oppression of any kind. But he just didn’t stop at being angry, prophet Nehemiah continued in verses 7 that “Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother….” The prophet didn’t waste time in taking action. He discussed the whole drama within himself and realized the nobles and the rulers couldn’t be right, which formed the basis of his anger anyway. So he didn’t engage in any secret dialogue with the thieves, rather he openly rebuked them and told them plainly what their offences were against the people.
But, wait a minute; very importantly the prophet didn’t just stop at openly rebuking them. He concluded verses 7 by saying this: “And I set a great assembly against them.” The prophet organized a huge protest rally to send home the message that the people would no longer be slaves to thieves in their own nation. They came out en masse to occupy the nation, symbolically showing that real power resides in them. I firmly believe this is Pastor Tunde Bakare’s understanding of which shepherds turned butchers are vilifying him for. Prophet Nehemiah didn’t go about organizing prayer retreats for God’s wisdom or guidance to come upon thieving rulers neither did he tell the people to be patient and pray for them because the enemies of the rulers have programmed them spiritually to fail. A thief is a thief and will not be judged based on some presumed thinking that he was a thief because someone cast a spell on him to be a thief; rather he will be judged for being a thief.
After gathering the people en masse to occupy the nation look at what prophet Nehemiah said to the oppressive rulers in verses 8: “And I said unto them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, which were sold unto the heathen; and will ye even sell your brethren? Or shall they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and found nothing to answer.” The prophet was taking the rulers to task, asking them whether they wanted to re-colonize the people. And of course, they had no answer just like their Nigerian brand also have no answer as to why the commonwealth keeps depleting with nothing to show for it.
And then he tabled the demands of the people in verses 11: “Restore, I pray you, to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their oliveyards, and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money, and of the corn, the wine, and the oil, that ye exact of them.” The reason God instituted churches is that there should be people who should seek the restoration of the provisions He has made for the people, not people who will stand aloof in some wretched self comfort while thieves are busy looting resources that belong to God anyway. The prophet demanded on the behalf of the people a full restoration of all that were taken away from them. Even the money stolen, he demanded one hundred percent restoration.
Now the rulers, having realized this awakening in the people and feeling intimidated by the mass of people occupying the nation in protest and for fear of losing their position of power to people power they submitted totally to the demands of the prophet and the people. Verses 12 say: “Then said they, We will restore them, and will require nothing of them; so will we do as thou sayest. Then I called the priests, and took an oath of them, that they should do according to this promise.” Obviously the priests of the nation may have joined in the despoliation of the nation as is the case with Nigeria, hence his demand on them to also do according to this promise of restoration.
To make sure there was a penalty for those who may have not been sincere in their promise to restore back to the people what they stole from them, the prophet Nehemiah in verses 13 said: “Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth not this promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the LORD. And the people did according to this promise.”
That is how the church should deal with notoriously corrupt rulers like the type in Nigeria. The whole essence of the church is to fight injustice anywhere, anytime and for anybody. It is not a social organization for the advancement of the interest of corrupt people neither is it for the pursuit of tribal, sectional or regional agendas. It is an organization that should stand for and espouse the truth, even if the truth will hurt some egos within the church. But in the short and long terms it is the truth that will heal them of their hurt ego.
If the church in Sokoto, Zamfara, Borno, Yobe, Kano, Gombe, Adamawa, Jigawa, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Lagos, Ondo, Nassarawa, Kogi, Plateau, Akwa Ibom and so on and so on agree that there is only one truth and fight for the enthronement of social justice and war against corruption in the areas God sent them to, then she will succeed in being beneficial to the people and grounds for the incubation of groups like Boko Haram will be lost talk less of some opportunists cloning them for their own agenda. That’s when her light and good works will be seen and there would be little or no hostility and her security will be further enforced by God.
I have written As the Church Slept…., and As the Church Slept…. The sequel. Now this is the Trilogy. I pray the church in Nigeria wakes up. Amen.