About to die

By Fr Pat Amobi Chukwuma

On the front and rear plate numbers of the vehicle conveying an intending couple to the church where they would tie their marital knot and promise themselves fidelity and love, is placed a tag which reads: ‘About to wed’. This means that every preparation has been made. But the climax action at the Altar of God is being expected anxiously.  When the wedding ceremony is over, the front and rear tags are changed to: ‘Just wedded’.

There was one ‘about to wed’ couple who had serious misunderstanding on their way to the marriage solemnization church. During the scuffle inside the car conveying them, the bride bit of the left ear of the bridegroom. In retaliation, the bridegroom gave the bride four hot slaps that saw two teeth off. In addition he stripped her totally naked.

As the fight raged, the driver of the ‘about to wed’ vehicle instantly changed the tags to: ‘Wedding just terminated’. The bleeding bridegroom was rushed to the nearest hospital for urgent medical attention while the naked bride with uncontrollable tears and bleeding broken teeth went home like chronic insane woman.

From the month of January to March 2023, Nigerians saw their ears with their eyes for the first time in the history of this country. The period was characterized by extraordinary hardship. It began with fuel scarcity and exorbitant price of the motor spirit which compelled poor masses who cannot afford it to park their cars and motorcycles. One foolish old car owner wanted to sell his car to buy fuel.

When he came back to his senses, he reasoned: “If I sell this expired car and buy fuel,  am I to swim in the fuel to go where I want?” After a second thought, he sold the old car and bought two bicycles, one for himself and one for his wife. When he arrived home with the two used bicycles, he surprised his wife by offering her one of the bicycles as emergency gift. The beautiful young wife turned and asked, “My confused husband, are you alright?

How can we descend from motor to bicycle? If you had sold the old car and bought motorcycle, at least the sound of ‘motor’ can still be heard. The funny husband tried to convince her that motorcycle and bicycle are like brother and sister. Both have ‘cycle’ in common. The former uses fuel which is scarce and exorbitant these days. The latter uses free foot for pedaling and does not even require ordinary water as source of energy.

The elegant wife slapped him and shouted, “Are you mad?” The slapped husband laughed and uttered, “Thank you for this hot slap. It is a sample of our wedding ‘for worse’ promise. It is the bitter fruit of the current fuel scarcity and its exorbitant price.”

On top of the fuel scarcity and its high price are the consequences of the Naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), supported by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (PFRN). By the time the old N200, N500 and N1000 as legal tender was expiring, Nigerians rushed to commercial banks to deposit the old notes in expectation of exchange for the concerned new Naira notes. Unfortunately, the new Naira notes became very scarce. It became ‘I pass here, no way’ and ‘I pass there, no way’ situation.

The Automated Teller Machines of different banks became empty. Withdrawal from the counter yielded no fruit as customers flocked in numbers at various commercial banks. The Point of Sale (POS) agents, rationed and commercialize the available new Naira notes by selling them with unimaginable profits. Those who wanted to withdraw N10,000 went home with only N6,000.

The missing N4,000 is pocketed by the POS agents. Naira was used to buy Naira. Within this period, the Dollar and Euro sellers lacked customers. Naira scarcity pushed them out of business temporary. Indeed, no condition is permanent.

One stranded male customer went mad inside a bank hall because he was asked to go home for lack of Naira to be withdrawn. He has a wife and five school children to carter for. The spirit of insanity possessed him in the bank and he stripped himself totally naked. Insanity set in automatically.

He shouted hopelessly in the bank before security men bundled him out to an unknown destination. He needed some cash at hand as a condition for his sudden madness to be cured. It did not require prayer and fasting. His final fate remains uncertain.

As the cash crunch worsened, a middle-aged man devised a method to see cash and buy food to eat. He wore deep black pair of trouser, black long sleeve oversized shirt, long black cap and funny black shoes. He hanged fearful tags in front and back on which was drawn a human skeleton and inscribed boldly: ‘About to die’. Also he carried a casket on whose sides was written in red ‘About to die’ as he walked about endlessly.

He went inside one big restaurant to register his anger and hunger. Immediately he set foot into the restaurant, the eaters deserted their food and drinks and absconded in different directions. The manager and attendant scampered for safety. That provided an opportunity for him to pack the food and drinks on the tables into the Ghana-must-go bag hidden inside the casket. When he went home he shared the food items and drinks with his three wretched wives and twelve skinny children.

The next day, he wore the same deadly outfit and carried the coffin into a commercial bank to confront the cashier to pay him from his bank account. As soon as the cashier cited him, she withdrew in fear. The bank manager locked himself in his office. All the workers and customers ran helter-skelter for their dear lives. He collected the few Naira notes he saw on the counter and rushed out with the casket on his head.

Our country Nigeria is about to die due to infected terminal illnesses such as bad leadership, corruption, acute insecurity, economic hardship, nepotism, marginalization, injustice, do-or-die elections, etc. Millions of hopeful Nigerians prayed for the miraculous cure from those terminal sicknesses by coming out to vote for a good political redeemer on 25 February 2023.

They waited for the results which were to be transmitted electronically to INEC Server for onward electronic collation. Unfortunately, this redeeming hope of a political messiah was shattered by the doctoring and manual rigging of the results of the presidential election nation-wide to favour an anointed vegetable candidate. It was cash and carry selection.

With this charade called election (selection) under Professor Mahood Yakubu, Nigeria entered into coma and she is about to die any moment from now. The Judiciary is battling seriously to see if she can be resuscitated. We seriously pray for Divine Intervention soonest.

Finally, as mortal human beings we are all about to die: big or small, young or old, rich or poor, sick or healthy. Death is our common heritage. How prepared are we? I hereby recommend an important book titled READY TO DIE for all and sundry.

Let us read it and assimilate the contents. It is foolishness to be taken unaware. After death, comes God’s judgment. Then, eternal reward or eternal damnation follows. Where shall we individually spend our eternity: in Heaven or in Hell? The Lenten Season is about to end. The central message of Lent is Repentance. Procrastination is dangerous. Repent now or never! Happy Easter in advance!