News Update

 From Fire into Grave

By Fr. Pat. Amobi Chukwuma

If I have the capacity, I will order for the body of the late sage Chinua Achebe to be exhumed and to be examined critically. He may still be alive in his grave or his remains could be incorruptible. His prophecy captured in his two world classic novels ‘Things Fall Apart’ and ‘No Longer at Ease’ have been fulfilled in the Nigerian context. Indeed, he saw the future of this country.

Things have fallen apart and continue to deteriorate from bad to worse. Hence, we are no longer at ease. In fact, sleep has eluded me and millions of Nigerians. We are really sinking and drowning in the ocean of destruction. Who will rescue us from this rascality?

Similarly, the body of the late prophetic musician, Sunny Okosun needs to be exhumed and examined closely. He may still be alive and singing in his grave. Some years before his earthly departure, he saw the hopeless future of this country and sang this dirge: “Which way Nigeria is heading to? Many years after Independence we still have a long way to go.

How long shall it take us to reach the Promised Land? God, save Nigeria!” Sunny Okosun has died but his prophecy has come to fruition. Instead of progressing, we are retrogressing on our way to that Promised Land. Really, the problem is not with the vehicle but with the past and present reckless drivers.

Not long ago, I captioned one of my write-ups “From frying pan into fire.” The situation then grew from bad to worse. Now, we have been driven into the worst economic and living condition. We were roasted to death in the fire we fell into. Presently, our remains are driven from the consuming inferno into mass grave for decomposition.

The children of a certain poor man were crying that there was no meat in their soup. Their helpless mother encouraged them to fill their empty stomachs first before looking for meat to crown it. They adhered to their mother’s advice.

They ate and their hunger was quenched. Hardly did they know that the worse was in the offing. Barely one week after, there was no food at all to eat, not to dream of meat. It is when you consume enough meat that you can pay attention in a meeting. If you have no tea at all to drink, do you talk of drinking a tea that is over?

An Igbo proverb says, “A “A na-e The literal interpretation is that we are complaining of the breakout of sicknesses, when those with swollen scrotum also developed swollen belly. It became an eye-saw. The eye-saw has multiplied into nose-saw, mouth-saw, head-saw, stomach-saw, hand-saw and leg-saw. Our whole body system is now filled with endemic wounds.

The chance of our recovery is slim. One of the political doctors was recently interviewed by Seun Okinbaloye in Channels Television Program ‘Politics Today’ on how long we shall carry this life threatening burden. In response, the partisan politician estimated that we shall carry the deep and dangerous eye-saw wounds for about six months before any possibility of healing can come. He is quite optimistic. On the other hand, I am quite pessimistic that before the six months elapse, millions of poor Nigerians might have been dead and buried in their untimely graves. Medicine administered after clinical death is useless.

Few days ago, we woke up from night sleep to hear of another sudden rise in the cost of fuel. We are still wailing that we cannot afford the market price of N550 per liter, when the pump price was automatically raised to N617 per liter. Can a patient who is being treated of acute headache and he develops acute stomachache at the same time survive? It is possible he would be transferred into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

His chances of survival is 50 – 50. My sagacious friend puts it this way: “We have passed the SHEGE stage (N530/liter) and are now at SHEGE BANZA state (N650/liter). The SHEGE BANZA DANBRUBA stage will be N1000/liter.” One Adamu Salihu from Kano, who is a staunch supporter of President Tinubu, laments: “Honestly this new price has hit us very hard. This is not what we voted for…. What we are being served is contrary to what we asked for.” According to Naija fresh gist report of 18 July 2023, the spokesman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Benson Upah said, “This increment is unacceptable to us at the Congress because it poses a significant threat to the socio-economic well-being of the citizenry, their businesses, incomes, livelihood, everything! ….The new pump price is suggestive of the fact that the pump price could rise to N1000 or more per litre any time soon. It makes planning difficult and life uncertain.”

The South African writer Alan Paton in 1948 wrote a popular Novel titled “Cry my beloved Country” to express the apartheid condition in South Africa by then. In our present situation, the crying is over our sick country Nigeria. Who will wipe away our tears? An unknown person compares the margin of fuel under Buhari which was N198 per liter and Tinubu’s N617 per liter. Mathematically, N617 minus N198 = N419, which stands for scam. According to Senator Shehu Sani, “The pain under Buhari is that of cancer and the pain we’re facing now is the pain of chemotherapy.” Everybody is now a complainant. Who will be our lawyer?

There is now an outbreak of a new endemic virus known as ‘Carowner virus.’ The symptoms are sweating while putting petrol in your car and feeling sick when paying for it. Who did this thing to us? The former Governor of Anambra State and the wise Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi, once asked rhetorically, “Are we the cause or are we cursed?” My pertinent answer is that we are not cursed.

Rather we are the cause. The Almighty and Loving God blessed our country Nigeria with abundant natural and human resources. The problem is with the harnessing. It is a problem of leadership. We have not got ten it right since sixty-three years of Independence.  Can a child who fails to walk ever run? No magic can make it possible except by miracle.

Justice can never be obtained in a corrupt society. Majority of the past and present leaders at the National and State levels are corrupt. That is why our nation is retrogressing instead of progressing. The whole system of governance is dirty. Cleanliness cannot overcome dirtiness without washing.

Our political system needs to be sanitized. Unfortunately, the powers-that-be are the great obstacles on our way to the Promised Land. They are the ‘Agada gbachiri uzo’ (obstacles). They will not move and will not allow others to move. Our country is immersed in stagnant dirty political water. The risk of contagious diseases is very high. Also drowning in the deep and stagnant water is imminent.

When the body of the deceased is lowered into the grave, the bereaved ones wail uncontrollably. It is a moment of no return; the end of earthly life. The beloved ones perform the dust-to-dust rite as a sign of eternal farewell. As the grave is being covered, funeral orations are read. This piece is the funeral oration of the mass burial of helpless Nigerian citizens who are dying silently. Hardship, insecurity, and hopelessness have sent millions of Nigerians into the grave. Are they resting in peace or in pieces? The answer shall be determined on the appointed Day of Resurrection.