By Pat Amobi Chukwuma
The universe is full of nets. We have mosquito net, fishing net, bat net, spider net, football net, volley ball net, lawn tennis net, table tennis net, etc. When these various nets are at work, they create a network. These different nets are traps for good or for bad. The mosquito net traps mosquitoes and prevent them from feeding on the blood of the one sleeping inside it. The fishermen cast the net into the sea to catch fish in their numbers. The fish go easily into the net but cannot get out from it. The hunter spreads net on trees or other places to trap bats. The spider builds its net around itself to catch its prey. The football officials hang net on goal-post for certainty. This helps to avoid unnecessary controversies over scoring of goals. The ball bounces on the net and stops. All the spectators shout, “It is a goal!” Without the net some may deny the goal. In volley ball, lawn tennis and table tennis, the ball is supposed to go over the net. But if it bounces on the net, it becomes problematic, thereby creating a network problem.
A certain couple was engaged in daily nagging and fighting. One day the wife went to market and bought a strong fishing net. It happened that the husband was coming with venom to beat sense out of his lawfully married wife. The wife cast the net over him and drew it. The man of the house fell on the floor and was trapped in it. The wife boasted, “Stupid man! I have networked you today because you are a big problem in this family. I will cut you into pieces like fish.” The trapped husband begged her to let him free. She ignored his plea. Rather, she rushed into the kitchen and came out with a sharp table knife. Thank God two men accidentally came in before she was about to cut the network problem. They overpowered the woman and snatched the knife from her. Then they set the breadwinner free from the net. This was how a bloody network problem was averted.
In a layman’s knowledge, when a net is at work it becomes network. When it constitutes a m,lproblem while at work, it becomes a network problem. Scientifically, the Computer Hope defines network as, “a collection of computers, servers, mainframes, network devices, peripherals, or other devices connected to one another to allow the sharing of data. An excellent example of network is the Internet, which connects millions of people all over the world.” According to Wikipedia, “network flow problems are a class of computational problems in which the input is a flow network (a graph with numerical capacities on its edges), and the goal is to construct a flow, numerical values on each edge that respect the capacity constraints that have incoming flow equal to outgoing flow at all vertices except for certain designated terminals.” This is a big grammatical definition of network and its problems. Please do not develop brain network problem while trying to assimilate the scientific grammar. Also do not be confused about where I am going. I am just clearing the bush to arrive at my destination.
Often when we make or receive phone calls we encounter some network problems. The network problem arises when there is confusion in air transmission. The atmosphere can sometimes be overloaded with divergent invisible currents. We encounter loss of service during network problems. Some of the network problems are natural while some are man-made or concocted. For instance, when an adulterous husband or wife is speaking with his girlfriend or boyfriend as the case may be, and his or her partner comes in, he or she uses network problem as a guise that he or she is no more hearing from the other end. He or she continues to say “Hello! Hello! Hello! Oh, network problem!” By so doing, suspicion of infidelity is avoided.
The human brain is a complex network in itself. All human actions are connected to the brain. I doff my cap to the Almighty God for his excellent network construction on the human brain. As the human brain contains various nets, it can develop a network problem. Whenever there is a network problem in the brain, confusion arises. The brain becomes a Tabula Rasa and service is lost. For instance, I was accelerating the throttle of my car to attend burial Mass somewhere. On approaching a T-junction, my brain developed a network problem.
Immediately, I forgot the direction I was heading to: left or right? What did I do? I simply packed the car beside the junction and started tuning my brain to solve the network problem. After some minutes, my brain service returned. I remembered that my destination was left hand side. I started the engine and sped off. I was a bit late. I apologized to the congregation for my lateness. I told them that I developed a network problem on the way. I heard a voice from behind asking, “What type of network problem?” I laughed it off.
Recently, President Buhari was accosted by journalists, who asked him what concrete steps he is taking to arrest the current insecurity problem all over the country. He replied that the Inspector General of Police is losing weight; which shows he is working seriously. Everyone laughed over the president’s network problem. The question at every lip is: Is losing weight really a sign of hard work? One can lose weight due to worries, sickness or hunger. The IGP should go for medical check-up first. The President himself should tell Nigerians what concrete steps he is taking to secure the lives and property of Nigerians, which is his primary duty as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution as amended. Without adequate security, no meaningful progress can be achieved. If the first level is so bloody, what shall the next level be?
One day, a worried man with battered face came into my office full of tears. Indeed what makes a man to shed tears openly must be serious. I sympathetically offered him a seat and then asked him, “Why are you shedding tears like a woman? What happened to your face? Be a man and tell me the problem.” He wiped away his tears, took a long breath and said, “Father, I am in hot soup in my family due to my wife’s network problem, which started just six months after our marriage. She has an acute mental disorder. Please kindly give me the Psalm I would be praying in order to withstand her network problem. As a wise fool, I told him that I would like to know the type of network problem his wife has before I could give him the appropriate Psalm. I appealed to him to lead me to his house so that I can see her face to face. He said that it was dangerous for me to set foot into their house as his wife’s network problem was on the highest degree. She could batter my head as well. I compelled him that we should go and see her first. He unwillingly accompanied me.
On reaching his house, I saw the wife sitting in front with a moody face. Nonetheless she greeted me with due respect. Then she looked angrily at her husband and uttered, “Father, what have you to do with this useless and adulterous husband? He has immoral network problem. I caught him red-handed in the morning with another woman in our matrimonial bed. His battered face is my exhibit.” The husband was totally speechless with shame written all over his face. I saw the cause of the network problem and recommended the remedy. I gave the embattled husband Psalm 50(51) as an appropriate prayer to be said thrice for nine days. The title is: “Have mercy O God in your kindness….”
Telling of lies is a serious network problem. We are morally bound to say the truth. The Bible says, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32). God is truth himself. As his creatures, we are consecrated in the truth. Thus, to tell lies is a mental network problem. To make a valid judgment, we ought to hear from both parties involved in a case. The husband in the story above wanted to exonerate himself. He accused his wife of having an acute network problem when he was the real network problem. If I had given him a Psalm to pray based on his accusation, it would not have been effective. Before you can treat any network problem properly , you have to ascertain the cause of the network. I still remember the Young Christian Students motto: See, Judge and Act. When you see any network problem, judge wisely before you act. If not, the network becomes worse.
Forgetfulness is also a network problem. When one starts ageing, the network becomes bad. One day a middle-aged man drove to a nearby church for prayer. At the end of the prayer, he trekked home. On reaching home, his car garage was empty. He became so worried. Could it be that thieves have stolen the car? He raised an alarm. A security man came and told him that his car was packed in the church premises down there. He slapped myself and exclaimed, “What a big network problem! I forgot that I drove the car to the church in the morning. I came back on foot looking for the car at home.” He consulted a physician to treat the network problem. He gave him some Loss of Memory tablets to be taken twice daily for two weeks. Kindly see your physician if you are suffering from any form of forgetfulness, which is a network problem. The earlier you do so, the better.
Today in Nigeria, we have myriad of network problems ranging from hunger, anger, despair, mental disorder, unemployment, incessant power failure, bad roads, injustice, unhealthy political rivalry, bad leadership, corruption, hatred, marginalization, vindictive tendencies, manipulation of the judiciary, incessant power failure, insecurity from Boko Haram terrorism, cultism, kidnapping, banditry and bloody herdsmen. We are really in trouble. Who will bail the cat? God, save us!