By Fr Pat. Amobi Chukwuma
There are various types of quake: earthquake, human quake, pandemic quake, political quake, etc. Each of them is disastrous as far as human life is concerned. When David sinned against God by numbering his people as if he depended on human strength, God asked him to make a choice of punishment from three options: three years of famine, fleeing from his enemies for three months and three days of pestilence.
In his wisdom David said, “I am in great distress; let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man” (2 Samuel 24:14). In essence David chose three days of pestilence. Likewise, I am bold to say that human quake and political quake are the worst types of quake because they are man-made. They are the greatest problem bedeviling our country Nigeria.
Between the year 2020 and 2021, there was outbreak of a pandemic quake known as Coronavirus. It originated from China and spread throughout the whole world like wild fire. There was panic here and there. It was very contagious. Everybody went in-doors. Handshake, embracing, kissing, touching, breathing, talking and every other form of body contact became sources of contamination. As a result, face masks were introduced as a method of prevention. By so doing everybody turned into masquerade.
In America and Europe, the death toll was enormous. Old people were mostly affected. The developed world thought that Africans, who are undeveloped, would be wiped away easily. Hardly did they know that God protects a cow without tail from the menace of flies. Only few deaths were recorded in Africa during the Coronavirus rampage.
In Nigeria, the quake of Coronavirus was battled seriously. Everybody was mandated to stay at home in order to avoid contamination of the pandemic. Many unwanted babies were born during the stay at home syndrome. A wretched couple, who had seven children already, gave birth to quadruplets due to stay at home. The total number of their children became eleven. When asked why, the husband queried how he could stay at home idle and watch his wife like a film for days. He cried to the Government to take care of the extra four children because the mandate to stay at home came from her office.
After the consumption of the reserved food at home, hunger set in. Hungry Nigerians were forced by nature to come out and search for food. Government, philanthropic individuals and humanitarian groups provided palliatives to save hungry citizens from imminent death. In the midst of the outbreak of famine, some government officials and bad elements in the society hoarded the palliatives. The few people that died in this country during the pandemic died as a result of hunger and fear of the unknown.
Few days ago, a bruised young married woman with plasters all over her face approached me with tears flowing like a river. I asked her what happened. She cried loudly in such a way that neighbours gathered around. Breathing like someone about to die, she narrated that she was a victim of human quake right inside her matrimonial home. Her wicked husband descended on her on flimzy reasons and beat her beyond recognition.
During the matrimonial scuffle, the roof and walls of their house caved in due to the extraordinary drug energy in her husband. It was a near fatal human quake. I prayed for her and took her to hospital for urgent medical attention. She underwent an indispensable plastic surgery to replace the mangled body parts. Later the wicked husband was arrested and charged for attempted murder. I hereby advice young girls to pray and fast before choosing their married partners in order to avoid such human quake.
Just recently, earthquake occurred in Turkey and Syria. The quake occurred within few seconds. Over six hundred houses collapsed. About forty-six thousand lives were lost instantly in the earthquake. The earth was angry and revolted because of the evil committed over her. Many families were wiped out. Thousands of people were rendered homeless. Luckily, some trapped persons were rescued alive from the rubbles.
Let us pray: “O earth, why did you quake in anger? Remember that you are our landlord while we are your tenants. We know that we owe you, earth, rent since creation. Take it easy. We shall pay you soonest. God, kindly grant the dead eternal rest and console the bereaved families. May the homeless find shelter and food to keep body and soul together!”
I have been clearing the bush in order to cultivate. Now, let me drive home my point in this write-up. Indeed, my heart is boiling as I write. Tears are flowing down my cheeks. A dozen of handkerchiefs were soaked in tears due to the political quake that befell our country Nigeria in the early hours of 1st March 2023. Before then, millions of electorates trooped to their polling booths to elect the next hopeful civilian president in twenty-four years of unbroken democratic dispensation.
The sky has been heavy. Bad leadership has caused a lot of human and economic devastation all over the country. Terrorism and banditry claimed lives of innocent citizens going about their normal businesses. Kidnapping for ransom is the order of the day. In the process, many victims of the evil business were brutally killed. Our economy is nothing to write home about. We are dying in the midst of plenty. Hunger and anger are written in the faces of the poor masses.
The price of foodstuffs, kerosine, gas, and fuel has gone beyond the reach of the common man. My people would put it this way: “Ihe ka nte abakwutela nte n’onu ya.” This means that the situation in the country has become unbearable. The government hitherto in power has no solution to these maladies. Thank God the end of the present administration is imminent. All hope is in the in-coming elected and not selected president.
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Mahood Yakubu, promised us free, fair and credible election on 25 February 2023. As the Electoral Law of 2022 spelt out, the results of the National and Presidential Elections shall be uploaded in the INEC Portal right from the polling booths so that Nigerians can view. Also the transmission of the results and collation shall be done electronically. Indeed Nigerians were happy and hopeful that the outcome of the election will be free, transparent and credible.
The electorates, especially youths, came out in large numbers all over the country to cast their votes for the candidates of their choice. The four contending Presidential Candidates were Atiku Abubakar of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi of Labour Party (LP), Bola Tinubu of All Progressives Congress (APC) and Rabiu Musa Kwankwanso of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP). The coast was clear. The pendulum was swinging. Millions of disgruntled electorates focused on the best candidate that would deliver Nigeria from the quagmire we are in. We need to come out from slavery in Egypt and march towards the Promised Land.
During the collation of the Presidential results from all states of the Federation, an unpleasant drama was staged. The Resident Electoral Commissioners and Returning Officers from the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory came one after the other to hand over the results manually, which were also manually collected at the National Collation Center Abuja.
Some representatives of political parties called the attention of the INEC Chairman to the abnormal drama. He ignored them. This made them to stage a walk-out. The chairman continued his dictation with his anointed officers and party accomplices. Nigerians watched the undemocratic drama as it unfolded.
Surprisingly, Nigerians woke up on 1st March to hear that a political quake occurred at the early hours of that day. Millions of hopeful citizens and electorates were disenfranchised. Their votes did not count. The Electoral Law was breached. Manual transmission and manual collation were employed to rig the Presidential Election in favour of a preferred candidate.
INEC instead of being independent became a dependent Commission. There were glaring compromise and doctoring of the Presidential election result. It was massively rigged and did not reflect the will of the voters. The political quake pulled down Nigeria instantly. Millions of Nigerians died psychologically as a result of the political quake. Trust has been betrayed. No wonder the Holy Book says that love of money is the root of all evils (1 Timothy 6:10).
Disappointed Nigerians have passed a vote of no-confidence on the INEC Chairman and his colleagues-in-crime. After the political quake by announcement of fake Presidential Election result, the chairman asked aggrieved presidential candidates to go to court. How can you unjustly snatch a man’s wife or grab his land and ask him to go to court? The onus now lies on the Supreme Court justices to uphold justice and save the country from the disastrous political quake.