Fr. Pat Amobi Chukwuma
In normal parlance we shine our shoes and a few other things. Often brush and polish are used to do the shinning. A mixture of different substances and chemicals are combined to produce shoe polish. It comes in varied colours to suit all shoe colours. When well applied, it makes shoes elegant as if bought anew. If you dust your shoes and apply polish, the difference becomes clear. I wore my shoes for two good years in Germany without polishing them due to lack of dust and other ‘nyamanyama’ that attack our shoes here in Nigeria and make them nasty. Immediately I set foot in Lagos, the dust and other ‘nyamanyama’ greeted my shoes with ‘long time no see!’
Indeed, ignorance is a chronic disease. A small boy I was living with knocked at my door with alacrity. When I opened the door, he saluted me and said, “Please father I want to punish your shoes for you. Bring them out.” I couldn’t control my laughter. The boy was lost at my laughter.
Then I asked him, “My boy, what have my shoes done that you want to punish them?” He replied, “Father, because they are dirty.” “What sort of punishment do you wish to subject them to?” I further asked. He showed me a brush, black and brown polishes he was holding. The emotional laughter triggered in me once more. The boy was at sea again.
He looked up and down and shook his head sideways. He summoned courage and asked me, “Father, what is amusing you? Is it because I want to punish your shoes?” I shouted, “My boy, point of correction! You polish shoes, not punish. Is that clear?” He was looking at me like a stubborn goat. A little anger darkened my face. I commanded him to do some frog-jumps while chorusing, “Polish shoes and not punish shoes!” I dismissed him after repeating it and jumping like a frog severally.
After about an hour the small boy came back and asked me politely and correctly, “Father, can I polish your shoes for you?” I smiled and answered, “Good boy. You are now intelligent. Here are the shoes.”He collected them with zeal. When he brought them back, they were shinning like the stars. I gave him a pat on the back and rewarded him with a bottle of malt and five packets of Nasco biscuits. In other words he worked like Obiagalu and I rewarded him like Obiageli.
Two weeks later, I sent the same little houseboy on an errand. Before leaving, I instructed him in these words: “These days are evil in our country Nigeria. Therefore you must shine your eyes as you go.” He enthusiastically replied, “Yes father. I will do so.” Immediately he left my presence. When I went into my room and came out, surprisingly I saw him shinning his eyes with black and brown polishes. I shouted, “Are you a fool?! What are you doing?!”
He replied with ease, “Father, you told me few minutes ago to shine my eyes before going to do what you told me.” I frowned at him for his little understanding after paying his school fees. It was on that day that I made up my mind to send him to a special school for the less knowledgeable. He is presently at the school. If after the three years’ special course and there is no improvement, I shall not hesitate to send him back to his mother’s womb to be born again.
The Holy Scripture did not mince words to say: “Be sober and alert because your enemy the devil prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Stand your ground, firm in faith, knowing that our brothers and sisters, scattered throughout the world are confronting similar persecutions” (1 Peter 5:8 – 9). This biblical passage actually has dissected the nucleus of shinning one’s eyes.
It has to do with being extraordinarily careful. It calls for vigilance. Anyone surrounded by foes must be vigilant always. When a fowl is drinking water, it looks upwards intermittently, because its enemies come from above. Whenever a sheep is running, it looks back at intervals for fear of being attacked from behind. If the brutes can shine their eyes, then human beings ought to shine their own eyes more. A vigilant person sleeps with one eye closed and the other opened. A strong man cannot be taken unawares in his house.
The days are evil in our country Nigeria. Some time ago when the weather was extra-ordinarily hot, it was reported that a Nigerian died and entered hell. Because of his suffocating agony he forgot to close the door of hell. Consequently the heat of hell escaped and flowed down into Nigeria.
Everyone was scorched to the point of being dried up like stockfish. But as of today there was hell break by hardened devils. As a result of this, many inmates of hell escaped and rushed down into Nigeria. Most of them occupied the forests nationwide and from there attack, abduct, rape and kill innocent Nigerians going about their normal businesses.
The hell escapee metamorphosed into bandits, kidnappers, terrorists and bloody herdsmen. They fund their nefarious activities and purchase weapons from the ransom they got from kidnapped or abducted persons. Even the federal government and some state governments negotiate financially with them instead of rounding them up.
The worst is that some high placed individuals within and outside the government circles sponsor the evil men. That is the reason the federal government is reluctant in making the names of the accomplices public.
Our country is cross-roads. We are in a confused condition. Human blood is flowing daily like flood here and there. Anarchy is reigning. Therefore we must pray ardently for God’s intervention. Nothing moves God except prayers. I strongly believe that God never sleeps.
If He sleeps for one minute, our country Nigeria will disappear instantly from the world map. Last time I wrote an open and compassionate letter to God over the sorrowful condition of our broken and bloody Nation. I strongly believe that it will not remain unanswered sooner or later. We ought to watch and pray. We watch with our eyes and pray in our hearts. We must always cover ourselves with the powerful Blood of Jesus Christ.
As we pray, we should also defend ourselves if unjustly attacked. Self-defense is a human right. If the government can no longer defend us, then we should defend ourselves. This self-defense cannot be down empty handed. We can use anything available.
The escaped hell inmates operate by day and at night. Hence we must as much as possible avoid isolated places. Traveling alone is also dangerous. Since the agents of the devil operating in our country use darkness to sew clothes, we should avoid traveling at night as much as possible.
It is better to be late than the late. Our ears should be used to translate any unusual sounds we hear. The eyes should look beyond, behind, sideways, up and down all the time. The feet and the hands must be exercised when there is fire on the mountain.
Recently the Nigerian Medical Doctors raised serious alarm over the high rate numerous Nigerians are suffering from hypertension these days. Why shouldn’t we? Tensions are high. Therefore, frequent checking of blood pressure by everyone is highly recommended to avoid sudden slump and death.
I checked my own few days ago. It was a bit higher than normal. Due to the high tension in the country today, no one’s blood pressure can be normal. However it must be controlled. But if your blood pressure is low during this horrific era, then something is seriously wrong. You need intensive medical care, lest you see your shadow being cast towards the graveyard. The green snake is in the green grass. Therefore never forget to shine your eyes always. In God we trust!