By Fr Pat. Amobi Chukwuma
The Giant of Africa called Nigeria has been languishing in purgatory since her Independence in 1960. Just few years after liberation from the British colonial masters, things fell apart and the center could no longer hold. The military ceased power. There was bloody coup and counter bloody coup. Pogrom followed.
As a result of corruption, injustice, ethnicity and marginalization, the Eastern part of the country broke away and formed the Republic of Biafra under the leadership of General Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. By then General Yakubu Gowon was the Nigeria Head of State. Consequently, three years civil war broke out from 1967 to 1970. It was indeed an ethnic cleansing. Millions of innocent lives were lost.
With the surrender of Biafra, the then Head of State, Gowon, proclaimed, “No victor, no vanquished.” He rolled out the three Rs: Reconciliation, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction. Till date the three Rs have not been fully implemented.
Democracy in Nigeria is still crawling after many years of her freedom. Military rule interrupted at one time or the other due to bad leadership. However it is popularly said that the worst civilian rule is better than the best military dictatorship. Fortunately from 1999 till date, Nigeria celebrates uninterrupted democratic rule.
Nevertheless, the civilian leaders have not managed the country well. We are still far from the Promised Land due to bad leadership, corruption, ethnicity, marginalization, lopsided appointments, bad policies, economic hardship in the midst of plenty and worsening insecurity. The rich continues to be richer and the poor becoming poorer. Our university graduates suffer from umemployment. Since an idle mind is the devil’s workshop, they end up in the devil’s camp.
The worst of it is that millions of Nigerians are hungry which has translated into anger. Hence bloodshed thrives in different forms all over the nation. The devaluing of human life has become a common phenomenon. Armed robbery has translated into kidnapping and gruesome killing for money ransom. The bloody kidnapping has spread all over Nigeria. Nowhere is safe. We now sleep with two eyes open.
Our hope of coming out from the fire of purgatory was dashed when the doors of exit were completely shut down and put under lock and key. We entered into hell fire at the dawn of 2023. Nigeria becomes the survival of the fittest. Fuel scarcity and its exorbitant cost per litre started from 2022 Yuletide and New Year celebrations.
We thought it was a joke. Ordinary joke turns into fight when blows follow. Any handshake that goes above the shoulder is no longer a greeting. The fuel scarcity becomes very severe as we are approaching the general elections. The real cause of the fuel scarcity and its exorbitant price are yet to be revealed.
As we are wondering how the rat bit someone to death, the lizard went to sharpen its teeth. We are yet to recover from the fuel scarcity when something more sinister happened. Hardly did we know that the redesigning of the N200, N500 and N1000 notes would translate into severe economic hardship, hunger and anger. Nigerians deposited the concerned higher naira old notes into the banks with the hope of swapping them with the new redesigned naira notes without much ado.
Unfortunately the new naira notes became acutely scarce. It is alleged that the politicians and those in power who hoarded the old naira notes also grabbed the new naira redesigned notes and hoarded them probably for vote buying during the general elections of February 25 and March 11, 2023. There may be other hidden agenda for the redesign at this critical moment of Nigerian history. Indeed where two elephants are fighting, the grasses beneath suffer.
The poor masses are now bearing the consequences of the naira swap failure with sweat and tears. A hungry man became instantly an angry man. Some helpless Nigerians have run berserk because of the effects of the failed currency swap. The number of mental deranged persons increased due to despair, hunger and anger. Both the old and new naira notes are so scarce. “Which way is Nigeria heading to?” asked the late prophetic musician Sunny Okosun.
The die is cast. It is time to make another change in leadership in our country Nigeria. The general elections are here. We must shine our eyes well on the ballot papers as we go to the polls on 25 February for the Presidential and National Assembly; and on 11 March for Governorship and House of Assembly elections. To be specific, only two candidates are competing for the Presidential election coming up on 25 February 2023.
The first is Success while the second is Failure. Success promises to take Nigeria to the next level. He is ready to sacrifice everything to achieve this feat. His antecedent and achievements are proofs that he has the capacity. He has vowed, if elected, to unite the divided country, to aggressively fight insecurity, to provide employment opportunity for the teeming jobless youths and to turn this nation from the spirit of consumption to production.
This optimistic Presidential Candidate and his Vice Presidential Candidate think and look alike as if they are from the same mother. They have visionary spirits and are still very vibrant. It is only a blind person that can ignore them.
On the other hand, Failure during his electoral campaign vowed to continue the economic hardship we have been experiencing in Nigeria for years. He feels it is his turn to rule. He is visionless and lacks the capacity to take Nigeria to the next level. Also age is not on his side.
He was born on an unknown date. His health condition is questionable. Already he is on life support machine and is being propelled by unseen hands during his electioneering campaigns. From all evidences available, he lacks the moral, spiritual and physical capacities to lead this country to the next level. If I were he, I would have retired honourably and allow the younger generation to take up the leadership of this failing country.
The forthcoming Presidential Election is a contest between Light and Darkness. Nigeria will shine if Light is voted into power. The powers of darkness holding this country to ransom since Independence will disappear instantly like evil spirits. Nigerians will heave a sigh of relief.
Happiness will return instantly on the faces of distressed and despaired citizens. Insecurity will disappear into oblivion. There will be surplus food on the table for all and sundry. Unemployment shall be minimized. Ethnicity, tribalism, marginalization, religious bigotry and lopsided appointments will give way to justice and fair play for all. With Light voted into power come February 25, heaven will come down in Nigeria.
If by omission or commission, Darkness is voted into power, come February 25, then Chief Satan and the occupants of Hell fire will automatically descend into Nigeria. The consequences will be enormous. No one shall be spared. Insecurity will be doubled. Hopelessness becomes the order of the day. We shall surely return to the State of Nature where might is right. The situation becomes the survival of the fittest. God forbid!
According to the incumbent Catholic Bishop of Abakaliki Diocese, Most Reverend Peter Nworie Chukwu, who happens to be my classmate at Bigard Memorial Seminary Enugu, the forthcoming Presidential Election is a choice between Jesus Christ and Barabbas. In their foolishness and cruelty, the Jews chose Barabbas and condemned the innocent Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to death on the infamous Gibbet.
Shall we Nigerians also foolishly vote for Barabbas on 25 February 2023? The consequences will be enormous. Even till today the Jews are still suffering from the wrong choice they made about two thousand years ago. We must not allow the unfortunate history to repeat itself. A vote for Jesus Christ on February 25 is the only guarantee for the quick entrance of the long suffering Nigerians into the Promised Land.