My friend's name is Victor. He appeared victoriously from his mother's womb on a Sunday afternoon with a piece of fresh palm frond firmly clenched in his right hand. Since palm frond is a symbol of victory, the parents named him 'Victor'. In fact he was born a miraculous baby. He began his nursery school at the unripe age of seven months. At the age of 12 months, he was already in primary one. I met him in secondary school. One thing led to the other, we became friends. Victor is endowed with academic brilliance while I am endowed with natural wisdom. We complemented each other. Victor and I came out with flying colours from the post-primary school. We parted ways temporarily when he entered the circular university to study medicine. I saw myself in the seminary studying for the Priesthood.
Ten years later I was ordained a priest in the Order of Melchizedek. Victor became a Doctor in the Order of Medicine. I became a professional bachelor in the Lord's Vineyard. My friend Victor got married to Victoria, a qualified midwife. Behold Victor marrying Victoria; a medical doctor marrying a midwife! They are blessed with three children, namely Hardwork, Patience and Success. Hardwork and Patience lead to Success. As a minister of God and a celibate, I am blessed with three virtues, namely Endurance, Humour and Happiness. If not for endurance, I would have despaired due to the vicissitudes of human life. Without humour I would have perished in misery. Without happiness I would have turned into a sadist.
In human life, if you try and fail, the best thing to do is not to give up but to try again. Hence human life is in constant trial. In my secondary school, Chemistry as a science was simply introduced to us beginners as “Chem is try.” President Buhari contested the Presidential Election three times and failed. He tried again and succeeded when age was no longer on his side. He promised to make a change in the governance of the country. He is still sweating to bring about the promised change. Maybe the expected change will come at the last hour of his regime. If he does not change the Change, the Change would change him. Time will tell.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria have failed many times to fly into the football atmosphere of African Cup of Nations and World Cup due to seen and unforeseen causes. They had earlier won the African trophy for a number of times since its inception. Different coaches have been hired and fired from one time or the other. Tongues continued to wag: Is the coach the problem or the footballers? When the erstwhile national footballer, Sunday Oliseh, was hired as the national coach, he did not last long. He complained bitterly that there were many witches in Nigeria Football Association (NFA). They didn't give him a chance to handle the footballers. Their dictation led him to confusion and dizziness. Consequently, he resigned voluntarily. At least in his profile he must add 'Former National Coach' of the Super Eagles. The quota system has not helped matters in selecting good national footballers. Professionalism, and not ethnicity, should be the qualifying factor if we must march to victory.
Having tried the local coaches, the NFA decided to hire a foreign coach once more. A German coach, Rohr, won the test. He started to roar at home and around the continents to discover talented Nigerian footballers. He seems to be succeeding as Nigeria qualified to contest the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The Super Eagles came out victoriously in all their qualifying matches. Happily we shall be rushing to Russia come 2018 for the global football competition. I have applied to be the spiritual director of the Super Eagles for the Russia game. I am optimistic that the NFA would oblige me to back our Eagles prayerfully over there. I will soon go into the desert to fast and pray before the contest begins.
The victory of the Eagles in the forthcoming World Cup has begun to manifest. Just recently they engaged Argentina in a friendly football match in Russia. Initially the Argentine team walloped the Eagles two hot goals. Nigerians all over the world sighed and concluded that all hope was lost. Courageously, the Super Eagles retreated and came back with stronger spirit. They sunk the Argentina national team with four glorious goals. At the final whistle, the result was: Nigeria 4, Argentina 2. History was made in the Russian football stadium as the Super Eagles and their supporters triumphed. Coach Rohr roared for joy. Joyfully, the Eagles abandoned their aircraft in Russia and flew home on their victorious wings. The march to victory in the 2018 World Cup is really positive. I have made up my pastoral mind to begin now to anoint the Super Eagles monthly with Holy Oil in order to equip them with enough spiritual energy for the 2018 World Cup. My prayer is that all the footballers, through whose feet the qualification was achieved, will live to march to Russia in 2018 and come home victoriously. Also, I pray that the Presidency and the NFA may find me worthy to be the National Spiritual Director of the Super Eagles.
As I was writing this article on that Sunday, 19th November 2017, when the Anambra Governorship Election result was released, the local cock (okuko Igbo) behind my house started crowing continuously. Then I heard a distress voice shouting, “Oho! Oho!! Oho!!!” I ran out to see what was amiss. Unfortunately, it began to rain heavily. For this reason I rushed back to my room to collect my big umbrella before setting out again. The windy heavy rain snatched the umbrella from me and tore it into rags. By then I was already soaked with water. I had no alternative than to take refuge in my sitting room. The windy rain pushed back the door with every force. The rain poured into the sitting room. I fought back with a broom, pushing the rainy water out. Sadly, the broom broke into pieces. I was confused as to what was happening. Meanwhile the cock continued to crow.
It was later that I read the handwriting on the wall when I turned on my Television set. The Anambra Resident Electoral Commissioner, Professor Zana Akpagu, was on the screen announcing the Governorship Election result. I exclaimed emotionally, “Oh, no wonder the cock behind my house was crowing continuously!” The Professor announced that All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and her candidate Chief Dr. Willie Maduaburochukwu Obiano had won the governorship seat for the second tenure with 234,071 votes. The All Progressives Congress (APC) came second with 98,752 votes. The Peoples Democratic Party came third with 70,293 votes. It was then I that I saw the reason why the cock was crowing, the umbrella torn into rags and the broom broken into pieces in the above episode. Thank God the APC candidate, Dr. Tony Nwoye and the PDP candidate Mr. Henry Oseloka Obaze had conceded defeat. Both swore not to go to court to contest the APGA victory. However, Oseloka even though he did not reject the result, pointed out some discrepancies in the just concluded gubernatorial election. He raised eyebrows over APGA's victory in the 21 Local Governments in Anambra State, including his and Tony Nwoye's Local Governments.
Yes, the victory has been won. Anambrarians have spoken. His Excellency, Chief Dr Willie Maduaburochukwu Obiano has marched to victory. He performed so well in his first tenure. There is hope he will do better this time. All eyes are on him to lead Anambrarians into the Promised Land. The governorship election of November 18, 2017 was generally adjudged to be peaceful, free, fair and credible. For me it is the best election ever held in this state. We should all rally round our amiable governor and march with him to victory. His security apparatus has no comparison. We shall continue to sleep with two eyes closed. Agriculture is booming. Hunger is on its way out of Anambra State. Many roads are being constructed here and there. The dilapidated ones including the Federal roads are receiving palliative measures. Workers and pensioners are happy because of the Alert Governor's victory. The enemies of Anambra State parading about with lies should drop their bitterness and join the line that leads to victory. No one is indispensable.
The 37 parties and 37 candidates involved in the just concluded governorship election in Anambra State are now counting their gains and losses. Some of the defeated parties, their candidates and their godfathers are now licking their wounds. Some did the campaign of bitterness, character assassination or calumny. New godfathers emerged. Some painted the billboards of their political opponents with red. That is an attempted murder. If someone burns your picture out of jealousy, invariably he can burn you alive, if he has the opportunity. Campaigns should be done with maturity. Campaigns should be based on party manifestoes rather than destroying others' names. Life continues after the campaign and election. 'Godfatherism' is no more a fashion in Anambra State. Political predecessors and successors should be their brother's keepers. The politics of acrimony does not pay. Some of the Anambra politicians, who were trusted in the past, lost their prestige during the just concluded gubernatorial campaign and the election proper due to egotism. Some wanted to remain in power directly or indirectly. It takes years to build a good name, but it takes only seconds to destroy it. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Our Leaders should know that all powers belong to God.
The problem of our leaders, especially African leaders, is that they have failed to learn from history. It is good to leave the stage when the ovation is still very high. A big masquerade does not overstay in the stage to avoid falling in shame. The former Military President IBB stepped aside after the stage became so hot for him, in an attempt to perpetuate in power. The late Sani Abacha wanted to transform into Nigerian life president. He died suddenly in a shameful circumstance. The former President Obj attempted to amend the Constitution in order to do a third tenure but the Lawmakers rejected his selfish motive. He left with sadness. The late Samuel Doe of Liberia ended up badly by being cut into pieces like pepper soup because of power intoxication. Colonel Gaddafi of Libya was murdered like a fowl when he refused to step down from power. The popular Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was hanged for refusal to relinquish power after committing various bloody atrocities. Currently, the Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, who has been in power for 37 years, was humiliated by the Zambian Army for misuse of power and causing hardship for his people. Eventually he was forced to resign. President Paul Biya of Cameroun and other sit-tight Africa leaders should step down before the hammer falls on them also. Only the former Nigerian President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has written his name in the Guinness Book of Records by relinquishing power voluntarily to an opposition and congratulated him. He left with dignity. The late Nelson Mandela of South Africa also relinquished power voluntarily after serving his first tenure.
Today we are celebrating the Solemnity of Christ the King. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He is the Alpha and Omega. In the Name of Jesus Christ, all knees shall bow. Our Leaders should emulate the qualities of good leadership found in the King of kings, Jesus Christ. He came to serve and not to be served. He washed the feet of his servants. How many of our political and religious leaders have done so? He led by example. Most of our leaders are worshipped instead of serving. Jesus came to call sinners to repentance and ate with them. How many of our leaders have time for common people and the less privileged in society? Jesus cared for the material and spiritual welfare of the people during his earthly kingship. He died on the Cross to save the sinful mankind. How many of our religious and political leaders can die for the good of the masses? Some would prefer the masses to die for them while they remain in power by all means. It is certain that all religious and political leaders will give account of their leadership at the Judgment Seat of God. He who has ears, let him hear!