Fr. Pat Amobi Chukwuma
I just returned from my annual leave. Before embarking on it, I informed my dear readers in my last article that they would hear from me again in due course. Maybe some were not aware of the information. Hence some were calling and texting me, asking of my whereabout. One of them wrote: “Father, good morning. No write-up for two weeks. Hope you are feeling fine or are you on leave? Thanks and God bless you.” My humble reply was: “Good day my dear reader. I, my brain and my pen are on leave this month. Pray for us. God bless.” Leave simply means 'you leave.' When you go on leave, you leave everything behind and rest awhile. Life has no duplicate. Please find time to rest so that you can regain your balance. Lack of rest can lead to madness. Madness is nothing but mental imbalance. Most people hardly find time to rest awhile. Unfortunately they rest in the coffin with the inscription R.I.P. Our Lord Jesus Christ despite his tight saving ministry found time to rest and to pray in a lonely place. Kindly check your mental balance before proceeding in reading this write-up.
Some of you may be wondering why the Wit's Corner resumed with the topic “Are You Mad?” Yes, the frog does not run in the daylight without cogent reasons. A forth night ago, I disguised myself as a layman and went into a market to purchase my personal needs. I passed through the gent's wears to make a choice. There was a particular advert male statue dressed in English suit and stationed conspicuously on a walk-way. It attracted my attention. As I was admiring it, a half naked mad man came along fiercely. He was holding a big stick in his hand. The adrenalin in me rose to the highest point. Fear overwhelmed me. Emotionally I greeted the mad man, “Good afternoon Sir!” He stared madly at me and started laughing. His laughter infected me instantly and I started laughing so loudly too. The mad man turned towards me and asked, “Why are you laughing? Are you mad?” I swallowed the laughter immediately and shut up my mouth for fear of the unknown.
Then the mad man shifted his attention to the standing statue dressed in English suit. He mistook it for a real human being. He asked the statue, “Do you not greet people?” There was no answer. The insane man held the hand of the dressed statue and shook it forcefully saying, “Common, talk! Are you mad?” Sensing danger, I sneaked away from the scene. Looking back from a distance, I saw him hitting at the dressed statue with the big stick he was holding. The owner of the shop and some passers-by confronted him and overpowered him. Hence he staggered madly away.
Just a few poles away inside the market, I came across two middle-age women exchanging verbal ballistic missiles. One asked the other, “Are you mad?” The other replied, “You are mad. Your husband is mad. Your mother and father are mad. Your children are mad!” The addressed woman couldn't bear the insult. She shouted, “Enough is enough!” She moved forward with force and a real fight ensued between the two. As a peace maker, I tried to separate them. During the process they pushed me flat on the ground. Speedily and shamefully I got up and took to my heels in order to avoid further disgrace. I stood at a perpendicular corner and watched the fight. Before any help could come, the two women had stripped themselves stark naked in the market place in the public of “igwe mmadu.” That was real madness. Once madness goes into the market level, it becomes incurable. Thus the two women were suffering from incurable madness. Thank God I ran away before they could also stripe me naked as I was separating the fight. I would have shared in the incurable madness.
Observing that the market was filled with the spirit of madness on that fateful day, I took a wise decision and suspended the articles I wanted to purchase and went home sorrowfully. Indeed it is better to go into heaven empty handed than to go into hell with wealth. In other words, it is better to be late than be late.
My ancestral home is located in a church street. The churches were four in number earlier. The spirit of madness forced one of them to close down abruptly. As I was coming back from the market the same day, two of the pastors were casting and binding each other. They were fighting over superiority. Their adherents stood watching helplessly. I also stood at the path leading into my compound watching the scenario. One of the pastors of the New Generation Churches asked the other, “Are you mad?” The other retorted, “You are a possessed pastor! I bind you in the Name of Jesus Christ!” The other shouted, “Holy Ghost fire!” Meanwhile I saw the devil standing between the two enraged pastors. The spirit of madness possessed them instantly. They began to fight physically. I rushed into my car and brought my container of Holy Water. I sprinkled it on them, shouting, “Evil one, be gone!” My prayer and sprinkling yielded instant result. The two fighting pastors slumped side by side. Their adherents were calling on the heavens to intervene. After few minutes they got up and ran away in opposite directions. What a church madness! One of them came back after a week and continued with his ministry while the other has not come back till today.
Generally it is said that everyone is mad; but it depends on degrees. Is the assertion true or false? Are you mad? Am I mad? What degree is your own madness? Madness can equally manifest in anger. God created us sane. We induced the spirit of madness into ourselves by committing sin. Hence every sinner is a mad person. A drunkard is mad. An adulterer or fornicator is mad. A liar is mad. A thief or an armed robber is mad. A gossip is mad. An idol worshipper is also suffering from madness. Can you see that each and every one of us is guilty of one form of madness or the other?
The biblical Prodigal son was suffering from acute madness, which caused him to run away and started living a life of debauchery. His madness was cured when he came back to his senses and made up his mind to go back to his father for reconciliation. Likewise our sinful madness can be cured when we come back to our senses, repent and then go back to the merciful Father. He does not desire the death of a sinner but wants him to repent. Therefore repentance is the remedy for sinful madness, whether venial or mortal.
Our country Nigeria is full of mad people. That is why things have fallen apart and the centre can no longer hold. After 58 years of Independence, we are still wallowing in the ocean of darkness. President Buhari in his Independence speech said we are in the right direction. I disagree. We are still in the mad or wrong direction. Bad leadership, corruption, nepotism, hatred, marginalization, anger, hunger, high rate of unemployment, bloodshed, terrorism, and fear of the unknown have crippled this country. Leadership is service to God and the people. But some of our mad politicians render service to themselves and their pockets. There are many mad leaders in the Presidency, Legislature and Judiciary. They need to be fished out and sent to the reformatory. The bloody herdsmen are controlled by the spirit of madness.
To be on the right direction, Nigeria needs to be restructured immediately. The ethnic groups that make up the country need to sit on a round table to discuss the way forward. Justice and equity must prevail for peace to reign. Lopsided appointments at all levels of governance must be avoided. The appointments by the President must respect the federal character. This is lacking in the present Buhari-led administration. Most of his appointments are lopsided. We must welcome the things that unite us and discard those that divide us. We ought to accommodate one another, no matter the ethnicity or religion. The older generation of leaders should give chance for the younger generation to participate in governance. The circulation of past and worn out leaders in each political dispensation does not make for political and economic growth. Time changes and we must learn to change with it as it is in other prospering nations of the world.
The 2019 general elections are fast approaching. Some mad politicians want to grab power by all means. Only sane politicians can guarantee our future. Therefore we must shine our eyes in choosing our leaders in primary and main elections both at the state and federal levels. If we elect mad leaders, then we shall all suffer from madness for the years to come. Therefore we must fall on our knees and pray for God's intervention in the 2019 general elections, so that peace may reign and that mad leaders may not be found in the three Arms of Government. Sane leaders can only be elected in free, fair and credible elections. Manipulation of the electoral process is madness. Rigging of election is madness. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ought to be truly independent. Otherwise their efforts will end up in madness. We have suffered enough of political madness since our Independence in 1960. When will the acute madness be cured? Only God knows. God helps those who help themselves. Man proposes but God disposes.