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Monday, 21 December 2015

Rumination For Nigerians As Ransom Demand Is Made By Abductors Of Two Priests In Nigeria

Three days ago, I wrote about a catholic priest, Fr Mbaka, who visited Nigeria's muslim president Mohammadu Buhari to pray for him and the country. He expressed optimism at the power of prayers in fixing Nigeria's "seasonal" problems. He had not quite settled into his residence after his presidential gallivanting when news broke out about a series of high profile kidnappings.
First was the abduction of two catholic priests in oil rich Delta state, one of whom was known to be very fiery on the pulpit, while the other was the sister of the governor of fellow oil rich Bayelsa state, Mr Seriake Dickson. Bayelsa state also happens to be the home state of immediate past president, Goodluck Jonathan, who has also joined in calling for prayers from Nigerians to save the country from its many travails. This is the Nigeria that Fr Mbaka believes will be remedied by prayers.
The abductors of the two priests have demanded the sum of 100 million Naira (roughly a half million US dollars) to effect their release. The kidnappers of governor Dickson's sister have yet to make any demands, and there are speculations that her abduction may be connected to the recent inconclusive gubernatorial elections held in the state. Mr Dickson's opponent was Mr Timipre Silva, who was a one term governor of the state and whose time as governor was mired in controversy, electoral fraud (he was removed from office twice and fresh elections ordered, the second of which brought Dickson into power) and misappropriation of state funds.
Nigeria's situation has become so dire that even those to whom we have entrusted our lives and future, have let us know in unequivocal terms that they cannot proffer any solutions that will at least put Nigeria on the path to the greatness they only talk about during electoral campaigns. But Nigerians, incurable optimists that we are (or do we just fail to acknowledge that we have failed to build a nation of our dreams) continue to listen to our clergy and politicians, who are the architects of our problems in the first place. Of course our complicity as docile citizens should not be ignored, and coupled with our silence at their wickedness, and our tacit approval of certain actions, it feels apropos to state here that most of Nigeria's problems are caused by Nigerians. We would not be listening to suggestions to pray for our country if we actually knew the origins or our problems, or is it that we just choose to ignore its source and seek a divine solution? Our politicians seek help abroad; we are given aid, (sold) arms and ammunition to prosecute the war against Boko Haram, and take various loans from diverse countries and financial institutions. What do our leaders do with all these monies and materials? Why is it the same people who turn around to tell us to pray for our problems? Why do we even listen to them? Why do we not ask them questions? Why can we not see, and acknowledge, that our prayers have failed? I once wrote that those that wait on the lord shall wait forever (I was rewriting Isaiah 40:31 which says "but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint"). Nigerian christians may have been holding on to this verse as they offer prayers to their god for Nigeria to be free from its troubles, but I suggest they start listening to my version of that verse. We have been praying for decades, and things are only getting worse; why not try something else, like getting up and actually deciding to do something. Prayers are not action, and they will never bring about any action. No mountains will be moved by prayers contrary to what the bible says, and in order to get Nigeria going, we need to acknowledge our problems and proceed to apply practical, rational, and well thought out solutions.