I hate the way we use God in this country!
I hate the way our parents, school authorities, constitution and even elected leaders used the name and person of God to perpetuate their incompetence or excuse their laxities
I hate the way we run to him for every meaningless riddles-including going to the restroom
I hate the manner in which our leaders romance God and his servants during election time and promptly desert him soon after swearing “…to SERVE and to PROTECT”
But most excruciatingly, I deeply and passionately hate the way President Jonathon has been playing the ‘God-Card’ since he assumed office in February 2010
I hate the way and manner the name and person of God has been used to excuse the moral and leadership bankruptcy of his administration the past 31 months
Ok, what do you make of this disgusting statement by a presidential mouthpiece
“President Jonathan on Sunday urged Nigerians not to lose faith in Nigeria, as the government was doing its BEST to address the numerous challenges confronting the nation”
The nonsense I just typed above was sprouted by the Minister of Information-Labaran Maku on behalf of Mr. President
He was saying this while representing His Excellency at the Carol service organized by the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) Voice of Nigeria (VON) and the near redundant Nigerian Television Authority (NTA)
But if this fast-talking and absolutely uninformed Minister-who notoriously claimed that President Jonathan brought Facebook to Nigeria, had stopped there, I might have forgiven his ‘mis-yarn’ and instead chosen to write on another scandalous minister-Diezani Madueke
However, in trying to effectively represent the President, he further enthused
“Nigeria’s challenges are not peculiar and insurmountable; they just require strong support and understanding from the citizenry to overcome them”
On sighting that, I flew off the cuff. I literarily ran mad
To start with, is something really wrong in the corridors of powers?
Or how else can our leaders use adjectives and adverbs in a way that most annoy our combined intelligence
If the government of Jonathan claimed that they are already doing their best, then there is no hope
It then wouldn’t be pre-mature to start telling the people-far and wide to look to 2015 for their succor
Let those who expect and those who aspire wait no more, cos the best of this government is nothing short of a complete mess
How is it possible for a President spending 3million naira for food alone daily to claim he is doing his best-when the vast majority of his people live on less than one dollar or 150naira a day?
How is it possible for a government that looses 1 billion Dollars per month to corruption, about 150million naira, claim to be doing its best?
How can a government who carelessly increased power cost to consumers by 200%, petroleum pricing by almost 100%, and watched interest rate and lending rates skyrocket all within the same calendar year claim to be doing its best yet?
If this is their best, then why should we ever rest?
Should we allow them the peace they deprive us of?
Should we allow the likes of Labaran Maku sell us the dummy as he oftentimes does on behalf of the government?
Should we allow the delusion and deceptions continue without us throwing the stark truth in their faces and force them to defend their stewardship or else excuse the mantle?
In case you can swallow that bit, which I apparently cannot,
What’s with our leaders claiming our problems are not peculiar to us alone?
What’s with them trying to cajole us into believing that the whole world is one mightily enclave of scum and dissident leaders like we have in Nigeria?
What’s with the propaganda that in every nation of the earth, their leaders steal like ours while their followers watch with unfeigned ignorance and disinterest like is our destiny here?
Which other nation does the President spend billions to eat and yet urge his followers to feast on cassava diets alone?
Which other nation in the world would openly claim to be fighting corruption when indicted persons are renowned minister, government appointee and even the Presidency itself?
Which other nation would promptly transfer the consequences of governmental ineptitude and graft on the people when suddenly a subsidy bill grew from 250billion naira to 1.3 trillion naira in less than 7months?
In which other country has the government instituted almost 30 Presidential Action or other sundry committees, yet has not implemented the findings and recommendations of one?
So now, are our national problems unique to us, or does every country celebrate corruption and incompetence like we do?
Do they borrow so much yet achieve so little, are their people as wantonly wretched in the midst of abundance as is our case here, have they lost so much hope that only the opium religion provides gives them succor?
The part that got me really grieved was the unfortunate statement credited to Bishop Mike Okonkwo-the presiding Bishop of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission
Bishop ‘urged Nigerians to use the Christmas season to reflect on the challenges confronting the nation.
He further urged that Nigerians should stop complaining but to keep faith with God as no situation is too difficult or big for Him to handle”
While in truth, his statement tended a lot to logic and made some sense, what I found absolutely bewildering is his admonition to Nigerians to not complain
Our blood-sucking and life-sapping leaders are unrepentant
They continue to steal with aplomb and pursue policy after policy that pandered only to their family’s needs
The poor are not only becoming poorer, they are dying by the grooves. Even the rich or so called middle class is evaporating
Hospitals are getting over crowded, graves are literarily filling up; accident percentages are tripling and the national debt plus budget deficits are heaven-high! Yet we are told not to complain
How then will change happen? How will the stupid transformation once promised will ever arrive?
Is it not just easier for Bishop to admonish the crowd, quote some lofty verses and go back home?
When was the last time he queued up for eight hours just to see the doctor at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) like I did some months ago?
When was the last time he was ill and used three days without getting a bed space at the hospital like my dad suffered before he eventually died with little or no treatment?
When was the last time Mr. Bishop or his son applied for years without getting a job, spend days without having powers or even longer days without getting fuel to power his cars?
Has he trekked the barren streets recently? Has he gone to bed hungry not so long ago?
Can he recollect what it takes to lose your job abruptly, lose your home suddenly or lose one’s life or the life of one dear to you due to the bankrupt state of our primary health services?
Or maybe I should speak in bible parlance also!
Didn’t the Israelites complain like crazy when pharaoh was going to work them to their deaths with little or no succor?
Didn’t God hear their cry and sent them Moses the deliverer?
When the Israelites lamented that their rulers weren’t living up to their roles and demanded a king, didn’t God grant their desires?
Even in captivity in Babylon-very much like our national experience now, when they lamented, didn’t God hear their wail and tears and freed them?
Now without trying to disparage the man of God- and it be on record that I do respect him,
But, why on earth should we swallow his bias hook, line and sinker?
Some of the greatest revolution and social change the world has seen began with pastors, social reformers and co
Remember Dr Martin Luther King Junior, who along with other men of God of his times fought against racial inequality in the United states and defeated it?
They FOUGHT and viciously campaigned in the streets against it!
What about Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, who campaigned, complained and championed the moral and just cause against apartheid
He complained so much and galvanized the people enough to see Mandela freed and the institution of Democracy in the ‘Rainbow Nation’
Guys like St Augustine, St Aquinas, Mother Theresa and many more are those whose calling did not subjudice their consciences
They would not encourage people to continue to live with inequality, corruption and perpetual denigration of the value of their lives and personhood.
They not only encourage public participation and vocal representations, the galvanized social change
They were at the fore front of it: the arrow head: the focal points!
I would rather we used God differently at this juncture of our national experience
I would rather religious leaders throw away their prejudices and beliefs and use their positions of influence to better the lot of this nation
I would rather our pastors, Imams and even native doctors came out and roundly condemn the obvious inefficiencies of government
I would rather they dissociate themselves from mediocre leaders and promptly applaud the commendable actions of government
I would rather the pastors and other faith leaders galvanize the people, re-awaken their social consciousness and help develop their courage to confront, compel and where applicable combat the evil in government-for if the people truly arise, who really can stand in their path?
The real problem in Nigeria has always been a lack of genuine opposition, lack of accountability and a deadness of our leader’s conscience
But imagine a people that will not let our leader’s rest
Imagine a people involved, a followership concerned and an electorate demanding for the promised dividends
Wouldn’t our leaders be compelled to do more, and be more responsible?
Our religious leaders are in a position to make this happen. Let them quit telling us to stop complaining. Infact, they should encourage and organize us into a formidable force by God. A force that can defeat the evil machinations and lame imaginations of those in government
That for me is the proper use of God and his name
That for me is the proper way for a religious leader to use his influence
That for me is what I want to read and not the rambling of an overfed information minister and the admonition of a disconnected religious leader
That is my expectation for Bishop and other heavily-titled men who are now regarded as ‘gods’