Dear Fellow-Nigerians,President Umoru Musa Yarâ€™Adua may go down in history as the just Pharaoh that â€œfacilitatedâ€ the emancipation of the Niger Delta [something the Balewas, Babangidas, Abachas, and Obasanjos tried, in vain, to achieve]Â by simply listening to the true representatives of the regionâ€™s peoples and having the political courage to address the fundamental challenges of the regionâ€¦or, at least, that is what we are all praying that he doesâ€¦if the hawks in his kitchen cabinet will let him!
The story of Niger Deltansâ€™ yearning for emancipation could be likened to that of the Israelites during their days under the oppressive Pharaohs of Egypt. God had to raise a Moses and an Aaron to lead the Israelites out of the bondage of Egypt, employing a mixture of plagues and dialogues; just as God has enabled the Niger Deltans to (hopefully!) begin to come into their promises-of-blessings by teaching them how to combine violence (regrettably, though!) and negotiations to access their emancipation. And He showed them that He alone is Godâ€¦so the Israelites had to learn how to let go of their fears and let Him work His miracles-of-blessings.
In the scriptures, quoted above, for example, Jehovah told the Israelites to access freedom by obeying Himâ€¦even when such obedience seemed foolhardy.
He told them that He, â€œThe Lord, will fight for youâ€: Though Moses had put the Israelites into their â€œranksâ€, he knew that the deliverance they were counting on must nevertheless come from the Lord. For, at this time, Israel was not ready to fight.
Fresh from slavery in Egypt, they were lacking in both weapons and will power. How like the â€œunderdogâ€ Niger Deltans! Therefore, God said, in this instance, that He would fight for them.
But, for Him to act efficaciously for their good, He demanded that they â€œkeep quietâ€.Â The disjunctive clause in the original Hebrew yields a strong adversative sense. The contrast between the Lordâ€™s action and the peopleâ€™s silence is a wonderful picture of the biblical concept of grace, where we merely trust, while God does the work.
Next, The Lord addresses Moses directly, saying â€œWhat were you crying out to me just now? The Hebrew verb He used is singular. God was indicating here that Moses, as the leader of the Israelites, was responsible for his charges (even though he had no part in their failure of faith!). Recognizing him as such, the Lord dealt only with him, leading him to part the Red sea, and miraculously save Israel.
This reminds one of MEND, and how it has gained recognition as the leader of the region, despite the numerous attempts, over the years, to wish it into non-existence.
Which makes one wonder whether MEND (with its plague-ish strikes by Moses, and Aaron-Team negotiations) may not really be Godâ€™s key to a truly sustainable peace in the Niger Deltaâ€¦based on sincere presidential will to allow justice, democratic electoral freedom and equity their full rein, not only in the region, but throughout Nigeria.
One can compare MENDâ€™s current lone ranger-style that is based on cautious, but sincere, participation in YarAduaâ€™s peace process (as contrasted to many other armed bodies that were seen as treading a different pathâ€¦now, even those brethren, have seen the light, apparentlyâ€¦and realise they are/should be on the same page of â€œcautious participationâ€ with MEND!) to a similar one in John 6:67-69.
In those New Testament passages of the Bible,, as the faithless masses depart, our Lord asks his twelve disciples whether or not they wish to go too.
The purpose in asking the question is not sarcastic, but rather designed to demonstrate, by the offering of a bad alternative (which the majority had already accepted) the true faith of the twelve.
Giving Moses a chance to identify with and accept the peopleâ€™s cry of unbelief serves to demonstrate Mosesâ€™ true faith which stands in stark contrast to the easy path of the generality of people. They have already grasped at a bad alternative to trusting God and have instead cried out in fear.
The Lordâ€™s question to Moses is more an acknowledgment of his faith than a true question, just as it was to the twelve in Jn. 6:67. Moses remains silent and faithful, showing that he, at least, has passed this test of faith.
So, too, must Niger Deltans hold their peace now; letting their Moses-actions of the past, plus the Aaron-negotiators of the present open the doors to emancipation for the entire region. Truly, one with God is a majority, a winner, more than a conqueror! Do you doubt that He is on the side of the beleaguered Niger Delta?
Just hold your peace patiently and we believe you will soon see the Moses/Aaron combination very shortly overcome all seemingly insurmountable odds, and prove nay-sayers wrong. For, remember, that nothing is impossible to our God, Jehovah Nissi. Shalom.
â€œThe people who are trying to make this world worse are not taking a day off â€¦.how can I?Â Light up the darkness!â€â€” Bob Marley