By Ebele Orakpo
The parliamentarians were discussing the goings-on in Nigeria, from our special breed ofÂ politicians, to our special brand of democracy, to incessant and unwarranted blood-letting, when TJ, who apparently sick and tired of the whole thing asserted that God must be punishing us as a nation for all the evil going on in the country. This elicited reactions from other commuters. First to react was Peter who pointed out that God was not punishing us but that we are punishing ourselves.
â€œGod is not punishing us. I disagree with you. If we rise up today and determine that we need a change, change will come, but we are not ready yet.â€ He cited the example of Ghana saying: â€œWe are still playing. Some years back, most Ghanaian ladies were into prostitution and their young men were turned to shoe menders and buns sellers in this country until one man rose up and said â€˜enough is enough.â€™ He called together all members of the cabal who had been the problem of the once prosperous nation and killed them off. Today, Ghana is the envy of Nigerians.â€
â€œNigerians have become outcasts in Africa because we have refused to put our house in order. I was there a few weeks ago and you could see the glaring difference between Nigeria and Ghana. They are more organised, thereâ€™s less crime, the environment is cleaner, the law enforcement agents polite,â€ noted Peter. â€œI even witnessed a Ghanaian lady telling a Nigerian to pick up the paper he dropped on the ground and throw it into the trash can, that is how organised the society is,â€ he stated.
Reacting, Ahmed said: â€œI believe we will get there but as for bringing all past leaders together in one place at the same time will never happen here. They are always suspicious because their hands are not clean. So it would be an uphill task.â€
â€œWell, we will continue to pray, there is nothing God cannot do,â€ advised Mike.
â€œFor how long?â€ asked Obi. We have been praying for as long as I can remember. God will not come down from heaven to do for us what we are supposed to do. When youÂ pray, you back it up with action. If you remember the Bible account of how the Israelites rebuilt the broken walls of Jerusalem, you will understand what Iâ€™m saying. According to the account, they were rebuilding with one hand and with the other hand, they held their weapons of war in case their enemies attacked them. The Bible also said the kingdom of God suffereth violence and the violent take it by force,â€ Obi stated.
Said Joe: â€œThat is spiritual violence, not physical violence.â€
â€œIt is both. Do you use physical weapons for spiritual warfare? The people prayed and also prepared for war. Remember also when Jesus went into the temple and found people buying and selling instead of worshiping God. He took a whip and beat the foolishness out of them and turned their tables upside down. Was that not physical violence? asked Obi, to which Joe replied thus: â€œThat is different.â€
â€œIt is not. Pray and then work, do something. Do you pray for your exams and then fold your hands and wait for God to write the exams for you?â€ queried Obi.
â€œThe fact still remains that we must rise up against bad leadership and bad followership even while we continue to pray,â€ continued Obi. â€œIn a country where leaders are imposed on the people, where elections are not free and fair, the people need to wake up, otherwise things would continue like this for ever.â€
â€œObi, you are right. One thing Iâ€™ve observed is that Nigerians know how to critically analyse situations, dissect them properly and even proffer solutions and thatâ€™s where it ends. NobodyÂ is ready to pay the price for change. It takes vision, boldness and courage to accomplish that but it seems those ingredients are missing,â€ he observed.
â€œWe have myriad problems like ethnicity, religion, etc, that could hamper any revolution. People will read different meanings into whatever action is taken now in the interest of this nation and that is why these problems will continue to dog our path to progress until we begin to see ourselves first and foremost as Nigerians before any other thing,â€ concluded Obi.