By Enuma Chigbo
WHOSE report shall we believe? This was a profound question asked by Sunday Oguntola, a journalist, in his article published in The Nation newspapers recently.
Oguntola referred to the reports by Christian and Muslim clerics after they had visited the then ailing President Umaru Yarâ€™adua. (May his good soul rest in perfect peace)Â The variance in both reports were as conflicting as they were confusing, to the point that the reporter perhaps echoed the voices of millions of Nigerians by asking why the visits even took place at all, as they left many a Nigerian confused.
The first paragraph of Oguntolaâ€™s article got me thinking about the just concluded â€œCross River Prays,â€ which held for the fourth time in Calabar recently. â€œThere are two voices speaking simultaneously at every given time in this State, said Reverend Obii Pax Harry, one of the officiating ministers at the event. Harry said this at the third â€œCross River Praysâ€ meeting.
For me, it was a tad bit weird that the same words were spoken about governance in the current capital and as well as in the first capital of Nigeria.
When a child is born, words are spoken over that child – some good and some bad.
That child lives or actualizes what was said depending on the setting in which he or she grows up. Calabar was the first capital of Nigeria before the amalgamation in 1914. What was said then?
When two contradictory voices speak at the same time, the listener is often confused. More often than not, one voice usually speaks or pronounces truth and the other opposes this truth. Both voices can sound convincing; truth is absolute and does not have to say much to make or prove a point, but the opposition (lie) snakes its way into different spheres, causing division under the guise of religion, tribalism, politics…it just goes on and on. The lie distorts the truth and manipulates its victims into believing the lie – the perfect tool for, confusion, trauma, despair, disillusion and destruction, which seems to be the order of the day for many citizens of Nigeria.
â€œI have never seen a country where the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness are moving at par,” says Chuck Pierce, a well respected and global apostolic voice, confirming an earlier prophecy by Obii Pax Harry, who said: â€œThe kingdom of darkness has out sacrificed the Church, and therefore gained momentum and impetus with which demonic powers are wielded, willy-nilly to thwart Godâ€™s intended purposes to the peopleâ€.
Bearing this in mind, which voice does one listen to?
This also brings back into remembrance, the words spoken by Obioma Liyel- Imoke, wife of the Cross River State governor at the very first â€œCross River Praysâ€ meeting.Â Imoke had asked: â€œWhat happened to Cross River State? Where have we gone wrong? Have you ever seen a family where a first born behaves like the last born? Have you seen a people who have forgotten what it is to be a first born?â€
Cross River State is a land of many firsts; she had reminded the congregants that Calabar was the first capital of the Southern Protectorate of Nigeria.
She also reminded them of Clark Louis Edet, the first Nigerian Inspector General of Police; the land also produced the first Nigerian professor, Eyo Ita. It has one of the oldest military barracks in the country, it had the first public general hospital, first post office, ran the first competitive football, hockey and cricket matches…it just goes on and on.
With such an amazing history of firsts, one couldnâ€™t help but share Imokeâ€™s curiosity as to what went wrong down the line, and further ask: What was said then, and more importantly how did the citizens at that time live out what was said?
That solemn gathering, with its theme as â€œHealing the Land,â€ had its focus on prayers that would heal the wounds of the valued indigenes of the State…wounds perhaps inflicted upon them by their ancestors, and leaders- past and present.
â€œWe have lived long enough in obscurity,” said Imoke.
â€œWe have lived long enough in poverty; we have lived long enough in undeserved servitude to others. Today, we begin to claim our destinies as first born. We need to come together and cry out to God.â€
Perhaps it was time for the State to cry out with one voice to the One who spoke good things into the land from the very beginning – the One who speaks the truth at all times regardless of religion or tribe, using the State as a point of contact to the nation. And thus began an opening of more positive voices, irrespective of the contradictory events that followed.
At the first meeting, the Governorâ€™s 14-month administration had been annulled. The State lost her oil wells around the time of the second and third meetings. The themes for these meetings were: â€œRedeeming the times,â€ and â€œBlowing the trumpetâ€ respectively, and at the recently concluded meeting the State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke had just survived what could have been a fatal accident.Â That meeting was themed, â€œThe Rainâ€.
Imoke, in his address at the fourth meeting praised the people of the State for their steadfastness and commitment to governance.
â€œCross River Prays,â€ according to the Governor is a prophetic charge. He expressed optimism that the â€œrainâ€ of goodness, favour, and faithfulness had started to manifest, and that the people of the State should remain faithful and steadfast in order to tap into her abundant blessings. He advised them not be double minded but to remain diligent in their prayers for the growth of the State.
Pastor Cherry Hill, who visited from the United States of America, also spoke at the event, and said that Cross River State is blessed with the â€œgreatest leadership and integrity, worthy of emulation.â€
â€œThere is a crossover in Cross River State,â€ Hill said. â€œBe prepared to receive the rain.â€
The rain, according to her, had already come and would cleanse and rebuild the State and its people as well as reposition them for an abundance of blessings, which would not be revoked.
â€œItâ€™s a new day in Africa. Itâ€™s a new day in Calabar. I am very proud to know the governor and first lady. They donâ€™t just talk integrity. They live it.â€
Perhaps one of the most significant signs of confirmation of â€œThe Rainâ€ in Cross River State is the compensation of revenue by the Federal Government recently. Until now, the State had lost about 80% of their revenue as a result of the loss of their oil wells.Â However, for some, these rains could be a blessing or a curse – it depends on which voice they choose to listen to.