By EMMANUEL AZIKEN
Many years ago there lived a man of God named John Zachariah. Living at the same time was a debauched governor named Herod. Even though Herod had ensured that some democracy dividends trickled down to the populace, his irrepressible libido was a problem to him, his family and his advisers.
That was in addition to other vices including corruption, election rigging and crass disobedience to the legislative house.
Many people were thus not surprised when news reports filtered into the country that Governor Herod who was outside the country, allegedly on a trip in search of foreign investors had been filmed in a romp with his younger brother’s wife.
“Outrage as Herod takes Claudia for wife,” an internet blog reported.
The news also reached the Camp Ground located on the major road leading into the federal capital from where Mr. Zachariah abode with many of his trusted followers.
When Mr. Zachariah heard the news, he placed a call to a trusted diplomatic source who had sought his friendship on account of his, Zachariah’s refusal to conform with the practise of other religious leaders. It was no news that almost all religious leaders had been compromised one way or the other by Governor Herod. It was no surprise that Herod’s aides and several religious leaders intermingled at exquisite shops and Herod himself was a regular face in the birthday and wedding functions of the religious leaders. But Zachariah was an exception.
Once he confirmed the story to be true, Zachariah made it an issue in his sermon that day, leading prayers for God’s mercy on Governor Herod.
That, however, turned out into an embarrassment for the government as some members of the political opposition present at the service used that as a confirmation to the story.
Many of Zachariah’s followers were, however, afraid knowing the brutality of the governor and his aides.
Governor Herod had been known to sponsor the kidnapping and assassination of opponents.
So when word of what transpired at the Camp Ground reached the Governor’s Mansion that day, government officials were livid. Governor Herod still frolicking with his brother’s wife abroad was ignorant of developments at home. But to many of the citizens, he had travelled abroad in the search of foreign investors.
In a desperate move to suppress the rumour, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication, Mr. Nehemiah Sati after consulting with the Chief of Staff decided to refute the rumour.
His press statement traced the rumour to Zachariah who he claimed was now in cahoots with the opposition to discredit the administration just as he disclosed that security agencies have been ordered to wade into the development.
Zachariah was arrested just before Governor Herod’s return to the country. At the international airport to receive him were senior officials of the administration who as usual had arranged a band of press men to receive the governor from his ‘foreign investment drive’.
The chat with the airport correspondents was going on smoothly until one reporter who stumbled upon the chat and was as such not coached by Sati asked Herod’s reaction to the allegation by Mr. Zachariah that he had taken his brother’s wife.
It touched a raw nerve which immediately aborted the press chat. The Special Adviser on Media who was left to manage the sore development immediately set about pleading with the newsmen to drop the story.
Once the raging Governor Herod alighted at the Government House he immediately demanded for Zachariah as the adrenalin in him bayed for blood.
Zachariah who had been badly bruised by Government House security operatives could barely walk and had to be held up to stand. As he entered inside the Governor’s residence and spotted Herod his strength returned.
“You king of the brood of vipers, must you take your brother’s wife upon all the iniquities you have done?” Zachariah bellowed.
Herod who had expected the man to plead for mercy turned from fury to fright as the words of Zachariah pinched at his heart.
Guilt was written all over him. This same preacher was the one that told him that his election was rigged even when all other religious leaders were falling over themselves to congratulate him.
The same Zachariah had rejected the car he gave to all the other religious leaders, asking Herod where he got the money to buy the cars. Even though Herod kept him in custody, his conscience was never at peace. He was even more troubled when a cousin of Zachariah’s surfaced with his own denunciations. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” was the message from Immanuel Joseph that neither Herod nor the religious leaders craved. It is the same today!