By Debbie Olujobi
The art of stargazing is a pleasure confined to history, to easier times when life wasn’t running at such a frantic pace. Most heads are so bowed by problems they don’t ever look up at the sky, even if they caught brief glimpses, the sight of a glistening cosmos is blocked by pollution, giant buildings and artificial lights. To most people the stars are barely there, they don’t shine like in the stories!! The reality is that stars have become shadowy, hidden and obscured. I pondered the state of the world and concluded that life is now lived in shadows, light has become obscured by darkness and we have all become less than the shining light we could and should be. When I say shadow I speak of the fear that is determined to change lives and destinies; we now all live under a suffocating blanket of fear and we can’t seem to reach the light. Gross darkness certainly covers the face of the earth and evil gets more brazen daily. In Nigeria in particular day after day we see and hear of atrocities and abominations and the human mind is going numb with horror, no one is shocked anymore, we are all becoming numb to evil.
One of my favourite verses of scripture inspires my thoughts for this week and it is James 1:17 NKJV “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning”. The verse became real to me a while back when I finally got its meaning. To my mind God is all good, all perfect and so are His works. We are all His works so we were created perfect. In all that God made there is no imperfection or variation, so everything that is contrary to perfection is a variation and not of God. I believe living in fear is turning the perfect plan of God on its head and we are all worse of for it. The sad reality is that fear is the new instrument of evil to turn out our lights and whether we agree or not we are all stars in decline. Fear for ourselves from physical harm, fear for our livelihoods has kept us mute, so evil thrives. Nigeria as I see it is a star in decline and its people are now voluntarily living in shadows as if that will protect us. We are governed by Godless men with no conscience, terrorised by our fellow citizens and the very fabric of unity that held us bound frays by the day.
I am bound to shock most people when I express the view that I miss the radicals like Late Fela Anikulapo, his brother Beko, Gani Fawehinmi, men who said it like it was, and damned the consequences! The leaders of thought that we have now can’t seem to gather enough courage to say what needs saying; that reeks of compromise and calls to question their integrity. This same marauders in government seat next to religious leaders in places of worship and are not lambasted for the rape of an entire nation. Where are the elders in a nation engulfed in flames? I remember once saying that some atrocities committed by some politicians would have dire corporate consequences for all of us.
At that time the then Justice minister Chief Bola Ige had been assassinated in cold blood and the Nigerian police had offered a paltry reward of less than $5000 for the capture of his killers. This was an elder statesman, the Chief Justice officer of the entire nation and his life counted for nothing. Eventually the case against those in court disintegrated into a mockery as no one was held accountable. From what I recall, his wife slumped in the courtroom and died at the shock and till date no justice was ever done. I didn’t know the late Chief Ige apart from the social studies in school and later from newspapers but my observation is that we are fast becoming a nation of cannibals who eat each other.
So today, I join many Nigerians to mourn the death of innocence, young lives of students, snuffed out! A dangerous game is being played with the destiny of what should be a great nation and I wonder if things will ever get back to normal. Is stepping away from politics keeping those of us who think we are upright safe or are we letting ourselves be driven by bloodthirsty lunatics in a carriage headed for hell. Being aloof is helping no one, not us , not our children. What would the world remember us for? I wish for all my questions I had answers.
What I have are prayers for God to give us courage individually and corporately to confront the shadows and chase fear out of our nation. That the father of light Himself would destroy every evil variant of His creation and chase away all shadows of turning so that we can once again shine in love, in unity. That the decline of Nigeria will stop so we can heal and rise again. Fear must not cower us even in the face of intimidation because it offers no protection or immunity. I end with another favourite verse of scripture, it is my fervent prayer for our great nation. (Isaiah 60:2 NKJV) “For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you.”