HEROD the King was undoubtedly one of the chief persecutors of the early Church. He was fully committed to persecuting Christ’s apostles. First, Herod killed James the brother of John with sword.

Second, when Herod saw that killing James pleased the Jews, who were opposed to the apostles and to the teachings of Christ they were spreading, he proceeded further to arrest Peter and put him in the prison.

But the night before the day Herod would bring Peter out to kill him, God sent His angel to deliver Peter miraculously from the hand of Herod and from the expectation of the Jews.

In spite of the opposition and wickedness of Herod against Christ’s apostles and the Church, God was merciful to him and he continued to wax greater.

When Herod went down from Judea to Caesarea, the people of Tyre and Sidon came to him with one accord, and having made Blastus the king’s personal aide their friend, they asked for peace, because Herod had been angry with them and so their country was supplied with food by the king’s country.

While the people of Tyre and Sidon were  still standing before King Herod to appease him, something very strange, unusual, unprecedented and supernatural happened.

“So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them.

And the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!”

Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.” Acts 12:21-23(NKJV).

Obviously, God didn’t command His angel to strike Herod because he persecuted His Church. Neither was Herod struck because of his eloquence or fluency, nor because of the thrilling and powerful oration that he gave.

In fact, Herod was not struck and eaten by worms because of the flattery, excessive or insincere praise of the sycophants who were shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!”

That would certainly not be a fair judgement on Herod, for he was not responsible for the shouting or action of the people of Tyre and Sidon.

However, Herod was certainly responsible for his response or reaction to their flattery, excessive or insincere praise.

Herod died a strange and shameful death because he failed to handle or deal wisely with his flatterers, praise-singers or sycophants. Any wise leader should be extremely careful in dealings with those who specialise in flattering or singing their praises at all times.

While the people of Tyre and Sidon were flattered and sang the praise of Herod, he was foolish enough to sit there listening, enjoying, relishing, and basking in the flattery and insincere praise of these sycophants. That was the real cause of his death!

We live in a county where flattery, an act of corruption,has become one of the biggest industry and temporary men of power soak it and become obsessed and confused. It has become a torture listening to either the news on our National Television or State Televisions as from the first item to the last item is often songs of praise for the President or the Governors. The advent of private Television Stations has brought some relief from the culture of genuflecting mediocrity.

It was this perverse and sickening culture of flattery that made Mr. John Nnia Nwodo as Minister of Information to instruct the Nigerian Television Authority that their first news item must not be about the President or a Minister.No minister after him has enforced that sanity measure in information dissemination. And our fawning industry grows in leap and bound.

And so it happened last Tuesday when the EFCC opened its  new office in Abuja that flatterers brought up the narrative of Nigeria having only one upright man in Nigeria. The reserved Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara  had the opportunity to speak  and stylishly did what King Herod failed to do. Hear him verbatim:

” Now first of all I came here just last week when I made a statement to the effect that if structures, world-class facilities such as this can fight corruption, then we can go home and be assured of winning the war against corruption. As important as this Head Office is however, it’s just like a computer, you can have a first-class hardware, but if the software is not good, you don’t have a computer. So emphasis must now be moved to those wonderful men and women who are sacrificing so much in order to ensure the war is sustained and won. We expect that the officers of the EFCC should be angels, that is not a misplaced expectation, except for the reminder that angels live in heaven, they don’t live in hell. When you have an angel banished to hell, he’s now a demon, and demons cannot lead this fight. We have the active responsibility, and should take measures to insulate men and staff of this agency from temptations, that is by ensuring a practical means of engagement and service for them.

The last thing I will say is that this is perhaps the most important venue from which we must begin to change the narrative about corruption in Nigeria. The Chairman made a statement about a reference that was made of Nigeria as a fantastically corrupt country. Incidentally that statement was made in a city that is the home of the inflow of a lot of illicit funds. The person also stated that Nigeria leads the world in criminal enterprise, In fact, that in the University of Lagos you can study and major in credit card fraud. That’s the narrative out there, but that must change due to the fact that we have sitting before us here a President who has won global acclaim as being corrupt-free. I can tell you that he is not alone in Nigeria, there are millions of Nigerians whom we come across day by day who are corrupt free. As a representative of history, a prophet cried to God that there was no pure Prophet any more, that they had all bent their knees to baal. God replied this Prophet that He had reserved in that city thousands who had not bent their knees to baal. There are millions of Nigerians who have not bent their knees to the god of corruption, that fact I must emphasise. I want to thank all of you for coming, and I pray that God bless the President, bless you all and bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

I had a practical demonstration of Dogara admonition the very day he spoke. I had stopped at the Mr. Biggs opposite Marwa Garden on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway to buy a few stuff.I mistakenly left my wallet on the cashier table.I was already on the Third Mainland Bridge where I noticed the missing purse and there was no way of turning back.

I returned to the place about four hours later to ask if they saw my purse and they brought out a log where they listed all the contents of my purse and asked me to sign after I confirmed all was intact .I asked for the name of their manager and it was not the same with the only name flatterers would say is honest in Nigeria.

Of course, we have had many stories of outstanding acts of honesty across the country over the years. We have had taxi drivers who returned amounts that would have changed their lives forever to the owners.

68-year-old taxi driver, Imeh Usuah Jaja,  was conferred with the national award of Member of the Federal Republic, MFR, by former President Goodluck Jonathan in  2014  in recognition of his honesty.He earned only N36,000 a month. He had  a wife and six children, two of them grown up men who have taken after him in the taxi driving business. Life has always been rough for his family.

Yet,when a passenger forgot a whooping N18 million in his taxi, Jaja did not for a moment consider taking it to better his lot and that of his family. He promptly returned it to the owner, simply saying, “The money does not belong to me.”

There are millions of Nigerians like that but official corruption has coloured all Nigerians as corrupt. Dogara is right!


…Lessons for our VIPs from Royal Wedding

GOT the article below from Ambassador Joe Keshi as the Royal wedding was going on Saturday and it’s worth sharing:

“Good morning, l have on  many occasions suggested that if people do not know what to do, they should watch television. Some have taken my advice and they have expressed surprise at what they learnt over a period of time. This morning, l sincerely hope our Governors, their  wives, aides, State Chiefs of Protocol, Chief Security officers and their men and women, protocol officials across the federation, security chiefs and bouncers,event planners and anybody associated with planning events in this country  are watching the Royal Wedding going on now. More than an hour to the commencement, guests are already arriving, being  ushered  in  with dignity and respect.

The VIPs did not show up with their aides struggling to sit directly behind them. All seats have numbers and names on them. No protocol or security officers running around aimlessly or looking confused. Every one involved knew exactly what to do and where to stay. Did you see the arrival of a former Prime minister and the distance he walked to the church. That’s what our VIPs hate to do. If you allow them, they would be driven into the church and carried to their seats. If you are not too busy, just watch for a while and see how a disciplined society and people behave. If you are a friend or an associate to any of the officials mentioned above please send this to him/ her and encourage them to watch the Royal Wedding. Encourage them to pay attention to the humility, the dignity, respect and discipline of both the system, practice and those attending.

Who can querrel or not admire the chronological order of the whole event, from the timely arrival of the guests, the royal family including her majesty. Did you see the way the Queen arrived and departed the church after the service. Did you notice that the ADCs/ CSOs of the Queen, the Duke, the two princes were  nowhere to be seen nor will you see their faces in any photograph, but they were there. Did you notice that at no time was HRM recognised or mentioned even during the beautiful semon and the fact that she sat in the second row. It was simply because it was not her day or event but her grandchildren and they made sure it was all about the prince and his charming Duchess. In our clime, parents these days make it more their day. What we witnessed today was protocol at its best. We saw how nations work and among others, it involves discipline ,respect , humility and dignity.



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