By Femi Aribisala
Arugbo ojo. (Ancient of Days). Alewilese (He who speaks and acts). Alese lewi (He who acts and speaks). Awimayehun (He who cannot be contradicted). Adanimagbagbe (The Creator who never forgets His creation). Oyigiyigi (Great and Mighty God). Alagbada Ina (The God covered with fire).
Afunni ma s’iregun (The God who blesses without asking for a reward). Alagbawi eda (defender of mankind). Olowogbogboro (The one whose hand can reach everywhere). Ajasegun (The Conqueror). Oba t’ao ri, sugbon t’a ri ise owo re (The God who is unseen, but whose works are evident).
Atererekariaye (The God who covers the whole earth). Onise iyanu (Miracle worker). Atofarati (Our defense). Atorise (The God who can do it). Awamaridi (Unsearchable God). Ologojulo (The most glorious). Emi ni t’inje Emi ni (The I AM THAT I AM).
We confess Lord, that our sins are deeper than scarlet, but You can make them white as snow. Even though they are red like crimson, we plead that You make them as wool.
Our words and our deeds are against the Lord, defying His glorious presence. The look on our faces testifies against us. We parade our sins like Sodom; we do not even hide them.
We are in trouble and distress. We have brought disaster upon ourselves. Our leaders and governors lead us astray; they turn us from the path of life. We have ruined the vineyard of the Lord. The plunder from the poor is in our houses.
O Lord, our God, wash away the filth of our people. Cleanse the bloodstains.
We have raped innocent women. We have bombed the blameless. We have kidnaped the defenseless. We have oppressed the poor. We have ignored the fatherless. We have not fed the hungry.
We have not cared for the Lazarus at our gate. We have robbed the traveler. We have looted our treasuries. We have despised our birthright.
We have only yielded bad grapes in the Lord’s vineyard. We have drawn sin along with cords of deceit. We pulled wickedness as with cart ropes.
We call evil good and good evil. We put darkness for light and light for darkness. We put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. We have been wise in our own eyes and clever in our own sight.
Our judges have acquitted the guilty for a bribe. They have denied justice to the innocent. We have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty. We have spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.
Our pastors and prophets teach lies. Our politicians have led us astray. Our leaders make unjust laws and issue oppressive decrees. They deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed. They make widows their prey and rob the fatherless.
You, O God, asked for justice but saw bloodshed. You called for righteousness but heard cries of distress.
We are like an oak with fading leaves, we are like a garden without water. The mountains are shaking all around us, and the dead bodies are becoming like refuse in the streets. Therefore, the grave has enlarged its appetite. It has opened its mouth without limit.
Our cities lie in ruins and without inhabitants. Our houses are left deserted. Our fields are ruined and ravaged. The Lord has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken.
Distressed and hungry, people all over Nigeria are roaming through the land; some are famished and are becoming enraged and, looking upward, they curse their leaders and their God. They look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they are thrust into utter darkness.
As in the day of Midian’s defeat, so it has been in these days of our distress. You will shatter the yoke that burdens us, the bar across our shoulders, the rod of our oppressor.
The Light of Israel has become a fire, our Holy One a flame; and in a single day it has burnt and consumed his thorns and his briers.
The lofty trees have been felled, and the tall ones have been brought low. Our God has cut down the forest thickets with an ax.
Nevertheless, we are looking for that day when the wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.
We know the Lord will bring it about when the cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child will put his hand into the viper’s nest.
We know that they will neither harm nor destroy on all God’s holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
Sokoto trembles; Zamfara flees. Cry out, O Daughter of Nigeria!
Listen, Lagos! Poor Owerri! Maiduguri is in flight; the people of Iwo take cover.
Help us, Lord, to beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks. Restore us, O Lord. Renew us, O Lord. Give us fresh hope and new beginnings, O Lord. Restore our judges, our politicians, our governors, our councilors, and our leaders. Make us the city of righteousness, the faithful city, according to your promise O Lord.
Redeem us with justice. Redeem our penitent ones with righteousness. Let nation not take up sword against nation anymore. Let us stop building up our armories and stop training for war.
O Lord, cause us to walk in the light of the Lord. Let the eyes of the arrogant man be humbled. Let the pride of men be brought low. Let the Lord alone be exalted.
For the day of the Lord of hosts shall come upon everything proud and lofty, upon everything lifted up and it shall be brought low. Upon all the irokos of Nigeria that are high and lifted up. Upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, Upon every high tower, and upon every fortified wall.
The Lord says to us with His strong hand upon us, warning us not to follow the way of these people. He says: “Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy. Do not fear what they fear, and do not dread what they dread.”
The Lord Almighty is the one we are to regard as holy. He is the one we are to fear: He is the one we are to dread.
We will wait. We will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob. We will put our trust in him.
Here we are, and the children the Lord has given us. We are signs and symbols in Nigeria, in West Africa, in Africa from the Lord Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion.
For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government is on His shoulders. And He is called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness for forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty has accomplished this.