NIGERIA, POLITICAL PRAYERS AND THE POLITICALIZATION OF THE CHIBOK GIRLS

Nigerians are ingenious and entrepreneurial and will make business and profit from any opportunity, morbid and all. When Abacha wanted to succeed himself as civilian President, one-million march millionaires emerged. Few of them believed he was the best man to be civilian President nor that it was it right for a military man to suppress all opposition, so that he would be the only person on the ballot. But many young men and not-so- young men made a kill in an effort to mobilize 'spurious' support for the man. Indeed, many of them were on the streets dancing when he passed away suddenly. Now that campaigns for 2015 are about to begin, many quasi and shadow political groups are emerging with all sorts of names.Many are in it for the money and nothing more. They neither truly believe in the quality of the candidates they pretend to support, nor do they really care if the guys win or not, as long the money flows to fund the drama and the actors. Any incumbent political office holder who wants to return to office will have all kinds of groups mushrooming to be supporters. The situation is pathetic in the States where these groups make even a poor performing governor feel he is the best in the World, not only in Nigeria. Many of these political jobbers have dusted their 'business plans', and are now busy recruiting their team members while searching for their clients. The season is coming into full bloom soon. I advise our politicians to be careful and discerning, to separate the wheat from the tare.

Another area, Nigerians are finding lucrative is arranging groups to pray at seasons of Nigeria' calamities or misfortunes. Some Men and women, but mostly women, who claim to be Christians and Muslims gather in public places and pretend to be praying, with television cameras focused on them. Most of their prayers which I call 'political' prayers do not go up to the ceiling. They are just political shows and drama. The reasons are I make this assertion are evident. Firstly, the arranger or arrangee of such political prayer session knows very clear in his or her mind, that it is not about God answering any prayers. It is just to score political points, so that Nigerians will see him or her as being concerned about the Nigerian situation. For some,it is a way of attracting funding to their NGOs. Secondly, the motley crowd that gather to pray in the public, have not been to any Church or any such proper praying or worship centre for a very long time. Infact many, are either traditional worshipers or damn right pagans. Others are deviants or perverts who neither fear God, nor man and are fully aware that God does not hear the prayers of Sinners except the prayer of repentance. Thirdly, a few who genuinely pray and who are either true Christians or Moslems, find that their prayers are canceling each other. So that at the end of the highly advertised prayer sessions nothing really happens in the Spiritual realm, the hand of God is not moved, because the prayer of the unrighteous is an abomination to The Lord. Only Righteousness exalts a Nation.

Now in the last few weeks, since Boko Haram kidnapped over 200 school girls from CHIBOK, many ingenious Nigerians are at it again, seeking every opportunity to make political or financial profit from this national calamity. All kinds of groups have sprung up campaigning for the release of the CHIBOK girls. 'Bring back our girls' , 'Rescue our girls', 'Return our Girls', 'Send home our girls' all over the country, some all over the World, except in CHIBOK where the girls were kidnapped or in the Sambisa Forest where they are held. Many wear red colors, some black, others in purple. What a spectacle! Some have sworn that they would not stop demonstrating or gathering in strategic places until the girls return home.

Some groups are already in New York at the UN and in other major international cities campaigning for funds to 'bring back our girls'. With due respect to the few who genuinely are concerned about the rescue of the girls, some of these shows are getting me worried. I am for free speech, free association and all about human and Peoples' rights. But what really do we intend to achieve with some of these political rallies and the crocodile tears. Some of these are beginning to sound very partisan to me and look camouflaged with other motives.

Yes, people can gather for a day or two to express grief at what has befallen our Nation especially since Dr Goodluck Jonathan was elected President against all odds. Even, we can show our dissatisfaction with the perceived slow or sleight response of the Government to the brutality of the Boko Haram terrorists since the siege stated immediately after the 2011 elections. But to insist that we will not do any other work expect to gather at public places and recite poems and address the the local and international media is beginning to sound like a political campaign to me. Is it all about 2015?

And when the security forces raise security concerns and propose preemptive actions to avoid any calamities arising from these campaign meetings, people refuse to see any merit. Perhaps they want to complicate the matter for the government in power. Now that the bombers are visiting football viewing centers and looking for where people gather for any reason, more so at gatherings that somehow seem critical of their actions, is not reasonable that the police should be concerned?.One of the greatest criticisms of our Security forces in all this is that they seemed not to have an effective intelligence gathering mechanism and seemed to have failed to avert many of the attacks. Now,they say that they have intelligence report that some people are planning to use the campaign gatherings of bring back our girls to wreck havoc, and we choose to go to court to enforce our human rights than cooperate with the security forces. Why? So that we can find additional evidence to condemn the security forces for not being effective or to show further that the government cannot protect its citizens?

To be sure, who are we demonstrating against? We seem to be acting as if the girls are locked in Aso Rock or in the Police Headquarters .I thought we should be demonstrating against Boko Haram who have killed over 1500 innocent Nigerians since this year. Who are we really angry at? I thought we should be angry against the sponsors of Boko Haram, some who threatened that this Nation would be ungovernable if they were not allowed to rule, some whose faces or proxies we see at the town squares shedding crocodile tears.

Yes, we are entitled to be disappointed with our Government for not preventing these calamities or for acting slowly, but is it not apparent that the government is doing all it can?It appointed a national Security adviser that has the credentials to deal with the problem. It was asked to change the military chiefs and it did. It was asked to appoint an 'opponent' minister of Defence and it did. It was suggested that it should ask for international support and it has. Today we have Americans, French, English, Arab, Israelis, Australian and all manner of International People assisting us in the battle against Boko Haram. We all wanted the girls back alive and we seem to be pressurizing the government to take precipitous actions that may jeopardize the realization of that wish.

I am not holding brief for the government, but as a responsible and patriotic Nigerian, I must state that the odds are weighed too high against this government. Some very spectacular things that are being accomplished in the economy seem to be eclipsed by the security challenge in the country which was predicted. If we are truly concerned, may be we should be demonstrating that those who predicted this scenario should be asked to explain what they know. That could be the beginning of the end of the insurgency. But to over dramatize our desire to have our girls return safely or to seek undue political relevance or visibility or to shed crocodile tears or to gather marabouts to pray will not do it. Believe me!

Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR

Comments

  1. Dear Mazi,
    Firstly, prayer without purpose or planning is a waste of time. In other words , prayer can never be substitute for planning. The more reason we are very religious yet we evil abound everywhere in the land. Wearing long robes and crosses does not mean one is near God or God is near him either.
    The same people that wanted to coronate Late Abacha are still the same people masquerading in the current political space. These people are in two groups
    1. The ones that are still in government
    2. The ones that lost out.
    The first group is classified as the sycophants and is the group organizing prayers, continuity of the transformation Agenda and receptions for the President.
    The latter group is the one opposing and playing politics with everything and every situation.
    This latter group is the group wearing red shirts at the unity square and they are jobless, unengaged and unproductive, if they are , they would not be there every single day. I am not saying it is not their right. But it serves no purpose, after all occupy wall street in New York got tired and left on their own.
    Mazi, infrastructural development has long gestation period. For example for an IPP to be evident or deliver power, it takes an average of 5-9 years. I make bold to say that this administration has invested in infrastructure than any other government before.
    People are more interested in their stomachs rather than the common good including our men of God. Any country that people think only about their interests but not the common good is doomed. This is the cause of sycophancy, corruption and vandalism. Scandinavians are the greatest in terms of human capital development index because of their belief in the common good of their nations.
    Finally, the security challenge is a major setback and the huge resources devoted to it

    ReplyDelete

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