It has often been said that the average Nigerian can live, work/do business and succeed in any part of the world irrespective of how deplorable the conditions are in that place. This is because he believes he has seen and heard it all,no matter what. Every Nigerian you see on the street is proof of the fact that no force – social, economic, political, cultural or even supernatural – can stop a man who is determined to live. Recent events, however, have hit us in such rapid succession that we are all gasping for breath while staggering on our feet as we wonder if the gods have not hit us too hard this time as they test our resolve to run the gauntlet, at the end of which we might find national prosperity and greatness. We lost our ability to be shocked long ago. Like water poured on a duck,we have shaken off some scandals and crises which would have brought other countries to their knees if not to the point of extinction or annihilation.
While we were still trying to understand how a President could budget N1billion for his feeding in a year,the Capital Market Probe Committee revealed to us how the Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) illegally and criminally spent N30million out of our common wealth for her hotel accommodation. Then came the Pension Scam. Few greedy thieves feeding fat off the toils of millions of Nigerians. Before we could comment on that,news filtered in of how our dear King Ebele of Otuoke broke his own record of lows by using the office of the President of the most populous black nation in the world to solicit and get a church built in his village by an Italian firm looking for contracts from his government,in blatant contravention of the code of conduct for public officers. We were still gathering ourselves to respond to that embarrassment and disgrace when we got distracted by Mr James Onanefe Ibori,the big thief from The Big Heart.
The facts of Ibori’s prosecution,conviction and subsequent incarceration are all there for public consumption. When the pictures surfaced on the net recently of him and a man of the cloth(a highly respected ‘Daddy’ I must say),I pondered in my heart what must have transpired between them. Being an ordained minister and a certified member of the clergy myself,I know that such meetings hardly take place without the transfer of some ‘Prophet Offerings’. It didn’t start here. In the Bible,Naaman,the Syrian government official in the Old Testament(2Kings chapter 5) took some with him when he went to visit Prophet Elisha. Whether our ‘Papa’ in that picture rejected the offering, as Elisha did, is another matter.
Nigerians are deeply religious people,which leaves you wondering how come people like Ibori still exist within the top echelons of our society. The answer is simple. Our prophets have become much more interested in the pecuniary profits they derive from their interactions with these men than in the permanent gains of practicing their profession before these men.
Let’s go to church.
King Jehoshaphat, in the Bible(1Kings chapter 22), before going out to war against an enemy king, looked around and asked a question. He wanted to win the war and he knew there was a role ONLY a true prophet could play so he looked around and asked,”Is there no prophet in this land?” The country was at war and the prophets acted as if it was none of their business. Those who were called could not look the king in the face and tell him the truth.
The importance of religious leaders in a society like Israel’s in the Old Testament and Nigeria’s now can never be over emphasized. That was why the king in Prophet Elisha’s time wondered why there would be a prophet in the land and the people and the people would still be in such socio-economic quagmire,and he threatened to have the prophet decapitated unless the situation changed. That same day the prophet spoke and within 24 hours there was a turn-around(2Kings chapter 6,verses 24-33 and chapter 7).
I stand today and I ask:Is there no prophet in this land?
Our productive workforce is being decimated daily by a confederation of terrorists,bad roads,police brutality and unspeakable fraud and corruption in government.
Is there no prophet in the land?
A mind-boggling N1.1TRILLION has been criminally siphoned from government coffers under guise of subsidy payment mostly to government contractors who imported no petrol.
Is there no prophet in the land?
Within 24 hours,the Accountant-General of the federation crazily signs 128 cheques each worth N999MILLION for subsidy payment to looters and our Pastors and Imams keep quiet forgetting that this is money that could greatly improve the living conditions of the worshipers in their churches and mosques!
Where are the Pastors in Delta state?
Governor Uduaghan was the Secretary to the State Government and Deputy Gov.Utuama was the Attorney-General during Ibori’s reign. They were part of the corrupt administration. How come nobody is asking any questions?
Do not speak to me about prosperity if you cannot speak against the instrument the devil is using to deny me that prosperity.
Where are the Imams in Abuja and Niger State?
Have they asked why Kabiru Sokoto who masterminded the Christmas Day bomb blast in Madalla,Niger State,close to Abuja has not been arraigned?
The success of a religious leader is not measured by his ownership of a private jet or fleet of exotic cars or by the calibre of government officials who pay courtesy calls on him but by what positive change he is able to bring by his words and actions within the society in which he finds himself. This is why America will never forget the Rev. Martin Luther King Jnr, a Baptist Minister and Malcolm X, one of the founding leaders of the Nation of Islam, and founder of the Muslim Mosque Inc.
As a religious leader, when your name appears in the news media, it should be for something better than the defence of masturbation. It should not be because you slapped a female member of your congregation or because there is a debate whether or not a former bank chief who is on the run for fraud contributed to the funds for your private jet. Your prophecies should also be about something of more significance than the scoreline of a Super Eagles match or which Nollywood actor will be alive at the end of the year.
As we trudge along on our journey to recapture our greatness as a nation, it is time for the true men of God to stand up and be counted. Yes, God is watching.
As Rev.Martin Luther King Jnr said, “In the end, we will remember,not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends”.
Follow Collins Uma on Twitter: @collinsmaestro