The only thing I did not do is moo or low like a cow. Okay, Okay, I forgot! I did not chew the cud either. But bovine restlessness and restiveness were my companions as pain shot through my waist all the way down to my feet. I was tired of being weary and tired! The pen of restriction binding me with others of my kind fed the flames of claustrophobia, I needed air but the uniformed shepherds kept directing us like a policeman controls onerous traffic. In this country, there are so many uniforms that you don’t know who is who. The whole place is a livery of confusion. The voices of the uniformed men cut intermittently through the buzz of activities shouting, “You can not go beyond here”.
I was at the Murtala Muhammed waiting for my brother to arrive. Nonso is the best brother in the world but the way he usually plans can try a saint (GUY, YOU KNOW I LOVE YOU). I did not reckon I was going to be here until a few hours ago. It was hellish. As I stood outside Arrivals, I wondered what it was about Nigeria that dehumanizes people. Citizens were made to feel like cattle because they came to welcome family and friends. In other parts of the world, we should be sitting in air-conditioned rooms while awaiting our loved ones. Some work always seems to be going on at the Murtala Muhammed “international” airport yet anytime one visits, it’s still same old, same old. On his trip back, entering the departure lounge made me feel like “boli” roasting on a grill. SMH…….
Nigeria, a place where the populace grope in perpetual darkness like misguided bats, a country where bombs go off with the regularity and frequency of fireworks at twelve midnight on December 31st, a nation whose streets are strewn with the carcasses of the weak, poor, sick and bedraggled, a land that inhabits fainting sheep without shepherds, a land where monkeys have tree branches but pupils have nowhere to sit in classes. A friend recently said we are a diabetic nation with a surfeit of sugar but the cells within starve. The heart of this country swarms with fat, swarming maggots of corruption and dishonesty. Nigeria makes the soul bleed, the heart break and the eyes weep like they were infused with onion fumes!
So if you would ask me whether there is any foreseeable hope for my “fatherland” I would give you an EMPHATIC NO!!!
……Hey! But wait a minute, why do we study history. I would guess it is to prevent the mistakes of the past from catching up with us or to show that what has happened in the past can happen in the present or future.
So let’s rewind to about 856 BC, Samaria case in point. The Syrians had besieged the Samarians and there was terrible famine in the city. This is so reminiscent of Naija. We have been overwhelmed by corruption and evil that there is now a dearth of everything good you can think of.
Things were dreadful in Samaria, doves dung ( I used to think it was poo but it’s actually a wild vegetable) was going for like 3 dollars. Here wild vegetables go for almost nothing and you could get succulent “Ugu” leaves for almost free in some parts of the country. Things were dreadful in Samaria especially if you also add that a donkeys head was going for fifty dollars (I don’t think a plate of “Isi ewu” costs that much). To cap it all, the hunger was so bad that mothers were sharing and killing their children for food. Hmmm, Nigeria is bad but we have not gotten to this point yet and I don’t think we would ever. Is that a smidgen of hope? You tell me!
The king of Samaria tore his clothes at the calamity that had befallen his people. He was distraught, and confessed that the predicament that had befallen his citizens was more than his capacity could handle. One thing that leapt at me in this story is that he could be reached by his citizenry. Okay, they have one up on us here. We have leaders who do not “give a damn”; their skins are like Benjy Grimm’s of the fantastic four. Stony and hard, no human feelings penetrate their hide. They are so unreachable, so untouchable, so away from it all. They sit on their high horses and would never admit they don’t know diddly squat.
The king went looking for an answer to this national riddle, which led him to a prophet called Elisha, who prophesied that in 24 hours there was going to be a turnaround in the economic situation tormenting the country. There was going to be so much surfeit of food that gallons of grains were going to be sold for a dollar. The king’s economic adviser scoffed at this and the prophet told him that he was going to see the change but never partake of it. The dude was like our special advisers, all hot air and nothing. With all their degrees, bought or achieved, they don’t know anything and can only purport theories which don’t amount to much while they feed off the trough of the nation’s coffers.
24hrs later, something that Jack Bauer could not have done happened. Four lepers outside the city gates of Samaria decided to take a step of faith towards the camp of the Syrians and while they walked, God amplified their steps and it sounded like the Samarians had partnered with other countries to help them defeat their enemies. The Syrians ran for dear life and left a camp that was brimming with everything good you could think of. The lepers stuffed themselves then announced it to the whole populace. Subsequently there was feasting and celebration. The last people that we would have expected to deliver a nation were those lepers. They were physically challenged, had nothing but faith but they did what the king, his soldiers and special advisers could never have done. I believe the citizens of Nigeria are those lepers but for any transformation to occur in this country, it has to be the ones living outside the city gates. When you live outside the city gates, your mentality is not locked in like the others within, you can move, live and think outside the box. You do not conform to the ways of the people within the walls. These are the kind of people Nigeria needs now, people who might not have much but have faith and are different in their outlook. These are Nigerians who are ready to live by faith or die trying. They do not need to have much; they do not have to be many. In the similitude of those lepers, they would take deliberate steps towards our problems, that is when the ordinary would become extraordinary, the earthly becomes divine and the natural becomes supernatural. It is when we take calculated steps that God steps in to amplify our efforts, human ambition and vision sets off an earthquake of heavenly intention. This is not just about interminable religious prayer and fasting. We need people who would refuse to die, who want change at all costs, who believe and will work and walk towards change.
It happened as the Prophet declared and change happened within a day. The special adviser saw the change and died without partaking of it like the Seer said. THE UNBELIEVING RARELY EVER PARTAKE OF THE GOODIES OF CHANGE, except if you are a Thomas, maybe. Such doubters are trampled into the sands of time as people rush towards the spoils of transformation.
I know some unbelieving soul out there might just discountenance this as some biblical mumbo jumbo or some pop psychological baloney. Such a person is not a student of history. Look around you change is springing up in the most unlikely places. Nigeria is not as bad as Samaria was, if change could happen then, it can happen now.
I cannot tell you that our tomorrow is 24 hours from now, 2 years or 10 but if we keep believing and keep working towards it, I believe these prophetic words will become real in our lives soon…. “Hear ye the word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord, Tomorrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria (NIGERIA)”.
Nigeria does not need more political leaders. It is prophets that we need, people who will look beyond the present circumstances and see a bit of hope. People who will keep speaking and prophesying in words and deeds over this nation……IT IS BY THE BLESSING OF THE RIGHTEOUS THAT A CITY IS EXALTED!!!