Wednesday, 3 October 2012


Roads-good roads-are no doubt a critical infrastructure for national development and prosperity; call it transformation and you are correct.  To buttress, great roads, connects cities, towns, villages and hamlets. By so doing, cross border trade and commerce of all imaginable dimension thrives; movement of men, women, children and goods are safer, prompter and better cost effective.  What more, the risks of unnecessarily loosing skilled Nigerians- potential administrative messiahs of tomorrow- are either eliminated or greatly reduced.  When such occur, it will only be because of individual disregard to basic tenets of road usage, defensive driving if you like.

The Port Harcourt - Enugu federal expressway is one of such numerous excellent roads in the south-east/south-south Nigeria.  I had the honor of traveling this road few days ago- I have not in a very long while- and it was great joy of a travel that I had.  Built in the late seventies and recently reconstructed by the federal government of Nigeria, this important precursor of movement, trade, commerce and integration for the people of south-east and south-south Nigeria, is a perfect example of what roads- transformation associated roads- should be in the region specifically and the country in general.

The recent reconstruction was as a result of the deft political and administrative moves of governors of the south-east states, supported all the way by those of the south-south. Realizing the importance of this road to the economies and peoples of the region, the governors had engaged and pressured the central government endlessly.  It got to the point where they resorted to carrying placards to Aso Rock Villa, demanding not just the reconstruction of the road in question, but other economically critical roads in the region.  While they were on this, senators and legislators of the region also joined suit, literally carrying placards in the upper and lower chambers of the national assemby. Their fights paid off and today, we have the beauty of a road, the Port Harcourt- Enugu Expressway. 

My recent travel on this road commenced somewhere on east-west road, very near to Eleme junction in Port Harcourt.  The east west road itself was another beauty of a road to behold, at least the little I saw from where my journey commenced.  From here, we navigated to Eleme junction, then to Oyigbo (Obigbo?), then to Aba, Umuahia, Okigwe and then the Enugu stretch, a few kilometers to Awgu/Mgbowoh junction, popularly called “aki n  ukwa junction” in reference to a local food delicacy commonly sold in this area.  By the time we got to this junction, we had done four hours.  Back in the days (before the recent reconstruction), this would normally take between one hour forty five minutes and two hours.  The remaining stretch is just about thirty minutes before you hit Enugu. All this would be at national permitted speed limits on such roads.

Why did we choose to do this stretch in four hours when we could have done so in two or a little less?  Answer, we were busy admiring the beauty of the road; stopping severally to closely admire the construction and accompanying embellishments at specific areas on the road.  We saw a number of haulage vehicles (trailers) parked on the road at numerous points, and the drivers/passengers admiring the road.  In several instances, goods and materials- bags of garri, flour, cement, food items, raw materials, name it- where seen offloaded by the road sides, and in some places in the middle of the road. Why?.  The people so loved the road that they did not want to complete their journeys quickly. They wanted to waste as much time as possible on the road, possibly sleep over so they can fully savour its beauty and have enough stories to tell others who have not been opportuned to travel on this great and beautiful road.

In some instances, vehicle drivers were so lost in admiration that they did not know when their vehicles skipped the road limit and toppled over, causing loss of lives and heavy damage to goods.  However, the people concerned expressed happiness at the occurrences, insisting that the beauty of the road far outweighed their losses-neither the government nor the road were to blame.  It was as interesting as it was intriguing- I still wonder.  One other wonder on this road was a particular segment, in a community (cannot recall now) situated between Okigwe and the junction leading to Ishiagu-the home to Crushed Rock Industries, an important quarry industry.  This community is home to a cattle garage (popularly referred to as Gariki), which used to be located within the Okigwe area.  Here, scores of haulage vehicles have almost taken over this great dual carriage way. Why? They have all parked to admire the wonder and beauty of a road, especially the exquisite mini-resort, built to enable travelers stop and refresh before continuing their journey.  We had to also stop and park as there was no way we could continue unless the other folks moved their vehicles.  We had to take it easy before somebody snapped on us, possibly wondering why we could not appreciate the wonder they had stopped/parked to admire for only a while?  Finally, we got into Enugu after nearly five hours of travelling (should have been under two and a half back in the days), on the great and beautiful Port Harcourt-Enugu Expressway, recently reconstructed by the federal government of Nigeria.

On getting home, we refreshed and got down to talking, discussing, sharing/comparing notes.  We praised first, the peoples governors/governments in the states of the south-east.  We also praised the south-south governors for their love and support. We did not forget the state assemblies and their leaderships; they were the ones that kept the governors on the edges of their seats until justice was achieved in regard to this great road.  Then we stood up for the federal lawmakers of south-east extraction, they are true sons and daughters of the region-selfless, committed, just and upright, thinking day and night of the wellbeing and happiness of their people.  We did not forget the support of governors and legislatos from other political and economic zones of the country. They are also spearheading such transformations in their regions.  Posterity will not forget their labours for the genuine transformation of the regions of Nigeria?  And then the biggest one, we praised and praised and praised the government at the centre.  Ofcourse, we recognized the untiring and sacrificial efforts of successive ministers under whose supervision, the region witnessed such amazing transformation in road infrastructure. Next we hear is that a committee has been set up to map out strategy for sustaining and improving on the success achieved. The committee will be headed by an elder statesman?, an achiever of no mean status.

The reconstruction of this road has no doubt opened up fresh vista for the south-east region and her neighbors.  The gains associated with such first class infrastructure are unimaginable and the region will be the better for it.  The larger Nigeria will benefit too.

Wait a minute, is this real?  I mean is this true of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway or any other of its magnitude in the south-east?  Have you travelled this road recently or do you know of any friend from the region you could ask?  Better still, go find out first hand.  I bet you, the opposite, stark opposite of what has been described will stare you in the face.  Do not venture into this nightmare of a road, such an important one at that.

God bless, help and keep Nigeria at 52

Sunday, 27 May 2012


What is this all about?
Today, 27 May 2012 is Pentecost Day.  Great enough, it is also celebrated as Children’s day.  What a pleasant coincidence.  It is exactly 40 days since Easter Sunday 2012, according to the Christian Church calendar.  Pentecost was celebrated in the biblical Jewish society long before our LORD JESUS CHRIST came into the world; but the Pentecost following His resurrection was spectacular.  I dedicate this piece first and specifically to the entire Catholic Charismatic Renewal Prayer Groups in Nigeria, those all over the world and then to Christians in general – of all Church Groups.

Beloved, this is neither an expert theological discourse nor intellectual exposition.  I simply wish to share with you (as John “the beloved” put it) “that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and our hands have handled,      ” (1John 1:1 NKJV).  This is about the Holy Spirit of the Living God, the third person of the Blessed Trinity.  He was present and active at creation: “… And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” Genesis 1:2 (NKJV); He was the one that executed the immaculate conception: “And the Angel answered and said to her, the Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Highest will overshadow you….”(Luke 1: 35NKJV); He led our Lord Jesus Christ into preparation for His glorious earthly ministry: “Then Jesus being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days”….(Luke 4:1NKJV) and was the secret behind Him all through: “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with Power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38).

In the old, He came upon men for Gods purpose in small occurrences.  But in the new, His coming was dramatic, exceptional, wild spread and far reaching and the impact just keeps spreading (Entire Book of Acts).  It was like a wildfire occurrence and has ever remained same to date.  You will agree with me that the story of this book is never ending, it continues beyond the 28th Chapter.  This is the story we are sharing in this write up.

His coming in the new, on Pentecost day (which Christians widely remember/celebrate today), was followed with the release of gifts (Charisms) to believers: “   When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men   ” (Ephesians 4:7NKJV).  It follows that believers who have received these gifts and puts them to use for the purpose for which the Holy Spirit gave them are said to be Charismatics.  Popularly, they are called Pentecostals in reference to the day this occurrence was first recorded in the Holy Scriptures.  In the Catholic Church, they are called Catholic Charismatic Renewals and in different parishes, they are called unique “prayer group” names.

The Holy Spirit and His Charisms in the Early Days
In their book “the Holy Spirit, according to the Scriptures”, Michael Bassey and Donatus Udoette, two great minds and ordained Priests in the Catholic Church writes:  “Charisms    are defined as a call, an invitation, a vocation which God addresses to each and every member of the believing community in view of the particular service or services, which he wants him or her to perform in that community, coupled with the ability or capacity to exercise these gifts. 

In the words of F.A Sullivan (also an ordained Priest), in his book “Charism and Charismatic Renewal”, 1992, Page 18, Chrisms are to be understood as: “the gifts of grace which are distributed among members of the community, with a view to the role or function which each is to have   The charisms are the manifold ways in which the graciousness of God is manifested in the lives of individual Christians, especially by making them effective instruments of grace to others in the body of Christ”. And I like to add, in the world, beginning from Nigeria for Nigerians.  Understood in the sense expressed above, every Christian is a charismatic, because he or she has received some gift from the Holy Spirit at baptism and further at the unique experience of the Holy Ghost outpouring as on the day of Pentecost.  For Catholics, it is taught that the Holy Spirit fullness is received at confirmation.

The first coming of the Holy Spirit in the new covenant times was at Pentecost as captured in Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2.  It was an unmistakable occurrence.  Men and women who before then were regenerate (born again if you like), having been with the master himself received tongues of fire upon them.  The fire penetrated their being; burnt off every atom of fear and timidity (Acts 4:13ff); ignited hatred for sin and corruption all appearance of such; fanned the passion for righteousness in them and made them holy trouble makers (Acts 16: 20-21).  They began to turn the world upside down – everything that was evil turned upside down at their presence/pronouncement while those that were good or willing to become so remained standing.  They resisted unrighteous authorities (Acts 4: 14-22) who attempted to stop them from testifying to the truth that they have received, the conviction they bore in them and the experience they have had, not minding that they could lose their lives (many of them actually did) in the process.  What was happening to them was the Holy Spirit in action, the one and the same executor, who was there, right from creation (Genesis 1). He has come again, this time with a difference – He is here never to depart again.  Jesus promised that this time, He (the Holy Spirit) will remain with us till the end of time (John 14:15-18).

What more followed his coming?  Varieties of gifts (Charisms) were released to men and women in the Church for the good of all (Ephesians 4:17).  Power over the devil and all that he portends was restored (Acts 5: 12-16; Luke 10:19).  The word of God, worship and prayers became the centre of daily living in the Church (Acts 6: 1-4).  It was heaven on earth.  Being a follower of Christ became the rave of the moment – if one did not join, he did not belong.

The Renewal
What then happened to the Church in the later years – years after Pentecost?  I will not bother you with those theological histories.  But what did I witness in my time – these last 3 decades?  Apostle Paul could not have captured the situation I met any better in his epistles to Timothy: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times, some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own consciences seared with a hot iron  ” (1 Timothy 4: 1-2).  Again hear Him in 2 Timothy 3: 1-5: “But know this, that in the later days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power   ” (See also Romans 1: 26-32).

The greater tragedy I met was that even “those who knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them (Romans 1: 32). 

For the church in post Pentecost days, at least the one I met in my time, the above summarizes the story.  But thank God for the years preceding 1967.  Thank God for Vatican 2.  Thank God for Pope John the 23rd.  Thank God for those fine minds in one Ivory tower in America.  One probing heart began to wonder in private contemplation, and then went on to share his convictions (obviously from the Holy Spirit) with another hungry heart.  These together shared with yet more hungry hearts and then followed a collective decision to gather together to pray and seek the God in the Bible Book of the Acts of the Apostles – the God of Pentecost.  The result was certain; the Holy Ghost fire fell mightily again and it was 1967.  It happened again, it was a renewal.  The resulting gathering was called the Catholic Charismatic Movement.

The devil will not take it, he battled to quench this, but no, the Spirit was to be with us till the end of time.  Today this move is called the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.  No matter the name, the Holy Ghost fire started burning again and still burns.  What did this new move - this renewal – bring?  It was nothing different from what has always being from the Pentecost following Christ’s ressurrection:  Men and Women discovered great joy in serving the Living God.  They sought Him in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:23-24) for “the Father is seeking such to worship Him”.  The word of God become real again in the Church and in everyday life; the Sacraments brought visible impacts in the lives of the faithful; they were no longer some myths – they were real “outward signs of inward graces”.

And the Fire Blazes on
Beloved, the fire of the Holy Ghost continues to blaze.  I was caught by this fire some years back. I felt the heat, it ran through my being and it did awesome things in me.  I have watched same happen to countless many, some by the agency of my unworthy person, powered by the Holy Ghost Himself. I also know you have your own testimony – testimony of reality, what you have tasted, handled and fellowshipped with.  His fire is on.  This is unstoppable.  This is happening right in the Holy Catholic Church – it is the renewal of the charisms; restoration of the charismatic dimension in the Church of the Living God.

The testimonies from the Papacy
This great move, this burning fire –albeit highly resisted by some – has refused to die. Infact, it cannot die because it is divine.  It has the approval of the Godhead and the Holy Papacy – the seat of the vicar of Christ on earth.

Let me share with you some revealing words on this new move – this renewal, coming from the papacy.   Addressing leaders of the Renewal on October 10, 1973 during the international leaders conference in Grottaferrata in Rome, Pope Paul VI said: “We rejoice with you, dear friends, at the renewal of the spiritual life manifested in the Church today, in different forms and in various environments.   In all that, we can recognize the mysterious and discreet work of the Spirit, who is the soul of the church”. Again on 19 May 1975 (Pentecost Solemnity) during the international Charismatic Congress, Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father said: “How then could this "spiritual renewal" not be "a chance" for the church and for the world? And how, in this case, could one not take all the means to ensure that it remains so?”

In his message to the Council of the International Office of the Charismatic Renewal on 11 December 1979, His Holiness Pope John Paul II wrote: “I am convinced that this movement is a sign of His action (of the Spirit). The world is much in need of this action of the Holy Spirit... Now I see this movement, this activity everywhere”.  To the leaders during the VI International Leaders Conference on 15 May, 1987 (20th anniversary of the renewal), in Rome, He wrote: “This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church. The vigour and fruitfulness of the Renewal certainly attest to the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit at work in the church in these years after the Second Vatican Council. Of course, the Spirit has guided the church in every age, producing a great variety of gifts among the faithful. Because of the Spirit, the church preserves a continual youthful vitality, and the Charismatic Renewal is an eloquent manifestation of this vitality today, a bold statement of what "the Spirit is saying to the churches" (Rev. 2:7) as we approach the close of the second millennium”.
Again on 30th October 1998, writing to the Leaders at the IX International Leaders Conference in Fiuggi Rome, His Holiness had this to say: “The Catholic Charismatic Renewal has helped many Christians to rediscover the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in their lives, in the life of the Church and in the world, and this rediscovery has awakened in them a faith in Christ filled with joy, a great love of the Church and a generous dedication to her evangelizing mission. In this year of the Holy Spirit, I join you in praise of God for the precious fruits which he has wished to bring to maturity in your communities and, through them, in the particular Churches”.

And there are many more testimonies that space will not permit us to share, all streaming from the papacy and other authorities of the church.

Last Lines – For Beloved Country Nigeria
As we remember/celebrate Pentecost today, the dire challenges facing our beloved country come flooding our minds.  You know these challenges and so they are not worth recounting here.  But as those who are endued with the Holy Ghost and recognize what we are able to do and accomplish by Him, we can stand in faith and ask for / work towards renewal of the face of governance in our country.  We know that when this happens (in regard to persons and institutions); we will be on the path to true prosperity – political, economic and social prosperity.   Beloved, God is alive in our country again.  He has always been, albeit not recognized due to the dominance of unrighteousness, unbelief and iniquity.  You cannot encounter the Spirit of God and remain the same.

Friday, 27 April 2012



Saturday, 28 April 2012 is the world day for “Safety and Health at Work’’.  The annual event anchored by the International Labour Organization (ILO) has this years’ theme as “Promoting Safety and Health in a Green Economy”.   This theme is coming in these times when according to the ILO, ‘’there is a shift in the world to a greener and more sustainable economy’’.  Sustainability as we know, dwells on (among other components), social development and environmental protection and in the thinking of the ILO, these should be closely linked to safer and healthier workplaces and decent work for all.

The Green Jobs initiative is a joint initiative of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).   In the UNEP Green Jobs report of September 2008, the initiative defines green jobs as ‘’decent work which contributes directly to reducing the environmental impact of enterprises, economic sectors or the economy as a whole by reducing energy and resource consumption, reducing emissions, waste and pollution and by preserving or restoring ecosystems’’.  The document further states that ‘’Green Jobs need to be decent work; i.e. good jobs which offer adequate wages, safe working conditions, job security, reasonable career prospects, and worker rights’’.

In its paper published to support this years’ observation, the ILO SafeWork office documents that the notion of ‘’Green Jobs’’ as only those jobs involved in the protection of biodiversity and the environment has been broadened to include the creation of jobs contributing to resource efficiency...... as well as occupations which play central role in ‘’greening’’ industries across the economy’’.  Continuing, the paper notes that ‘’Green Jobs include new job opportunities across a wide spectrum of occupations, from managers and scientists to technicians and farmers, and for a wide range of job seekers in rural and urban populations, including slum dwellers’’.  The paper also documents that ‘’the main areas of economic activity that have the best potential for generating new green jobs are: renewable energy, construction, transport, recycling, forestry and agriculture’’.

What has caught my attention here and which agitates me is the whole idea of ‘’Green Economy’’, ‘’Green Jobs’’ and ‘’ Decent Work’’.  In order words, the evolution of green economies (the current focus), will generate associated green jobs – jobs that protects/preserves not only the environment (which is paramount anyway), but assures good or decent life and safety for the people, the workforce.  Come to think of it, the people need to be safe (alive) and healthy (strong and virile over long years) in order to continue to man, drive and sustain the production processes that assures an even greener economy.

Nigeria’s ‘’Vision 20-2020’’, foresees a robust economy, in the league of the top 20 in the world by the year 2020.  This will suppose a green economy, in line with the focus of the world.  I believe this is achievable.  We have the strategy document, we have the people – so I believe – we only need to get working.  My concern on this day and at this time is the need to begin to give serious thought to the ‘’Green Jobs’’ paradigm as we match towards ‘’Vision 20-2020’’.  In saying this, I am thinking of all sectors of the economy and owners of enterprises – oil and gas, banks/financial institutions, manufacturing, telecommunications, waste management, construction, transportation (land, air and sea), government parastatals, etc.

From one sector to another, one office or work area/site to another, lots of Nigerians work in environments and under work conditions that can be said to be far from ‘’Decent’’, the type envisaged/articulated by the Green Works Initiative.  Aside from the oil and gas industry, where the safety and health of staff and personnel have in most cases been elevated to another level and used as one of the indices for measuring overall business performance/success, the same may not wholly be said of other sectors.  In greater instances, it is considered a great favour that you have a job in the midst of huge unemployed, poor and hungry people.  You are therefore expected to focus on working anyhow instead of complaining on issues regarding your safety and health.

One area of deep concern is the waste management sector, where both government and private organizations are involved. This sector is huge, connecting activities and end processes in almost all other sectors.  While this sector is identified as one of the fastest sources of green employment, it cannot be lost on us that the practices that are associated with this sector and most importantly the conditions under which young Nigerians do the jobs portends greater harm to the people and ultimately the economy as well as the society.  One is aware of the existence of waste management laws in Nigeria dealing with not just appropriate handling, but minimum safety and health provisions for the workforce.  Where then is the enforcement?

Waste Collection & Disposal Operation in Nigeria:
 a ‘’green’’ activity, but how green is this job for these folks.  They are exposed to diseases/infections and possible death from falling off these truck.

Many sad cases also abound in the labour intensive manufacturing industries, owned and run by certain Asians where Nigerians are subjected to very unsafe conditions in their own country.  Such companies operate in complete disregard for any know health and safety or labour laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (and these laws/regulations abound).  Lots of our young people, potential gurus of tomorrow have either been maimed or lost their lives in such blatantly unsafe work conditions and the owners/operators of such factories have gotten away with such avoidable deaths.

The construction sector, involving working at heights is one that has also maimed lots of our young people.  The oil and gas industry regards work at heights (any work from 2 meters above ground) as one major exposure/high risk jobs and takes extra precautions prior to authorizing such jobs to proceed, even though their direct staff are not involved – it is called duty of care for contractor personnel. Sadly, this is not so with the other sectors, where organizations care little about how their jobs ate accomplished.  Again, I am certain that laws and regulations exist for the building/construction industry dealing with minimum safety and health provisions for various construction works.  Again, where is the enforcement?

An Artisan In Construction Work: 
With little or no consideration for his safety & health, this fellow is in danger of sudden fall from height with potential for instant death or permanent disability

The transportation sector is arguably the worst killer.  Here, dreams/hope of tomorrow – future anchors of Vision 2020 - have been cut short, virile manpower maimed or lost and rendered liabilities to the economy and society; and these could have been avoided.  The tragedies from this sector have been due largely to the multitude of workers (drivers) with little or no instructions on the basics of this sector/their jobs; yet these ones bandy around licenses of all sorts, given by recognized authorities in the country.  These hordes constitute threats to not only their unfortunate passengers, but other decent road users.

Green Jobs, Decent Jobs/Work, assures the preservation of a virile workforce over long periods of time.  It assures that we do not lose our best brains and hands before they have come of age and maturity to be at the helm of the production processes where they will bring to bear experiences garnered over the years growing through the ranks.  It is a backbone to a greener and bigger economy by year 2020.

The theme of this year’s celebration can and should be a wake-up call for all of us; employees, employers and most importantly our government – the safety and health regulatory arms.  We owe it a duty to this country to realize ‘’Vision 20-2020’’ or at least be able to count our good progress by the end of 2020.  But first, the workforce of tomorrow must be preserved through appropriate safety and health practices. 

Have a very SAFE Day and do all in your power to remain safe and healthy each day.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


Father God, your humble servant, a youth of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous and arguably most gifted black nation come to you this day on my knees and totally humbled.  I come trembling, confused and fearful – yes father really fearful – as I think of my beloved country which recently reached a landmark age, golden jubilee it is called.  I come knowing that you can do everything and no counsel of yours can be withheld from you’’.

It is clear to me that the counsel of your heart for Nigeria was aptly captured in the speeches and utterances of our founding fathers, heroes past and friends when Nigeria was born nearly 52 years ago - as an independent nation.  These were men and women whom you put your Spirit into at the time, to prophesy concerning the child just born into the world, I mean into the comity of sovereign and free nations. Permit me to say Lord God that they were your prophets.  They were your prophets because they spoke (prophesied) of a great and prosperous child-Nigeria, a nation capable of rising to the status of or even above such great nations as America.  They spoke of a nation which, considering its enormous latent and visible resources, (human, natural, rich diversity, etc), will in no time begin to run and then go on to set great records in the world stage.  Such records were to include: a just and egalitarian nation; a nation whose landscape is decorated with choice and enviable infrastructure – educational, social, etc; a nation of imposing industries, providing more jobs than her well educated and trained citizenry could fill; a nation of men and women who will always recognize that there is dignity in labour – honest, hardworking, incorruptible people.

Father, this popular saying has it that ‘‘life begins at 40’’.  In the case of my beloved country, child-Nigeria, she turned 40 years ago, but is yet to begin life.  I say so because at nearly 52 years, none of the prophesies about her have come to concrete fulfilment and as a youth of this country, this is really disheartening, to say the least.  Father, You and I know that the non-fulfilment of these prophesies are not because they were false or that you have withdrawn your authority on them, far from this. The truth is that the men and women who over the years have received/handed down the baton of leadership from our founding fathers have failed us woefully.

Mighty God, I remember the stories and profiles of our founding fathers.  My late father (who died battered and disenchanted by the Nigerian system in my early university days), told me a lot of the stories and I corroborated most of what he told me from what I read in print.  They were selfless men and women, true statesmen, visionaries, leaders out to imprint their names in the sands of history.  They were people whose words and lives inspired awe, patriotism and hard work.  They offered themselves to serve.  They got into the struggle for a sovereign nation, inspired by the spirit of service and because they believed in the Nigerian cause.  They were not opportunists, looters, liars, greedy and corrupt men and women.  They had their weaknesses, yes, but their spirit of service far outweighed whatever weaknesses they had.  I do not lose sight of the fact that they were mortals.

Father God, I do not wish to bother you with the many things that dishearten and make me tremble about my country Nigeria. I will break down enumerating the details.  During our Golden Jubilee Celebrations, I listened to men and women at different fora speak and enumerate the various reasons for our woes.  They also tried hard to proffer a way forward for my beloved country.   They believed (and spoke out), that we have not lost it all and that we have another 50 years to get restored.   As I listened, I cried and the same time rejoiced. Yes, I rejoiced because I realized all hope is not lost, not with the country brimming with such fine and articulate minds, such as I listened to.  Yes father, there is hope because I sense the crystallization of thoughts and deliberate choices of good people in Nigeria – hearts and choices saying one thing, we can rise up from today and possess it. And I know that you are ever willing to order and prosper our good collective choices.

And so FATHER GOD, I pray you today to please help Nigeria to truly begin life as we set our sights on the so much talked about year 2020, when we would have added another decade to our existence – clocking 60 years.    You waited for us to begin earlier, but we were not ready.  You encouraged us when we turned 40, but again we were not ready.  We have passed the landmark age of 50 years, we are 52 in few months from now and it is still doubtful - yes doubtful to me - if we are ready to start life.  LORD GOD, the tunes have suddenly changed and I fear for the worst. We are no longer just grappling with the heavy burden of corruption, failed leadership, decaying institutions and systems- including a near moribund educational system and the like; it is now the heavier burden of terrorism - brothers killing brothers with reckless abandon as a way of making their points, expressing their grievances or enforcing what they want- whatever these means.  What was never imagined by our founding fathers - your prophets of old has suddenly crept in upon us and is threatening to blow us and our oneness to shreds - so it appears to me LORD.

Questions are being raised all around, most bordering on our oneness as a sovereign, united nation - with peoples of different/distinct cultures and cleavages.  Should the different cleavages go their separate ways?  Should they remain one or may be enter into some kind of arrangement that still portrays oneness?  LORD GOD, the questions are as myriad as they are fearful - yes, really fearful.

In all these LORD, I choose to believe that 2020 will come upon us and so I pray; help us to begin to live.  I can hear the resounding response of the youth of Nigeria, my generation, saying Amen.  I know they are also following recent developments.  Fear, doubt, despondency, etc. are also welling up in their minds.  Nevertheless, I know they want their country to begin living and so I pray.  Help us to begin to walk right, obeying the laws of our country and your Holy laws.  During elections, may we be ready to make our votes count, to probe deeply before we cast our votes.  Help us to reject the use of mundane things and empty promises to fool us, impose mediocrities upon us and further mortgage our future and those of our children. It is easy to decipher empty promises because the pedigree and antecedents of those making such are well known by us.  Yes, these are well known unless we pretend and chose to remain fools.  But father, may you not allow us to. We are ready to hold accountable those that we vote, (yes I mean vote because our votes must count), or those appointed into positions of authority, to help us steward our country’s resources – your good gifts to us.

May we no longer take the position of indifference and just allow people we put in positions to do what they want. No, never again.  May we resolve never to be found wanting again in the discharge of our civic responsibilities first to Nigeria, but beginning from our families and local communities.  May we resolve to engage at all times, in honest job and living, knowing that our labours will never go unrewarded.   May we resolve that come the year 2020, when we celebrate our 60 years of nationhood, we shall be busy reflecting on how great we have lived life.  We shall also be rigorously strategizing on how to consolidate on our great achievements as a united sovereign nation.   

LORD, may it be that in 2020, we will be telling the stories of present happenings - especially terrorism - and how we overcame as a people with your help and mercies.  I have read stories of countries that passed through near crippling internal developments - may be close to or even worse than ours - and yet overcame.

And so LORD, my eyes are on 2020 and I know it s possible with you.  Thank you Lord. Amen.