VOLA: Nigeria: A government and its spiritual problems ~ Japheth Omojuwa
Nigerians are very spiritual but even they were shocked to hear the nation’s President Goodluck Jonathan excuse the terror attacks across the north eastern region of the country, on the guise that they could be signs of the biblical end times. While his statement still comically falls short of that rendered by one of the members of his cabinet that Nigeria’s power challenges were as a result of evil spirits, it shows a common logic of abdication of duty. During the ANC Conference in South Africa, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Power Hajiya Zainab Kuchi stated that “We must resolve to jointly exorcise the evil spirit behind this darkness and allow this nation take its pride of place in the comity of Nations.” This arguably pales to “I was just wondering, could this be a clear way of telling us that the end times are so close?” the statement Dr. Goodluck Jonathan rendered to an evangelical Christian organization, theEYN denomination.
The above statements essentially sum up the reality that is Nigeria. Citizens and office holders alike are quick to call on God to solve personal and national problems but when given the opportunity by that same God to get something done, they make it a lot more impossible by making away with the resources meant for same. Take the case of the terror attacks for instance; the nation has consistently allocated billions of dollars, amounting to trillions of naira yet no solution is in sight. Only last week, some sixteen people had their throat slit by these same elements of destruction. If these are signs of the end times according to the President, one wonders whether state sponsored prayer committees also amount to such apocalyptic reality. The president’s right hand pastor and primary organizer of state prayers had his own prayers answered recently when he acquired a private jet. Nigerians would wish that their own prayers being said by the members of the Presidential Prayer Committee will get quick answers as that of these privileged clergy men. It would appear being close to the president gets a prayer answered a lot quicker than being close to God. Why else would the prayers of these so called men of God not find answers with national problems seemingly on the increased while their personal problems find answers in ways many believe the president must have helped to catalyze. It has been said though that what a man sows he reaps. It would be shocking to expect God to answer the prayers of men and women who call him in the public yet in private when they have opportunities to speak truth to power, they choose to praise and worship failing rulers calling same ‘transformation messiahs’.
If the Minister of State for Power believes Nigeria’s Power problems need some form of exorcism, why need we bother about expecting her to apply herself to getting her job done before the exorcism is conducted? If the president believes Nigerians are condemned to die in the hands of terrorists because these are signs of the end times, should we expect him to admit that his own failings as president are not signs of the end times but a personal reality of inability?
Corruption remains on an all time high with friends and family members of the president severally indicted in one corrupt case or the other. One wonders whether they also need to be exorcised to cure them of their corrupt tendencies since the state apparatus for fighting corruption the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has since become the dead bones of a dog that once barked a lot and indeed did bite some powerful figures.
Nigerian political office holders use the word “God” in public speeches than they do verbs that show how much effort and result they are getting or looking to get. This lip service attempt at spirituality is essentially why the nation stays stunted by underdevelopment. One even believes God would get the job done if these politicians left the money meant for the job in the hands of professionals and competent contractors instead of their own private accounts and personal companies.
In other words, the president and his ministers need not call on Pastors and Imams to pray for the nation. All they need do is make way for competent men and women who understand that government’s business is not to in itself solve these problems but to get out if the way for those who can solve them. Politicians will steal less if they had a lot less to spend. This can only be possible where the government does not pretend about its own inability to do everything. We cannot provide public answers to questions that need private solutions. Government needs to stop pretending about an age long reality that in this country, government’s business is to stay out of business and where it has a responsibility to get things done like national security, it must engage capable hands rather than allow cronies feast on resources meant for national development.
~ Japheth J Omojuwa is the Editor of African Liberty