Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year as penned by Eddie Pola and George Wyle in 1963. It is the most holy, gracious and loving season of the year because of the wonder and miraculous birth of Jesus Christ who is the Prince of Peace, Kings of Kings, Lord of Lords and most importantly the Son of the Most High God. The miraculous and virgin birth of Jesus still remains the greatest event in all of human history. God entered into this world as a baby in order to free mankind from the slavery of sin, sickness and power of poverty and graciously empowered mankind to have dominion over His creation and to lead a life of joy, peace, and prosperity.
However, despite the peaceful and joyous mood of this special season, most Nigerians can’t believe what’s going in their country currently. Some of the questions in the minds of Nigerians around the globe are these: (1) why are innocent citizens being massacred by the army? (2) Why is the army shooting innocent protesters in SE? (3) What is wrong for people to protest against illegal detention of their leader and agitation for freedom from oppression, injustice and marginalization? (4) Why are the Shia Muslims being massacred by the army for peaceful procession to mark their yearly festival? (5) Why would a mere accusation of planning to assassinate the chief of army staff without any substantiative facts warrant the military personnel to massacre hundreds of innocent Shia Muslims? Why is Boko Haram killing innocent Nigerian citizens in Northeast without being confronted by the military, instead, the army is enforcing due engagement with unarmed and innocent citizens protesting in a civil disobedience in a democratic society? Why is the MEND militants keep kidnaping innocent citizens left and right in Niger Delta region?
Why are the courts annulling the election results of the PDP controlled States but not the heavily rigged APC controlled States? Why are only political foes being witch–hunted and accused of corruption while most of the key political loyalists of the president and tycoons who are profusely corrupt are not being probed and arrested? What’s going on in Nigeria? Why is this air of dictatorship and political vendetta happening in Nigeria at this time?
If some of these questions and many others are not answered, Nigeria’s fragile and fledging democracy may be in risk. Is any anyone advising President Buhari? Is he listening? Is anyone whispering into his ears and looking straight into his eyes to tell him the gospel truth that he’s misleading Nigeria? And if nothing is done to correct the trend, Nigeria may explode and disintegrate.
Nigerians are duped again. This is not the change we wanted and voted for. Nigeria is currently in a toxic condition politically, economically, religiously and socially. Why is it that the most populous nation in African with rich and enormous human potential, is still trapped in a circle of vicious and vision-less political leadership? What have Nigerians done to be subjected to this vicious circle of political bondage, oppression, injustice, and marginalization?
Since her independence from colonial master in 1960, Nigeria has not enjoyed any genuine freedom, political peace and national prosperity but violence, oppression, war, marginalization, corruption, and poor leadership. In fact, the nation has been governed by bad and brutal leaders since its independence.
Currently, Nigeria is ruled by a former military dictator, who promised change. But the change we are seeing since being sworn-in are massacres, death, suffering, agony, pain, hurt, and even regrets by many. What’s going on is a potential crisis and challenge of leadership. It looks like that President Buhari /APC government is reversing the gains of democracy that was gained after 16 years steady growth of presidential system of government. What we have now is not presidential democracy but democratic tyranny and dictatorship. President Buhari/APC government are taking the nation back from a position of strength to weakness and a people with hope to hopelessness. Sixteen-year democratic government is being turned into a nightmare of democratic tyranny and dictatorship!
Who will deliver Nigeria from this tyrannical leadership, political dictatorship and economic quagmire? Will President Buhari/APC government listen to the cry of the people and be humble enough to adjust their policies of impunity, suffering, and death.
There are a number of crises and challenges brewing up in the country that if not properly handled can dismantle and disintegrate the country into pieces.
Continued detention of radio Biafra leader Nnamdi Kanu by President Buhari/DSS
We heard and read that Mr. Kanu has been granted unconditional release by an Abuja Chief Magistrate’s court and yet the government has failed to release him from detention, thereby disobeying the court order. In addition to that, Mr. Kanu is still been held after a court had issued a court release order, acquitting him of all charges of terrorism. Nigerians are also shocked that several IPOB members were shot and killed by the Nigerian Task Force at Onitsha for peacefully celebrating the release order and acquittal of their leader from terrorism and all changes by the Abuja Court. The continued detention of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, the executive director radio Biafra and leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), who was arrested by the Nigerian State (DSS and Buhari/APC government) for speaking out against marginalization, oppression and gross injustice against SE region of the country and illegal detention of him by DDS, against court order, could escalate violence and spell doom for Nigeria.
I also want to be on record that I do not totally agree with Mr. Kanu’s radio broadcasts, however, I think that his continued detention after court order is outrageous and shows complete neglect of democratic principles and presidential system of government that Nigeria is currently engaged in.
By the way, Biafra consisting of SE & SS cannot be forced to part of a nation that that treats them as third-calls citizens. They cannot be forced to be married to a harlot who cheats every day.
Recently, I read an interview granted by Dr. Junaid Mohammed and his outbursts that the “Igbos should be allowed to exit from Nigeria provided it is a peaceful exit.” He said that “Igbos cannot be trusted with certain political positions in Nigeria.” The question to Dr. Mohammed is this: why are the Igbos being killed and massacred for just demanding what you are proposing? He said lots of things that are incorrect and frankly I do not want to spend more than this statement to answer his ignorant rants and skimpy knowledge of Nigerian political history. He can read my book on Nigeria’s Leadership Liability.
Even though, I do not personally subscribe to the division of Nigeria because of my perceived belief of the divine purpose for which God allowed the evil empire to amalgamate us – for the emancipation of the black race in this world – however, I do believe that a group of people meeting the UN requirements for self-determination, do have the fundamental basic human right under the principles of democratic principles and institution in we which we operate currently, to demand for freedom from oppression, repression and enslavement. It is crude, wrong, mischievous and evil for 80-plus million people of SE & SS to continue to share a space where they are treated as third class citizens and nobodies in their own land – a region with vast oil resources and enormous human potential.
And so the agitation for Biafra freedom from the Nigerian State is proper and it is mostly due to the unbridled greed of Igbo political leaders, lack of courageous leadership and a quest for authentic leadership in Igboland today. But it is also due to the depth of degradation, wrenching problems and hopelessness in which the region has been subjugated to, purely for punitive reasons.
It has been 45 years since the end of the civil-war, when will the Nigerian State integrate Ndigbo in the affairs of the nation? When will there be infrastructure and federal presence in Igboland? When will SE/SS have an international airport, a seaport – an area especially SS surrounded by oceans. When will there be passable federal roads to help people with movement of goods and services? When will someone from SE/SS fly directly to the East without stopping in Lagos with all the hassles and risk traveling through dilapidated road and flying within Nigeria to go to East? When will an Igbo become the president of Nigeria? The structural atrocities are mind-boggling.
The Nigerian State is evil, punitive and vindictive and president Buhari has taken it to a new level with his repressive policies, treatment, oppression, marginalization and injustice against SE. Just look at his cabinet and administration. It is lopsided and awful. It does not make any sense to continue to cohabit in such hopelessness and seeded anguish of oppression and resentment. President Buhari is an autocratic and tyrannical ruler. He hates the Igbos with passion – remember the early 1980’s. I’m very sorry to say that he may be leading Nigeria to disintegration and in essence destroys Nigeria’s fledging and fragile democracy. I hope that is not the case. I remain optimistic.
I believe the best way to combat marginalization, oppression and injustice is through dialogue and debate – even though the vacuum and lack of true leadership in Igboland as well as the callous political culture of Nigeria do not permit genuine dialogue and healthy debate. The report of National Conference conducted by President Jonathan in which billions of Naira were spent has been jettisoned by President Buhari/APC government. How can the nation make progress? The Nigerian State is currently barbaric and frazzled.
The late Ojukwu in his autobiography, “Because I am involved,” wrote, I have had my belly full of war. I will always fight for the welfare of the Igbo, though this time around on the table of dialogue. As a people who lost a war, we, the Igbo elite, owe the Igbo the responsibility of leading them out of their defeat trauma, out of the siege mentality they have developed over the years. At Aburi, I stated the Igbo case and I will continue to do so wherever necessary."
So I believe that good constructive, healthy debate and sincere dialogue is the best way to go. The Nigerian State must stop the oppression and marginalization of its people. It must be stopped now. If not, Ndigbo need to put together an emancipation think-tank - sort of a national political movement/party to put pressure on the Nigerian State, to address awful marginalization and oppression of her people and work together to fix the imbalances or seek freedom and independence from Nigeria.
Boko Haram Murderous Atrocities and demand for a Caliphate North
After all, Nigeria's Islamic Jihadist sect known as "Boko-haram," which means "Western Education is Evil,” has agitating for an Islamic-Sharia in the 19 States of the north. Boko haram is not going to relent in their quest for a Caliphate north. They have 12 States already that have adopted Sharia. They are not going to relent until they have the entire19 states in the north. Remember, Boko Haram was and is still being sponsored by key Hausa/Fulani oligarchy to make things hard for ex-presidents – OBJ and Jonathan – and with the support of Britain, Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries that are supporting Hausa/Fulani to kill Ndigbo. It was intensified during the time of Jonathan after Buhari lost to him in 2011. Since 1999, an estimated 100,000 lives have been massacred, millions displaced besides business and properties worth billions of naira that have been destroyed.
Today, Boko-Haram is a mix of Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas, Mujahedeen and ISIS jihad terrorists desperate to impose fear and enforce Sharia law and caliphate on international scale. In fact, the world is a witness of the ubiquitous global terrorism and agenda by Islamic Jihadists for Caliphate nations. Just recently, I read a piece written by an International Jihadist scholar naming Nigeria’s Boko Haram as the world’s deadliest terrorist group – not ISIS.
Army/Shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria clash and Zaria massacres
In addition to Boko Hara, the Hausa/Fulani herdsmen are rampage – kidnapping and killing people in Southwest. And now, the Nigerian army are empowered by Buhari/APC government to go on killing rampage. The recent army-Shiite Islamic movement of Nigeria clash and massacres in Zarai by the Nigerian military is a gross atrocity. The Shiites Islamic Movement of Nigeria led by a radical Iranian trained Shia theologian, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky accused of assassination attempt against the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai. The army retaliated by firing into the compound of Sheikh Zakzaky – killing and wounding several family members and hundreds of Shia adherents.
Some of the wounded are unattended and even those who were transported to the hospital are being arrested by the police. Also there are reports that the Centre of the Islamic Movement building in Nigeria under the leadership of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky (Husainiyyah Baqiyyatullah) Zaria has, been completely demolished. The demolition by Nigerian Soldiers was directed by Lawal Musa Daura the Director-General of the Department of the state Service [DSS] according to the report.
The Nigerian army/Shia Muslims crisis has also irritated the Iranians and attracted worldwide condemnation. Iranian people are staging protest in Tehran. The Iranian government has summoned the Nigerian Ambassador in Tehran to protest against deadly clashes between Shia Muslims in Zaria and the army. Also the Iranian president has placed a call to President Buhari.
We do not want Sunni-Shiite war in Nigeria stated one Middle-east expert. That’ll be a disaster. The Sunni and Shia Muslims are religious and political foes. While the Shia Muslims are social and political and religious adherents of Iranian Supreme Leader - Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Sunnis constitute the majority of Muslims worldwide that pledges alliance to al-Qaeda, ISIS, etc. This is a dangerous and delicate crisis that should be handled with care.
2016 Budget and Comatose Economy.
President Buhari this week presented a budget of 8.6 trillion Naira. Some experts have asked where the money will come from. The budget was prepared based on $39 per barrel of oil – but oil analysts at OPEC project oil wind fall of $30 in 2016 – unless the crisis in Middle East: Syria, Iraq, Libya, etc. improves. So, how realistic is the 2016 budget? President Buhari also said that he plans to borrow 1.8 trillion Naira to finance the budget and he has alerted rich Nigerians to be prepared to pay more tax in 2016. He promised that “2016 Budget proposal, will secure our country, rebuild our economy, and make Nigeria stronger than ever.” He blamed fuel scarcity on ex-president Jonathan and PDP government.
Economic analysts and finance experts have said that the 2016 budget is not realistic. Prof. Pat Utomi, the renowned Political scientist has rebuffed the 2016 budget saying that he has no time to analyze unrealistic figures. In fact PDP says that the 2016 budget is fraudulent.
In the meantime time, presidential Adviser to the President on Media Matters said that 2016 will be painful. The president, finance minister and economic team told Nigerians should to prepare for hardship in 2016. Petrol in Nigeria will sell for 97 Naira per liter from the current 87 Naira per liter. More hardship the economic team and president are telling Nigerians – amid all these crises brewing in Nigeria – not excluding, however, massive youth unemployment, rampant arm robbery and daily kidnapping in SE/SS.
Buhari hosts Father Mbaka, hails his courage
President Muhammadu Buhari said, “That one of the best exhortations to the nation he has heard from the pulpit was the one made early this year by Father Ejike Mbaka of the Adoration Ministries, Enugu.” The Catholic priest had backed Mr. Buhari’s bid to become president, and openly castigated former President Goodluck Jonathan whom he supported earlier, in the run up to the 2015 presidential polls. Father Mbaka told his teeming followers that Mr. Jonathan would not be re-elected because of pervading corruption and insecurity in the country. Receiving the priest at the presidential villa, Abuja, a fortnight ago, President Buhari praised Father Mbaka’s “exemplary courage.” “Thank you very much for what you have done and said. It brought you out to the whole country as a man of courage. It was honest and well delivered,” he said.
I have written few essays on the role of the religious leaders in a secular society. However, I'll like to state that Fr. Mbaka’s courtesy call to President Buhari at State House in Abuja and subsequent commendation of him by the President is exactly what is wrong with Nigeria. What we have today is a nation of false prophets and evil political leaders.
Prophet Jeremiah said, "The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and my people love to have it so" (Jeremiah 5:31). I wish Fr. Mbaka had used his access to Aso Rock, his twisted rhetoric and gullible spotlight to denounce the moral decadence and impunity in our society, to speak against religious intolerance and violence and killings, to denounce massacres of innocent Nigerians by the army, to demand for the release of radio Biafra and Shia Muslim leaders who are illegally held, to speak power to truth and justice with love and in righteousness, and not the blatant rhetoric and utterances he’s making against God’s chosen people who are rightly and peacefully protesting for their freedom from injustice, oppression and marginalization.
I know a number of Catholic Reverend Fathers and Priests. They are fine theologians and brilliant scholars and are known for their piety, peace, justice and righteousness. They will never stand for injustice, oppression, marginalization and impunity that we are seeing today. At a time when the nation's democracy is masqueraded in a militaristic, autocratic, and authoritarian feudalistic system, where the political democratic culture in Nigeria is anything but democratic, political impenitent and impunity which works against peace, unity and progress; for Fr. Mbaka to have such audience with President Buhari and deny to speak to the inescapable reality of injustice and marginalization of SE, a region from which he came from is a travesty.
He did not bother to ask for the release of an innocent man who is being held unjustly. He did not rebuke the President for the massacres of innocent Igbos at Onitsha, against army impunities, atrocities and defiance against Ndigbo, is frankly disappointing. Fr. Mbaka is a false priest and a disgrace to the priesthood.
Religious leaders are called to to rebuke sin, evil, wickedness, injustice, oppression marginalization, and injustice. During his papal visits recently to the U.S and Kenya, Uganda and Central African Republic, Pope Francis not only spoke against the injustice of capitalism but rebuked the nations’ leaders about not caring for the poor, about racism, oppression, marginalization, religious intolerance, climate change, among other things.
During Papal visit to the Czech Republic in 2009, Pope Benedict XVI made the following statement, “The yearning for freedom and truth is inalienable part of our common humanity. It can never be eliminated; and, as history has shown, it is denied at humanity’s own peril.”
The Czech revolt against totalitarian ideology in 1989 formed the historical, cultural and political backdrop for his remarks. Pope Benedict decried the fragmentation in Czech society brought on by massive youth unemployment, corruption, and oppression, marginalization – resulting in the temptation to detach reason from pursuit of truth, and, thus, surrender to the lure of hasty and crude forms of ideology, utilitarianism, relativism, and secularism. Moreover, the pope concluded commitment to freedom and truth are essential in the human formation of the young, to the cultivation of virtue and its incarnation.
I wish Fr. Mbaka, who is a Catholic Priest with millions of young catholic followers will read such a document that details the essence of Catholic teaching.
Prophet Amos rebuked the priests of his day when he wrote, “For I know how many are your offense and how great your sins. You oppress the righteous and take bribes and you deprive the poor justice in the courts.” (Amos 5:12).
Sadly, today, we do no longer have theology that is authentic and responsive to the needs of the poor and marginalized, but a syncretic theology that is totally misconstrued and misguided with spiritual witchcraft and biblical ignorance. What we have today are gullible Christians that have been bewitched by pastors that that are preaching and teaching another gospel; another Jesus and a message of “get rich and get healed theology,” a perverted church were the so-called men of God are preaching eisegesis rather than proper exegesis , what tickles the ears of their parishioners rather than sound doctrine, a church where ill-trained pastors are using pragmatic psychological philosophies for attaining success and for solving spiritual issues rather than sound exposition of God’s Word, a church where con men are using the Word of God to deceive gullible Christians for lucre and for profit. What we have today is muddled message and schismatic gospel, Satan’s gospel, a 419 scheme, a toxic and deadly scam designed for the sick, poor, lazy, gullible and biblical illiterate.
Let me conclude this essay with some final words to President Buhari, Vice President Osibanjo and APC government.
Nigeria is toxic right now. Nigeria‘s democracy is at risk. Nigeria is in serious crisis. This is an extraordinary and arduous time, with ubiquitous challenges for the nation. The current massacres of innocent Nigerians by the Nigerian army and police do not give one any hope at all. The army and police have to understand that we are in a democratic system not military regime. They must be educated and trained in the principles of democratic governance and how to deal with civil disobedience. Enough is enough.
Also, the Buhari/APC administration must be willing to accept responsibility and show good stewardship and transparency in their leadership duties. Until now, the President has not uttered a word about the craziness going on in Nigeria. That’s simply a dereliction of duty. He must be a compassionate leader who truly and genuinely understands the yearnings of every Nigerian, which is the inalienable right to life, freedom, justice and pursuit of happiness.
The Nigerian people needs leaders who can guarantee their God given and basic necessities of life such as housing, clean water, electricity, medical care and access to quality education among other things. Nigeria must be salvaged in order to put a stop and eradicate the nation’s scandalous waste of human potential and enormous natural resources. Anything else is evil, tyrannical, disastrous and demonic leadership.
Let us pray that God will stir up them with a holy hatred for tyranny to liberate our nation from bad leadership, corrupt government officials, ethnic hatred and colonial enslavement. More than ever than any time in history of the nation, Nigeria needs courageous, visionary and skillful leaders to emancipate our land from satanic political leadership and restore her historic honor and moral dignity in the global community.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2016 to All!
As 2015 draws to a close, let us remember the reason for this wonderful season. As songwriters - Eddie Pola and George Wyle penned in 1963, "This season of the year is the most wonderful time of the year." The birth of Jesus is the greatest event in all of human history. His birthday is always the greatest and most expensive celebration in all of human history. It is also the most gracious and loving season of the year.
Sin is the greatest enemy of the human race and Jesus was born to free us from the slavery and guilt of sin. He was born to free mankind from the filthy of unrighteousness, shackles of injustice, economic slavery and political corruption. Let us therefore commit this Christmas Day to pray for justice, righteousness, wisdom, peace and prosperity in our world. Let us commit this day to pray for world leaders especially our President Buhari and his government so that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness (1 Tim. 2:1-2). The Word of God teaches that, "when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked rule, the people mourn (Proverbs 29:2).
May the souls of those who have been killed and massacred by the Nigerian army and police in several parts of the country rest in peace. May the Lord dry the tears of family members that are left behind and fill them and the entire people of Nigeria with His peace and strength during this time of sorrow, sadness and mourning? May the true God of heaven stand with His children and for His people; to Him be all glory, honor, majesty, power, and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord before all ages, now and forevermore. Amen.
I wish all safe and super Christmas. May God’s favor, joy, peace, love and goodwill be yours in this coming New Year and beyond in Jesus Name. Amen.
Merry Christmas and happy New Year 2016!
C. K. Ekeke, PhD., M.Div., Author, Consultant & Leadership Lecturer