Engr. Ernest Ndukwe, No Sir


I just finished reading Engr. Ernest Ndukwe’s piece captioned “Enough of divisive presidential election petitioning” carried on the back page of the Sunday edition of the Daily Sun [28th May, 2011] and could not resist the urge to respond to the said article. In the said essay, Ndukwe who is the immediate past Executive Vice Chairman of NCC made a feeble attempt at discouraging the Presidential candidate of the CPC in the last election, Gen. Muhamadu Buhari from continuing with his challenge of the outcome of the said election in the appropriate election tribunal. I am not a Buhari apologist but I am compelled by the feeble logic presented by Ndukwe to pull to pieces his argument.

To the best of my knowledge, Engr. Ndukwe is a gentleman that discharged his duties while at the helm of affairs of the Nigerian Communication Commission with a rare brand of professionalism. I cannot remember anyone challenging his professional competency while in that office, but he completely lost it when he penned that advice suggesting to General Buhari to ditch his case at the Tribunal. The Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides for an aggrieved person to go to court to challenge any perceived electoral injustice, no matter how flimsy the case might appear to others. Ndukwe chose to ignore this fact when he took it upon himself to advice the General to forgo his case. This is wrong and should be condemned.

Another disturbing fallacy contained in Engr. Ndukwe’s argument is the foggy recourse to the realms of the Spirits; he presented a wacky proposition that since President Goodluck Jonathan rose from a humble background to become the president of Nigeria, there certainly could be seen the hands of the Supernatural powers and some spiritual forces in his ascendency to that high position. This is nonsense. For a highly educated applied-scientist to argue thus makes mockery of our zeal to tackle our man-made problems with rationality and pure reason. Ndukwe’s picture of the wishes and prayers of Mr. President’s grandmother and that of former Zambiam president, Kenneth Kaunda as representing a verification of the pre-arranged spiritual forces propelling Goodluck Jonathan to stardom is pure crap.

This is absolute nonsense; I feel strongly ashamed that a man of Engr. Ndukwe’s intellectual standing would try to use an allegory that is both bland and puerile to support his case for the perpetuation of ignorance and misinformation. I could accept that Mr. President’s grandmother named him Azikiwe and prayed for him to become successful and famous, it is safe to concede that Mr. Kaunda, a known politician wished for and believed that Mr. president [then a state Governor] would later become the president of Nigeria- but to argue on those premise that his becoming the president eventually is as a result of such beautiful goodwill is to me extremely unsettling. This is recourse to that archaic but still useful hypocrisy adopted by our leaders when they fly the kite of “it is the will of God’! This is a sinful lie being sold to Nigerians by those that call the shots in our nation and should be rightly repudiated and condemned by well-meaning fellow citizens.

Engr. Ndukwe took the lie a step further when he used the name of God in supporting his case for the celebration of President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency; “if it’s God’s will that Jonathan be president, who are we mortals to contest it”. Why then do we have Election Tribunals in our country if it could be argued that whoever was declared winner in the first instance should be allowed to go unchallenged? We are practicing a democracy that amongst other things, maintains that dissidents voices be heard, we are living in a civilized world where human beings choose who to lead them and not God, and we are citizens of a country that is run based on the provisions of the Rule of Law. General Buhari should not be condemned as an enemy of progress for the mere fact that he feels aggrieved due to the outcome of the last Presidential election. It is my considered view that Engr. Ndukwe and similar voices that cherishes the progress of our nation should be magnanimous enough to allow General Buhari to pursue his fight to a logical conclusion; if actually Mr. President won the election freely, if there is really a Divine machination positively propelling Goodluck, his supporters should let that Force see him through rather than mount pressure on the opposition to sheath their swords.

One could go on and on. But it is with a sense of humility and profound respect that I wish to state categorically that Engr. Ernest Ndukwe got it all wrong here-hence, my “NO SIR”.

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PASTORS, JETS AND MODESTY


The Christian religion purportedly founded by Jesus the Christ aims to eternally encourage its adherents to be Christ-like; to live a life packed with humility, chastity and modesty. It calls its members to live a life of service that will impact positively on others while building a better society that celebrates the brotherhood of man; Christianity preaches love which Jesus allegedly demonstrated when He died on the cross to save His followers. The Christian Jesus was a meek and gentle fellow who was famously portrayed as a regular traveler/wonderer that was not known to own any material property but depended and survived mainly on charity and other people’s goodwill.

Lately, it has become too glaring that we in Nigeria are into a brand of Christianity that appears to be at variance with what Jesus established-from all indications, the sore economic nature of Nigeria has thrown up a brand of Christianity that is solely capitalistic and a vicious capricious leech. This is clearly attributable to the upsurge in a radical form of this religion known as Pentecostalism. This is a brand of Christianity that believes that by engaging in amongst others a loud and persistent form of prayer, mountains will move and valleys flattened. To its credit, a once hopeless population that is daily feeling the strangulating grips of our bad economy appears to find solace and succor in prayers. Unfortunately, this is coming at an enormous price; pastors are enjoying here on earth while church members are advised to “wait on the Lord”.

I find it extremely distressing that pastors like Mr. E. O Adeboye, Mr. David Oyedepo and Mr. Sam Adeyemi and many more do not see anything wrong in acquiring private jets for private use while boasting of having millions of followers who are really very poor. I find it equally nauseating that intelligent Nigerians will come out to defend these men while admonishing people like me to “judge not so that thou will not be judged”. What nonsense! The great Fela captured this beautifully when he sang about Pastors having a swell time on earth while encouraging their wretched church members to pray for a blissful after life in some heaven. For all it stands for, the role of pastors of Pentecostal churches in Nigeria looks exactly like that of leaders of organized crime outfits; there is so much glamour and grandeur oozing from their quarters. One thing that is lacking in the lives of these pastors is exactly what early Christianity stood for-modesty and humility.

It smacks of stupidity of the worst order when otherwise intelligent Nigerians troop out to use the barbaric “touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm…” line to stop people like me from exposing the treachery of modern day pastors. This is pure hypocrisy! Pastors that owe their sustenance to the mites of hapless church members are boasting of owning private jets, some even gloating about having four whereas the level of poverty ravaging the lives of church members continue to spiral. This is immoral, wicked and an attempt to perpetuate the evil of exploiting believers who are enjoined to give, and give and give because “the lord will replenish abundantly…” Smart pastors are using all forms of strategies to promote their ministries like a merchandise and are reaping the fruits-abundantly. A situation whereby a pastor spends up to $30m [thirty million USD]to acquire one private jet while ministering to millions of followers that are daily being hacked to death by the vicissitudes of life is simply too wicked and a mockery of the teachings attributed to Jesus. Where do these men draw the moral strength to engage in this type of treachery and deceit?

Though we sometimes find solace in heaping all blames on the discrepant leadership we have in Nigeria, I strongly believe that Pastors of Pentecostal churches and other religious leaders stand shoulder to shoulder with our leaders in sharing the blame. Take a cursory look across Nigeria and tell me what you see; a deceptive scenario of churches opening at every nook and cranny while businesses fold at an alarming rate, young men and women roaming about armed with a copy of the Bible threatening Armageddon, Apocalypse,  Rapture and all that nonsense. There is nothing as profitable as preying on a peoples’ fear and exploiting them thus-this is exactly what modern Christianity stands for and clearly stands out to be recognized as. We all are witness to the spurious claims of a deluded American preacher sinfully known as Harold Camping who caused so much heartache and chaos with his mad predictions that the Christian God would destroy the world on the 21st May, 2011. It is utterances like this that hold frightened Christians spell-bound and prod them to give out hard earned money to pastors to splurge on private jets and sundry toys.

In developed nations which we try to copy in many ways, churches are seen as charity organizations. In that spirit of charity, churches in these countries engage in lots of charity works- especially in developing nations; people donate money, clothes, computers and other materials to be sent to places around the globe that are known to be suffering from the negative effects of poverty, deprivation and want. Surprisingly, members of these churches donate to charity not because of any divine injunction and a promise of a place in some heaven, but because it appeals to their human nature to do so. But what do we have in Nigeria? A situation whereby rogue pastors and similar preachers use the threat of hell fire and eternal damnation to cajole members into parting with their hard-earned cash, a classic case where people donate money and materials to churches not because they want to but for the simple reason that heaven so commanded. This is wrong and pastors that extort money from Nigerians using this method should be out-rightly exposed and condemned.

Private jet-flying Pastors are no different from the modern day capitalist that fixes his eyes eternally on making more profits and stashing same away for his sole amusement. Today, the Chris Oyakhilomes, Adeboyes, Oyedepos, Adeyemis, Lazarus Muokas etc are all owners of numerous business outfits that churn out millions in profits. These men and their organizations have investments in expensive status-symbol private schools, TV stations, estates and other business interests; the vexing part of the arrangement is that the millions of poor and wretched members of their churches cannot afford to send their wards to the schools run by the churches! Is it against any Biblical injunction for any pastor to build and equip a hospital and donate same to his community? Think of the difference the amount of money spent in purchasing one private jet would make if deployed towards charity in a Nigerian state, think of the kind of hospital $30m could build, think of the difference it will make if a pastor runs his private university as a charity school where students study for free!

It is rather too unfortunate the amount of damage done to the psyche of Nigerians by the antics of modern day charlatan pastors; this is why you see demented fellows coming up to argue that “…it is not easy working in the Lord’s vineyard…And whoever so works should reap accordingly”. The Lord’s vineyard? What the heck is that? Is it any wonder that apart from Pastor Tunde Bakare, every other notable Nigerian pastor finds it exceptionally comfortable keeping mute while our leaders plunder our resources with a reckless abandon? Have you ever bothered to find out from Pastor Enoch Adeboye why he appears to find it convenient engaging in some sort of weird romance with notorious politicians whose atrocities are well known? Pastor Adeboye’s Redeemed Camp is now some kind of Mecca where our kwashiokored leaders and politicians go for “pilgrimage” and gets the much needed Divine Nod before embarking on a rigging spree that ensures they thwart our collective wish as a people for a credible leader? Are you not troubled that Erasmus Akingbola, that disgraced former MD of Intercontinental Bank Plc is a senior Pastor in Adeboye’s Redeemed Christian Church of God? This is man who stole billions of Naira belonging to depositors just to engage in his deluded affluent-amusement. One could go on and on, but the fact remains same; our pastors are not getting it right.

It has been the argument that Pastors continue to rip people off because of the alarming poverty rate in Nigeria-I agree. But I will make haste to add more; our pastors are able to feed their greed because ours is a society littered with so many human beings that are still clutching tightly at the expired belief system that spreads the wicked lie that it is better to suffer on earth and enjoy in heaven. It is wise to make ridicule of any fellow that comes to you with that warped “what shall it profit a man to enjoy the world and lose his soul?” Our pastors are the ones who should be suffering that indignation because they are the ones having a ball here on earth while preaching the evil sermon of a better life in an imaginary heaven.

johnteddyus@yahoo.com

https://jonchikadibie.wordpress.com

A GOVERNMENT FOR THE PEOPLE


Government is that plinth upon which stands the social contract that binds us together as a free people eager to co-exist in harmony. It is the institution built with the belief that the people of a sovereign state are stakeholders in an enterprise that promises to guarantee fairness, equity and an enabling social and economic environment where each person can aspire to any position, no matter how lofty. Democracy is what paints a beautiful picture of this scenario when it maintains that it is “a government of the people, for the people and by the people”. [Abraham Lincoln]. I have been compelled by incessant mind-bending occurrences to re-access the democracy being practiced in Nigeria; do we really have a functional democracy that at worst aspires to represent a government of the people, or is it a case of a government of the few, for the few and by the few? I genuinely believe that what we have in our country is far from a democracy in the real sense of it. What we have is a collection of individuals who could be likened to a fellow that feigned surprise when served a sumptuous dish in a feast, but came with a spoon hidden in his pockets. A worrying scenario of very few individuals who have continuously formed a frantic mind-frame which suggests that Nigeria is one big feast that must be ravaged endlessly while the majority salivate. It is that time of the year when political vultures circle above us, forming alliances, negotiating, and back-stabbing each other, all with the view to either maintaining their strongholds or emerging as part of the new order. We are done with the elections and now it is the season of cashing in on promises made, a new government is in the making and our politicians are baring all fangs. Relevance is the word. The ruling party, the PDP is at it again and I fear things appear to be business as usual. The cacophony of utterances could drive a man passionate about Nigeria insane; talks of zoning different political offices strongly suggests that there is a fight about which region is going to hold on to what. Where do the masses fit into the picture? Political jobbers and sundry characters are roaming about trying to negotiate themselves into the new government and the driving force remains a perpetuation of primitive acquisition. The National Assembly remains the most insulting aspect of our democracy. This is an institution that ordinarily should be serving the interest of the people by making laws that will be seen to be upping the living condition of Nigerians, checking the excesses of the Executive, etc. Unfortunately, what we have is a National Assembly with men and women of unimaginable cheek whose recklessness remains mystifying. Mystifying because I am still unable to understand why these folks would be in an eternal pursuit of making laws that are both self-serving and silly. The amount of money, our money being wasted by the National Assembly makes ours the most expensive Legislature in the world. Just last week, we were jolted by a piece of news that is both not so startling and shocking at the same time; the first was an established case that the out-going Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole borrowed the sum of N10b [Ten billion Naira] in his capacity as the Speaker of the House without consulting his mates. Secondly, it was revealed that members of this lower house “dash” themselves N42m [Forty-two million Naira] every quarter! This amount I understand is outside other fancy perks which they collude amongst themselves to approve. Where do we, the masses fit into this democracy? Why do we have politicians who are mostly men and women bereft of ideas on how to run a country? It is strange the type of arguments and laws streaming from the National Assembly, what you see is a well orchestrated parliament that demonstrates something akin to a comedy. When the “debates” appear to be going the way of a group with a different opinion, chairs and tables are used as weapons to break a few heads and restore “sanity”. Who could explain to me why the out-going Senate hurriedly passed a bill which forbade newly elected Senators from becoming chairpersons of “lucrative committees’’ in the senate[apologies to Abike Dabiri-Erewa]? Another attempt to preserve the status quo; it is the height of perfidy for lawmakers to make laws that will only serve their interests while repudiating moves that will benefit we, the people. A sound moral position of the best man winning is daily being slaughtered at the altar of our lawmakers. Our National Assembly is self-serving, wasteful and extremely too corrupt to attend to our needs as citizens of a democratic country. Those that supported and marketed the sinful lie that a vote for President Jonathan was not a vote for the PDP should make haste to explain to me what is happening now in Nigeria. The same mentality is being employed by members of the ruling party to partition our resources to their otimkpus and cronies. Names are being dropped, people are being considered for appointments not on merit but on tribe and connections, as usual the role of godfatherism is peaking. The mind frame of members of this ruling party worries me a lot; the intensity of their greed is exceptional. The interest of the men and women of the PDP seems to be on exploiting every possible weird chance that will lead to access to the corridors of power-and wealth. That is why I look at the present arrangement of “zoning” key government positions as being dodgy. Unless we are told the truth which is that government in Nigeria is about “chop-I-chop”, the argument for zoning is weak. Favoured politicians from different parts of the country will soon be chosen to represent their various zones in the big feast. In an earlier essay, I did wonder what made Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State to support the Presidential bid of Jonathan Goodluck. Mr. Obi is not a member of the PDP but APGA; in his capacity as the Chairman of the South East Governors Forum, he teamed up with his mates to campaign for President Jonathan. We were told that they reasoned that Goodluck Jonathan had the interest of the Igbos at heart but it appears to me that we were sold a dummy. Having realized this, Mr. Obi is now singing a different tune; blame Igbo PDP members for any disappointment to be suffered in this present government. Igbos are now left with the option of having one of theirs as the Secretary to the Federal Government. How does this translate to “having the interest of the Igbo man at heart”? Is President Jonathan a tribal President? I am sure that the leadership of Ohaneze Ndi Igbo will be having sleepless nights at the sudden realization that they made a mistake in supporting President Jonathan. Well, this can only stop the moment we see that promised second Niger Bridge, a fully operational Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, a Container Terminal at Onitsha, and many more. But then, it will be totally wrong of me to narrow my outlook to a section of Nigeria only. The wider picture of Nigeria shows a gloomy atmosphere; the level of ignorance, poverty, disease, violence and crime across our country is really high. The idea of a “one Nigeria” diminishes in substance when one sees the level of poverty and ignorance in the North of our country and the depressing level of environmental degradation and poverty in the Niger Delta. It would be nice to hear the contributions of members of the National Assembly towards alleviating the misery of members of their constituencies; I say this because these men and women collect millions of Naira for “Constituency Projects” with nothing to show for it. I earnestly hope that President Goodluck Jonathan will have the moral strength to re-structure our National Assembly. It is my considered view that the NASS represents a waste-pipe in our economic life as a country- a country struggling with so many set-backs, the huge amount of money spent in running the National Assembly should be channeled towards meeting the expectations of the populace. We are not asking for much. Our country is blessed abundantly but we are still in the wilderness because of the actions of a handful of people who conspire amongst themselves to hold our country to ransom. It is quite worrying that in this 21st century, the Giant of Africa is still grappling with epileptic power supply, bad roads, derelict schools, non-existent health care system, religious bigotry and violence, uncontrollable cases of armed robbery and kidnapping, an uninspiring and poorly motivated police force, lack of clean water, etc. This is really sad indeed. Is it not strange that while Nigerians are suffering and dying in their thousands daily, our politicians and ex-Governors are being arrested and tried in Europe for stealing billions of Naira of public funds? My undying optimism makes me believe that things could turn for the better in the next four years of President Jonathans reign. He must not continue with the ways of yore; a situation where a few men and women sit down together and carve up Nigeria to sustain their avarice is unacceptable. We are tired of being asked to be patient-the time has come for us to start insisting that our leaders perform the very functions they were elected to carry out. It is quite encouraging seeing the level of awareness amongst my compatriots, people are beginning to ask questions, Nigerians are beginning to see the essence of their democracy which translates into a government of the people where their voices matter. Truly, ours is a beautiful country of very beautiful people-we are truly a cheerful lot. It will be wrong for us to leave our country in the hands of a few charlatans whose only aspiration in government is represented by the size of their Ghana-must-go filled cash! jonteddyus@yahoo.com https://jonchikadibie.wordpress.com

THE ERA OF “HOLY GHOST FIRE”


Religion plays a very important role in the affairs of men, especially Africans; the believer is guided in how to relate to his fellows, the choice of food to be eaten and when, dress, thought process, sexual life etc. A staunch belief in a Deity is what appears to be propelling the African; we hold our religious views dear and in most cases are willing to fight to “defend our faith”. In this discourse, I intend to beam my torchlight on the modern day Christianity-the Pentecostal brand. As always, I wish to state here that it is not my intention to vilify this brand of Christianity, it will be wrong and cruel of me to ridicule people of faith and the beliefs they cling onto in their quest for salvation.

However, it appears that though I am always striving to be out of the way of “fire-brand” Christians by diligently minding my business, I am daily affected by their actions and inactions. While some of their antics I find utterly amusing, some are just so outlandish.  If you have not noticed, our dear Nigeria is under siege-the “Holy Ghost fire” adherents are attacking us from all angles. There is no escape from them. Chants of “Holy Ghost fire” and similar staccato of venom-filled prayers fill the air. Bible clutching “brethrens” and weird looking “sisters” have been let loose on us, the mission is to force you to “accept Jesus as your Lord and personal Savior”, or banish you to hell fire if you resist. That miserable place where you will gnash your teeth forever and be begging the lucky ones across the great divide for water! This horrific picture is daily being projected by our “Holy Ghost fire” Christians who see it as a moral duty to either convert and practically drag you to their own church or shake off the dust from their sandals and banish you to the realm of  Hades. It is all good.

I must confess here that I am still unable to unravel the mystery behind this Pentecostal malady, especially in Nigeria. Pastors in snazzy suits and jerry-curled hair are the custodians of our morality which they dish out to hungry and mesmerized worshippers with some kind of “American accent”. In their world, every problem is traceable to some familiar spirit somewhere which must be “uprooted” and thrown into the abyss! Every financial misfortune is definitely the handiwork of witches and wizards, any form of unfavorable human condition owes its occurrence to “principalities and powers in high places”, and barrenness is heaped at the door step of “mammy-water” spirit. Ahaa, what about Eckankar Power? Ogboni Power? “Secret Cult” Power? Well, they are all the various machinations of the Devil which he uses in destabilizing the Christians of the Holy Ghost Era. In most cases, the litany of woes are said to be the design of “an enemy” who does not want your progress. Action must be taken to “bind, cast and destroy”!

And we move up to the next stage that sees our Christian folks piling up spiritual arms in preparations for some esoteric warfare-because, “my Bible tells me that we fight not against flesh and blood…” Otherwise sane men and women are now encouraged to direct both spiritual and physical energy at destroying some imaginary enemy. Followers of Jesus Christ whom the Bible portrays as a “meek and gentle” fellow filled with love and compassion now spend the better part of their praying life “binding and casting”. There are also instances where the wishes of the praying fellow must be carried out “by fire by force”! This particular prayer rises in a deafening crescendo; the imaginary “evil spirit” is commanded to “fall down and die”, to disappear, be confused, and be struck blind. Again, the stubborn “evil spirit’ that fails to be overtaken by any of the first wishful fantasies of the “prayer warrior” is dealt the blow of being screamed at until deaf! Amen somebody! The session is now brought to a frenzied session with deafening screams of “Holy Ghost fire”! “Holy Ghost fire! And so on and so forth. What I find the wackiest is the idea of Christians making loud and incessant supplications to their God to kill their enemies. I am sure we have all heard that prayer somewhere, and then a group of fear-stricken men , women and children with sweaty foreheads, eyes closed, lips trembling, fingers snapping and feet stomping the floor all echoing “destroy, destroy, destroy, scatter, consume” and so on and so forth. I find this too hilarious and silly. Did Jesus not enjoin his disciples to forgive their traducers and enemies? Strange times require strange methods, right?

This is the era of ‘Holy Ghost fire” Christians. A bunch of women and men obsessed with Heaven and a deceitful disdain for anything mundane. This is the era of Pentecostalism in Nigeria, a period of time where millions of misguided and traumatized citizens roam the streets armed with some Holy Book and talks of an event that allegedly happened two thousand years ago being the cure to our multifarious societal ills. This is a curious case where citizens of Nigeria are encouraged to “fast and pray” as a replacement for medical attention in this 21st century. The ‘Holy Ghost era”, a period where the long stretch of the Lagos-Ibadan Highway is filled with men and women chanting to the Heavens to hurry up Armageddon and the attendant ‘rapture”, this is the moment. Our major cities are all under attack from the ‘Holy Ghost fire” warriors; loud-speakers mounted at the four corners of the pockets of churches littering our streets rending our such loud threats of hell fire, ‘the second coming of our Lord’, ‘there is no repentance in the grave’, etc. Smart but charlatan pastors have perfected the act of bludgeoning frightened church members into submission by making use of the “fear of the known”. This is what is keeping most people glued to churches.

In an earlier essay, I did wonder what it felt like to lie to people for a living. I have given up hope of trying to break into the mind-frame of Pastors who exploit the ignorance of their members because I am not capable of fathoming such evil. Any religion that attracts followers by dishing out series of calculated and well thought-out messages of eternal punishment strikes me as being fraudulent. I will not accept that I will spend a life of eternity in some imaginary hell because I refused to believe in a particular deity, it is absurd and totally wicked to preach to children about a God that punishes people for what Christopher Hitchens called “thought-crime”. A vindictive and callous teaching of the Christian sect that maintains that God will find you liable for the thoughts that wafts through your mind-thoughts, not actions! This is very strange; pastors mount the pulpit and tell stories of wars in the ancient Middle East, of murder, rape, looting of properties belonging to other people for the simple reason that ‘The Lord our God promised us  …”. I am yet to grasp the moral of all the horror stories of the Old Testament that I am commanded to believe and be thankful for; I still can’t understand why a just Deity will harden the heart of Pharaoh just to prove his mettle-by slaughtering innocent people, especially children!

‘The council of Ndi Nze reaps the benefit accruing from an evil society”, so goes an Igbo saying. The era of “Holy Ghost fire” is churning out a new generation of millionaire pastors in Nigeria; pastors that wear designer suits, soggy looking jerry curled hair, Italian shoes, and shirts bought on the high streets of Europe and America. I am talking about the pastors that boast of owning a private hanger in our airport that houses four private jets [to the glory of God], pastors that run lots of money making ventures, notably schools that their followers cannot afford to send their wards to, pastors that live in mansions guarded by armed security guards [one would have expected them to trust in the lord for security, yes?]. This is the moment of the super rich pastors-all making use of modern marketing tools to ensnare more followers. The highest brain-washing comes in the form of “blackmailing” followers to detest and shun anything that is of this world because they are all evil-your reward is in heaven brothers and sisters! Meanwhile, the Pastors are shoring up treasures on earth, riding exotic cars and smiling to the banks.

Pentecostalism is daily maiming the mentality of Nigerians. Church goers are being encouraged to surrender the use of their heads and accept the utterances of the pastors and end-time preachers as the truth, and nothing but the truth. What we have now is a Christian society that is totally obsessed with images of a “spiritual warfare”, devils and demons, witchcraft [adult/child], occult powers, ancestral spirits and many more contraptions of a demented mentality. Pastors make a living “casting out demons”, offering “deliverance”, “breaking the yoke of familiar spirits”, etc. Children are being brought up with stories of “blood-sucking demons”, mammy water spirits, “spirit of fornication”, and many more deluded and wicked imaginations of the ‘Holy Ghost fire” era. Annually, the Nigerian government spends millions of dollars ferrying top government officials and sundry cronies to Israel for pilgrimage. I am yet to understand the importance of this indulgence which I see as a flagrant waste of our patrimony. What is the spiritual importance of visiting the once wastelands of Palestine and Israel where countless stories of events filled with soothsaying, sorcery, incest, fratricide, and outright murder allegedly took place?

I agree that it is the right of every individual to subscribe to any brand of religion which he/she so freely chooses. As a thinking mammal, it is equally my right to ask questions concerning the many absurd claims which religion makes. It is however appalling that Africans frown at the thought of having their religious beliefs questioned even when it is glaring that lessons could be learnt from such enterprise. The people that brought Christianity to us are daily asking questions about the origin, claims and similar aspects of that religion. As a result, new grounds are discovered which sometimes render prior positions void. The Catholic Church discarded the view and teaching that children who died unbaptized ended up in “Limbo”. Surprisingly, Nigerian Christians detest being challenged when they make many spurious claims regarding their faith; ‘’my Bible tells me so” is the only argument they use in waving off a critical enquiry, and any further attempt to appeal to common sense is met with a barrage of “any sin against the Holy Ghost will not be forgiven”. It is completely warped that in this 21st century, Nigerians are still being guided by the contents of an antiquated religious book written by Stone-age ignorant peasants under the influence!

This is not an attack on the integrity of the many nice men and women who find solace and consolation in the Pentecostal trend in Nigeria, but a call for a more critical approach in our religious belief system. It will be very impertinent of me to ridicule anyone’s faith. Having said that, I wish to remind those that send me e-mails laced with threats of an “eternity spent in hell fire” to please disabuse their mind of such wishful wickedness. I am neither moved by the threat that people who do not accept a particular teaching will be sent to hell fire at death or the promise that good people will go to heaven. It is my considered view that religion of any sort does not make people good, rather good people carry out so many wicked acts in the name of their God. I am an all for a world where we make use of our rationality in solving our numerous problems which hinder our progress as primates, a Nigeria where members of the “priestcraft” will see the moral evil in making a living by frightening people with horrible stories of hell fire. I enjoin fellow Nigerians to discard so many fraudulent religious practices and embrace an era of enlightenment. Our problems in Nigeria are man-made; inept leadership, lack of proper planning, collapse of societal values, lack of access to proper education, corruption, and many more. Directing an imaginary ‘Holy Ghost fire’ at trumped up enemies will not change the status quo, what it does is to offer one a momentary sense of solace and comfort. We need to harp more on the importance of education; we must collectively deplore a situation where most students drop out of schools to become pastors and “prayer warriors”. It is a shame that our leaders use religion as an instrument of control-our society has a warped value system; a system that assumes that everything in a Holy Book is above questioning is doomed.

It is unimaginable the extent of damage done to the psyche of most Nigerians by this “Holy Ghost fire” men and women. The government of the land is not helping matters either; our towns and cities are crime infested, the level of poverty is staggering, basic amenities that ordinarily should ameliorate our destitution are nowhere to be found.  I am yet to see a functional hospital anywhere in Nigeria, meanwhile we have a Ministry of Health that gulps billions of Naira yearly in budget allocation, most city inhabitants do not have access to clean water, our roads are bad, armed robbers and kidnappers roam about freely, malaria and meningitis still kill our people, the rich folks who are mainly government officials go abroad for Medicare, women still die at child-birth, and our schools churn out half-baked graduates. This scenario is the perfect breeding ground for religious bigots, charlatan preachers and rogue pastors who prey on the privation of the people.

Finally, it is my utmost hope that President Goodluck Jonathan will revamp all our decayed and totally nonexistent infrastructures. Government must be seen to be working for the good of the people; we need clean water, good roads, hospitals that cure people instead of ones where Nigerians go to die, good schools, regular power supply, security etc. For sure, this is not asking for too much. The idea of having a government which binds all together in a social contract would be meaningless if our collective needs cannot be met by the said government. A situation where government officials and their chattels live the better life whereas we the people are left to chant countless prayers to God for succor is wrong. Top government officials are easily ferried to foreign lands where responsible governments build good hospitals for their citizens for treatment of minor ailments while the rest of us are left with the option of “trusting in the Lord”. We are left in the hands of “miracle working” pastors who sell silly olive oil to us as “anointing oil” as an alternative to drugs for our illness. It is a shame, pure shame. Until our government wakes up to its primary responsibilities which includes making provisions for our welfare as a people, majority of Nigerians will still continue to troop to the churches scattered all over the country where the injunction is to “pray without ceasing until something happens”. Of course, screams of “Holy Ghost fire” will continue to assault our ears-daily.

johnteddyus@yahoo.com

https://jonchikadibie.wordpress.com

Shame! stupid logic indeed!


“….And I want them to take that as a test from the Almighty Allah. During your life the Almighty will test you with pain, will test you with death, will test you with all sorts of things. And the mere fact that you came to Bauchi and they were doing elections, and INEC may not have provided special security for you, you cannot blame Yuguda or blame the government of Bauchi or the people of Bauchi…..”

Isa Yuguda [234Next.com, 04/05/2011.

THE SOUTH EAST AND THE PDP


“He who does not know where the rain started beating him will not know for sure when it stops”, so goes an Igbo saying. Unarguably, the South East geo-political zone of Nigeria is probably the most neglected part of our country, with scores of political cum economic sores that stinks to the high heavens. It is my view that the ruins and scares strangulating this once vibrant zone are self-inflicted-though by a greedy few. I genuinely believe that the South East’s affinity with the Peoples’ Democratic Party, [PDP] remains terribly unjustifiable and flawed.

The South East continues to “vote” for a party that continuously and systematically impoverishes it. The five South East states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo are all guilty of this “crime”. One would expect that political affinities are borne out of a mutual “you rub my back and I’d rub yours” scenario; unfortunately, this is not what we see in the East. What we see is a PDP that uses their garrison mentalities to empower a few capricious individuals from the South East who then go back to lie to their people; people not different from most Nigerians who are mainly uninformed, semi-literate and unlettered. Former President Obasanjo invented this dodgy practice which saw the emergence of a handful of PDP “stalwarts” that ran [and continue to] the South East like a fiefdom.  Notably, this group of “anointed” party “stalwarts” [don’t you love the way the PDP coins words?] are the ones reaping the “dividends of democracy” rather than the people of their zone. What we see then is a South East that is practically left in tatters and ruins.

Why is the South East still glued to the PDP? This party is responsible for the carnage and menace that daily kill our people as a result of the dilapidated roads in that region. In 2009, the Senate ad hoc Committee on Transport submitted that the Federal roads in that geo-political zone were the worst in the country [Daily Independent, Saturday April 4th 2009]. Repeatedly, the PDP led Federal Government continues to ignore the clamour of the people of this zone to fix the death traps that pass for roads which they are forced to ply daily. It is heart-wrenching seeing the state of Federal roads in the South East of Nigeria. When eventually the PDP led government decides to patch up any federal road in the region, such jobs are usually awarded to relatively unknown construction companies owned mainly by some obscure “Party Faithful”. The Governors of the five South East States should show some contrition and shame! For personal gain and other avaricious reasons, they always line up behind the PDP led Federal Government, singing the praises of the President while paying lip service to the infrastructural evils afflicting their Zone. We are still waiting to see the much talked about Second Niger Bridge, the dredging of the River Niger to allow for a container terminal to be opened in Onitsha, the completion of the Onitsha-Owerri road [the contract for this road was awarded more than six years ago], the rehabilitation of the totally washed-out Onitsha-Enugu highway, the “patching up” of the now non-existent Nnewi-Okigwe road, and so many other roads belonging to the Federal Government in the region-irrespective of calculated flagrant neglect of their region by the Federal Government, the Governors of the South East bludgeoned their people with propaganda into voting for President Goodluck Jonathan and his PDP. The case of Akanu Ibiam “International” Airport is even more pathetic; the much publicized rehabilitation and upgrade is an excellent example of Fela’s Government Magic.

Is there really any Federal presence in the South East of Nigeria? I am yet to see any. Well, we have hundreds of Police stations and posts with the accompanying litany of toll-collecting check points, Prisons, Army Barracks, money spinning Nigeria Immigration Service passport control offices, SSS posts, and other instruments of coercion. There is no Federal Government owned industry in the entire region, the Power Stations in the South East were all systematically grounded and abandoned, The Project Development Institute , PRODA in Enugu exists only in government files. The many Scientists and engineers that were engaged in turning the Institute into a place of scientific and technological Eldorado were made to disappear in droves when it became obvious that there was a grand design by the government to rubbish their efforts by deliberately starving the institute of the much needed funds. Now, it is certain that PRODA is operationally comatose. The PDP led Federal Government does not own any viable business interest in the entire South East geo-political zone.

Why line up behind the PDP during the last Presidential Election? It is strange how the five Governors of the South East States came to a rather swift agreement to support President Jonathan Goodluck in the said election. The argument that they opted for Jonathan, the individual rather than his party is the most absurd logic any dunce can submit! A President Jonathan with the usual PDP henchmen behind him strikes me as being a continuation of the old game. The case of Mr. Peter Obi, the Governor of Anambra State elected under The All Progressives Grand Alliance [APGA] threw me into a panic. What was his business supporting the PDP?

To suggest that the five South East Governors are steadily taking their people for a ride seems a logical argument. The level of infrastructural development in the entire five states of the South East is nothing to write home about, the crime rate in the states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo is mind-bending, drop in male-enrolment into schools is outrageous, and of course the rise in agbata-ekee mentality is peaking rather steadily!  What manner of government do we have in the South East? Any government that fails to provide basic amenities for the people is guilty of a moral evil of the worst order, a government headed by Governors that apparently place selfish interests above the general good of the people is flawed, a government that uses spin to hoodwink the people from whence it draws its legitimacy represents the worst case of fraud. In my home state of Anambra, there has been nothing like pipe-borne water for the past nine years or more, yet we have a Governor Peter Obi that occupies the Government House in Awka! What could be more evil than this? Education at every level in my home state is in shambles; primary, secondary and tertiary. I visited the secondary school I attended in January, 2011 [Boys’ High School, Amawbia] and wept.  A college that was built by my community and handed over to the state government is no more. All the buildings were completely damaged and in ruins, few students and teachers I met were all looking traumatized. It was more like visiting a refugee camp in Sudan. The buildings had no roof, no windows, doors, desks and chairs [I have pictures]. This school is in the heart of the State Capital Territory yet is not connected with electricity and Mr. Obi shells out so much propaganda about supplying all the secondary schools in the state with computer sets. To be powered with kerosene? The same is the case with most of the schools in Anambra State, yet the Government of Peter Obi employs the most bizarre propaganda proclaiming his “achievements”! Proper education is the foundation on which sound societies of men are built and any government that fails the young ones in this regard is rubbish. I really wonder what it is like to lie to your people for a living!

The ugly story is replicated in the entire states that make up the South East geo-political zone. Under the PDP led government at both the state and the Center, Abia State was turned into something akin to a horror story; Aba, that Enyimba City that represented the ingenuity and egalitarian spirit of the Igbo man was reduced to a crime-infested cesspit. Armed robbers and kidnappers held sway in the town and the government supposedly elected by the people could not carry out the primary function of governance-the protection of lives and property. Such things as roads, electricity, good public schools, water, and a functional health care system are non-existent. The same goes for Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states. The governors are always quick to take “refuge” behind the weak argument of “inadequacy of funds” coming from the Federal Government, but at the end of the day we hear of billions of public funds that simply vanish into private pockets. I challenge Messrs Theodore Orji, Peter Obi, Martin Elechi, Sullivan Chime and Ikedi Ohakim to make public the amount they collect as “Security Vote” from the Federal Government monthly and how it is spent. To my understanding, the governors receive hundreds of millions of Naira monthly from the Center and are not obliged to account for how it is spent. It is an outright act of betrayal of trust for these Governors to be lying to the entire population of the South East. It is heart-breaking.

Why did the Governors goad their people into voting for the PDP? What does it feel like to use people as a means to an end? In the entire South East and South-South, millions of people were deceived with lines like “a vote for Jonathan is a vote for our brother and not for the PDP”, and they all believed and voted accordingly. I was shocked when otherwise enlightened folks from those regions defended that bare-faced lie. “Nothing more fatuous could have come out of mouths usually dripping with commonsense” [apologies to Egbon, Dele Sobowale]. When those in positions of trust turn around to use evil spin to hoodwink the people to who power rightfully belongs to, we must all rise in condemnation. Is President Goodluck Jonathan’s PDP different from the PDP of Obasanjo, Tony Anenih, Olabode George, Chris Uba, Chimaroke Nnamani, Peter Odili, James Ibori and other “stalwarts” cringing under the apparently dysfunctional UMBLERA?  This is indeed a very curious scenario.

Interestingly, Nigerian politicians display a very uncanny art of spin which thrives tremendously because most citizens remain uninformed and aloof. Most of our politicians are men and women of Lilliputian moral standing who see nothing wrong in getting into positions of authority through the back door-in this instance through elections rigging. This could well explain why they are continuously engaged in shady political wheeling and dealing aimed at having their fingers in the till for as long as is possible; forming of “formidable alliances’ is the unholy tag given to this treachery. I am yet to understand why a state Governor would spend huge amount of public funds in erecting giant bill boards, ceaseless adverts in both print and electronic media, hiring of ndi otimkpus, all singing his hallelujah for the constructions of roads, sinking of shallow boreholes, re-painting of some wretched “health centers”, donating books to schools, paying of salaries, etc. Why do we have governments in place if not to use public funds to meet our societal needs? When will the Governors in the South East stop basking in the polluted euphoria of being addressed as “visionary leaders”, “articulate statesmen”, “a great achiever”, and similar self-indulging praise-names?

The PDP government at every level in the South East is synonymous with failure, deceit, corruption, scandal, betrayal, and the dashing of the hopes of an entire region. It is the same at the Federal level. Nevertheless, I wish to end this piece by displaying my sense of Nigerianess; that gut feeling which pushes us on as a people, that insurmountable hope that our dark moments will come to pass. It is my utmost hope that President Goodluck Jonathan will make spirited efforts towards redefining the art of governance in our country. Collectively as Nigerians, we have suffered enough, an almost tangible spirit of despair has been hovering over our nation for far too long, we have been robbed and raped by our government for far too long too-the PDP led government. I join other Nigerians in insisting that governments cater for the people and not the people holding briefs for charlatan governments that splurge on our patrimony. Until we start reaping those proverbial dividends of democracy, I will continue questioning the rationale behind this senseless support for a PDP that treats the South East as an inferior part of Nigeria.

johnteddyus@yahoo@yahoo.com

https://jonchikadibie.wordpress.com