Nigeria is a cardinal country in the world. The most populous country in Africa and the most populous black nation on earth. The largest economy in Africa. When a nation is this prominent, both God and the devil become interested in it. Anarchy in Nigeria will spill so much blood for witches and wizards to suck and cause so much destabilisation in the world, through internally and externally displaced people, that the entire world order will be affected. When peace and prosperity reign in Nigeria, it will affect the rest of Africa and the world. Nigeria has so much influence on Africa that immediately the military struck in Nigeria in the sixties, the entire Africa fell to military dictatorship but when Nigeria became democratic in 1999, military dictatorship, not only became old fashioned in Africa, but became completely outlawed. To reflect this new disposition, Organisation of African Unity became transformed to African Union. Countries were not allowed before African Union to interfere or intervene in the internal affairs of fellow countries. Today, they can intervene in the internal affairs of fellow countries in some heinous circumstances.
Let us firstly admit that our problems in Nigeria are systemic. Both the leaders and the followers need to make amends for a better Nigeria. Easter ceremonies begin from Palm Sunday, which marks the commencement of the Holy week and the triumphant entry of Jesus to Jerusalem. The people lined up the city of Jerusalem, hailing Jesus as King, screaming hosanna to the King in the highest and placing palm fronds and even their dresses on the ground for his Royal Horse to ride on. Unfortunately, when the fulness of time came for him to pay the ultimate sacrifice for mankind, just within an interval of five days, this same army of hailers were the same that were shouting crucify him! crucify him!! for no offence established against him. They even preferred a robber called Barabbas to be freed instead of Jesus. The same people that called him King when he fed them with bread and fishes, healed the sick and raised the dead were now shouting crucify him for claiming to be the King of the Jews. At the last supper, before he was arrested, the person that betrayed him to his killers, was dining with him on the same table and eating from the same pot. When he was arrested, after being betrayed by Judas Iscariot, one of his inner caucus, with a kiss, all his disciples deserted him. Peter, his first disciple denied him three times before the cock crowed. Peter did this, even after vowing that he was ready to die for his master. This is the burden of Easter. Unimaginable betrayal.
This should teach every politician in Nigeria a lesson. Immediately a politician signifies intention to contest for any position in Nigeria, the masses begin to address him by the title of that office. If he is vying for a seat in the legislature, the people will immediately start addressing him as Honourable. If he is going for any Executive post, they will instantly start calling him Your Excellency. If he is the generous type, some praise singers will assure him that they are willing to sacrifice their lives to defend him, in case of any unexpected calamity on him. The same crowd will be the ones shouting jail him! Jail him!! If there’s any allegation of wrongdoing against the politician. The same crowd will be the ones to mock him if he loses election. If by any stroke of fortune, he wins the election and completes his term, the same crowd will shout probe him! probe him!! The same crowd that ate his money will be the first to scream he is corrupt, probe him and send him to jail and if possible, execute him. His inner caucus will handover every indicting document or discussion he had with them in trust and confidence to his opponents and successors of other partisan persuasion, not because they want to bring about a better Nigeria, but because they want to curry favour with the new man at the helm of affairs. The people he dined and ate with will be the ones that will betray him. This is the burden of Easter in Nigeria. Unimaginable betrayal.
On the day of the crucifixion, an unimaginable thing happened. Jesus was brought before Pontius Pilate, the Governor General of Judea, the Province where Jesus was to be tried. Pilate organised the trial and called witnesses. After the proceedings, he found no fault in Christ and he publicly declared “I found no fault in him”. He was faced with crucifying an innocent man and the public opinion that wants him to unjustly crucify him. Rather than obeying the dictates of the law, the leader shifted the responsibility of taking his decision to the same people that want the man dead. This is akin to a judge in our criminal justice system asking the prosecutor to pass judgement on the accused. Matthew 27:22-24 put it succinctly, “Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it”. This was an apparent case of judicial murder. He gave them judgment without justice.
Pilate represents some of the actions of our judiciary and executive. Some of our judges have become so much compromised that any criminal before them can get away with blue murder once he has a deep purse. Men who stole billions and have powerful connections and are willing to share are allowed to go free or are given minor punishment but poor defenceless people who stole little money are sent to rot in jail. Some innocent poor people who are framed up by rich people because they refused to give up their ancestral land for the enjoyment of the rich are thrown to jail with the connivance of some judges. Appeal Court in Nigeria, sometimes give contradictory judgements on the same issue, supposedly based on the same law, especially on electoral matters, how possible? They are the Pontius Pilate of our time, dishing out judgment without justice. Judges must decide based on the law and the fear of God.
Some of our Executives pander to public opinion rather than economic realities to take decisions. Leadership is not a beauty contest. A good leader must be prepared to bear the heat while making efforts to build a better country. He must take tough decisions during tough times. For any great leader, there must be time to kill and time to make alive. Malaria fever in our traditional society is cured faster with bitter pills. A leader should be able to tell the people what they should hear, not what they want to hear. Most of our leaders avoid taking responsibility for their actions and inactions. Everyone, except them, are the cause of our problems. As Pilate shirked from taking tough decisions and blamed the people for the death of Jesus, so do our leaders blame the people for the woes of Nigeria and are in turn blamed by the people. The truth is that both are to be blamed because bad leaders in a democracy proceed from bad followers and bad leaders in turn create bad followers.
When President Buhari came to power as a military leader, he was welcomed nationally as a hero. He fought indiscipline and corruption to a standstill. After about one year, the same people started screaming that he was too harsh creating the atmosphere for his overthrow. He was detained for years and when the succeeding regime could not find any fault in him, he was released. After more than 20 years, the same people started yearning for his return as President. They were willing to die for him to be President. He became President and after few years, the same people are singing a new tune. Even some of his former trusted aides have turned against him like Judas and Peter. None is blaming him to be personally corrupt or not disciplined. Yet they are crying crucify him! crucify him!! To be clear, President Buhari, as the leader, should take responsibility for whatever is happening under his regime but when a leader is not corrupt and has political will, what he needs to succeed is the support of the people. This is the burden of Easter. Both the people and the leaders failing to do what they were supposed to do. Enough blames to go round.
Thank God, Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ not his death. He was betrayed and killed on the Good Friday but resurrected on Easter day. He said something on the cross before his death, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. Luke 23:34. If you are in politics in Nigeria and you are easily offended, look for another profession. Offenses must come but we must emulate Jesus Christ to forgive one another and everyone that has offended us and forge together as a people under God to build our country where peace, prosperity and justice shall reign.
Permit me to wish you happy easter and pray that whatever is dead in your life or has been covered in a grave, no matter how deep, should receive the supernatural power of Jesus and enjoy resurrection immediately in Jesus name. By the death of Jesus, the burden of sin and death were lifted off from our shoulders and destroyed because of the anointing. Christ simply means the anointed one. Whoever is reading this article and is about to commit suicide, why not cast that burden of depression on Jesus for he cares for you. Don’t be Judas Iscariot who committed suicide after betraying his master, Jesus and went to hell. Just call on him to come into your life and make everything new and experience the awesome resurrectional, transformational power of Jesus. He said call upon my name and you shall be saved. We must continue to pray for our country that God will resurrect our past glory so we can take our rightful place in the comity of nations.