Nigeria is a conundrum; the more you try to unravel its mysteries, the more complicated it grows.
Our lexicon as a nation is growing geometrically. The latest in our long stretch of vocabulary is unknown gunmen. These “unknown gunmen” have become the blight of the country, killing and maiming lives with uncommon braggadocio. Some argue rightly though that the gunmen are known. In fact, some people have been emboldened to identify themselves as the gunmen. So, those who say the gunmen are known know what they are saying.
Sadly, as inscrutable as Nigeria has ever been, the security agents have been evasive in their dealings with the unknown gunmen. Instead of going after those that identified themselves, they continuously defend them and make mincemeat of scapegoats who bear no arms. The crime of these fall guys, I choose to call ‘ungun’ known men, has everything to do with their nativity in the place of the rising sun, Ala Igbo. However, nothing can stop the sun from yet rising there each morning.
The blood of the innocent and guilty course the land in agonising lamentations. The injustice is palpable but some have risen to say enough is enough, provoking more bloodbath, such that even the security operatives have now become the hunted; it is now a state of ‘do me, I do you, God no go vex’. Na lie; God go vex!
Because this blood we are sharing (apologies, Dame Patience) is His creation. We are mere wasters and not creators, and we shall all account for our deeds on the Last Day, both believers and unbelievers, and receive our due rewards.
Let there be peace in the place of the rising sun. The blood of the innocent has crimsoned the sun and the heavens weep. You may wonder at what brought this calamity upon the people. Cast your mind back to Psalm 137:1-4. Do you picture the children of Israel lamenting, as their Babylonian slave masters compelled them to sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?
“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?”
How come God’s own people ended up as captives in a strange land? Well, it was not a sudden development. They forsook their God and served other gods; so the Lord forsook them too. Is this any different from what is happening in our land today?
We had wandered into the strange land long before now, cavorting with all manner of abominable things because of greed for wealth and power. We had been singing discordant tunes, subverting and killing one another. Now the chickens have come home to roost. We inadvertently opened our flanks for the enemy to take advantage and kill more. We have been carried away into captivity by our disobedience and now confronted with an unusual proposition of confronting our captors with bare hands.
The ungun known man is Igbo. He is a marked man set up to be hewn down. But he is doggedly avant-garde and unbroken, like the Jew he is. He has, however, become unwary of late and like a madman, confronting a known gunman under seeming official cover or inertia, instead of calling on his God in contriteness and prayer like the Jews in Babylon.
Like the rest of the world, we have become unmindful of our calling as peculiar people in this evilly contrived conundrum. We turned our churches to entertainment theatres for Babylonians. We handed over our pulpits to crowd-pulling jesters and ‘celebrities’, poking fun at the Holy Ghost, as we reclined, displaying dirty teeth and throwing up our legs in damning mirth. Our daughters junketed the stage in half clothes, exposing defiant ruts and rotund moulds of flesh and southward breasts in fashionable perdition, and often making their hallowed tanks vulnerable to the noxious liquid of strangers. Self-proclaimed Men of God (Dogs of Men?) delivered whitened sermons in affected mannerisms of oyibo chief priest, eyes trailing the fat pockets of congregants.
We came to church as sinners, hoping to be made saints, but left as we came; sadly, saints that came to church are made sinners. Confusion now reigns everywhere, as we can no longer tell saints from sinners; all have merged in one surreal admixture that has stunned even heaven.
We must tell ourselves the truth; our God is able. Sennacherib dared him (2Kings 18:19-37) and tasted His wrath. So also Pharaoh whose armies He made to sleep on the waterbed of death upon the Red Sea (Exodus 15:4). But why has He abandoned us to fate?
Our aimless wanderings have provoked the Lord to anger and we need to appease Him by genuinely repenting and turning away from our evil deeds and lust. That is the reason for the attacks and marginalisation. Even the conglomeration of bandits and herdsmen is fulfilling a prophecy without knowing it. The problem of the Igbo is that we left Goshen and exposed ourselves to the plagues of Egypt.
For us to thrive as a people, we need to bring back the overhanging glory cloud fast. We should be done with this political and spiritual debauchery and truly seek the Lord. We need to ignite the anointing of the Spirit to confront the enemy. But that is a problem; where is the anointing, where is the Pentecostal power? We need to stop being paranoiac and confronting the government with our power and might where holiness should suffice.
It is time we shunned the king’s prized meal like Daniel did and excelled. It is time we drove out the den of robbers in the Lord’s House of Prayer like Jesus did. It is time we talked to ourselves in love and unity. It is time we said bye-bye to divisive tendencies. It is time we discovered and started following true leaders or ask God to appoint one for us. It is time we returned to our God in rectitude and gave the reins of our band to the Lord of hosts in this war confronting us. Only then shall we go into the battle with the Lord Jesus assured of victory.
Let us put on the armour and breastplate of righteousness and prayer. Our futile resistance only brings more calamity. Why are we afraid of the rumoured annexation or domination by the Fulani? This is mere propaganda created to foist fear. How can it be, if we strengthen our bond of love and faith in our God? Rather than the Fulani, fear that tradesman brother who would show the Fulani that secret pathway to our father’s obi or lead us to the abyss because of evil lucre. Let the Achans perish that Ala Igbo must thrive.
The killings in the land are horrid, worrisome and provocative. However, beyond sentiments and snide remarks, innuendos with malicious intent; mutual suspicion and attacks, there remains a cogent poser yet unaddressed: What is the road map out of our collective bad situation?
And, who, pray, is the leader of our amorphous groupings? Do we continue stoking the fires of war, a war that is heavily skewed against us? Do we continue the egbe onu or are there saner ways of tackling our parlous state without further spill of innocent blood or suppuku?
We cannot topple common sense to right the avoidable wrong of yesterday or today. The senseless beating of war drums by far-flung drummers that are not willing or ready to partake in the dance is palpably flagitious. It is time we awoke reasonableness and stopped playing to the gallery.
Only David killed Goliath with catapult, and there is none worthy to even unlatch his sandals in Ala Igbo, among politicians, the clergy or laity or agitators. So, let’s stop pushing the pliable to their early graves if we are not ready to be on the battlefield. O ji oso agbakwu ogu amaghi na ogu bu onwu (he that rushes into battle unprepared does not know that war is death). Think, brethren; think, and think again.