“…but his participation in these affairs had yielded him nothing but disenchantment and a final realization of the incongruity of the very term ‘public’ as applied to those affairs shrouded as they are in the mist of unreality and floating above and away from the lives and concerns of ninety-nine percent of the population. Public affairs! They are nothing but the closed transactions of soldiers-turned-politicians, with their cohorts in business and the bureaucracy”
From Anthills of The Savannah, Chinua Achebe
I made up my mind a few years back to stop reading the papers. Every morning, the headlines are just about enough to force the common man into suicide. I wonder how come there has never been a full scale revolution in Nigeria like the French had. Imagine waking up to drink garri and while walking 5 miles to your factory job where you earn N10,000 a month to cater for your family, you stop by the local news stand to read the headlines because you can’t afford the paper itself (N200 is not beans), and then you read that someone spent over N600m to refurbish an office. Chai! Do they want to paint it with the blood of Jesus? Or will the office receive only guests from outer space?
The Nigerian problem is now just a fleeting thing amongst the populace. Many have shouted till they went hoarse. Some have just submitted to “fate” and are enduring just like Pastor Kumuyi advised us to. He said Nigerians must learn to endure suffering, but I will not comment on that. Many believe he is wrong though but I believe I understand the man of God.
In my 100 level, on one of those endless jolly meetings with my friends at Education garden Unilag, we talked about Nigeria with passion. We in fact settled all of Nigeria’s issues right there and went back to sleep, only to wake up the next day in the Old Nigeria. And we accepted it that way, since we apparently could not change the situation practically, only in theory. I know many people have been in that kind of situation.
Our government is riding on the back of a people who have suffered so long they are practically numb to the hardship that is now the hallmark of our country. They have cried and cried till the tear ducts dried up. Then they began to substitute the tears with saliva but it still didn’t work. The people above just kept on been oblivious to the plight of the people. And seemingly, the best of us down here are those who have learn to forget about public affairs and try to manage their own private affairs usually like a public affair.
No doubt, we are now practising self-government, each one supplying his own basic amenities and security in an attempt to ignore the government ignoring us. Or are we practising wetin-call sef…kakhistomobobrutocracy (like Obahiogbon said…sorry, he didn’t offer spelling suggestions)? Any which way sha, obviously, we are all just “minding our business”, turning occasionally to cast aspersions upon Uncle J and his people. But I am guilty of a crime, not against Uncle J, neither against the people of Nigeria, nor any mortal in fact. I am guilty of a crime against God.
When I wake up in the morning and pray, I pray for me, myself and I alone. Occasionally, I throw in a word or two for my friends and family. But for government? Tufia! In that I am self righteous. I pay tax on everything including gala and recharge card, I deserve to be treated fairly by the government. The government is so crudely unconcerned that when they say the reason for an action or policy is because of me, I gnarl at the TV! What insult! Do they steal our money because of me? Or the armoured vehicles are to convey me to my destination I don’t even know? I can’t even find that one thing that I’ve gotten from the government. Okay, there’s this one food flask I got from the Lagos State House in 2008. I think someone stole it (and yes, Fashola is trying…happy?). Anyway, besides that I’ve gotten nothing from them o…so why should I be praying for Uncle J and his friends at Aso Rock? Can’t I just leave them be and do my own thing jeje?
God can be very quick in this kind of situation (and yes I’m going spiritual, so what?). The answer came very fast, years before I asked it. Paul, writing to his “son” Timothy wrote in 1 Timothy 2 that prayers and intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men, kings and all who are in authority. That didn’t strike me. The reason struck me however. One, we are to do this so that we can live a quiet and peaceable life in ALL godliness and reverence! Wow. Essentially, when we pray for the government, of course its for my own benefit! Two, we are to do so because it is good and acceptable in the sight of God.
In short, that second reason alone did the trick for me. After learning about love recently and how to seek the face of God, I just want to please. The Word says that to love is to do all that God has commanded us. If God wants me to pray for Uncle J, then so be it.
In fact, I now see that the country is the way it is because the people have failed to pray. Christians have failed to pray. We have settled down into the belief that we can do a better job so we have the right to cast aspersions at them and criticise them. No, that is the way of the world but not the way of God. Public affairs can be frustrating and disenchanting…. In fact, it is easier to be unconcerned it just as it is inconcerned about you.
But those people in charge are mostly unsaved and those who are saved amongst them have no knowledge of the truth. God desires change even more than we do. And we must begin to see through the eyes of God and see a need for the souls of these men to come to Christ before anything else.
Hence, I have resolved to do the will of God. It will be hard praying for Uncle J and his people, believe me. But I will do it for me and God.