Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaThursday, January 2, 2014




ow time flies! The year 2013 has come and gone forever. It is now history. It is now referred as last year. But it was only few hours ago. How did it happen?

After the New Year vigil Mass which ended about 12 midnight, I refused to go to bed. Instead, I sat on my armless chair with my two eyes wide open. Do you know why? My fear was that if I go to lie down and sleep, death can snatch me away and thereby deprive me of seeing the light of the New Year 2014. Therefore I decided to cheat Mr Death. If he comes while I am still awake, I would wrestle him by all means. I recall the story of the Tortoise. The king sent four men to bring him by force to the palace. When the messengers told the Tortoise their mission, he asked for some minutes to get ready. He went to his backyard compound and made some frantic marks on the ground to show that he struggled like a strong man before he was overpowered and taken away by force. So, we must struggle to survive. My neighbour says that he wants to go to heaven, but he is not in a hurry. Everyone fights to manage the unfavourable condition of this world. The fear of the unknown keeps us trembling.

At a sloppy hilly-road with bends that leads to Enugu, it is clearly written: MANY HAVE GONE. DRIVE WITH CARE! Not everybody that began the year 2013 saw its end. Many have really gone to the life beyond. Look around your side. How many died in 2013? Some have gone too soon. Some exited painfully. Some who died old have their funerals marked with celebration of life. Many unborn infants were murdered in the womb through abortion in 2013. Those infants cried helplessly as the abortionists butcher them in the womb with dangerous weapons of destruction. Their bodies were cut in pieces and parked into the dust-bin. Even, some secret cult members ordered for new born babies to be killed for special meat, which make their bodies look fresh like that of babies and thereby prolonging their lives. The sacredness of human life has been jettisoned for bloody money. On the other hand, armed robbers and kidnappers sent some innocent Nigerians to their untimely graves last year. Occult men and women also terminated some lives in 2013. Boko Haram terrorists crowned it all by murdering thousands of innocent Nigerians.

Accident claimed its own quota. Just two days to the end of 2013, three Reverend Sisters were travelling in a private car along Onitsha - Owerri road in Anambra State. At a point in Okija town, their vehicle skipped off the road and ran into a bush. Still on speed, it rammed into a big tree and caught fire. Black smoke went off. To the glory of God, Good Nigerian travellers and passers-by rushed to the accident scene. I was among the rescuers as I was travelling to Elele that very moment. By a group effort the rescuers were able to put off the fire while I was praying and sprinkling Holy Water on the trapped sisters inside the mangled car. The sisters would have been burnt into ashes at the spot. Another Good Nigerian ran and brought an axe. It was used to break the mangled car into pieces like firewood to rescue the three women of God trapped inside. They sustained serious injuries. One of them had her left leg broken. Her forehead was cut open and blood was oozing out like tap water. The other two had serious bruises at different parts of their bodies. Their white habits turned red as they were soaked in blood. As they were being brought out, I administered spiritually to them before they were rushed in three different vehicles to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Ihiala. I followed behind with their properties. At the hospital they were taken into the Emergency Theatre and were attended by a group of doctors and nurses. I was consoled that they were still alive with hope to see the New Year 2014. I pray that they make it. Thank God as I wish them happy survival.

Sickness also mowed a good number of people down into their graves last year. Some are still lying critically in various hospitals and homes. I shed tears the day I visited the Orthopaedic Hospital at Enugu. I saw bones lying on the bed. They were not looking forward to the New Year, instead they were looking forward to their bones rising again. Some have their legs hung up while a few have their legs or hands amputated. If you are healthy, thank your God. Do you not know that health is wealth? Many have gone in 2013. May they rest in perfect peace. Amen.

If you are fortunate to see the New Year 2014, count your blessings and thank your God. It is not that you are better than those who didn't make it to this year. It is by the grace of God. The domestic hen was laughing while the wild hen was being roasted on the fire. With pains the former told the latter not to laugh at her, because what befalls her today is surely to happen to her later. So, praise your God and do not mock those who died last year. Your coffin is waiting for you at the market place. On their wedding day, couples have their car plate numbers as "About to Wed." Similarly, the living are about to die. When? Only God knows. To all those who accidently made it into 2014, I say, "Happy survival!!!"

This year 2014 is pregnant with state and national issues. The National Sovereign Conference, whereby the ethnicities that make up One Nigeria will sit at a round table to iron out their political dichotomies and decide which way forward is expected to hold this year. Nigeria belongs to all Nigerians, no matter the tribe, religion and political affiliation. No part of the country should lord it over others. No tribe is born to rule. The president/Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces can come from any part of the country. The 1999 amended Constitution of Nigeria allows the president to serve two tenures of four years each, if he or she is re-elected. We can decide at the National Sovereign Conference to correct the 1914 Amalgamation. In addition, no religion should be imposed on all Nigerians. The Constitutional Right of Freedom of Religion and practice must be respected. Those behind the Boko Haram terrorism should be identified at the Conference and be dealt with accordingly. Such men like Chief Olusegun Obasanjo should be taken to the Reformatory Centre to curb his excesses. Is it not time for Gen. Muhammadu Buhari to go home and rest? In fact, all past Nigerian military and civilian leaders should keep off the political scene. The younger generation should be given a chance to breathe fresh air into the political space. We are tired of old layers both at the National and State levels.

On the State level, Anambra State will undergo a political change of baton. The incumbent Governor Peter Obi will step down on March 17, 2014, after eight interrupted years of taming the wild Anambrarians. Thank God most wild Anambrarians have now been tamed by Peter Obi's Administration. It now behoves the Governor-elect Chief Dr. Willie Maduabuchi Obiano, who ascends the Anambra Seat of Government on 17 March 2014, to tame the remaining wild citizens of the State within and without. The hardened armed robbers and kidnappers at large ought to be converted by Obiano. All jobless youths in Anambra State should be given employment this year, because an idle mind is a devil's workshop. Some can be employed to keep the gutters all over the State clean on daily basis. Others can serve as Task-Force to deal with those who throw pure water sachets and all forms of refuge here and there. A clean state is a healthy state. Some youths can also be assigned to confront evil forces, seen and unseen, in Anambra State, so that we can drink in peace and hang up our cups. Since 2013, mosquitoes have become resistant to all makes of insecticide. They now attack us ferociously even when we are wide awake. Therefore, some of the jobless youths can be employed to kill mosquitoes by all means, so that we do not die in thousands of malaria in 2014.

Finally, welcome to 2014. I wish you a prosperous, fruitful and hopeful year! Thanks be to God!!!