Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaFriday, January 6, 2017
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ttention please! Did you survive the transition from 2016 into 2017? If you did not survive, do not read this write-up. But if you survived, do not take the glory. Rather, thank God that you are still alive today. However, I congratulate you for not committing suicide because of the hardship you encountered in 2016. I pity all those who died on 31st December 2016. May their souls rest in peace! Amen!!

One middle-age man living adjacent to my residence was vigilant on 31st December 2016. He refused to go to bed in order to avoid death snatching him while asleep on that transition night. What did he do? He sat on an armless chair with a pump-action gun waiting to confront Mr. Death in case he comes to claim him on that last day of the year. He swore that he must see the year 2017. Suddenly a hard knock was heard on the door. The vigilant man shouted, "Who is knocking?" A voice replied, "I am Mr. Death. I have come to pay you a surprise visit." The man replied, "Be careful. If you open the door, I shoot!" In a couple of seconds, the door was thrown open. The vigilant man released three shots directly on the target. An old woman screamed and fell down in her pool of blood. The vigilant man aimed at Mr. Death but it was his aged mother that opened the door and was instantly shot dead. He dropped his gun and started weeping for murdering his lovely mother on the last day of the year. He cried, "My mother, why did you lead me into committing the crime of murder? I aimed at Mr. Death to shoot him dead. Why did you appear?" Later the vigilant man was arrested by the Police. The matter was charged to court and was given an accelerated hearing. The Judge sentenced the vigilant man to death by hanging any time in January 2017. What a double tragedy!

Many Nigerians saw suffering face to face in the year 2016. A tormented Nigerian couple from Ogoja delivered a set of twins last year. During the low key naming ceremony, they named one of the twins Recession and the other they called Revival. The Nigerian economy had a fatal accident last year and entered into coma. She was admitted at the intensive unit of the National Assembly Specialist Hospital Abuja. There was no prospect of recovery as of 31st December 2016. However, the chief surgeon, Dr Rihabu, after examining the overall medical records of the economic patient hopefully assured Nigerians that the comatose patient will recover in 2017. Of recent, President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2017 Budget to the National Legislators with a promise that the economic recession will end in 2017. Hence he appealed to Nigerians not to lose faith. In other words, the 2016 recession shall experience revival in 2017. Please I want him to tell us the exact month it will end, so that we Nigerians can endure till then. If the recession continues till the end of 2017, many more lives will be lost as a result of hunger, anger and frustration. A married man who committed suicide recently left a suicide note which read: "The economic recession in Nigeria pushed me into taking my life to end the unbearable suffering. We shall see in heaven. Goodbye!" Would he actually go to heaven? Theologians please give me the answer.

While presenting the 2017 Budget of revival, President Buhari called on Nigerians to patronize the locally made products. The patronage needs money. Can a pauper buy a car at Innoson Motors? How can a poor homeless man order a trailer of Dangote cement to build a house? On Christmas day last year, a very wretched woman went to a popular abattoir in Owerri to buy N200 worth of meat for cooking a pot of rice for her family of five. Unfortunately she was driven away from the abattoir by the meat sellers for insulting them with such a meager sum of money. After looking hopelessly up and down, she directed her three children to hunt for a local lizard to slaughter. After all meat is meat. In the Bible God showed Peter a vessel containing all sorts of animals being dropped from above. A voice ordered Peter to kill and eat. But Peter shook his head in disapproval, saying that nothing impure has ever entered his mouth. The voice rebuked him in these words: "What God has created, no man must call unclean" (Acts 10:15). Thus, if the cost of meat still sores high in 2017, many Nigerians will resort to the consumption of local lizards and rats. In time of emergency, Lassa fever virus disappears. During the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, we ate the rodents as supplement for protein. None of us died of Lassa fever. Also the Biafran engineers for lack of powerful ammunition manufactured Ojukwu Bucket bomb known as "ogbunigwe" and used it massively to mesmerize the enemy army.

If the cost of transportation goes high this year, we shall resort to leg transport. Indeed, I have started practicing. The bush fowl advised her children to taste yam tuber and ordinary roots simultaneously, so that if the yam farm owner harvests his yams, they would resort to consuming the roots. What is the purpose of the two legs endowed to man by God? We can walk and run. Since God is omnipotent, he can even provide wings for Nigerians in 2017. Necessity is the mother of invention. If the price of fuel becomes exorbitant, then we shall boil 'ogogoro' (dry gin) to a certain degree that it can power a vehicle engine.

The high cost of rice since a year now has made the commodity the menu of the rich only. For this reason, the people of China started producing artificial plastic rice so that we Nigerians can enter our early graves. God forbid! Before Christmas 2016, I heard that the Nigerian Custom intercepted a container load of the plastic rice from China being transported to the South-East as Christmas supply. The importer was a Nigerian. May he rest in pieces! I pray that the manufacturers will not rise from the dead on the resurrection day. Amen. Thank God that many states in Nigeria have now gone to farm to cultivate rice massively in order to avoid eating the poisoned plastic rice from China. We have now the Anambra Rice in many markets in Nigeria. May we give applause to Governor Willie Obiano. This rice has no comparison. If you eat the Anambra rice, you will not die young. I ate it at Christmas and New Year celebrations and my face now looks like a baby's face. However, the agents of darkness have started packaging adulterated rice as Anambra rice. Shine your eyes as make a purchase! Since Satan came into the Garden of Eden with poisonous seduction, human beings have been in danger. Lagos State has also started producing the Lake rice. Other states should follow suit.

The wheel-barrow pushers have hope that they will ride motorcycles or tricycles in 2017. The stickers on their one-legged mobile carrier have this inscription: "I bu chi m?" (Are you my God?) This question is thrown to okada and taxi riders/drivers who harass them. Once there is life, there is hope. The down-fall of a man is not the end of his life. So, those who didn't make it in 2016 should not despair. 2017 is another year. There is nothing wrong in trial. What keeps Nigerians going is the philosophy of "E go better." Nigerians are said to be the happiest people in the world. My German friend confirmed this on his visit to Nigeria. He stated, "Nigerians are suffering but happy." Are we not happy despite the hardships that hang over our necks? If a Nigerian goes to hell, he/she may not feel the gravity of the suffering there like those from other nations.

At home, Anambrarians will go to the gubernatorial poll again towards the end of 2017. Let us shine our eyes to avoid electing an unworthy candidate who will take us back to Egypt. The incumbent Governor, Willie Obiano, still has a second tenure. Shall we not allow him to finish the good works he has massively started? I am not campaigning for him. I am not a politician; rather I am a political rational animal. My concern is for food governance and the welfare of the people.

In some countries in 2017, there will be a democratic transition of Government. In America, come 20 January 2017, the outgoing President Obama will hand over to the new President-Elect Donald Trump. The White House will be repainted and blessed. God who was said to have left the White House long ago will come back to it. Things will surely change in the United States of America. As America controls the entire world, there may also be global positive changes in economy, religion and politics. I pray that the Islamic State militants here and there will either surrender forever or be wiped out by the Trump Administration, so that global peace can reign.

In Gambia the political terrain is boiling. A Presidential election was held there recently with the opposition wining. Initially, the incumbent President Yahya Jammeh, who has ruled Gambia for 22 years, accepted the result of the poll. But few days later he swore with the Koran during a broadcast to the Gambians that he would not step down. He said categorically that the result of the election should be cancelled and a fresh election must be conducted. The President-elect of Gambia is Mr. Adama Barrow. The United Nations and the African Union have warned Jammeh to quit or face the consequences. If President Jammeh refuses to step down for the president-elect, Justice will carry him with wheel-barrow out of the seat of power with force. Power will jam power. Let's watch and see what happens between January and February 2017.

Few days ago I was thrown into laughter when I heard that President Robert Mugabe, who is almost 94 years old and has ruled Zimbabwe for almost 50 years, will contest again in the presidential poll of that country in 2018. It seems he wants to die on the throne. There are many sit-tight leaders in Africa. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is always better to leave the stage when the ovation is high. Many African and other world sit-tight leaders have been humiliated alive or dead. The problem with man is that he fails to learn from history. Man proposes but God disposes. All power belongs to God, to whom we shall give account of our stewardship when the time comes.

At creation God said, "Let there be light" (Gen. 1:3); and there was light. Thus light was separated from darkness. As the Giant of Africa, our country Nigeria is still groping in darkness after many years of Independence. Many companies for lack of electricity supply have either closed down or have relocated to other progressing countries. From NEPA we got to Power Holding Company and the situation worsened. From Power Holding Company we are now into Electricity Distribution Companies. During the migration of the Israelites from Egypt, they experienced hardship on the way at various times. Therefore, they demanded to go back to Egypt. My people, should we not go back to National Electricity Power Authority (NEPA)? Some say that NEPA means NEVER TO EXPECT POWER ALWAYS. Is a little not better than none? The moral Law tells us that when you are confronted with two evils with no other alternative, you choose the lesser evil. I make a passionate appeal to the Federal Government of Nigeria to give us light. We are suffering in darkness, which is a double tragedy.