FEATURE ARTICLE

Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaMonday, February 5, 2018
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TRUTH IS BITTER

hief Karaki Maigoro is a very rich man. He is married to a humble and hardworking wife. The marriage is blessed with four children, three girls and a boy. They live in an attractive mansion in Abuja. Chief Maigoro loves money more than his wife and children. Thus he gives twenty-two hours to his business and only two hours to his family on a daily basis. His wife and children fear him like a lion. Whenever he comes home, the children run and hide under the bed for fear of being molested and mishandled. They are only comfortable with their lovely mother who treats them as her only treasure. The Chief talks to her wife like a slave. He also beats her frequently. The wife's face looks like a crushed car due to the frequent beatings. She lives with a wealthy husband but she is never happy. She looks like an Aids patient due to her husband's maltreatment and unsettled mind. The four children feel the same. They and their mother become happy only when Chief is not at home. If not for the sake of the children, the wife would have quitted the marriage. She regrets from time to time for having contracted such an obnoxious marriage. For her, she is already languishing in hell-fire. Is it better to marry a rich wicked husband or a poor lovely husband? Do you prefer a nagging wife to a cool but slow-poisonous wife? Who is better: A fatherless child or a child with a good-for-nothing father?

The story continues. On a certain Sunday morning, as the wife was preparing the children for church service, the Chief scolded her for not preparing his breakfast first. The wife pleaded with him to give her few minutes to get the breakfast ready. The wicked husband slapped her mercilessly for giving such an excuse. Three of her teeth dropped on the floor with blood flowing like a river. The wife cried profusely in pains. In sympathy, the children also cried with their mother. After some minutes, the youngest child of 9 years old with tears in her eyes approached her father (the Chief) and shouted, "Daddy, you are as wicked as the devil! If you kill mummy you will suffer forever in hell." The wicked father pushed her down and marched on her violently. The poor little girl started groaning. The father swore never to pay her school fees again for challenging him fearlessly. That was not all. He sent the wounded wife and the children packing. This kind of man, I never see! If you were in the shoes of the victimized wife and children, would you go back to the wicked Chief later?

Some years ago, I was pasturing the flock of God at Abagana. On a certain Sunday two friends of mine came on visit. I ushered them into the sitting room. Then I presented them some green bottles. They demanded for two glasses. I called one of the house boys to bring the glasses with dispatch. He went to the pantry and came back empty handed. He informed me that the junior houseboy has broken all the glasses during washing process. In anger I sent for the boy. When he came in, I frowned darkly at him for his carelessness. It happened that few days earlier, one of the glasses fell off my hand and broke into pieces. Little did I know that the little boy was aware of it! So, as I was scolding him, he pointed accusing finger at me and said, "Father, you also broke one of the glasses." My conscience pricked me and I shouted, "Get out of here, you stupid boy!" He ran away but he has dropped the bombshell by saying the truth. I started struggling with my conscience for being a culprit of glass-breaking. If the boy was stupid by breaking the glasses, was I not also stupid for doing the same? When there is a dispute between a lion and a goat, who do you think will be guilty?

My people say that after a long time of fearing an evil king, you put on a basket over your face and tell him the truth. Truthfulness has no exception. A certain master sent his apprentice packing for telling him the truth. Someone sent me an amusing but serious story through the WhatsApp. The story was about Ekene, a house boy, who drank his boss' wine from time to time and then topped it with water as a cover up. His boss became suspicious and decided to purchase pasties (A French wine that changes colour when water is added). Ekene drank the panties and topped it with water as usual. Unfortunately the panties changed colour. The boss noticed the colour change. Ekene was in trouble and decided to stay put in the kitchen. When his boss called him, he answered, "Yes Sir!" Next the boss raised his voice and asked him who drank the panties. Ekene did not respond. Angrily, the boss went to the kitchen to confront the house boy. The boss asked him why he kept mute over who drank the panties. Ekene informed him that when someone is in the kitchen he does not hear any other thing except his name. Ekene told his boss to try and see. Ekene then went a short distance away and called, "Boss!" He answered, "Yes, my boy!" Then Ekene went further to ask him in a loud voice, "Who goes into the maid's room when madam is not around?" The boss did not say anything. After few minutes the boss came out of the kitchen and confirmed before his wife and Ekene that no one hears any other thing from the kitchen except his or her name. The wife doubted the veracity of the assertion. In turn she went into the kitchen herself to experiment. Then Ekene called, "Madam!" She answered, "Yes my boy!" As a follow up Ekene asked her, "Who is Junior's biological father, me or my boss?" The madam pretended not to hear the question. She also came out and confirmed that one does not hear any other thing except one's name from the kitchen. This is a real food for thought. If I did tell my mum such a false story during my boyhood, she would simply reply, "Before Abraham, I am." Truth is objective and not subjective. From the above story, one emphatically deduces that Ekene, the Boss and the Madam are inveterate liars.

My local adage says that an elder does not stay at home and watch a she-goat give birth tittered on a rope. It is a real mark of irresponsibility. If an elder tells lies, what do you expect the children to do? Religious and political leaders ought to say nothing but the truth to their subjects. An untruthful leader is a scandal. Such a leader can never be trusted. When he or she stands for re-election, he loses woefully. The Bible asserts that Truth is life and only the Truth can set you free (John 8:32). Some of those surrounding our political leaders are sycophants and political jobbers. Some who are called advisers are deceivers. Their pockets are their primary concern. Pretence is their trademark. They tell a lot of lies.

In 2015 Nigerians voted massively for the All Progressives Congress because of their promises to turn things around in the country through the CHANGE mantra. Almost three years after, the promised change became a mirage. Most Nigerians lost hope in the ruling party due to unfulfilled promises. Hardship becomes the order of the day. Merciless killing of innocent Nigerians by Fulani herdsmen and by other armed bandits takes place here and there without any practical action from the Federal Government of Buhari. Nigerians become suspicious of the Federal Government's silence over the massacre. When there is any confrontation or killing in the Eastern or Southern parts of the country, the Federal Government sends the Army immediately. In the case of the merciless killing of about 73 innocent men, women and children by Fulani herdsmen in Benue State, the Federal Government sent the Police instead of the Army. None of the murders has so far been arrested. This is a double deal.

Having observed the irresponsibility of the APC led Federal Government of Buhari and the hardship in the country, the former President of Nigeria Chief Olusegun Obsanjo most recently wrote an open comprehensive letter to President Buhari about the bad state of affairs in this country. He accused Buhari of nepotism and inaction over the senseless killings going on in some parts of the country. He emphatically told Buhari that he has performed below expectation. Therefore he advised Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019 Presidential Election. Buhari is already old and sick. He should go home and look after his health. He should humbly leave the stage when the ovation is still high. Nelson Mandela of South Africa is a model. He ruled only for one term and left the stage honourably. If I were President Muhammadu Buhari, I would read the handwriting on the wall and quit after this first tenure. The problem of some world leaders, especially in Africa, is that they fail to learn from history.

Our country Nigeria needs a young, vibrant and visionary leader. We have many such talented persons in this country wasting away. What is obtainable in this country is recycling of expired and old military or civilian leaders, who have no new ideas to offer. They lead us back to Egypt to languish in torment and hardship. In fact the National Assembly should as a matter of urgency re-consider the qualities and age limit of any candidate vying for the office of the President of this great Nation.

Also there is need for a National Conference to determine the future of this country, if the composition of membership and outcome of the 2014 Confab are not generally accepted. Many sane Nigerians are calling for restructuring of the country so that we can move forward peacefully. I share the view of Tony Osborg who asserts, "The solution that Nigeria needs is restructuring, decentralization and federalism. A heterogeneous society like Nigeria should not and cannot be administered in a highly over-centralized manner. The right of various ethnic groups, autonomous cities and states to have some level of autonomy over their own security, development, culture, resources and people should be considered as axiomatic and incontrovertible"(www.RestructuringNigeria.ng Community). Recently the Restructuring Committee set by the All Progressives Congress led by Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna State came out with its report in which they suggested Devolution of Powers to the States, having State Police and Resource Control by the States accordingly. The report is to be sent to the National Assembly for consideration.

When Judas Iscariot ate the Bread at the Last Supper, Jesus looked at him suspiciously and said to him, "If you know what you want do, do it quickly" (John 13:27). In the same line, I urge the APC led Federal Government to as quickly as possible do what they can do in order to regain the confidence of the hungry and angry Nigerians looking forward to a good leader who would lead them into the Promised Land, come 2019. The whole truth and nothing but the truth is that majority of Nigerians have lost hope in the present APC leadership. The fight against corruption is peripheral and selective. The senseless killings of innocent Nigerians by herdsmen must be stopped and the culprits arrested and prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others. Ranching of cattle is the solution. Cattle colony is generally rejected. We want Democracy and Cattlecracy. Every eligible Nigerian should rush to the nearest INEC office to register and obtain the permanent voter's card in order to exercise his or her franchise come 2019.

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