FEATURE ARTICLE

Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaMonday, May 22, 2017
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LIVING IN DARKNESS

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arkness is the absence of light. In the biblical account of creation we read: "In the beginning, when God began to create the heavens and the earth, the earth had no form and was void; darkness was over the deep and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters. God said, 'Let there be light' and there was light. God saw that the light was good and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light 'Day' and the darkness 'Night'. There was evening and there was morning: the first day" (Genesis 1:1 - 5). God went further to create the sun to give light during the day; and the moon to illumine the night. Where were you and I at that time? I doff my cap for this God of wisdom.

In the past I told the story of how I was lost in darkness at the Presbytery in Our Lady of Fatima Parish Isuikwuato in Abia State. That was in early 1994, when I was few months into the Priesthood. There was no electricity in the house by that time. The generating plant was put off at 10.00p.m. The lovely parish priest gave me a burning lamp for use in my room in case of necessity. I went to bed after lowering the lamp light which threw my room into semi darkness. When I heard some frightening noise from without, the hormone of fear in me rose to the highest degree. Consequently, I put off the lamp light entirely to avoid being targeted probably by men of the underworld. Around after midnight the call of nature woke me up. I guessed my way in total darkness toward the water closet. Unfortunately I got lost in the acute darkness. I tried to retreat to my bedroom but all in vain. I had no choice than to standstill in the darkness. Mosquitoes butchered me like a cow in the abattoir. The urine in my system dried up and sleep eluded me. I lived in darkness that night until early morning light dispelled the darkness. I laughed and exclaimed, "Darkness is bad!"

Sometime ago, I also told the story of how I got up late at night to urinate. There was acute darkness such that I mistook my fridge for my toilet and ended up urinating inside it. Many of my readers called me by phone and laughed at me. Some asked me if it really happened or were I joking? I told them to go and ask the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) which threw me into the acute darkness.

In 1998, it was prophesied that there would be three days' total darkness. Everyone was advised to procure everything one would need during the period, especially foodstuff. The prophecy recommended also that to survive that three days' darkness, only candles blessed by a priest of God can give light during the plague. As a result, candle business recorded high patronage. Being a priest I couldn't rest by then as people were flocking into St Theresa's Parish Nibo where I was officiating, to have their candles blessed. Personally, I doubted the veracity of the prophecy. But when I saw how even the righteous were hoarding the blessed candles in order to the escape the impending catastrophe, a second thought came into my mind. I remembered that Ethics says that virtue lies in the middle. In addition my Igbo people say, "Nkwucha abughi ujo" (Fear is not cowardice). Hence I purchased three packets of candle for myself and blessed them. To be on the safer side, I carried them with a packet of matches in a bag wherever I went, since no one knew exactly the time the impending three days' darkness would descend. One year elapsed and nothing happened. People lost hope in the prophecy. Those who couldn't resell their candles donated them for church services. It became an advantage for us as pastors of souls as we saved huge sum of money that would have been spent in purchase of candles.

As a Man of God, someone asked me recently, "Is Nigeria included when God said, 'Let there be light; and there was light'? I answered him that I was not present when God gave the command. Secondly, this country Nigeria coined by the colonial Master Lord Lugard in 1914 was not yet in existence by then. I was spiritually in potency in the mind of God during creation. At a second thought I told the enquirer that God has no atom of partiality in him. He is the God of all nations. Therefore the area later called Nigeria was inclusive when God said, "Let there be light." The problem of epileptic power supply in Nigeria is a man-made problem. Our civilian and military leaders since our Independence in 1960 till date have disappointed us by keeping us in darkness, thereby depriving us of God's gift of light. The dividend of Democracy in our country Nigeria, the Giant of Africa, is living in darkness. The problem is in the system and not in nomenclature, whether National Electric Power Authority (which was renamed 'Never Expect Power Always'), Power Holding Company or Electricity Distribution Company. The privatization of Electricity supply in Nigeria has done more harm than good. The Billions of hard earned Naira so far pumped into the power sector would have been used to feed everybody in Nigeria until the second Coming of Jesus Christ. Corruption in this country has eaten deep into the nerves of our past and present leaders from the national level down to the grassroots. The fight against corruption by the present Administration is just on the peripheral. Some corrupt politicians who have cockroaches in their cupboards now take refuge in the ruling party to avoid being arrested.

We, the past and present citizens of Nigeria, also have not helped matters. We seem to enjoy living in darkness. The ministers and companies given contract at various times to ensure steady supply of electricity have failed in providing the service paid for. Instead the huge sums of money given out were pocketed without qualms of conscience. Not long ago during the Prayer of the Faithful in a church, the officiating priest was arduously praying that the Federal Government should as a matter of urgency, through the intervention of God, provide constant power supply in our country Nigeria. At the end the priest said, "We pray O Lord!" A hoarse voice was heard from the congregation saying, "Lord, do not hear this prayer!!!" There was commotion and laughter in the church which lasted over ten minutes. The man was a dealer in assorted electric generators. He came forward towards the altar and said, "Point of order! My dear priest, I came to church to pray that God may give me my daily bread. But you are here sabotaging my business. If we have constant supply of electricity in Nigeria, what becomes of my business? Please if it is a joke stop it!" Another voice was heard from behind which shouted, "Holy Ghost, Fire!!!" The church was almost set ablaze. There was great pandemonium and confusion. The priest ended the church service abruptly to avoid breakdown of law and order in the House of God. My people, our recovery from the life of darkness is still far away.

During my two and half years' further studies in Germany, I never experienced power failure even for a second. I wondered. I asked myself, "Is this Paradise on earth?" Few years ago I travelled to Ghana during my annual leave. I spent one week in Accra. It surprised me that there was never power outage during the one week. I wanted to naturalize and incardinate there but after a second thought, I decided to come back to Nigeria to manage living in darkness with my people. In Neni, Anaocha L.G.A of Anambra State, where I am presently pasturing the flock of God, the darkness there cannot be imagined. Rarely do we have electricity supply, yet we pay our monthly bills. I do not know if Neni people enjoy living in darkness every night. Personally I am not comfortable with it. The other night I ended up inserting food into my nostrils instead of my mouth due to thick darkness. The menu was pepper-soup. Hence pepper mesmerized me and entered my brain. I was sleepless throughout that night. Early in the morning I was rushed to hospital. For this reason, I am suing EEDC.

There is urgent need to send a high powered delegation to Almighty God in Heaven to complain about how our leaders and selfish individuals have thrown us into acute darkness till date. I would like to be part of the delegation, so that I can report in black and white the divine encounter without exaggeration or deficiency. To this end, a National Conference on Power Supply is a sine qua non. If the outcome of the 2014 National Conference has been implemented, we would not have been where we are today.

Evil thrives in darkness. Wherever there is evil, the whole area is covered up in spiritual darkness. When we live according to the Commandments of God, then we are living in light. To live in sin is to dwell in acute spiritual darkness. The sins of corruption, bad leadership, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality, incest, theft, armed robbery, pen robbery, kidnapping, nepotism, religious bigotry, insensitivity, jealousy, envy, lying, murder, suicide, euthanasia, abortion, etc. have eaten deep into the nerves of us Nigerians. We are all guilty in one way or the other. To add salt to a wound, the bloody menace of Boko Haram Terrorists and Fulani herdsmen have devalued human life in this country. Darkness has overshadowed us. Indeed we Nigerians are suffering from spiritual kwashiorkor.

In Anambra State in those bad days, we were living in total darkness. Some cabals hijacked the state as if it were their private business. The monthly allocation got from Abuja was pocketed by few selfish politicians. All sorts of atrocity were perpetrated. Teachers were not paid. There was no infrastructural development. The few public structures we had by then were burnt down by enemies of progress in broad daylight. Armed robbers and kidnappers found a safe haven in the state by then.

As God of Light would have it, a little light was thrown into Anambra State during the reign of Governor Chris Ngige who fought seriously with the cabals. They nearly kidnapped him. If a sitting governor can be kidnapped, then the citizens have no hiding place. My people say that a hunger that kills a rich man, buries the poor man alive. Ngige escaped their net by whiskers. Later he paid accumulated teachers' salaries and built roads, especially in Idemmili axis. Since Ngige obtained his mandate in darkness, he was sent packing by the Appeal Court sitting in Enugu.

Governor Peter Obi came on seat after claiming his stolen mandate. He was touched so much by the darkness that enveloped Anambra State and her residents. He stood his two legs firmly on the rock and planned development strategies. He tackled the darkness squarely and developed the state in all aspects. Anambrarians heaved a sigh of relief. After expelling most of the darkness that overshadowed the state since her creation, he changed the state from 'Home for All (Darkness)' to 'Light of the Nation'.

The incumbent Governor Chief Willie Maduaburochukwu Obiano took over from Peter Obi. He fought against the agents of darkness still hovering within and around Anambra State by then. His first task was to eliminate the kidnappers and armed robbers menacing the state. He succeeded immensely such that Anambra State becomes the safest state in Nigeria. We are now sleeping with two eyes, nose and ears closed unlike before. Obiano went further to beautify Awka Capital City. The hinterlands are not left out. Anambra State is now illumining like the northern star. Chief Willie Obiano still has a second term to govern Anambra State, if given the mandate.

It is forward ever, backward never. Therefore we must shine our eyes as the November 18, 2017 Gubernatorial Poll approaches. Some agents of darkness are planning to plunge this state into darkness once more. God forbid! Let us guard our voter's cards and our votes. Those who have attained 18 years and above should try their best to register in the on-going Voter's Registration exercise. Every eligible Christian must possess Baptismal Card and Voter's Card. We shall present the two cards at the judgment seat of God. Rigging will plunge us into darkness. Those planning to rig the 18 November 2017 Governorship Election in Anambra State will never succeed in the Name of Jesus Christ our Saviour! Amen!!! Our state is no more 'Home for Darkness' but 'Light of the Nation'.

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