FEATURE ARTICLE

Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaTuesday, June 27, 2017
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GROWING HIGH TENSION

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he kindred of the he-goat assembled in their village square to pray for the growth of their brother he-goat, whose trademark is being short in stature. On hearing the intention of the praying assembly, the he-goat ascended to the rostrum and signaled to his kinsmen to give him an audience. Everywhere was calm. He asked them to pray for him to live, because whoever lives must grow up. Everyone sighed and left the arena one after the other. It is the quality of living things to grow while non living things do not grow. A certain man asked his little son of seven years what he would be when he grows up. The little innocent child cheerfully replied, "When I grow up I shall be a wheel barrow pusher." He said this because he likes to push the family wheel barrow around as childish hobby. His disappointed father frowned at him and shouted, "Idiot, get away from here. You are a useless child!" The innocent child started crying. Are wheel barrow pushers useless? Is it not a job? To work is better than to steal. All fingers are not equal.

The Electricity wire lines are made up of high tension and low tension. The high tension is very powerful while the low tension is less powerful. They transmit electricity from one place to another, depending on the megawatts needed. Before electricity can be installed in a house, it must be brought down from high tension to low tension. Both are dangerous, but high tension is more dangerous. In a certain town, a hardened thief climbed an electricity pole to cut the three-line high tension cables when there was power failure for almost one week. He thanked God for answering his prayers. As he was cutting the cables, the unexpected happened. Electricity supply came back suddenly. The cable thief dried up like stock fish within seconds. From there he went into hell fire. The devil asked him what killed him on earth. Without denying he confessed, "Chief Devil, I was killed by high tension as I was stealing electric cables." The devil replied, "You have come into the everlasting home of high tension. Come and occupy your room decorated with high tension." The thief burst into tears as he saw everlasting high tension face to face.

Ignorance can be a terminal disease. A different sad event took place in a remote village in Nigeria. A-60year old man washed his articles of clothing. He was putting on only loin cloth waiting for his clothes to dry. Unfortunately there was heavy and stormy rainfall for three consecutive days. The ignorant man was forced to stay at home almost naked for the three days. On the fourth day, he could not afford staying at home like that again. Consequently an idea came into his little brain. He had no electricity in his mud house, even though electricity low tension cables crossed over his house. He got a wooden ladder and climbed the electric pole beside his house to hang his clothes on the electric live cables for drying. Little did he know that the low tension cable could also dry him up. As soon as he lifted one of the live cables up to hang his clothes, there was a great spark. He cried out but it was too late. He was electrocuted and his dried body hung between the low tension and the wooden ladder. There was high tension in his family as his wife and five children cried uncontrollably for days because their breadwinner was gone.

Grammatically, Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines tension in five dimensions: 1. NERVOUS FEELING "a nervous worried feeling that makes it impossible for you to relax." 2. NO TRUST "the feeling that exists when people or countries do not trust each other and may suddenly attack each other." 3. DIFFERENT INFLUENCES "a situation in which different needs, forces or influences pull in different directions and make the situation difficult." 4. TIGHTNESS "tightness or stiffness in a wire, rope, muscle etc." 5. FORCE "the amount of force that stretches something." Which definition of tension appeals to you more? In this write-up, I shall employ all the above definitions of 'tension' in one way or the other. Please do not be tensed up.

There was high tension as the 2015 Presidential Election was approaching. By then People's Democratic Party (PDP) was in power with the former President Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at the helm of affairs. The All Progressives Congress (APC) with retired General Muhammadu Buhari as the presidential candidate clamoured for change. The political atmosphere was highly tensed. Eventually, the Presidential Election was held. The opposition party APC won. The then Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan called the newly elected President Buhari on phone and congratulated him for his electoral victory. By this gesture, the high tension in the country was doused. On 29th May 2015, Jonathan willingly handed over to Buhari. There was wild jubilation in the country for the successful transition from the ruling party to the opposition party. By this smooth and peaceful handover, former President Goodluck Jonathan wrote down his name in gold in the political history of Nigeria.

The inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari was successful. He vowed publicly, "I am for everybody and for nobody." He promised Nigerians CHANGE in all aspects to improve the lives of everybody. As Nigerians were looking forward to see the positive change, recession came into the country and has been creating high tension. Hunger and anger set in. The President's lopsided appointments brought agitations from aggrieved regions. The hunger, anger, nepotism and recession combined forces to worsen the high tension. As President Buhari was busy decimating Boko Haram Terrorists and fighting corruption, his health failed. He traveled to London for medical vacation. His absence as the number one citizen of Nigerian creates another high tension. When the father is sick, his children are left to what fate brings. But thank God our ailing president handed over to the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who is now the Acting President. As Nigerians pray for the recovery of the President, they equally pray for the recovery of our economy which has been knocked down by acute recession. The high tension caused by the current economic hardship has led despaired Nigerians into committing suicide.

As Nigerians are managing the effects of the high tension in the land brought about by recession, a group of Arewa youths gathered recently at Arewa House in Kaduna and gave the Igbos an ultimatum to leave the North before October 1, 2017. Also they ordered the Northerners in the South East to come back to the North before that date. This is another higher tension that is creating restlessness in the country. Before this, the Indigenous People of Biafra from the South East and South South were peacefully clamouring for the actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra. The agitation stems from exclusion from the current Federal Government and lack of federal projects in the regions. As the tension was rising, the Niger Delta Militants also issued an ultimatum to all Northerners living in Niger Delta to leave the area before 1st October 2017. To douse the tension arising from these Quit Notices and Agitations, there is urgent need for Nigerians to sit in a round table to fashion out the way forward or to implement the vital agreements made and written down in the 2014 National Conference organized by former President Goodluck Jonathan. The present Federal Government should not throw away the water and the baby. Thank God the Senate has called for a copy of that National Conference report to look into it. Elders should never sit at home while the house is burning. As one Nigeria, there should be equity and justice among all the ethnic groups. If eventually the different ethnic groups that make up the entity called Nigeria decide to part ways, it should be done in peace and not in pieces. We do not want war any more.

The bloody menace of the Islamic Boko Haram terrorists has created high tension in this country especially in the North East for some years now. Many have gone. Many are displaced. Many are missing. As if enough is not enough, the Fulani herdsmen came out violently killing innocent Nigerians here and there, destroying their precious farms. They prefer their cattle to human lives. So far, the Federal Government has done little or nothing against these new bloody terrorists going about with cattle as disguise. As a durable measure, some state governments are making a law against open crazing in their states. I think, in order to douse the tension created by the Fulani herdsmen, the anti-open crazing law should be nationwide. In other words, all those who wish to rear cattle should build ranches for that purpose.

In recent years, armed robbery in Nigeria has taken a more dangerous dimension which culminated in kidnapping for ransom. This creates high tension in the land. The kidnappers abduct innocent people going about their businesses and take them to unknown destinations. Even pupils and students are not spared. From their hideout they use mobile phones to contact the family, relations and acquaintances of their victims. Pitifully, the victims are chained and left in unpleasant weather and environments for days, weeks, months or years until the demanded ransom is paid. Often the kidnappers collect the huge ransom and kill their victims as well. The kidnappers collect the ransom ranging from thousands and millions of Dollars or Naira as the case may be.

My people say that where a child picks the dead body of a grass-cutter animal is where his corpse is found. One day is for the thief and one day for the owner of the house. Of recent, a notorious billionaire kidnapper by name Chukwudi Dumeme Onwuamadike alias Evans was napped by men of Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) in his residence at Lagos. Since 2013 he has been declared wanted by the Nigeria Police. He is a merciless kidnapper who collects ransom in millions of Dollars. He started kidnapping in Anambra state before he moved to Edo state and from there he marched with his men into Lagos. All efforts to arrest him since then have been abortive. There was much jubilation all over the country at his arrest. Presently, he is cooling his nerves with some of his employed criminals in police custody. He pleads for mercy and promises to be a born again if pardoned. Should a merciless criminal expect mercy? The high tension he raised in the country is so disastrous.

As Evans and his men were operating in the Lagos axis, another notorious kidnapper by name Mallam Sani Ibrahim alias Burtu was operating along Kaduna - Abuja highway. Travelers in that route have for long been living in high tension. Luck ran against Sani and he was arrested in his hideout by the Army. His arrest followed that of Evans. He is now under detention and making useful confessions that would help in the arrest of others like him. The security agents should chain both Evans and Burtu very well to avoid escape.

Nigerians witness also high tension in the football arena. For two consecutive times, Nigeria was absent in the African Cup of Nations for failing to qualify. To add salt to injury, many Nigerians slumped and died out of high tension in the recent qualifying match for the forthcoming African Cup of Nations between Nigeria and South Africa. Personally I developed high blood pressure when the Bafana Bafana football team of South Africa walloped the Super Eagles of Nigeria two goals to nothing in Nigerian soil. I fainted at the final whistle. I was only resuscitated after I was given two bottles of small stout mixed with two tins of liquid milk. Immediately I gained consciousness I asked those around me, "What happened and where am I?" All wore gloomy faces and gave me no answer. After watching the ill-fated football match, an ex-soldier collapsed and died instantly of high tension caused by the colossal loss.

According to the famous novelist Chinua Achebe, things have fallen apart and the centre can no longer hold. Nigerians are disgruntled and disunited. The high tension in this country is approaching the melting point. There is urgent need to put our house in order. Many sane Nigerians are calling for the implementation of the 2014 Confab report and for the restructuring of the country. We should also restructure our minds and tongues and avoid hate speeches. A stitch in time saves nine.

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