Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaTuesday, April 14, 2015




n a sunny afternoon, I was sitting in my office doing my official assignment. There was power failure and I was sweating like a fowl in hot water. I engaged myself in manual fanning to cool the heat arising from the intense sunshine, but all was to no avail. Suddenly, semi-darkness fell all over the place. I rushed out to behold the scene. What did I see? The once sunny atmosphere has metamorphosed into a thickened cloud. I concluded that a heavy downpour was imminent.

In a twinkling of an eye, I saw people running helter-skelter. Our people say that a war that was publicized does not claim a lame man. By this time I was on my clerical gown. Despite the inconveniences involved, I ran like a woman into my room to lock the windows to avoid the imminent windy rainfall spilling into my room. From there I jumped like a leopard into the backyard of our compound to collect my articles of clothing spread for drying. After taking all necessary precautions, I went back to my office to continue my job. The temperature was now cool.

Where am I heading to? The high tension generated by the presidential election of 28 March 2015 was the first in the political history of Nigeria. There was palpable fear of outbreak of violence before, during or after the presidential poll between the incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and retired General Muhammadu Buhari of All Progressives Congress (APC). Some Nigerians prayed that the election should come and pass, so that the tension would be doused. Some Nigerians had already started going back to their native homes in droves, especially the Igbo. A tree does not prick one in the eye twice. The pogrom preceding the civil war of 1967 to 1970 has taught us a lesson. Hence, to be on a safer side, it is better to go home than to die abroad. Unfortunately some Nigerians met their untimely death while en route their home as a result of ghastly motor accidents. A certain Igbo woman living in Jos ran home before the 14 February scheduled presidential election with her four kids. She lost two of them to a fatal accident. She is yet to regain her real self.

Personally, I had an ugly experience when I travelled to Niger State few days before the 28 March 2015 presidential poll. As I was driving through a certain town there, I rammed into angry APC youths who blocked the road with their motorcycles. They were armed. My breath failed me. Fear ran down my spinal cord. I was alone in my car in a strange local town. If I was killed there, nobody would give account of my where-about. I can only be traced when we gather for the final judgment before the throne of God on the last day. What did I do? I thought the angry youths were members of the dreaded Boko Haram terrorists. I was about to reverse my car to run for my dear life. Before I could do so, one of the youths rushed to my car and warned me to say "Sai Buhari" when I am accosted. He told me that if I fail to say so, I would be killed instantly. The fear in me increased to 200%. In fact, I was already half dead. I was almost melting like wax. Immediately I made a perfect Act of Contrition and said my last prayers. I was about to fall into coma as three of the red-eyed youths blocked my further movement and unanimously threatened me saying, "Sai wane?"(Only who?) Thank God I understand Hausa. I raised my thumb up and shouted, "Sai Buhari!" (Only Buhari!).They commanded me to pass. I was driving with my right hand while my left hand was outside with my thumb up as I was chorusing, "Sai Buhari!" until I passed them all. I made the Sign of the Cross ten times after the Passover. Then I took a long down breath because my breath was hanging up for over 20 minutes of the encounter.

As I reached my destination in Niger State, I narrated to my host my ugly experience. He thanked God with me for sparing my life. What would have happened if I was killed in a strange land? The vultures would have thanked God for giving them their daily bread. The Church and police would have made a publication of my image as a missing person, asking of anyone who knows my where-about. Well I don't know if the vultures would have volunteered to tell my story. As I drove back to Awka the next day, I took the Abuja route, which is longer. But it is better to be late than the late.

Some local and foreign groups and individuals have already predicted that Nigeria would break up as a result of the highly tensed presidential election. Consequently, some committed Christians and Muslims started praying for a peaceful presidential poll, come 28 March 2015. The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Patroness of Nigeria and Saint Patrick, the Patron of Nigeria, did not sleep as they were interceding for Nigeria before God for a peaceful presidential election. Blessed Cyprian Iwene Tansi interceded for Nigerians as well. I pray for his canonization very soon.

Many Nigerians doubted if the peace accord signed by the two presidential gladiators (Jonathan and Buhari) before, during and after the election would work. In 2011 there was bloodshed after the presidential result was announced in favour of President Goodluck Jonathan. The question on every lip was: will the bloody occurrence take place again after announcing the result of the presidential election of 28 March 2015? If it occurs again, it would be of a greater magnitude considering the high tension in the land.

Thank God the 28 March 2015 presidential election is now a history. We are not considering if any manipulation was made in the presidential race. Our joy is that it has come and gone. There was little bloodshed. Peace is reigning in the Land. General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) of All Progressives Congress (APC) has been declared the winner by the INEC Boss, Professor Attahiru Jega. Happily, the outgoing President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has conceded defeat and has equally congratulated Buhari for his victory. Jonathan has bequeathed peace to Nigerians, a farewell gift. What a precious gift!

This show of statesmanship has never happened neither in Nigeria nor in Africa. The name of President Jonathan will go into the Guinness Book of Record as the first Nigerian Leader to concede defeat and congratulate the declared winner of a presidential election. I doff my cap for him. According to him, he is ready to serve but not desperate to serve. This is a food for thought and a great lesson for prosperity. I wish President Jonathan good luck in his future preoccupation. From being a school teacher, he became the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State. By good luck he rose to the rank of being the Governor of the same State. Good luck propelled him further to clench the seat of the Vice President of Nigeria. Luckily also he occupied the exalted seat of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria for six good years. What has he not achieved? What is he looking for in the bottom of the soup pot that pepper would mesmerize him? It is better to leave the stage when the ovation is still very high. Election is not a-do-or-die affair. President Jonathan himself says, "No one's ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian." May God bless President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for the sacrifice he made to give peace to Nigerians. We will never forget him.

The President-Elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, will be sworn-in on 29 May 2015. During his electioneering campaign he promised to fight corruption, stabilize the economy, create jobs for the teeming jobless Nigerians and drive away insecurity out of Nigeria. What of the WAR AGAINST INDISCPLINE? Hopefully, Nigerians will stand line by line again. Jesus Christ came first in flesh and blood to save sinful mankind. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. General Buhari came first as a Military Dictator to discipline the undisciplined Nigerians. He is coming again as a politician to bring the work he started as a soldier to its perfect end. I wish him God's guidance and success. Nevertheless, he may not work miracles. He must beware of sycophants and enemies of progress.

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan tried his best, though he was not perfect. He inherited some of the problems that confronted him, especially insecurity. Nigeria is a tough country to rule. We pray that Muhammadu Buhari may be the messiah as many expect. By God's grace we shall live to tell. All said and done, the tension in the Land has doused. The thickened cloud has disappeared. What next? In God we trust. The Risen Christ is our hope. Happy Easter!