FEATURE ARTICLE

Monday, April 30, 2018
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OPERATION SHOW YOUR REPORT CARD

primary three pupil casually returned home at the close of the third term. His parents asked him to show them his report card. He lied that his teacher was seriously sick and was admitted in the hospital. Hence she couldn't release the result nor the report cards of the class involved. He assured the parents that he performed well in the final examination and would surely be promoted to the next class. The parents were very happy with his assurance. They welcomed him with a bottle of cold malt drink and a plate of delicious rice and stew, punctuated with two laps of fried chicken. The "promising" pupil was very happy and descended on the menu in haste before the truth comes out. In addition, the parents bought him a new brand shirt and a trouser with a matching pair of shoes as a reward for excellence.

Unfortunately, on the next day, the parents were returning from town's meeting and met the teacher of their "promising" child bubbling with vitality. They couldn't believe what their eyes saw. One of the parents approached the teacher and asked, "Teacher, good afternoon. How are you? Our child came back from school yesterday as the school closed for the third term. We asked him to show us his report card. Unfortunately he told us that you were seriously sick and was admitted in the hospital. Thus you were unable to release the result and the report cards of your class. Thank God that you recovered so quickly." The teacher was lost in confusion. She frowned at the blatant lie told by her pupil. She told them that she is well and hearty. Then she broke the sad news: "My class result was promptly released yesterday. Your child failed woefully and he must repeat primary three. He collected his report card from me. Please go and ask him of it. Bye!"

The parents temporally lost consciousness. They sat under a tree beside the road till they regained themselves. They went home burning with rage. They vowed to bath their dishonest child with hot pepper solution. Luckily the boy knew the fate awaiting him. Before the parents could set foot into the compound, he sneaked away through a fallen wall behind the house. The angry parents came in and searched the whole house but couldn't find him. They called him loudly with venom but there was no answer. Then they searched his school bag and room. Eventually they found his report card carefully hidden under the mattress. They opened it and saw red marks all over. In fact they saw the woeful failure. For two weeks the boy was nowhere to be found. My people say, "Okuko nyuo aru, ala achuwa ya oso." That is, if a fowl pollutes the air, the land chases it about.

It is not only pupils and students that possess report cards. Every one of us has one form of report card or the other, which we must produce at the appropriate time. Our leaders and politicians have their own report cards which they must present when the time comes. Those leaders vying for second or third term in office ought to present the report cards of their previous performance in office. A councilor presents his or her report card to the ward involved. The Local Government Chairman presents his to the communities under his administration. The state or federal lawmakers present theirs to their constituencies. The Governor presents his to the state. The President shows his to the Nation as a whole. One who performed well in the previous office held can be re-elected for a second term or to a higher office. But the one who has abysmal performance in the previous office has no future hope. Even if he or she wangles the way into the office, he or she is bound to fail. Nemesis must catch with him or her. A good product sells itself while a bad product de-markets itself.

Before the 2015 general elections, the present All Progressives Congress promised Nigerians heaven on earth during their electioneering campaign. What was on the air then was Change! Hence, Nigerians voted massively for them especially in the presidential election which saw President Buhari at the helm of affairs. Almost three and half years have gone without the promised positive change. The report card of the APC government is nothing to write home about. After all, the same old politicians and retired military men recycle themselves in government and move from one party to the other. If monkey changes dress it is still a monkey. It must eat banana.

The Boko Haram terrorism is said to be decimated but not yet defeated. The worse is that another group of terrorists have arisen in the name of Fulani herdsmen. They clash with farmers here and there. They kill, maim and rape innocent villagers at the dead hours of the night. They are armed with Ak-47 and other dangerous ammunitions. None of the perpetrators has been arrested and persecuted by the Federal APC government. Hence, Nigerians are living in fears. Even some security agencies are alleged to be collaborating with the bloody herdsmen against the civilian populace. We are finished if this is true.

While in London recently, President Buhari told the world that the alleged herdsmen killing innocent Nigerians are those militias from Libya who were trained and armed by the late Muammar Gaddafi. They invaded our country Nigeria freely and are causing bloody havoc here and there. May I asked this pertinent question to the Commander-in-chief of Nigeria: Are these armed militias invisible? How did they cross the Nigerian borders with sophisticated arms unmolested? Are they mightier than the Nigerian Army? Why till now none of them has been arrested or killed? Our security system is leaking seriously. No wonder retired General T.Y. Danjuma called on Nigerians to defend themselves since the army cannot defend them. On his own part, Professeor Wole Soyinka said that if the herdsmen terrorists are left freely to kill Nigerians, then it means we have no government. I am afraid.

To buttress the poor security system of our country presently, some armed thugs invaded the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly on Wednesday, 18 April 2018, and made away with the Mace in the full glare of the Senators. The worse part of it was that none of the security agencies confronted those thugs. Indeed something is intrinsically wrong in our country. Those thugs just walked in unchecked at the entrance gate. They came into the hallowed Chamber in the company of the suspended Senator Omo-Agege, who was later whisked away by the police but was speedily released. In fact, if you see a bird dancing in the middle of an expressway, then someone in the bush is beating the drum for it. Nothing happens for nothing. Our lives are on stake. Nigeria is on the path to doom, if not urgently checked.

As the 2019 General is drawing nearer, the report cards of our serving leaders and other politicians who wish to contest or re-contest any post must be observed closely. Those who performed well in the past offices held are worthy of being elected or re-elected. Those who failed woefully in the past should be weeded out.

In the spiritual aspect, all of us must present our individual report card at the judgment seat of God. According to Saint Paul, "It is to God, then, that each of us will have to give an account of himself (herself)" (Rom. 14:12). This account is the eternal report card we shall present at death. Everyone is included in the presentation - priests, bishops, religious men and women, politicians, doctors, lawyers, teachers, business men and women, Christians, non-Christians, pagans, atheists, Muslims, soldiers, police, civilians, leaders, the led, adult, youths and children. I am studying my own report card daily and trying to improve on the grey areas. What of you? As you make your bed, so you will lie on it. God will work with you and not for you. Those with excellent performance will proceed to heaven. Those who failed woefully will go to hell. However, those who passed weakly will be sentenced to purgatory in order to undergo purification, that means, to be saved through fire (1 Cor. 3:15). Indeed, if God does not temper justice with mercy, heaven will be empty.


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