FEATURE ARTICLE

Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaSunday, May 29, 2016
amobipchuks@yahoo.com


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PATIENCE, WHERE IS COMFORT?

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he immediate past President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, graduated from the University as a Zoologist. Zoology is a branch of biology which has to do with the classification, properties and vital phenomena of animals. Later, Goodluck became an ardent teacher in the University. As time went on, he sought for his missing bone. He did not find any among the animals. By God's grace he found his love in a rare gem woman called Patience. They became engaged. Later they ascended the Altar of the Lord and exchanged vows of fidelity to God and to each other. They promised to be faithful to each other in good times and in bad times; in good health and in sickness until death do them part. Thus, Goodluck embraced Patience and they gave birth to a bouncing baby called Success.

From the classroom Goodluck became the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State. By Divine Providence he became the Governor of the same State. His wife Patience rose to position of the First Lady of Bayelsa State. It is said that behind every successful man is a woman. Is it also true that behind every failed man is a woman? When Adam was alone in the Garden of Eden, he never touched the Forbidden Tree. But when Eve was created to serve as Adam's helpmate, the unexpected happened. Eve was seduced by the cunning serpent to eat the fruit from the Forbidden Tree. The unfortunate Fall of Man came through a woman. Fortunately, the Redemption of the fallen man also came through a woman, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

All said and done, the good luck in Ebele Jonathan propelled him to marry the noble woman Patience. Having governed Bayelsa State with the virtue of patience, the coast became clearer for Goodluck to rise. As soon as he completed his tenure as the Governor, he was chosen to be the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He never dreamt of it. Within a short time, Divine Providence decorated Goodluck Jonathan as the Acting President of Nigeria. This was when the news of the demise of President Yar'Adua was broken. By the power of the Constitution Goodluck was later crowned the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Consequently, Patience became the First Lady of the Giant of Africa. In fact, if I were not a celibate priest, I would have searched for a woman by name Patience to marry. During the presidency of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, a couple blessed with a set of twins (a boy and a girl) came into my office to register for Baptism. I asked them the names they would like to give the twin babies. Unanimously they called the boy's name Goodluck while the girl was named Patience. I couldn't help laughing to such an extent that tears started raining from my two eyes. The couple looked at me with confusion and asked, "Father, what is amusing you?" I looked pitifully at them and shouted, "Papa and mama Goodluck and Patience, you are blessed!"

Patience is a virtue. Morally speaking, a virtue can be defined as a habit that perfects the powers of the soul and inclines one to do good. Patience is the ability to endure any adverse condition. The Igbo adage says that a patient dog eats a fleshy bone. The following wise quotations call for sober reflection: "He that has patience may encompass anything" (Rabelais). "Everything comes if a man will only wait" (Benjamin Disrael). "The virtue of patience is the one which most assures us of perfection" (St Francis the Sale). "Patience is needed with everyone, but first of all with ourselves" (St Francis the Sale). "Faith takes up the cross, love binds it to the soul, patience bears it to the end" (Bonard). A German proverb says that patience conquers the devil. A Chinese proverb states, "One moment of patience may ward off great distaste, one moment of impatience may ruin a whole life." An Igbo saying goes this way: "In any home where there is peace, a patient person is there." Patience in Igbo is known as 'Ndidi." In German it is called "Geduld."

Impatience is the opposite of patience. Many Nigerians are impatient. That is why there are troubles and disorder here and there. If you are not patient you will die suddenly on Nigerian roads because many drivers do not obey traffic rules. Everybody seems to be in a hurry always, despite the saying that there is no hurry in life. Some drive as if they are rushing to Russia. When fatal accidents occur, we blame the devil. One day the devil will react to the unhealthy accusations we heap on him.

Now, let me drive home my point. As soon as Goodluck completed his first tenure as President under the People's Democratic Party (PDP), a group of old politicians and political parties merged together and formed the All Progressives Congress (APC). This party and her adherents clamoured for change in the political, economic and general welfare of Nigerians. They promised to turn Nigeria into Paradise, a home of happiness, if elected. Retired General Muhammadu Buhari was chosen as the presidential flag bearer. His political motto is Change. The Presidential Election was eventually conducted and Buhari and his APC adherents were declared winners. There was joy all over the land. Change rented the air. As they were shouting 'change' everywhere, I changed the oil in my car engine that day. I threw away my umbrella and bought a broom. I changed my bed to a new position. I sold the dog in my house and bought a cat. In addition, I changed all the old plates in our refectory and bought new ones. Even I wanted to change myself into a woman, to become a Reverend Sister. But my hoarse voice, rough face, skin hairs, and wild muscles betrayed me.

All Nigerians are praying to reap the dividends of Democracy which include peace, good leadership, security of lives and properties, constant electricity supply, good road network, employment opportunity, pipe borne water, good transportation system, affordable prices of essential commodities, abundance of food supply, etc. If all these are available, then we shall live comfortably in this country. Andrew will no longer shake out of this country to look for greener pastures abroad. God really blessed our country with abundant human and natural resources. Unfortunately, corruption pilots the affairs of our country since Independence. The rich continues to get richer, and the poor poorer. "Monkey dey work, baboon dey chop." If President Buhari really wants to fight corruption, he should look from within and without. Some of his Cabinet and Party members are corrupt. Charity begins at home and ends abroad. We sweep from inside to outside. If you wash the external part of a cup without cleansing the inside, it becomes an effort in futility.

The present APC Administration is now one year old; the promised CHANGE is still a mirage. We are still in a dream world. The prices of essential commodities are still beyond the reach of the common man. Constant electricity supply eludes us. Many companies have folded up due to lack of power supply. The pump price of petrol has doubled. In reaction workers went on strike to protest the hike in price. After few days of inactivity nation-wide the NLC called off the strike with a view of going back to the negotiating table with the Federal Government. We are waiting for the next line of action. Our Federal roads are in sorry-state. Millions of graduates are grinding their teeth due to lack of employment. Last week I saw a familiar graduate pushing wheel barrow at Ariara market in Aba, Abia State. I moved closer to him and asked, "My friend, what are you doing here? You graduated from the University three years ago. I thought you have travelled Oversea. What is wrong?" He sighed and replied, "Father, I have seen hell in looking for employment since then. Instead of dying in silence and penury, I decided to relocate to Aba to do menial jobs. What can man do?"

The APC Government has constantly assured Nigerians that they would fulfill their electoral promises and provide the dividends of Democracy to the grassroots. They admonish us to exercise patience. Nigerians are asking for how long? Is it after we might have died? When the Change mantra was being proclaimed, I thought the new Government has magicians who would perform magic instantly for Nigerians to reach the Promised Land before the appointed time.

In deed we have been patient for one year now. When will comfort come? Patience has tried her best. She needs assistance now. When Jesus Christ visited the home of the biblical Lazarus, Martha waited at him while Mary remained behind with Jesus Christ listening to the Word of Life. As the heat of preparing food for Jesus was weighing down on Martha, she hurriedly rushed to the visitor's room where Jesus was sitting to ask Mary to come and help her at the kitchen. Similarly, we need Comfort in these days of hardship in Nigeria to come and help Patience, so that the distressed citizens of this country will heave a sigh of relief. For this reason, I have volunteered to devote the month of June 2016 to search for Comfort and prevail on her to come and assist Patience. This enormous task will cost me dearly. In case the Wit's Corner does not function in the month of June, kindly excuse me. I hope to be back soon with Comfort by the grace of God. See you then. God bless!

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