Thursday, June 27, 2024
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hen I came back from school on that black day I cannot actually remember in 1979, I took my lunch and rested awhile. Then I climbed the big pear tree at the center of our compound to pluck some of its ripe fruits. At a point during the climbing, I held a tiny branch of the tree to help me move upwards. Unfortunately the branch broke suddenly. My hand slipped off and I shouted, "Chi-m-ooo!!!" That was all I knew. I lost consciousness. Further happenings were narrated to me later. I fell off and landed between packed nine inches blocks. My head and hands got bruised with blood flow. Consequently I was rushed to Oko General Hospital where I spent some weeks. My bruised head and hands got healed, but my unconsciousness remained.

Subsequently I was transferred to a Specialist Hospital in Jos, Plateau State, where I was born and brought up. Doctors and nurses did all they could to bring me back to conscious life, but all to no avail. After about one month of intensive care, I was discharged but I was still in the state of unconsciousness. The specialist doctor who took care of me recommended prayer and rest as the last resort. Thus my parents took me to our residential house at Jenta Jos. They offered daily prayers for divine healing over me. Within the resting and prayer period, I was given nourishing foods and drinks. Before the fall I was dwarf in height and as tiny as a single broom. Within my recuperating period, I grew tell and fat. On the day God looked down at me from heaven, I regained consciousness. I became a tall boy to shame those who despised my previous dwarf nature. Indeed my falling down from that gigantic pear tree was a blessing in disguise. I knelt down and prayed, "God, thank you for allowing me to fall down from the pear tree. I am now happier." I went back home and resumed my secondary school studies after three months of hospitalization. I missed one full term at school. My classmates admired me so much. My close friends helped me to update all that I missed in class during my unintentional absence. To God be the glory!

Adam and Eve were the first human beings created by God. He housed them in the Garden of Eden, where happiness was the order of the day. God in his benevolence asked them to eat the fruit of all the trees in that Garden, except the tree of life and death. He warned them that they would die if they venture to eat from the forbidden tree. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Unfortunately Satan disguised as snake deceived Eve into eating the forbidden fruit. She took some home and gave to her husband Adam. He also ate without enquiry. Immediately they realized that they were naked and they hid themselves because of shame. Consequently they were expelled from the Garden of Happiness and were driven into the garden of hardship. They fell down fatally from grace to grass. This ancient incident is known till date as the Fall of man. It is not a physical fall. Rather, it is a spiritual fall. As descendants of Adam and Eve, we are still falling down from grace to grass by committing sins. If we do not repent and death knocks at our doors, then we shall fall down from the earth into hell. God forbid!

Our Saviour Jesus Christ incarnated in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary and was born at the fullness of time. He grew up at Nazareth under the care of Mary and Joseph. Later he went out preaching the Gospel of repentance. He healed spiritual and bodily ailments. He called his twelve Apostles. One of them called Judas Iscariot later betrayed him into the hands of his enemies. Pilate condemned him to death unjustly. He carried his cross for crucifixion from Pilate's palace to Mount Calvary. Along the uneven path he fell down thrice due to scourges and tiredness. Simon of Cyrene was forced to help him to carry the cross for some time. The falling down of Jesus Christ was not only due to fatigue. It was the sins of fallen humanity that pushed him down. Thank God that he did not despair. His falling down was salvific. He got up each time in order to complete his ministry of Salvation on the Cross at Calvary.

Nigeria held the historic free, fair and credible Presidential Election on 12 June 1993. Unfortunately it was annulled by the then Military Junta of General Ibrahim Babangida. The election was presumably won by Chief MKO Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). At the heat of the annulment, General Babangida stepped aside. He set up an interim government with Chief Ernest Shonekan at the head. After few weeks on the mantle, General Sani Abacha easily toppled Shonekan and he automatically became the Military Head of State. On the course to recover his annulled mandate, Chief Moshood Abiola was arrested and incarcerated. He died in prison as a result of unspecified circumstances.

In order not to forget the spirit of June 12, 1993, the immediate past President, Mohmmadu Buhari, proclaimed June 12 as Democracy Day. Prior to this, it was celebrated on May 29, which has become democratic handover date. It was during this year's (2024) Democracy Day celebration that the incumbent democratic President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, fell down as he was stepping into the parade van. He fell down flat. This has become a historic presidential falling down. It has gone viral in social media. Since then tongues have been wagging. What really caused this presidential fall? One of the presidential aids said that the President missed step and fell flat inside the parade van. The missing of step is common. It can happen to everyone. Fatigue, sickness, hallucination, drunkenness, dizziness, hunger, confusion, etc. can make someone to fall down. However, nothing happens for nothing. When the President falls down, it is the country that falls. The falling of President Tinubu might be as a result of transfer of aggression. The evil spirit of hunger and anger among the masses might have pushed him down. It is a reminder for him to listen to the voice of the poor masses to give them something to eat. It is also a sign that the wind of economic hardship in the country spares no one. The falling down is a call for sober reflection of how he obtained his presidential mandate. Was his election free, fair and credible? The election of the man being celebrated on June 12 was free, fair and credible. Anything contrary can cause falling down.

As the President was moving politically into the parade arena on June 12, 2024, the spectators who were mostly aggrieved members of the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress were shouting, "Minimum wage! Minimum wage!! Minimum wage!!!" This clarion call to the President to consider the plight of workers might have also contributed to his falling down. A worker deserves his wage. President Tinubu should also consider if he is truly pursuing and fulfilling his campaign promises. My people say that if someone is pursuing the fowl that is not his, then he is bound to fall down while the fowl escapes unhurt. Workers deserve not only minimum wage but living wage. In order to douse the tension raised by the minimum wage demand, the President should cut down the cost of governance. Those in the Executive and Legislative arms of government earn so much that there is little left for workers. Above all, their allowances are vast. They enjoy house allowance, vehicle allowance, wardrobe allowance, toilet allowance, bedroom allowance, siesta allowance, constituency allowance, laughing allowance, joke allowance, sneezing allowance, etc. These are counted in billions of naira. Our politicians are milking the country dry while workers are groaning and dying. The President should reduce the fleet of vehicles he moves about with. It is scandalous. The masses are hungry and angry. The presidential fall is a sign that the day of doom is fast approaching. Something drastic must be done now.

Later on that Democracy Day cocktail party, President Tinubu cracked joke about his fall inside the parade van in these words: "Early this morning, I had swagger and it's on the social media. They're confused whether I was doing 'buga' or doing 'babanriga'... But it is a day to celebrate democracy while doing 'dobale' for the day. I'm a traditional Yoruba boy. I did 'dobale.' This means that he paid homage or bowed to the elders of democracy. I hope he paid the homage in good faith. If a carpenter makes mistake, it becomes style.

Some notable individuals reacted to the fall of President Tinubu. The presidential spokesman Bayo Onanuga said "President Tinubu is not a Superman. He is human like all of us. President Biden has had several falls in the last three years. Even the young Barack Obama slipped while President. Political leaders are human. Slipping should not detract from the import of Democracy Day." On his own part, Atiku Abubakar commented, "I sincerely sympathize with President Bola Tinubu over his unfortunate incident as he was set to review the parade on Democracy Day. I do hope that all is well with him." Peter Obi sympathetically said, "I wish him well. We achieve nothing by gloating about an accident that could well happen to any of us. We are all human beings and, while we profoundly disagree on how to move Nigeria forward, we must remember our common human frailty. Let us stay focused on the issues that will lead to a new Nigeria." At this point I call it a day. I am hungry. Let me go and look for something to eat, lest I fall down.