FEATURE ARTICLE

Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaSunday, July 12, 2015
amobipchuks@yahoo.com


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WAITING FOR THE TIME BOMB

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uring the Nigerian-Biafran War (1967 - 1970), I was a little child, fighting on the Biafran side in the Hunger sector. I was three years old when my parents ran with me and my two siblings from Jos to my native home in the East. In those days, many Biafran children were sickly pregnant as a result of the dreaded Kwashiorkor disease, caused by malnutrition. I was lucky that the deadly disease passed over me. That was the first Passover I celebrated in my life. That time, my mother was catering for my dad and four of us then. My daddy was hiding under the bed from morning to night to avoid being recruited into the Army to face the bullets of the enemy. The fearful voice of my grandfather prevented the soldiers from going into our bedroom to search for hidden soldiers.

During that civil war, I heard about bomb for the first time after coming out of my mother's lovely womb; from womb to bomb. A bunker was dug in our compound near a giant pear tree. Whenever we heard the sound of plane, we rushed into it to avoid being bombarded. As we laid flat in the bunker for hours, hunger bombarded my stomach. I nearly ate sand as food supplement. When the sound of the war plane subsided, we hurried back to the house to tell stories, real and imagined. The greatest miracle then was to see food on the table. Often, as little as I was, I joined other Biafran children in the Mission field to get a share of war relief from Gabon. Please thank any citizen of Gabon you see around for me. May God grant eternal life to all soldiers who died, defending us at the war front. When we reach heaven I shall shake hands with them for their bravery.

The Civil war taught me about bomb. The Longman's Dictionary of Contemporary English defines bomb as "a weapon made of material that will explode." There are different types of bomb: ordinary bomb, nuclear bomb, suicide bomb, time bomb, parcel bomb, etc. The mission of any bomb is to kill and destroy. Bomb has no atom of mercy inside it. We can only pray in the face of any bombardment by saying, "Lord, have mercy!"

It was in 1986 that parceled time bomb did havoc in Nigeria. It was at the residence of the Editor of Newswatch Magazine in Lagos, the late Mr. Dele Giwa. A parceled time bomb was brought to him by a death messenger from the office of the powers that be. General Ibrahim Babangida was the then Head of State. Before going to office that morning, the late Dele Giwa with curiosity opened the parceled bomb letter to ascertain its content. But he did not live to tell the rest of the story. The parceled letter bomb exploded at his laps and shattered him and everything in his study room. Till today, the question on every lip is: Who killed Dele Giwa? The late Fela Ransom Kuti attempted to name the murderer, but he stopped at Baba. However God knows the assassin. Dele Giwa, you died for the Truth. Rest in peace! We shall meet to part no more on the Resurrection Day.

During the late General Sani Abacha era (1993 - 1998), many bombs exploded in the streets of Nigeria, shattering innocent citizens going about their normal businesses. Today, more bombs are planted by the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents who, since six years now, have sent thousands of innocent Nigerians to their untimely graves. As we are narrating that a rat bit someone to death, the lizard collected money to go and sharpen its teeth. The terrorists have resorted to the use of men, women and children to carry out their nefarious activity of suicide bombing. Oh, God where are you?

Prior to the 2015 Presidential Election, political time bomb was planted in the polity, waiting to explode. The ex-president Goodluck Jonathan of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was on sit. The opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC), was seriously clamoring for change. Their political campaign portrayed that if they did not win, heaven would fall on earth. Many Nigerians started running home in droves to avoid the impending deadly rain fall on them. By then "Sai Buhari" was a slogan ranting on the air. Eventually the election came and gone. President Muhammadu Buhari of APC was declared the winner. Thanks to God that the former President Jonathan accepted defeat. He thereby bequeathed peace to Nigerians as his departing gift.

On 29 May 2015, the incumbent President Buhari was sworn into office. His famous slogan "I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody" is still a topic of reflection in many quarters. The Broom Government is now in place. Nevertheless the elections of the Senate President Dr Bukola Saraki and the Speaker Yakubu Dogara on June 9, 2015 have caused the gradual disintegration of the Broom Government. Dr. Ike Ekweremadu's emergence as Deputy Senate President has left the APC sleepless. Also the election and selection of other principal officers of the Red Chamber and Green Chamber have brought disunity. Since then the broom can no longer sweep well, because the bundle is scattering into pieces. The APC wants to install their anointed candidates into both chambers. But the Constitution empowers both Chambers to elect their officers at the floor of the Houses. War is raging. Time bomb is about to explode. God forbid! The change is enfolding. We live to see.

The Senate and House of Representatives hurriedly adjourned sitting till 21st July. A time bomb has been planted under the floor of the National Assembly, waiting to explode. Meanwhile caucus and nocturnal meetings of APC are on-going. The Opposition Party herself has not gone to sleep. I recommend that both the Army and the Police bomb experts should be sent to the APC Secretariat, Senate and House of Representative to search and detonate planted time bombs before both Chambers resume for Plenary on 21 July 2015.

From the facial appearance of President Buhari, I could observe that tension is very high. I rarely see his open teeth nowadays. Smiling is on vacation. His party is calling him to call the leadership of the National Assembly to order. At first Buhari promised to work with anyone as Senate President and Speaker. He also acknowledged that the elections of Saraki as Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu as Deputy Senate President and Dogara as Speaker were constitutional. Since then many hands have been pulling him on his babaringa to say otherwise. Hence Buhari of recent uttered that Party supremacy must be maintained in the Upper and Lower Chambers, where the ruling APC has majority members. Having Ike Ekweremadu of PDP in mind, Buhari asserted that they cannot work with an enemy. The APC is doing everything possible to remove Ike Ekweremadu. The later himself said that the era of politics is over. It is now time for governance. I foresee that any attempt to remove Saraki, Ike Ekweremadu and Dogara by impeachment or by any illegal means can lead to the explosion of the planted time bombs. That will bring doom to All Progressives Congress. For peace to reign, the three men should be allowed to serve out their tenure. The barking dogs should subside for now. The warring forces should sheath their swords and take cover to avoid the time bomb tearing them into pieces.

Up till now, the various ministers are yet to be appointed. Can Buhari do it alone? Each of the political parties that metamorphosed into APC is seeking for her identity. The APC leaders also want to stamp the ministers. As a civilian president, Buhari can no longer rule by Army decree. He must consult and seek approval from the legislators. Peoples Democratic Party as opposition force has an input to make. More time bombs are hidden here and there. How far can the clamored change materialize?

The other day I wept like a widow who lost her beloved husband. Do you know why? Another time bomb is planted in Anambra State by the Federal Government importation of some of the dreaded Boko Haram prisoners into Anambra Prisons. The people in the vicinity of Ekwulobia Prison are no more sleeping. Mr. President why? We have not enough security to keep watch over those heartless men. Since then I have not been sleeping all night. The terrorists can break the jail and come out into the streets to bomb Anambrarains. Please let the authorities concerned help us by deporting those terrorists to prisons in their states. Another alternative is to send them to Kirikiri maximum prison in Lagos, where there is enough security. Willie is working in Anambra State. Terrorists should not be allowed to destroy his work. The alleged presence of the Boko Haram insurgents has already caused Hypertension among the citizens of Anambra State. President Buhari, please save our souls. Let this time bomb not explode and kill us here in Anambra State. The terrorists are heartless. If no place is found to keep them, let them be quartered in the desert or in the lions' cage in a zoo. Let them terrorize lions and leopards. Whoever conquers let him drink the other's blood.

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