Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaMonday, July 18, 2016




he Free Dictionary by Farlex defines hunger as "a strong desire or need for food; the discomfort, weakness or pain caused by a prolonged lack of food." Hunger can cause dizziness, physical imbalance, shrinking of the body, stomach ulcer, sleeplessness, etc. Hunger can induce one to steal. Prolonged hunger can lead to starvation or even death. A certain poor man died of hunger and was buried on the same day with raffia mat. In preparation for his funeral, neighbours contributed huge sum of money. On the funeral day people ate and drank to excess. Remember that the dead poor man died of hunger. What a contradiction! If you are the dead poor man, what would you do? One of the Corporal Works of Mercy is to feed the hungry. The other is to give drink to the thirsty. How many hungry people have you and I fed? Our Igbo women sing: "Nne na-enye mgbe o ji agu. Nna na-enye ma o gubie." The English translation is that the mother feeds a child as soon as it feels hungry while the father gives when the child's hunger has subsided. True or false? Is hunger good or bad? Ponder over this statement: Some people are hungry but have no food to eat. Some have food to eat but are not hungry. Which between the two groups of people has more advantage? The third group is hungry and has food to eat as well. If you are in this group kindly make a joyful noise to God!

On the other hand the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines anger as "a strong feeling of wanting to harm, hurt or criticize someone because they have done something unfair, cruel, offensive etc." Anger or wrath is intense emotional response. It can occur when a person feels his or her personal boundaries are being infringed. As an emotional reaction anger has some negative impacts on the body such as increased heart beat rate, increased blood pressure and high level of adrenaline. Anger distorts facial appearance. It reduces life span. An angry person gets old so quick. If you are in doubt of these consequences, just be angry now. What did you observe? Uncontrolled anger can lead to violence. An Angry person who is also a stammerer can kill. Do not near him or her. If you have problem with him or her, you better wear a life jacket.

We hear it on daily basis that a hungry man is an angry man. Woman is included in the man. Is it also true that an angry man is a hungry man? Is it better to be hungry than to be angry? What happens if a hungry man marries an angry woman? What of if an angry man marries a hungry woman? What follows? Let us navigate.

I travelled from Jos to Abuja very recently during my search for Comfort. Immediately I arrived at Abuja, I boarded a taxi to Pope John Paul II Centre, which is a guest house for accommodation and relaxation. I booked three day's accommodation. Then I packed in. I wanted to lie down and relax but my stomach was making a strange noise, signaling that my body system needed to be refueled. In other words I was hungry. In fact I did not waste time to enter the air-conditioned and well decorated restaurant at the centre. I ordered for plantain fou fou and vegetable soup, punctuated with the laps of a chicken. It was indeed delicious. I nearly ate my fingers. At the end, I digested the sumptuous menu with a cold bottle of cold beer. The hunger that was mesmerizing me earlier disappeared like lightening. Next I went into my room and dosed off immediately. As I was sleeping I found myself in Paradise in my dream. The sound of my snoring was ringing: "Thy kingdom come! Thy kingdom come!!" I had a very sound rest and I slept like a bouncing baby till day break.

At mid morning I dressed up to go into Abuja town for sight-seeing. As I was coming out from the guest house, behold two men dressed in suit fighting in the morning when other people were busy in their offices and business centers. I thought that any man dressed in suit is a gentleman. I asked myself, if these two men in suit fighting this morning are gentlemen, they would not have fought like wild animals. As I drew closer to the two fighting, I discovered that the suits they were wearing had 'okirika' smell. I said, "No wonder!" I was afraid to separate the fight in case they panel-beat my face. Thank God some drivers alighted from their vehicles to separate the two fighting. One of them lost all the front teeth while the other lost one eye. Do you know the cause of the fight? It was discovered that one of the men was hungry and the other was angry. When the hungry man and the angry man met, they couldn't give way to each other. They became aggressive. Hence the battle of frustration ensued.

A certain young man was provoked by his manager in the office. This young man went home angry. Immediately his wife stepped out of the door to offer him kiss of welcome as usual, he gave her a dirty slap such that twenty-four stars fell from her eyes. She cried mercilessly without consolation. Her man just brushed her aside as she was crying and went into the house fuming with rage. As madam was crying, her maid came out to ask her what was amiss. She gave her a knock on the head with a hammer. The maid fell down and cried hellishly. The house dog came out when it heard the maid (the finger that feeds it) crying. It came closer to the crying maid using its tale to console her. In turn the maid took the heavy wood nearby and smashed the dog's head. It fainted and later died. That was really a chain of transferred aggression or anger.

As a result of hunger, a retired idle civil servant ate the food that was kept for the children that went to school. As soon as the children returned from school, they rushed into the kitchen to take their food as usual. Unfortunately, they discovered that their food has been eaten and the three plates licked with the tongue by unknown thief or stray dog. They became more hungry and angry. It was later discovered by their mother that it was their father who was the unknown thief or the stray dog. Shamefully, the father of the three children apologized and blamed hunger for leading him into temptation. To appease the hungry and angry children the retired husband was given twelve lashes of the cane by his wife before the children.

A fortnight ago in one of the states in Northern Nigeria, Yusuf, his three wives and 18 children were mesmerized by acute hunger due to the present economic hardship in Nigeria. There was scarcely and food in the house. The children were all crying because of hunger. Yusuf looked up and down for solution but none came. He has been retrenched from his menial job due to the hardship. What happened? Yusuf took one of his sons aged nine and went to market. He wanted to buy a bag of rice but he had little money. He then went to a rice dealer shop and started bargaining in pretence. After agreeing at the price of N16,000 for one bag he left his son with the rice dealer and carried the bag of rice home, promising to come back with the money and then collect his son. After six hours, he did not come. Almost half bag of the rice was already cooked and eaten by the large family, with exception of the 9-year old son used as exchange (trade by barter). As darkness was descending, the hungry boy left at the mercy of the rice dealer with tears running down his cheeks led the trader to his father's house to ascertain the reason he did not fulfill his promise. Behold the father of eighteen children and husband of three wives was dosing and snoring in his hut, after consuming two plates of the rice. The rice seller became infuriated and slapped the erring father for deceiving him. The debtor did not retaliate. Instead he apologized for his unruly behaviour while blaming hunger for his action. He said since he has eighteen children he sacrificed one of them for a bag of rice. Space cannot contain what happened later.

Many Nigerians are hungry and angry over the hardship in the country. Many now eat once a day in the formula of 0-1-0, that is: No Breakfast. Yes Lunch. No Supper. Some drink garri three times a day, if available at all. Those who have little money eat roasted corns three times a day. Then they drink water to wash the masticated corn down the stomach. Have you seen any stomach that tells you what it ate? Many people no more go to toilet for long visit because of empty stomach. Innumerable Nigerians are jobless. Some have been retrenched or dismissed without prior notice. Along Nassarawa - Abuja express road, I saw some male graduates roasting corns to make the ends meet. Indeed hunger has no respect. 77 the musician said that white experts are super human beings but hunger is superior to them. There is hunger and anger in the land. The promised change has become a mirage. We are told to continue to be patient. A hungry man is indeed an angry man. Will the expected positive change come after we have all died and buried? Oh God, come to our help!