Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaWednesday, August 9, 2017



ould you remember the story of the woman who gave her husband three months' quit notice to leave the house on or before October 1, 2017? The aggrieved husband since then has been worried. How can he leave his hard-earned house for his wife and children to seek refuge elsewhere? The cow says that it is for the sake of peace that it follows the man drawing him on a rope. What do you recommend this couple in logger heads to do: restructuring or amendment?

On a certain morning, the husband went to his wife to ascertain why she gave him the quit notice. The wife replied, "Mr. Man, I have married you for twelve and half years now. Since then I have been managing you for better, for worse. Indeed I am tired of the marriage. Since we have four children, take two while I take two. Because I am a woman, the family house belongs to me. Go and build another house for yourself elsewhere. Your stubbornness has become unbearable. So, I don't want you to bury me before I die. If you do not leave this house at the expiration of the three months, I shall show you my red colour." The husband knelt down and pleaded with his wife for clemency. With all sincerity he said, "My dear wife, I have heard your complaints. Nothing has spoilt. There must be a way forward. Please let us restructure or amend." The wife shouted, "Go your way! I want neither restructuring nor amendment, you hopeless husband!" The husband retorted, "There is a limit to everything. My patience should not be taken for granted. If I am a hopeless husband, then you are my hopeless wife and our children are all hopeless. Hopelessness gives rise to futility. Our marriage is henceforth futile. Of course, I want you to know that I am fully in-charge of this house. Don't talk rubbish again or I blow your head off!"

The enraged wife couldn't control her anger. She gave her husband a very big dirty slap. Immediately, seven stars came out of his eyes. In the state of dizziness, the husband gave his wife a strong punch on the mouth. Seven teeth dropped from her mouth. The equation has been balanced: 7 stars + 7 teeth = retaliation. The Law of Karma is applied in the equation. The husband fell unconsciously on one side. The wife fell on the other side groaning in pains. Blood flowed like flood from her wounded mouth. Luckily their four children came back from fetching early morning water. They heard their mother wailing and screaming in the sitting room. They quickly dropped their gallons of water and rushed to the venue to see what was amiss. Pitifully they saw their parents lying side by side in pains and in a pool of blood. With tears coming down their cheeks they carried their father up and put him in a wheel barrow. Also they put their wounded mum in another wheel barrow. Off, they hurried to the nearest hospital. Two of the children were pushing one wheel barrow. The other two were pushing the other. The troubled couple married for better, for worse. On that fateful day they were rushed to the hospital for worse in two wheel barrows because no car was available.

On reaching the hospital, the nurses hurriedly rushed the couple lying in two stretchers into the emergency ward. Their lives have been bended and must be stretched. The Medical Director of the hospital reacted with dispatch. First of all, he gave the couple palliative injections before medical examination. Some medical tests were instantly conducted. The result showed that the dirty slap affected the husband's outer brain membrane, which led him into unconsciousness. On the other hand, the hot punch affected the wife's dental harmony, which dislocated her dental formula. Both wounded husband and wife were given admission for further medical treatment. They were lying side by side in the hospital beds.

After regaining consciousness, the wife opened her eyes and saw her husband lying on the other bed beside her. She asked him, "Are you still in this house after I have given you quit notice?" The husband, who had regained consciousness earlier, replied, "Both of us have quitted the house. We are here on admission in the hospital because of our stupidity." The wife reacted aggressively by spitting on her husband. The husband retaliated by throwing an empty bottle of tablet at her. At this injurious moment the doctor came in and separated the quarrelling sick-bed couple by giving them sleeping injections. They slept off immediately. When they woke up after six hours, they looked at each other and smiled. The smile came because the doctor mixed a dose of liquid reconciliatory medicine in the sleeping injection he gave them. They stood up and hugged each other lovely. The doctor came in and saw their wonderful and lovely recovery. He discharged them without charge. He promised to upset their medical bills. The couple went home happily with their four children escorting them and singing praises.

On reaching home, the couple and their four children sat in a round table for dialogue. They began by confessing their past misdeeds to each other. Then they forgave each other and made immediate and remote amendments for the harms they caused each other. After this, they restructured their thoughts, words and actions so that lasting peace may reign in the family. At last all knelt down in prayer for God's guidance and protection. It is indeed good to amend and restructure when things fall apart and the centre no more holds. A stitch in time saves nine.

Our country Nigeria is lying on a keg of gun powder which can explode any moment, if something meaningful is not done. Some patriotic Nigerians have suggested the restructuring of this country. Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines restructuring as the changing of the way in which something such as government, business, or system is organized. The present APC government carried out their electioneering campaign on the change mantra. They really discovered that things have fallen apart in this country. Therefore there must be a change. This change is nothing but restructuring. Nigerians happily embraced the CHANGE ideology and voted massively for All Progressives Congress led by President Muhammadu Buhari. Unfortunately the restructuring (change) has not been carried out till date. Instead things became worse. Our economy sank into oblivion. Hunger set in. Many skeletons are walking along the Nigerian streets daily searching for non-existent food to eat. A hungry man is an angry man.

Insecurity arising from the hands of Boko Haram terrorists, Fulani herdsmen and kidnappers worsened the already bad situation. The terrorists have been decimated but not conquered. They retreated and are back in full force. They lay ambush from time to time against our soldiers and slaughter them like fowls. Often these terrorists carry firearms that are superior to the ones carried by the soldiers. Indeed, there is consuming fire on the mountain. The president's long absence from the country due to ill-health has not helped matters, even though we have an Acting President. Our President is very sick. Our country Nigeria is very sick as well. The ailments must be diagnosed by medical experts and treated as quick as possible.

We must begin from somewhere. Our distinguished Senators sat recently in the Upper Chamber to discuss about the state of the Nation in distress. Surprisingly, they threw away everything about restructuring. For them, the amendment of the Constitution takes care of the agitations and marginalization coming from different sections of the country. The 1999 Constitution which was tinkered by the Military Junta has many flaws. Therefore the Constitution Amendment Committee has been going through the document to find out the grey areas that required amendment. The Amendment Draft is on the floor of the Senate and House of Representatives for debate. Both Upper and Lower Legislative Chambers put the Amendment of the Sections and sub-sections concerned under vote.

The highlights of the Constitution Amendment by the Senate as documented in the front page of the Daily Sun of Thursday, 27 July 2017 include: Financial autonomy for state legislature; Immunity for legislators for acts done during the course of duty; Submission of ministerial nominees, state commissioners with their portfolios; 35% affirmative action for women as ministers, commissioners; Separation of Office of the Attorney General from the Minister/Commissioner of Justice; INEC to conduct LG elections; Independent candidacy. From all indications, the Senators and Honourable members are amending the Constitution in their own favour. They seem to pay deaf ears to what concern all Nigerians. They threw away restructuring and devolving of powers to the states for some selfish reasons. Our country is really in dire need of restructuring because many things have fallen apart. Some ethnic groups are suffering one form of marginalization or the other. Some geographical regions are disadvantaged in the number of states they have. Some states have numerous local governments which were created out of bias. The sharing formula of the National Cake is calling for review. Admissions to the Universities and other higher institutions of learning in the country are not equitably done. The One Nigeria spirit is seriously in coma. There is no true Federalism in the governance of the country. There is acute hatred in the hearts of many Nigerians. As a result of this, the spirit of love is dwindling among the ethnic groups and religions that make up the entity called Nigeria. Injustice seems to be reigning supreme here and there. We cannot pretend to sleep in the midst of all these agonizing problems. Our nascent democracy needs to grow and not to retrogress. Restructuring is the answer!

The Amendment of the Constitution is not enough. We must also amend our ways, our thoughts and our actions. For brothers and sisters to live in harmony, the virtues of charity (love), justice and truth must prevail. Injustice is the cause of agitation. Justice is the bedrock of good governance. The Holy Bible says, "When the virtuous rule, the people are happy, but they groan when the wicked are in power" (Proverbs 29:2). Implicitly, if we have a good president, good governors, good senators, good honourable members, good local government chairmen, etc Nigerians will be rejoicing. Good governance is all about the welfare of the masses. Democracy is simply defined as the government of the people, by the people and for the people. It is not the government of my pocket, by my pocket and for my pocket. Most of our leaders at the national and state levels are in power for their own aggrandizement. We must restructure our minds and amend our ways. In God we trust!