Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaTuesday, October 11, 2016




was behind the steering last Friday, on my way to my home town Aguluezechukwu in Aguata L.G.A of Anambra State, to attend a burial Mass of a beloved in-law. Adjacent to the Central Police Station at Ekwulobia, I came across an ugly sight. What did I see? I saw a fierce dizzy mad man standing beside the road doing three unpleasant things at the same time. Imagine your imagination! He was urinating, smoking and drinking from a bottle of dry gin. I stopped my car and wound down the glass to see him clearly. All of a sudden, the fierce mad man in action glanced back and saw me watching him. He roared at me with red eyes. For fear of the unknown, I wound up my glass and drove away with the highest velocity after making the Sign of the Cross thrice. Life has no duplicate. Only a tree stands still at the approach of danger.

What marveled me most was that the Police did not dare to arrest that fierce mad man who was urinating, smoking and sipping from a bottle of dry gin. I came to the conclusion that the mad man was living a painful life. I ask myself: "Was he born mad?" Indeed I had no clue as from where he hailed from. But if someone tampers with the life of the fierce mad man, his family will surface to claim damages and demand for compensation. Now that he is living a painful life, no one cares.

Like the fierce mad man doing three unpleasant things, many Nigerians are now living painful lives. The Change promised us by the present APC Government turned to be painful in all dimensions. The most painful is that many Nigerians are dying of hunger. As I reached my home town, I met my amiable mother praying and sprinkling Holy Water on the door of our kitchen, after she had locked it securely. After concluding her prayers, I embraced her and enquired from her the intention behind her prayers. I learnt she has just cooked a delicious soup. Bitterly she told me that due to the hardship and hunger in the country, thieves break into people's kitchens and houses to steal already cooked food. At times they settle down and eat the stolen food right away in the kitchen or carry them away, depending on how long they expect the family members to come back.

In one occasion, one of the thieves after over-eating, slept off right inside the kitchen, while others took to their heels. He was snoring like a wild bull when the owner of the house returned unexpected. Walking towards the kitchen, the landlady heard the wild snoring and she was afraid. She tiptoed to the scene to ascertain what was amiss in her kitchen. Surprisingly she beheld the thief lying horizontally in her kitchen, snoring and polluting the air at random. The landlady tiptoed back to her room and poured out the hot water in her big flask into a small basin. It was still 98% hot. She hurried to the kitchen with the hot water to bath the sleeping food thief. Without a second thought she poured the hot water over the sleeping hungry rogue. He rose to his feet and shouted, "My God, save me! I am dying of pains. Hunger has betrayed me." The hungry boys around angrily whisked him away and handed him over to the police, who in turn gave him a painful treatment. Later, the police took him to a hospital to undergo a painful medical treatment. Few days later, the painful thieve died a painful death due to first degree of skin burn.

Few days ago I drove to Enugu again through the failed Onitsha - Enugu expressway. I saw hell on earth. I drove painfully from Awka to Enugu for almost six hours; a journey that would have lasted for forty-five minutes, if the road is in good condition. Having arrived at my destination in Enugu, I painfully rushed to a hospital for medical panel-beating of my exhausted body. After diagnosis, the doctor gave me a painful intravenous injection. Then I painfully slept off. After sleeping for six hours, I woke up painfully and drank a bottle of Life beer, so that life can come back into me. Lord, have mercy on me!

The employment situation in our country has brought untold pains to the teeming job seekers, especially thousands of graduates in different fields of study. Due to idleness, a certain jobless youth painfully slept from 8a.m to 3p.m. During the long painful sleep caused by lack of employment, he had a disturbing dream. Suddenly he jumped up from his bed and shouted, "Change!" He grabbed a long knife and started pursuing everybody in the house, including his parents. The house dog began to bark painfully at the painful occurrence. The young man came back to his senses few minutes later. Having no hope in life, he took a rope and went at the back of their house. There he tied the robe on a mango tree and hung himself. What a painful exit!

If you visit many hospitals today, you will see patients writhing in pains at every corner. Not long ago I visited an orthopedic hospital. What I saw crippled me. I came across an accident victim eating painfully through the nose with his legs and hands tied from above. What a painful life! While I was praying for him, I couldn't control my painful emotion. I broke into painful tears. Mid way the prayer session, I slumped on the floor. The doctors and nurses rushed to my rescue. Instantly, I was admitted in the hospital and was placed on pain relief drip for two days. On the third day, I was discharged and warned to avoid painful things or conditions. That means I must get away from this painful country till things improve. Presently I am seeking for asylum overseas. At the same time I am composing a Prayer for Nigeria in Pains. Could you help me in the composition?

As a result of the painful conditions of things in our country, many young Nigerians are experiencing painful deaths. The caption on the obituary posters of deceased youths is always: PAINFUL EXIT. There are deaths, there are deaths; but the death of a youth is more painful as most people think. Why should the youths who are the elders of tomorrow bow out early from this world? The burial in question that I attended involved a promising youth. Sickness caught him in the prime of his life. He suffered painfully for three years before his painful death. He left a young wife and three children behind, who saw the future as hopeless for them. Thus the young widow and the three kids wept sorrowfully and painfully. The grave diggers were weeping and drinking a carton of beer placed before them. The pains in their hearts moved them to cry. They sip from their bottles of beer from time to time to douse the sorrow in their hearts.

It is a tragedy for someone to live a painful life and also die a painful death. In reality, the demise of anyone brings pains. Nevertheless the departure of a young promising man is more painful. At times the pains are based on the burdens the young wife and little kids would encounter. Some men and relatives are adamant to offer useful help unless their egoistic intentions are granted. A certain young widow was invited to a post mortem meeting by the extended family of the deceased husband. She was asked to surrender her flesh before she can obtain any benefit from them. She was also asked to surrender the houses built by her husband because as a woman she has no right to such immovable properties. What a double painful situation! By these painful conditions she was placed in dilemma. She was still in pains of her young husband's death and pains caused by her husband's siblings. If you were in her shoes, what would you do?

As human beings we were born in pains. It was the unfortunate fall of man from grace to grass that added severe pains at child birth. God said to Eve, "I shall give you intense pain in childbearing; you will give birth to your children in pain" (Gen. 3:16). I remembered vividly how my mother writhed in pains shortly before my birth. I was consoling her as I was passing through the birth canal. Immediately I came out of the womb, my mother was rejoicing over the birth of a bouncing baby boy. In turn I started crying over the painful environment I was born into. What an irony! Earlier my mother was writhing in pains during my birth and I was rejoicing in the womb. Later my mother was rejoicing for a safe delivery and I was crying for coming into a painful world. The environment of my mother's womb was so conducive that I was reluctant to be born into this painful world. If I were given an option, I would have preferred to stay in the womb till I become an adult.

What is the fate of someone who was born painfully; lived a painful life and died painfully? Some people die quietly while some die struggling. Some die smiling while others die crying. The obituary posters of most elderly people are titled "Glorious Exit" while those of younger persons are titled "Painful Exit." On my own part, we should all, whether young or old, exit this painful world gloriously and joyfully in order to enjoy eternal bliss in heaven. Only a person whose destination is hell-fire can be said to exit painfully. Shakespeare says that death is a necessary end which must come when it will come. Death takes us unaware always because we are never ready to leave this painful world. Jesus tells us to always stand ready because he is coming to call us to eternity at an hour we do not expect (Lk.12:40). There should no more be any painful exit. We came into this world painfully. We should struggle to live virtuous life while our stay here on earth lasts in order to leave it gracefully. Death knows no age limit. Therefore Painful Exit should read Joyful Exit. There is joy in Heaven while pain exists in Hell.