Friday, February 1, 2019
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Lagos, Nigeria

Continued from Part 3

have been describing in the last three sermons, what Nigeria was like during the Colonial era and few years after when visible developments were steadily in progress, when both the government and the governed were committed to the prosperity of the nation and job was available for everyone, whatever the level of certification.

Today, I will continue with the story of Nigeria once upon a time.

Let us pray

There is one thing that is troubling and frustrating to me. Ask me what it is. Uncountable numbers of flights take off to foreign lands from Murtala Mohammed airport Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja on daily basis.

All these flights are usually full, each carrying not less than 200 Nigerians. The same number of flights arrive at Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe international Airport on daily basis, each bringing in, not less than 200 Nigerians from developed world.

There are flights everyday travelling out and coming in from London, several cities of the USA, Canada, Dubai, Jeddah, China, Malaysia, Germany, France, Netherlands, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Australia and many other countries of the world. These take place all year round of 365 days a year. Consider the number of Nigerians who have seen with their eyes how developed and beautiful those countries are. Consider the number of Nigerians who have performed Holy pilgrimages to Jerusalem and Mecca.

It is most astonishing and painful that these Nigerians, in spite of all they see, how the people of the countries they visit, have turned their countries to amazingly wonderful lands, still, we cannot be motivated to mobilize ourselves and work towards catching up with those countries. We are just a country of shameless people.

Most frustrating are those who were educated in those countries and who have taken to politics, yet they do nothing to catch up with the rest of the world except to be blowing grammar and wear clothes like cockroaches and wear the latest designer shoes, ties and suits. And I want to know anyone who has been in government since independence who has never been to those developed world. Shame on them all.

All that concern Nigerians who travel abroad is to buy and buy materials, with no effort to become producers. Shameless people.

Recently, I returned to Nigeria and I travelled with an 80 year old woman, who I believe must have gone to nurse a grand baby. I was amazed at her excess luggage and in particular her hand luggage. I do not understand how her children expected her to cope with the hand luggage they loaded on her, with her age and fragile figure. We cannot just be tired with what we have. We just must accumulate, without any plan to produce. We only take pride in arrogantly telling stories of how beautiful the land of the white is to those who have not got the chance to be there and take pride in saying 'my children are

I now want to re-count some of our history, which I have not said before. After this, we will ask ourselves what has changed. Why did we turn from the path of sanity to the path of destruction and hopelessness?

Living in the village when I was young, I can recollect that the entrance door to our house was always left open and the last person to leave the house only shuts the door without putting it under lock since no one was sure when any member of the family was going to return home.

The house was put under lock only at bedtime after every one had returned home. This was the scene over 60 years ago unlike today when house owners have to erect high fence with barb wires or broken bottles inserted on the roof of the fence, round the house.

Bo se ri niyi ni ole ni ogota odun sehin, yato fun t'oni, to je wipe t'eniyan ba k'o le tan, a fi ko tun mo ogiiri to ga yi ile naa ka, ko si tun ri waya elegun tabi akufo igo mo orule ogiiri.

I also remember very well, in the 60's, quite a number of private car owners loved to travel in the night because the roads were much freer and so less prone to accidents. Also the weather condition would be cool and favourable to the smooth running of the engine of the car unlike in the afternoon when the tropical heat could be unfriendly. That could be done then because there were no fears of armed robbers. It is like committing suicide should anyone do that today.

I'll tell you one, which is much recent, as recent as the early 70's.

Because house rent in Lagos is very exorbitant, especially on the Island, one young person would take (rent) a room, and accept one or two more young fellows to squat with him; all of them, sharing the cost of the rent. Any of those could still allow one other fellow to squat in the same room. In all, about 6 or more fellows might be occupying just one room. All they used the room for, was to hang their clothes and to provide privacy for dressing.

Most of the occupants slept outdoor in the courtyard at night when there was no rain.

What a beautiful, peaceful, secured life, void of fear of intruders. This was the practice up to the early 70s. If anyone does that today, he himself will be stolen, not only his properties.

When I was growing up and up till recent past, anyone who lived above his means had no respect in the community.

People kept their distance away from such a person. Today, such are the ones the society hail and make every effort to reach including some religious leaders as well.

The popular slogan today is "Who will be at the vantage position and will not help himself" The saying may be popular, but it is an unfortunate one and what has led us to the level of corruption, which we are today and the attending poverty.

I was told a true story of a man sighted for harvesting yam on a plantation, which was not his. Realizing that he had been sighted, right from the farm, he banned himself into exile. He never entered the village again till he died.

This was when there was shame for wrong behavior.

The story is different today; we roll drums to meet treasury looters and award them with chieftaincy titles. The common saying today is "We know that our son steals but he is generous with it among relations"

Nigerian children of today think and plan only short cuts to success.

Let us now do a soul searching as to why Nigeria was so beautiful, peaceful and secured to live during the time I just spoke about.

What was the secret to their peaceful coexistence? They were Nigerians, they are our parents from whose blood we descend, many of who are still alive.

The secret can't be farfetched. Our parents and elders, many of who are still alive today to bear testimony were Godly. They lived under the fear of God. God's word and His command were their watchword. They were conscious that this life is vanity and transient just like the midst, which appear in the morning but vanish by noon but Heaven is the permanent home. They love their names and the image of their family and town and will not want to tarnish it.

The Yoruba elders say "Heaven is the journey of no return" and they were not prepared to toil with anything that was going to scuttle their ambition from making heaven.

Our parents obeyed the Bible wholeheartedly, which says "Righteousness exalts a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people" (Prov.14:34).

They treated others the way they expected others to treat them.

We have a lot to gain if we adhere to God's word.

When God gives a command, it is solely for our benefit. Obedience to the command leaves us at an advantage and opens the door to better things for us while we cheat ourselves when we disobey.

Disobedience leaves us with inferior things, less than what we deserve, at a disadvantage or even total calamity.

By the grace of God, I will in future continue with these stories of what it was like, in Nigeria in the past.

Let us pray.

Continued from Part 3