On CHRISTMAS MORNING
CHICKEN woke GASPING
Do I PROCEED to SLAUGHTER,
Carry on FEEDING MURDER?
Or helplessly WATCH ON,
TEARED up, sadly MOURN?
Which in clearly MEAN,
What is indeed HUMANE?
Do pls help add an ADVICE
I’m PAINED, feeling not nice!
On CHRISTMAS MORNING
CHICKEN woke GASPING
Do I PROCEED to SLAUGHTER,
Carry on FEEDING MURDER?
Or helplessly WATCH ON,
TEARED up, sadly MOURN?
Which in clearly MEAN,
What is indeed HUMANE?
Do pls help add an ADVICE
I’m PAINED, feeling not nice!
Does General Gowon look like somebody who moved to London with half of Nigeria’s Central Bank?
We, the undersigned call upon Hon. Member of Parliament representing Tonbridge and Malling of the United Kingdom, Ted Tugendhat to withdraw his recent statement at Westminster;
“Some people would remember when General Gowon left Nigeria with half of the central bank, or so it was said, and moved to London,”
Mr. Tugendhat, had spoken when E-petition 554150 was being considered at the British Parliament on Monday, November 23, 2020 over a petition seeking sanction against the Nigerian government for alleged human rights abuses during the #EndSARS protests.
We are not unmindful that the MP had added “so it was said” to his presumptuous claim. That notwithstanding, Mr. Tugendhat would have availed himself with some basic historical overview on the exact circumstances of how General Gowon ended up dining at the student cafeteria at Warwick University after his overthrow on July 29, 1975 while in Kampala attending a summit of the Organization of African Unity (OAU now African Union)
Even after 45 years, General Gowon’s statement thereafter remains instructive;
“From all indications a new government had been established in Nigeria. I wish to state that I, on my part, have also accepted the change and pledged my full loyalty to my nation, my country and the new government. Therefore, in the overall interest of the nation and our beloved country, I appeal to all concerned to cooperate fully with the new government and ensure the preservation of peace, unity and stability of our dear motherland.
As a Nigerian, I am prepared to serve my country in any capacity, which my country may consider appropriate. I am a professional soldier and I can do any duty that I am called upon to do.
May I take this opportunity to thank all the people of Nigeria and friends of Nigeria for the support and cooperation that you all gave me during my tenure of office and call upon all of you to give the new government of our nation the same support and cooperation in the interest of our beloved country.
Long live one united, happy and prosperous Nigeria. Long live the Organisation of African Unity.”
The attached images are of General Gowon after he had enrolled as a student at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom. Where eventually his Ph.D Thesis focused on The Economic Community of West African States: A study in Political and Economic integration.
It would be recalled after his overthrow from government several investigations were made into corrupt enrichment. The General was neither found complicit nor indicted in any. More ever;
“Many offers of residence came to him in Kampala from various African countries. He notified the new regime in Lagos that he would leave Kampala for Lome in Togo. Since he was financially broke, teary-eyed members of the Nigerian delegation along with staffers at the Nigerian High Commission in Kampala donated 3000 pounds sterling to enable him begin a new life. He was flown to Lome – via Garoua in Cameroon – aboard President Idi Amin’s executive jet.
Part of the flight passed through Nigerian airspace and Gowon took the opportunity to transmit a radio message reaffirming loyalty to and support for Brigadier Muhammed’s new regime. Although offered permanent domicile in Togo he chose to join his family in the United Kingdom. He received an additional 10,000 pounds sterling donation from General Eyadema. Following a telephone call to Brigadier Muhammed, during which he made requests for elementary federal assistance, he left for London.”
“When he got to London, he was offered official accommodation by the Nigerian government which he, however, turned down for a variety of reasons. After some weeks at the Portman Hotel, he moved into the house of an old friend – Mr. Emmanuel Otti – at 472 Finchley Road, London. The delay was to enable the house to be redecorated by Mr. and Mrs. Otti and Brigadier Sam Ogbemudia (who had been in the UK when the coup took place in Nigeria). Other friends came to the assistance of the family. It was not until September 1975 that he began to get his pension and gratuities as a retired Four-Star General. In the nine years he had been Nigeria’s ruler he had not built himself a single house, inside or outside the country, nor did he expropriate one kobo of government money.
Unlike some of those who served under him, his TOTAL savings throughout his service years as well as his years as Nigeria’s leader was N75,000 – all of which was inside Nigeria. In time to come this would stand in stark contrast to the conduct of and personal fortunes of most of those who conspired to remove him from office – or benefited from it.
Once settled in with his family, the General, who was offered several Masters Degree programs, signed up for undergraduate studies in Political Science at Warwick University. Newspapers in Nigeria later carried news items and photographs depicting the former Nigerian leader carrying trays in a student cafeteria in the UK.
The Muhammed regime was embarrassed and therefore dispatched Brigadier TY Danjuma (who, took Kano born Col. Wali along) to ask Gowon adopt a supposedly more dignified stance. Gowon rejected the overture and reassured his “embarrassed sympathizers” that he was comfortable with his situation. (Conceivably nothing could have been more embarrassing than to be overthrown while attending an OAU summit). He made friends among the Nigerian students at Warwick, including a family friend of mine, Desmond Guobadia, now a legal practitioner in Lagos. Meanwhile his spouse, the former First Lady, Mrs. Victoria Gowon (who was a nurse) registered as a catering student at a University College in London.”
See details in; Military Rebellion of July 29, 1975 – Epilogue: From Kampala to Lome to London and back to Nigeria by Nowa Omoigui
Therefore, we the undersigned call upon all Nigerians of goodwill and indeed the members of the international community at large to ignore the insinuations of Mr. Tugendhat. In turn, by this signed clarification we call upon the MP to be appropriately corrected and to do the needful by withdrawing his statement on General Gowon.
Ahmed Yahaya Joe.
By Taiwo Sanni
Tell my mother I was unarmed.
Tell my father I had the flag in my hands when I was shot.
Tell the unborn Generation that I died singing the national anthem.
Tell the cowards who shot me that my spirit lives on in the life of every good Nigerian youth.
Tell the government that they shot my body but not my spirit.
Tell the world I died for freedom like many good people before me.
I regret nothing, for I have done what my father’s, mother’s, uncle’s and aunt’s couldn’t do out of fear. Let God judge me, I am only sorry for the pain of leaving you this early.
My prints will forever remain in the sands of history for I have done my time based on the path I chose freely & willingly.
Now that my torment in Nigeria is over, please lay me to rest on mother earth where you all will join me in due time, take my voice and hand it over to the next good youth whom I hope by Gods Almighty grace will benefit a better Nation.
For I know that freedom is coming, yes freedom will come tomorrow.
By Remi Oyeyemi & Simon Kolawole
SPEAKING ILL OF THE DEAD
By Remi Oyeyemi
“The evil that men do live after them.” — William Shakespare
I am aware that this is breaking with the conventional wisdom. I am conscious that this is a rebuke of tradition. I am not oblivious to the fact that it is against the norm. I am not unaware that this is not in tune with the mainstream. I am aware some would loath me for it. Some would deride me. Others would call me names. Those who really never liked my guts, would have this reinforced it for them. But those who have the objective ability to see things the way they are and are able to call them as exactly as they should, would see some sense in this.
The idea of not speaking ill of the dead is not a good idea, especially if the dead person did nothing deserving of praise. The idea of praising the dead, regardless if the dead, during his or her life was mean spirited, greedy, selfish, inconsiderate, odiously acquisitive, ruthless and disdainful, is totally unacceptable. It is wrong and should be done away with. We should be able to say exactly what kind of person someone was during his or her life.
I have been reading in the media unbelievable eulogies about the late Chief of Staff to President Mohammadu Buhari, Mr. Abba Kyari. I have been reading some hypocritical praise – singing of this man who, to many Nigerians who celebrated his infliction a couple of weeks back, was no less a monster, because he has become the casualty of the Coronavirus 19. I have read from those who hated him saying embarrassingly ‘nice’ things about him. What a fraud. What a dishonesty.
It is a sad day when people cascade into casual casuistry with unbridled audacity. It is an act of deliberate undermining of the societal values to heap praises on someone whose remains ought to be used to cast away evils from the entire society. To project a mean – spirited public office holder as a saint when he is not, is a sin in itself.
I take serious objection to the rain of praise that has been raining down on the corpse of the late Abba Kyari. Though, this is a matter of choice to which we are all entitled depending on the way we see it. In my own view, Kyari is not deserving of any praise whatsoever. It is alright for President Buhari to cry himself hoarse. Kyari was his Chief of Staff and his relative. It is okay for his goons in Aso Rock, his partners in crime to weep without end. It is okay for those who are beneficiaries of his corrupt practices, his impunities to gnash their teeth to numb. It is their loss. His immediate and extended family members reserve the inalienable rights to mourn him infinitely and indefinitely.
I also believe that it is alright for the rest of us who are victims of the first family and their collaborators in Aso Rock, to acknowledge the loss of a soul, not because of any other reason other than the fact that we are all human beings. And this is where it ought to end. No more, no less.
For those who are Buhari’s sycophants and who still hope to benefit from the misery he is visiting on Nigeria, it might be acceptable to them to shed their crocodile tears even if they really did not like the man when he was alive. They are welcome to do so.
Here is a man, who never got a single vote, whether rigged or not, from the Nigerian people, but who hijacked the executive powers of the Presidency. He held Nigeria and Nigerians to ransom since 2015. He rode roughshod over the people of this country. He appropriated all the appurtenances of power for his personal idiosyncrasies.
Abba Kyari never cared. He never gave a damn. Yes, he did not give a damn how many Nigerians died. He did not care how many Nigerians went hungry. He did not care how much injustice was perpetrated. He did not give a damn how many innocent Nigerians were murdered. He did not give a damn how many Nigerians were chased off their ancestral lands. He did not care how many of our daughters were raped. He did not give a damn how many were maimed by his tribesmen.
He was a perniciously greedy soul. He was remorseless in his ways. The 500 million naira bribe he took from the MTN was emblematic of his innate rapacity. It was emblematic of his bloated edacity. He appointed himself to the Board of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). It was the first time in the History of Nigeria for an incumbent Chief of Staff. It was against the norm of decency and restraint. It was impunity at its worst.
Kyari relentlessly harassed the Vice President, licentiously anchoring Professor Osinbajo’s deliberate disempowerment. He unabashedly intimidated the Ministers and prevented them from meaningful collaboration with the man who appointed them, or whom he helped appointed. With a mien akin to that of a dove, he was a heinous hawk, a vicious vulture that is egregious and atrocious in its debauchery and cupidity.
He was mindless and mean. He was cruel and cold. He was crude and callous. His greed was congenital. His insouciance encrypted his guiled mendacity. He was hung up on power hunkering. He had disdain for the rules. Like his principal, Buhari, he believed and acted above the law. His arrogance was horrifying. His condescension, sardonically sickening in the way and manner he exercised unmerited power.
Yes, the idea of not speaking ill of the dead is a VERY WRONG one, especially if that dead person never did anything to deserve it. If this practice was to continue, it means every criminal in our midst should look forward to being praised after he/she was dead regardless of the crimes committed. This would also mean a genuine disincentive for those who strive to do positive things and improve their communities.
It is very important to ensure that dead people’s memories be imbued with their acts of omissions and commissions when they were alive. It is an act of injustice to arrogate false achievements, fake qualities to monstrous figures more notorious for their kleptomania as they gallivant through the inner rooms of power.
Hopefully, when I die, people would have the unburnished courage to say exactly what they feel about me and not deodorize my omissions and imperfections. Hopefully, those who would feel the need to mourn me would not see the need to be hypocritical and dishonest in their elegies.
In all this, what became clearer is the vanity of vanity itself. It brought to the fore the cliché popularized by the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State in the early 1980s, “,,, vanity upon vanity, all is vanity.” It underscores the ephemeralness of not just power, but of all things that are human, except our deeds. This probably informed William Shakespeare’s ageless rumination captured in the phrase, ” The evil that men do live after them.”
We should not praise villains when they are dead. It is a great disincentive to those who laboured to be above board and did the right thing. You don’t have to agree with me. You don’t have to like me. Please, don’t like me, just respect the truth.
“The world tells us to seek success, power and money; God tells us to seek humility, service and love.” – Pope Francis
Lies never last, History never dies and the TRUTH is always constant.
Now for the other side of the divide….
____ ______ ______ ______
Now That Abba Kyari is Dead
By Simon Kolawole
April 19, 2020
On January 18, 2020, when I first read of the new coronavirus on the BBC website, my heart missed a beat because of what China means to the world. The headline was: “New virus in China ‘will have infected hundreds’.” And these were the opening paragraphs: “The number of people already infected by the mystery virus emerging in China is far greater than official figures suggest, scientists have told the BBC. There have been more than 60 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, but UK experts estimate a figure nearer 1,700. Two people are known to have died from the respiratory illness, which appeared in Wuhan city in December.” I feared for Nigeria in particular.
After reading the story, I immediately sent a link to Mallam Abba Kyari, chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, with the note: “Good afternoon Mallam. We need to watch it.” How on earth would I have known that exactly three months later, Kyari would be gone, consumed by the same virus? At the time, as the BBC reported, there were only two deaths from the coronavirus disease in the world — and both were in Wuhan. It had not been declared a pandemic by WHO. No other country had recorded any case. It looked so distant that I was even asking myself: “What do you want the chief of staff to do about it?” The whole experience now looks surreal to me.
We regularly exchanged chats and compared notes as the virus began to cause more concern across the world. Shortly after Nigeria recorded its index case — an Italian — on February 27, he finally began to express his worries to me. Let me reproduce his chat in whole: “How many intensive care units do we have ready to admit acute cases? How quickly can we increase the numbers if the virus spreads? How many nurses do we have to deploy immediately and how quickly can we increase the numbers? How many ventilators do we have and how many should we ideally have and how quickly can we increase the numbers?” He said these were his own concerns.
Along the line, Buhari directed Kyari to lead a government delegation to Germany to discuss with Siemens about power infrastructure in Nigeria. The discussions were on how to improve the national grid, which is one of the biggest problems of the power sector. They also discussed building additional plants to improve generation. After the discussions in Germany, he travelled back to Nigeria via the UK. On the weekend of March 21, he was involved in a series of meetings on measures to manage the COVID-19 outbreak.
He was said to have coughed frequently, leading to suggestions that he should run a test since he just returned from Europe.
For the record, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had not officially classified Germany and UK as red zones requiring self-isolation as at the time he returned to the country. He was in Germany and the UK from March 8 to 12, and arrived Abuja on March 13. NCDC designated Germany as “high risk” on March 16 and added the UK to the list on March 17. When the result of his test came out on Monday, March 23, he sent me a message that he had tested positive and was going on self-isolation immediately. I was shattered, shattered because I knew he had an underlying medical condition, but hopeful because his symptoms looked mild: just the cough.
While he was on self-isolation, we had regular phone calls. I normally would call him on WhatsApp voice but he would switch to video and I knew why: he wanted to prove to me that his life was not in danger. He knew I was really worried for him. Rumour was all over the internet that he was on a ventilator, that he was at Gwagwalada Hospital, that he had been flown to the UK or Cuba. Ironically, he was not bothered about the rumours. He did not sound bitter. He was even forwarding them to me and we would share a laugh. He said he was more interested in the goodwill messages he was getting. We still don’t know if he caught the virus in Germany, UK, on a flight or in Nigeria.
On March 29, something happened that got me worried again: he was not picking his calls. I later understood that the cough had worsened and he could not use the regular syrups because they contain sugar. That made his treatment more complicated. He later sent me a message that he was coming to Lagos for further checks and observation, and that the cough was not getting better. That was the last time we exchanged messages or made contact. As soon as he got to Lagos, all messages to his phone went unread. I had to rely on family members and friends to get updates and the impression I got was that he was getting better but the recovery was slow.
In the meantime, he was getting bashed all over the internet. His “death” or “removal” was regularly announced on Twitter or Instagram. But I was assured that, indeed, he was getting better with “encouraging signs”. As of 5pm on Friday, the message I got was that he was “much better” but the doctors were being “cautious”. A few hours later, Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, tweeted that Kyari had passed away. It was most devastating. What began with mild to moderate symptoms had gone out of hand. I understand that COVID-19 kills many patients that way: when you think it is all over, like it’s one step away from the worst, there comes a sudden lethal blow.
Some people have been rejoicing since Kyari tested positive for the virus. The gloating has been massive. Some are not even satisfied that he is dead. They wish they could kill the dead body as well and desecrate his grave. They are all over the social media denigrating the dead. They have their reasons, I believe. I know for sure that the mortal hatred for Buhari was extended to him, so even in death they can’t leave him alone. They said he was Nigeria’s biggest problem. He was to blame for everything that was not going well in the country. Now that Kyari is dead, I am anxiously waiting for all Nigeria’s problems to be solved finally. It would be a thing of joy.
Some said they hated Kyari because he was the one responsible for the relegation of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo in the power structure. Now that Kyari is dead, let us see what happens next. Some people told me Kyari is a “usurper” — that nobody voted for him yet he was the one “running” Nigeria. Maj Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd), the national security adviser, wrote a stinging memo last year accusing Kyari of overriding presidential powers and preventing him from buying arms and ammunition for the military. Now that Kyari is dead, let us see what happens next. My understanding of power is that you can only be as powerful as the president wants you to be.
My biggest disappointment with Kyari is that he refused to tell his story. When he was accused of taking a bribe from MTN, he explained to me how he opposed the reduction of the $5.2 billion fine, how he was excluded from the resolution committee because of his stand, and how some people met in Dubai and drafted a position paper that formed 80 percent of the final settlement agreement. He said he didn’t know if anybody took bribe, but he was not part of it and his conscience was clear to God. So why not grant an interview to clear your name? His reply: “My boss knows I will never betray his trust. I don’t need to defend myself.” And there is no counter narrative till today.
Anytime a serious allegation, especially of corruption, was levelled against him, I would put him on the spot. He would explain every detail and tell me who was behind the allegation and why they were after him. I would say: “Okay, Mallam, can we publish?” In the most frustrating manner, he would reply: “No. I’m only explaining this for you to know the correct facts. I’m not asking you to defend me. But even if you want to defend me during arguments or discussions, I want you to do it on the basis of facts, not emotions.” I once told him in despair: “It is not about you alone, Mallam! I worry about the stigma your children will carry for life.” He could not be bothered.
Clearly, there was a well-oiled campaign against him basically because of the allegation that he “usurped” power. On his own, at times, he would forward links to the damaging stories to me. “Simon,” he would say, “don’t forget that I was once an editor. There is a difference between investigative journalism and planted stories. These are planted stories.” The narration of everything that went wrong in Buhari’s government was constructed to put the blame at Kyari’s doorstep. He was definitely not a saint but I know that when one person is being blamed for every wrong, there is certainly an orchestrated agenda at play. I have been a journalist for 27 years of my life.
I knew Kyari closely for 10 years. He was a simple man, deeply intellectual and not one to run away from enforcing the rules. We argued frequently, particularly on economic policy which was his major area of interest. He regularly bought me books on economics and sociology. He often invited me for lunch or dinner anytime he was in London and all we discussed was Nigeria and the development challenge. He was very passionate about infrastructure and industrialisation. But he always kept quiet on damaging media reports against him. Maybe that is what chiefs of staff do: take the bullets for their bosses and go to their graves with all the secrets. Adieu, Mallam.
© Simon Kolawole
I miss the old Nigerian national anthem & I can’t help thinking this is one of the areas we Nigerians, started to get it horribly wrong, when we started to deemphasize national unity, interests & aspirations, to make more prominent sectional & individual interests. Our swap in anthems spoke volumes.
Don’t take my word for it, compare your self.
Nigeria we hail thee,
Our own dear native land,
Though tribe and tongue may differ,
In brotherhood we stand,
Nigerians all, are proud to serve
Our sovereign Motherland.
Our flag shall be a symbol
That truth and justice reign,
In peace or battle honour’d,
And this we count as gain,
To hand on to our children
A banner without stain.
O God of all creation,
Grant this our one request,
Help us to build a nation
Where no man is oppressed,
And so with peace and plenty
Nigeria may be blessed.
That Friday night, I was supposed to be in the vigil leading the worship song but there I was in Fred’s bed moaning in painful pleasure as he cuddled and caressed me.
Being the choir mistress, I was the one to take the worship songs that night but I manoeuvred my way to his home.
“Can we go another round?” Fred asked teasingly.
“You don’t get tired? Oliver Twist,” I said staring at the wall clock. It was few minutes before 1 a.m.
“I need to join them in the church,” I said uncovering myself from the bedsheets and hurriedly picked up my dress from the floor.
“It’s already late and dangerous out there. Just pass the night here again please.”
“Akuna! It’s better late than never. Don’t forget, I’m the one taking the worship.”
“Do you want to get raped out there? The one I gave you is not enough for you, right?” he asked mockingly as he sat upright on his bed placing a pillow on his laps to hide his erected stuff.
“I won’t get raped because we are going together. Dress up please.”
“Have you gone insane?” he giggled. “I just finished feasting with the devil and you expect me to go to the presence of God? Come on babe, I still have conscience.”
“What are you insinuating? Are you saying I don’t have conscience? Thank you for reminding me that I’m Jezebel.” I said trying to ease the guilt.
I hurriedly picked my Bible and my scarf from the floor and dashed out of the room.
“Onyeche, wait let me see you off,” I heard his voice from a distance.
That was not the first night I spent in his house in the name of vigil, neither was it the second nor third.
You may think that was the worst thing I have done. No, I did worse than that. I aborted two babies for Fred, the assistant prayer band leader who was always leading the prayer section.
My father who was a well thought of elder in the church was glad that her daughter was burning for God.
I was not just deceiving my father, I was deceiving the members of the church, I was deceiving the pastor whose favourite I was.
Never had he ministered without me acting as the backup singer. He trusted and believed so much in me. And above all, I was deceiving myself as my self-worth was dwindling.
When I got to the church, Agnes was still leading the praise section.
It seemed she was stylishly waiting for my arrival to take the worship section as I was considered to be the most fire-branded member of the church.
As the choir mistress, I was supposed to be seated at the front seat, but I sat behind so that my incoming would not be noticed.
I glanced through the pulpit, the pastor’s gaze was on me and I trembled within as he signaled an invitation.
“Onyeche, what happened?” he asked affectionately.
“Daddy I slept off,” I lied kneeling beside him without any iota of the fear of God.
“I wanted to rest before time but when I woke up, it was already very late. I told myself that it’s better late than never.”
“I know you ‘ll come regardless what. Thank you,” he said smiling and patting me on my shoulder. “Hope you are prepared.”
“I’m always prepared daddy.”
Right at the pulpit I was confidently lying to the man of God. Yet, unlike the days of Peter, there was no discernment, I would have fallen dead like Ananias and Sapphira but there, I was being praised.
Like the pastor’s praise was not enough, when I climbed the podium, I was welcomed with a standing ovation by the congregation. They yelled and shouted my name. Others jumped to their feet shouting and clapping. My head was becoming larger like I was sharing the glory of God with him, that’s if I did not steal it all. Had they known that I just left Delilah’s lap, or maybe I was even the Delilah. Had they known I just left the dungeon of sin, just like the lady of Magdalene, they would have picked up stone.
I struck the mic with a finger and the sound was pleasant to my hearing.
“Alleluuuuuuuia!” I shouted into the mic, stressing my word and the crowd yelled even louder.
“Can we just compose ourselves as we worship the El shaddai, the Elohim, The King of kings, the Lord of lords, the I am that I am, mandalekatushaldaba,” I burst into tongue. “The Bible says, God is a Spirit and they that must worship God must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”
As I was trying to elate the crowd, I saw Fred enter the church. Well built, muscular and light in complexion. Like the Biblical Joseph, very handsome and good to behold. I still doubt if I were the only one in the church he was having an affair with. Many of those young girls flopped around him calling him papa and M.O.G.
He was also very much adored and loved in the church because of his activeness yet, my partner in sin.
“Close your eyes and lift up your hands unto the Lord as we worship him.”
As I began to sing deeper, those emotional tears began to pour from my eyes.
Some of the people were also singing and crying while others were blasting in tongues.
I glanced at Fred, with hands akimbo, he was shaking and nodding his head in all direction as though he was translated to another realm.
His voice was louder than every other person. It seemed he was trying to tell them that he prayed in tongue more than any of them as he seldom pray in the language of men.
It may surprise you to know that Fred was not the only person I was sleeping with.
I did those abominable acts outside the church too. I was scared that my evil deeds would one day be exposed if I involve other members. So, whenever those decent boys in my church asked my out, even for a serious relationship, I will politely turn them down preaching the gospel to them. Telling them how it’s going to affect our relationship with God but there was never a no from me to the outsiders: the fallen brethren as they will never be in my church to see me pray or sing.
You see eh! You would want to blame me for this hypocrisy of the highest order. Go ahead. Judge me, condemn me. Cast the first stone but remember, you didn’t die for me. It is Christ that died. Yes, it is God that justifies.
You may think I did not feel sad for myself. You may think I loved what I was doing.
No, to me, it was also disgusting. It made me look so dirty like a pig. It made feel like I did not belong to the family of the true children of Jesus Christ.
I have judged myself enough, so you don’t have to judge me again. If there’s anything to do, it’s to pray for me because secretly, I was dying.
Just like the church of Sardis, I had the reputation of being alive but I was dead. Yes, I had the reputation of being vibrant and burning for God but I was on my way to hell.
You may think I was not born again. Well, I was genuinely born again.
I spoke in the tongues of angels, I’ve received the gift of the Holy Spirit, yet, I was swimming in sin.
On Facebook and other social media, I was an apostle of holiness as I never ceased preaching and posting scriptures on my wall. My WhatsApp status was always preaching Christ but my lifestyle was contrary to the faith.
Apostle Paul said that he’s the worst of all sinners. I don’t want to drag that position with Elder Paul but one thing is certain, nobody can drag the second slot with me.
My situation became critical when I became addicted to sex. Sex became my driving force.
I was always happy during weekly fellowship as it was the only opportunity to visit Fred before heading to church together.
After fellowship, we’d return to his home for more fun before he would see me off.
When I could not make it to Fred’s home, I resorted to masturbation.
There was no single day passed by without me masturbating as I began to find it more pleasurable than sex.
Even on Sunday morning, before service, I would masturbate at home before handling the microphone on the pulpit to lead the praise and worship.
Don’t think I ever felt comfortable at the pulpit.
I hated myself for what I was doing. I only needed a way out of my predicament.
I was always kneeling at the front of the altar for every altar call. But that same evening, I would be in my room thrusting myself with cucumber.
I have gone days without food and water in the name of fasting but to no avail.
You see! Haven’t I tried?
You that want to judge me, how many days have you gone fasting and praying for your own secret sin? Or do you want to tell me that you’re not battling with any private sin?
Man may not be watching you but God watches everything that happens even in the most secret place.
So, please don’t judge me. I understand hypocrisy already. Or have you not read that you should get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye?
Oh young minister, put yourself right with God first and then we can sit down and talk judgment.
There was this day I rounded off my seven days fasting and prayer. I made up my mind never to see Fred again, never to masturbate again and never to see any guy again.
My determination worked perfectly well for weeks but after a month, I found myself in Fred’s bed again.
Pathetic, right? Very pathetic indeed. Fred shouted at me with rage and almost hit me for keeping him for a whole month without sex.
He threatened to quit the relationship but I begged with tears. The only thing that calmed him down was when I promised to spend the night with him instead of going to the vigil.
When it was dawn, I carried my Bible and went home. I did not just return to Fred, I returned to my old way of life.
For years, I continued living such a wayward and bitter life until one particular night.
After satisfying my inordinate desire, I picked up my Bible as usual and began to flip through its pages just to fulfill all righteousness and ease the guilt I was feeling.
I read several pages randomly. The urge to study that night was stronger than the urge for masturbation, even stronger than the urge for sex.
I continued reading carelessly until I came across Psalm 145:18-19.
I read it over and over, then over and over and over and over. For more than a dozen time, I was reading just these two verses.
I read it until it sank so deeply to my innermost being.
As I continued reading, tears began to well up in my eyes.
These were not the emotional tears I used to shed at the pulpit. These were tears I even tried to control but couldn’t.
When my Bible was getting soaked, I closed it and dropped it on my bed.
The next thing that happened was mysterious. I found myself on the floor, rolling, crying and praying.
“Lord, it’s either now or never. I die here tonight.
“Tonight, I bring into captivity every thought and fleshly pleasure to the obedience of Christ.
“My strength, my ability, my will, my wisdom, everything has failed me. It’s just you now oh Lord.
“Lord, may I never see the rising of the sun again until I’m delivered from every devourer.
“Lord Jesus, except you want me to die in my sin, you will deliver me tonight.”
I knew I was disturbing my parents and probably, neighbours but my problem was bigger than one sleepless night.
I thought I was disturbing my parents, but it didn’t take much time before I heard them blasting in tongues from their room.
That night, I didn’t sleep. Even when I wanted to sleep, I could not. I prayed till dawn then slept off.
When I woke up, it was around 9 a.m. I switched on my phone and it was Fred’s message that came in.
Gud mrning lov,
D tot of U cudn’t allow
me sleep last 9t.
I mesmerized ova ur
beauty & ur magical
touch till dawn.
Wherever U ar is
exactly where I wnt 2 b
I’ve wasted too much
I dnt wnt 2 waste
anoda single day
without U & I’m ready 2
make it up 4 d lost
Baby do U mind
comin ova later in d
I no U wudnt mind.
I love U. Expecting U
I stared at my phone a bit confused if to reply or not. After a second thought, I pulled off my sim card and broke it into pieces.
“I’m starting afresh,” I murmured. And as if pushed by an external force, I opened my drawer. I stared at the cucumbers and the toys I bought and shame overwhelmed me. Slowly, I began to break everything. “I’m done with you,” I spoke to the toy as though it could hear. “I’m done with sin,” I continued talking to myself.
As I searched my room thoroughly for all the instruments of sin, a song came to my lips.
I’m no longer a slave
To sin (fear),
I am a child of God.
I sang only the chorus for hours reminding myself who I’ve become.
Days rolled into weeks and weeks into months, I did not go to Fred’s home neither did I do anything stupid.
I thought of Fred several times and the urge came powerfully sometimes. Of course, I’m human.
The urge was there but the power and grace to overcome was stronger.
I would stare at the mirror and applaud myself for not going back to the way it used to be.
I would use my right hand to shake my left hand in jubilation congratulating myself.
I still remember when I took myself out on a date. Funny, isn’t it? That’s what we called self-crush.
You may think I over acted. I don’t really mind.
You will never know what it is like to be free until you have found freedom in Christ Jesus. I am sure you will celebrate more than I did.
One of the mistakes the devil made was that he still allowed me to fellowship with the brethren even in my sin.
He still allowed me to pray and study even after committing those evil acts.
If he was wise, he would have cut me off from the gathering of the brethren.
Had he known, he would have sealed my lips from praying to God who was actually waiting for me to call upon Him.
And because he was not all knowing, he couldn’t stop me from praying and he couldn’t have ever stopped God from answering my prayer.
After three months, I found myself in Fred’s house again.
I was surprised too because I thought I’d never go there again but it’s like I was compelled.
No! It’s not what you are thinking. Haba na! I did not go alone. I went with the Most High. I went to offer him Christ.
I stood at the door feeling reluctant to knock. After a while, I did.
He opened the door and was surprised to see me. He stood at the door confused whether to let me in or not. We stood in total silence staring at each other.
After awhile, I broke the silence, “Fred, I’m….”
“No! No! No!” he cut in. “You don’t need to be sorry,” he said emphatically. I should be the one apologising.
“Onyeche, I’m sorry, it’s over between us.”
“Over?” I asked faking the surprise just to hear more.
“Please forgive me Onyeche, you’re now my past.”
“Fred, what happened? Did I do anything wrong?” The woman in me wouldn’t tell him the reason I visited. I wanted to feed my curiosity.
“No Onye, you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just that I have found true love.”
“Fred will never change,” I chuckled. “Is that why you couldn’t even welcome me in? Is she inside?”
“Nobody is in,” he said paving the curtain to give me a better view of the room.
“You mean your love for me was never true? Where did I get it wrong Fred?” I enquired just to hear his opinion because from onset, I knew we were into an illicit love affair that will lead to nowhere except hell.
“Onyeche, I must confess, you were not my first love. I left my first love for you. I thought I could hold on to both of you at a time but it’s never possible. I’ve decided to return and start all over again with my first love.”
“Hmm! Who could that be Fred? You told me you love me and promised never to let me go.”
“This love is different from what I felt for you then,” he said confidently exuding great joy.
“This love is genuine. This love is pure. This love doesn’t fail. This love has covered my past and given a future. This love is shed abroad in my heart.” He was nodding his head as he spoke with total peace.
“Onyeche,” he called placing his hands on my shoulders. “I HAVE FOUND TRUE LOVE IN CHRIST JESUS. I have returned to my first love. Onyeche, there is no better love than the love of Christ. There is no love outside Christ. What have we gained from the sin we called love? What has fornication added to our lives? Why not give this love a chance to find its expression in your life?”
The joy I felt in my spirit knew no bounds when I heard those words from Fred.
“Fred, this love is what brought me here. This love found me some months back. I came here just to offer you this love but I’m overwhelmed with joy to know that this love has found you too. This is miraculous.”
“It is the Lord’s doing,” he said. “Do you mind coming in?” he added leading the way.
“No, I don’t mind,” I replied as I followed from behind.
This time around, I was not on his bed. We knelt beside his bed in prayer thanking God for His unfailing love, amazing grace and His undeserved mercy.
I was dead, and now alive again; I was lost, and found.
I am Onyeche, I only exist in
To all those in the church of God but still struggling with one sin or the other.
Don’t just relax in that sin. Hold on to Christ for a little while.
He is more interested in helping you than you are interested in helpinghelping yourself. Just one more prayer and you will see the handiwork of God.
Remain blessed. See a good follow up to that choir mistress story. Thank God that she repented, anyway.
We can speak in tongues and miss heaven.
We can win souls and miss heaven.
We can see vision and miss heaven.
We can prophesy and still miss heaven.
We can cast out devil and miss heaven.
We can perform miracles and still miss heaven.
We can read the whole Bible and miss heaven.
We can attend all church services, fellowship activities and camp meetings and miss heaven.
We can have anointing and miss heaven.
We can have all spiritual gifts and miss heaven.
We can be rich, prosperous and wealthy and still miss heaven.
We can give and sow seeds and still miss heaven.
We can wield power and be influential and still miss heaven.
We can have a powerful voice to sing and miss heaven.
we can also have fame and popularity and miss heaven.
•••But we cannot LIVE A HOLY LIFE and miss heaven•••
HOLINESS IS THE REAL DEAL!
Without holiness through salvation in Christ, one will not make heaven.
Forwarding this is Evangelism.
Let us win a soul for Christ.
By Ahmed Yahaya Joe.
I personally took the attached photograph on the Plateau earlier this year in June on my way from Kaduna to Jos through Manchok via Vom. I was awed by the engineering genius in the road construction. Barely a week later that same road reportedly had become a killing fields of sorts particularly for delegates returning back to the North East from the APC national convention held in Abuja. That is how precarious that axis of Nigeria despite that many of us are still pretending that the nation is not dangerously sitting on a time bomb following latest events on the Plateau.
Call them potato chips or French fries you can’t have any without the Berom just as you can’t traduce the Fulani and still enjoy your Suya or Cow tail pepper soup anywhere in Nigeria. We are therefore all involved on the Plateau. That nevertheless it would be an act of deliberate mischief and reckless presumptuousness to box the Berom into a genocidal corner despite the circumstantial evidence recently found at a pond in Du District.
This is simply because an alleged crime scene is very much different from a suspected dump site. No doubt there is probable cause for complicity that however does not translate into credible evidence against the entire Berom. Truth is General Alkali and other hapless Nigerians suspected to be victims in the vicinity of Du are actually collateral damage of a longstanding proxy war of historic elite dynamics on the Plateau. That notwithstanding the suspected perpetuators of whatever led to Alkali’s car been found at the bottom of a Du pond must be fished out and made to face the full wrath of the law. Permit me to reemphasize that the rule of law must prevail. While that would bring some semblance of justice and temporary succor for the nation at large what of the fundamental issues that created the enabling environment for the dumpsite to exist in the first place?
The fire on the mountain currently on the Plateau is all part of the symptoms of a deeper malaise caused by the stubborn virus of religion. Merely treating its symptoms without ridding the underlying virus will continuously be an exercise of futility for the nation. If so what then are the fundamental issues bedeviling the Plateau? Jos is a Green Line of sorts which makes it the Nigerian version of Jerusalem. Jos is the home of the Izala sect founded by Samaila Idris a religiously controversial army officer that was forcibly retired in 1978 who hails from Bauchi’s Jahun Fulani clan. He set of up JIBWIS that his one-time teacher Abubakar Gumi became the Grand Patron of. The Sunni Izala is essentially Wahabbist and anti-Sufi. Their openly confrontational stand to all others that don’t subscribe to their teachings does not need further elaboration here.
Meanwhile Jos is also the home base of the Sudan United Mission that was the arrow head of missionary activities in the non-emirate areas of the North. That is one aspect. The other is Jos is the capital city of Middle Belt consciousness making the Plateau a perfect storm waiting to happen in the political North. Under such circumstances the truth and level headedness are normally the first casualties. With Jos being hotly contested historically between the Berom “Gwash” narrative and the Hausa-Fulani “Jas” counter narrative the battle lines are therefore well entrenched and rest is now living history. As the say in the Middle East if the talking stops the shooting starts.
The Northern Muslim intelligentsia and North’s Christian must find common ground in Jos or there will be much more General Alkalis which an endless number of Zaki Biams or even Odis can never stop. History has a curious way of repeating itself. First as tragedy then as farce.
The Nigerian Army on 15th January 1966 lost its present day equivalent of Chief of Administration then known as Adjutant General in person of Lt Col James Pam. He hailed from Du and his body was never found after he was abducted by mutinous troops loyal to the infamous “5 Majors” from his Ikoyi residence. 52 years later the same institution has lost another Admin chief in Du District under the same circumstances of inter-communal violence as one section of the Nigerian polity angrily raises up against another. Both chiefs have somehow become victims of the inherent contradictions of our nation building process.
Have we not learnt anything in 5 decades? Back then drums of war were beaten right now drums of war are still beaten. Back then also there was anger and revulsion in segments of Nigeria. Right now there is still that same kind of anger and revulsion. What historical inferences can we draw from the unfortunate incidences of 1966 than could serve for us as useful signposts in 2018? That should be the topic of conversation.
Every issue in Nigeria no matter how complicated has a big picture and a small one. In any case apart from its infamous pond what else is Du known for? Du is the home district of Lt Col James Pam, DIG Victor Pam and Air Cmdr Jonah Jang. The senior Pam was the 4th most senior Northerner in the army when the unfortunate events of 15th January 1966 unfolded. His esteemed seniors Maimalari, Kur, Largema also lost their lives alongside his good self.
He was the Adjutant General having taken over that office from his bosom friend Yakubu Gowon who had to proceed to Staff College in the UK. The police Pam was billed to by seniority succeed Gambo Jimeta as IGP but was seconded to the National Guard instead. He would later be Gbong Gwom of Jos in 2004. A tough cop he met the Maitasine sect eyeball to eyeball in Kano, Bulunkutu, Gombe and Jimeta. He also set up the Mopol school in Gwoza.
Many political pundits have put it that if his Mopol hardware ordered from abroad had arrived earlier the coup to topple Shehu Shagari would have failed. As the monarch of Jos he criminalized selling of any Berom land to non-Christians and any Christian parents whose daughter converted thrown out of the Church a source put it to me. He also attempted ridding Berom land of its famed Burkutu small scale industry. He woefully failed.
Little wonder before joining the police in 1958 he trained as a priest at the famous TCNN in Bukuru. Jang on the other hand if it would be recalled was Military Administrator of the former Gongola and Benue respectively under IBB. Shortly earning his first star he was appointed head of air force logistics then almost immediately retired. He is still bitter which trickled down to the rest of the Berom.
IBB ever the Maradona would then appoint Lamba Gwom a former Navy paymaster to replace Domkat Bali on the FEC to water down Berom anger. Worthy of mention is the “Langtang Mafia” that apparently came into ascendancy as the Berom star was dimming. They were AFRC members when Jos South and Bukuru LGs separately created to diffuse Jos North. That is why I had earlier mentioned elite dynamics and its overall effect on what is playing on the Plateau.
Without understanding the context and background of this multitude of diverse factors how can a veritable solution ever be crafted out on the Plateau? God bless Nigeria.
Today is the Independence Day of my dear country, Nigeria.
And the following poem by Abdullahi Marcel E-dris sums up how most Nigerians feel today…
“So they gathered
Plotted nothing but pure evil
How much more to be murdered
This they planned and executed
Many times over
“It’s a tale of misery
The people wonder what they’ve done wrong
Killings and maiming everyday
The blood and tears keeps flowing
The bodies keep piling
The earth tired of swallowing
“Where are those we voted?
Where are the so called “leaders”?
Those who swore to protect the best interest of the people?
Those who blare sirens everyday…
Those driven in tinted vehicles…
Those whose children never face such harsh realities…
Those who take party issues more important than lives lost…
Those who fuel these crisis…
Those who careless who dies…
“Our worries deepens
Our cries louder
Our losses more
Our pain deeper
Our fears bigger
Our doubts fatter
Our faith thinner
Our laughter fewer
Our joy weaker
Our confidence in you almost dead
Is that of action
That which will bring lasting peace
Ease the pain suffered
Heal the wounds covered.
This we ask
This we demand.
Yes, most Nigerians are so sad & scared today…..