[ Masterweb Reports: Theophilus Ilevbare reports ] – News of the surging violence by the shadowy sect, Boko Haram, has continued to inundate us even if some no longer shudder at screaming headlines of dozens whose throats have been slit; the extremists have sustained the ongoing brutal campaign against civilian and security targets. The vicious group has showed no sign of slowing down in 2014 with a string of coordinated attacks from Borno to Adamawa and Yobe states. It is inconceivable and incomprehensible in a state under emergency, that terrorist attacks in villages and towns last for hours without any kind of security intervention. The escalation of violence between January and February alone has claimed over 650 lives between Borno and Adamawa. For now, Gwoza, Bama, Konduga and Damboa towns and all the villages around them are facing extinction! The insurgents have left on its trail: lives lost, properties destroyed and terrified residents fleeing their homes. Guerilla tactics in rural areas have made the people vulnerable where Christians and Muslims alike have been on the receiving end of the morally reprehensible sect’s abhorrent violence.
Borno, to Boko Haram, is their spiritual home where the ‘struggle’ began. Losing the battle on this turf to the federal forces will effectively signal the end of their insurrection. In this state, their attacks have been more vicious, somewhat sporadic but with a high level of coordination unexpected in a state under emergency. Their resolve is strengthened by the scores they slaughter in the wee hours of the night. The Nigerian military still has a lot to prove that it is capable of putting down the insurrection.
Guerilla wars (better known as asymmetric combat) are the most difficult to prosecute because the enemies live within the civilian population. Security operatives become vulnerable because they are identifiable but the terrorists are almost invincible. It might be asking for too much from the ill equipped and trained Nigerian military to wage a successful war against them. Such an operation is quite complicated and requires cerebral personnel. It is doubtful if the Nigerian military give adequate training to its men to fight guerilla wars – a 21st century security challenge. The unimpressive way the counterterrorism campaign has been waged by the combined team of security agencies have laid bare their conventional and stereotype inbuilt structure of warfare where there is a clearly defined enemy in a well-defined geographical location. The Nigeria military’s symmetric approach to an asymmetric counterterrorism battle in states under emergency, clearly, has failed. The spate of almost daily attacks on hapless civilians in Borno underscores this point. Their modus operandi is similar to all known terrorist groups in the world. The trademark of the organization is blood, tears and sorrow with both covert and overt violent assault against police officers, military, churches and civilian targets. These persistent and mindless killings from highly networked, richly financed groups waging insurgent war often from within civilian population, use a combination of traditional and modern weapons. There tactics can best be mitigated and/or quelled by military operations backed by the most sophisticated and technologically advanced security gadgets. It is a known fact that the structure and design of Nigeria’s national security is too outdated to meet present day security challenges. It has also been reported that the morale of the military and police is ebbing. In contrast, Boko Haram is better armed and motivated. Years of corruption in the military and police have robbed us of the best.
Consequently, the cruel marauders pose a serious threat to the nation’s sovereignty and the continual harmonious co-existence of the various tribes and religions. The possibility of overrunning the country is real.
However, Nigeria’s security challenges are not insurmountable. With commitment and a dogged political will from the government, the nefarious activities of the blood thirsty fundamentalists can be effectively contained. Furthermore, government should tighten what many now regard as the most porous border in the world! We would easily win any award in that category. There is still an ongoing war in Mali; it’s only been months since the Arab Spring ended. All these have put arms and ammunition in the wrong hands. Those who proliferate these weapons move them across our borders to a mix grill ready market of terrorists, pirates, hoodlums, unrepentant and backsliding ex-militants, 2015 election tugs and other criminal minded elements.
To quell this increasingly complex threat, the tangled-web of terrorist financing must be demystified and those found wanting brought to book. Collaboration like joint military action with our West African neighbours to combat threats along border towns and villages is a strategy the military should urgently explore as part of a comprehensive approach to counter the deadly extremists.
The fierce unrelenting assault on neighbouring villages bordering the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, has highlighted the inefficiency and numerical disadvantage of the Nigerian military and police. With over 8000 troops deployed already to the subregion without any success, the International Criminal Court was spot on when it said Nigeria was embroiled in another civil war. Remote border towns with Cameroon like Banki, in Bama Local Government Area have been the worst hit as the remoteness of their location have made it almost impossible to respond to distress. Recently, the military decried insufficient personnel in such remote towns and villages, as its bane. Residents say in some villages, about six military men, poorly armed, and just about half a dozen policemen are present. This is grossly inadequate and easily outnumbered by over 50 insurgents who storm these target locations in vehicles and motor bikes, armed to the teeth. The presence of more security personnel in the remote villages will to a great extent improve the security situation.
It is ridiculous when our security chiefs give themselves a pat on the back for ‘curtailing’ the Islamic fundamentalists in the North East, preventing their activities from spreading to other parts of the country. This kind of attitude that promotes mediocrity in the rank and file of our national security must be discouraged.
Sabotage, negligence of duty and unhealthy competition among the security agencies are some of the reasons insecurity has been on the rise in the troubled states of the north east, particularly, Borno. The military offensive against the sect has been nothing short of a complete failure.
It is shameful that politicians under whose watch the insurgents evolved still strut the corridors of power, and are partisan politicians till today. It must be traumatising for the victims of Boko Haram. Unfortunately, those who sowed the seed of bloodbath are still at large. Sponsors of the terror group, directly or indirectly, must be brought to justice. Prosecuting the counterterrorism war without exposing and prosecuting their financiers will amount to an effort in futility.
The spirited attempt by the Jonathan government to fight terrorism with mass education of Almajiris is commendable. More of such schools is needed in northern Nigeria. It is an approach that should be encouraged to fight an insurgency that is firmly rooted in illiteracy and ignorance.
Dealing decisively with the grievances that are spawning terrorism and encouraging radicalisation as well as implementing reforms and policies are pathways to restoring lasting peace, security of lives and properties in the north-east and the nation at large.
Now, more than ever, decisive and sustainable victory against Boko Haram has become more elusive but imperative.
Theophilus Ilevbare ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) is a public affairs commentator.
*Photo Caption - Map of Nigeria showing its 36 states (including Borno State), and Federal capital (Abuja or FCT).
[ Masterweb Reports: Obinna Akukwe reports ] – $20 billion dollars belonging to estimated 170 million Nigerians, half of who lives below S1 dollar or N150 naira daily, have been stolen, withheld, unremitted by a few set of thieves within NNPC and accomplices within the Presidency.
This is the summary of the revelations of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Dan Maje of Kano and recently suspended Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank.
This is happening at time when about 80 million Nigerians live below $1 dollar daily. A few greedy thieves in high places, probably numbering not more than 150 persons, deliberately refused to remit about $20 billion dollars of Nigeria\s oil earnings into the Federation Accounts within a period of just eighteen months.
Heaven is crying and God is angry that the same group of Christians and Muslims who throng Jerusalem, Rome, Mecca, Medina, Redeemed Camp, Shiloh Camp, Adoration Camps and do all the religious Zakkat and Sallat in all the Quranic approved holy sites, sat down with some occult grandmasters to deliberately withhold $20 billion dollars ie about N3.6 trillion naira for themselves, girlfriends, boy friends, valentine babes, family members and village heads.
This is the height of wickedness. Newspapers and online media always inundate Nigerians with stories of how some persons captured by police men confessed that poverty took them to crime. Some persons have taken to prostitution, armed robbery, advance fee fraud, kidnapping, ritual killings, theft and other multiple vices due to poverty. Yes due to poverty.
There are many Nigerians who would rather die than get into these vices but there abound also some who would rather take to vices than die of poverty and these are in a couple of millions. Poverty has driven many into wickedness. Many graduates of Nigerian universities drink garri and sugar for months and years without knowing whether poverty will drive them from the makeshift Nyanya residence near Abuja to their villages in Ubeku, Umuahia. Ikot Abasi or Talata Mafara and yet a few set of executive thieves withheld $20 billion dollars which if well utilized is capable of creating at least 10 million jobs. The nation has been charmed into intrepid reactions and stupendous silence.
The irony of this wickedness is that those who connived to withhold the $20 billion dollars include Christians from the Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, White Garment and Pentecostal folds. They also include Muslims from Shia sect, Sunni sect, NASFAT, Boko Haram sect and all groups calling on God or Allah to protect them from the “wicked ranting of impoverished unfortunate countrymen about to challenge their divine $ 20 billion dollar breakthrough” .
Nigeria has corruption as its biggest problem. The thieves that failed to remit or appropriately put the criminals that stole the $20 billon dollars comes from all parts of the country, South South, South East, South West, North Central, North West and North East. Once stealing Nigeria blind is concerned, they become bonded in occultist brotherhood. The thieves are giving lame excuses why they are everlastingly reconciling what happened to $20 billion dollars as if it is $20 thousand dollars. They are blackmailing the persons that exposed the wickedness instead of confessing how, why and where they hid the money. Their lame excuses for flagrant thievery does not deserve mention in this piece.
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, a radical Islamic fundamentalist have done what many of his fellow Muslim brothers who deceive us that they went on pilgrimage to pray for Nigeria cannot do. He has also done what many Christian brothers who mesmerize us with night vigils every month for Holy Ghost to fire enemies of Nigeria cannot do. Despite his fundamentalist leanings, Nigeria needs the likes of Sanusi, those who can expose wickedness in high places no matter who is involved. May God not allow the thieves to kill Sanusi the way they finished my friend, Chief Tobias Idika, the late President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Kano Chapter, in Jesus name.
Where are my fellow Born Again Christians who knew that a whopping $ 20 billion dollars translating to N3.6 trillion naira was stolen in 18 months, leaving the rest of the country in poverty, sickness and insecurity? Did they even report to God in their prayer rooms that they saw a monumental evil but lacked the courage to address it?
The nation is finished already. Hypocrites from both religions have stolen the nation blind. The corruption in the system is worse than the activities of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible for which God destroyed the entire city.
N3.6 trillion naira have been stolen, missing, withheld, unremitted, hidden, diverted and shared by some agents of government in the oil industry and their acolytes within the presidency. May Almighty God help the hopeless innocents of Nigeria and deliver them from this hydra headed dragon of corruption about to swallow the prophesied greatness of Nigeria the manner the Great Red Dragon of Revelations Chapter 12 wanted to swallow the Church of God.
May those who withheld the $20 billion dollars or N3.6 trillion naira to themselves valentine dudes, babes, boyfriends, girlfriends, family members and village chiefs while leaving over 80 million Nigerians to live below $1 dollar daily, face the judgment of God of the poor and needy speedily in Jesus name.
Obinna Akukwe ( Email: email@example.com ) reports.
*Photo Caption - U.S. Dollar Notes
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Peregrino Brimah ] – "Shekau was mortally wounded in the encounter—on 30 June, when soldiers raided a Boko Haram base at Sambisa Forest—and was sneaked into Amitchide - a border community in Cameroon for treatment... It is greatly believed that Shekau might have died between 25 July to 3 August 2013," Col Musa said. [BBC, 19th August 2013]
October 1st last year, on the US Intelligence think-tank website, the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR), an expert on Nigeria, Jacob Zenn writing for former Ambassador John Campbell acknowledged imposter videos of Boko Haram leader Shekau. His words, “In the August video, the possible look-alike’s message was similar to Shekau’s, however, including threats to Obama, Hollande, and Netanyahu.”
On May 29th of 2013 Abubakar Shekau was said by France media, to have released a video in which he ‘supported the massacre at a Nigerian school.’ The said video was never released but a still image from the video, seen on the Yahoo hosted news link below was clearly a Photoshop fabrication, supporting evidence that imposter videos of Shekau were the new norm: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/boko-haram-leader-says-supports-nigeria-school-massacre-070152245.html#IE3oL5E
There have been no new videos of Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau that have been released through the usual channels to Nigeria’s media used prior to his stated death. All new purported videos have surprisingly come from a single source, France news, and have been released as 10 second clips, sometimes of old videos with superimposed vocals. One that was released in August, which was determined fake, had a rather chubby ‘Shekau’ quickly chew his stick as a sort of proof, after Nigeria’s security department had presented its conclusions that a prior release was fake because among other things, Shekau did not chew his stick. It was likewise just a ten second clip.
The most recent video said to have been released by the same foreign media this February 20th in which the cult leader was said to have threatened two Nigeria former president’s, Muhammadu Buhari and Ibrahim Babangida, the Shehu of Borno, Emir of Kano and Nigeria’s refineries came from the same single French media source and again, two days after, the purported video has again not been released to the public.
The Nigerian media has been rather unprofessional in relaying messages of alleged videos without first obtaining copies of the videos to confirm their authenticity. With the gullibility and eagerness of most Nigerian news websites to publish transmitted information, the actual videos if existent are usually never even released and mischievous misinformation that threatens the sovereignty and security of Nigeria are easily redistributed for whatever reasons.
Shekau loyalists may be at the head of transmitting these fake videos and Photoshop images to foreign media. Unfortunately we cannot rely on foreign media to work in the best interest of Nigeria, vetting and scrutinizing actual or purported videos. They too seek relevance and publicity hits. The duty to clear up the Nigerian media sphere is that of our indigenous media who need to take a minute longer to crosscheck reports before releasing these. Every error costs lives.
Boko Haram is a serious and real threat, however media must be careful not to fall into the hands of agents both local and foreign who may not have Nigeria’s best interest at heart. Essential to combating the threat of terrorism is not only economic and military approaches, but the media role in careful dissemination of factual information that does not further the cause of the terrorists.
It was noted that during the recent attacks on Bama and Izghe, several leading global media reported the attacks which claimed mostly Muslim lives, as an attack on a ‘Christian farming village that killed dozens of Christians.’ This dangerous misrepresentation of the facts of the attack, which were later corrected by accurate reports from the ground and state governor, constitute a threat to Nigeria and careless provocation toward ethnic tension. Dead victims are dead innocent victims, and killers are killers. Counting the dead by religious markers is not a matter of news for civilized humans and worse yet should not be misreported as occurred. Nigeria’s media must watch this, not to be used as tools.
As far as Nigeria is concerned, Abubakar Shekau is dead or indisposed. If he is still alive, we challenge him to produce a 10 minute, clear video in which he walks, gestures and talks, as he used to do prior to reports of his death earlier last year. Shekau should also release this video to multiple sources in its original form and not through a single foreign channel.
The Nigerian government must take the threat of Boko Haram terrorism seriously. In May of 2012, the Jonathan government promised to release the list of Boko Haram sponsors. This should be done immediately if the safety and security of Nigerian citizens and military men and women is a government priority. Nigeria’s public needs and demands regularly updated list of sponsors of terror and wanted terrorists. Usually the few suspect names ever known are those released by foreign intel. This is terribly wrong.
The nation’s security department under NSA Sambo Dasuki must also take it upon itself to fulfill its duties not just in pursuing terrorists and their sponsors, but in properly, promptly and adequately informing the general public on such matters of national security. The war against terror must be conducted with the people.
Nigeria’s army needs to receive proper funding and supervised, audited purchase of military equipment as it is now evident that the Nigerian army lacks sufficient equipment to execute its duty, safely and efficiently. The people are losing faith in the capacity of the government to protect life as was stated again by the Shehu of Bama. Hundreds of lives are being massacred, women raped and homes and businesses burned as Boko Haram terrorists ravage our border towns patiently in operations that last as long as 8 hours, like the recent one at Bama and Izghe.
It is also appealed that foreign governments who know many Boko Haram political and elite sponsors, take decisive action against them and their investments abroad, in the best interest of the Nigerian masses who are dangerously compromised by government inaction.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau
[ Masterweb Reports: Carllister Ejinkeonye reports ] – When I saluted Nigeria on the occasion of her 53rd Independence celebrations last October, I was not too sure that my greeting rang out with joy and optimism. I, however, feel that an occasion like that, largely received with mixed feelings across the country, presents a wonderful opportunity to deeply reflect on Nigeria and share my very frank feelings about it.
I have been around for close to half a century now. From the experiences that came with those years, my environment and the many occurrences we have witnessed in my beloved country, I find it difficult to agree with the dictionary definition of the word INDEPENDENCE as freedom from political control by other countries or as the freedom to organize one’s life, make one’s own decisions and plans without the interference of other people. Truly speaking, it would appear I even became more confused about the word when a couple of months ago when I was reminded that Nigeria had attained 53years as an independent country. As I tried to make calls, I heard a recorded voice scream melodiously into my ears: ‘God Bless Nigeria !’ Now, I am forced to wonder: how would a man feel, if after 53 solid years, he sits down to take a stock of his life, and all he discovers are that his woes far exceed his joys, his disappointments overwhelm his achievements and his failures swallow his modest success? Certainly, he would immediately become miserable; in fact, his misery would be worse than that of a captive. Now, at 53, how free is Nigeria ? Think about it.
I am not here to merely enumerate and analyze the woes, disappointments, failures, or even seeming joys, assumed peace and what have you, which our ‘FREE’ nation boasts itself of. (Well, so much of that flood our newspapers daily.) I only wish to call our attention to a particular group of people which this self-styled giant of Africa, NIGERIA , has been most unfair to.
I discovered that on Saturday, 12 October 2013, at about 3:30am, I was just rolling on my bed. Soon, these words were dropped on my heart: ‘The Child, The Youth and the Country, Nigeria .’ As I struggled with this, every bit of sleep departed from my eyes, forcing me to stand up to write down this burden of my heart, which I am quite sure, is also the burden of many well meaning Nigerians.
Since the adoption of May 27 in 1964 as Children’s Day in Nigeria , a theme has always been chosen to guide the mood of each year’s celebrations. For that of last May(2013), the theme was: ‘Let’s Build A Culture Of Peace And Security For The Nigerian Child.’ As little kids, we always looked forward to Children’s Day; long rehearsals (for march past) and other preparations helped to build up excitement as the D-day approached. We were very happy to see the Governor or his representative stand out to take the salute and later make the usually long speech filled with promises just like the manifesto of an uninspiring electoral candidate, which only few bother to hear and understand. Now, after that what next? What bit of good does that do to the Nigerian kid writhing under the biting sun, especially, as virtually all the officer would say would eventually not bring any positive change to his welfare?
While in secondary school, we also looked forward to when we would gain admission into the institution of higher learning as we happily listened to our uncles and other relations talk about the serene campus environment which encouraged serious efforts at acquiring knowledge, the very serious-minded lecturers who had no patience for students afraid of hard work, the beautiful, clean refectories they ate in, and, more importantly, the several job opportunities awaiting one once the service year was over – a development on which many families placed the hope of ending or, at least, drastically reducing their sufferings. So we studied hard believing that we would have far better facilities and services at our disposal since our country was growing older and having ‘better’ leaders. But what did we see eventually when we got there? And how was our labour eventually rewarded when we graduated? It is better imagined.
Over the years, Nigerian ‘first ladies’ have made it a culture to establish NGOs to tackle the problems confronting one category of the citizenry or the other. Majority of these NGOs are aimed at the problems of the children and youths of this country. Although one sees them vigorously engaged in one function or the other, raising funds from time to time, fears and speculations are rife that these pet projects are largely self-serving, either targeted at enriching their promoters or giving them some underserved reputation. How far do these NGOs go in addressing the matters they were formed to tackle? What does one eventually find on ground to justify the huge resources deployed to undertake these pet projects after the tenures of the spouses of these ‘first ladies’ are over and they disappear with their husbands?
Now, there is a federal ministry in-charge of youth affairs which ought to serve as the hub through which all youth-related issues can be actualized. This should give one some cause to relax one’s mind since the implication is that our beloved youths would now have at least one ministry devoted to their welfare. But then, how can one explain the uncensored infiltration of evil lessons which promote unrestrained immoral and terrible lifestyles into the school curriculum and even the homes through the so called sexuality education, some unhealthy extra curricular activities allowed for school kids, advertisements in the media and billboards suggestive of evil, and other unwholesome programmes on television, home videos, internet, magazines, etc? It is a pity that our norms, values and morals have become a thing of the past. The ancient landmarks have been removed.
It is the responsibility of the relevant agencies at the Federal Ministry of Education to formulate policies for the maintenance of standards to ensure quality education for our children. I learnt that when Nigeria was much younger, foreigners were coming down here to study. Many also came to settle into some gainful employment. And when they fell sick, they got quality medical attention in this country. But, today, the glory has departed. How are the mighty fallen? Today, the table has turned. Our leaders and the rich now send their children to other lands, some of which at one time or the other depended on Nigeria for assistance. They go over to other countries to receive reliable medical attention. They travel far and wide, yet they pick no challenges to initiate our recovery as a country. Can we then say, like the Holy Book puts it: my beloved country has become like an old and foolish king who no more can be admonished?
As I penned this piece, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was yet to call off the strike it embarked upon, and which had lasted for several months. It beat me how two giant elephants, ASUU and the Presidency, could afford to stick to their pride and be fiercely locked in a protracted combat without bothering to care about the survival of the grass under their feet – the hapless Nigerian students whose future was being mortgaged, and, by extension, parents who were dying with anxiety over the fate of their children? As concerned Nigerians waited with bated breath to see who among the two combatants would bow to the other, how many among them stopped for a moment to consider the enormous cost of their clash of ego and wits?
Now who carefully monitors all the processes of conducting NECO, WAEC, JAMB, and all the post-UTME stuff? What about the indiscriminate sales of scratch cards for every exam? Who regulates them to ensure candidates are not being ripped off? What about the change of course forms, supplementary admissions forms, etc. being freely hawked at our campuses? Why do some universities continue to invite candidates who had entered them as their second choice to pay for and sit for the post-UTME exams when they had already made up their minds right from the outset not to offer them admission, even if they got the highest scores in the tests? Is this not extortion, obtaining money from these candidates unjustly, if not criminally? I am forced to ask our dear Education Minister: does your ‘area of jurisdiction’ not cover these?
I also ask: what is the present state of the private schools in this country: primary, secondary and tertiary? At some of these places, the future of our children and that of the country are put in the hands of largely unqualified or uncommitted instructors who only succeed in making them worse than themselves. It is also true that many of the lecturers being paraded by these private institutions are fulltime academic staff of the various State and Federal Universities who are merely moonlighting at the private universities. With their divided attention and the half-heartedness with which they would attend to their duties, how can students of any of these institutions get the quality teaching they deserve and paid for? What caliber of graduates would these institutions turn out at the end of the day? Of course, graduates no one would be proud of! And with mediocrity successfully enthroned, how would their purposes not be diverted and priorities misplaced? How much of genuine, quality research work is even being undertaken by our students these days – how much rigour are they able to take in the pursuit of academic excellence? Well, do you blame them? The language now is ‘survival at all costs,’ or ‘making it’ by all means. It is the age of short-cuts to wealth and influence. Already, they have ready models to copy from – the politicians, many of whom now wake up as poor persons and go to bed that same day as incredible millionaires.
Now, should I say, welcome to the Child’s Rights Act? At least, child abuse, child trafficking, forced child marriage and other forms of infractions against the Nigerian child could be taken care of by this law. But I should think it is far better to remove the smell from a man then spending a lifetime warding off houseflies. Think about that! We should look at the matter against the backdrop of the prevailing harsh economic conditions. While child labour would remain forever condemnable, it must be borne in mind that it would always be difficult to find an economically empowered parent who would love to send his child to the streets to hawk to fetch money for the family upkeep. While we combat child labour, we must equally do something about the the prevailing harsh conditions that encourage its practice. The Minister of Youth Development should think deeply about this.
Nigeria is JUST 53. I think we can still make it if we really wish to. One of my bothers, however, is: who are our lawmakers or rather what quality of lawmaking are we really getting? Who are our opinion leaders and decision makers? Who are our elected and selected leaders? Who are the people whose responsibility it is to think out and formulate policies for the good of the Nigerian child and the youth? I want to assume that I did not see clearly when television screens the other day beamed to our faces the shameful footages of our able leaders (who are mostly parents) exchanging blows and tearing their clothes at the so-called hallowed chambers of the Assembly. Oh! May be it was all part of coming together to decide the way forward for our country? Of course this was not the first time. What a spirit! What examples and precedence are being advertized and set for the country’s leaders of tomorrow to see and emulate? Hear this!
“A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things; and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things” (Jesus Christ; Matt. 12:35).
If one may dare ask our current rulers and those angling to take over from them in 2015, what creative, workable developmental agendas do you have in your treasure house for Nigeria ? The words of the scriptures are forever true: ‘man that is in honour and understands it not is like the beasts that perish.’
Now, what are we to do?
Indeed these are not the best of times. High profile fake prophets and seers abound, confusing the politicians with discordant, deficient counsels and feeding off their deep pockets, but there is no reason to despair. The existence of bad eggs does not and cannot mean that good ones are non-existent. As we study history as recorded by the Holy Book, the Bible, we would see that most successful leaders had by their sides genuine and sincere seers or prophets who had the ability to always interpret for them the handwriting on wall and cause them to rule with the fear of God. Of course our leaders know, and can even acknowledge the sincere ones, but would not choose to hear them because they would look them straight in the face and tell them the stark truth. And so, they, most unfortunately, surround themselves with ‘prophets’ who tell them only what they wish to hear and give them false assurances of peace when there is none. Their pipes and harps give no clear distinction in their sounds. But then what king can adequately prepare for the battle looming in front of him when his prophet’s trumpet is giving out uncertain sound? Today, from Mr. President to Mr. Governor to Mr. Head of the Family, how many among them have true prophets who have told them point blank that evil and iniquity are a reproach to any home, state and nation? The clear neglect of the law of the God Almighty, the acceptance of whoredom and prostitution (spiritual and physical), wanton spilling of blood daily in the course of ritual sacrifices, ungodly religious ordinances/demands, terrorism, occultism, abortions, etc, intimidation and oppression of the helpless by the powers that be and those that feel they are born heirs to the throne, whether at the presidential level or other tiers of government, or even communities and families obviously prove that there is no fear of God in them. Sadly, none of their ‘prophets’ has declared this truth to them.
My problem is: as they stubbornly persist in their acts of wickedness, who are usually the worst hit? Who else but tender children and youths? They are the prey and key victims of oppression and intimidation, denial of essential privileges/rights, false worship and uncommon evils and wickedness. They have become the captives of the mighty! These are crying out in different ways and, indeed, the God of children and youths has heard them! He can no longer have it so! And make no mistake about it: judgment is already determined! And so the big worry now is: who will stand in the gap today to draw down God’s mercy and save this country from the looming judgment – the just consequence of the hideous evils flourishing in it daily?
Also, all who claim to belong to any place that identifies itself as the house of God should tremble for the visitation of God would begin among them if they fail to do something. All the leaders who have contributed in one way or the other (through corruption, looting, etc) directly or indirectly to the endless lamentations of our young ones, those who have made their lives hell on earth should just wait and see; the God of the fatherless, poor, needy and orphan is on His way. His sword has been released and shall not return. It is not a battle of physical weapons or between man and man; therefore do not look at it from a political, religious or ethnic perspective. If Nigerian leaders (political and religious) have decided to do only what pleased them, the God of Nigerian children and youths will rise to do what pleases Him. The outcome is better imagined. We should look into history and get ourselves well-informed.
I therefore call on Mr. President, Governors, all Nigerian leaders and well meaning Nigerians to come down from their beds of Ivory, suspend their chanting to the sounds of various instruments of music and humble themselves before the ALMIGHTY God in repentance. Why was God once described as the ‘God of England’ and the ‘Lord, Mighty in Battle ’, during the “dark days” of World War II? In the face of an expected greatest military disaster in history, the King of England announced a National Day of Prayer and thousands came down from their exalted seats of power and authority and bowed before the Creator in humility and repentance and, then, the unexpected took place. A miracle of deliverance occurred and all acknowledged it. Several other National Days of Prayer followed and God went to battle Himself.
Now, where are they that are called by the name of the Lord? Humble yourselves and pray on behalf of our country and seek the face of the Lord in repentance.
The king of Israel , the king of Nineveh , the king of England , at some point in time, all arose from their thrones in humility and fell before the true God. President Jonathan should also rise from the throne and call for a solemn assembly. This is not the time to be distracted by politicians and power seekers. He should search for true prophets who will weep between the porch and the altar. This is his chance to save the country, not by power or might.
To Nigerian children and youth I also say, arise and turn from your evil ways and repent on behalf your fathers and seek God to intervene on your behalf. Let the children of corrupt leaders and money looters and murderers who have been blinded by all the evil wealth their parents have accumulated and still gathering turn to God in repentance. Else, God has promised to visit the evil of their fathers upon them unto the third and fourth generation, though it would appear that they are meanwhile safe and prospering.
Nigeria and the Nigerian children and youths have very important role in God’s programme at this end of time. God is therefore set to sanitize this country. None can question or stop Him.
This call is to all leaders (executive, legislative, judicial, religious, traditional, community, family, etc). If any one should at this time hold his peace and stand aloof, then shall deliverance surely arise for the Nigerian children and youths from another place but he and his house ... The battle with God is better imagined.
Let me close by saying that my heart is becoming light because I can see hope, I can see freedom out there. My children, the Nigerian child and youths, shall be saved and delivered from the hand of the evil mighty and the terrible. I see this stanza in our great country’s anthem being realized.
“O God of creation
Direct our noble cause
Guide our leaders right
Help our youth the truth to know
In love and honesty to grow
And living just and true
Great lofty height attain
To build a nation where peace
And justice shall reign.”
Now may I say, Happy Anniversary, Nigeria . Let all join me and say “God bless Nigeria .”
Mrs. Carllister Ejinkeonye (Email email@example.com ), a system analyst/programmer, writes from Lagos.
*Photo Caption - Mrs. Carllister Ejinkeonye
[ Masterweb Reports: Obienyem Valentine reports ] – On the 11th of February, my family called me on phone as I was in Abuja on official function. The moment I picked the phone, they started singing “Happy Birthday to Daddy.” I did not need any soothsayer to reveal to me that it was the conspiracy of their mother. Come to think about it, the world is rapidly changing, reminding me of one Latin Maxim I was in love with as a young student of Latin: Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis (Times change, and we change with them). During my own time, I cannot remember singing any “Happy Birthday” to my Daddy.
Just this morning, immediately my children woke up and after the perfunctory morning greetings, they started wishing me “Happy Valentine.” I had to ask them what it meant and who asked them to do that, behold it was their teacher. To crown it all, they told Mummy that they asked them to come to school in red dresses. They went on to tell me that the teacher asked them to buy gifts for people as mark of love, which Christ the epitome of Love show us daily. Again, I remember in my own days that I was almost completing my secondary education before I heard of “Valentine’s Day.”
But what is this Valentine and how do we analyze it?
Those that answer Valentine dread the month of February like a plague. Besides close friends who always demand that you celebrate your name in grand style, most confront you with all manner of questions bordering on the concept that your name is supposed to embody. Thus, you are asked whether you were born on the 14th of February or whether you were a by-product of love affair that took place in the month of February. One fact I have come to discover over the years is that people take those that bear the name of Valentine as experts in all known techniques of love, starting with its fundaments to its metaphysics.
Despite much research, we cannot tell unarguably the exact date the feast started, nor the route by which it entered into history. Perhaps it is connected to the life of a certain St. Valentine who was said to have suffered martyrdom in Rome as the Church hagiography would want us to believe; perhaps, as the legend of the saint’s heroic faith says, it grew out of the love shown to prisoners by the saintly Valentine; perhaps it has to do with the period in the year when birds of the earth look for mates; perhaps it is another case of substitution of a pagan feast by Christian feast as a subtle way of blighting paganism at the bud. We do not know. Valentine’s Day is part of history whose beginning has been forgotten, and whose end we shall never reach.
The popularity of Valentine’s Day could be linked to the nature of the theme it celebrates – love. Writing about love, Archbishop Fulton Sheen called it “the most used, and the most misunderstood word.” The misunderstanding inherent in the nature of love often provokes people to ask questions such as: How much of what we claim as love is love indeed? Does love have different levels and spheres? Is it possible to love our neighbour as ourselves, as the Holy writ prescribes? What is love? These are the questions with which the most comprehensive theories, treatises, and analyses of love find it necessary to begin.
To the Greeks, love could be Eros, Philia, and agape. Plato’s ladder of love in the Symposium has different loves for its rungs, up to what we commonly call “Platonic Love”. St Thomas Aquinas distinguishes between love in the sphere of the passion and love as an act of will. The former he assigns to what he calls the “concupiscible faculty” of the sensitive appetite; the latter, to the rational or “intellectual appetite”. Sometimes, people talk about metaphysical, contemplative, material and acquisitive love, etc.
Whatever form love takes, it implies a complex psychical experience of strong attraction to, intense desire for, vivid appreciation of, a profound interest in, ones object of love. The object of love could be a fellow being, institution, cause or even nature. It involves tender affection, sympathetic understanding, admiration and loyalty, with reference to its object.
But apart from a few people who recognize the fact of plurality of love in their analyses, most of us, especially the youth, talk abundantly of love, commonly in the sense of amorous appetite. These are people who confess their loving the object of their love more than their own mothers. Our elders consider this form of love to be a form of “possession” or “madness”, and would frown at anyone who would propose it as a fit guide in the choice of marriage mate. They do this, knowing that once the erotic side of love diminishes or fades away altogether, the disinterested element fades too; interest in the other’s happiness evaporates, all tender feeling is eroded, and the one desire is to get away. This is what Lucretius called “erotic befuddlement”. What Dedriot deridedly described as “the voluptuous loss of a few drops of liquid”. It is a spark thrown off by the contact or nearness of two opposite bodies.
In pursuit of this type of love there is nothing that human beings have not done, or are not capable of doing. The love portion that some ladies brew for men they suspect of unrequited love has no platonic aim. It is not out of generosity, rather to get the object of their longing, that men spend lots of money in wooing women. Women themselves do as much. To attract men, they dress in manners to arouse precipitate passion. Eyelashes are darkened with gum ammonia. Checks and lips are painted with sticks of minium or alkanet roots. Adjustable eyebrows are used and often pencilled with lampblack or pulverized or sulphuret of antimony, sometimes it is thinned to diverse shapes or shaved off entirely and painted “crescent moons” or other forms. Eyelids are shaded with kohl. All sort of things are rubbed on the face, in the hope that it will make them look beautiful. Some in the villages still wrap their fingernails over night with henna leaves to make them purple. Padded brassieres are used to make the breast look poised and … Breast enhancement has since become part of beauty regimen. There is no part of the woman’s body, in pursuit of men, that has not been perfected, decorated, refined, stretched and squeezed, bleached, reformed, compacted and shortened.
Higher than the afore-described love is what is often called genuine friendship. In this type of love, there is often the predominance of altruistic motives. It springs from mutual admiration. Here, love is thought to precede desire and to determine its wishes. Marriages built upon this type of love are often successful. Mature lovers discover that marriage transcends the act of multiplication of the species or the fantasy of sexual acts. There are some men who think that all a woman appreciates in a man is when he brandishes the erectile organ to her satisfaction. No. Marriage is more than that. It demands deep understanding and maturity from both partners.
All the foregoing classifications and distinctions, inexhaustible though, belong to the theory of human love. But the fact of love’s diversity extends to the Christian theory of love. Christianity brought about a basic shift in man’s thinking about love. Christianity sees love not in the emotion or passion, but from the infinite perfection and creativity of God. God Himself is love (I John 4: 4). “Love ye one another”. In this profound sentence, God summarized all the commandments. Love rules the world and was, perhaps, as Parmenides thought, “the very first thing created by the gods to rule the world”.
The key to peace in the world is for men to embrace the ethics of Christ – love. Confucius taught a version of it in his rule of reciprocity (golden rule). Immanuel Kant espoused it in his book, The Metaphysics of Morals in what he called the “Maxims of Categorical Imperative”. All great religions teach it. Until we start to imbibe this golden rule (love), the battle to re-make the world can as well be labelled a utopia.
The sooner we use the day of Valentine to promote this type of love, the better the world will become. Here we are again celebrating another Valentine. How do we make it serve the purpose of making the world a better place? This is the central question
*Photo Caption – Valentine wish
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Peregrino Brimah reports ] – Have you ever asked a friend for financial assistance and they said they couldn’t oblige, then same instance, they took you and whoever else was available to be ‘impressed’ out to buy all of you drinks, excited to spend triple what you begged for on getting you drunk and bloated? This friend potentially has Compulsive Stealing Syndrome. Given the opportunity, he will steal, even from you.
The development and early signs of Compulsive Stealing Syndrome (CSS) may sometimes be mixed-up and go unnoticed, and management of this serious disorder is rather complex. This paper presents the early signs of CSS, the diagnostic criteria and methods of management of this disorder that is unfortunately becoming increasingly popular in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Compulsive Stealing Syndrome (CSS) is a psychological and behavioral disorder that typically present with helpless, chronic addiction to stealing from the less privileged.
Characteristics of CSS include, repetitive and uncontrollable looting, quasi-ambitious positioning to steal, love of power due to its securing greater ability to steal and deprive, preference for stealing from the poor, lack of initiative and foresight, kleptophilia (love of theft) with hybristophilia (attraction to criminals) and a decreased sense of self worth with self appraisal being morbidly connected to the accumulation of stolen wealth or property.
Etiology and Course of CSS:
A syndrome that is derived both from nature and nurture; signs and symptoms of CSS can be identified in early infancy. Infants who bring home items from unknown sources are at risk of developing CSS later in adult life. If there is poor parenting and these children are not queried as to the source of their treasures and reprimanded properly, a sense of fulfilling needs by robbing others develops. In some cases, the parents pretend not to realize the child is stealing and actually praise and reward the children for their ‘sorting themselves out’ with toys and sweets. The story of ‘Eze the thief’ comes to mind.
There is a genetic predisposition to CSS. Usually CSS patients are children of CSS parents and grandparents. The parents were abused and encouraged to fend for themselves by theft as children and they pass this on to their children.
In school life, these are the students who steal pens, and sometimes when caught, are seen to have a stash of so many pens—all the stolen pens in the class—which is confusing as to why they would have stolen more pens than they can possibly need or ever use. CSS students are not the brightest in class and they actually write the least even though spying, and have the least use of these pens. Stealing at this stage has turned into a dependent need to gratify self by inflicting suffering on those who have been robbed. They steal the pens, not out of need but because the chronic habit has gotten them addicted to the pleasure of inflicting pain on their victims who suffer the loss of their pens.
CSS graduate as Dr’s and lawyers, thanks to exam cheating. As CSS pass through adolescence, some learn to hide their disorder and appear to function normally in society; others become frank robbers.
The CSS who have now entered regular society are very ambitious. They seek top jobs, not for the service they can provide for the people, company or government, but out of a thirst for utilizing the top position to steal and deprive thousands at a time.
CSS sleep, eat and dream of robbing the poor. It takes great skill to rob from the tight-fisted affluent, but it is easy to rob from the open handed poor, distraught and needy. In fact the poor will give it to you, eyes wide open. CSS hone on this. They rob the poor directly via imposed fake levies, taxes, subsidies, oligopolies and again rob their lot from the nation’s treasury. When they hire staff or nominate officers and cabinet workers, the one question they ask of their appointees is—what can you bring in for me.
As the condition progresses, CSS get less and less satisfaction from the wealth they accumulate. They could have hundreds of houses in their villages and abroad, more than they can even remember, talk less live in, but they want to steal more. Stealing is no longer for the satisfaction of wealth. They cannot be satisfied by wealth at this point. Stealing is now morbidly attached to the pleasure of depriving others. CSS believe and view the world as having two types of people: the CSS and Chremastistophiliacs (the lovers of being robbed). They feel gratified and empowered by the presence of the dependent and subservient. When you visit the CSS for help, he keeps you outside his door waiting for hours on end. Finally he sends his servant to tell you he is sorry, he cannot come out, he will help, but please come back in a week. This goes on indefinitely. Your pain is his only remaining pleasure in life.
Management of CSS:
CSS is a chronic and serious disorder. The CSS lack insight to their problem. Confronting them is one of the greatest mistakes people often make. The more the CSS are confronted and called thieves, the more they feel insecure and that their campaign of calumny has not yet made poor slaves of the people. These narcissists desire not simply abject poverty for all, but poverty-hopelessness. That you confronted them shows power, ability and food in your belly. They will steal and kill more if confronted and called thieves. Please avoid this.
CSS is a terminal illness. We see the CSS regardless of the unbelievable wealth they have already stolen and lives they have destroyed by theft and maliciousness, are still positioning themselves in office, government, etc at 70 years, 80 years, 90 years and till they die. We are seeing many CSS dying these days, till the last minute, actively engaged in setting themselves up to steal to deprive. These rather unfortunate sufferers need professional therapy. You will do the best by getting them CSS help via stylishly recommending therapy for them for some other condition, perhaps their depression*, having already secretly advised the therapist that they suffer from CSS. [* CSS patients usually have co morbid psychological conditions like depression and mania and are violent and abusive to family.]
Do not address like armed robbery. Unlike armed robbery, CSS is not solved easily by social rehabilitation. Armed robbers usually steal out of need. They steal preferably from the rich. Armed robbers give to the poor. The CSS steal preferably from the poor and to give to and associate with the rich. They work with the rich to plot and plan how to steal from the poor and further deprive them. Theirs is not stealing out of need, it is stealing to impoverish out of a chronic dependent feeling of self worthlessness. If the CSS sees poor in rags fetching water from a well, he plans how to put a lid and padlock on the well and have the poor pay him per bucket fetched. This is a very deadly and unique disorder, most peculiar to Africa.
In the western world, power thieves steal too, but when seeking office, have a mission to do something, make life livable for the people. Those in western societies understand that healthy people with basic amenities are essential for future stealing and safety from anarchy. Not so with the CSS, an African disorder that is totally self extirpative and internecine.
The physician needs to handle these patients carefully. Inquire about child abuse, being ‘spoiled’ as a child. Ask about toilet control and when the patient first gained self control and restraint. Ask about their relationship with their parents, domestic violence and abuse including incestuous rape in the house. Inquire about their parent’s profession. Being a disorder with hereditary links, the parents professions may typically be answered as ‘unknown,’ politician, or sometimes, even straight-forth, thief.
Recommend taking time to visit prisons, volunteering in charity organizations in direct contact with the poor. It is helpful sometimes to try to reconnect these people with the greater things in life. Things that can give them the happiness they have given up on finding, as wealth accumulation only brings more desire, greed, anger and frustration. The CSS hate the smile they see on the poor man’s face. It is a smile and true happiness they lost from early childhood. They will give all up to smile a true smile once. But the distance they know exists between them in their fortified cars and mansions and the poor, makes this impossible for them.
Discuss with them about a legacy. Some CSS are every intelligent. Tell them about people of old who died and their names are remembered. Let it seep into their conscience that those remembered were hardly the rich, but those who left great positive legacies. Who Did Something for the people. With this approach, you can penetrate their profligacy and greater narcissistic desires and not heal them, but convert their greed into a greed for a good post-humus legacy. We see CSS purchasing acres and buying gold plated coffins ahead of their death. These things matter and work.
If behavioral therapy fails, quickly place them on powerful anti-psychotic meds. CSS are deadly and very dangerous. Their reckless looting, poverty-enhancing, money-wasting, policy-unfriendly, corruption-inflating, selfish policies and deprivation of the poor, lead to deaths of thousands. If high doses fail, consider straight-jacketing. Many CSS fund thugs and terrorism; confer with the law, media and human rights organizations if they get out of your control.
MEDICAL DISCLAIMER:The information contained here is solely intended for the general information of the reader and not intended to diagnose health problems or to replace professional medical care. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but only for discussion with the patient's physician. This information is not intended to dictate what constitutes reasonable, appropriate or best care or substitute for the independent judgment of a physician for any given health issue.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah ( Email:firstname.lastname@example.org ).
*Photo Caption – As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye reports ] – The recent statement by the General Overseer of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Pastor W.F. Kumuyi, that Christmas is idolatrous has attracted widespread reactions. Pastor Kumuyi was quoted in the Punch Newspaper of December 13, 2013, as saying: “We don’t celebrate Christmas. It actually came from idolatrous background. That is why you don’t hear us sing what they call Christmas carol. Never! ... When you find anybody coming in, or any leader, trying to introduce the idolatry of mystery Babylon that they call Christmas, and you want to bring all the Christmas carol saying that is the day that Jesus was born, and you don’t find that in the Acts of the Apostles or in the early church, then you don’t find that in the church either. If you don’t know that before, now you know.”
These are indeed weighty, unsettling words on a widely cherished festival. The reactions they immediately stirred were, therefore, to be expected. However, it was a very courageous assertion by Pastor Kumuyi and I would love to pitch my tent with those who insist that he is right, and that those attacking him are either doing so out of sheer lack of adequate information on the matter or, worse, unwittingly betraying their reluctance to let go of a cherished idol.
Now, despite the din, pomp and fanfare that usually mark this annual December 25 ceremony called Christmas, I have for many years now excused myself from everything that has to do with it. In my household it is just like any other day. And the reason is quite simple: I do not believe that December 25 is the birthday of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. In fact, what my research has shown is that, just like Easter before it, Christmas is rooted in hideous idolatrous observances and, in fact, predates the coming of Christ to this world in human form.
One of the vehement opposers of Pastor Kumuyi’s statement (as contained in the same ‘PUNCH’ report) is the Director of Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Monsignor Gabriel Osu.
Hear him: “I don’t know what he means by saying the practice of celebrating Christmas is wrong. Is he saying that Christ wasn’t born? That he didn’t come to die for us? Does he not celebrate his own birthday …The celebration of Christmas didn’t just start today; it is too public an event for anyone to say that they don’t know what it is about… Christ came to redeem us from our lost state; this was actualised through his coming, his birth; that is why we celebrate Christmas… Kumuyi is just saying what he feels; he is not making any doctrinal statement.”
Quite a passionate reply, one would say. However, as a Roman Catholic cleric, Monsignor Osu may wish to look at the 1911 edition of the ‘Catholic Encyclopaedia’ which states that “Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the church … the first evidence of the feast is from Egypt.”
No doubt, what we today know as Christmas is one of the prominent, irremediably polluted children that emerged from the very ungodly marriage between a distorted and depreciated form of Christianity and (Roman) paganism which crept into the Church many years after the death of the Apostles of Christ and the genuine Christians that took over from them.
Although the pagan worship of the SUN god had gained prominence in several parts of the world long before the birth of Christ, and had permeated and gained wide acceptance in imperial Rome, it was Emperor Constantine’s Edict in 321 AD which ordered the unification of the mostly apostate Christians and the pagans of that period in the clearly abominable observance of the “the venerable day of the Sun” that increased the influence of Christmas celebration in the Roman church. What has, however, become clear, judging from historical accounts is that Emperor Constantine may not have truly become a Christian.
My attention was recently called to an article which rehearsed what many of us already know, namely, that “25th December was celebrated in ancient days as the birthday of the unconquerable SUN god, (variously known as Tammuz, Mithra, Saturn, Adonis or BAAL) centuries before Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem…[but] in order to win Gentile converts…the Roman Church, centuries after the Apostolic era, adopted this ancient winter festival of the SUN god and renamed it Christmas.”
And According to Alexander Hyslop, in his book, ‘The Two Babylons’ (p.91), “…within the Christian Church no such festival as Christmas was ever heard of till the third century, and that not till the fourth century was far advanced did it gain much observance.”
Indeed, all those who celebrate Christmas are unwittingly honouring and worshipping the devil in whose honour it had always been observed, instead of Christ, the Saviour.
The SUN god was known and worshipped in ancient Babylon as the son of the “Queen of Heaven.” That title should be familiar to Bible scholars who are aware that God had clearly warned the backslidden Israelites of Prophet Jeremiah’s time to beware and never worship this “queen of heaven” or they would face His wrath. And when the Israelites of that time insisted that they would go ahead to worship the queen of heaven despite God’s injunction, He pronounced a severe punishment against them. (See Jeremiah 44: 17-27).
This queen of heaven, a terrible demon and enemy of God, had always sought to get the world to worship her instead of God. She had appeared under several names in several places long before Christ was born in the flesh. In Acts of Apostles, for instance, we saw her as Diana of Ephesus, which was always identified with the Greek Artemis. As little children attending Catechism and Block Rosary meetings, we were told a very beautiful story of how the “queen of heaven” had appeared to some little children in Fatima in 1917.
To be fair to this spirit, and according to the popular Fatima apparition story, which became the subject of a very pleasant Igbo religious song, she had introduced herself truly as the “queen of heaven.” I think it was some misguided and overzealous fellows that declared her to be Mary, the mother of Jesus! And since then, in other apparitions in several other places, she has been trying to act like she is Mary, thereby drawing more worshippers. You see, humans can at times teach spirits wisdom!
Michael Harrison, in his book, ‘The Story Of Christmas,’ reports that in “in a famous letter to Augustine, Pope Gregory directed [him] to accommodate the ceremonies of the Christian worship as much as to those of the heathen, that the people might not be startled at the change, and in particular, the Pope advised Augustine to allow coverts to kill and eat at the Christmas festival a great number of oxen to the glory of God, as they had formerly done to the Devil!” Indeed, this papal directive to marry pagan practices with Christian worship (at a period of overwhelming compromise) was a very strong pollutant, the fruits of which the unwary have embraced today to the damnation of their souls.
But nobody would be excused because the Bible is there as the most authoritative guide to salvation and worship of God. Moreover, history books are replete with accounts that the same excessive revelling and drunkenness that marked the feast of the SUN god on December 25 long before Christ was born in Bethlehem are exactly the same unedifying preoccupations that dominate the celebration of Christmas today. Certainly, there is no way Christ can be associated with it.
I really enjoyed reading Barbara Aho’s article, “Cosmic Christmas: Rebirth of the Sun God”. Please, permit to quote an interesting extract from it. “In the fourth century,” she writes, “the Emperor Constantine designated December 25, the birthday of the Roman Sun-god Mithra, as the birthday of Jesus Christ, thereby placing the true Savior among the pantheon of Roman gods. Constantine succeeded in drawing Christians into the pagan celebrations of Rome, which procured the religious unity needed for the success of the Holy Roman Empire. The empire dominated the world for 1,200 years until the 16th century, when the Protestant Reformers led 2/3 of Europe to break away with the Roman Catholic Church and discontinued the celebration of Christmas by reason of its pagan character. The Puritans who controlled the English Parliament in 1644 declared that no observation of Christmas was permitted, calling it ‘The Profane Man’s Ranting Day.’”
Also, the famous English preacher, C.H. Spurgeon, had this to say as recently as 1871: “We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly, we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas.” On December 23, 1983, ‘USA Today’ newspaper reported that “A broad element of English Christianity still considered Christmas celebration a pagan blasphemy. The Puritans, Baptists, Quakers, Presbyterians, Calvinists and other denominations brought this opposition to early New England and strong opposition to the holiday lasted in America until the middle of the 18th century.”
Indeed, it was when depreciation and compromise began to set in that people whose forbears had opposed this heathen feast began to return to it. But it was not only Christmas that the depreciation brought. Of recent, for instance, some pastors of some so-called Bible-believing Churches have begun to don priestly robes, complete with skullcaps and the mitre! Just for them to be addressed as Bishops! What a horrible period of great apostasy! (Matthew 24:12).
Truth is: Christmas has no Scriptural backing. The Apostles did not observe it. It is a product of a most hideous compromise. Indeed, no matter the good intentions that led to this unholy marriage that produced Christmas, it is still a heathen feast, in honour of the devil. When Aaron made the golden calf for the Israelites at Mount Sinai, he proclaimed the celebration that attended its inauguration the “feast of the Lord.” (Exodus 32:5). Yet, this did not prevent the wrath of God from falling upon them.
Again, the name Jeroboam, the son of the Nebat, is always accompanied each time it is mentioned in the Bible with the statement, “the man who made Israel to sin.” The Bible says he had “ordained a feast in the eight month… like unto the feast in Judah…” (I Kings 12: 32), because he wanted to prevent the Israelites from rebelling against his kingship. An entry in the famous Matthew Henry’s Commentary states: “Though it is probable [Jeroboam] meant this worship for Jehovah the God of Israel, it was directly contrary to the Divine majesty, to be thus represented.” So, no matter how anyone tries to rename or whitewash a devilish festival, it would still be in honour of the devil.
A Scottish writer was, therefore very right when he said: “Christmas is still a pagan festival through and through. Its change of name from Saturnalia, the birthday of the Sun god, to Christ’s Mass [Christmas] has not altered its true character one iota: and the evil spirit behind its celebrations still produces the deception, debt, drunkenness, misrule and licentiousness that characterized the pagan revelries of bygone days.” Indeed, all other accompaniments like Christmas tree, Christmas log, exchange of gifts, etc., are direct carry-overs from the celebration of the birthday of the Sun-god as history reports it.
A historical record observed that “the point of departure for every major apostasy in Israel and Christendom involved the commingling of worship of the true God with worship of the Sun-god.” In fact, Aaron’s golden calf and King Jeroboam’s pagan worship have all been proved to be in honour of the Sun-god. Just as Christmas is! And God’s attitude towards them can only be the same.
But the question is: do we even need to commemorate the birth of the Saviour to obtain salvation? The answer is obvious, and it is NO! Again, could Christ have been born on December 25? Well, think about it: there was just no way those shepherds the angels met on the day Jesus was born could have been out “in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8) in the killing cold at the peak of winter, with the snow probably more than twelve inches above the ground. That would have been suicidal.
Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye ( Email: email@example.com ) reports.
*Photo Caption – Pastor W.F. Kumuyi
[ Masterweb Reports: Charles Ajunwa reports ] – Former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, is a man in constant pains. The only moment he gets temporary relief is when he indulges in discrediting the landmark development efforts of the visionary Governor of Abia, Chief Theodore Ahamefule Orji. Kalu engages in this ignominious past time through his characteristic grandstanding or getting any of his hirelings like one Ebere Wabara to do it on the pages of his propaganda tool, The Sun newspaper. Wabara was at his elemental parroting of his master’s voice in an article published in the Daily Sun edition of Thursday January 30, 2014 entitled “Kalu: T.A. Orji’s self-delusion”. If anything the writer ended up drowning in the arcane hollow ritual of mouthing that nothing is working in Abia. This trite lyric, which is only music to the ears of Kalu and his blind converts like Wabara has become meaningless to the people of Abia and those that value development.
The pains that Kalu is suffering today can easily be located. He does not need to visit the ultra modern diagnostic centre built by Governor Orji to find out the source of his pains. Orji has made Abia to rise from the ground where Kalu left it sprawling in underdevelopment. If Walter Rodney were to write a sequel to his famous book, ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa’ he would have found a fitting subject in Abia State under Kalu and come out with a book titled, ‘How Orji Uzor Kalu Underdeveloped Abia State’. But a new dawn has been ushered in by Ochendo. God’s own state is now moving in leaps and bounds thereby rubbishing the inglorious eight years of Kalu’s mamacratic administration. That is the main cause of Kalu’s pains. Wabara painted a fictitious picture of Abia as state in decadence, especially in the major cities of Umuahia and Aba, the commercial hub. But as usual he did not give his readers the benefit of making comparism with the standard set by his principal when he left office in 2007. One would have expected the man who described himself as media adviser to Kalu to point out the specifics. Which good road did Kalu bequeath to the people of Abia and his successor allowed it to decay? Wabara, you claimed to have traversed Aba and Umuahia during the last Christmas, now tell us if anybody pointed to a hospital or even a health centre built by Kalu which has now gone in ruins because Ochendo could not “sustain the institutionalized growth ethos in the state.”
One can only but sympathize with Wabara and others blindfolded by Kalu. This crop of people doesn’t even know what development is all about hence they can not recognize it when they see one. Kalu hated development with passion and he made sure that Abia under his care did not witness any. He antagonized both the federal government and donor agencies and frustrated every development programme meant for the state. Kalu as governor behaved like the biblical Pharisees who did not want to go to heaven and blocked the road for those who want to go. Moreover the sorry state of security was enough to scare away investors from Abia. So there was no development in Abia during Kalu’s locust years of governance. Wabara should be excused for his ignorance about development indices as his principal did not leave any legacy for which Abians could remember him. Look around the other states in the South-east and see what Kalu’s contemporaries left behind. In Imo State Chief Achike Udenwa built a befitting secretariat, among other infrastructures. In Enugu State Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani built a university, teaching hospital, Ebeano tunnel, among others. In Ebonyi State Dr. Sam Ominyi Egwu pursued aggressive man power development of his people, churning out thousands of professionals trained in foreign and local universities. What did Kalu do for Abia State for which he should be fondly remembered like his contemporaries in the neighbouring states? Let his spin doctors take up this challenge and point out any single structure in Abia State today with the signature of Orji Uzor Kalu.
The people of Abia have indeed breathed a sigh of relief because it is now that the state is witnessing development in its real meaning. Today, Abia State has a new secretariat for its ministries, international conference centre, specialist hospitals and state of the art diagnostic centres, over 250 health centres across the state. The state capital has been made to drop in a hurry the inglorious garb of being referred to as glorified village. Umuahia is now a beauty to behold, thanks to the Ochendo urban renewal programme through which the main market, industrial market and spare parts market have all been relocated to modern structures built in the northern, eastern and southern sections of the capital territory thereby freeing the city for expansion in every direction.
So many infrastructures hitherto not seen in Umuahia have now sprung up. For eight years Kalu lived and presided over the affairs of Abia from a rented property as government house. He never saw any need to build a befitting government house for Abia but his successor has already gone far in executing this project. If Kalu had done any of these important projects Abia would have been better for it as his successor would have faced other developmental challenges of the state instead of laying a foundation for growth. Aba the commercial and industrial nerve centre of Abia has equally been made to undergo a process of renewal. The refuse heaps that Kalu left as a legacy have disappeared with Ochendo’s sanitization broom. Most of the major roads and drainages that were in total decay have been rehabilitated so much so that Enyimba city was spared the perennial flooding last rainy season. Above all, the city and indeed every other part of Abia is now well secured for social and economic activities as the hard working and caring governor of Abia, Chief T.A. Orji has seen to it that criminals no longer have any foothold in God’s own state.
It has become an anthem in Kalu’s camp to enthuse that he was instrumental in making Orji his successor. In fact, it would have been a major surprise if Wabara had ended his gibberish article without singing this refrain. The simple answer to those who resort to this banality at every opportunity to justify the malefic administration of Kalu is that the emergence of T.A. Orji as the governor of Abia State was divinely ordained. Kalu had no control over whatever he did to fulfill God’s plan for Abia. Orji was a man prepared by God to liberate the people of Abia from the idolatrous stranglehold of a political dynasty that held the state down for eight years. This pre-ordained plan from above was fulfilled in July 2010 when Orji proclaimed liberation for the people of Abia. Wabara was right when he noted that
Orji was part of Kalu’s government. Yes, the present governor was the chief of staff to his predecessor. It was that vantage position that made him understand the deceitful posturing of Kalu and his motion without movement style of governance. Governor Orji had already explained his participation in Kalu’s administration as “the story of an innocent man who joined the wrong gang”. Nevertheless at the appointed time God’s plan for Abia came to pass. Governor Orji was buoyed by the encouraging sounds of the voices of the good people of Abia State to finally break the evil spell and end the evil story.
Every person with a faint idea of how Kalu governed Abia knew that he elevated deceit, which he christened “gamji” to the high heavens. To him, it was a thing of pride to deceive people. He was and still is the gamji master. But Ochendo has elected to be different. He sees governance as a call to service hence he has been delivering quality service to the people of Abia who gave him their mandate. That is why Kalu is in pains. T.A. Orji has charted a new course for the development of Abia. Unlike Kalu he is conscious of leaving a legacy that would outlive him hence the concept of “Legacy Projects” which is shaping the new face of Abia. That is why Kalu is at pains. He left no legacy when he left office. Check Kalu’s records: mamacracy, disunity, nepotism, kleptomania. This report card is so awful that there is no way Kalu’s apologists can pass it off as good record. Yet Wabara had the effrontery to castigate Abia elders who have for once come together to speak with one voice and contribute their wealth of wisdom and experience for the development of the state. Kalu hates intellect. That was why he kept the highly cerebral elders at bay and created disunity among the political elites.
To Wabara Kalu’s popularity knows no bounds as he is both a “business mogul and political juggernaut”. He attempted to buttress his claim by citing the visit of Ohanaeze Ndigbo leadership to Kalu to ask him to drop his 2015 presidential aspiration “for strategic reasons that border on regional interest in the years ahead”. Well, let me give Wabara a hard shove to wake him up from his self-indulgent delusion. Every discerning Igbo man knows Kalu as a spoiler in national politics and a betrayer of Igbo interest. That is why the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Gary Nnachi Enwo-Igariwey and his group saw the need to tame Kalu before he runs amuck with his vaulting ambition. It is common knowledge that the South-east zone is strongly behind President Goodluck Jonathan in his second term quest and if Kalu is not reined in he could be a spoiler. An Igbo proverb says that if your kinsman is dancing badly in the village square you would be forced to develop itching around your eyelid. Therefore one may ask: does nuisance constitute political sagacity? Sadly political neophytes in the mould of Wabara easily equate nuisance with “political might” which according to him, Kalu possesses. He pretends to be unaware that Kalu is being courted for his nuisance value. Governor Orji has no need to enter into popularity contest with Kalu. By their works we shall know them.
In another feeble attempt to justify mamacracy Wabara resorted to referring to Engineer Chinedu Orji as “power drunk” and being the man behind the mask in the Ochendo administration. Nothing could be further from the truth. The son of Governor Orji has done what nobody in his status has done any where in Nigeria – empowering thousands of youths. In Kalu’s time as governor Abia youths were used as thugs during elections and dumped thereafter. The energies of Abia youths were not harnessed and channeled to meaningful ventures during Kalu’s era hence when the youths unleashed their energies negatively Abia had a bad story to tell between 2007 and 2010. But it has taken the commendable initiative of Ikuku Abia, who found a non-governmental organization, the Ochendo Youth Foundation (OYF) to make youths find new meaning in life with thousands now empowered to make their livings and shun crime. He needs commendation, not castigation.
If Wabara knows his job as a media adviser to Kalu he should make his boss understand that the media is not a tool to run down a hard working governor and a fast developing state like Abia. He should swallow his pride and applaud Governor Orji for transforming Abia. Propaganda would not help. Falsehood and blatant lies cannot change the course of development in Abia. If Wabara and his principal have complete senses they should either see, feel or hear the good news.
Ajunwa is the Chief Press Secretary to Abia State Governor.
*Photo Caption – As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Press Release ] – The attention of Bilie Human Rights Initiative has been drawn to a proposed plan by Northern Elders Forum led by Prof Ango Abdullahi to drag former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika, to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Hague over alleged killing of civilians in Baga, Borno State. This will be the most ridiculous proposal that will come from the Islamic Republic of Northern Nigeria which Prof Abdullahi’s NEF represents. The Indigenous People of Biafra will be waiting and praying for this plan to be materialised. For one thing, it will fast forward the on-going case in Owerri Federal High Court (Suit No. FHC/OW/CS/114/2013), in which the Indigenous People of Biafra represented by Bilie Human Rights Initiative is praying the court among other things justice for more than 3.5m Biafran who were murdered in 1966-1970 under the directives of Northern military leaders of Nigeria of which Prof Abdullahi was one of their political advisers.
Prof Abdullahi and his fellow elders could be forgiven for degenerative dementia, but I wish to remind them that:
1. Danjuma, Useni, Gowon Domkat Bali, Obasanjo and others who massacred 3.5m Biafran people are still walking the streets in absolute freedom while the elected and sitting President of Kenya is being charged for ‘ordinary’ incitement of violence and murder. Again, Charles Tarlor of Liberia is today languishing in prison after masterminding genocide in Sierra Leone after being convicted by the ICC.
2. Gen Ihejirika is a civil servant, just like Prof Abdullahi. The difference is that Gen Ihejirika is protecting all Nigerians as part of his constitutional responsibility while Prof Abdullahi – an arch tribalist is protecting the narrow interest of the Hausa-Fulani oligarchy. Where was the high moralist professor when the people of Zaki-Biam, Katsina Ala and Odi were massacred? Have the murders been found and arraigned before the apex International court? Does it follow that some lives are more valuable than others?
3. Where was the Northern Elders during the infamous ‘Ali-must-go’ (Maitasine riot) in Kano that claimed the lives of many innocent people? Who was charged for the crime?
4. Igbo and Biafran people have enough dossiers on Hausa-Fulani military and political leaders – past and present that one release alone will put most of them in dungeon.
5. Boko Haram which is tactically and politically backed by the Northern military and political establishments of which Prof Abdullahi is a member will face the ICC for crime against humanity before a commissioned military leader carrying out his constitutional responsibility.
Bilie Human Rights Initiative UK is happy with the move by the Northern Elders Forum and hope that it will quicken the case in Owerri Federal High Court as was above referred. We also wishes to concur with individuals and groups who have expressed their indignation against the proposal of the Northern Elders Forum and wish to add that they should move speedily from proposal to concrete action and be assured that the Indigenous People of Biafra, not just Gen Ihejirika will be waiting for them in the ICC in Hague. Any such proceeding will afford the Biafran people the opportunity to expose the genocide and other atrocities that were committed against our people for which no one has been held to account for them. We will make them drown in the pit they are digging.
Prof Abdullahi and the Northern Elders Forum and indeed Gowon, Danjuma, Obasanjo and others - Biafran people are waiting for you in ICC in Hague. However, be rest assured that if you do not follow through your plans, the Indigenous People of Biafra will come after you and demand justice for genocide and crime against humanity committed against our people from 1966-2013. Genocidal crime against humanity do not have expiry date and there are no hiding places for the perpetrators; status, age and health conditions are no barriers either in prosecuting offenders.
Meanwhile, BHRI is advising all Igbo and Biafran people wherever they are to maintain peace and tranquillity even in the midst of mindless provocation and threat of violence until further notice. We are monitoring the situation all over the country and will advise on the right cause of action at the right time. This is 2014 – the era of high technology and social media, we cannot allow history to repeat itself against our people.
Dr Chukwuma Egemba
Director, Bilie Human Rights Initiative UK
*Photo Caption – Bilie Human Rights Initiative (BHRI) logo
[ Masterweb Reports: Eddie Onuzuruike reports ] - It was Abraham Lincoln, the famous President of America who said these wise words, ‘You can fool some of the people all the time and all the people some of the time; but you can't fool all the people all the time.’
Former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, despite his known atrocity-characterized governance in 1999-2007, he still has the gumption to go on air and tread lies as truth. We are used to The Sun Newspapers as Kalu’s mouth piece, so their article on page 22, Thursday, January 30, 2014, in reply to my comments on Kalu’s abhorrent vituperation on TV was no surprise.
One Ebere Wabara who claims to be a media advisor to Kalu, though a regular name in The Sun Newspapers and the Nation, rejoined like a wounded lion, shamelessly buttressing Kalu’s bouquet of falsehood with an additional load of his own lies. Yet he forgot the unprintable things he said about Kalu some years ago. I may not go tit for tat with his uncouth language, but let him know that his past is not hidden as the truth will be told sometime.
Kalu said on African Independent Television (AIT) that Abia is static due to the maladministration of Chief T. A. Orji and I replied in two publications in the Vanguard and Daily Independent that Kalu’s statement was not only baseless but irresponsible. Abia is not static. Abia is highly mobile in the real terms of governance. One tends to ask, what can Kalu point at as a project he completed or a policy he undertook in his inglorious days as Governor of Abia from 1999-2007? Is it in roads, housing, education, health or agriculture? Does Kalu not know that lies expire with superior data?
It is only children who come out publicly to claim things that they are not sure of. For instance, children can openly claim a parked car as theirs or point at tall and magnificent buildings belonging to them, and these will be forgiven as childish talk, but a situation where an adult indulges in such, then something should be wrong. Kalu needs to grow up. Has he heard his contemporaries like Achike Udenwa, Chinwoke Mbadinuju, Donald Duke, Bola Tinubu yapping so carelessly as he does? If he has any shame, he should be the last person to mention Abia for it was a state that he devastated with bad governance.
Since 2010 when he was placed where he belongs, he has ceaselessly mounted series of calumny with his media unleashing quantum lies of non performance and his intensive use of social media against Abia State government. But thanks to the good Lord that the good governance tours led by the Honourable Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku in January 2013 nailed his lies to the counter. Mohammed Garuba, NUJ President, acclaimed that Abia is under-reported as he transversed Abia and identified projects which Kalu and his boys previously and hugely refuted but now identify as legacy of underdevelopment in paragraph 7. Ochendo Legacy Projects are real, physically located on the map of Abia, especially with the present day GPRS mapping.
I will ask Wabara again, what is Kalu known for in Abia? Can anybody show us what Kalu built?
If Kalu built a new Government House, should Ochendo be building one? If Kalu built an International Conference centre, should T. A. Orji be busy with one?
If Kalu properly housed the BCA which he put into excessive use in fighting hopeless wars, should Orji have built the 48-room complex ready for commissioning on the 6th of February 2014?
If Kalu considered the plight of the civil servants who Ochendo promoted to the next level and now housed in a new secretariat in Ogurube Layout, should they be proud of the governor, let alone voting massively again in 2011 elections?
Let Kalu tell us and tell the world the executive bills which he sent to the State House of Assembly that are people-oriented. Is it the ban of Okada that was swelling up the accident wards in hospitals or the ASOPADEC bill creating a commission to help the highly environmentally devastated oil producing of the state where shameless Wabara comes from? I can go on and on with projects and policy of Chief T. A. Orji, too many to enumerate.
Let me state it here that it is an insult to compare T. A. Orji and Orji Uzor Kalu. Kalu came into governance by default. He is a known trader and financial adventurist who took up governance to enhance his business empire. At least in-spite of his spurious claims of riches untold, he neither had his shipping, newspaper nor banks that are now tipping his ego.
T. A. Orji came into governance with a high pedigree as a successful Civil Servant with verifiable means and ways. At least, he did not go for a degree course while in office, so there is no basis for
If Kalu took care of Aba should Ochendo be building and commissioning Geometric Access Road, Eke Akpara Road, Ngwa, Obikabia Ururuka and Faulks?
If Kalu put Aba in his front burner as an Aba boy should Ochendo have engaged Chikwe Tech to open all the drains? If Kalu took the health sector seriously should Ochendo have built the Abia diagnostic centres harboring the dialysis machines which the Hon. Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu came and commissioned?
Which lives did Kalu touch? Let him tell us, let him tell the world: is it the youths who he neglected that T. A Orji is guiding with empowerment, skills components, scholarship and bursary? Or the old people he frequently insulted and owed pensions which T. A. Orji liquidated.
Let Kalu point them out! The houses, the markets. Probably he built the Ubani Modern Market, which he sees on his way to Igbere. The industrial and spare part markets now functional are evident testimonies.
Mentioning Engr. Chinedu Orji shows the lack of decorum in The Sun and Wabara’s baseless article. Engr. Chinedu Orji is an adult, a private citizen and decorous in all he does. If he stepped up to cater for the welfare of his fellow youths, this should not call for chastisement. Wabara’s hallucinates that Kalu remains a political colossus tops his misgivings. How and where? Is it in Abia North, or in Aba, his boyhood place he turned his back on and Igbere where he lost his senatorial quest?
As we have said before in other write-ups, Kalu should keep quiet, rebuild his battered image and burnish his persona. His long time habit of mendacity cannot help him in these days of facts. According to an East African proverb, ‘no matter how long a tree trunk stays in the river, it cannot turn it into a fish.’ Kalu’s lies cannot stick anymore. For Wabara the new voice for Kalu, he has as the bible said put his head in a yoke of fire as he is manufacturing lies against Abia people. Kalu wasted eight years of Abia people’s time and money and Wabara closed his eyes in his own Aba and T.A. Orji comes to console Abia and Wabara emerges from nowhere and applauds a man who did nothing in Abia State.
Even in Wabara’s Ukwa, there are the Liberation Farm, the 100-bed hospital and the proposed seaport. Certainly, no sin goes unpunished. Abians and Nigerians are wiser now and so cannot be fooled everyday! Wabara and Kalu are empty bags that cannot stand erect. They are tarred with the same brush. Enough is enough.
Onuzuruike reports from Umuahia, Abia State.
*Photo Caption – As seen.