It is 2019: Do you know your future?
Once again, we have arrived in that season where pastors seize every available microphone to lavishly publish “prophecies” for the year ahead, each one claiming to have heard God’s voice.
It is an industry that grows bigger every year, as do the contradictions between prophecies, the colliding pastors sounding somewhat like politicians in a Nigerian electoral contest. When their sensational prophecies are miles off the mark, they return to offer explanations that are worse than the offence.
There is Biblical evidence some people do receive God’s word—or insight—as the Almighty deems fit. What God has certainly never done is to operate by the Gregorian Calendar and choose this time of time—or of year, to us—to advise an army of Nigerian pastors over things he has known forever.
With that as background then, dear Pastor: if your prophecy—the one you chose to publish of your own volition—turns out to be false, you are a fake pastor.
It is as simple as that because God neither lies nor prevaricates. If you claim he advised you and you advertise his ‘advice,’ your credibility—not God’s—rests on that prophecy. As God does not gamble, the gamble is yours, in which case you should investigate the “voice” you claimed you heard and seek appropriate treatment or counsel.
Perhaps your lawyer may wish to pursue a lawsuit against the voice in your head, just as the Nigerian voting public ought seek a fundamental investigation of its endless political misfortunes.
Think about it: as preparations for next month’s elections ramp up, members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), are campaigning with brooms. Brooms!
Four years ago, a broom was a befitting metaphor, a sentiment that is still around for next month’s elections as Nigerians want the party in power swept away. The irony is that it is APC, now the interloper and pretender, which is brandishing the brooms.
But while that stunt is simply stupid, they are deploying it because Nigerian politicians consider the electorate to be stupid.
The APC pretense is that the principal opponent, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is the enemy of Nigeria and of progress. They destroyed everything, APC continues to whine.
But Nigerians knew that only too well in 2015. That was why they hired APC to clean up the mess, a task it has proved incapable of.
The reason for this, as I have continued to say, and in view of the evidence before anyone who cares to examine it, is that APC and PDP are not different currencies or even denominations of one, but two sides of the same coin. They are philosophically two wings of the “APDPC” party.
That is why its members switch from one side to the other and back so easily and shamelessly. And why so many people on that side of the broom yesterday, are on this side today, and have no hesitation about returning to the other side in the morning. Nothing on either side of that coin can save Nigeria.
A part of this reason is the ideological emptiness of our politics. PDP grafted the term “democratic” into its name, but it does not know the meaning. APC also says it is “progressive” but the party is regressive in orientation and performance. None of the appellations aggregate the political profile of its members. They are all driven by the quest to acquire wealth through power.
It is little surprise then, that Nigerians have been disappointed by government after government, but the most disappointing have been the soldiers and former soldiers. Think about it: Nigeria has suffered far less at the hands of Tafawa Balewa, Shehu Shagari and Umaru Yar’Adua than she has under such “saviours” as Ibrahim Babangida, Olusegun Obasanjo, Sani Abacha and Muhammadu Buhari. These are men who arrive pretending to be The Answer only to be unveiled as The Problem.
Of these, two are particularly significant: Obasanjo and Buhari, each of whom has had two chances to lead. The Buhari pit latrine smells fouler partly because each of his chances followed each of Obasanjo’s, thereby granting him the chance to excel over Obasanjo, and partly because the second time he had bragged the loudest and the longest. But the biggest reason is that having now been exposed, his collapse will stink the most.
Four years after he received the support of a broad swathe of the Nigerian electorate to deploy that broom, Buhari is anchoring his campaign on the same script of the damage done by the PDP, rather than on what he has achieved in response.
Sadly, there are some Nigerians, mainly those who are close enough to the byways and highways of power, who are helping to trumpet this disappointment as an achievement.
But this is to be expected. It has been our story as a nation. Just six years after independence, Major Kaduna Nzeogwu, who led the coup in the North in 1966, identified it as the menace of “political profiteers” and “swindlers.” He characterized them as “those who seek to keep the country divided so that they can remain in office as Ministers or VIPs at least; the tribalists, the nepotists, those who make the country big for nothing before international circles, those who have corrupted our society and put the Nigerian political calender back by their words and deeds.”
To examine Nigerian governments since independence is to see bands of these men and women again and again. Take Obasanjo, for instance. “Nigeria will become one of the ten leading nations in the world by the end of the century,” he said expansively in 1979, three months before he left office.
He returned as President 20 years later to conclude Nigeria’s loss of that century and spent his two terms scandalously devaluing and diminishing her prospects.
Obasanjo’s eight years are among the 16 Buhari continues to lampoon but he cannot summon the courage to bring to justice the leaders of our blight, or to drive Nigeria’s human capacity or even to understand it.
In 2016, you probably know, he was asked during a visit to the Institute for Peace in Washington DC, how he would handle the challenge of inclusive development. The answer he gave—the video is on Youtube— is particularly embarrassing but what is less known is that before offering it he needed help to understand the meaning of “inclusiveness.” To watch is an insight into the source of some of our current troubles, and why Buhari absolutely cannot lead Nigeria.
But while I have no evidence that Buhari reads anything, I am quite sure he has some familiarity with the W. B. Yeats classic, ‘The Second Coming,’.
This year is the 100th anniversary of that poem, which became popular in Nigeria because of Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart. I choose its language to warn Nigeria’s men of power, prophecy and profligacy that—side by side with the kerosene and matches of hunger and poverty—greed and arrogance can and will detonate:
“And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”