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Onward Christian Soldiers – By Fani-Kayode

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Femi Fani-Kayode

The United States House of Representatives declared Nigeria as the most dangerous place for Christians to live in the world last year.

More Christians have been killed in Nigeria than anywhere else in the world in the last 67 years. Femi Fani-Kayode The President of the Christiam Association of Nigeria (CAN) has warned against the continued killing of Christians in the country.

Well-armed and well-funded Fulani militias are slaughtering Christians all over the nation and the Government has done nothing to stop it or to bring them to justice. 808 Christians were killed in Southern Kaduna at Christmas. 1000 killed in Agatu, Benue state last year.

13 killed in Southern Kaduna on Easter. It goes on and on yet there have been no arrests. Christian communities are being wasted and ravaged by Boko Haram.

Christian youths of IPOB and MASSOB are being butchered on a daily basis whilst their leaders are being illegally detained.

Every single security and intelligence agency in the country except for the Navy is now headed by a northern Muslim.

The spokesman for the Fulani militias and herdsmen has just been appointed as Secretary to the Federal Character Commission. Christian Pastors have been persecuted and subjected to humiliation and arrest in the last two years like never before.

More Churches have been bombed, burnt down, sacked and destroyed in the north in the last two years than at any other time in our history.

The International Terror Index has described Nigeria’s Boko Haram and Fulani Militias as the first and fourth “deadliest terrorist organisations in the world” respectively.

All this and yet our President has REFUSED to give the leadership of CAN audience since he came to office 2 years ago despite ALL attempts by that organisation to see him and table their concerns.

This is too much. The impunity and disdain is glaring. The disrespect and contempt is nauseating. It is simply disgusting and disgraceful. Never mind the pretense and the denials.

Never mind the few slavish “Christian” Uncle Tom’s and fifth columnists in the corridors of power who will say anything to keep their worthless jobs.

The truth is that Buhari has NO respect for Christians and his Government has palpable hatred for all believers. Not only does he hate Christians but he also hates Shiite Mulims too.

If this were not so why keep their leader in illegal detention for over a year after murdering over 1000 of them and burying them in mass graves?

This is the way of the Sunni fundamentalists, the Salafists and the Wahhabis and that is the course that our goverment has chosen to take. As far as they are concerned all opposition must be subdued, killed, jailed or broken and they must hold on to power forever.

That is their ethos and they will never stop. The truth is that ANY so-called Christian that supports or serves this government should bow his or her head in shame.

This is all the more so when our Minister of Information can actually open his lying mouth and say that “muslims have not killed Christians in Nigeria”. What a shameless man.

He can say so only because he does not regard Christians as being human beings. He does not regard the loss of a precious Christian soul as being anything.

To him and to the Government that he so happily serves, Christians are nothing. If this were not the case how could he say such things and tell such monumental lies?

Our Lord and Saviour paid the supreme price on the Cross and rose again. He shed His precious blood for us. He conqured death and gave us life everlasting.

He triumphed after much pain and suffering. He did not go through all that for us to live as slaves or second class citizens in Nigeria or anywhere else in the world. We are the head and not the tail.

We were born to be victorious, to have dominion and to rule. We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. We cannot be repressed or destroyed. Nothing moves us and nothing shakes us.

Nothing can separate us from the love of our Lord. Not even persecution, marginalisation, humiliation, incarceration, torture or death.

The Church of Christ was built on the Blood of Jesus and on the blood and bones of Christian martyrs through the ages. For over 2000 years believers have been slaughtered and butchered yet the Church and the faith is still standing strong and going from strength to strength.

The more you kill and persecute Christians the more the glorious gospel will spread. We have a President who is so sick that the only time he is seen is in the mosque on fridays.

What signal does that send? What has governance got to do with the mosque in a supposedly secular state? We have a Vice President who has been held captive and who is now a slave to some dark, sinister, evil and shameless cabal.

We have a Government that hates our people and hates our faith. To them the only good Christian is a subservient Christian who is prepared to turn a blind eye to the murder, butchery and slaughter of his own. To them the only good Christian is one that lives in fear and remains silent even as his brothers and sisters in the Lord are being murdered, persecuted, marginalised and humiliated.

I will never bow to those that hold that view. I will never shake or quiver before them because I serve a mighty God who is noble and strong, who is true to His own, who has filled me with His Spirit and who has called me to lead.

The Bible says “he who is scared of losing His life will lose it” and “he who is prepared to give up his life will gain it”. I would rather die than be a slave to any person, any government, any tribe or any other faith. I am what I am. I am a Christian soldier. I am the Odum Agu of the South. I am the Odogwu N’ Arah of Christiandom. As long as my Lord and Saviour sits on the throne I fear nothing and I worry about nothing.

I believe that Nigeria belongs to Jesus and whether anyone likes it or not His counsel over this nation will stand, His will shall he done, His purpose shall be established and His name shall be glorified. The counsel of the ungodly and the will of satan cannot stand in our nation. Nigeria cannot be islamised and she will NEVER be turned into a vassal state of Saudi Arabia.

We must either reconfirm the secularity of our nation-state and restructure her or we must break her. That is our duty and that is our calling. We must either accept the principle that people of ALL faiths are equal, that they are free to worship their God in whichever way they deem fit and that religion has no place in matters of governance and the state or we must go our separate ways. We must either accept the fact that our people will no longer be subjugated or bow before any form of religious or ethnic hegemony or we must redefine Nigeria.

To those that feel that they can stem the tide and oppose or stop it I say it is too late. This message has sunk in and it is loud and clear. The horse has already left the stable. The cat is already out of the bag. The genie is already out of the bottle. The days of subservience and fear are over.

The incessant and endless bloodshed and the brutality and insensitivity of the ailing tyrant have woken us up. They have stirred something deep and dangerous within our souls. We are defiant and we refuse to continue to wallow in self-pity and crawl on bended knee. Dr. Martin Luther King said “if you are not ready to die for something then you are not worthy of living for anything”.

We are ready to lose our very lives for our faith and in defence of the gospel. That is what Christian soldiers and believers are meant to do. We are called to live in peace with our neighbours but we shall stand tall and strong as they spit on us, cheat us, humiliate us, rob us and strike us down. We are mighty. We are strong. And as long as our people and our brothers and sisters in the Lord are treated with contempt, disdain and hatred by your people and your government, as long as we are killed in our homes, farms and Churches, as long as we are misrepresented, humliliated, wrongly accused and persecuted, we shall oppose and resist you in every lawful way with every fibre of our being. The truth is that there cannot be peace in Nigeria without justice.

There cannot be joy without equity. There cannot be blessings without God’s pleasure. There cannot be progress as long as those in power and their friends continue to target, persecute, marginalise and murder the children of the most High God.

The Holy Bible says “once has it been written and twice has it been said that all power belongs to God and the heavens rule in the affiars of men”. It says “the nations are as a drop of water in the ocean before the Lord”. It says “He holds the universe together by the power of His word”. It says “He forges the destiny of nations and jealously guards His counsel”.

Any Head of State, President or leader whose sole objective is to destroy the Christian faith or the Church and to diminish the influence and power of Christianity in Nigeria shall meet a terrible and tragic end. It has happened before and it will happen again. Our God does not sleep.

The Bible says, “He is a Man of War: who can stand against Him?” The blood of all those innocent Christians murdered by agents of the Nigerian state, the Fulani militias and herdsmen and other terrorists in the last two years whilst our Government turns a blind eye and does nothing is crying to God in Heaven for vengeance. And until that vengeance comes the Buhari Government and all those that support them shall know no peace.

Like Sennacherub and the Assyrians the Lord shall divide their tongues and they shall turn their swords against one another until they are no more. As for the believers and the Christian faithful, no matter what they throw our way, we stand and we fight.

We move on fearlessly because our God is awesome and strong. We stand firm and we do not flinch because our Lord is mighy in battle. We are Christian soldiers and warriors of the faith. We are on the frontline of the battle and we are ready to die for our faith.

We wear the armour of God and we carry the sword of truth. We are the Sons of Gideon and the Armour-Bearers of Light. Like David, we stand against Goliath, like Moses we stand against Pharaoh and like Jehu we stand against Jezebel. The Seven Fold Spirit of the Living God is with us: we cannot be cowed and we shall not be defeated. Onward Christian soldier!


By Femi Fani-Kayode

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Opinion

Let Me Shine!

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Nigeria

By Odunayo Oluwatimilehin

I am a little creature,
created to fulfill a special purpose on earth.
I am a product of human consummation.

I developed first as a foetus, and progressed gradually,
into a living being composed of a spirit, soul, and a body.

I am the long awaited bundle of joy,
A symbol of conjugal completeness,
A magical color that beautifies Marital vows.

I brought joy, happiness, and change of status to the family I was delivered to.
I was the reason behind the bright moon smiles on faces.
I was cherished, loved, and cared for at my arrival.

Now that my parents desire to have me has been granted.
I have just “One wish”.
Just one wish and I’ll be fine.

One wish to express my inert dreams.
One wish to be ‘Me’.
One wish to leave an indelible mark on the sand of time.

One wish to dazzle like Diamond.
One wish to shine forth as Gold.

Please, strengthen me when I’m weak.
Counsel me when I’m discouraged.
Hold my hands often, and affirm your love to me.

Just like houseplants,
Nurture me to grow on the right path.
Do not spare the rod when I’m wrong.

Release me like an Eagle when the time is right.
No matter the heights I’ll reach,
I will forever remain your little child.
Let me Shine!

Dedicated to Children all over the world, in celebration of May 27th, 2020 Children’s Day

HAPPY CHILDREN’S DAY!

Odunayo Oluwatimilehin, OYEWOLE.

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Opinion

An Open Letter To Governor Ifeanyi Okowa

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Your Excellency Sir,

This open letter is a direct response to the official press statement that was made by the secretary to the state Government, Mr Chiedu Ebie on the 19th of May. In the press release, he announced that the government of Delta State is putting measures in place in other to establish a security organization which will be positioned to combat the rising insecurity in the State. I agree with your decision considering the porous security situation in the country and coupled with the covert moves of the powers that be to export hundreds of Almajiri folks to states that are unconnected to their political and economic misery.

Indeed, your decision is commendable but there is an observable error in it. This error is not telling good about us. Gains will not be made if what was mentioned in that press statement should come to be. People who are fighting for survival must apply common sense when it comes to their security. This letter is simply designed to remind you that the idea to include some Northerners into the yet to be established Office of Special Adviser on Peace Building and Conflict Resolution calls for a serious concern.

Your Excellency Sir, there won’t be any need for me to start schooling you again about insecurity in the country. You are the chief security officer of your state and moreover you duly understand the security situation in the whole of Nigeria. I still don’t understand the rationale behind the planned inclusion of some Northern extraction into the Office of Special Adviser on Peace Building and Conflict Resolution. After examining the decision, I can prognosticate dark days ahead. Things are not done that way. The decision of your government is somewhat misplaced and makes us to look like people who can’t do things on their own.

Dark days are truly ahead. We the Easterners should stop acting to love Nigeria more than others when at the end the people whom we are trying to align ourselves to doesn’t care about our ‘one Nigerianness’. Damning this mentality of ‘let’s do it this way so that nobody will see us as divisive people’ is one necessary thing that must be done. We owe no one apology or explanation on how we can go about our security in as much as it’s done according to the extant laws. Perhaps, it’s a matter of survival and not a cry for political correctness!

There is hisbah police in the North and Amotekun in the Southwest, how many Easterner can we see both in Hisbah and Amotekun security formations or any of their affiliated committees? Can they even conceive such dastardly idea? These people for a minute don’t trust us but we easily trust and unnecessarily engage them into sensitive issues about us. This is a country that thrive on suspicion. No oneness! No trust! So I wonder what your government is planning to achieve by getting these Northerners involved in the so called committee. Don’t quote me wrong. I’m not trying to say that your government shouldn’t engage the stakeholders in consultation when it comes to matters like this. But the main point is that limitations should be defined in sensitive issues like the one at hand. Some people are meant to stand outside while certain problems about us are being discussed.

We know the solution to farmers and herders clashes in the region. Open grazing should be completely banned in the state. A defined space should be made available for grazing of cows. 24 hours surveillance should be mounted in the place. Any herder caught with firearms should be arrested and prosecuted without minding who is infuriated or not. As the chief security of your state, you are constitutionally responsible for the security of your constituents. Adequate security decisions and actions should be made to work in consonance with the present security reality.

On several occasions, the marauding herders have killed and displaced hundreds of farmers in the Eastern region with little or no actions by the governors to arrest the escalating tension. Without minding the damage the activities of the herders have caused on the region, you unfortunately fell to the trick of wanting to involve a total stranger into the Office of Special Adviser on Peace Building and Conflict Resolution. It is unacceptable Sir! That decision can blatantly result to self sabotage.

However, when Hisbah was formed, no Easterner was there. And when Amotekun was constituted, they never invited an Easterner to be a member of any committee so why are we inviting strangers into important issues about us? Remember, he who sups with the devil should have a long spoon. The purported plan of involving some Northern elements into the Office of Special Adviser on Peace Building and Conflict Resolution is a slap on us. The plan should be revised. There is no benefit in it. It will only complicate matters and magnify the arrogance of these tormentors. Don’t make the mistake of buying a baby lion that will grow and turn around to devour our flesh.

In conclusion Sir, I will suggest you reassemble your security tink tanks. All of you should sit and do a deep brainstorming on your decision. Weigh the future implications and make proper amendments. Let’s avoid the issue of had I known.

Yours sincerely

Kalu Nwokoro Idika

Kalu Nwokoro Idika is a political analyst, investigative and freelance journalist. He can be reached via email: Kalunwokoroidika@yahoo.com

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Opinion

‘If You Can’t Take Blows, Don’t Throw Blows’

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femi adesina

By Femi Adesina

Let me start by giving due credit for this headline, which is not original to me. I lifted it from the 1983 song by reggae star, Peter Tosh, in the album titled Mama Africa. The song is Glass House, and it goes thus:

“If you live in a glasshouse

Don’t throw stones

And if you can’t take blows brother

Don’t throw blows.”

I’ve recently found out that it’s the opposite that some Nigerians want. They want to use foul language, harangue their President, abuse him, and then, nobody must respond to defend the President. They want to dish out blows, and they don’t want to take any.

But it doesn’t work that way. If you can’t take blows brother don’t throw blows. That’s the way life goes.

For about five years, some people have made it a pastime to talk about President Muhammadu Buhari anyhow. They attempt to lead him by the nose, order him around, and call him names. The man just ignores them, and continues to work calmly for the country. And he’s making the difference in different spheres of national life. Steadily.

Last week, I chose to give out some light blows. Very light ones. That was when I realized that those who had been dealing out the blows for years have nothing but glass jaws. They collapsed, and saw stars.

I had got a request to appear on the breakfast show of Naija Info FM. There were initial scheduling difficulties, but eventually, we found a mutually acceptable time.

It was like the station was the bastion for some angry Nigerians, the type that saw nothing good in government, and who took delight in negative criticisms. No problem. We have learnt to deal with all sorts.

I responded to questions from the show presenter, the relevant and the not so relevant ones. And then the phone lines were thrown open.

One man first charged that the interview session was a waste of time, as I had parried all the questions thrown at me. Oh ho. What did he want? Dabble into issues that do not involve a presidential spokesman, and then make a mess of eating an egg? I simply referred the interviewer to those who could answer his questions in government. As spokesman to the President, you were not Jack of all trade, otherwise you would end up being master of none. Whatever was outside your purview, just refer to the right quarters.

Another man came on the line. When would the President talk to us, he charged. At least we voted him into office, so he has a moral duty to talk to us. He said he was a school principal, and he talks to his students every morning at the assembly hall.

Wrong premise. Wrong conclusion. You can’t parallel a President leading 200 million diverse people with a principal superintending over less than 500 or 1,000 students, who were even half paying attention, or giggling, and poking fun at the shoes or shirt, or tummy of the man talking to them.

Now, this narrative of ‘he must talk to us’ is a common one in the country. I’d responded to it more times than I could remember. But what made it a bit irksome last week was the fact that the President had just made three major national broadcasts over the previous four weeks. And here was a man commanding him to ‘come and talk to us’ once again.

I threw my own jab. Why was the man sounding like a broken record, repeating itself endlessly? Before the series of national broadcasts started, you said President Buhari was not talking on the COVID-19 pandemic, when he had set up a team of experts and professionals, who were handling the emergency adequately, and briefing Nigerians daily. Then he makes three broadcasts, and you still say he’s not talking. He must do a media chat. You want a talkative President? Soon, you would say again that he talks too much.

I explained that it was not the President’s style to chirrup like a cockatoo. He is a man of few words, who preferred action to words. I even pleaded that we should understand the nature of the man we have elected to lead us, and let him do the work.

You know what? If it was former President Olusegun Obasanjo that had come under the ‘you must talk to us’ barrage like that, and on live television, he would have first cleared his throat noisily, adjusted himself in his seat, and then bellowed:

“And who are you, that I must talk to you? I say who the hell are you? Who is your father? Who is your father’s father, that you are commanding me to talk to you? Were you born when we fought a Civil War to keep this country together? Where was your father when I received the instrument of surrender from the Biafra Forces? Don’t come here and tell me nonsense. Talk to us, my foot!”

But President Buhari would not upbraid anyone like that. He rather keeps his peace. And some people have now taken liberty for license, till they begin to sound like broken records. Yes, no apologies. That’s how they sound.

The fact that you have voted a man into office is not carte blanche for you to lead the man around by the nose. A leader worth his salt would not even submit himself to such cavalier treatment. Definitely not President Buhari. I made that point clear on the program.

Another caller came. Why are you talking to us like used toilet paper? You are too arrogant.

Oh, really? Well, if you see yourself like used toilet paper, then, I can’t help you. ‘If you don’t say you are, nobody would say thou art,’ goes a popular saying. If you see yourself like grasshoppers beside the giants in Canaan, just like 10 of the 12 sons of Israel sent to spy the Promised Land, then you can’t be helped. You will end up like grasshoppers. Like used tissue paper.

Then came another angry man. Things are not going well in this country. We are even tired of this government.

We? Does a single man use that collective pronoun for himself? The man could only talk for himself, but why was he talking for other people, without a power of attorney? I calmly told him: another election is due in 2023. Who says you can’t be President? You should simply run for office.

The Good Book says by the measure with which you mete to others, so shall it be meted back to you. The callers chose to be pugnacious, unruly, and I didn’t go back home to fetch replies for them. That was what they asked for. Part of the duties of being a presidential spokesman is that you must defend your principal, particularly if you had calmly explained for years, and some people chose not to listen. If they throw blows, then they must be ready to also receive. Once in a while.

Some people revel in trying to bring down those in government. The moment you choose to serve your country, they try to position you as enemy of the public. They try to dress you in borrowed robes. Oh, he’s a liar. He is in government to feather his own nest. He has become pompous and arrogant. He talks to us anyhow. He will end badly. Didn’t the ones before him end in oblivion?

Hateful people. Envious souls. In vain do you wish some people reversals in life. And let me tell you: my destiny does not rest in the hand of any man. Yes, not you, evil wishers. You missed it this time. My case is different, because God has got my back. He brought me into government at a time I didn’t aspire for it, didn’t even want it. He is the master of my fate. The Master Mariner will land me on halcyon shores, however stormy the voyage could be. And President Buhari will succeed.

My friend, Kurtis Adigba, a dyed-in-the-wool Buharist, not like some fair weather supporters we have known, was the first person to call my attention to an attempt to demonize me on social media, arising from the interview.

“They want to bring you down, smear your reputation,” he told me on phone. He said they were already sharing video clips of where I spoke sharply to people, and saying I was rude and arrogant. I laughed, and thanked him. Adigba went ahead to mount a robust defence of me on his Facebook wall, as did many others. I thank them. There are friends that stick closer than brothers.

My family, relations, acquaintances, all got the video clips home and abroad. They called, asking if I was allowing some nasty people to get under my skin. I explained to each one. I was firmly in control of my emotions, and what I did was deliberate. The President has been insulted enough, and it was time we fought back. He that throws blows must be ready to receive. It’s only pathetic that they have glass jaws.

I remember a story I heard in the late 1970s.I actually knew the couple, and the woman was like four times the size of the man. But the husband was always rough-handling his wife, beating her up at will.

One day, the woman was said to have purchased Indian hemp worth sisi (five kobo). She smoked it. And there came the husband to beat her up again. The woman simply packed the man, spun him round and round on her head, and threw him against the wall. The man saw stars, but he thought it was a fluke. He got up, attempted to lay his hands on the wife again, and the woman gave him a bear hug. After almost choking him to death, she threw the man against the wall again. When the man managed to get up, he took to his heels.

That was the last day he ever raised his hands against the woman.

You Tarka me, I Dabo you, God no go vex (the younger generation may not understand this. A story for another day). What am I saying in summary? Those who run down our President on every platform for inexplicable reasons should not think they will always get away with it. If you live in a glasshouse, don’t throw stones. And if you can’t take blows brother don’t throw stones.

United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, recently warned against what he called the “virus of hate.” His words: “We must act now to strengthen the immunity of our societies against the virus of hate.”

Yes, that virus is well and alive in Nigeria. It is even deadlier than Coronavirus. But those who harbor it will not always get away with it. There will always be a fight back.

~ Adesina is Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Buhari

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