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Opinion

Beyond COVID-19 Pandemic

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By Ikechukwu Agada

If painful, purposeful activity is the steering that pilots the vehicle of existence, then passion is the fuel that keeps it moving.

As usual, the political establishment is out in full force to contain the dreaded hydra-headed novel monster called Covid-19(Coronavirus) threatening the world, signposting that sports and common challenge(Crisis) unite Nigerians faster than religion, ethnicity and the likes.

The giant of Africa is blessed with resilient and intelligent professionals with a history of patience in managing common challenges. It is therefore food for thought for her leaders why she is not one of the best nations of the world despite these virtues. The Coronavirus Pandemic is becoming a wind(Global Emergency) that is blowing across the world showing the strengths and weaknesses of nations based on leadership. It has become a yardstick for measuring great nations in terms of capacity, technology and leadership. The world as a global village is on its knees(Despite technological expertise) forcing nations to depend on itself to survive. This means that any nation that cannot help itself out of the menace is on a short distance to extinction and economic stagnation.

The virus is the same globally, it does not move, people do and when they self-isolate; it is easily contained. Online business and shopping(E-Commerce) where engagements and contactless delivery are involved ought to be promoted to encourage social distancing for the basic things of life. The approach to its containment is based on leadership and makes nations distinct. This is definitely not the time to depend on foreign imports as nations, borders and economies are under lock and key precipitating self-production and self-dependency. This is also not the best time to play politics but to show leadership to save lives. The pedestrian politics that wired out over the Coronavirus status of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Abba Kyari; where an attempt was made to conceal the information and later attempted arrest of the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control is most unfortunate. The sudden silence in the camps of the Minister of Health and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on update of information (For high profile cases) immediately following Mr Abba Kyari’s Coronavirus status speaks volume of the Nigerian tragedy.

World over, governments are not adopting politics as a way of fighting the life threatening disease. The unceremonious barring of some media houses critical of the Federal Government’s inadequacies is analogue and alien in such a time when information is key to surviving. The powerplay that engulfed Mr Abba Kyari’s Coronavirus status where some media houses were axed for breaking the news leaves a sour taste in the mouth. More heads may still go over the development.

Life is precious and should be treated as such, therefore any Nigerian irrespective of the social, political and financial status who demonstrates symptoms of this virus should be made public and isolated to save lives. If Boris Johnson and Prince Charles’ Coronavirus status could be made public then nobody in Nigeria should be treated like a sacred cow. It is criminal and medically unetiquette to hide such dangerous information from the public because of societal status.

Leadership is basically needed at this time in Nigeria to toe the path of some proactive nations that contained this Coronavirus to avoid it escalating beyond control. At a time where social distancing is Paramount, Nigerian Correctional Centres( Formerly known as Nigerian Prisons Service) should decongest inmates as part of measures to contain the spread of the virus. Under this deadly pandemic, the Correctional Service Act ought to be revisited to free some inmates in line with global standards. It is time to activate the prerogative of the mercy law across the states to effectively manage the crisis because the Nigerian Correctional Infrastructure is in a sorry state. The Correctional Service Reform on the exclusive list of the National Assembly should be treated with urgency to save many innocent inmates.

Federal and State Governments need to provide palliatives just like the Lagos State Government, to encourage Nigerians in this period of mass self-isolation to reduce the suffering of people. The National Assembly needs to review the constitution to accommodate fire disaster and disease outbreak to position Nigeria as a proactive nation before the world. The healthcare, education, emergency economic stimulus and other important welfare bills should be National Assembly Topmost considerations in its oversight functions to encourage domestic productions and discourage importation and tourism for such purposes. Time to fix the Nigerian healthcare system is now since some leaders have been cultured to travel abroad for medical tourism.

Beyond the Covid-19 Pandemic, standard social facilities, proactive leadership(Especially in containing the Coronavirus Pandemic), local production and a healthy economy will be large considerations for rating great nations. Nations will rise and some others will fall after the menace. Nigeria should view the Coronavirus Pandemic as a springboard for rebirth. The Coronavirus Pandemic too shall pass. If Nigeria succeeded Ebola, she would be victorious against the Coronavirus causing havoc around the world. Spread hope not fear!

GOD BLESS YOU

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Opinion

Backslidden Pastors Patronizing Occult Breast In Port Harcourt

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By Obinna Akukwe

There is disturbing news within pastoral circles in Abuja concerning some backslidden colleagues whose recent patronage of a certain Port Harcourt based occult woman is a source of concern. This woman fabled with the ability to make people see visions of people’s names, phone numbers, bank details, colors of ladies underwear and sundry secrets. After reading my recent article ‘New Style Prophets : Visions of Phone Numbers and ladies Underwear’, a pastor who was about to be initiated into the Port Harcourt Cult of Prophets, out of little fear of God, sought a second opinion on the issue. This pastor who has a small church in Abuja believes that the numerical strength of his church is not commensurate with his efforts and is desperate to try other means of succeeding in ministry. Therefore, he intended joining the group loyal to the mystery woman before my meeting with him.

Some pastors have confirmed to me that actually there is a woman in Port Harcourt who gives power to see visions and they mentioned the names of some colleagues that patronized her. This woman whom they claimed is so powerful that she can appear and disappear, will firstly demand some indecent sexual gratification from the prospective pastor as signs of loyalty, including sucking of certain organs. After the sexual affairs, she will make some animal cry and administer some other materials and the eyes of the patrons will open to see the spirit world and discuss with some strange beings. She indoctrinates them that there is nothing like heaven, hell or sin and that God kept lots of treasures in the water kingdom to help humanity in fashion, music, movies, politics, finance, health and pastoral work and only those bound by oath of loyalty and secrecy are eligible to access the treasures of the spirit world. They described pastors who are yet to join as slaves who will soon bow to the children of the illuminated.

Many pastors, both young and old ones are being lured into this Port Harcourt cult and within weeks what appears like miracles, prophesy and prosperity becomes regular feature in their congregation. Some notable pastors in Abuja have shamelessly joined the bandwagon while a others stuck to their other sources of powers. One of the recently initiated pastors mentioned the names of a bishop and a prophet patronized by top government officials within the presidency among those who convinced him to visit the woman. Rather than see the entire operation as demonic, he sees it as business and advised others to connect before the window closes.

Another pastor who renounced membership of the cult earlier in the year had to ran away from his base to Abuja when he received constant death threat from the group. He was advised to subject himself to days of fasting at one of the deliverance churches in town which he promptly did.

The situation has become alarming that the aforementioned pastor who was approached for membership, out of indecision and fear of hell fire, sought my opinion, and subsequently paid a visit to a recent initiate. According to the recently initiated pastor, the consultation and oil fee was initially N100, 000 naira but due to the surging crowd, they have increased the consultation fee to N200, 000 naira. Then there are prices for different types of oil. The most popular is called ”seeing oil” which empowers people to see into other peoples secret. The next most popular oil is called ‘do as I say’ which makes it possible for the congregation to do whatsoever the pastor says without any compulsion including surrendering all live savings. There is also oil called ‘touch and follow’ which they use to hypnotize any beautiful lady who comes their way into sleeping with them. There is oil for falling under anointing called ‘slaying oil’. There is ‘crowd pulling oil’ used to increase membership strength. The payment for the oil is different from the consultation fee.

This oil must be serviced and refreshed by constant homosexual, fornication and adulterous activities especially shortly before preaching. The second condition is that the pastor must emphasize on prosperity and motivational messages above the message of righteousness. The pastors will also return to give back a part of the proceeds as thanksgiving.

I had weeks earlier confronted a pastor of a church who recently patronized the woman and was excited that he now sees into people’s future. This man whose attempt to draw crowd to his church and enter the league of super rich failed repeatedly despite numerous efforts, got tired of the situation and decided to help God. His submission and affinity to some senior colleagues for transference of anointing through seed sowing and impartation equally failed until a bishop introduced him to this powerful woman in Port Harcourt. This once firebrand pastor now indulges in homosexuality and adultery and does not feel any compunction about it.

This issue of pastors getting powers from occultist kingdom was first experienced by me as a young pastor in a church seventeen years ago and we observed strange things which we didn’t understand but rejected because it didn’t look spiritually clean. Years later during a retreat at Scripture Union Camp of Faith Okigwe, I came back to the hostel around 2am after prayers and overhead a very senior pastor of a church in Owerri at one corner behind the hostel sobbing and telling God that ”if you do not give me power now to do the miraculous, I will go to where others go to get theirs…” This pastor, oblivious of my presence, went ahead to mention in his prayers ,the names of pastors colleagues who have gone to get powers from different places and threatened God to either show up or risk losing him to the other side”.

One of them who recently joined this Port Harcourt cult , in response to my disapproval said ”man of God, if hunger have wired you, you wouldn’t be talking like this ” while the other one said that he cannot continue to tolerate the sight of little pastors making waves while he continues to be a spectator.

The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) have not effectively monitored pastoral activities while some pastors have rejected membership of the body; therefore everybody is his own master. This overemphasis on prosperity is killing the churches that now some pastor flock to strange places for spiritual empowerment in order to belong to the class of super rich pastors, accompanied by lots of homosexual bodyguards. The generation that started the Pentecostal revival in Nigeria immediately after the Biafra war, gave birth to pastors like Uma Ukpai, Paul Nwachukwu, Austin Nwodika, Nicholas Ezeh, Williams Kumuyi, Enoch Adeboye, David Oyedepo, Mike Okonkwo and the late Archbishop Benson Idahosa , Prophet Gabriel Oduyemi, among others. The current generation is birthing pastors who flock to bar beach Lagos, Calabar, Kumasi, Ashanti, Tamale and some parts of Cameroun to receive powers.

If these Pentecostal fathers do not hasten to address this evil trend and arrest the influx of strange powers into the church, within the next five years, the Nigerian Church will become a branch of the Marine kingdom and the little fire of the Holy Spirit still remaining will be extinguished. The history of strange powers infiltrating the church started from Simon the Magnus (Acts 8 vs 9-24) who repented at the preaching of Philip but later according to church history as illustrated by Iraneaus and Justin Martyr became the author of strange signs in the church. However, the early church rose against it and temporarily checkmated it.

It is worthy to note that majority of pastors in Abuja who have been approached for membership rejected it outright and it is only few misled ones that appear excited about this Port Harcourt Occult woman. God still performs miracles in churches and pastors in need of such grace should wait upon The Lord in prayers instead of seeking the assistance of unclean spirits. Genuine pastors should shut down spiritually all these manifestations of strange powers before the anger of God falls on both the guilty and the innocent with disastrous consequences.

Obinna Akukwe , columnist via profetobinna2@yahoo.com, @obinnaakukwe

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Opinion

COVID-19: Time For Buhari To Replace His Mercedes With Innoson

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By SKC Ogbonnia

The consensus around the world is that the lessons from the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) would provoke commonsense among Nigerian leaders to harness the full potential of their local economy, but this dream may never come close, if President Muhammadu Buhari does not lead by example.

A defining theme of my foray into the 2019 presidential race is that Nigeria’s problem is not as complex as commonly imagined. For the problem is neither the lack of natural resources nor human resources. It certainly has nothing to do with good visions or the enabling policies. The Nigerian endemic problem is squarely the failure to influence the efficient implementation of the policies towards the greater good.

It is not surprising, therefore, that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, President Buhari demonstrated visionary leadership by declaring that Nigeria will henceforth promote and patronize made-in-Nigeria products over foreign goods. Buhari’s vision is laudable and mirrors the case of Asian countries, particularly China and India, which for several decades banned a good number of foreign products to enable their local industries to thrive. Today, both Asian nations have become economic envy of the world.

Interestingly, not long after the made-in-Nigeria policy went public, instead of patronizing Innoson Motors, the sole local auto manufacturing outfit, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) hurriedly approved a whopping sum of N683, 613 million for purchase of 19 Made-In-Japan Toyota vehicles for the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA).

According to the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, the justification for the abrupt breach of the policy is that the need for the foreign vehicles predated the COVID-19 pandemic. As if her logic lacks in folly, the Minister of Transport, Chibuike Amaechi, followed that the approval became necessary, because “it’s the first time in four years that NPA was buying any vehicle.”

The simple takeaway from both Ahmed and Amaechi is that Nigerian leaders embrace lunacy as legacy. This goes without saying that the rationale behind the choice of the foreign vehicles over local brands has nothing to do with the common good. Instead, it has everything to do with the manic competition for financial profligacy among the different arms of the Nigerian government.

The decision by the Executive arm of government is merely to outdo the wastefulness synonymous with the Nigerian Legislature. The NPA squander dittoed the Senate, which not long ago rejected Innoson only to launder over N5 billion for Toyota brands. The House of Representatives would also double down to sink another N5 billion into Toyota Camry saloon cars in place of moderately priced Innoson jeeps that are specially designed and tested for the Nigerian roads.

This pattern of lavishness by public officials, particularly under the prevailing COVID-19 crisis, is plain cold-blooded. It is impunity going too far.

But President Muhammadu Buhari must own full blame. Though his call to patronize local products is commendable, he is neither able to influence his appointees to implement the policy nor able to lead by example himself. Rather than demonstrate patriotism, by proudly using the Made-in-Nigeria goods that he preaches, Buhari appears to be emulating the ostentatious style of the regime before him.

Mister Buhari should quickly revert to the tenets of his 2016 “Change Begins With Me” slogan. The core principle demands that he declares Innoson as the official brand for all government agencies, beginning with the Presidency. If a General Buhari, as a military head of state, could endear himself to the Nigerian people over 30 years ago, by embracing jagged foreign Peugeot—then assembled in Nigeria—as a badge of honor, it is only patriotic for him to replicate such gesture for wholly made-in-Nigeria vehicles.

It is worth mentioning, however, that the Innoson Motors is on record to have stated that the company has seen more patronage from the Buhari government than the one before it. That is commendable, at base. But the mediocrity of the previous regime can never be substituted as a gold standard for success.

President Buhari is a man widely known as ascetic and who assumed power on the mantra of revolutionary change. He should, therefore, embolden his change vision, as well as the authenticity of his policy on local goods, so that others can follow. The message, if it is not already explicit, is that the Nigerian president should, without further delay, replace his official car, a German-made Mercedes Benz, with a Nigerian-made Innoson brand.

The COVID-19 pandemic has combined to plunge Nigeria into an economic miasma and true change has become inevitable. The leaders can no longer afford to carry on business as usual. In short, besides leading by example, it has become imperative for President Buhari to remind public officials that the country risks a serious mass revolt, if they continue to swim in ocean of affluence while submerging the masses deeper and deeper into abject poverty and despair.

SKC Ogbonnia, a 2019 APC Presidential Aspirant, writes from Ugbo, Awgu, Enugu State. Twitter: @SKCOgbonnia

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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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