Life is a marathon, not a sprint,
one excelled with dedicate grit.
Commenced without good hint
of who can stand through or sit.
Life is a marathon, not a sprint,
one excelled with dedicate grit.
Commenced without good hint
of who can stand through or sit.
Hell will burn in a loving heart;
Abyss will once camp in there.
In pained loss looms one fact,
Life is war we will all lose here.
Picture from @Poem_Rumour
We walk in steps, fits and starts,
Come and go like beatin’ hearts,
Pacing back, forth, yet onwards;
Winning battles, losing all wars.
Life drills all as an erring soldier,
Demands as needs never older,
For the future soldiers on bolder.
By Ahmed Yahaya Joe
These are Wagyu cattle from which the most expensive beef in world comes from in Japan.
They are arguably the most pampered of domesticated animals, because their daily routine consists of regular massages, beer drinking, baths and listening to relaxing music.
It is believed by herdsmen over there, such delicate care helps to keep the highly priced beef known as “Kobe” so tender.
Meanwhile, other cattle, in you know where, are raised against the backdrop of Rat-ta-ta music of AK 47 gunfire.
With more civilized herdsmen, Denmark is not left out as
a group of students of the Scandinavian School of Cello dropped by to perform Tchaikovsky’s “Pezzo Capriccioso” to the delight of a herd of classical music loving cows.
Do not ask me if the following day milk production reached all time high. It did!
Meanwhile, over here the Rat-ta-ta…..Kwantinues.
Simply put –
Garbage in, Garbage out!
“God did not make all men in his image. He made just one couple in his likeness and gave them the ability to procreate. It is this couple that brought forth other people and all sorts of people tend to mess up a good thing.
“I’m making a case for why good Christian folks turn out to be mean to people in need of assistance at their door steps.”
“The garden of Eden and the forbidden fruit in the middle of it, in the story of Adam and Eve, is really just the bushy forest between Eve’s legs and her vagina right at the center of it.
“Satan told Eve about her vagina, which she had no clue existed before he told her about it. Then Eve revealed its bounties to Adam, who naturally allowed her to lead him against the wishes of the almighty.
“All that talk of fruit and trees is quite nonsensical and was crafted to hide the true identity of the very first crime of sexual intercourse.
“That may sound like the most absurd interpretation you have ever heard. It will like feel you with rage or amusement with the crafty twist in the interpretation of the tale of Adam and Eve’s disobedience.
“On the contrary, it is quite logical. How else would anyone explain the sudden need for the first couple to cover their nakedness?”
By Leke Alder
It’s virtually impossible to appreciate the full ramification of the New Testament without recourse to the legal construct undergirding it. The New Testament is resolutely mounted on a tripod of commercial law, criminal law and constitutional law.
There are other legal dimensions but those are the major three. Without those legal authorities the New Testament will not be efficacious in heaven, on earth or under the earth. It will just be history.
That’s not to say only lawyers can appreciate the New Testament. It’s the Holy Spirit that unveils the word. But there’s a way and manner a Paul would read the scriptures that Peter can’t.
Paul had formal training in Mosaic law. His dean was Gamaliel. Acts 22:3. Peter on the other hand was an ordinary fisherman, and you can see the difference in their writings.
It’s like those first few verses in the book of Genesis. A cosmologist or quantum physicist would salivate over them. He has a technical grasp of the issues.
When he reads, Let there be light, he’s thinking photons, we’re thinking light projection like in a dark movie theater. He’s probably thinking of the speed of light as well – 299,792 kilometers per second. We won’t.
Every major terminology in the New Testament is a legal terminology. Redemption is a clear example. Redemption is a commercial law principle. It speaks of the right to regain ownership of property by freeing it from a debt, charge or lien.
Colossians 2:14 says God “cancelled the record of debt that stood against us WITH ITS LEGAL DEMANDS, set it aside and nailed it to the cross.” That’s “the redemption of the purchased possession”. Ephesians 1:14. We were bought with a price. 1 Corinthians 6:20.
We were then sealed with the Holy Spirit as a first installment on God’s promises to us, a reminder we’ll get everything God planned for us. The Holy Spirit is thus a down payment on God’s promises. Ephesians 1:14 MSG. Salvation is a commercial law transaction.
There are two other legal fields at play in the New Testament. They are criminal law and constitutional law. The death of Jesus is largely based on criminal law whereas his resurrection, ascension and session in heaven are constitutional law matters.
He would devolve certain rights to us after his ascension. Those rights are inalienable, meaning they cannot be taken from us. We can’t surrender them even if we want to. It’s one of the reasons we can’t lose our salvation.
Indeed, the very phrase, “New Testament” is itself a legal term. There are two senses in which the Bible uses the phrase. In the first sense the New Testament is talking about a will. Jesus left us a will after his death.
A will is a legal instrument apportioning assets after death. It’s why the King James bible in Hebrews 9:16 uses the word, “testator.” That word is used to this day in the drafting of wills. A testator is the person who dies, leaving a will or testament.
It is this idea of will the book of Hebrews was elucidating on: “Now when someone leaves a will, it is necessary to prove the person who made it is dead. The will goes into effect only after the person’s death. While the person who made it is alive, the will cannot be put into effect.” Hebrews 9:16-17 NLT. It says the proof of the death of Jesus is his blood, and because of that proof of death his will went into effect. It’s how we got our spiritual inheritance.
The death of Jesus “marked the transition from the old plan to the new one, cancelling the old obligations and its sins, and summoning the heirs to receive an inheritance that was promised them.” Hebrews 9:16-17 MSG. But then that passage says Jesus “brought together God and his people in this new way.” Hebrews 9:17 MSG.
That leads us to the second sense in which the phrase, New Testament is used. The second sense in which the phrase is used is constitutionally. It is a social compact. God made an agreement with mankind.
Nothing captures this better than the words of Jeremiah: “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Jeremiah 31:33.
Referring to this passage, Hebrews 8:7 tells us that “if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.”
The relationship between God and mankind under the old agreement was adversarial and very toxic to say the least; whereas under the new agreement the relationship is conciliatory. There’s rapprochement.
In 2 Corinthians 5:19 we’re told that God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s sins against them. It is for this reason angels announced goodwill towards ALL men at the birth of Jesus – “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will toward humankind.” Luke 2:14. God was extending the olive branch.
The arduous nature of the relationship between God and humanity was why the provisions of the law of Moses were severe. It was an impossible situation. You could never please God by obeying the Ten Commandments. You still can’t.
“No one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.” Romans 3:20 NLT. The King James translation of that passage used the term “justified” – “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight.” That word is a legal terminology.
In criminal law, justification means to be exempted from criminal liability. Charges are dropped. What the Bible is saying is, God has dropped all legal charges against us. God is not holding your sin against you. It’s either you believe that or not. But you better do because it’s liberating.
The death of Jesus is what lawyers refer to as vicarious liability. Vicarious liability means someone took on the legal liabilities of another person. Jesus paid the price for our sins. Sin is a criminal offence. It’s why Jesus was subjected to capital punishment. The wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23.
It’s a lack of understanding of biblical jurisprudence that makes us imagine we can do good to get saved. That’s like a murderer saying he should be absolved of his crime just because he gave alms to the poor, or because he helped a widow. You can’t pay for a capital offence by fulfilling a civil obligation. Sin is not a tort. A tort is a civil wrong. It’s why Jesus couldn’t pay for our sins with all those good he did. Acts 10:38. Or they would have saved us. He did a lot of good.
But he had to go to that cross. He was crucified as a common criminal with two robbers. Those weren’t petty thieves, they were violent robbers. They had murdered. It’s why the thief on the right side told the thief on the left THEIR crucifixion was justified, but Jesus was an innocent man. Luke 23:41. The charge of treason against him was as bogus as they come. It was the only lie that could stick.
The accusation about wanting to destroy the temple and rebuilding it within three days fell under religious law. That’s outside the purview of Roman authority, so they accused him of insurrection against Caesar instead. The Bible says Satan is THE accuser of the brethren. Revelation 12:10. That’s not gossip mongering it’s talking about, it’s real prosecutorial stuff, like in a court of law. Or we wouldn’t need a defense attorney. Jesus is our advocate. 1 John 2:1.
His omnibus defense is justification – “Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God that justifies.” Romans 8:33. The modern equivalence of justification is acquittal. You’re acquitted because Jesus has been judged on your behalf. In criminal law you can be discharged but not acquitted. Which means you can be tried for the offence again. Acquittal on the other hand means nobody can prosecute you for the same offence again. That’s the rule of double jeopardy.
Because some Christians don’t know they’ve been acquitted they keep begging God for forgiveness for the same sin. They don’t believe God has forgiven them. They keep responding to the memory of the sin and their bad conscience. Some resort to penance and restitution but that’s an affront to the sacrifice of Jesus. Once you’ve asked God for forgiveness your sin is forgiven, and forgotten. The blood of Jesus cleanses you from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:7.
Because of guilty conscience some can’t claim their healing from God. They believe their sickness is a punishment from God. But if Jesus went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, why would the same Jesus be doing the rounds putting sickness on people? Is he schizophrenic? Doesn’t make sense. Acts 10:38.
And talking about righteousness, contrary to popular teaching it is NOT right standing with God. Right standing with God is the RESULT of righteousness FOR SINNERS. The contradiction comes when the definition is applied to God. God is righteous. He cannot be in right standing with himself. He’s not a sinner. He wasn’t alienated from himself.
Righteousness is in fact a constitutional principle. As enunciated in scriptures it is the totality of the sovereign rights of God, his essence, as well as his brand. Everything God does is righteous, just because he’s God and nothing else. You can’t judge what he does. What standard will you use? You can’t question God. Isaiah 45:11.
In the exercise of his sovereignty he chose to save the descendants of Abraham & not those fallen angels. Hebrews 2:16. Both species were fallen but he chose to save humans. And then he did something extraordinary – he devolved his rights to us having designated us his heirs.49. We became not only like him, we actually became him. He is in us, we are in him. Total identification. As he is so are we. 1 John 4:17, 2 Corinthians 5:21. We don’t have righteousness therefore, we ARE righteous. Our righteousness is existential. We can’t become unrighteous.50. Unlike in the Old Testament where they did righteousness to earn God’s approval, in the New Testament righteousness is a gift of grace.
You don’t do anything to become righteous in the New Testament. You’re made righteous. Because of this righteousness we can boldly approach the throne of grace. Hebrews 4:16. So, stop being timid. Stop all the I’m unworthy religious stuff. 1 John 3:1. Sorosoke.
Exercise your constitutional rights. 2 Timothy 1:7. You are the righteousness of God in Christ. This has been a crash course in biblical jurisprudence. I want you to give your life to Jesus. Please pray this prayer: “Father I come to you in the name of Jesus. I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that God raised him from the dead. I am saved. Amen.”
To read On Faith Part 6: Legal Matters go here
To understand the Christian walk from a contemporary perspective, read my book, Conversations of a 21st Century Saint. Order at:
© Leke Alder |
Does General Gowon look like somebody who moved to London with half of Nigeria’s Central Bank?
We, the undersigned call upon Hon. Member of Parliament representing Tonbridge and Malling of the United Kingdom, Ted Tugendhat to withdraw his recent statement at Westminster;
“Some people would remember when General Gowon left Nigeria with half of the central bank, or so it was said, and moved to London,”
Mr. Tugendhat, had spoken when E-petition 554150 was being considered at the British Parliament on Monday, November 23, 2020 over a petition seeking sanction against the Nigerian government for alleged human rights abuses during the #EndSARS protests.
We are not unmindful that the MP had added “so it was said” to his presumptuous claim. That notwithstanding, Mr. Tugendhat would have availed himself with some basic historical overview on the exact circumstances of how General Gowon ended up dining at the student cafeteria at Warwick University after his overthrow on July 29, 1975 while in Kampala attending a summit of the Organization of African Unity (OAU now African Union)
Even after 45 years, General Gowon’s statement thereafter remains instructive;
“From all indications a new government had been established in Nigeria. I wish to state that I, on my part, have also accepted the change and pledged my full loyalty to my nation, my country and the new government. Therefore, in the overall interest of the nation and our beloved country, I appeal to all concerned to cooperate fully with the new government and ensure the preservation of peace, unity and stability of our dear motherland.
As a Nigerian, I am prepared to serve my country in any capacity, which my country may consider appropriate. I am a professional soldier and I can do any duty that I am called upon to do.
May I take this opportunity to thank all the people of Nigeria and friends of Nigeria for the support and cooperation that you all gave me during my tenure of office and call upon all of you to give the new government of our nation the same support and cooperation in the interest of our beloved country.
Long live one united, happy and prosperous Nigeria. Long live the Organisation of African Unity.”
The attached images are of General Gowon after he had enrolled as a student at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom. Where eventually his Ph.D Thesis focused on The Economic Community of West African States: A study in Political and Economic integration.
It would be recalled after his overthrow from government several investigations were made into corrupt enrichment. The General was neither found complicit nor indicted in any. More ever;
“Many offers of residence came to him in Kampala from various African countries. He notified the new regime in Lagos that he would leave Kampala for Lome in Togo. Since he was financially broke, teary-eyed members of the Nigerian delegation along with staffers at the Nigerian High Commission in Kampala donated 3000 pounds sterling to enable him begin a new life. He was flown to Lome – via Garoua in Cameroon – aboard President Idi Amin’s executive jet.
Part of the flight passed through Nigerian airspace and Gowon took the opportunity to transmit a radio message reaffirming loyalty to and support for Brigadier Muhammed’s new regime. Although offered permanent domicile in Togo he chose to join his family in the United Kingdom. He received an additional 10,000 pounds sterling donation from General Eyadema. Following a telephone call to Brigadier Muhammed, during which he made requests for elementary federal assistance, he left for London.”
“When he got to London, he was offered official accommodation by the Nigerian government which he, however, turned down for a variety of reasons. After some weeks at the Portman Hotel, he moved into the house of an old friend – Mr. Emmanuel Otti – at 472 Finchley Road, London. The delay was to enable the house to be redecorated by Mr. and Mrs. Otti and Brigadier Sam Ogbemudia (who had been in the UK when the coup took place in Nigeria). Other friends came to the assistance of the family. It was not until September 1975 that he began to get his pension and gratuities as a retired Four-Star General. In the nine years he had been Nigeria’s ruler he had not built himself a single house, inside or outside the country, nor did he expropriate one kobo of government money.
Unlike some of those who served under him, his TOTAL savings throughout his service years as well as his years as Nigeria’s leader was N75,000 – all of which was inside Nigeria. In time to come this would stand in stark contrast to the conduct of and personal fortunes of most of those who conspired to remove him from office – or benefited from it.
Once settled in with his family, the General, who was offered several Masters Degree programs, signed up for undergraduate studies in Political Science at Warwick University. Newspapers in Nigeria later carried news items and photographs depicting the former Nigerian leader carrying trays in a student cafeteria in the UK.
The Muhammed regime was embarrassed and therefore dispatched Brigadier TY Danjuma (who, took Kano born Col. Wali along) to ask Gowon adopt a supposedly more dignified stance. Gowon rejected the overture and reassured his “embarrassed sympathizers” that he was comfortable with his situation. (Conceivably nothing could have been more embarrassing than to be overthrown while attending an OAU summit). He made friends among the Nigerian students at Warwick, including a family friend of mine, Desmond Guobadia, now a legal practitioner in Lagos. Meanwhile his spouse, the former First Lady, Mrs. Victoria Gowon (who was a nurse) registered as a catering student at a University College in London.”
See details in; Military Rebellion of July 29, 1975 – Epilogue: From Kampala to Lome to London and back to Nigeria by Nowa Omoigui
Therefore, we the undersigned call upon all Nigerians of goodwill and indeed the members of the international community at large to ignore the insinuations of Mr. Tugendhat. In turn, by this signed clarification we call upon the MP to be appropriately corrected and to do the needful by withdrawing his statement on General Gowon.
Ahmed Yahaya Joe.
After succumbing to a fever of some sort in 1705, Irish woman Margorie McCall was hastily buried to prevent the spread of whatever had done her in. Margorie was buried with a valuable ring, which her husband had been unable to remove due to swelling. This made her an even better target for body snatchers, who could cash in on both the corpse and the ring.
The evening after Margorie was buried, before the soil had even settled, the grave-robbers showed up and started digging. Unable to pry the ring off the finger, they decided to cut the finger off. As soon as blood was drawn, Margorie awoke from her coma, sat straight up and screamed.
The fate of the grave-robbers remains unknown. One story says the men dropped dead on the spot, while another claims they fled and never returned to their chosen profession.
Margorie climbed out of the hole and made her way back to her home.
Her husband John, a doctor, was at home with the children when he heard a knock at the door. He told the children, “If your mother were still alive, I’d swear that was her knock.”
When he opened the door to find his wife standing there, dressed in her burial clothes, blood dripping from her finger but very much alive, he dropped dead to the floor. He was buried in the plot Margorie had vacated.
Margorie went on to re-marry and have several children. When she did finally die, she was returned to Shankill Cemetery in Lurgan, Ireland, where her gravestone still stands. It bears the inscription “Lived Once, Buried Twice.”
By Taiwo Sanni
Tell my mother I was unarmed.
Tell my father I had the flag in my hands when I was shot.
Tell the unborn Generation that I died singing the national anthem.
Tell the cowards who shot me that my spirit lives on in the life of every good Nigerian youth.
Tell the government that they shot my body but not my spirit.
Tell the world I died for freedom like many good people before me.
I regret nothing, for I have done what my father’s, mother’s, uncle’s and aunt’s couldn’t do out of fear. Let God judge me, I am only sorry for the pain of leaving you this early.
My prints will forever remain in the sands of history for I have done my time based on the path I chose freely & willingly.
Now that my torment in Nigeria is over, please lay me to rest on mother earth where you all will join me in due time, take my voice and hand it over to the next good youth whom I hope by Gods Almighty grace will benefit a better Nation.
For I know that freedom is coming, yes freedom will come tomorrow.
By Ahmed Yahaya Joe
Can a Biden/Harris ticket beat President Donald Trump?
On the surface this is a winning team. However, in America democracy it is all about the Deep State. That is why during the 2016 presidential elections despite her 65.8 million votes, Hilary Clinton could not enter the White House. Rather Donald J. Trump and his 62.9 million votes is now the current chief tenant.
So what happened? The United States Electoral College voted him in that is what. Trump got 304 votes of college electors while Clinton got 227 – end of story.
“The Electoral College is a body of electors established by the United States Constitution, which forms every four years for the sole purpose of electing the president and vice president of the United States. The Electoral College consists of 538 electors, and an absolute majority of at least 270 electoral votes is required to win the election……The number of each state’s electors is equal to the sum of the state’s membership in the Senate and House of Representatives; currently there are 100 senators and 435 representatives.”
Interestingly, there are “Faithless electors” who switch sides or are compelled to do so by the Deep State and its allies and interested parties. But who are these electors in general? The answer to this question is why Kamala Devi Harris is very crucial to Joe Biden’s candidacy. The state of California where she comes from has the highest number of 55. Besides Harris is biracial, her father is from Jamaica and her mother from India. Gender also plays a prominent part in the permutation as women voters are the most consistent in American politics. American men are good in arguing and debating politics but it is women that actually turn out to vote in more numbers per capita.
Deep State is defined as; “A hybrid association of elements of government and parts of top-level finance and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process”
There is also what is known as American Exceptionalism which; “is the theory that the history of the United States is inherently different from that of other nations.” The idea that America has a unique mission to transform the world. Therefore to achieve that only those that can preserve and keep the American national interest should be allowed to occupy the White House. For instance, Obama came into office with the repeated promise to shut down the illegal detentions at Guantanamo Bay but for 8 years he couldn’t. And by negotiating a nuclear peace treaty with Iran he openly defied the Deep State making Mrs. Clinton take the fall.
In the United States no president can go to war with the Deep State and win. Ask John F Kennedy and his brother and Attorney General, Robert F Kennedy who wanted to run for president – they were both assassinated. The Deep State is an extended cabal that cuts across party lines.
It is very important to note that very deeply embedded in the American psyche is the role of the Sheriff that constantly fights off bad guys. That is why Hollywood endlessly promotes the protagonist/antagonist dynamic – always between an “actor” and the “boss” The oxygen of the US economy is the military-industrial complex which cannot survive without conflicts and wars all around the world; “Without war human beings stagnate in comfort and affluence and lose the capacity for great thoughts and feelings, they become cynical and subside into barbarism” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821- 1881)
My take on the forthcoming US elections is solely based on stone cold analysis of the 2000 polls “won” by George W Bush by a complete outsider through the pages of; Stupid White Men of Michael Moore (2002) If I had been resident there I am sure I would have felt different and opined otherwise. I am merely a detached student of the dynamics of power. I say this out of respect for my numerous friends and even some relatives in the US. I respect their choices.
Now back to the question; can the Biden-Harris ticket beat that of Trump-Pence? I have my doubts for the following reasons;
1. The opinion polls that Biden is currently leading Trump by 10 points is no different from that of Clinton over Trump in 2016 yet see what played out.
2. America is a deeply racist country and will always remain so because there is an umbilical link between racism and capitalism – one cannot exist without the other. Biden is already 75 years old this means he has no second term ambition. Harris is however 55 which means another Black presidential against the background of all these Black Lives Matter protests in 2024. Even liberal WASPs might gravitate back to White supremacy by default.
3. Joe Biden is not a war monger and he will tax the rich more to pay the poor like bring back Obama Care.
4. The White Anglo-Saxon Protestant segment of America prefer Trump’s sabre rattling on Immigration. Biden will open up the flow. Trump has shut the tap!
5. Biden is a supporter of strict Gun Laws. Trump is not!
6. Masses are masses anywhere in the world – the inability to see the big picture is always the same. The American masses vote in popular elections but it is just a few hundred “electors” that always determine who wins.
7. The ace in every US elections is Israel. Biden has always rooted for Palestine. He will also return to the conference table with Iran and negotiate with China. Trump will not because; “Leaders have always found it useful to have an enemy at their gates distracting the public from their difficulties. Use the rhetoric of war to heighten the stakes” – page 12 of 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene (2006)
By Ahmed Yahaya Joe
The construction of Hagia Sophia church with its characteristic pendative dome was completed in the year 537. The project started in the year 360. Hagia Sophia which means – Holy Wisdom in Greek was the Constantinople seat of Byzantine Orthodoxy which had severed relationship with Roman Catholicism. When the ancient city where Hagia Sophia is located was captured by the Papacy during the Fourth Crusade in 1204 the church was converted to Rome.
In 1261, the Byzantines recaptured their city and church. Constantinople was named after Constantine the Great (227-337 AD) the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. However by 1453 the city became Istanbul and Hagia Sophia, a mosque under the Ottoman Turk, Mehmed the Conqueror. That was when its minarets were added and the crosses, icons removed with the images within plastered over with various Arabesque features.
In 1923, the historic edifice was converted into a secular museum by the founder of modern Turkey, General Kemal Atatürk. Most of its original imagery were then restored. The United Nations would eventually declare it as a World Heritage Site.
By July 24, 2020, Hagia Sophia would revert back to a mosque again. The Turkish presidential order has already been signed. Many in Christendom are worried, others concerned. I am neither for 2 main reasons. First,
I totally subscribe to the Solomonic axiom – “The race is not for the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to the men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all” Second, I remain an acolyte of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu who told the story n 1989; “of a drunk who crossed the street and accosted a pedestrian, asking him, “I shay, which ish the other shide of the shtreet?” The pedestrian, somewhat nonplussed, replied, “That side, of course!” The drunk said, “Shtrange. When I wash on that shide, they shaid it wash thish shide.”
His Grace Tutu went on; “Where the other side of the street is depends on where we are. Our perspective differs with our context, the things that have helped to form us; and religion is one of the most potent of these formative influences, helping to determine how and what we apprehend of reality and how we operate in our own specific context.” The Nobel laureate eventually rested his argument; “My first point seems overwhelmingly simple: that the accidents of birth and geography determine to a very large extent to what faith we belong. The chances are very great that if you were born in Pakistan you are a Muslim, or a Hindu if you happened to be born in India, or a Shintoist if it is Japan, and a Christian if you were born in Italy. I don’t know what significant fact can be drawn from this — perhaps that we should not succumb too easily to the temptation to exclusiveness and dogmatic claims to a monopoly of the truth of our particular faith. You could so easily have been an adherent of the faith that you are now denigrating, but for the fact that you were born here rather than there.
My second point is this: not to insult the adherents of other faiths by suggesting, as sometimes has happened, that for instance when you are a Christian the adherents of other faiths are really Christians without knowing it. We must acknowledge them for who they are in all their integrity, with their conscientiously held beliefs; we must welcome them and respect them as who they are and walk reverently on what is their holy ground, taking off our shoes, metaphorically and literally. We must hold to our particular and peculiar beliefs tenaciously, not pretending that all religions are the same, for they are patently not the same. We must be ready to learn from one another, not claiming that we alone possess all truth and that somehow we have a corner on God.”
Tutu concluded; “God is not a Christian, Nor a Jew, Muslim, Hindu…: God Dwells with Us, in Us, Around Us, as Us”
In the 1567 year history of the existence of Hagia Sophia it has withstood massive earthquakes in years 553, 558, 869 and 1344. This UN World Heritage Site has outlived wars, famines, plagues and indeed dictators, emperors and kings including presidents. It has been a constantly recurring decimal in the politicization of religion in Constantinople, now Istanbul at that crucial junction in modern-day Turkey where Europe meets the Middle East. Simply put the issue is beyond religion, it is another chess game in the “Clash of Civilizations”
Hagia Sophia will therefore outlive President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and return to its origin status as a church one day. Whether or not it happens during our lifetime is beside the point. So why bother? As the ancients wisely put it; “Only 3 things cannot remain hidden for long, the Sun, the Moon and the Truth”
Tick, tock, tick, tock…………
By Evon Benson Idahosa
I remember falling asleep at a Tuesday evening church service as a 9 year old child. I had a tambourine on my lap and as I fell to the floor, it reverberated thunderously throughout the hall, drawing the attention of everyone who had been attentively listening to the dynamic preacher-man.
I awakened to piercing stares and side eyes- particularly from my father- whose message I had disrupted. Every Nigerian child knows that stare, that glare that silently speaks a thousand words, cloaks you in debilitating fear and assures your quivering being that there will be consequences.
Needless to say, it was a quiet ride home and for the rest of the revival week, I was ushered to the front row where I forced my eyes open, humming tunes to myself to stay awake.
Saying that I literally grew up in church would be an understatement. Week long revival services, such as the one I reference above, were customary. I was also in the choir, went to Sunday school before church services on Sunday, Agape Force Children’s meetings on Saturdays, mid-week services and the occasional 6:30 am morning prayer services, followed by our home bible study with Auntie B. And because my father was Archbishop Benson Idahosa, there were no negotiations. It just was.
At the age of 10, shortly after the infamous “tambourine experience,” the truth of those messages became real and I earnestly became a follower of The Way. And so, as news began to sweep the globe of the novel Corona virus and its import, I found myself immediately turning to my faith as a source of comfort and peace. I also called my mother, who now heads CGMI, the global ministry my father left when he passed away 22 years ago. Her words of encouragement and the tone of her voice assured me that, as we like to say in Nigeria, ‘it is well.’ And it will be!
But for now, the pandemic continues to rage, as thousands succumb to its will. First China. Then South Korea. Japan. An epidemic. Then Italy, the UK, the US. Thousands upon thousands of cases were being reported and every day brought the reality closer to home. Then it became a global pandemic and as it stands, the WHO estimates that there are 719,700 confirmed cases globally, with almost 34,000 deaths.
On February 28th, Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, confirmed its index case of the Corona virus which arrived the country via an Italian businessman.
As I write, Nigeria’s centre for Disease Control is reporting a total of 135 confirmed cases and two deaths, having conducted just several hundred tests, even though thousands of passengers have arrived from varying countries since the index. Self isolation has been deemed an advisory, not mandatory.
Nigeria has taken what some would consider drastic, yet in this writer’s opinion, insufficient and strikingly Western style measures to address what is likely to come in the absence of a miracle. In addition to finally closing her borders from international travelers, including Nigerians, schools have been shut down, civil servants are being asked to work from home, “social distancing” policies are being enacted and several states, including my home state of Edo, have prohibited religious, social and public gatherings of more than 20 persons.
In a country where over 90% of her citizens profess to be religious, most Nigerians are accustomed to turning to their faith in times of crisis. The corona virus pandemic is no exception. Many who had strayed from God are now repenting of their sins and brandishing the sign of the cross as they leave their homes. Others are praying for a “Passover,” as CNN and other news outlets flood us with “end of the world,” doomsday messaging. As a result, many of us are yearning to collectively gather to pray.
Whether the desire to collectively gather is buttressed by denial (“coronavirus is not here” — “the spirit of corona virus is dead in Nigeria”) or stems from a deep seeded longing for God to show mercy to a healthcare system that is wholly unprepared to handle the worst case scenario, the fact remains that Nigeria’s religious faithfuls are unaccustomed to missing gatherings for anything. Services are considered sacred times to commune with God and to be encouraged by the brethren. Others hang on to every word of their clerics who, in some cases, insist on serving as a religious crutch- intermediaries between their congregants and God.
Many believers who engage with God on a transactional basis come bearing tithes and/or offerings in the hopes that God will hear their prayers. (He hears them regardless).
As such, the prohibition on religious gatherings of more than 20 (which essentially translates to a prohibition of services in general) has resulted in many Nigerian believers losing their ‘religion,’ i.e., left bewildered as to how to make the adjustment to a God who potentially exists outside the four walls of their churches; to a God who speaks directly to them in God’s long forgotten voice. Who, precisely, are Nigerian believers without our religions and religious houses of worship?
Could it be that for the first time in a long time, Nigerian believers are being presented with a church-less opportunity to develop even more meaningful personal relationships with their God; to ‘lay hands’ on themselves and speak words of healing into their children from a God who has always heard them? Could this pandemic serve as an opportunity for believers to be what Murray Bowen describes as a ‘non-anxious presence’ to those who may be paralyzed by fear?
To this end, some larger churches are offering their services online. However, for the working poor who faithfully make up the backbone of most Nigerian churches, internet connectivity and/or live streaming of an entire service make that option impractical and/or unaffordable. They are the ones, who because they live day to day, cannot afford to practice social distancing, “stay at home” and for some, even “wash your hands,” because soap becomes a luxury when one’s ‘daily bread’ is devoid of the ‘daily.’ If our government does not step up to courageously seek support that is tailored to our unique realities and then provide that support to those on the margins, the import of the corona virus in our beloved Nigeria could be felt by generations to come.
As such, could this pandemic present an opportunity for churches to fill the glaring gaps and practically serve the last and the least in a manner that reveals who we profess to be as followers of The Way? Might this be an opportunity for the church to put our egos aside and creatively heed Jesus’ instructions to ‘feed my sheep’, to apply the Balm of Gilead, by serving those who will be most physically, mentally and economically impacted?
Practically speaking, could we convert our sanctuaries to temporary hospitals or food pantries where those in need can obtain essentials? Can we use the funds of those who have faithfully donated over the years to buy ventilators and personal protective gear for our hospitals and health workers on the front lines? Can we purchase hygiene products and distribute them to those who may be confined to their homes? This, I believe, is our mandate.
At the end of the day, my faith in God runs deep. It has guided my life since I was 10 and I prayerfully trust that we will get through this. But as the Nigerian Church temporarily loses her ‘religion’ and her faith is unveiled in the face of COVID-19, she is presented with an opportunity to reverberate thunderously and rise up to be who she professes for such a novel time as this. After all, in the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, ‘the church is the church only when it exists for others…not dominating, but helping and serving’.
Courtesy Ahmed Yahaya Joe
By Ahmed Yahaya Joe
I do not know why the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) chose a day after President Buhari’s national broadcast on the Covid-19 pandemic to demand N1.1 trillion from the FG for the “revitalization” of the Nigerian university system. It is truly apalling with the current economic situation!
But then, this is Nigeria where any proof of life speech by the leader in standing position is breaking news. We are indeed a cynical federation! as ours is breaking news. While the periodic distraction that the national speculation on the whereabouts of Mr President might be temporarily strategic it has a cumulative effect in the progressive bastardization his political legacy in the long run. Being a president is not a call to be an expert. Rather it is simply being in charge which in an internet age is not a picnic.
The contents of President Buhari’s speech in overall context commendably covered all the relevant issues. That it was short on details is perfectly understandle. This is because unlike President Trump that briefs his nation daily on the pandemic, ours only addresses his national constituency “after hours and hours of rehearsals, which nonetheless unmasks his declining cognitive faculties” as his leadership template is apparently that of “presidency by absenteeism”
The world we live in is a global village. From Uganda, a young lady Kenyangi Bale tweeted at 7.58am Kampala time on March 27, 2020 just 2 days before President Buhari addressed us ” I know Ugandans deserve better. But, our president, Museveni has addressed this nation the 5th time in 2 weeks on the COVID-19 pandemic. You guys needs to visit Nigerian Twitter. They are looking for their president. He is no where to be found”.
Last night (Nigerian time) Mr Trump started his usual live briefing by announcing that the US Navy hospital had sailed into New York ready for medical battle. The former oil tanker was converted to a hospital ship in 1987 has 1000 beds, 12 operating theaters, a dental clinic, 4 X-ray machines, CT scanner, 2 Oxygen production plants, Optometry lab, 5000 unit capacity blood bank, daily 300,000 gallons fresh water plant, helipad and morgue. According to the US Navy, the hospital ship that is the equivalent in height to a 10-storey building and 3 football fields long was due to sail for New York in 8 days but when the Army Corps of Engineers was drafted in it sailed in 5 days.
Meanwhile, it took 35 days between when the first Covid-19 case was announced in Nigeria and when President Buhari addressed the nation. In India it took an Indian academic, Virologist Minal Dakhane Bhosale 42 days to develop an indigenous test kit. She unlike her Nigerian counterparts was not on strike, rather as soon as she finished her project headed for the maternity ward to deliver a bouncing baby girl. What is the difference in distaste between Mr President and ASUU?
Anyway soon after Mr. President addressed the nation a disturbing video started making the rounds on social media showing an obviously distressed Major General Olusegun Adeniyi, the CO of Operation Lafiya Dole apparently addressing, his boss the army chief.
“We have been met with very strong resistance – from more than pockets of Boko Haram. From every flank not less than 15 gun trucks were facing us. I’m standing here with Sector 2 Commander; the armed helicopter has just come to hover our air, the instruction I gave them was that anything they see moving they should engage because most of my gun trucks are not moving. Like I said earlier, the three battalions are fighting as deployed — nobody is running” He went on “But what we have here, I will give you some estimates. Boko Haram has fired more than a hundred mortar bombs at us; they have fired 80 to a hundred RPGs at us; in addition to eight to 10 gun trucks firing at us from all sides. We have not run, and the soldiers are not misbehaving or disobeying orders.We have casualties. I will come and see you in person on what we need to do. But we are not running. We lost about 20 MRAP tires here. We have changed close to 250 Hilux tires due to the terrain.”
According to a report that accompanied the viral video “Several wounded soldiers could be seen crying in the video while bodies of their colleagues was scattered all over location. Recall that Boko Haram recently ambushed troops in Borno and killed more than 50 soldiers during that attack”That such a highly classified communication is being circulated in the public domain is shocking. It however means the video was perhaps deliberately leaked by whistleblowers in service to alert the nation on the deterioration of affairs in the North East.
Nigeria’s security and military apparatus cannot afford to be distracted because elsewhere in the world either by hook or by crook according to the newspaper Times of Israel in its March 27 edition; “The Mossad intelligence service on Thursday helped bring another 400,000 CoronaVirus test kits to Israel from an undisclosed foreign location, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said. That was in addition to the roughly 100,000 test kits the spy agency brought to Israel last week. The PMO, which is responsible for the Mossad, said the intelligence service had imported the chemical reagents needed to perform approximately 400,000 tests. The swabs needed to carry out the task are being sourced both internally and from a number of foreign countries. The PMO refused to comment further on the matter, specifically on the country or countries that sold it the testing components, leading many to assume that it was a country that does not have strong or formal ties with Israel.
In another report in Blomberg.com dated March 19, 2020; “Earlier this week, the Shin Bet (Israel’s) domestic security service was authorized to use a technology developed primarily for counterterrorism purposes to identify who infected people may have come in contact with”
So on one hand, while in our country the military is besieged by a seemingly endless insurgency in others the armed forces and security are being used to assist a national effort in medical health care delivery. No doubt it is all about a coordinated leadership that has purpose and direction. Ours unfortunately is mostly about an “absentee presidency” If so what is the way forward? It is all about to be seen to be in-charge. Leadership is mostly about effective presence without actually saying much or being an expert. Just be there!
Law 16 of 48 Laws of Power recommends “Use absence to increase respect and honor. Create value through scarcity” There is however a caveat “Absence is dangerous – instead of fanning the flames, it will extinguish them. In the beginning, make yourself not scarce, but omnipresent. Only what is seen, appreciated, and loved will be missed in its absence” It is against this background that Law 6 is instructive; “Everything is judged by it’s appearance; what is unseen counts for nothing. Never let yourself get lost in the crowd, or buried in oblivion. Stand out. Be conspicuous, at all cost. Make yourself a magnet of attention”