POLSCOPE with Eddy Odivwri, SMS Only: 08053069356
Were you in church last Sunday?
No, only the fanatics would shun that rain to go to church last Sunday.
What do you mean? Am I a fanatic?
Why did you ask anyway?
There was a great sermon by the priest
Every Sunday offers a great sermon
But this one was exceptional. The priest drew his message from Mark 4:38.
What message can be exceptional? What have you not heard a dozen times over all your life?
That’s not the point. Don’t forget the word of God is new every morning. Beside, the delivery and connection to our present situation in the country was so quaint as it aligned perfectly.
What does the passage say?
It is the story of the storm that hit the Disciples of Jesus in the boat. How they fretted and worried themselves sore over the calamity that was threatening to swallow them all, while Jesus snored away in one corner of the boat. And how in that tempest, Jesus was still so untroubled as to be snoring away in a deep sleep. And the bewildered disciples humbly queried Jesus for daring to sleep in the face of such trouble as they asked him: “Master, carest thou not that we perish”?
It is a familiar story. So what is the connect?
That is the point! The priest drew attention to how Jesus woke and not only rebuked the storm but also rebuked the disciples for their little faith. In other words, how could they have feared that much knowing that Jesus was with them in the boat. Put differently, would Jesus become a victim of any disaster?
I still don’t get the connect?
The priest likened the disciples to Nigerians who are crying and wailing and worrying themselves sore over the hard life that has now defined their lifestyle. How many Nigerians, like the Israelites who encountered some difficulties as they were journeying from Egypt to the promised land, preferred to go back to Egypt because of the degree of hardship they were facing. The priest said many Nigerians are already expressing desire to go back to the old days of former President Jonathan where they ate garlic and onion, instead of the tasteless manna from heaven. And they are asking Buhari, Mr President don’t you mind we if groan and die?
So if the priest compared the disciples to Nigerians, did he also compare Buhari to Jesus?
Well, not exactly, but…
(cuts in) There is no ‘but’ in this matter. That will be clear case of blasphemy. The two of them do not compare by any means. The one was in charge of his environment and circumstances while the other is completely bereft of managerial competence, I don’t want to use that notorious lingo: clueless.
Look, I don’t intend to get into any argument with you. Just allow me represent the narrative of the priest. That is my interest. I am not interested in the political interpretation you want to deduce from the story.
Ok, so continue.
The priest likened the socio-economic challenges facing Nigeria right now to the storm. He pointed out the hike in cost of cement, how it has risen from N1.600 to N2,300 per bag in a developing economy; how many companies are closing shop and leaving the country, thus worsening the unemployment situation in the country; how many other companies are unable to keep doing their legitimate businesses because of the low purchasing power of Nigerians; how even state governments can no longer pay salaries; how our take home pays can no longer take us home; how business operations and transactions are being stifled and frustrated because of scarcity of forex; how even two square meals a day is now a mirage, how parents are jittery over how they will pay their children’s school fees as they resume in two weeks; how foreign students are being bundled back home because there is no foreign exchange to pay their fees, and how Nigeria has indeed relapsed into the worst form of economic depression in 29 years…
Do you know the priest did not get his analogy correctly? While the situation Jesus and his disciples faced is a natural phenomenon, the one Buhari and Nigerians are facing are clearly man-made. And while Jesus had supernatural powers to handle tough cases, our Buhari does not even have enough human wisdom to tackle his immediate challenges.
I beg to disagree. You have to be fair to Mr President. He is trying his best to solve an endemic problem inherited from past administrations. A lot of rot had taken place before now. The local and international circumstances are overwhelming. No right-thinking person can blame him. And unlike Jesus, he is not even sleeping at all. He’s wide awake, searching for the best solution.
Yes, he is awake and searching, but searching the wrong places. Who can be looking for the eye of the fish in the fish’s tail? He will search forever without finding it. What do you expect from an economic team headed by the Vice President who is a Law teacher? What does he know about modern Economics beyond what he read from Lawal Economics of the and 70s? Should he not be left with delivering speeches and lectures at various fora? Or is it that swift-talking Britico lady called Kemi Adeosun as Finance minister? Has she managed any entity beyond the match-box economy of Ogun State? Does she not look like a High School student as she defends those flippant economic policies? Does she convey the image of a burnished economist who understands the dynamics of global economics?
Nigerians are perishing. But do they care? The boat is flapping up and down now, with some water pouring inside and yet…
(cuts in) I have always known you as a pessimist. Where others are seeing the bottle as half full, you choose to see it as half empty. Look, the water will not overwhelm us. God is in charge of the Nigerian boat. We shall overcome. Suddenly a voice shall arise to rebuke the economic storm blowing us. And suddenly, there will be a great calm and you will begin to wonder whence the storm came from or went. Be still my brother. It shall be well.
That is the problem with Nigeria and Nigerians. We spiritualise just everything. Even the basic laws of Nature and Economics, we breach them believing that God will come to our rescue, without we doing the needful. Look, did that priest of yours not say God cannot be mocked? And lest I forget, what has happened to the over two trillion Naira the government said they recovered from treasury looters? What about all the money gathered from the TSA window? Is the government still saving money while we wither economically like Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former governor of Anambra State did? Let them walk the talk of reflating the economy. Nigerians are hungry and dying. We don’t need another Umaru Dikko to deny that Nigerian children are not yet eating from the dustbins because there are no dustbins anymore. Everything is eaten up.
Stop reading from the book of Lamentation. It is time to pray. If no one else leads the prayer session, let us invite General Gowon with his Nigeria Prays team. We need the supernatural economist to bail us out.
There you go again.