Happy Independence Nigeria

Nigeria is 58!

Somehow, I am struggling to whip up the usual patriotic fervor to wish my beloved country a happy Independence Day celebration. In years past I was able to come up with something but this morning, all I feel is heaviness.
Heaviness at the number of basic things that are not working and the sense of hopelessness that envelops the land.

As a young child, Independence Day celebrations were a big deal. Food was exchanged between neighbours and friends; school children held parades, and old men drank in glee, when they remembered the nation was free.

But today I’m asking myself, ‘’what exactly is this freedom we speak of?’’

What is the real value of freedom when we lack the essentials of life?
Don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating that we return to colonialism but how independent are we right now, fifty-eight years after independence?

Children are unable to afford books that cost less than a dollar at elementary school level. They struggle all through elementary school, sometimes studying in open air classrooms or under leaky roofs, sitting at broken down desks, taught by frustrated Teachers! A good number give up and drop out. An impressive number gets through and somehow make it to the end of secondary school. Then a bad dream becomes a nightmare. Gaining admission into the university is a struggle as difficult as David facing the lion and the bear, and very often this David does not make it out alive.

University life is fraught with the struggles of ancient books, broken down equipment and embittered lecturers. The list of woes is endless and becomes an undefeatable goliath when the child finally graduates and gets into the labour market!

There is a strong disconnect between the rulers and the ruled; government policies are beautiful on paper but have little relevance for the people. Democracy is nothing more than ‘’a shiny toy’’ that the people play with and whose value they have no understanding of.

In the past few weeks and months, I have had cause to travel extensively across Nigeria. Everywhere I have gone, the story is the same. The roads are terrible, the airports are shameful and infrastructure is in shambles. The usual ebullience associated with Nigerians is lacking and all I see is deep dissatisfaction with the status quo. Yet everyone seems helpless. I see the quiet desperation of people, struggling like they are in a pool of jelly, unable to get out though uncomfortable with where they find themselves.

So, again I ask, what is the value of this freedom we have?

Those who can send their kids abroad for better education. They go abroad for quality healthcare. We import food and drink, drugs and pharmaceuticals, etc. our best clothes are imported and our cars are imported. A foreign graduate is given consideration for jobs above his local colleague and yet we say we are free?

Happy Independence Nigeria, may your sun rise in the morning.



Between Abigail and Saphira: Who’s the better wife?

Two very interesting female characters in the Bible are Abigail and Sapphira. Both were wives with very intriguing stories.

Abigail was the wife of Nabal, a rich man who dealt in animal husbandry; he had livestock in abundance and was a man to be reckoned with in his time. But his name was ‘Nabal’ which meant fool. Now, why on Earth would any parent want to name their child ‘fool?’ And why would any adult want to keep such a name? Anyway, that is not the subject of our story. So Nabal was a rich man and his wife was Abigail, described as beautiful and wise-talk about opposites attracting!

Nabal insulted David, who was a kind of Robin Hood of his day and David was bent on killing Nabal. Abigail intervened by providing food for David and his men and pleading for David to refrain from soiling his hands with Nabal’s blood and Nabal’s life was spared by David. The following day she told Nabal what had transpired and he had a heart attack, fell into a coma and died ten days later (please read the full story in the Holy Bible, book of 1 Samuel  chapter 25). Abigail then goes on to marry David and they live happily ever after!

Fast forward many thousands of years later to the time of the early church. The early disciples were excited at the move of the Holy Spirit and were doing amazing things; people were selling their possessions for the common good and this couple, Ananias and Sapphira took a joint decision to also sell their land and be known as ‘givers’ to the cause. To cut a long story short, they agreed to keep back part of the proceeds and claim they had given all. Ananias takes the money to the church elders, tells the agreed lie and dies. His wife comes in three hours later, not knowing hubby was dead, tells the same lie and dies instantly.

This post is not about the morality or otherwise of their individual actions, rather it is an attempt to answer the question of who or what makes a good wife? Abigail went against her husband, disobeyed him, called him names before another man, disrespected him to David and in the process was indirectly responsible for Nabal’s death.

Saphira on the other hand respected her husband, agreed with him in every area and did exactly what he wanted her to do, and that led to her death!

So the question is, who was the better wife? Are there lessons we can draw from these two women? Where should a woman draw the line when it comes to obeying her husband?

Let’s talk, what do you think? Maybe we can lay this age-old debate to rest for ever!

ps: the story of Ananias and Saphira can be found in the new Testament book of Acts, chapter 5.