Nigeria @ 61: Pastor Adeboye and the parody of a nation - OPID News

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Monday, 4 October 2021

Nigeria @ 61: Pastor Adeboye and the parody of a nation

 Nigeria @ 61: Pastor Adeboye and the parody of a nation

This columnist left Nigeria for the shore of Singapore in June 2005. It was (and still is) one of the cleanest cities in the world with a first-class taste of virtually everything one could desire. It was interesting and intriguing to discover within a month of my sojourn in the city-state to see the red and white colours of the Singapore’s national flag adorning houses virtually in every district one could turn to. Moreover, the trendy taxis reminiscent of the status of the city known for attracting tourists daily, were all beautified with an insignia bearing Singapore’s flag. What was in the offing? It was to signal the National Day of Singapore, celebrated with pomp and pageantry yearly on the 9th of August. My heart went back to my home country, Nigeria. I was momentarily sad. However, hope was rekindled in me that Nigeria will rise again and lead all other countries of Africa as the true giant of Africa, not in words but in tangible manifestations of real development. In 2009, this columnist transited in his sojourn in Asia to Malaysia for his doctorate degree in servant leadership and followership. The time of my arrival was incidentally or coincidentally about a month to the Independence Day of Malaysia (31st August). The Malaysians too, a la, Singaporeans were in a festive mood with a lot of displays of flags on vehicles and houses. Moreover, in both countries, about forty days to these notable days, the economy witnessed a boom with tourists pouring in as there are discounted sales of virtually every item in the major shopping malls of the two countries. Furthermore, traders organized themselves under tents around popular bus and train stations to display their wares at very discounted prices.

Poser: Can an average Nigerian celebrate his or her country of birth like the Singaporeans and Malaysians? Is it worth it?

Nigeria: Any hope for a new dawn?

The trio: Malaysia, Nigeria and Singapore got their independence between 1957 and 1965. This columnist was told by an elder while sojourning in Malaysia that there was a time that Nigeria offered to help offset the wages of Malaysia’s civil servants for 6 months! That was the season of national pride when one of our leaders declared openly that Nigeria’s problem was not money but how to spend the money! What went wrong? It was apparent that while these two countries were planning and plotting greatness, Nigeria was playing, partying and prattling pompously to the parlous state in which we find ourselves in the 21st century.

One of Nigeria’s referred clerics, academic, and elder statesmen, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, who is also the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) was a guest at the dual occasion of the commemoration of Nigeria’s 61st independence and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) 45th anniversary in Abuja where the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, was present. In his introductory remark, the referred cleric stated he would not have accepted the invitation if he was told it was connected to the country’s independence celebration. The inquisitive Nigeria press should have seemingly ambushed Baba Adeboye to find out what was boggling his mind. Should we not celebrate our country’s birth? After all, Baba Adeboye once said that a time is coming that people from all over the world would be struggling to catch a glimpse of Nigeria’s passport that is presently being disdained at immigrant checkpoints of some advanced countries. Anyway, the renowned and referred cleric succinctly and saliently stated in his message that all hope was not lost in redeeming Nigeria. Or is it the case of hope deferred making the heart sick as it was scripted in the Holy Writ?

Pastor Adeboye’s Parody and Parable

In his sermon at the epoch-making event reported by some national dailies, he stated that his initial reaction to Nigeria’s mounting indebtedness was shocking. In his parody, bemoaning Nigeria’s rising debt profile climbing up to N55 trillion, he shared his comical conversation with an old friend of his. This columnist will be quoting copiously from the Daily Post publication of 27th September 2021: “I have a friend that we schooled about the same time and we were also born at about the same time. He is always optimistic about everything. When we heard that Nigeria was owing N55tn, he said ‘praise the Lord’, and when I looked at him with a question on my face, he quickly said those who are praying for ‘one Nigeria’ are many and that the creditors know that if the country does not survive, they won’t be able to get their money back. “When we later heard that the interest Nigeria has to pay on debt is 98 per cent of our total income and that even the Senate has approved that we should borrow more, he said ‘glory be to God’. “I said how would you say glory be to God? He said ‘when what you owe is more than what you can pay, the creditors have a choice. It is either they forgive you your debts or you go ahead and declare bankruptcy. They get angry and then they come and seize the most valuable thing you have.’ “He said that the most precious thing the debtors can seize in this country is the Aso Rock. When I said, what is there to thank God for in that? He said ‘have you not been listening to the news that the President said he would love to visit Daura every two weeks? “So, he told me that if they seize Aso Rock, his (Buhari’s) request would be granted, he won’t have to be visiting Daura every two weeks. He would just move the seat of power to Daura, his home town.”

This comical and curious conversation, an apparent apologue, of Pastor Adeboye with his friend is not funny. It only paints a proverbial parlous state of our country once a pride in the comity of nations! When a nation is faced with paying interest on her loans that is tantamount to 96% of her expected earnings, how would one assess such a nation? How much real diversification of our economy is being explored and exploited both by the sub-national and central governments? Where is the leadership acumen, adroitness and sagacity to draw Nigeria out of this apparent abyss we are heading to socio-economically? This is a season of leadership with no easy answers, apology to a leadership scholar and author.

Is it wrong to borrow?

There is a feeling of angst amongst many Nigerians against this present administration’s penchant for incessant borrowing. However, we seem not to care in this clime for the followers’ feedback. Do they matter to governance? In a swift reaction to the latest request of borrowing passed to the National Assembly (NASS) by President Muhammadu Buhari, the erstwhile Nigeria’s President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, berated this administration stating that it is criminal borrowing now only for the next generation to pay. Is it wrong to borrow? Economic experts’ concurrence is that it is in line with developmental strides to borrow. However, such borrowing should be spent on capital projects rather than recurrent items (salaries, allowances, debt, overheads, etc.) itemized in the budget. It is appalling that in the 2021 budget, the capital expenditure was just about 30% of the budget. Which way will the 2022 budget go with 96% of expected revenue to be spent on paying interests on loans? The direction of our borrowing is seemingly monolithic and myopic being expended on physical infrastructure particularly rail and road construction with little or nothing on other sectors than can generate more economic returns such as the funding of new technology start-ups, ago-allied businesses and ICT projects. It was unfortunate that a Nigerian from Delta State manufactured a functional drone and was offered job in a firm based in Finland. A loss to Delta State and Nigeria! This story was reported in LinkedIn, an online professional platform.

It is good to keep hope alive like the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, and Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, posited and postulated in the commemorative assembly held last Sunday at the Ecumenical Centre, Abuja.

Mama Mary Aina Ekundayo – Life and Lesson of a matriarch

This columnist received an early morning call on Wednesday, 22nd of September, 2021 that his mother of 111 years has gone to join the saints triumphant. She passed away quietly in her sleep in Ido Ekiti, Ekiti State, around 2am that day. This columnist, himself a grandfather, happens to be the last born of Mama. Reminiscing her life: prayerful, as she would wake up as early as 5am to pray for decades; persistence: she suffered abiku syndrome (loss of six children in a row) until the seventh child stayed; and generosity: she once gave water and food to a beggarly fellow in rags, who was more or less an angel without wings. The fellow after eating said, “you will no longer suffer abiku.” That singular act sounded the death knell of the abiku syndrome. The power of giving! Anyone still wondering why Mama was nicknamed Eye Abiye (Mother of the Living)! Thereafter, Mama became pregnant and gave birth to a bouncing baby boy who grew and lived to serve as the erstwhile Clerk of Ekiti State House of Assembly, in the person of Chief Michael Oluwasanmi Ekundayo, one of Mama’s surviving sons. Adieu, Eye Abiye, Eye Elepo! Omo Owa, Omo Ekun, Omo alaye gbede – gbede boo ni layin.”

John Ekundayo, PhD – Development Analyst and Leadership Strategist can be reached via 08155262360 (SMS only) and THE NATION

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