By Tony Ogunlowo
As the condolences pour in for the victims of the St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State terrorist attack in which more than 50 people lost their lives with scores injured the rest of the country is left wondering why God would let such atrocities happen.
So, has God left Nigeria?
A lot of religious leaders will want to jump on the bandwagon and claim God has left the country(?) and the Devil has moved in due to the many sins of the people. Perhaps, but I don’t think its an excuse to extort more tithes and financial ‘gifts’ from the people under the pretext of making special prayers to appease the Almighty.
Religious bigots who will want to draw a parallel between the demise of Sodom and Gomorrah and the country’s present predicament are wrong: this is the 21st century and God doesn’t destroy countries, any more, people do! If a country that can’t still rule itself, properly, after 62 years there are bound to be spin-off problems.
People have the free will to do what’s right or what’s wrong: God doesn’t always interfere in our decision making in our daily lives. As a result, they can decide to be murderers, kidnappers, robbers or not.
When people turn to criminal activity, en-masse, it’s the moral obligation of the ruling government to bring the situation or situations under control. This is where the security services – police, army, etc – come in. Every month every state in Nigeria receives a security vote – a monetary grant, that runs into billions of Naira, from the Federal government to fight crime. These monies, over the years, has disappeared into the pockets of a very few through bureaucratic irregularities and not used for the purpose it was intended for. The same can also be said for all other military and security services that are underfunded. When criminals have more firepower than the crime-fighters you have a problem. God, as you can see, has given Man the power and resources to fight crime and evil but due to the corrupt actions of a few who have diverted necessary funds the masses will suffer hence the rise in insecurity.
The prime reason why people go into crime hasn’t been addressed. We all know the differences between Right and Wrong, Good and Evil, and the consequences for our actions, so why do some people decide to become criminals?
In a country with more than 200 million inhabitants more than 43% are out of work or are struggling to make ends meet. In the absence of any financial help such as welfare benefits, enjoyed by a great many in Western nations, a great many will turn to crime. Sadly, in a country like Nigeria where the security services are overwhelmed, under-funded and corrupt, crime can be very lucrative. You can kill a thousand people and get away with it because the country lacks the basic forensic tools to track anybody down: the kidnapped victims of the Kaduna train bombing lives are still in limbo because nobody knows where they are…as nobody knows where the Chibok girls are….as nobody knows where Leah Sharibu is till this day. Cultists, armed robbers and kidnappers kill people on a daily basis without the fear of ever being caught: this has nothing to do with God but everything to do with the police and security services not doing their jobs properly.
When God gives you a gold mine and you decide to sit on top of it selling groundnuts and puff-puff instead of mining the wealth beneath your feet you can’t blame him for your financial shortcomings. Some people are of the impression that God will miraculously fly down from Heaven and make all their wishes come true as long as they go to Church or the Mosque to pray every day. NO! Time to go back and ask your pastor for a refund on all your tithes and special offerings for services not delivered because God will give you the tools and resources to make your wishes a reality and its up to you to get off your backside and put in the hard work! The phrase “…you reap what you sow…” comes to mind here. Great countries like China, that don’t even believe in God, didn’t get to where they are today waiting for God to come to their rescue – they did it themselves! When thinking of development, whether it be personal or national, people’s mindset needs to change, instead of playing the victim become the victor.
And that brings me to the last question that’s on everybody’s lips – why does God keep on giving us bad leaders? The sad truth is God didn’t give you bad leaders..YOU DID! All the time the people will vote in leaders with bad track records into power and when they don’t perform well you start moaning. A leopard never changes its spots: you get exactly what you vote into power something God, yet again, has no control over.( – he’s not going to fly down from Heaven and vote for the right leader on your behalf!) If the country is in such a mess as a result of a succession of bad leaders perhaps it’s time to vote in an outsider, who is independent of the two ruling parties, and see what he can do. Surely, he can’t do any worse than his predecessors.
So, for all those who wonder whether God has left Nigeria or not, he hasn’t. He’s just watching as a father would watch his misbehaving children before he decides to act or not.
As usual I rest my case.
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