The Time of the year is here. December, the last month of the year 2022. A year that Nigerians would wish its demise in a hurry. The year has bequeathed Nigerians with more post-COVID 19 economic pains and agony. A year in which the inflation rate had surpassed earlier years, food prices had soared and the people’s purchasing powers had dwindled. It has been a year in which the ruling party had unleashed more painful policies with expectant dividends of plenty and laughter in years to come. December, the last of the ember months that should wear an atmosphere of joy, frequent market visits and purchases with the intention of welcoming a brand new year in hope and high expectations. December however is ending the year with more exodus or call it ‘japa’.
Under the guise of further studies, tourism and business, many frustrated Nigerians have sold the little property they earned and are taking their funds to other nations, all in search of El Dorado. For many, who could not afford to japa or whose efforts failed, and many who still believe that just as a felled tree, there is still hope for the nation; had opted for the seemingly best options. They have fled to the mountains.
Now, devotees from within and outside the nation presently flood the various spiritual mountains organized by different churches, all over Nigeria. One common thing about all who are attending the various retreats, revivals, meetings, and annual religious conferences is that they seek for divine intervention for matters over which theirs and governments have failed. Therefore, many seek the face of God for employment, healings, deliverances, children, prosperity, visas, and spiritual touches. Overall, they seek solutions to earthly challenges. The various testimonies at these meetings validate the fact that with God, nothing shall be impossible. As it is, the various religious (especially Christian) gatherings have become foreign exchange earners for the nation as many foreigners, and Nigerians in Diaspora come into the country at this period with their investments to sow into ministries and markets. Markets, yes, because the various meeting centres house many traders who are engaged in the sales of different products. Therefore, apart from the spiritual rejuvenation, many are able to earn monies for the end of the year.
The ears of many Nigerians, and even political leaders would be on edge at this time to listen to the 2023 prophecies, While the news on the possible winners of the 2023 elections would be paramount, most Nigerians would want to hear the prophecies concerning economic turnaround, natural disasters, deaths and the ‘will of God’ concerning the nation. The ‘Voice of God’ concerning these issues is of more importance than the budget to many a Nigerian. It would not matter if past prophecies had failed, the new prophecies would remain an elixir to the frail nerves of the people as well as being the guiding star for various actions and inactions of the initiated this week.
However, the mammoth crowd and the various events at these gatherings suggest many things. In the first place, Nigerians seem to have accepted their fate in the hands of the governing elite, and have resolved that God seems to be the only answer to their needs. Diseases are laid God’s altar; the unmarried women have observed that the economic situations may not encourage eligible men to seek hands in marriage, hence God seems the only force that can cause the few available men choose among the many eligible ladies. Where available medical facilities could not contain the diseases, only God can save. Therefore, religion rather than being opium has become the sure panacea to the problems of many. In addition, the various prayers offered for the deliverance of the nation at these events reveal that many Nigerians, and of course, the religious leaders love this nation and wish the best for her. Most of the prayers signify that even the religious do not so much believe that the ruling class has the solutions to the problems of this nation, hence the need to call on God to save the nation. In fact, Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith Church urged the people to pray for a Deliverer. Nigeria in that sense is a nation in captivity and needs a person specially prepared by God to save this nation.
However, what if all who attend these programmes are righteous, holy, and loyal in their communities, and place of work. What if all those who claim allegiance to God, visit Mecca, Jerusalem and other holy lands are pure as demanded by the holy writs? Many Nigerians are religious but are low in spirituality. The temptations of life had seen many of the religious succumb to corruption and diversion of public funds. If only piety could be inwards, rather than outwards, maybe the fortunes of this nation could have witnessed a turnaround. Maybe if many would return from these mountains with a change of heart, and refrain from sin, then God would hearken to the prayers of the saint and turn the fortunes of this nation around.
However, Nigerian leaders may have many things to learn from the religious centres that testify of 24/7 electricity supply, no salary delays, financial probity and lofty developments. If secular leaders are failing, then it is high time they visit these successful places of worship for ideas, principles, and methods of achieving greatness for the nation and her people. If Christian organisations could have Universities of global reckoning as well as book places in the Guinness Book of Records, then government would do the people many good to learn from them. As Nigerians flee to the mountains, may the good God reveal the solutions to the problems of this nation to them? May they return with specific instructions to turn this nation around for good. May the mountains inspire many to turn from the ways of impropriety to dedicated selfless service to the nation.
May God Almighty bestow on us honest leaders, who in the fear of God would lead this nation out of the doldrums into the land of our dreams. Hear o Lord, the prayers of Nigerians. May we go to the mountains with our problems and return with solutions in Jesus name, amen.