There are many narratives in the Bible that relate perfectly with Nigeria’s past and contemporary histories. Therefore, one finds it plausible that the story of the migration of some major tribes from the Middle East seems to find credence in our national experiences and stories. Thus, we find it interesting that after several years of roaming through the forest of hope, Nigeria is finding it difficult entering into the promised land. Just like in the book of Judges, succeeding leaders emerged giving hope, only to end up producing sadness for the people.
Nigeria is a country with potential greatness, but due to leadership errors, finds herself wallowing in the wrath of unseen forces. Just like the land of Biblical Israel, many Prophets and appointed spokespersons for the Almighty God had announced and keep announcing on the rooftops that Nigerians are suffering for our multiple sins. Even when some Nigerians are convinced of their holy living, the spokespersons are quick to remind us that the sins of our forefathers are hunting us. But Britain is not suffering for the sins of slavery, and past idolatries, neither is America undergoing our pains even there are legislations that permit acts for which Sodom and Gomorrah were leveled by fire.
If the scriptures remain unbroken, then the father should not eat grapes and the child’s teeth become sour. In other words, the ‘soul that sinneth shall die’. Well, maybe the old sins ‘are passed away’, but ‘all things’ have not ‘become new’ due to current shedding of blood, kidnapping and evil governance. Whichever way it is, just like the nation of Israel, Nigeria as a whole could even suffer from the sin of one.
However, in the past week, one has observed that Nigeria seems to be the reincarnate of Israel. While meditating on the pains and sufferings, one is reminded that at the period of transition from slavery to freedom, just as Nigeria is, hardship sets in. The reigning monarch then, Pharaoh of Egypt was unwilling to release the Israelites from slavery even after serving 30 years above the divine punishment. The various utterances of the APC flagbearer, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, and many others have insinuated that the transition of power to a new democratically elected government is being resisted by some third columnists. Well, Pharaoh was not willing to release the workforce, the masses, the generators of the nation’s wealth and the builders of the monuments. As far as Pharaoh was concerned, any form of freedom would impinge on his personal wealth and prestige, and also Egypt’s global influence.
However, he had not reasoned that if the transition was peaceful, his name would have been printed in marble in the stones of history, and that Israel would have willingly gone into an alliance that would be profitable to both countries. So, Pharaoh on hearing about the request for a change that would liberate the ‘talakawas’ and lead to the building of a better nation for the suffering masses, enacted some policies. One of these was that the Israelites would no longer have access to the raw materials for building but would have to source for it by themselves, and their productivity must not dwindle despite the harrowing production programmes.
In Nigeria today, most Nigerians are requested to produce and contribute to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product despite government’s impoverishing policy. The purchasing power of the average Nigerian has been so truncated that both the rich and the poor have been raped and denied access to economic power. Quite recently, salary earners whose meagre sums were paid into their bank accounts could not even access it. So, many families are hungry not because they do not have money, but because their obedience to the draconian fiat of the CBN had left them penniless. So, the aged, and the rural dwellers are groaning in pain without succour. It was saddened to hear of the death of hardworking Nigerian who slumped and died while trying to access his legitimate funds from the bank.
Yours truly was grossly embarrassed when a transfer made in the morning took more than ten hours to deliver. Just as Pharaoh increased the pains of the Israelites in order to dissuade them from canvassing for a change in leadership, so, many Nigerians are writhing in pain, wishing that the election should just not hold, if that would ease the pain. Operating on the murderous dictum of ‘the end justify the means’ the CBN is bent on believing that many who would lose their lives and means of livelihood during the execution of the unplanned, ill-prepared and ill-timed incarcerating currency change policy, are mere collateral damages. One could but wonder whether it is only in Nigeria that such changes had taken place hitherto.
Our Pharaoh had chosen this period to ensure that access to fuel and mobility is hampered while the cost of living had soared beyond the roof. Clandestine increases had been allowed to reign supreme, while we now use local currency to buy our currency. So now, we struggle to buy what we even produce in our country. But it seems our Pharaoh actually induced the pains so that survival would seem more paramount than change.
Just as Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and all entreaties to have a change of mind on the policy that saw to the destabilisation of Egypt failed, our Pharaoh too is convinced beyond all reasonable doubts that this ill-time policy would scale through. Rather than hearkening to the voice of reason, and save the economy and lives of his people, blames are fixed instead of fixing the problem. In order to create a state of anomie, and fiddle while our Rome burns, volatile programmes are fixed for the same year, with days in between. Currency change in the midst of elections; followed by Census, which had never been crisis free, fuel scarcity, final year examination and University Unions’ unsettled issues. Too many woods in our fire, and burning at both ends too. Is our Pharaoh willing to let us go and serve our God?
While the identity of Pharaoh was explicit in the Biblical narrative, and he was bold to state that he was unwilling to vacate his rulership over those who needed a breath of fresh air, our Pharaoh operates under a mask. The identity is unknown and the number(s) remain a mystery. It is evident that while we see the ‘hand of Esau’, the ‘voice of Jacob’ echoes. Only the hand and the writings on the wall are plain, but the body of the writer and facial expression is veiled. However, there is no good news on the written lines.
It is unfortunate that banks, innocent workers and vehicles were the victims of the Ibadan protest. But it is still the motive of the Pharaoh to turn the people of Israel against their Moses, and create anarchy that would ensure the continuation of the old order. To all Nigerians, let us remain calm and not destroy ourselves, and or our neighbours over the indiscretion of some. Possibly our Pharaoh had clandestinely declared another wave of COVID 19, and had tactically wanted us all to stay at home. Fuel is scarce and the roads are empty; money is scarce and commerce is crawling, need you another Prophet to tell you to sit at home. Remember freedom came while the Israelites sat, and Moses decided to see the face of Pharaoh no more. Shall we await the Passover night before our Pharaoh would wake up from the delusion of vanity? While we supplicate, let us remain as resolute as the yam who insisted that ‘whether you cut my head or bum, I would still be enthroned’.