Salt of the earth and light to the world!
Sharing something I wrote 12 year’s on the theme of the gospel reading of today 5th Feb 2023. Truth perdures.
06 February, 2011, 19:50:04 | Noel Ihebuzor
I have now linked these reflections to what I scribbled and shared this morning on justice, peace and love below.
Reflections on the First of the Sunday of 5th Feb, 2023 by Noel Ihebuzor
Today’s readings are special in many ways. One of them is the clarity of their messages and the beautiful economic case they make for good conduct.
Open the link and savor their special charm!
If ever there were readings to be shared with persons aspiring for elected political positions, these are the ones!
If ever there were readings capable, if and when their key messages have been put in practice by all, of healing nations, these are the ones.
If ever there were readings that point a nation, a people and a continent to the path of salvation, of development and of greatness, then surely these are the ones!
if ever there were readings that challenge us in our dual capacities of leaders and the led to challenge the evil present for a more assured future, then these are the ones!
If ever there were readings that put social justice, equity, inclusiveness, care for the poor, the sick, the destitute, the afflicted at the core of their messages, these are the ones!
If ever there were readings that challenge us to shine the lights of liberation, to stand up and stand out and become beacons of freedom and agents for positive change, these are the ones!
The promises are clear – if we do this, God will do that…care for the poor, remove oppression, move away from lies, deceit, false accusations and distortions – and God will raise you, justify you, vindicate you and become your defender!
Pursue sound and inclusive macroeconomic policies and God will elevate you as a nation.
Institutionalize good governance, transparency, rule of rule, free and fair elections and God will respond by ushering in a reign of happiness and stability where all the gloom of of the past would be no more!
Two words deserve some comment – Salt and Light – as they are closely linked to this vision moral rectitude, transparency, cleanliness, and social responsibility that the readings stress.
Salt is noted for its taste giving and seasoning value. In addition, too, salt does have purifying and sanitizing qualities when used in the right proportions. In some instances, salt is also used to preserve and conserve. As salt of the earth therefore we are called upon to add taste and purity to all engagements we find ourselves in – be it the home, the work place and in our communities.
Light stands in oppositional relationship with darkness. Light clears up darkness, rolls back the frontiers of obscurity and ignorance, reveals that which is concealed, conduces to transparency and illuminates the path and brightens the soul. Whereas darkness can cover evil, light reveals it and takes away its hiding place. As a light of the world therefore we are expected to light up the way, lead the way, become social crusaders for justice, speak up, lend our eyes and voices to the blind and voiceless and push back against all the evils, malpractices and social ills that hold men and women captive.
What God wants us to do is clear.
Let each of us have a soul and a life fired by a social vision.
Let each of us live life fired by a spirit of care and compassion.
Let each of us live a life driven by the eternal virtues of truthfulness, honesty, sincerity, simplicity, justice and a dedication to higher values, perpetually seeking the light…and rejecting and fleeing darkness, saying no to greed, falsehood, deceit, vanity and all vices.
May the power of the spirit of God animate us with wisdom to choose to live by these words, to act them out in our daily lives and embolden us to share their message of justice, fairnmess and liberation to all, amen!
May we be that city on the hill…and may our lights shine wipe away all that is done in darkness and all that is evil, Amen, amen, amen!
Reflections on the First of the Sunday of 5th Feb, 2023 by Noel Ihebuzor
The first reading taken from the book of the prophet Isaiah is powerful and speaks to our world where peace and justice are in acute short supply. If you are in doubt, just look at the way injustice, selfishness and greed have combined to botch the current currency notes change exercise in Nigeria and are now creating serious hardships for millions of people in Nigeria. Can the mind be at peace in such a situation?
Isaiah lays out in very clear terms what we must do for peace and justice to reign. The starting point is a love that gives and gives. When we begin with such love, the road to human centered development opens and the SDGs become realisable. But such love means we must master and dominate our selfishness or it will dominate us. Such love means we must dominate our greed because it is greed that makes us steal from the commonwealth. Such love means caring and sharing. Such love means a commitment to address the drivers of poverty and exclusion. Such love means that we become messangers of fairness and equity.
Filled with such love, we then act in our individual capacities and our different ways using gifts that God has endowed us with to reduce poverty, hunger, illiteracy, poor health, gender discrimination, joblessness, exclusion and injustice. Tall order, you will say, but nothing can stand in the way of an endeavour driven by love, nourished by faith and sustained with hope. Love, as we know, na conquer mixture. Take a generous sip of it today and see how new energies will immediately begin to seep out from every pore of your being, and fill your environment with its surge. With these energies, we can and we will renew the face of the earth.
The gospel reading touches on a theme I had discussed in a blog post some years back – the theme of the salt of the earth! I share the link to this post at the bottom of the current post.
Happy Sunday from Amizi.
Noel – Onye Nkuzi
Bloomberg on Naija 2023, on the candidates, credibility and competence
*Bloomberg* , a media company headquartered in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, has This to say concerning the *presidential candidates*
In a Nigeria where the curriculum vitae of some presidential aspirant is as opaque as the sky, birth details shawled in translucent towel, real name a subject of needless controversy, birth and parenthood a curious pouch fallen from space on an island nobody wants to touch, schooling history smelling like a miasma and wrapped up in a shroud, Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, was born Peter Gregory Obi on July 19, 1961 in Onitsha, Anambra State.The most outstanding and worthy narrative about Obi are the records he left in public office. Obi is a refreshing breeze in governance space, leaving an unbeatable governmental footpath of prudence, probity and empathetic governance towards the people he administered as governor from 2006 to 2014. He was not loved by Anambra political vermin who could not stand his accountable governance and obsession for prioritising the welfare of the citizens of the state.
Obi disdains waste, whether at the personal or governmental level. Wealthy by any standard but, unlike the typical Nigerian politician who is enveloped in vanity, Obi lives a frugal life that shows that wealth is nothing except targeted at developing humanity. He abhors pretence and vain flaunting of wealth. When agents of the maggots-wriggling political order that has limited Nigeria’s growth for decades criticise Obi for allegedly flaunting inaccurate statistics, ask them when last did any of the senescent candidates they willingly offer themselves as their lackeys, ever attempt to bandy any figure, extempore? Of all the characters who strut round like turtle doves, pregnant with illicit ambitions to enter the office of the Nigerian president, none demonstrates or possesses Obi’s piety, grasp and depth. When you scrutinise those aspiring to preside over the destiny of over 200 million Nigerians, they have no destiny of worth aside their unaccountable wealth. On the moral scores above, it will be a crying shame that Nigeria ever allowed them attempt to square up with Obi for an office which, if we get it right, can forever change our dialogue with poverty and underdevelopment.
In records of fidelity to the public space where they all have all been at one point or the other, none of the duo of APC and PDP presidential candidates has Obi’s baffling records of abidance with the oath of governmental purity, virtue, goodness, decency, morality, decorum, modesty and wholesomeness. This is what public officers swear to uphold. Isn’t it a huge disappointment that the narrative of Obi’s investment of Anambra money is what engages these jobless political parasites and not the moral pedigree of those who totally filched investments in their care in office and who, God forbid, are poised to rule and ruin them?
When some Nigerians with ulterior motives now seek to justify the illusion of the Hobson’s choice before them by claiming that morality should play second fiddle in who becomes the Nigerian president in 2023, they must be saying this in their acute naivety of the cusp of Golgotha that immorality has taken Nigeria. For a country which ranked an all-time low position of 154th out of 180 countries on Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index, we must not allow those who want to rule us in 2023 wriggle out of making corruption an issue at the ballot.
But *Bloomberg, a media company headquartered in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, in a piece published on June 22, 2022, said the candidates dare not campaign that they want to eradicate corruption. Except Obi. According to this publication, just three decades ago, one of the presidential candidates “fought a lawsuit in which the US government accused him of laundering the proceeds of heroin trafficking and eventually reached a settlement.” Bloomberg also claimed that “In July 1993, when (the candidate) briefly served as a Nigerian senator, the US government filed a forfeiture lawsuit in Chicago against bank accounts in his name, claiming there was ‘probable cause’ to believe they held the proceeds of heroin dealing. The case followed a probe by the Internal Revenue Service and other agencies into a trafficking network involving Nigerian suppliers.”
On the PDP candidate, said Bloomberg, he “brought tens of millions of dollars of ‘suspect funds’ into the US when he was Nigeria’s vice president in the 2000s, according to a US Senate report, and was implicated in a bribery case that resulted in the imprisonment of an American congressman. Neither episode resulted in charges against the man who is now the PDP presidential candidate.” The report also said that a report published in 2010 by the US Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations claimed that Jennifer, one of (his) wives, was complicit in helping her husband, who was then the VP, bring in over $40 million of ‘suspect funds’ into the US, ‘including at least $1.7 million in bribes paid by Siemens AG.’” As we speak, none of the two candidates has put up a rebuttal of Bloomberg claims* .
In all that has been written against Obi, none has been able to link him with dubiety in public service. A few put up are so laughable and effete efforts at placing him side by side his disreputable allies in the race. Indeed, Nigeria needs a capable leadership that can tackle insecurity, restore public confidence in leadership, bring Nigeria from its consumerist to production economy, lift up the people’s sagging morale and all that, but the mere realisation that an Ali-Baba-And-The-Forty-Thieves President inhabits Aso Rock will do incalculable harm to the image of Nigeria, thereby pushing the issue of resolution of the Nigerian graft conundrum far down the abyss. That is why corruption should be more urgent in resolution than, I dare say, restoring Nigeria’s economy to its shape. Western countries which have profiled the APC and PDP candidates as robbers of public till will most likely hold back in entrusting international funds in their care.
Attempts by vultures of the social media to demonise Peter Obi can be likened to a pithy saying in Yoruba which is expressed as a short anecdote of a sick man who apparently wishes those who tender him on the sick bed to be sick like him. When asked what he would have for dinner, the sick man demanded a green snake-made pepper soup and amala. Who does not know that killing a green snake is fraught with danger? This is expressed as, da bi mo se da baba olokunrun, to ni omi tooro abirusoro lo wu ohun je oka. The gambit is that, Obi must be brought to their inveterate level by all means. He must also have his own Alpha Beta where he collects 10% from the Anambra State government. His total existence must symptomise fakery. Some of these vultures even go to the absurd level of abusing him for leaving money behind in Anambra coffers, saying he was not elected to save money, unlike their own god who was apparently elected to plunge his state into eternal debts.
To be fair to those fascinated by, in the words of Oscar Wilde, the gutters and everything that is in it, an Obi presidency has the potential of signaling a nunc dimittis to public corruption in Nigeria. Going the other route with the progenies of corruption can only lead to infamy. In Obi is a leader whose life will be a mirror that the led will pattern their lives towards and there will be sanity in public service. Recruits of the Operation Pull Peter Down don’t just get it or are too naïve to connect with it. While no one is saying Peter Obi is a saint, the two candidates of APC and PDP are moral midgets beside an integrity colossus like Peter.
On the superficial, voting Obi looks like a waste of franchise. How can someone professing a disruptive leadership that will wipe clean wastage, corruption and elite gang-up hope to win a Nigerian presidency that is teleguided by people who Dele Momodu classically referred to as Owners of Nigeria and who are maggots that only thrive in a sewage? However, it is in the interest of the Nigerian political class to redeem themselves by, for once, stepping down from queuing behind same rotten characters who have kept Nigeria down and with whom there is no hope of redemption for the country.
Unfortunately, the so-called owners of Nigeria, the power demons, must favour one of these characters to be on the ballot. This is the time that the international community must openly support a quest for a better Nigeria which Obi personifies. On a personal note, my frustration about Nigeria being, head or tail, in a cul-de-sac of a Robin Hood-led presidency almost pushed me into despondency. It was reason why, last week, I had to seek a consolation in the APC, PDP candidates’ probable redemptive presidency.
However, the infectious awareness and mobilisation campaigns of the Nigerian youth, most of whose future has been rendered opaque by these same characters who collaboratively destroyed their tomorrow since 1999, has lifted my spirit. These same youths spoke in October, 2020 at the Lekki Toll Gate and in many parts of Nigeria where they were mowed down by agents of selfsame persons now asking for their votes. With a movement being coordinated by youths like Debo Adedayo Mr. Macaroni; Folarin Falana, Falz and others, optimism was born in me anew. In any case, whether Obi wins or not isn’t at issue. What is at issue is our collective antagonism against a decadent order. In any case, who says the ancient Latin maxim, Vox Populi, Vox Dei has lost its savour?
The attacks against Peter Obi are ostensibly from rabid supporters of both the PDP and APC presidential candidates. Bloomberg called these candidates “the two wealthy septuagenarians.” There doesn’t seem to be anyone who does not know that the two political principalities however transcend the baggage of their ages into exampling a rotten order of Nigerian politics.
If you listen to narratives by hunters who go into the heart of the forest in search of dangerous animals for venison, you will have a window into and explanation of our world. Hunters tell us, for instance, that when you hear the chirping noise of a squirrel, a snake is loitering by. Squirrels’ chirps are alarm signals given both to warn off a predator and to warn other squirrels of danger. When squirrels give out this noise repeatedly, the hunter’s gun must be at the ready. A viper, boa constrictor or rattlesnake is poised for a strike.
On the road leading to the 2023 election, Peter Obi seems to have cloned Rosa Parks. Like Parks who refused to accept the intimidation of the white establishment and accept racial evil as fait accompli, Obi is biting the bullet for us and our children yet unborn. He is daring these demons and maggots of power. Our children in universities are five months at home, idling their future away. Diesel is almost a thousand Naira. Nigerians are foraging debris containers for daily bread. Terrorists rip off our bellies at their whims. Our country has become alien to us. The almost 8 years of leadership tragedy that Muhammadu Buhari presides over is busy drinking cold fura and nunu. Peter Obi, on our behalf, is saying that our feet are tired. Nigerians should refuse to give up their votes to those who took us down this dungeon of hopelessness, damn the consequences by voting for who will reshape our lives.
FESTUS ADEDAYO’S FLICKERS
“Choosing Right – this is our chance” by Noel Ihebuzor
The right choice stands upright,
right before us
light beckons us
so does dark
How will we choose?
To choose dark
to continue to slide back
on the long rung of the ladder of despair
away from light
deeper into debilitating darkness?
Between dark and light,
the choice stands clear;
To choose right is to choose light,
for light is life,
To choose light is to choose to arrest the rot,
to end the decay that destroys and limits us
for light will make us grow and glow, for light is right and is life.
The true voice within each us tells to choose right and live!
The voices of evil, of stasis, ring out loud and rowdy,
trying to seduce and confuse us as they seek to sell other routes, routes that will only further entrap, rout and reduce us.
Let us say no to these voices,
let us resist the lure of such voices and remain obedient to the right voice of reason and choose right this time
so that we may grow, and blossom and glow.
Nigeria’s newest export
Kashim Shettima My Foot
Kashim Shettima My Foot https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2022/08/05/kashim-shettima-my-foot/
Fifth Sunday of Lent, first reading with some commentary
By Noel Ihebuzor
Today’s first reading says it all for me. There is nothing that God cannot do. Nothing! I survey our current tragedies and aridities, I contemplate the endless twisting and slippery road before us, I examine the wasteland before us, an avoidable wasteland caused by greed, incompetence, lack of vision, emotional aridity and lack of compassion…..yes, I see the suffering these impose on us – the suffocating climate of helplessness and rampaging despondency….and many more negative manifestations of these sad times….and I remember the qualities of our God, the qualities of our God who renews and who converts deserts to greens, who levels mountains and I tell myself, this current mess, these years of mess, these years of hunchback misery, this insecurity, this hopelessness, this bumbling inefficiency, this reign and triumph of arrogance and ignorance… yes, ALL THESE MUST PASS. Join me in a loud MARANATHA!
Fertile earth-bound imaginations of Heaven
Professor Emmanuel Ejike (fondly called Nwa Emma by all of us his Ogssian classmates
I love the earth as God’s work.
I love heaven too
When I went there last
Everyone knew what
I was wondering about
It was strange
You communicate by thought
So I returned to earth
Where we communicate
And lie in our thoughts
And lie further by
Besides there were no
Churches in heaven
That was grievous
I looked forward to meeting
Popes, Bishops, Cardinals
ELDERS , Apostles , Angels
But Paul and Peter
Came and sat besides
At what appeared to be
Breakfast, but was not
Because there was no night
And said quietly
You are not yet ready
That is how
I woke up in a hospital bed
With a green cannula on my arm
Later I heard the nurse
He is awake now
But do not show
Him the bills
He might relapse
And we would miss
Our next month salary