Posted in BIBLICAL EXEGESIS, Prose, Religion

The Manner of Manna – 18th Sunday Ordinary Time

By

Noel Ihebuzor

The 18th Sunday readings speak to our times.

These are hard times.

Food insecurity stalks the globe. Humanity grapples with the challenges of moral choices, consumerism holds the hearts and minds of men and women hostage, and rising savagery and wars with heavy undertones of bestiality bedevil our world. Merchants of misinformation and disinformation, of division and gain seeking distortion deceive people and lead them blinkered on to slippery slopes of false boundaries and exclusions.
The “Moseses” we see around us are false ones, all big talk and no action. They are sellers of false promises and dope, experts in denials, double talk, retractions and somersaults. The few “Amoses” we had have become compromised and most have abandonned themselves to selective amnesia and expedient associations.
We are in the desert. The desert seeks to invade us with its aridity and sterility.
Yes, these are hard times, but we must hang on there in faith, refusing to surrender to despair. We must stand firm against the invasion of any sense of futility.
God is there for us. Just like He heard the pleas of the Israelites, He will hear ours. In the same manner that He fed them with Manna will He also feed us. But ours will be a manna that feeds the body, nourishes the spirit, removes despair and restores the buoyancy of the soul. Positivity will return and in time, true leaders will emerge who will lead us to inclusive development, a development that welcomes us all, includes us all and where dividends and benefits of democracy are shared not by how one voted but by a spirit led sense of equity, justice, fair play and love.
Happy Sunday
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Posted in Politics, Prose

Drawing Lines in the Sands of Time

By

Noel Ihebuzor

One hears a lot of things these days. But one has learnt never to believe most of them as we are now in a time of easy retractions and of claims of either being misunderstood, being misquoted or being quoted out of context. Shehu Garba and Femi Adesina, both presidential spokespersons, have now become experts in such methods of denial.  But wilI their skills stop speakers from speaking and hearers from hearing what was said at those increasingly frequent moments when the mouth appears to run ahead of and faster the brain?  “Mouth run” is a hazard and the best cure for it is a padlock but such a solution is painful and also violates a fundamental human right.

I hear the General has now decreed, yes, decreed that the probes into corruption in Nigeria will now be limited to the period when President Jonathan was in power. Femi Adesina has come forward to defend and justify this cut-off line that his principal has now drawn in the sands of Nigerian time. Note that this new cut-off line represents a departure from earlier indications that the period of “PDP misrule” (1999-2015) was going to come under serious probe.

The first question then is – what really prompted this departure? Logistics, fear of OBJ, fear of offending northern sensitivities by any focus on the short period of the Yar’Adua presidency? Nigerians are no fools and can read beyond the lines.  And lines that are purposefully drawn to include some and to exclude others represent the worst forms of arbitrariness and dishonesty, both of which have no place in good governance.

The second question is why the narrow focus? There are myriads of corruption allegations all over Nigeria starting from accusations of a $2.8 billion scam, to outright screaming headlines of an alleged heist by Halliburton that are yet to be closed out. Allegations such as these merit the attention of anybody genuinely interested in fighting corruption.

The third question is this – why this exclusive focus on the federal level? Are we suggesting that crooked deals at the state and LGA levels are unworthy of attention and prosecution?

The fight against corruption is not one of “pick and choose”. A selective approach calls into question the ultimate intentions of persons posing as anti-corruption crusaders. It exposes them to legitimate accusations of witch hunting and of attempting to use state powers in the pursuit of personal vendettas. It is worth reminding ourselves that whenever the instruments of state power are hijacked for personal pursuits, we are dealing with a case of abuse of power, and abuse of power is also a form of corruption. Let those who are drawing lines in the sands of time note that line drawings driven by vendetta and spite will eventually turn around and catch the same drawers. Finally, credibility is a requisite attribute of all who must fight corruption. Acts by corruption fighters that undermine this credibility will eventually sink the anti-corruption crusader.

Posted in Poetry, Politics, Prose

wEtin dey hAppen?

by

Noel Ihebuzor

Spiralling out of control, spinning,
tumbling into free fall,
our Nero chases rodents
his followers cheer on,
reason & vision drowned

I had just read a report of a Bomb explosion in PH this morning.

Yesterday, ChannelsTV reported that GMB made very critical remarks on the GEJ’s administration’s handling of the BH insurgency when the BBOG group, who were strategic allies in GMB’s campaign, came calling. He forgot to tell his audience that at critical moments in the GEJ government’s efforts to deal with BH, He (GMB) made remarks calculated to discourage any robust muscling up of effort. He forgot to mention that of some his unfortunate cooments sounded like poorly disguised apologia for the BH savages. Even worse was the fact that GMB was making those remarks at the BBOG reception against the backdrop of his own seeming inability to respond creatively to the recrudescence of BH carnage right under his nose and on his incipient 40 day old watch. I almost flipped. Your house dey burn, you dey chase mouse, playing blame games, looking for cheap popularity and offering hollow over-used excuses! So I hastily scribbled these incoherent lines in the poem above as catharsis. Forgive the imperfections.

Posted in Poetry

D is for Drown and more – an instantaneous duet

By

Toyosi Arigbabuwo and Noel Ihebuzor

NI

Crown, drown, clown…..”

TA

for which town?

Abeg, chill naa, no vex

NI

I no vex, I no frown!

Dem jus fall my hand down!

TA

Me dey here wan wear LASTMA gown

I no know say you dey only play with noun

My fine white skin, don nearly turn to brown!

NI

na so so frown frown

when town vex come meet crown

sake of say ogogoro wey him down

wey make dem talk of drown

TA

E come be like this town

When dem goon

Say no be madness make the crown

Wan drown pipu for inside Lagoon

NI

Chei, Baba God him dey frown

Him no go gree sey make clean pipu drown

na float wey eagle feather dey float for water,

leg wey waka come go waka go,

nothing do am, nothing fit do am.

TA/NI 

Iseeeee! Aseeee!

**** Toyosi and I wrote this instantaneous duet as an expression of our strong disapproval of royal meddling in inter-ethnic amity! Readers in Nigeria will be familiar with the context.TA is Toyosi’s voice, NI is mine.

Posted in Politics, Prose

Jonathan, the real change!

My cousin and friend, Reg Ihebuzor,  with whom I regularly engage in discussions on development and politics, pointed out to me today that President Jonathan by his utterances and actions represents real change and that indeed the mantra of real change fits him like a glove. He reminded me of the following products of President Jonathan as proof of this real change mantra.

  1. Almajari Schools – never been done before
    2. Stopping corruption in fertiliser – never been done before
    3. Starting 2nd Niger Bridge – never been done before
    4. Revamping railways – never been done for 20 years
    5. Revamping 14 airport terminals – not been done
    6. Appointing more women in responsible positions – never been done
    7. National conference for effective federalism – never been done before
    8. You-win for youths – never been done before
    9. Reform of power sector – never been done
    10.Reform payment system in public sector to stop corruption – never been done.

He contrasts these evidences of real change with startling evidence of the rigidity of Buhari, of Buhari’s incapacity for change and his inflexibility, all the more startling given Buhari’s change campaign slogan. He cited the following as evidence of inability to understand change and to change :

  1. Arrogant Dictator – unchanged. “If you do not like Me, go and vote for the other party”
  2. Unchanging attitude towards his role in the PTF heist and the gross management ineptitude he displayed
  3. Unrepentant and unchanging attitude towards the post election violence by his supporters in 2011
  4. Unrepentant and unchanging attitude towards his current association with politicians with shady and corrupt pasts.
  5. Unchanging attitude towards retroactive laws that resulted in deaths. So, no apologies for retroactive laws
  6. Unchanging arrogance –  “I can’t change the past” and unwillingness to retract utterances he made in the past which are indicative of outright religious bigotry
  7. Unchanging attitude towards decrees 2 and 4
  8. No change in attitude towards his overthrow of a democratically elected government.
  9. No apologies for jailing democratically elected political leaders.
  10. No change in his attitude towards the unresolved certificate issue.

Whatever Buhari is, he certainly is not change. Buyer, beware! Choose wisely.

Posted in Prose

Change and credible criticism

by

Noel Ihebuzor

  1. The possibility of alternation is one of the biggest benefits of democracy, but meaningful alternation is reason and cost benefit analysis driven.
  2. Change is often mistaken for a “replace with anything” sell & mindset. That is not change. Change is value adding & positive.
  3. If it is not value adding, then it is not and cannot be change.
  4. Some folks believe that the surest way to market themselves as change agents is to engage in endless criticisms of those in power.
  5. They criticize, trivialize and oppose whatever it is that the person in power does.
  6. Such an attitude and mindset soon give rise to a malignancy which I call serial opposition disorder, SOD.
  7. SOD as a malignancy leads to the spawning of mindless and non-credible criticisms.
  8. To be credible criticisms must be context sensitive and more importantly provide valid and feasible alternative lines of action.
  9. Non-credible and invalid criticisms are usually driven by spite, ignorance, ambition, bias, arrogance and selfishness.
Posted in Politics, Prose

If good news gives you a bad headache, then you need APC

By

Noel Ihebuzor

Rejoice with the good, celebrate the positive and come away from criticism for criticism’s sake. It is sterile and cheap – a plea for sense and moderation.

  1. The attitude of the APC leadership to the military campaigns in the North East is baffling and appears unpatriotic.
  2. APC leadership appears to rejoice at news of any reversals or loss of men/territory/weaponry by our military.
  3. Elements of this party leadership mocked and teased the military and the presidency over the debacle that was the failed cease fire.
  4. Recall that the ceasefire was conceived primarily to ease suffering and to explore solutions to the insurgency, not to score political points.
  5. The same party leadership guffawed when the attempt to purchase arms through SA failed. The weapons were to improve the operational efficiency of the military.
  6. Improving the operational efficiency of the military was meant to help the military quickly degrade the BH, not about elections.
  7. The military has now acquired new weaponry, morale is on the rise and battle tide has turned and the APC leadership is unhappy.
  8. The APC leadership now accuses the military and the presidency of politics. They claim the timing of these military gains is political.
  9. What is the APC leadership telling Nigerians? That they prefer Nigerian territory to remain under insurgent control till after the elections?
  10. That they prefer Nigerian men and women who have suffered to continue to suffer till after the elections? That they put electoral ambitions ahead of consideration of the emotional health, safety and security of Nigerians?
  11. These are the messages that the APC leadership is sending out to Nigerians, wittingly or unwittingly.
  12. Such messages are clearly unpatriotic. Please let us all rejoice with our troops who are liberating territories.
  13. Let us salute the gallantry of the military. The sacrifices they make go beyond petty politics.
  14. Certain things go beyond politics and it requires a large heart, decency, dignity and patriotism to see and appreciate such.
  15. Where good news about your country consistenlty gives you a bad headache, then something is definitely wrong – some debilitating conditions present in this way! Time to seek help as neither APC nor Codeine nor Paracetamol can provide any lasting cure.