Xmas prayer

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xmastip.com

DOES Christmas still have its charm?

Despite the huge security blanket thrown around the country, gunmen stormed a church in Yobe State on Christmas Eve, killing the pastor and five others. Christmas Day was bloody in Maiduguri where six Christians were killed at the First Baptist Church. So sad.

The Pope, in his Urbi et Orbi (to the city and to the world) homily, referred to savage acts of terrorism in Nigeria. Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) President Ayo Oritsejafor described it all as bestial.

Every Yuletide brings back memories of those good old days of innocence when one trudged on to church on Sundays, a routine enforced – or encouraged- by some relations who saw it all as a way of instilling some moral lessons in us.

The church in Ado-Ekiti, capital of Ekiti State, was a special structure sitting majestically on a large expanse of land, with its rocky walls and alluring landscape of flourishing green grass and teak trees. The surreal mix of facts and fantasy vividly portrayed by the murals; the quiet ambience of the big hall and the sober demeanour of the Reverend and his assistants all combined to give us the feeling that our prayers would surely reach God.

For me, it was one of those small serendipities; mum was a practising Moslem. But, it was an opportunity to pray for those little things ever craved by a kid – toys, a bicycle and a nice dress at Yuletide.

There is no gainsaying that the tone and pattern of my prayers have since changed. I no longer ask God to give dad some cash so that I could have a bicycle or a new dress. I now pray for peace in Nigeria, for wisdom for our leaders and, above all, for justice. Isn’t injustice at the root of almost all the problems terrorising Nigeria?

As usual, our leaders have made all the admonitions, preaching love and asking Nigerians to embrace unity, shun all acts that oil our engine of ethnicism and embrace the virtues that our Saviour died – and rose – for. Good. But I often wonder why the responsibility is all ours; never theirs, even as they get all the benefits.

President Goodluck Jonathan has said the government has the capacity to effect changes – many doubt this – and that despite the security challenges, the administration remains focused in its battle to improve the economy. Should Nigerians believe this?

A few days to the end of the year, the subsidy palaver remains as strong as it was last January. The government is asking for N161billion more for sacrifice to the god of subsidy – a development that many see as prodigal. Why don’t you just recover the illegal payments to all those dubious companies before asking for more cash? Why have filling stations been allowed a strange laissez- fare to sell petrol at whatever price that catches their fancy? How much will petrol cost next year, if this trend continues, unchecked? These are some of the questions that are being asked by Nigerians.

The President explained at the Christmas Day service that his administration seems to be slow because it needs “to think through things properly, if we are to make a lasting impact”. Is this the case on the Boko Haram front? For how long are Nigerians going to be patient for the government to stop kidnappers who are reaping bountiful harvests, snatching the rich and the poor with the same velocity?

The Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, spoke for many Nigerians when he urged the President to find a permanent solution to terrorism and kidnapping, which the man of God ascribed to greed and love of money. Rev Okoh, in my view, should have added that the seemingly debilitated situation of the security agencies is a tonic for those in the devilish trade.

My prayer for our leaders is that they should have a sense of justice. Boko Haram says its fury stems from the fact that its leader, Mohammed Yusuf, was murdered and that his killers are yet to be punished. In other words, they took up arms against the state because they had the feeling that there were plans to exterminate them. If there had been justice, would Boko Haram have gone berserk? Would it have become a lethal tool – as it is believed in some circles – in the hands of politicians? How much blood will be washed down the river of anger before the sect stops its killing spree?

Except for a few cases of kidnapping and piracy, which are pure criminal enterprises, it’s been a bit quiet in the Niger Delta – thanks to the amnesty programme. There seems to be a sense of some justice – no matter how little – which has seen the militants dropping their guns for training at home and abroad. Imagine if the militancy had been allowed to go on? Just imagine.

If there had been justice, the Niger Delta, being the goose that is laying the golden egg, wouldn’t have needed to agitate for more in the revenue allocation scheme. If there had been good schools, hospitals, roads and houses, there would have been peace. If there had been no oil spill to destroy aquatic life and farmlands on which the majority pin their hope of survival, there would have been no trouble, most likely not on the huge scale that we experienced.

In Jos, Plateau State, people get killed as if a war is going on. Why do people who have lived together for so many years suddenly become enemies, hacking one another down like animals? I really don’t know, but I’m sure the answer lies somewhere between pure injustice and the gradual descent to the jungle that has been noticed in many places, including the so-called developed world.

Only last week, a young man walked quietly into a school in Connecticut, United States, to shoot dead 26 people, including 20 kids, before turning the gun on himself. Adam Lanza, who was wearing black battle fatigues and a military vest, had earlier killed his own mother. It was the United States’ second deadliest school shooting.

The Jos template is replicated in many places, such as Umuneri and Aguleri, Ezillo and Ezza Ezillo, the Tiv/Idoma clashes in Benue and many others that never hit the headlines.

There are so many issues that make us to ask the question: why God? Is this a fair query? Have we examined our ways? Do our leaders at all levels feel a sense of justice after taking those crucial decisions?

I spent Christmas Day praying not for a dress or a bicycle, as I used to do; I spent the day praying for our leaders. I said: “O Lord, our Saviour, grant our leaders the truth to know:

That the positions they occupy are at the behest of the people; that they do us no favour by sitting (or sleeping, as the case may be) in their cozy offices and taking the wrong steps in the right direction; that they may know that the treasury is not theirs to loot; that any illness of theirs should make them spare a thought for our hospitals and not to fly off to Germany; and that they should stop paying lip service to the battle against corruption.

Father in heaven, grant our leaders the truth to know that politics is no do-or-die affair; that they promised to serve and not be served, as the case is now; that they should be modest in their taste, not seeking to live in Buckingham Palace- like mansions when the majority are homeless; that they should not plan to spend billions on food and refreshments in just one year when many go to bed hungry; that leadership demands a high level of sobriety and not revelry; that all men were born equal and are so before the Almighty. Amen!

And wishing all Editorial Notebook fans a great year ahead.

thenationonlineng.net

My Prayer on Xmas Day       You came as a beam of Light, for the suffering humanity,  To remove, cruelties of Life  and to spread Love and forgiveness,  And became,  a symbol   of a new dawn,  Ending the dread of the darkness by your sublime Love, Light  & forgiveness,      Simplicity,  and the teachings of forgiveness  and Love for all,  Was the name of your great causes, and your divine   appearance, O’ Jesus,  Your heart melts to heal,  every suffering human,    And the light of your love, filled a new life to awaken the souls of those,   Who were in miseries and pains  and  were in great sufferings,       Humanity would always remain indebted,  for showing everyone,  A path of Love, forgiveness and living a life of truthful non-voilence,  My humble   prayer to You,   on the great day of Xmas would be,             To show a path of Love in the hearts of those, who are living in hatred,  To throw a light of kindness and Love, on those, who are in great distress,      Instead of revenge and violence, which is slowly engulfing the entire world,  Fill the heart of every human being, irrespective  of,  Places, beliefs and religions,  with the Light of Your divine Love  & benevolence,  And bless them, so that they may know the joy of living with Peace and Love,  And may adopt a better way of life, of living with love and kindness for all others.    Ravindra      Kanpur India 19th Dec. 2010    GREETINGS  FOR ALL    With Greetings for all my friends anywhere in the world, for a Merry Christmas and a very  Happy and Prosperous New Year 2011.       

Copyright © Ravindra K Kapoor | Year Posted 2010

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