Friday, 18 July 2014

My 17th Anniversary As a Catholic Priest: A Review of My Struggle as aTheologian and a Citizen of Nigeria


July 12, 1997 made my date with the Catholic Priesthood. July 12, 2014 saw me step into the 17th year as a priest.  

The motivation I have for doing this review is two-dimensional; authenticity of faith and responsible citizenship as the only mutually inclusive factors that can guarantee the Church’s position in the evolving new world order and the only resources that can serve the ever growing need for peace and security in the global community.

And while I subscribe to and make my own the experience of veteran journalist John L. Allen Jnr. (formerly of the National Catholic Reporter but now working with the Boston Globe Newspaper) regarding his Catholic faith, my vocation as a priest and a theologian in communion with the Church surely has something different to say about method and the goals I have set out to achieve.

I therefore presume permission to reproduce here some texts from two books by authors whose conviction about method, not ideas, won my attention in a very strong and irresistible manner.
..but I feel compelled to offer some explanation of the dynamics that led me to write…. One might wonder why a reporter for the National Catholic Reporter, with its reputation as a progressive critic of the Catholic establishment, would choose to write about the Chief doctrinal conservative of our time. Or, one might assume that I chose Ratzinger in order to smear him, gambling that the cardinal has enough enemies to guarantee sales of a few books. My hope here is to present my interest in Ratzinger from the inside out, so that it might appear, as it does to me, neither enigmatic nor mean-spirited but a sincere attempt at understanding.
I am a child of Vatican II. I mean that not just spiritually or ideologically, but chronologically.
Michael Harrington once wrote a book on poverty called The Other American, and his idea of two nations sharing the same geography but inhabiting separate spheres of existence stuck with me. Later I found that this concept also captured my sensation of growing up in one kind of Catholic Church, then finding another ensconced in Rome when I began my work as a church affairs writer. I am the product of what I can only call “the other Catholicism.” In short, I had a thoroughly-even pervasively-Catholic upbringing.
But that upbringing was of the post-Vatican II sort. Hence I never worried about non-Catholics going to hell…  I never learned to think of priest as light out of the community, set apart in some mysterious sense. The value of “full, active, and conscious” participation in the Mass by laity seemed intuitively obvious. It would have struck me as fantastic had anyone suggested that just three decades later advocating any of these ideas in the public conversation of the Catholic church would stamp someone as a “radical”.
I also imbibed in my parish and in my school that being Catholic meant being concerned for justice. I remember clearly the day Father Chuck, one of the many Capuchin Franciscans who were my teachers, spoke to my freshman religion class about how Catholic doctrine had led him to oppose the war in Vietnam. I began making the connections between Jesus, the church, and social activism, and as the United States cranked up its military activities in Latin America under Reagan during my high school years, I was ready with a moral critique that led me by a short path into political activities. I still think the single best piece of writing I did for my high school newspaper was an editorial defending, on the basis of Catholic “just war” principles, college students who refused to register for the draft.
I came to believe that being Catholic means caring about the world and about other people, and it means finding God in the midst of those concerns.
As I look back now, I realize that my experience wasn’t this univocal. I know there were people, even in my little hometown in Western Kansas, who had vastly different visions of church, who were greatly pained by what they saw happening in my classrooms and in my parish.
This still describes the vast majority of the adult Catholic with whom I work, worship and socialize. Polls show that my friends and colleagues reflect where a solid majority of Catholics in the Western world are on those issues. Because these are the people with whom I share my life, these positions seem natural and almost inevitable to me. It was not until I began writing professionally on Catholicism in the church early 1990s that I realized how many powerful figures within the church regard this brand of Catholicism as a mistake. They see it as a product of the turbulence that always follows an ecumenical council, and they are determined to bring it back under control.
Of course, I always had the sense that the pope and the Vatican were “more conservative” than most people I knew. I was unprepared, however, for the vastness of the gulf that seemed to separate the Catholicism with which I had grown up from the statements and policies flowing from Rome. The turning point for me was December, 1997, five months after I had started work at the National Catholic Reporter, when I was assigned to do a story about a new Vatican pronouncement on lay ministry. In technical parlance this was an “Interdicasterial” document, meaning it was issued by several Vatican offices at once, and its general thrust was to reassert a sharp distinction between laity and the ordained priesthood. The authors believed that a softening of that distinction, in which priests had come to be seen as members of the community distinguished by function rather than essence, was one of the major problems facing the church. It was then I realized that I didn’t understand what the church must look like to those who author such documents. I didn’t understand the needs they perceive or the dangers they obviously see.
I also realized that my ignorance was interfering with my work as a reporter. I could do no more than caricature views for which I had no understanding. I needed to break through to the other side of my own perceptions, and in the end that meant wrestling with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. More than any other figure in contemporary Catholicism, more so even than the pope, he embodies the hospitality to the “other Catholicism” I have described.
I am, by the way, assuming that the concerns expressed in that document on lay ministry, and scores of Vatican pronouncements like it, are genuine. I do not subscribe to the theory that curial officials such as Ratzinger make policy solely in order to secure their own power, though I would not deny that such considerations play their own, often unconscious, role in shaping decisions. I believe Ratzinger’s theological arguments are more than ex post facto rationalization for exercise of authority. I believe his analysis of church and world is sincere, and I wanted to understand it -and, where necessary, be challenged by it. If conversation within the church is ever to move forward, it seems to me, Catholics need to do more than impugn one another’s motives. They need to understand one another’s concerns and make some effort to speak the same language.
I knew the official catechetical rationale for the positions Ratzinger takes, but I needed more. I needed to understand how any religious leader in the modern world could believe that silencings and condemnations and banning books accomplish anything other than inflamed resistance and public incredulity. I needed to know how positions that seemed so obviously detrimental to women, to the intellectual life, to the cause of social justice, all of which the church cares a great deal about, could be so deeply entrenched and so vigorously defended by the best and brightest of Catholic officialdom.
(John Allen jnr: Pope Benedict XVI A Biography of Joseph Ratzinger; London; Concilium; 2005. Pp vii-ix)                                            
       
From another angle, Hans Kuhnl writes thus:
Throughout my life, there is also a thread of militancy, which is not to be confused with quarrelsomeness. I have been involved in many controversies, most of which I have neither sought nor avoided, but none of them have been about incidental matters which I could easily have ignored. They have been about a great cause in which I believe. The struggle for this cause has been worthwhile, and in these memories I hope that it will come through as clearly as the person who seeks to serve it.
... I certainly do not share the view of Oscar Wilde that while everyone has disciples, it is usually the Judas who writes the biography- after all, the author can also be the beloved disciple John. (But), I would like as far as I can to prevent the formation of legends, whether malicious or well-meaning.
(Hans Kuhn: My Struggle For Freedom; (transl. by John Bowden); London; Concilium, 2004. P.1).
In this regard, therefore, anybody who gets genuinely hurt by me in the course of doing my work rightly deserves some apology. Likewise all those, especially friends, colleagues and fans, who are truly offended, misled or deceived as a result of communication-gaps occasioned by my resolute disposition and commitment to duty – gaps that seemed quite unavoidable. But any personality- high or low, cooperate or individual - and achievements which impugn, manipulate, vandalize, prevent, subvert and finally invert the nature and goals of a system erected to serve the GOOD, whether this personality or system is spiritual or secular, is highly quixotic and needlessly exasperating and so much so also do it’s victims stand in need of rescue and rehabilitation. Put directly, the identity, goals and behaviors of some people, cooperations, institutions, organizations and nations are a big contradiction to what they portray or claim to serve and seek to inculcate into the larger society.

Between commitment to the faith and an honest subscription to responsible citizenship, between dissenting or rioting theological voices and disintegrating or vandalized magisterial fortresses, a virtuous Christian woman spoke up against the totalitarian pretensions of church leaders, the dictatorship of relativism and the approaching arsenals of global Satanism.
She gave a detailed report that was yet subject to wider interpretation, explanation and application. That virtuous woman is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Our Lady of Fatima.

One could point to a deliberate attempt to lower, downplay and finally disable the urgency, force and power the 3rd message of Fatima carried. Today in Nigeria, the issue has proved more disturbing than the Boko Haram menace.  It is not probable, but rather the case, that a cabal emerged in the Roman Curia and constituted itself into and usurped the place occupied by God in the church to subtly but heavily undermines the noble efforts of Pope John Paul II and his team. Thus, in a venture dictated by worldly diplomacy and totalitarian pretensions that stifled the voice of reason, murdered the conscience of the church and suppressed viable alternatives that generously donated themselves in the form of reforms, transparency and commitment to the gospel ideals, a cabal in the Roman curia went out of the way of the church to negotiate its personal security, career and ambition with freemason - the real but hidden face of the enemy and it’s unseen hands.

The fearless commitment of Benedict XVI to the faith through the Fatima message pursuant to the reform of the Roman Curia, enthronement of transparency and recovery of the original missionary spirit of the church is legendary in sustaining the horizon of hope and keeping the tiny thread of faith alive that have seen to the emergency of Pope Francis. Indeed, the church is alive. One only hopes Pope Francis will sustain the tempo and imbibe the radical disposition that moves with the speed of an underwater current instead of the many publicity bubbles –as healthy and well deserved as these may be that greet him everywhere he goes.

 Quite Frankly, Pope Francis is proving to be the hidden and unknown side of ex-pontiff Benedict XVI- that radically decisive revolutionary force which was at work before and during the Second Vatican Council but which was silently used to infiltrate and recover the Roman curia and the entire machinery of the Holy See from magisterial malcontents and satanic marabouts that “played God in the human flesh.”

The recovery of the church is not only about the emergence of Pope Francis. The church must resuscitate efforts, take resolute and proactive steps and be clad in the ash-garments that will prepare and dispose her to a meeting with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother God (theotokos), Mother of the Church, Mediatrix of all Graces and the Our Lady of Fatima. This preparation must begin by confronting the Masonic alleys where the original power and appeal of the 3rd secret of Fatima message was thrown into and then going back into the archives to repair whatever damage that was done to the entire corpus of the message ever since it arrived the Vatican many decades ago.

If God lives among men in the human person of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and if we cannot be Jesus Christ because he is God even though we can be another Christ -alter Christus- and if Jesus Christ is the symbol of perfect humanity who inspires us and to whom we aspire, and given the Masonic interpretation of the mystery of Incarnation as “man’s recorded successful attempt at becoming God while still in the human flesh” which, in real spiritual times,  is another way of “becoming like unto God”, then the person and example of the Blessed Virgin Mary can be the only factor that defines and holds the very contents of authentic Christian discipleship today - the radically decisive affirmation and confirmation of the unity of God and the response it evokes in practical existential terms.
Christianity is that original form of discipleship ordained by God for the chosen people as the most real and authentic way of worshiping him and keeping his commandments but which was hijacked and hidden away from them by the deceptive arsenals of pharisaism. Or, to put it in ecumenical terms, Christianity is the most purest and authentic form of Judaism which came under strong illumination by the perfect witness of Jesus Christ to God in his life and ministry- an example he recommended to his disciples and all true believers in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That Jesus Christ is God has a decisive implication for this endorsement and recommendation. It goes to say that God intervened in a very personal and revolutionary way to defend his name and execute his will in the community of believers, and in this way rescued the chosen people from the rambling fingers of pharisaism and gave them over to the transformative power of the Holy Spirit. And if as a human being Jesus Christ was the self-practicalizing teacher of this renewed and re-vitalized religious sensitivity, the Blessed Virgin Mary was its self-practicalizing follower, and the best ever to attain maturity in that faith. Her presence in the community of believers must have taught the church some practical lessons which the Pentecost experience did not contradict but rather re-affirmed and confirmed.
Jesus Christ did not found a new religion different to and opposed to Judaism. In this context, it is therefore natural to argue that if Jesus Christ practiced Judaism, to hold the view that he is the founder of the Christian religion has far reaching implications. It goes to admit in a very helpless and defenseless manner that Jesus Christ was schismatic. And this brings us to a conclusion that is as certain as it is scandalous. The Jewish law prescribes death-sentence for such a one. Therefore, Christians are the rebels. This is true if it is still worth arguing that the separated churches have some trappings of rebellion. But rebellion is not a character of the Christian religion and cannot be. 
If revelation is still an event and a source despite the fact that everything that needs to be said has been said and that nothing new can be said, and if there exists necessarily the need to be concerned or worried about the events and situation at the world scene, then the 3rd secret of the message of Fatima – not human sacrifices reminiscent of the type crude practices that usually obtain in pre-historic African societies - holds the missing bricks and promises to supply the cement that are urgently needed at the construction site of the pyramid of faith in the 21st century Church especially in Africa.
No adequate theology can afford the luxury of neglecting the Fatima message or trivialize its significance for the 21st century Catholicism without lapsing into a mere ideology or an intolerable messy opinion. And to contrive to lock it away in the archives is as weighty as locking up the fountain of knowledge, truth and life against the 1.2 billion catholic population across the globe.

With the clampdown on the power and urgency of the third message of Fatima and the idolatrous recourse made to Freemason, the many different routes to genocide, terrorism, corruption and Satanism have been grafted unto the very imposing trunk of church life and ministry. Those responsible for this clampdown must be  made to take responsibility for their actions, or rather helped to appreciate the level of their culpability in the sponsorship, advertisement and enthronement of corruption, terrorism, insecurity and Satanism that have gripped the world.
And by a continuous deliberate neglect, by the church, to re-invent and acquiesce to the demands of the 3rd message of Fatima, and confronted by the invading arsenals of global Satanism, Vatican bureaucracy runs the risk of being reduced to an imposing ideological cult. Again, the umbilical cord which unites Christianity with Judaism will be further threatened by the violent disposition of Islam towards the State of Israel in the sense that there is no way the church can pretend to be fighting corruption and terrorism on the world scale while she herself is also at the same time a major beneficiary, with Islam, of the powers that shore up global terrorism.
Anti-Semitism holds no attractions for the Christian spirit because it neglects the lofty implications of Divine Mercy and the providence of God for fallen humanity and goes ahead to hold the chosen people of God up in Judgment forgetting that any day the Jews become aware of the abiding presence of God in Jesus Christ, Judaism will be upgraded to its original status which is Christianity, and the Christian believers will be contented to re-connect with their natural ancestry.
Witnessing to the gospel and queuing for global power and influence before global Satanic dictatorship are not mutually inclusive functions of the Roman Curia. They are mutually opposed. Steps in this direction must be retraced whether here in Nigeria or in the larger Church affairs. 
By and large, the person and example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Fatima presents a contrast to the many unhealthy divisions between that which is sacred and that which is mundane, and at the same time constitutes a very strong rebuke against every attempt at confusing them.  In other words, while her life of witnessing to God was highly distanced from fundamentalistic and syncretic pre-occupations, the pretensions of careerism and ambitions that color most feminist agitations today, she is the model of unity between the sacred and the secular, and the most foremost agitator for the liberation of womanhood. 
In respect of the 3rd message of Fatima, the contents of Mary’s struggles are one of the issues and events that are locked away in the Vatican archives. Yet the church is poised for a showdown with LCWR. From Rome to USA, from the far East to emerging democracies in modern Africa, such pockets of ecclesiastical prison yards are becoming increasingly obsolete and disgusting as instruments of coercion or control in the midst of noble alternatives.

Therefore the very contents of my struggles and concern for the past few years present a complex picture, giving many a cause to believe that someone is out to experiment on the issue of theological impunity. But the difficulty of the question is not on excuse for avoiding it.
The situation in Nigeria presents the real face of the challenge and urgency which this question posits for the church today.
In my meeting, or rather discussions with Nigeria’s Cardinal John Onaikan shortly before his elevation to the Cardinalate, he said they (that is, the bishops of Nigeria) knew what they were doing and went ahead to berate and even warned that our brand of activism- in manifest reference to my person, and at a different level, Fr. Ejike Mbaka, Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry, Enugu, Nigeria (AMEN)- is creating unnecessary and unhealthy enemies for the church. He maintained this view unequivocally even against all threads of evidence and abundance of facts I laid at his disposal to prove the opposite.
In my letter to Cardinal Muller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith through General Muhammadu Buhari, and having as its subject Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan’s visit to the Vatican, I wrote:
As a priest who is very well aware of the significance of and unreservedly subscribed to legitimately constituted authorities (both ecclesiastical and civil), my part in this theater of absurdity is becoming vey tetchy to me personally but the imperiling questions have refused to go away, (because) I am ordained for these people, to work for their well being and salvation. Is it possible that the Vatican, under any kind of Treaty whatsoever, can give an overt or even tacit approval to genocide?

Whichever way, and notwithstanding the murderous intents of the murderers and terrorists that still hang around our ecclesiastical courtyards I am all the more resolved to stand with God who is love and the Father of the Our Lord Jesus Christ through witnessing to Christ the  the Prince of Peace with and serving the needs of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Fatima and Queen/Patroness of Nigeria for the poor and oppressed.



Friday, 30 May 2014

THE BELLS OF ADVOCACY



THE BELLS OF ADVOCACY
On the Hills
Where little Angels used to delight
        In a meal of garnished “odudu”
The vultures now discover their brands
And pray unceasingly for the bones of dead angels.

On the Land
The Children can no longer hold
Their moon dance
Lest they erase the paintings
Drawn by the powerful limbs of our Totem to decorate our landscapes.

From the Sea
The Running brooks
Pursue deadly waves across the beach down to our village homes
And yet the rains never came.

In the Sahara
Three meters away from our borders
The tired limbs of the cruel Tortoise
Are strengthened by the harmful aroma
That grows out of mischievous roses.


Indeed
Ours is a hill in the Sahara
And a city in the Sea
Where miscreants of integrity
Win the Wonders of the Ancient
And escape the beautiful rays of illumination.

But on the eve of Coronation
At a minute before midnight
When the Victor shall return with the booty of war
The final bells of Advocacy
Shall echo once again at the deserted battlefields.

On the ‘morrow
Against his Command
When tongues of sensitivity shall insert themselves
Into the cavities on the Hills;
When the siblings of justice shall find their feet again
And dare the terribly hot sands of the Sahara Desert;
When the vestiges of Truth
Shall bud again on the wings of the Eagles;
When a drop from Calvary’s sore wounds
 Shall swallow up the ocean waters;
The Victor shall now have a cluster of witnesses pestering him.

Then has my Rising Sun come to shine!
Hurray!!
There is a Yuletide!!!
There is a spark in this Season of my inflated Misery!

Therefore
I sing my Love Song
Whose wavelengths would fan my spark into a flame
And its melodies shall beat the eardrums of sleeping neighbors.

For
 Even though
A Love Song from a broken heart and Swollen lips
Shall sound like a dirge
Or an elegy from the eerie depths of a Mystery.
Yet
 It is the Music of my profession.

So….
The Rains did come…
The Angels did feed….
The Children did dance…..
And the Victor was all the while a Stranger to our beautiful world.




_________________________

·         “Odudu” is porridge beans poorly prepared in a native way.







Thursday, 29 May 2014

A FANFARE FOR PROFESSOR WOLE SOYINKA



The inspiration to explore this aspect of the Wole Soyinka legacy was born when I read the submissions by an author in the internet, precisely in the Sahara Reporters, that Professor Wole Soyinka should begin to withdraw from public activism so as to dedicate time to gather his memoirs together for the purpose of preserving it for posterity. My grouse against such a proposal is that it has the capacity to render the Wole Soyinka heritage impotent and irrelevant by confining it to the dusty shelves of history in a country afflicted with the infectious disease of a culture of contemptuous forgetfulness and getting the Soyinka enemies – those real enemies of our culture and its tested values and accredited methods – overrule it through habitual attentiveness to the will of the godfathers and that of the corrupt officials of the Nigerian state as well as the continuous fuelling of the habitual criminal disposition that has come to constantly engage and test the resolve of the remaining few who are committed to the integrity project in Nigeria, both in words and in actions. Actually, truth does not decay. But a confession of moral bankruptcy in the presence of well established paradigms of truth can make one look stupid and exasperating.

I think Nigeria and the present crop of her citizenry has lost a lot by not getting Prof. Wole Soyinka’s socio-cultural enhancement initiatives planted and be grafted unto the already decayed Nigerian culture and getting him to moderate it himself now that he is still alive. That this failure to properly acknowledge him in an official manner has not dampened his spirit and paralyzed his efforts but instead has served to integrate all intents and purposes of the Nobel Laureate's activist spirit into a one whole life of service to God and humanity is a deed that cannot fail to win our attention – one which all who are schooled in the Soyinka brand of activism must rally round to activate and preserve. 
                                             +++++
I am not very keen about reggae, pop or jazz. But I am greatly attracted to poetry. In this parlance, I have always followed Professor Wole Soyinka around in his intellectual expedition into activism. Inspired by him and others like late Chinua Achebe, I have been able to learn how to scribble words on a jotter and then watch, by study, intellectual quietude and by prayerful experimentations, as these words embrace each other in an awkward show of disparate apprehensions and get sewn together  into  paradigms, or some  desiderata of reality. Thus begins the long hazardous trek in the company of these paradigms out of the doldrums of psychic asylum in an onward journey to the testing fields erected at the behest of experience (I have undertaken to publish some of these poems – about twelve or thirteen of them in this blog site in the next couple of days).

Right there at the point I rejoined and reconnected with Prof Wole Soyinka, these lines by Qudus Onikeku, a fellow seeker of the Truth, struck me with a certain bluntness and impressed themselves on my mind in respect of the contents and goal of my expedition:
       The task I have placed upon myself as a human being and as a Nigerian,  resides solely in the terrain of the arts, which I believe so strongly might go a long way in doctoring our moral negligence, ideological barrenness, create a purge in our heads, and strengthen the cultural fragment of this ‘revolution’ which signifies that, as a people we cannot begin to build until we have been able to control the damage by first discovering its sources. This discovery must sink us down to the roots, to demolish and rehabilitate the foundations of thoughts and actions responsible for such damage, then begin to re-create.
A people who can appreciate art are a people of high morality and matured choices. No wonder It is now a common knowledge that the powerful - clueless leaders - will always reach for their guns each time they hear the word ‘culture’. I speak here, not of a culture on sales and solely consumable by the elite class, tourists and expatriates, but that which provides a solid ground for a sense of dignity and a sense of self, which gives rise to an honest self appraisal and self renewal. That which constantly worries about the factors upsetting our ardent need for peace and tranquility, for an authentic identity and decency. This makes the artist appear to them a perpetual rebel.  (Wole Soyinka- This Tree Won’t Make A Forest by Qudus Onikeku; July, 16 2012)
                                                 +++++
 Reading the Professor's piece " And Now, The Ecumenical City Of Jos?! By Wole Soyinka. Sahara Reporters, May, 23 2014." << http://saharareporters.com/column/and-now-ecumenical-city-jos-wole-soyinka >>   few days back with the Sacred Deed at the background of my mind, I seem to believe that the gods of the land have spoken to Nigeria in and through Prof Wole Soyinka. The spirit of this piece spoke to me with such power and authority that made me think an oracle planted those words in the name of Prof. Wole Soyinka.  Even if Soyinka is not an oracle, he should be consulted like one in today’s Nigeria. He possesses those qualities that truly ordains a man or a woman into a mouth piece for the gods. An oracle is talking! The gods have spoken!!
                                               +++++
Cutting an edge over power or administration and the myriad of shams and terrors that follow its misapplication requires that one be formed, informed and equipped through the hard lessons of life which the necessary whips of the teacher drives into the  egg- head of an intelligent but stubborn child   from infancy, through primary to the post- primary schools respectively. The tensed-up educational muscles begin to relax when one has had the privilege of passing through the four walls of a university and the experiences garnered as one lends oneself out to the service of God and humanity. It is an experience that is highly exploratory to open and adventurous, not vindictive, minds and hearts. 

And like Onome Osifor-Whiskey of old Newswatch would say, failure provides a light in the dark tunnels of self actualization for those who dare. It is first of all about total withdrawal – if you like “resignation” from hyper activity into adroit study, through investigations, re-alignments and somber reflection. From all intents and purposes, it is different from defeat. To be defeated is what it means is to be completely out - out and stranded in the cold embrace of life. This is the real tragedy.
                                                 +++++
The cruel abduction of the Chibok School Girls is the tragedy of Boko Haram brand of Islam if it fails to release those innocent girls after the visit of prominent citizens of this nation like Chief Mathew Olusegun Obasanjo to them. But the sit- tight disposition of the key operators of the present administration, whether the girls are released or not, is Mr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s tragedy. 

Impeachment is a tragedy no sitting leader anywhere in the world finds palatable. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan should resign now or risk impeachment from office.
I am not initiating any proceedings. Instead, I am voicing out a clear picture that has caught my attention in prayer for and reflection about our dear country Nigeria. 

 A fighter can choose to hide from the aggressor while bidding his time. In my case, I have had to hide behind the rags. This is despite the fact of the dignity and fanfare (often times, misguided) associated with the Catholic priesthood. And the betrayals and treachery of those around me, both friends and foes alike, have combined in a paradox of uniformity,  to give me a kind of immunity from the poisonous arsenals of the enemy.

 When threatened and in danger, a   leader can decide to pretend to be asleep with his head hid in-between the thighs of a Delilah, but not his manhood. However, the snoring that comes as a result of deep slumbering resting comfortably on the arms of the same woman is one clumsy manner of answering to a War Cry raised by the gods, most especially the fertility gods. And note this, in today’s world of the homosexuals and lesbians, there are many unconscious ways of playing the Sampson and Delilah game.
In today’s Nigeria, the gods have come calling and no true and authentic chief priest or priestess can afford to stay put with a bottle of dry gin at the appearance of the gods especially after four uninterrupted years of hunger, famine, diseases, poverty, terrorism and corruption. If the chief priests/ priestesses and Imams fail to open the door, then we the masses will open it for the gods to come in. After all, they own the land. 
                                          +++++
The fate that befell Odewale in Ola Rotiimi’s play “The Gods Are not to Blame” is tragic. “No! No!! Do not blame the gods”, Odewale cried, “let no one blame the powers. For the powers would have failed if I did not let them use me. …….when the wood- insect gathers sticks, it carries it on its own head.”
The president of a sovereign nation has enormous powers. I have never ceased worrying about the kind of power that the president can subscribe and submit to, or one  which  can hold him captive that can render  him very inactive, inefficient and unproductive  except in the fields of scandal, corruption and terrorism. It now seems very clear that the music to which Mr.President danced away in Kano during the PDP rally was, beyond the guitar and band, being played with  the trumpets constructed out of piped branches of the  Paw-Paw by the  “unseen hands”, “unknown faces” and “unverified sources”. And hear the lyrics:
Uwa bu Paw-Paw!
Paw Paw daa na-ala ya akuwaa!!
Uwa bu paw paw!!!
                                           +++++


The steadiness and ruggedness of the tall pillars at Eleme and Owaza upon which shoulders some wild fires sit night and day to harass the heavens about our environment seems to me to present an anti-climax to the situation of believers presently in Nigeria and the proximity it shares with Divine Presence. Regrettably, day in and day out, our wildest orgies sit comfortably on the shoulders of these twin pillars which our abundant human and natural resources erected in Aso Rock and in the State Houses respectively to announce to the whole world and to the heavens that, in time and in history, “GOD IS DEAD”. The teeming population of worshippers that troop in and out of Churches, Mosques and Traditional Shrines as well as Religious Festivals respectively in hourly basis in the name of worshipping and encountering God is a big embarrassment to God himself. 

The faithfulness of those wild fires at Eleme and at Owaza to the call of duty - come rain, come sunshine - challenges me more than the ritualistic invocations of Egbesu by the likes of Asari Dokubo and Ateke Tom to rain down fire upon Nigeria for the simple reason that a certain Alhaji sunk a borehole right inside their mother’s kitchen. Today, are we not drenched and left in the cold by the deeds or “misdeeds” of Egbesu. What appears more worrisome is the inability of Egbesu to arrest those Boko Haram terrorists hiding in the Sambisa forest and free our innocent maidens.

Admittedly, cultural values and behaviors do vary a lot, but the omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience of God remain intractably obtrusive and actively enduring. Since our orgies and appetites are the real sponsors of insurgency and has consequently, therefore, really proved to be the Enemy next door, should we not then call a meeting of all the gods and invite them to Abuja with Egbesu presiding. After all, Egbesu is a very powerful deity whose omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience made “Heroes” out of Asari Dokubo and Ateke Tom, and the “Vanquished” out of Charles Soboma and Henry Orkah. 

I am convinced that the gods are more powerful than Boko Haram and all the corrupt officials of the Nigerian State, and that they advance the course of justice faster than the President of the Supreme Court and the Nigerian Army establishment. In my own opinion, the Organization of National gods (ONg) present a far more effective and functional combatant against corruption and terrorism than the U.N. run International Court of Justice at the Hague or the U.N. Allied Forces with countries like U.S.A., Britain, France, Germany, e.t.c.  And since we are in a democratic dispensation, I submit that a roll call of all the gods in Nigeria be done during such a meeting of the national gods after which the gods are then expected to elect the one God among themselves to represent the Organization of National gods (ONg) permanently in all matters that concern it. 

 Given the fact of a fractious Boko-Haram-infested Nigerian Military establishment that lacks everything it takes to win the war on terror and corruption, and if I am correct about the Organization of National gods (ONg) as the only effective and functional combatant that has the capacity to engage these goliathic figures that posit serious threats to the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and one which can speak for them at this moment of national crisis, loss of identity and total erosion of trust on the federal arrangement and the threat of total eclipse that hangs over our traditional values in the most cruel way, then the Sacred Deed is still talking.

The Sacred Deed is her Word on behalf of the national gods and a gift from the One God who alone, and no other, is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and Last - the Great Architect, the Sole Maker and Supreme Caretaker of the Storeroom of Providence - to the poor, oppressed and dehumanized, indeed all God’s children in Nigeria. 

The Sacred Deed is both on idea and an experience. Permit me to live in the neighborhoods of Prof. Wole Soyinka in an effort to find an explanation. Prof. Wole Soyinka is a strong idea my spirit-man cherishes so very much to the point of adoration. He is a down-to-earth, humble and honest man, it seems, whose personality, words, works or actions have continued, now and always, to affirm, confirm and forcefully assert, in concrete terms, the very convictions and values I have groomed and allowed to blossom in the very depths of my being as regards authentic existence: about life and the challenges it presents; about faith and the dangers that can be inflicted on it by uncircumcised mindsets; about nationhood and the demands it makes on  citizenship; about freedom and its relationship to responsibility; about friendship and the limits set against it by a habitual sense of duty; and about integral human growth and development as  antidote to a just and progressive society. 

But as a personality to encounter, Prof Wole Soyinka presents a contrast to what an ordinary human being is. Or, to put it in an ironical manner, he is already what many of us aspire to be. Both his speeches and writings which ride effortlessly and unsolicited on refined oratorical skills and a ready support of the invocations of the language of classical poetry confer a character of power and mystery on this person that points to a presence in him that is greater and far beyond the ordinary or that can be called human.

To drive home his fears to the world about America’s involvements in Syria during a meeting with President Barack Obama of the United States, Vladmire Putin, Russian President had this to say of Obama:
            “I am afraid of this skinny man. Indeed, I wrestle bears.” 
In a sharp contrast to this, I have always lived in the fear of the gods. But, if I am given the opportunity, I crave for an embrace from this Yoruba Legend who transverses the length and breath of the global community planting and impacting seeds of wisdom, peace and harmony on all those who speak the language of the gods in honesty and without reservations.

After a private midnight mass today and some three hours of Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, and as I reflected on the possibility of borrowing a voice that can speak on and present the Sacred Deed in raw terms, my mind went to the evocative words Prof. Wole Soyinka posted on the Sahara Reporters Website with the title “And Now, The Ecumenical City Of Jos?” (May 23, 2014). It could be any city. It could be any person. It could be anywhere. It could be every where. And from other web pages from foreign countries, it could read: And now, poor Nigeria!

Let us adopt the Sacred Deed. Let all subscribe to the Sacred Deed. The Sacred Deed is a deed against terrorism and corruption. It is about a New Nigeria.

Gazing at, and open-mouthed before those beautiful words carefully sewn together in those Sahara Reporters web pages about an idea of legitimate defense and cooperation among religious and ethnic nationalities in Nigeria, I allowed a certain kind of spirit I am not usually accustomed to experiencing in my contact with fellow Igbos and the Christian communities across the country take hold of me completely. And, after prolonged study and reflection on the Interfaith and Ecumenical perspectives of the Letter to the Romans (8:14), I recognized the voice of the gods in Prof. Wole Soyinka saying, through the Sacred Deed:
              " Indeed, the Spirit has come!"