Oh God, where are you? By Orji Kalu

I come, yet again, God Almighty, with bended knees and with hands raised in prayer and supplication to you. The last time I poured out my heart in the open, as I have done here now, I asked for your mercy and protection for our dear country Nigeria and its teeming suffering people. But since that encounter with you things have gone rather from bad to worse. Even though I have never doubted your awesome powers and ability to turn around the fortunes of Nigeria, I still believe you can do something fast to stop the degeneration of our nation into chaos. I fear that the way things are going we may be heading for a more serious situation in a few months from now unless you use your divine power to stop the mad drift.
Father, our leaders now spend precious time accusing and casting aspersion on one another, instead of concentrating their effort on finding solutions to the many problems besetting our nation. Just on October 1, as we were celebrating the 50th anniversary of independence a band of terrorists struck, leaving many innocent people dead and cars destroyed. Among the dead were security agents whose duty is to protect us. This shows that it is only you that can provide total security. Before these senseless bombings 15 pupils of a school in Aba and five members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Port Harcourt had been kidnapped. Though they have since been rescued, the trauma and stigma remain.
Oh God, when will you come to Nigeria and help us? When will your righteous anger against us abate? You have punished us severely, but do not let us die. Other nations are mocking us because of the distress to which we have been subjected. Even those who mock us use your name in cursing. Oh God, how long will you remain silent. The water is getting closely to our necks. If you fail to do something fast, we will be among those who go down into the land of the dead. Be propitious to our supplications and help us.
As I kneel and pray, I can feel your affection for Nigeria. I know you will not because of the sins of our nation destroy both the sinners and the righteous. For the sake of a few of the righteous men and women take pity upon us. Just as you forgave the sins of Israel, overlook our own transgressions.
Evil has overtaken our nation. Every nook and cranny of our fatherland overflows with sinfulness. The people that once thrived in praising and worshipping you in truth and in reverence have suddenly turned into fornicators, adulterers, blackmailers, assassins, armed robbers, kidnappers, pen-robbers, forgers, dupers, etc. A new wave of criminality – never witnessed in the annals of our nation – is gradually permeating our national life. This new crime, which reared its head when one of our citizens attempted to blow up an American airliner on a flight en route Denver, Colorado, has set all of us on the edge. The attention of the world is now focused on Nigeria as a new breeding ground for terrorists. Father, how can our people engage in this kind of evil? I wonder if we can cope with the complexities associated with terrorism. Please, God, kill this new wicked spirit that drives some of our people to engage in acts detrimental to our national interest. Terrorism is a devious weapon used by Satan to destroy humanity. When some deranged and demonic persons ganged up to bomb the World Trade Centre, New York, United States, on September 11, 2001, I knew that the world was heading for perilous times.
Today, the world – a beautiful place you made with your own hands for man to inhabit and cherish – has become a theatre of absurdities, where the wicked seem to be having the upper hand. Humanity now lives in perpetual fear of annihilation. The causes of World War II still loom perniciously across the globe. Countries are pitched against one another over very trivial matters. Earthquakes, landslides, mudslides, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other forms of disasters have kept the world on its toes. Global terrorists and other enemies of humanity have held all of us hostage. The world lives in constant fear of another World War and the likely use of weapons of mass destruction to settle differences between nations.
God, Almighty, I know deep inside of me that you would not allow the calamity that befell mankind at the time of Noah to recur. Will you watch, God, as mankind destroys itself? You destroyed the world with deluge when you saved only Noah and members of his household. You regretted that action, we were told. If you did, why then do you keep quiet while we daily inch towards another global cataclysm? You made man out of your image and likeness and gave him dominion over everything you made. But, alas, man has been held hostage by the things you put under his care. We pander to the dictates of the flesh and subject ourselves to the promptings of the luxuries of life. The good things of life have made man blind. He no longer sees beyond his nose. All he thinks about as he lies in bed is evil. He says yes to anything evil.
Please, God, give heed to our prayers and answer us now. If you should pay deaf ears to our prayers then we are finished. Our existence lies in your hands while we draw our very survival from the fountain of your love and grace. You made man from the beginning to inherit the world and all that is in it. But sin has constituted an albatross in our way of receiving your flourishing grace, which we need for continual spiritual and physical rejuvenation. Heal our world of sin and remind us constantly of the punishment that follows if we deviate from your statutes. What will you gain from the death of a sinner? It has never been your original plan that man should die. Death came into the world through the sin of our one man – Adam. Because of your abiding love for mankind you sent your begotten Son to die for the salvation of man. And through his death on the cross he brought us victory over sin and paved the way for continual reconciliation with you.
It is absolutely in your power to remedy the wicked conditions under which we live. To you a million years are like a short hour in the night. The night is like day, and day like night to you. You know the beginning from the end. And this was why you have ordered everything to happen at its appointed time. Just as you made man and woman from the beginning, so also did you make evil to exist side by side with evil. But no matter how long evil may last it will be totally destroyed one day.
The problems bedevilling our country Nigeria make me weep each time I take out time to ruminate over them. Some of them should not have cropped up in the first place if our leaders had demonstrated some empathy and selflessness to the sufferings of the people that elected them. Our leaders have thrown caution to the dogs and now govern like Lords of the Manor. The preoccupation of most of the leaders is to accumulate wealth they do not need – and this is to the detriment of our nation. They feed fat on the resources of the nation while many of the people go for days without food. Hunger and poverty have become an integral part of our very existence. And nobody cares a hoot if the people die of starvation, diseases, or illness. Our land is desolate, as evil-doers have taken over what is left of our collective heritage. They leave grief and destruction in their trail.
Oh God, please where are you that all these evils should happen to your chosen people? Break your silence and do something before we perish. Have you not seen the helplessness of our leaders? Leaders after leaders had come and gone, but none could fix the problems of our nation. You blessed us with rich human and mineral resources, yet we live like a poor nation. Many of our citizens feed from the trash bins and refuse dumps when they should be living a comfortable life. Those to whom we entrusted our collective destiny see all these debasing things and yet do nothing. They seem to derive joy and fulfilment from the sufferings of your people.
What reason do we have to offer for all that is happening in our nation today? Nobody will say you have not blessed us, Lord. At least, the oil you blessed us with has the capacity to take care of many of our basic needs. Regrettably, this is not the case. The sad truth is that the more money we make from oil the poorer the masses become. Where then is the justice? Many of our industries are gradually going into extinction. Those that have managed to survive the unfavourable business climate in Nigeria are gasping for breath. To avoid total collapse some of them have found wisdom and solace in seeking refuge in other countries where electricity and other factors of production are competitive and available.
Nobody ever fathomed that we would be in this kind of hopelessness, considering the endowments that abound in our nation. After all, there is nothing a nation needs to make it great that we do not have in Nigeria. We have good weather all year round; resilient, ingenious and hardworking people; productive land; regular sources of water; large population; minerals of all kinds, etc.
Look at INEC, Father, it is in total confusion on how to discharge the enormous responsibilities entrusted to it. When the new helmsman, Jega, was appointed he came in bubbling with enthusiasm and energy. He was confident about his ability to deliver on his mandate. He set out to work, assuring the nation of his readiness to conduct free and fair elections in 2011. He set dates for the elections and other activities preparatory to achieving favourable results. Suddenly, things started falling out of order. INEC developed cold feet while the initial enthusiasm gave way to despondency. It asked for an extension of time to April 2011 to give it sufficient time to make preparations for the elections.
That is not all: the Direct Data Capturing Machines (DDCMs) must be procured if we are to eliminate all the strange names found in our existing voter registers. INEC asked for money to purchase the machines but it took several weeks before the approval finally came. When the approval came, INEC opened discussions with its suppliers for the machines. Registration of voters will begin next month, yet INEC has not secured a supplier. When then will the machines be produced and delivered, and the operational staff trained? We are yet to mobilise for the election proper. What will happen when the real test comes, if we cannot conduct ordinary voter registration successfully and within time stipulated?
Almighty Father, do something about what is happening all over our nation. I think that some people somewhere are working against our nation to make it not work. If INEC is not unchained from its present bondage there is no way it can deliver on its promises. Break the curse placed on Nigeria, which makes it difficult to attain your given-destiny. Remove whatever or whoever that constitutes an impediment on its way to self-sufficiency and freedom. Unless you step in now and help us we shall perish. It is the desire of the evil ones that Nigeria should be thrown into another internecine war. Can any nation fight two civil wars and still survive? Many analysts and even seers have foretold that Nigeria would disintegrate in 2015 – five years from now. This is a wicked prediction. Do not allow these prophets of doom have their way otherwise they may begin to equate themselves to you. You are the Alpha and Omega and, therefore, can never share your glory with anyone. You make a way where there is no way. This is why you are called Jehovah El Shaddai.
With your intervention, Oh God, I believe that our nation will be spared. The state of affairs in Nigeria has continued to degenerate. Touch the hearts of our leaders to work for the people and not for themselves. Renew them and open their minds to receive your divine message so that they will realise the need to take Nigeria out of the doldrums. Millions of our youths walk the streets daily in search of unavailable jobs. Open the way for them and empower them. The youths are the livewire of any nation – the future leaders. Why then do we toy with their welfare? The high rate of crimes and other forms of misdemeanours are all products of a nation populated by an army of unemployed youths, and operate an unjust and unfair social system. If we allow the trend to continue then we will be exposing the youths to greater perils that will ultimately lead to their decimation.
Father, help our educational institutions to arrest the current falling standards in the quality of education they deliver. See, many of our graduates cannot live up to expectation. They carry about degrees they cannot confidently defend. This is why some persons derogatorily refer to them as ‘unemployable.’ The result of this year’s NECO examination tells the sad story of the dilapidation of our educational system. Out of the over 1.1 million that sat for the examination, 79 per cent failed English Language. When we add this staggering figure to those that failed WASCE and JUME this year you will see that we have a big problem on our hands. The danger in this development is that in another five years our educational system will collapse completely unless you intervene and save us.
Father, do not forsake or allow the sacrifices of our forbears to be in vain. Take us out of our present quagmire and lead us right. Pave the way for recovery so that in the next 50 years we will develop into a global superpower.
I know you love Nigeria and, therefore, will not allow us to perish. I assure you of our readiness to receive the new unction that you will bring to Nigeria. Grant us repentance from our evil ways and restore us.
If you save Nigeria from collapse and transform it, we shall serve you for the remaining days of our lives and we will tell generations yet unborn of your marvellous and wondrous deeds.
We make this prayer with total confidence that you will grant it. Amen.
Oh God, where are you?
By Orji Kalu []