As the Nation rocks with the ongoing #EndSARS and #EndPoliceBrutality protests, as well as the subsequent prayer walks all over the major cities in Nigeria, it is important that we consider this major question as we seek to navigate through this whole experience to the glory of God. Will these protests end up being mere noise or the birthing of a new Nigeria?
When I was a youth corps member at Ogun state, I was at the state Christian Corp members conference when a particular sister was leading the whole corps members gathered there in a prayer for Nigeria. She referenced the story of Elisha’s first public miracle when he prayed and healed the land of Jericho whose waters were bitter and whose land was barren. She led us to pray for the healing of our nation Nigeria. However, as we were praying, I felt in my spirit that I should turn to that particular passage and find out exactly what ‘weapon’ that Elisha used to bring the healing to the land. Was it just prayers? Or was there something else that he did?
Opening to the Amplified Version, it read, He (Elisha) said, “Bring me a new bowl and put salt (the symbol of God’s purifying power) in it.” And they brought it to him.
I heard the voice in my spirit say, if all these youths (they were roughly 3-5 hundred) would commit themselves that wherever I place them, they will live for me, and refuse to join the ancient sin of corruption and compromise that the earlier generations had put themselves into, I will answer their prayers and change this country as they have asked me to. This changed my prayers, and I found myself praying for myself and praying for the many of us there gathered- that we will represent righteousness and godliness wherever we find ourselves.
Fast forward to this day- I have done my best to live up to this promise which I made to God in 2014. However, I have experienced the frustration of being a Nigerian, and knowing what it means that excellence, hard work and merit is trampled for the benefit of someone who “knows” someone in power. The system in which our nation runs does not lend itself to transparency. It is simply a system based on “who you know”; and the painful part is that Christians have also fitted into the whole show. No one is interested again in changing the system. No one is interested in forging a whole new game plan. It appears like our elders have decided to accept and interface peacefully with the way Nigeria currently is; and to my dismay, I have seen my fellow youths adjusting also to the darkness.
Hence, as we embark on these protests online and on the streets, my hope rises again. I am now aware that someone else is seeing what I am seeing. I am now happy that the youths are realizing that we do not have to be victims… that we can actually ‘work’ righteousness into our Educational sector, our job sector, etc.
But there is a fear in my heart. I fear that after these protests, we will return back to what it used to be before. I fear that after these protests my course rep will still come back to me asking me for money to ‘sort’ our lecturers. I fear that after these protests, my students in school will still be expecting me to help them with examination malpractice instead of working hard in their academics. I fear that after this protest our youths will still find it difficult to get jobs into places simply because they do not know somebody in power. I fear that Christians in the military and para-military forces will still cower under the darkness and refuse to shine their light in the dark world. So, in my fear, I am also praying and I am also pleading- that these protests will not end up as mere noise. I pray that from here a new Nigeria will be born- one where integrity, fair play and equity are at the top of the game.
Until then, we will be here, and we will continue to lend out voices with the pen of a writer’s inkhorn.
GOD BLESS NIGERIA.
In Hope of Eternal Life,
J. M. Obodozie.