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Monday, March 4, 2024

Nigerian economic woes and the analogy of the for lepers – By Okechukwu Keshi Ukegbu



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It has never paid to remain indifferent in the face of difficult situations. The economic hardship in Nigeria has reached a breaking point and something urgent must be done to remedy the situation, else Nigerians would chike to a point that they will suffocated. Tye situation is highly and people cannot predict the next second. There is excruciating hunger in the lamd. The prices of goods and sercices have hit and continue hitting the roof tops. Like the bible paints such ugly and perilous situations, ” if the times are not made short, none would be saved, even the elect”.

It is a very difficult situation indeed. People wbo have survived such excruciating situations have always taken their destiny in their hands. The story of the four lepers is a must read. At a point in history, Israel’s Northern Kingdom was at war with Syria, and Samaria was under siege. It is indisputable that cutting off supplies is an effective military strategy and this was adopted by the Syrians to compel the Samarians to surrender. The after effect is that this provoked famine and untold hardship forcing the situation in Samaria to degenerate to the point the prices of donkeys head were skyrocketed. It got to an extent that people resorted to cannibalism.

At a point, the four lepers who were sitting outside the gate could no longer endure the dire circumstances. It was the proverbial situation of “hanging between the lion and the deep blue sea”. For the lepers, it was a better option to dare the Syrian army because if they remain outside the gate, they will starve to hunger. So they decided to surrender to the Syrian army. But this was not also a comfortable option but there was no better alternative: If the Syrians let them live, they’ll at least be able to live and stay alive. If they are killed by the Syrians, they’ll die sooner and escape a more terrible and painful death.

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The lepers had to throw caution to the wind by leaving their comfort zone. They hurried to the Syrian military base and made a startling discovery that the Syrians had fled their hold in fear of reprisal leaving everything intact. The lepers gathered much food that couldn’t consume.

It may not be out of place here to note that Nigerians are sometimes docile. We are always comfortable with every situation no matter how choking it may be. We prefer to “live on our knees than dying on our feet” .The nation is at a cross road because those who are entrusted with our economy have demonstrated that if we continue to rely on them, we are merely fooling ourselves. At such periods in history, it has been pertinent for the people to chart their cause and work out their salvation.

According to Prof. Wole Soyinka, “the man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny”. The times are choking and disconcerting and no time has nationhood be threatened more than the present times. In El Salvador in May 1979, when 123 people were killed, 47 arrested, while 18 disappeared. On June 20, 1979, a forty-year old Catholic priest, Rafael Palacios, was shot dead, thereby increasing the number of victims. Within a period of two years in that country, five priests were killed as a result of their solidarity with the poor and the oppressed. Archbishop Oscar Romero in his sermon during the funeral of Father Palacios declared: “We can present along with the blood of teachers, of labourers, of peasants, the blood of our priests. This is communion in love. It would be sad in in a country where murder is committed so horribly we were not to find priests also among the victims. They are testimony of a church incarnated in the problems of their people”.

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Romero was later accorded a Nobel Peace Price later on February 1980 in recognition of his solidarity with El Salvadoran poor and oppressed and in his moving speech he declared: “I am a shepherd who, with his people, has begun to learn a beautiful and difficult truth: Our Christian faith requires that we submerge ourselves in the world. The course taken by the church has always had political repercussions. The problem is how to direct that influence so that it will be in accordance with the faith. The world that the Church must serve is the world of the poor, and the poor are the ones who decide what it means for the Church to really live in the world”.

If the present situation is left unabated, the days ahead will be more critical. Something needs to be done to rescue the starving Nigerians.

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