SORROW, TEARS AND BLOOD
In a desolate corner somewhere in Nigeria, a mother is crying. She is crying inconsolably. Bob Marley and his band of Wailers try to comfort her with the song, No Woman, No Cry, but she still cries.
She is crying for her only son killed in the Abuja bomb blast. The bomb blast that once more casts a dark, evil shadow over Nigeria, the country other countries warn their citizens to stay clear of.
It's not just one woman crying. So many mothers are crying for their children, their husbands, their brothers, their sisters, their beloved ones who suddenly disappeared in a bomb blast that came out of nowhere to blow 'ashes into our mouths,' if I may borrow the words of Wole Soyinka, shortly after he won a Nobel Prize, only to be confronted with the tragic news of Dele Giwa's death by parcel bomb.
On a day of celebration, our joy suddenly turned into mourning. On the day we were thanking God for our nation clocking 50, the spoiler came to kill, maim and destroy. On the day of our golden jubilee, that was when the devil came to jubilate by shedding blood and causing confusion.
Still, we thank God, because it could have been worse. The enemy planned something more catastrophic, but God, in His infinite mercy, stepped in to reduce the number of casualties. But for God's intervention, who knows how many thousands of bodies we would be counting?
Thank you Almighty Father for your quick intervention. Many a times, the devil makes even God to weep. The truth is that sometimes God is even helpless in stopping the wickedness of evil. It is on that score that many are sometimes tempted to get angry and interrogate God when bad things happen.
Beloved, as the devil tries to do his worst in your life, I pray that God will do His best to save your situation, in Jesus' name. Your celebration will not be displaced from the front page by bad news as Nigerians saw last Saturday morning. No evil bomb fashioned against you shall explode, in Jesus' name. Instead, it will boomerang back to the sender. It will explode in the face of the enemy. Because he has for you a covenant of protection and deliverance from evil.
Today, my Saturday sermon is entitled, Sorrow, Tears and Blood. That is what the devil wants for you. But it shall not be so, in Jesus' name. You shall not see sorrow in your remaining life. You shall not see tears. You shall not see your own blood gushing out from your body because He shed His blood on the cross many years ago for you, for your security, for your salvation, for your redemption.
You shall not bury your children. You shall not bury your husband. You shall not bury your wife untimely. Your story shall not be a story of sorrow, tears and blood. Your tears would be tears of joy and not of sorrow. Can I hear you shout the loudest Amen? Can I hear you shout at the devil?
Sorrow, tears and blood is a song of confusion created and sang by the abami eda himself - Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, one of Nigeria's (and Africa's) greatest musical ambassadors. He sings of a Nigeria where death is on the prowl and where 'everybody run, run, run, everybody scatter scatter…Some nearly die, some just die. Police dey come, army dey come… confusion everywhere.'
In a way, Fela is a prophet whose music continues to be a timeless commentary on the Nigeria that he knows so well. But then, how come, this great son of Nigeria was not listed among the 50 Greatest Nigerians honoured on the eve of the nation's 50th independence celebration? Can't understand!
At a time when Americans are celebrating Fela, queuing up to pay homage to watch him mimicked on Broadway, he has turned out to be what Jesus said: 'A prophet is not without honour but in his own country and among his kin, and in his own house.'
On that Friday, bloody Friday of Nigeria's 50th anniversary, the battle was lost and won. People were maimed and killed. Cars were mangled. Anarchy took over. Helter-skelter everywhere. Our psyche was brutalized. Our confidence shaken. Our joy turned to ashes. But in the end who won? Who lost? And what were the scores?
Now, why must innocent Nigerians continue to die for what they simply don't know about? Like Majek Fashek once sang, I say: 'God, please send down the rain. To water and quench all this fire of hate and anger burning our land. Papa papa payo, send down the rain.'
Who knows, if he had put his acts together, Majek Fashek would have been Nigeria's answer to Bob Marley? But see him down there in the doldrums of life - a ghost, a shell, a living dead; a prisoner of his own destructive device; a time bomb waiting to explode.
This column is for the unfortunate Nigerians who lost their lives in a war unleashed against their country by their own countrymen. In my book they are heroes who should not be forgotten just like that. It wouldn't have been too much, if some days of national mourning had been declared and flags flown at half-mast in the memory of our innocent citizens sent to an untimely grave. After all, every Nigerian is important. Every Nigeria is a VIP. When a VIP dies, flags are flown at half-mast and days of mourning are declared. Those who died on October 1 are noble sons and daughters of Nigeria who deserve every honour in the grave.
Who knows whether among the dead there was a future Nigerian president who would have saved this country from its perennial paralysis? Who knows whether among the dead, there was a budding genius, an inventor who would have invent a solution for Nigeria's electricity and all our other myriads of problems? Who knows whether among the dead, there was a future Soyinka who would have won another Nobel Prize for Nigeria? Who knows whether among the dead, there was a potential servant of God who would have talked and led us into salvation and righteousness? Who knows whether among the dead, there was a soccer star whose exploit would have won Nigeria a World Cup in future? Who knows?
But there he is, dead and buried in unmarked graves, without pomp and ceremony, without anything; just mere statistics. In death, nobody would carry their obituaries in the papers. Nobody would remember them, long after they are gone. But today, I say, the Lord will remember you all in Paradise, where there would be no more sorrow, tears and blood.
Adieu, my beloved citizens of Nigeria now dead. We love you, but God loves you more.