Recently, Africa Leadership Forum published an article on Nigeria, looking for the good in our corrupt nation. It states that: “Nigeria’s image over the years has been negatively affected by stories of corruption, mismanagement, fraud and other forms of crime reported in local and international media. Indeed, acts of criminality are even celebrated by a section of the Nigerian public, giving the impression that the nation is one of thieves and crooks. For anyone without any direct contact with Nigeria or Nigerians, it would seem that ours is a cesspit of value atrophy.” http://africaleadershipforum.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/something-good-out-of-nigeria/
This is no hyperbole, in fact it is even a toned-down description of the calamities we as Nigerians wake up to every morning. We read in our newspapers tales of corruption in high places, misappropriation of public funds, embezzlement, conniving, violence, rape, armed robbery, scarcity, power failure, rituals and kidnappings.
The unceasing threat of Boko Haram added to the stigma of our nation. If the outside world had looked at Nigeria with distrust and apprehension before, after the emergence of this ‘terrorist’ group, the distrust turned to disdain and the apprehension to aversion. As this group increased their activities, each news of sudden bombings, killing the innocent, left the country reeling in shock. Now, however, such happenings have become part and parcel of our every day existence as Nigerians. The breaking news is no longer breaking and it is almost no longer news. Each report is treated with almost lackadaisical nonchalance, knowing that another will come shortly. The question is no longer if there will be another attack but when and where it happened. We no longer ask if people were killed – the question now is, how many died?
The mortality rate in Nigeria is increasing by the day as death by road accident is as common as eba and rice. Such happenings are often due, not to mischance or mistake but to anger, selfishness and impatience. Death by kidnapping and rituals is also on the increase as people are desperately searching for means, ready to go to any length, literally. Many of the hawkers we see on the streets are not the uneducated and illiterate we may think they are. Nowadays, it is not abnormal for a law graduate to be found selling bread on the roads or an engineering degree holder making ends meet by importing and selling commodities such as shoes. There is a dream of making it and becoming big but that dream by the day grows all the more distant for the many young people that roam our streets; confident and self-determined graduates have become desperate hustlers.
Corruption is still looming large as the gap between the rich and the poor widens by the day. The cream of the society are being escorted around in a convoy, accompanied by body guards, donning their agbadas and spraying their notes like there’s no tomorrow; whereas for the poor, even a full square meal a day is sometimes hard to come by. An average individual tends to find it difficult to fend for himself, talk less of the nuclear and extended family, a burden laden with responsibilities that often seem too much to handle. The resources which actually reach the populace are being stretched and thinned to almost breaking point. This has led many well brought up, God-fearing citizens to crime and dishonesty. For what? Lack of food, frustration and boredom.
Our income from our rich oil supply gets distributed, not for the good and upkeep of the neediest but to the pockets of the richest, adding to their mountain of assets, while the mole hill that the needy are clinging to is disintegrating by the day. Youth unemployment is at an all time high. The cost of living is going up while income of the average Nigerian is going down. Day by day, the average Nigerian is being impoverished by the system of oppression disguised as democracy. As one anonymous blogger stated: “Nigeria is a cess pool of lame and complex social structures, bias and prejudices”.
The good news is though that all is not rotten, in the basket of rottenness. In almost every country there are crooks and honest people, Nigeria is no exception. Amidst all this, there are diamonds in the rough; there are gems that continue to sparkle. There are stars that shine in the darkness. In fact, there are countless Nigerians who are living honest and upright lives in integrity. Their stories need to be heard, their value needs to be recognized, their achievements need to be embraced. One such person is T.B. Joshua. He is celebrated internationally but often sidelined, stigmatized and persecuted in his own and by his own. In fact, if the Nigerian press have anything to report about this man, it tends to be from the negative stance. TB Joshua is known as a church leader, philanthropist, miracle worker, prophet and adviser to presidents. Due to its increased popularity internationally, the Synagogue Church is easily becoming one of the hot-spot tourist attractions in the nation, as week by week hundreds of foreigners attend its services.
As one commenter on a social network recently stated:
“Sincerely speaking something undeniably good has truly come out of Nigeria. Tell them the BBC, VOA, whites, black, believers in Jesus Christ and non-believers let them come and see Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua, the 5-Wise men of Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) or better still watch Emmanuel TV on STRONG-Cable Services. A random verification visits to Lagos-Nigeria Airport (Muritala Mohammed Airport) since my house is 5minutes to the Airport has proven to me that the highest Foreign Tourists attraction to Lagos-Nigeria is SCOAN, Prophet TB Joshua and his 5-Wise-men.The other attraction to Nigeria is only NNPC-Crude Oil. What else? is it BOKO HARAM, IRREGULAR POWER SUPPLY, ARMED ROBBERY AND KIDNAPPING?”
THE Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Anthony Agbo, has recently praised The Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), for its contribution to Nigeria’s development. The lawmaker noted that the SCOAN and its pastor, Temitope Balogun Joshua, have contributed immensely to tourism development in the country. He explained that the number of foreigners who troop to the church made him think about any other spot in the country that could attract such mammoth influx of people into Nigeria http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/.
Not much needs to be told of this man. His record speaks for him. Just search for him on the internet or watch his 24 hour TV channel, Emmanuel TV and it will not take you long to see the kind of man he is. In summary: He is not the richest pastor in Nigeria, yet gives the most. He is known world over and yet stands out for his humility, ready to mingle with the least in the society. Rather than hogging his pulpit, he is training others, mentoring hundreds; the five wise men are a prime example. Although his ministry extends internationally, he is no globe-trotter but stays in his country steadfastly and patiently meeting the needs of ordinary Nigerians, as well as the countless foreigners that arrive by the day. He is intensely vilified and spoken against but prefers to respond with silence, not using his pulpit as a platform for condemnation as is so common amongst our clergy today. He practices what he preaches; teaching about the love of God and then practically demonstrating it on a daily basis, supporting widows and elderly, sending countless students to school, rehabilitating armed robbers and prostitutes, sending trailer loads of rice to the most needy in society, to mention a few.
As another social networker commented, “If we have three or four men like TB Joshua in this country, it would be a better place”. Oh compatriots of Nigeria, let us arise and serve our fatherland with love, strength and faith. Let us embrace our achievers and come together to condemn the corruption that is intertwined in our society. Examples like T.B. Joshua have shown us that it is possible to make a difference, it is possible to stand out from the masses; it is possible to change the fate of our nation. Let us live the change we desire and long for.