History has it that there have been two flus, the first one occurred in 1720-1721 and the second one is called the Spanish Flu Pandemic which occurred in 1918-1920 in which millions of people died. History is only repeating itself in 2019 with the occurrence of the Coronavirus Pandemic which is traced to Wuhan in China. As of December 19th, Google has It that 75.5 million people have been infected by this deadly virus and about 1.6 million people have died worldwide. Statistics also say 76,207 people in Nigeria have been infected by the virus and 1207 people have died so far. In order to survive we find ourselves wearing masks of all colors, shapes and designs. CNN says a mask is not a political statement, it saves lives. The Pope also encourages Catholics to wear it. Let us appreciate and say “Thank you God for protecting us from Coronavirus pandemic 2020, may your name be praised both now and forever more, Amen.” Now, with social distancing and the recent discovery and distribution of the vaccine, Coronavirus would, hopefully, soon be wiped out from the world through Christ our lord..
We need peace and security
As we begin a New Year, we are happy to be gathered together to celebrate Christmas Carols and prepare for the New Year 2021. A passage of Isaiah 9:2, 6-7, says “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the Greatness of his Government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.” The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. It would seem that what is urgently needed in our country at the moment is peace and security. Indeed this passage of Isaiah speaks of peace.
We all need peace in our world. We need peace in this country where we have been having Boko Haram Insurgency since 2009. Recently, Boko Haram killed 67 farmers in a village called Zabarmari in Borno State and later on in Katsina over 344 students were kidnapped and later released after negotiation. We know of October 20 at the Lekki toll gate not far away from our Parish where it was alleged that some peaceful Nigerian flags carrying ENDSARS Youth protesters were killed. Since 2009 several others have been killed by armed robbers and bandits all over the country particularly in the northern parts thereafter. On Tuesday 2nd of December, In the Guardian newspaper, the Northern Elders Forum(NEF) asked President Buhari to resign over insecurity in Nigeria. The House of Representatives had moved to earlier summon the President to explain why there was insecurity in the country. Lawmakers also say that the Federal Government has breached Section 14 of the Constitution.
There was also a mass protest all over the country which resulted in violence, massive destruction of properties and killings. I recall that in my address to Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, on April 18th 2018, titled “A Clarion Call to Christian Action” I challenged President Buhari to either rise up to his constitutional responsibilities of protecting the lives and properties of Nigerians or should resign. Should he remain ineffective, I challenged the Senate to consider commencing the processes of his impeachment. Similarly, in another article I wrote in 2011, I stated as follows: “Let us learn from history, the Islamic revolution that has happened elsewhere, and that is still going on in the Arabic and Islamic world in general can also happen in Nigeria. This is because the dynamics of evil and violence is that it first goes outside to consume others. When it becomes tired of doing so, it recoils inside and then begins to consume its perpetrators as it has done with Moammar Ghadafi of Libya. Evil, like good, has no boundary.”
This is exactly what is happening in Nigeria now! The difference between Nigeria and Libya is that the northern elders do not want President Buhari killed like Ghadafi of Libya, they only want him to resign peacefully. The Chief of Army Staff, General Buratai was recently quoted as saying that terrorism would continue to exist for the next 20 years in Nigeria. In view of this, we need a new approach to combat terrorism and provide security for our citizens. If the President is deemed unable to carry out his duties as Commander-in-Chief, the Constitution allows the Vice President to take over power. The party does not need to hold the nation to ransom by waiting till 2023 elections to do the needful. While we take time to enjoy this Christmas, we hope this pandemic will go away for good, and that the New Year 2021 will bring about better governance for our country Nigeria.
Now Jesus is coming to bring in peace, joy and security. It is He who is coming to bring us the true peace and security the world needs at Christmas. This is the peace and security that the world needs for development, growth and progress in economics, social, educational and spiritual sectors of our country. I wish you peace, joy and security now and in the New Year. E kun odun, Ekun Iyedun, E mi ase opor re. May you live to see the New Year 2021.
• Very Rev. Msgr. (Prof) Francis Ishola Ogunmodede is the Parish Priest of Ss. Philip and James Catholic Church, Lekki, Lagos and Episcopal Vicar of Lekki Region Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos.