COVID-19 AND CROSS RIVER STATE

It is really hard right now to point out what is more petrifying; the denial of the government or the self-composed indifference of its citizens.

The irrational acceptance of ‘anything wey wan happen, make e happen’ still does not by any chance seem compatible with the reactions of the said people when finally affected by the virus on their sick beds; wildly cry out to God for a miracle.

I still cannot fathom what the fascination is, with this cultural paradigm within Nigerians which has proven to be very destructive many different times than not. Only to buttress the obvious circle of absurdity, the government have decided to fan to flame, news of the absence of the disease in the state; one can only imagine how far the pandemic has explored and is hunting and is yet to be discovered. If the Government says there is no COVID-19 in the state, and we have a completely different view, then it means we have to choose who and what to believe. It means do not throw caution to the wind. It means one has to take responsibility for his or her life.

If the disease is still deemed not to be in our state, what measures has been taken to affirm this assumption? What visible action has been taken to show that something is or has been done to keep it out?

Every day, people are crossing our borders in numbers. Who is ensuring they are properly checked and confirmed to be free of the disease?

The observation of poor compliance to the safety guidelines/advisory in the metropolis is nothing short of alarming. It leaves many of us severely worried for our own safety as a result of the unconscious disregard for our lives those who govern us have shown.

The unproductive and insignificant efforts of the government so far amidst the increasing COVID-19 cases in Nigeria, has only but depleted the strength of attention required to galvanize and or drive the initiative to follow certain precautionary measures that has been devised by best public health practitioners world over.

While the outrageously positive and of course yet to be proven news is being spread by the government official, we can necessarily draw two conclusions from the said inference

• There is COVID-19 in Cross River State

• There is no COVID-19 in Cross River State.

In the midst of many rumors and conspiracy theories, relevant authorities will need to present us with credible and consistent information to strongly fight misinformation and whatever be the case, let us do all in our power to stay safe and not forget other people’s lives are inextricably linked to ours and having common sense and using it will not only save one, but many.

We can still win so that those whose lives we have lost to the Coronavirus will not be in vain. They were are brothers in arms and we owe them victory.

Social distancing, regular wash and sanitizing of the hands, passing gestures or pleasantries without physical body contacts, staying at home unless it is absolutely necessary to go out, using of face mask, amongst others have been listed as possible means to cut the spread of the virus. Viruses are simplistic. They need help to move. The problem, of course, is that the coronavirus is adept at this singular task, and as we trivialize the reality of its spread we can only be jarred by the pandemic’s latest swells.

We don’t have to see before we believe. John 20:29; “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

It does not have to come down or come upon you or someone you know before you can act accordingly.

Just how hard can complying be?

 

 

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The enemy within

Humanity is fading and who wouldn’t agree? By its own hands, it both created and is destroying every string that could possibly hold it together.

For many generations, people have pointed fingers at racism and colourism, being the object of intense division in the world. They are, as a matter of fact right to confront this enemy with so much attention as it has more or less claimed and demeaned the lives of people of color especially in the west.

Through the time of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Mohammed Ali, Rosa Parks, and other prominent men and woman who fought so valiantly to find a balance between the blacks and whites, till the present day, racism and Colourism still happens to be congenial to many who believe they’re supreme because of the color of their skin which makes it very hard to believe they’ll ever be a silver lining in this incredibly dark cloud.

This irrational ideology has been strongly aided by the great division within and among the black community. Who doesn’t remember the battle of music supremacy in the 80’s by the famous “EAST COAST and WEST COAST”, so fierce that it claimed the lives of some of the strongest black prodigies at the time – Tupac, Notorious BIG, Eazy E, etc

Only to buttress the circle of madness came further dangerous divisions like the BLOODS and CRIPS, who caused several deaths through gun battles, drive-bys, and foisting off every ounce of respect their white oppressors would ever have for them.

Looking further away from the western community, racism and colourism; man by the vigor of an unseen hold upon it, most likely is his own enemy. How you may ask?

As Christians, it is expected that we model our lives after Christ, but is that really the case? Do we not see Christians who even lead this colour feud? With all the Christians in the would, one would ordinarily think the world will be a better place, but far from it because today, white Christians kill black christians, and black Christians kill black Christians. Do we Christians by any chance read and follow the teachings of the gospel? If we do, then what time would we have, to pull down the other simply because of the colour of his skin? or talk down another man’s systems of worship? Or could it be the God we serve is no longer the same? Or do we now have white God for the whites and black God for the blacks?

Until we can identify who and what the real enemy within is, humanity will still without doubt wallow in the fight it has successfully created for itself.

So tell me. Who is the enemy within?

Take off your knee

In a society where conflagration, injustice, inequality, oppression, racism, tribalism and ethnic sentiments, as well as deception, rears its ugly head, sometimes it feels like the walls are fast closing in, and people are choked out of their comfort zone.

It is either the government is comprehensively falling short in its obligation to taxpayers and is not listening to the cries of the masses;

”I can’t breath”, or the political class is failing in her responsibility to the citizen making them feel the weight of their knee on their neck, even as they too scream for help with the words “I can’t breathe”. Is the judiciary left out? No way. Justice is on the shelf and can be bought like a commodity. Enough of them. Let us look at you reading. Are you any better? Don’t you make decisions based on tribal and ethnic sentiments? Because he is not from your tribe, he can’t marry your daughter. You shut your ears to his plea “I can’t breathe”. Because she does not speak your dialect, she can’t get the job. You shut your ears to her plea “I can’t breathe”. It doesn’t get any better. If she doesn’t meet you in the hotel room, she can as well forget about the job. So don’t think you are better. I don’t in the least think I am better either. For some on the other divide, if they are not wealthy and influential they can’t get our attention.

We cheat the poor and the less privileged forgetting they too are wailing “I can’t breathe”. Our schools and institutions of higher learnings are in deplorable situations and we forget our children are the ones crying “I can’t breathe”. Let’s talk about those who teach and lecture our children. Haven’t you heard them say “I can’t breathe”?The condition of our health care system is so bad that one would hardly be well yet we fail to hear the Doctors, nurses, and patients say “I can’t breathe”.

Even our vehicles sometimes are not left out because our roads really are out to take life out of our vehicles.

With the never-ending cadence of difficulties relentlessly pressing against our physical and psychological well-being, we are left to either figure a way out of it or find a companion in it.

Even before the COVID-19 crisis, many had cried “I can’t breathe”. But with the coming of the Coronavirus, we now hear more, the cry of many desperate and infected people whose lungs have been taken over by a virus that prevents people from breathing causing what they call an acute respiratory syndrome.

To those of us who can breathe, it is our duty to help those crying “I can’t breathe. To so many others who are also choking and suffocating due to the virus of racism, tribalism, nepotism, bribery and corruption, let us help them.

Let us listen to those crying “I can’t breath” and take our knee off their neck.

The math we need to solve

Racism is a sin; colourism is a sin; xenophobia is a sin; a sin that divides the human family, blots out the image of God among specific members of that family and violates the fundamental human dignity of those called to be children of the same Father. Racism is the sin that says some human beings are inherently superior and others essentially inferior because of races. It is the sin that makes racial characteristics the determining factor for the exercise of human rights. It is a sin that say certain race should be made to fit in a box, a sign that says because he is middle east, he might just be a terrorists, while the India man should seek employment perhaps only at the baker’s shop, while an African – American can only reside in specific neighborhoods because they are dangerous and burglars.

On the other hand, colorism is discrimination against people because they have a darker complexion. The idea of racism and colorism is similar. But this time you pick a person based on the fact that they are two shade lighter or two shade darker you make the costly mistake of destroying someone chances of been happy or getting what they have worked all there life’s for. We see many forms of colorism even in our churches when we feel a dark skinned person can not play a role in the Church drama scene because she is not light skinned enough or he should play the role of the Devil simply because he is dark in skin tone forgetting he deserves the role because he is an excellent actor. Whoever told you the Devil is a dark-skinned creature with horns?

When we engage in racism or shadeism, we mock the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:12: “Treat others the way you would have them treat you.” Indeed, racism and shadeism is more than a disregard for the words of Jesus; it is a denial of the truth of the dignity of each human being revealed by the mystery of the Incarnation.

Racism, colourism, and xenophobia are problems prevalent in all societies. It is our collective responsibility to stand up against racial prejudice and intolerant attitudes.

No human person willed or created himself. We are all willed by God and have in us an imprint of God’s image. The dignity of the human person, therefore, does not come from the work they do, the race they come from, or the colour of their skin but from the persons they are; the persons’ God created them to be. When we truly understand what Christ stands for, we then would understand love is a universal language spoken by every skin color, race and tribe. Love is the language both old and young can speak. It is the language even the blind, deaf, and dumb understands when spoken to. Love is the language that Christ spoke on the Cross. Love is the language we all should speak.

The late George Floyd our hero even in death has reminded the world love is a universal language and every life does matter.

Rest In Peace George Floyd

You and I

It is yet unknown to us what will become of the world in a few days, weeks, months, or years to come. The impact of this pandemic, though have been felt in the past weeks, but the world cannot comprehensively quantify its losses at these times until viewed in retrospect in the future.

With each passing day, medical experts all over the world are putting in a lot of effort, and the pandemic is still maddeningly unclear as most reliable measures deployed to brawl the virus appears to be an impasse. Worldwide, at least 3.2 million people have been infected in less than four months. Economies have nosedived. Societies have paused. In most people’s living memory, no crisis has caused so much upheaval so broadly and so quickly.

People already think it’s only but a matter of time before the world powers throw in the towel and concede to defeat by the hand of this tiny monster.

More importantly, what has been our contribution? Do you stay at home, practice social distancing, ensure frequent washing of the hand amongst others as being requested by the health experts and the government to control the spread of the virus? How well are you adhering?

It’s no news many people have lost their sources of livelihood as well as their moral high grounds, left with no option but to beg as a means to survive as routines provided by the government to help its citizens glide and navigate through these perilous times are wrapped in who you know or who knows you.

I ask the government, and I ask again; When asking for income tax, which in many cases are not judiciously used, do they consider who you know? Why then do they consider who you know or who knows you when we ask for just the basic amenities and a good wage?

The citizens bewail hunger, and the government is asking them to stay home. I am totally in support of the stay at home and no mask, no movement approach, but what is the Government doing to help us stay at home?

Today we are speaking of ease of lock down. I want to ask the Government once again; government did you carry out a risk assessment before implementing the ease of lockdown? Is there any part of the constitution that gives workers the “right to cease work in circumstances of serious and imminent danger to themselves or others”?

Back to the issue of palliative. How many of you reading this message have received anything in the form of palliatives from the government? How many families have received any palliative?

Crime is seeking more relevance in a bid to become more popular than COVID-19, as reported daily in the news.

The question is, what fear should we instead prioritize? The fear of being robbed? The fear of staying hungry? The fear of not knowing who to allow close Or the chief convener (coronavirus)?

The challenges keep graduating with each day. Does it not appear one thing is leading to another more often than not and tomorrow? Remains to be seen.

Where do we go from here? It seems all of the wealth, power, and of course, the mystical colloquialisms are not enough defense against the lurking angel of death. I know too that if we keep trying we will succeed. We will beat Covid-19.

But the choice is entirely ours. Either we listen and do as advised, or we’ll be nothing but business as usual for the pandemic.

 

 

 

CHURCH, GOVERNMENT, AND COVID-19

It is imperative, the need to pay critical attention to circumstances pressing relentlessly against our well-being and that of the world at large. It may also be visibly impractical and or incoherent to further approach with complacent standards; these issues as the repercussions will continuously command lives to surrender and effortlessly mangle our nation beyond foreseeable repair.

As a church, we have been praying, but I think it is time we not just pray, but support research for the development of a vaccine, and stay united while intensifying our prayer. Believe it or not, we need to ask God to heal the world, protect those caring for the sick, and breakthrough in research for vaccines. While we do this, let us not lose sight of precautionary measures by World Health Organization.

For a very long time, many have made the church all about class, numerical strength, expensive structures, and irrational display of wealth and power. But where is all of that now?

Who would have thought that a day will come when the luxurious lifestyle won’t even matter anymore. Today life has placed us under house arrest. You should, by now, understand the words and thoughts of Jean-Jacques Rousseau “man is born free, but he is everywhere in chains.”

In the face of COVID -19, laced with an increased number of deaths and the struggle of not being infected, we need governments who will stand up to the challenge by protecting her citizens and providing what is needed and not what they think is helpful. We need governments who will use the resources generated from donors, reserve, and of course, taxpayers to lead in the search for a vaccine and setting up treatment centers and not governments who will look us in the face and lie about monies not expended. Let me ask. How many testing centers do we have to cater to over 206 million people? How well equipped are our hospital facilities? How many ventilators can each state boast? Do we have well-trained personnel at all levels of government? Where are we on staff salary and wages? How well secure is the public? Are our citizens appropriately enlightened about COVID-19?

Nigeria once had a chance, but some people saw it as an opportunity to do the normal, embezzle. We still do have a bet before the number rises out of control.

Let us thank some State Governments who are leading in the fight against COVID-19, and all those who have made some donations in cash and offer of relief materials and foodstuff.

May we put our hands together and appreciate the real heroes, those at the forefront of this battle, with particular mention; those medical, health, and safety practitioners who today are leading and helping us battle Covid-19. We still need your selfless service. We will not relent in our effort to offer prayers.

So, back to what we were saying, above all, we need God. I guess many must-have noticed Christianity for a long time for many has been a matter of showoff? It has been a lot about ”I am better than you.” ”We are better than them,” “my pastor can preach better than yours,” or “our church is bigger and finer than yours,” all those comparisons and unhealthy competitions pointing us in the wrong direction and making one thing apparent, lack of understanding of Scripture and the expression ”a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”

Today it is not about your General Overseer, Pastor, Daddy, or even Rev. Fr. It is not about ministry, prophetic utterance, speaking in tongues, or deceiving us to be hearing directly from God. Today it is not about healing and casting out of demons, or how many branches worldwide or incorporated.

Simply put, it is all about God. Whether Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Anglican, Baptist, Apostolic, Evangelical, Winners, Redeemed, Christ Embassy, etc. It is all about God and nothing else, and we need him to get us out of this one.

church versus church

Since the dawn of civilization, the world has experienced profound changes in all ramifications. Changes that have caused man to seek, changes that made him think, and of course, bolster his quest for knowledge. Changes that caused him to question, and with answers provided, he evolved and became.

Where did all the good go? Where did we get it wrong? How exactly did one random chapter overturn the beautiful story?

The evaluation of what is, as against what ought to be, draws significantly the certainty of what should be done.

The world, as we know today, has received a massive blow, and over a short time, the fast pace is becoming very slow and the whole world is lagging behind and brought to its knees, while experiencing significant changes in its social and economic systems.

The church as a significant component of the religious system has been touched and affected and has not exactly had it all easy in its general functionality, which has triggered a massive impediment as regards individuals, families, and various groups gathering under one roof to express their faith and belief in God.

Many might necessarily consider the elbow grease of the government to dwindle the propensity and spread of this calamity rather outrageous and irrational. People are now compelled to stay home even on days they’d elect to gather in the name of the church to pray, sing praises and lift holy hands in one accord as required by the doctrine they subscribe.

What difference does this make?

As Christians, we believe God to be everywhere but cannot be seen because he bears no ontological fragility. He is said to be everywhere at every point in time, whether at home or place of worship. The question here is if God is omnipresent, why then do we have people who think they must always go to ‘church’ to have a church?

It is a fact that many people have more experiences and a more profound connection with faith and can easily connect to God. Others may require being in a particular circle in other to join and find God with their eyes shut in prayers.

Be that as it may, the times we live cemented with fear and anxiety wrapped up in technology and a strong desire to worship God, has however, confronted possible ways for people to engage in worship whether or not they are in ‘church.’

It necessarily shouldn’t be an issue up for debate so long as the word of God and our obligations as Christians is carried out and practiced where ever we are…

You are the Church. Your life is the gospel. What are you preaching? It has to be you versus you; church versus church.

POWER VERSUS DEATH

We are living in a time everybody is struggling for their lives. We know not the day nor the hour; but when reality eventually checks and our lives stand still in the night giving way to our history, we can unanimously agree upon these three assumptions among others:

• Some people will mourn

• Some will rejoice

• Others will treat it with indifference.

Today the clean slates will cast the first stone; the men without fault and flaws will say it is deserving, the indignant will be feeling hysterical, the wags will most likely trifle with it and get a good humor afterwards.

A chieftain of our nation (Nigeria), a man of power, wealth and strength has fallen by the hand of the handless yet harmful COVID-19, that has brought the world to its knees and the reaction(s) so far is no surprise.

The primal questions so often ignored still remains – is there a man without vices? Is there anyone whose actions has not by any chance caused an infraction on another man’s life? Who is infallible? Who is worthy? – and until comprehensively answered our opinions about other people at the time of their death will continuously aim agonizingly wide off the disregarded reality.

Rather than point fingers and blame people for all the unglamorous situations that confronts us on daily basis, it will be prudent to look within, find our own flaws and work toward a comprehensive behavior modification.

Nobody knows when it will all end. But with the passing of each day, the end draws closer and the only lesson I see here is to ‘live right’.

May the souls of all the faithful departed Rest In Peace.

Information is key

The impact of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, is being felt all over the world.  And at the same time, we have lots and lots of With information in circulation especially via social media. It is important to RECEIVE and SHARE accurate information, so that people can take the necessary and adequate steps to stay healthy and safe.

It is normal to feel sad, angry, confused and scared during a pandemic like this. But know this: WE CAN WIN. We are stronger when we are together and I believe we are better when we work together and spread ONLY the right information.

Follow these tips from the World Health Organization to keep yourself safe and help contain the spread of the virus. 

1. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.

2. Avoid touching your face, eyes, mouth, and nose. 

3. Practice social distancing and as much as possible avoid crowded areas.

4. Cover your cough with the bend of your elbow.

5. Disinfect surfaces you regularly use. 

6. If you feel unwell, stay at home and call your healthcare provider. 

7. Only share information from trusted sources.

May God bless and keep us save

Help

You are a channel and not the source of the blessing. That means you too can be blessed by another channel. Never ever forget that. Remember too; the blessing is from God but through you and channels can be changed. Remember what happened to Saul and David. So even when I come to you begging, remember it’s a privilege that you have what I need and not a privilege that I am asking from you.