FAITH MATTERS: Muhammad Hassan-Tom

From President Muhammadu Buhari to the proverbial common man who now numbers almost 70 per cent of the population, Nigerians are undergoing unprecedented sociopolitical and economic stress. The former is battling a most insidious illness that struck before he could fully come to terms with the devastation of the state he campaigned to rescue while the latter try to stay afloat on top of the highest ever exchange rates as well as record food, electricity and fuel prices. Only a tiny minority currently have cause to be cheerful and even less may see reason to be hopeful.
The fate of millions who remain IDPs in their own country and in Niger, Chad and Cameroun is even sadder. Many are defrauded, raped and robbed (even of dates) even as they grief the murders of their fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, sons and daughters. The over 100 Chibok school girls still with their abductors probably constitute less than 10 per cent of male and female kidnap victims whose whereabouts are still unknown especially in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states which probably also have the highest concentration of orphans and widows per square kilometre in the world.
Sadder still is the renewed siege laid against citizens across the six geopolitical zones by armed robbers, kidnappers, cattle-rustlers, armed herdsmen, cultists and uncommon con artistes of all kind. As confessions by notorious actors in these debilitating crimes are beginning to show, the root cause is poor governance over the years. It bears paraphrasing Chinua Achebe: the problem of Nigeria is squarely leadership.
It is therefore tragic that opportunists in many garbs are expectedly exploiting the President’s ailment, with Professor Yemi Osinbajo’s Acting role and the National Assembly’s self-serving conduct leaving enough gaps for evil elements to operate. Corruption is fighting back viciously with the top hierarchy of the judiciary even throwing shattered pieces of our high hopes on our faces. The majority of electorates voted for President Buhari in 2015 because he promised to enhance security, clamp down on corruption and fix the economy.
All three goals are now in clear and present danger. Before we could begin to celebrate the curtailment of Boko Haram terrorists by the Nigerian Armed Forces in the last two years, two new fronts are now firing from all barrels. The secessionist Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Niger Delta militants have since combined to cripple what was left of the economy ravaged by 16 years of misrule by the infamous PDP. Now, all the enthusiasm generated by the unprecedented victory of the APC is nearly all gone.
Before you say, hope is lost for Nigeria: Beware! There is an unending desperate attempt by the devil to kill faith because it is the only way he could ever gather a sizable flock. For instance, it is he and his human agents who programme and finance fanatics of all faiths to commit atrocities that would scare away souls from religion. Just as the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition were used to discredit Christianity and drive Europe into secularism, Al-Qaeda and now ISIS, Al-Shabab, Boko Haram, etc, are being used to disfigure Islam and stem its spread. These and other challenges are not going to cease perhaps till the end.
Therefore, our survival and our success can only depend on being full of faith against all odds. There is no option to faith to be clear. It is indispensable in human affairs. Nothing works without faith, even evil itself. We either enjoy the fruits of good faith or we suffer the consequences of bad faith. Having faith in the Almighty God is basic wisdom because He guides and helps the faithful to their good here and hereafter.
With this, each individual is equipped to have good faith in himself, his family, community, country and the world. The energy and focus that this will generate is capable of surmounting most of the challenges cited above and changing Nigeria’s man-made misfortunes for good. We need more faith now or a lot more may be lost.

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