Headline: 2016: On a Higher Plane

Posted on: 2015-12-30

We need a fresh start

Going by the Bible, never has there been a perfect time in human history since our first parents, Adam and Eve "declared their independence from God" and opted for total freedom and self-expression. We can assume that right after the Scriptural moment in which God saw that all he had made was good (Gen. 1:31), man was an accident waiting to happen. Going by the Bible, even God testified to the default when man showed his hand when He said to the man, Adam: "...it was from clay that you were taken, for you are dust and to dust you shall return" (3:19).  Since that time humanity has struggled through history, sometimes up, sometimes down. The whole necessity of starting anew, conversion and reconciliation is based on this understanding that man will always need a fresh start because for all his achievements and successes, he will experience setbacks and make many false steps because he is  just that and nothing more, mere man.

Human beings make nations

It logically follows that nations, as well, must continue to seek fresh beginnings. Nations are made of families and families are made up of human individuals. All must necessarily respond to the same social dynamics of successes and failures, and ups and downs. Nigeria as a country simply reflects the plight, disposition and challenges of majority of its inhabitants. Judging from the travails of the previous year 2015, Nigeria and her peoples surely do need a new beginning.  With the anxieties that accompanied the elections, the near take-over of a swathe of the country by terrorism, the threat of secession by the Eastern part of the country, bloody conflicts in different areas, accusations and counter accusations of corruption and graft in the highest of places, no one would doubt that the country needs a fresh start just like her peoples.

Vision 2016 for Nigeria

Only fools do things in exactly the same way as before and expect results different thereof. I look forward to 2016 in which we all do things differently, leaving behind much of our vices and tackling our challenges with a common resolve. Aside from the social ills which have been repeatedly stated by practically everybody, namely: corruption, unemployment, bad leadership, collapsed infrastructure, etc., I would like to see an overall change of attitude in Nigerians. Without an attitudinal change and a new orientation it is impossible to turn any nation around. Nigerians generally must leave behind the cynicism which has become a "demobilizer" of most of our good effort. Most Nigerians, debilitated by past experience at different levels, have lost faith in the government, the academia and even now have doubts about religion. As a result, most of us receive any effort for change with heavy skepticism. This must change if our "change mantra" must be effective. Nigerians must talk less and act more.  We must revive our respect for the sanctity of life from conception till natural death. We must be more positive about, ourselves, our country, about God, religion and the possibility of positive change. It is this groundswell of the "CAN DO" attitude that conquers evil and vices and exalts a nation.

Play your part and I play mine

We all need as to become crusaders of virtues. Evil prevails only because good people are dormant. The fate of any society is also a game of numbers. Religious leaders must be more virtuous, courageous sincere and less ostentatious. Let everyone, group society and association challenge corruption, fraud, deceit, ignorance, and indolence in his own very family, school, workplace church and we will all be well on the way to a better country. We simply cannot leave it all to government agencies alone. Change will be granted us only if we unite to provoke it by ensuring that the rule of law applies to everyone and to every case. Let us restore personal and social discipline. Let our businesses, churches, our artistes, sportsmen and celebrities engage in social responsibility in favor of the needy and we shall surely end 2016 on the path of restoration and prosperity in spite of the general depression in the world.

The Gospel as Vademecum

It has been rightly said that the Gospel is a declaration, not a debate, and God gave us the "Ten Commandments" not the "Ten Advises". The Bible gives full assurance of that compelling dynamism in through the Prophet Isaiah: "As the rain and snow come down from the heavens and do not return till they have watered the earth, making it yield seed for the sower and food for others to eat, so is my word that goes forth out of my mouth: it will not return to me idle, but it shall accomplish my will, the purpose for which it has been sent" (Is. 55:10-11). The Gospel also alerts man to the challenges of today. Pope Francis identifies many of such challenges in his Apostolic Exhortation, "Evangelii Gaudium" (the Gospel of Joy),  such as the economy of exclusion; the new idolatry of money; a financial system that rules rather than serves; the inequality which spawns violence and some cultural threats affecting the family and faith, women and children, etc. The Pope summarizes the right approach for tackling these challenges with the encouraging words of saint Paul: "Do not be overcome with evil but overcome evil with good" (Rom 12;21), and "Let us not grow weary in doing what is right" (Gal 6:9). According to the pope, the Gospel offers us a chance to live on a higher plane, and to live our Christian life with intensity (EG,10). The alternative is to live the whole New Year like a Lent without Easter to borrow Pope Francis' expression. Surely that is not what we want 2016 to feel like.