Nigeria’s 49th independence was marked with panache and vigour all around Nigeria’s commercial hub, Lagos, surprisingly not by the central government but a boisterous flock of Christ Embassy Church members that brought Lagos to its feet. Streaked in the fecund and peaceful national emblems of green and white, hats, wigs and body-art spoke voluminous tales of patriotism.
Traffic lights ahead on Oregun, stalled on green but the traffic remained bumper to bumper as the colourful crowd, snaked and meandered through the narrow streets. Large carnival-like floats carried the cheering crowd along as they distributed the ministry’s daily devotional to an animated mass, as they danced and sang glorious canticles of a new dawn; knocking on doors and announcing salvation.
Only minutes before the foot soldiers launched out, hundreds of volunteers had worked tirelessly throughout independence eve at the church’s headquarters in Oregun, wrapping up thousands of Rhapsody of Realities to ensure everyone in Lagos received a copy of the famed devotional. “this is our contribution in ensuring that Nigeria’s future is altered for the best” an exuberant member of the ministry said, her hands crammed with plastic bags and books.
Back on the streets there were mixed feelings in the celebration of Nigeria’s Independence. A vibrant and often critical press played the shrink’s role as expected.
The Daily Sun’s headline read “Rich country, Poor people” while This Day summed up Nigeria’s President Umar Yar’Adua’s psyche. “we have not lived up to the expectations of our founding fathers”.
But then maybe Nigeria has not been sincere in dealing with the root cause of its gross underdevelopment. “Pastor Chris says we have to change inside out. Our leaders have never tried the word of God in solving the problems of the nation” said an emphatic Pastor Ifeoma Chiemeka
Acrobats walked on sticks and men rode on horses while power bikes and roller-skates squared-up for a titanic battle. The children loved it all dancing along on the streets and shrieking in glee at the roadside carnival, at the same time they jostled for the freebies – a copy of Rhapsody of Realities. A group of labourers watched on nonplussed.
“There is no light, no water and the teachers are on strike what is there to celebrate?” they queried, their stern faces and arms akimbo spoke out their frustrations but nevertheless, they collected the books, the lettered immediately opened to the pages and would not stop.
Undeterred, the spiritual cum social crusaders harped away and joggled footballs in the humid and hot weather; “I believe in Nigeria” they chimed, waving Nigeria’s Green white and green flag. “We are charting a new course. We are sowing into the future of our dreams; through our prophetic words we are beautifying Nigeria’s future” the radiant Pastor Deola Okeowo said when the crowd pulled over at Maryland.
It was the British novelist and politician, Bulwer Lytton who said, “Nothing is so contagious as enthusiasm. It is the true allegory of the tale of Orpheus; it moves stones and charms brutes, it is the genius of sincerity and truth achieves no victories without it”.
Even as the crowds, emptied from the streets, it was obvious that this was a momentous gathering, this was a good awakening and off course the birthing of a new day. Happy Birthday Nigeria.
Filed under: AFRICAN ENTERTAINMENT, AFRICAN NEWS, NIGERIA Tagged: | AFRICAN RELIGION, AGHOGHO OBOH, BELIEVERS' LOVEWORLD, CHRIST EMBASSY, NIGERIA'S INDEPENDENCE, NIGERIAN CHRISTIANITY, NIGERIAN NEWS, NIGERIAN RELIGION, OCTOBER 1ST, PASTOR CHRIS OYAKHILOME, PASTOR DEOLA OKEOWO, PASTOR IFEOMA CHIEMEKA, REACH OUT NIGERIA 2009, RHAPSODY OF REALITIES