Open Letter to God On Behalf of Nigeria -By Jide Omotinugbon

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Jide Omotinugbon

Jide Omotinugbon

 

Dear God,

It sounds blasphemous addressing a letter to you through newspaper pages. I have been wanting to write this letter ever since I read the series written to you in that American renowned author Alice Walker’s The Color Purple almost thirty years ago, but I had the fear of people misconstruing my intention. Besides, I was not sure any of the newspaper vendors would be willing to circulate their newspaper in heaven. Being the omniscient God however, there is no doubt in my mind that even before I put the words together to form meaningful sentences, you already knew about what I was going to write.

First, I want to thank you for always answering the prayers of individuals, and on behalf of nations. And the only way we know that you answer prayers is when we give public testimonies. Since this letter is on account of our country (I’d have preferred to say ‘nation’, but it does not look like we are there yet) called Nigeria, I will mention, in brief, the instances that you have answered our prayers, at least since I grew old enough to know about prayers and praying.

As a Christian, I know there are lots of miracles (evidence of answered prayers) recorded in the Holy Bible, including healing the sick, raising the dead, providing for the needy, winning battles, etc. In Nigeria, while there were instances of bloodshed during the fight for independence, it was not on a large scale as witnessed in the southern part of Africa or the French-colonised parts of Africa. The indigenous leaders during the colonial era had the “privilege” of traveling to London to negotiate. So, compared with some other countries in Africa, some people said we had our independence “on a platter of gold.” We thank you for this.

I do not need to retell history since you created and made things happen: You saw us through a fratricidal war, you allowed the exchange of batons in-between rulers (armed and civilian), you endowed us with resources, (how we used or are using them is another thing), you made rulers to fall, you allowed some to rise. Though a convolution of many tongues, you did not turn us to become like the tower of babel: we are still able to argue and talk and do things in common. When people with “superior wisdom” predicted an end, you did not allow it to come to pass. We have had our own share of Nebuchadnezzars as leaders, yet we survive them, which means you have a purpose for us. Thank you Lord.

Dear God, one of my prayer leaders told us then to PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens) and we did and things did happen. It is in the same vein that I am calling on you to have mercy on us. We know you have started already because we asked for change and you gave it to us. But we know that that is just the beginning. We want the change to be meaningful. We want things to work. We want the so much bastardised word “transformation” to become meaningful again.

Dear God, the main purpose of writing you this letter is to call your attention to the happenings in our country. I’m aware you know these already, but in all your knowledge, you still tell us to knock and/or ask. And I know you would not come down from heaven to do things for us, you are going to send someone and most likely that someone or someone who knows that someone may see this letter and do something about the issues. There is most likely going to be a follow up to this piece because it is not likely that one letter can deal with the whole issues, especially when I don’t even know where to begin. It is like that case of that born-again Christian student who was asked to write about your son, Jesus Christ and she started off saying: who am I to write about Jesus Christ, the son of God who had twelve disciples among who are… who healed the sick, raised the dead, died and rose the third day and promised to come back… I apologise for the drift, Lord.

For those privileged among us to read about and/or visit other places called the “First World” as against the sobriquet of our “Third World” given, we marvel about how things work there and are not working in our own place named after you as “God’s own country.” We don’t know why we cannot keep to time. We don’t know why there cannot be good roads. We don’t know why electricity cannot be constant. We don’t know why there cannot be potable water to drink. We don’t know why poverty is so pervasive. We don’t know why education should be a privilege. We don’t know why our main airport should be like a garage. I can’t even name them all.

God, do I need to draw your attention to our leaders who are appropriating the common-wealth as private estates? Or those you gave us the wisdom to elect to serve us but instead turned out to be our task-masters? Or is it the public officials who are privileged to hold positions of trust and authority lording it over us? By the latter, I am not just referring to the uniformed people carrying guns in very menacing ways that give us nightmares, but also the clerks in ministries and departments, at the post office, in the banks, at the borders, etc.

Dear God, one of my prayer leaders told us then to PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens) and we did and things did happen. It is in the same vein that I am calling on you to have mercy on us. We know you have started already because we asked for change and you gave it to us. But we know that that is just the beginning. We want the change to be meaningful. We want things to work. We want the so much bastardised word “transformation” to become meaningful again. All we are asking for are just the basic amenities as mentioned above. Things that would make us whole as humans. Things that would make it possible and easier for us to introduce and identify ourselves as having our roots from Nigeria. God, please help. I am not expecting a reply to this piece because I intend to follow up soon to let you know how far we have gone. Thank you. Will it have any meaning to say God bless you, God?

Jide Omotinugbon writes from Louisville, KY USA and can be reached on [email protected]

 

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