BURNING POT BY PRINCE CHARLES DICKSON, PH.D.
Nigerians, Collapsing Churches, Religion and Systems
Last week, it was Uyo, Akwa Ibom, with the following narratives everywhere; that the Akwa Ibom state helmsman Udom Emmanuel would have been part of the casualties as a church building collapsed in Uyo.
Initial reports had it that at least 27 persons lost their lives, while others sustained injuries when the roof and the iron beams in the building housing Reigners Bible Church, collapsed during a church ceremony. Eyewitnesses later say more than 50 people died in the disaster, but the police report claim that 32 people died.
The church pastor, Akan Weeks, was to be ‘enthroned’ as a bishop in the ill-fated ceremony.
Few days later, the Akwa Ibom Government inaugurated a Commission of Inquiry into the collapsed church building.
Maybe you need to listen to survivors as they recounted their experiences, most of the survivors, described their escape as ‘miraculous’.
During the solemn assembly organized in honour of the departed by the state government, Governor Udom Emmanuel, himself one of the survivors, said God was giving them a second chance to be useful to themselves and the society at large.
Another survivor, Usire Akpan, a reporter with The Pioneer Newspaper attached to Government House, said: “I saw death, but God saved me. Immediately we entered the church with the governor and my other colleagues, I jokingly told them the structure of the church was bad and it could collapse. It was not up to two minutes that it happened. That is why some of them are calling me prophet”.
Another Government House reporter from Akwa Ibom Radio Corporation, Mr. Uduak Idem, said: “Just as I stepped out to ease myself, I saw people running out of the auditorium. I was already outside. I thank God because it would have been a calamity. Who would have taken care of my children, as my wife had died? They would have become orphans. God forbid!” he said.
The Nigerian Society of Engineers and Standard Organization of Nigeria have reportedly made public their plans to investigate the tragic incident. The NSE investigation committee visited the site of the collapsed building.
Let me end the tale in this manner, The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) then tells churches to stop holding worship services inside buildings under construction to avoid a repeat of the Uyo church collapse, they also called for sanctions to be meted out to those who are responsible for the construction of buildings with substandard materials across the country.
The religious body urges Christians all over the world to pray for the victims that survived the Uyo church collapse and the families of the bereaved.
At about same time, no fewer than three worshippers at the Synagogue Church of all Nations, Ikotun, Lagos State, were confirmed dead after a stampede on the church’s premises on. The victims were part of a crowd that struggled to see the church’s General Overseer, Prophet Temitope Joshua, during a special healing service.
This was the same church or Synagogue were several persons lost their lives when a 'spiritual aircraft' was responsible for a collapsed structure in her premises. The case still remains what it is; A CASE!
As I reflected upon this state of Nigerian spiritual affairs, my friend Aderemi Ogunpitan had this to say, “I promised I would try not to complain about Nigeria; that I would stay positive. But really I don't know what's going on anymore.
Our production crew of 18 persons traveled to Abuja en route Makurdi this morning on Dana Air. The 7am flight leaves at 8.30am after a delay, that saw the flight engineer being forced to travel on the plane by passengers; because the reason they couldn't take off on time was one of the engines wasn't working. Shit scared after repairs, they insisted the flight engineer get on board.
The 200 passengers plus arrive Abuja. Guess what? Not a single piece of passenger luggage arrived on the flight. So, 200 passengers on board Dana leave Lagos to Abuja and the airline didn't carry one single piece of luggage?
Curious as to why? The airline officials’ took-off, there was near riot, and the passengers shut down the ticketing office.
Fast forward 3.30 pm, same day. My crew with 21 pieces of luggage finally gets 4 pieces that came on another flight. Dana says the rest will come on other flights from Lagos. That's other airline flights, not Dana.
Meanwhile, there's an Aviation Minister and there are regulators. I laugh.
“...We are the only group of people on earth expecting God to climb down from heaven to run our government, business and domestic affairs for us. The vogue is to do nothing for ourselves because God will fill the pot-holes on our roads, provide us with regular electricity, create jobs for the jobless, put drugs in our run-down health clinics, and books in our empty university libraries, if we pray hard enough.
Our rouge leaders, who divert our resources into their private accounts abroad, pray to succeed. Lazy civil servants pray for promotions in their jobs.
The schools are no better. Students, poorly prepared for their exams, pray to pass. Our kids spend more time on their knees praying than to sit and study. If it is change of leadership we have been praying for, a worse one seems to take over every time.
Our inherent Nigerian culture of the blame-game has made it difficult to make sense of an increase in tariff by power regulators with a corresponding reduction in service quality. We prayed for change we get worse, a man refuses to pay you the stipend he has promised and he request that you pray.
Infant it is interesting the phrases we use, our daddy in the lord, our GO, GS, my spiritual father, my alfa, our ustaz, and for those that have a large heart they even state--my babalawo!
We have no choice than to cling on to the prophecies of new job opportunities, new businesses without power. Sadly, no matter the prophecy whether TB Joshua, or Ustaz Othman, the fact remains that our efforts at good governance, remains for now, like applying fertilizer without planting any seed...endemic corruption, poor infrastructure, lack of political will, inconsistent and anti-people policies that continue to taunt us, which is why we find solace in religious houses, but for how long, with no one taking responsibility--Only time will tell