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« Man: The Thinker | Main | Salvation: Where does it Come from, Inside or out? »

November 15, 2005

Prayers for Bịafra and Nigeria

Prayers for Bịafra an Nigeria

by Fada Jọn Ọfọegbu Ụkaegbu, Ph.D. -Igbologist- (Brooklyn, New York) ---- Preamble: Religion and spirituality are cultural universals in so far as they are present in all world cultures. Because of different approaches to religion and spirituality, they also serve as cultural variables. Prayer is one of the basic elements of religion and there are approaches to prayer as there are religious groups and sects.

In the interest of religious freedom and tolerance, everyone claims to be an authority in prayer. In their humility, the apostles asked Jesus to teach them how to pray (Mt. 6:7-15). But we know that Nemo est iudex in causa sua –No one is a judge in one’s case. The question here is: Monopoly of prayers. Some Nigerians would not like anyone to pray for Bịafra and it may be vice versa. Both Nigerians and Bịafrans believe in the power of prayers; but they seem to have it in their own terms instead of leaving it in the hands of God. Can the human will change divine will and plan?

Human Elements:
If there is only one God, it follows that the differences in religion, spirituality and prayer are due to human elements in the devotees. We shall only focus on prayer in this brief discuss without adhering to any particular group of religion or spirituality. Anyone who has followed the history of turbulence in Nigeria and Bịafra will recognize the role of prayer during these tempting years. It may not be wrong to say that some people seem to impose their human agenda and will on God in the name of prayer. Our concern here is to examine what role prayers may play in the Nigeria-Bịafra crises.

Difference between the Voice of God and Voice of the People:

Some people in Nigeria think that Nigeria can be remedied or redeemed from its downward trend towards poverty and nihilism. This idea and belief make them devote much time to prayers for Nigeria. Nigerians of all religious affiliations like Christians, Moslems and Afrịkan Traditional Religionists join hands in prayers for Nigeria. The Catholic Bishops of Nigeria have a special “Prayer for Nigeria in Distress.” Vox populi, vox Dei –The voice of the people is the voice of God is valid only when the people are right and do the will of God. It is understood that God answers our prayers if they will be in our spiritual interest and material well being. Does it mean that God does not hear the prayers of Nigerians when the country seems to go from bad to worse? Suppose God’s will is different from the wish of Nigerians? How shall we know of the will of God for Nigeria? This brings us to the other face of the coin.

The people of Bịafra think and believe that Nigeria cannot be remedied and that the solution to the chronic maladies of Nigeria is the actualization of the civil State of the Republic of Bịafra where there will be civility, meritocracy and true democracy. Someone recently said that instead of democracy in Nigeria, there is “demo-crazy” in the country.

Symptoms of Divine Will:

If Nigeria had improved and practiced equity and fairness, provided jobs for its citizens and allowed religious tolerance and freedom of the press, then there would have been no need to think or talk of Bịafra as an alternative. Does it make some sense to think that the more Nigeria becomes almost ungovernable, introduces Sharia Laws and religious intolerance, the more people think God is paving way to the emergence of the Republic of Bịafra? If the German Nazis had not killed the six million Jews during the second world war of 1939 to 1945, may be there would not have been the rebirth of the State of Israel in 1948. Apart from the Jewish Holocaust that claimed six million lives, the Bịafran Holocaust of 1966 to 1970 which claimed over three million lives is the second largest human tragedy in modern times. The continuation of atrocities till today against Bịafrans may reflect how painful is the will of God.

The Bịafran Exodus:

It took the Israelites forty years to reach the promised land. It has taken the people of Bịafra (1966-2006 or 1967-2007) almost forty years to get to the promised land. The more violations of human rights by Nigeria, the more Nigeria helps in the realization of the Bịafran dream. Those who are opposed to the Bịafran Exodus from Nigeria seem not to read the hand writing on the walls. If God had allowed the actualization of the Sovereign State of Bịafra in a very short time, the people would have become arrogant and believed that they made it happen. Now we know that God’s time is the best!

Analogy from Sports:

A penalty is committed during a soccer game. The player to take the kick makes the sign of the cross and prays for God’s help. On the other hand, the goal keeper prays and makes the sign of the cross so that God may make the ball go over the bar or that he may stop the ball. Who will God favor in the game? Conventional wisdom shows that God is always on the side of the winner. Hence the adage: Fortuna favet fortibus. –Fortune favors the strong. Prayer goes beyond fortune. Nigeria missed an opportunity in January of 1970 when she thought that it was over; but we know that it not over until it is over. He who laughs last, laughs best! Future will tell!

Practical Prayers:

Nigerians prayed that the 2005 Confab undemocratically organized by the Federal government could usher a new era and resolve the nagging political impasse plaguing the country. I personally told a Nigerian friend that I will sincerely pray for the success of the Confab and that we should respect the will of God over the issue. My prayer for the Confab was that if it is God’s will, let the Conference help resolve Nigeria’s political crises. On the other hand, if the Conference would not benefit Nigerians, may it end in chaos and futility. When the Confab ended in confusion, I told my Nigerian friend that God has answered my prayer. He retorted and said that my prayer was not a good one and that it helped destabilize the Conference. The Nigerian might think that prayer for Nigeria must be automatic and magical as to command God on what to do for Nigeria. My prayer cannot confuse the immutable will of God and God’s will over the 2005 Confab has been manifested because the organizers were not sincere and democratic. Some Nigerians frown at anyone praying for Bịafra and they try to impose their will on everyone and apparently on God Himself.

Final Prayers: From Pan To Fire!!

The Nigerian Catholic Bishops composed a prayer for Nigeria in Distress when Nigeria was only on the “pan”. Now that Nigeria is in the “fire”, the Bishops may compose another prayer to match the current situation. It may not be an exaggeration to say that Nigeria is “hell on earth”. The best prayer for Bịafra and Nigeria is to pray for the will of God to be done and the people should be prepared to receive the divine verdict when it comes. We know that heaven helps those who help themselves: therefore people will not only rely on their prayers, but they have to match prayers with action. Currently the situation in Nigeria is not getting better, but it gets worse day by day. The deteriorating condition of Nigeria does not mean that God is not hearing the prayers of Nigerians. We know that God can write straight on a crooked line and that the apparent sad situation in Nigeria will eventually lead to the establishment of the Sovereign State of Bịafra. As the will of God is that the Republic of Bịafra is to be actualized, one of the ways to realize this will be to throw Nigeria into confusion as it is currently happening. It may be that God wants to teach his children in Nigeria some lessons before there will be a restoration of order in Nigeria. We know that no condition is permanent in this world. After a great storm, there comes a great calm! All is well that ends well! One who wishes to become a diviner should study the past in order to be able to foretell the future. Finally we now know that the actualization of the Sovereign State of Bịafra will be realized under divine guidance and not by only human might. In effect the actualization of the Sovereign State of Bịafra is a Spiritual Exodus.

Posted by Administrator at November 15, 2005 12:44 AM


I am a committed believer who believes in the sovereign power of God via prayer. But prayer without action will not garner for us the promises of God as it behooves us to actualize the will of God for us by obeying His commands.
Igbos should come back to God with all their heart and soul and might and stop worshipping money over God. Once we take this stance, our salvation is at the corner. We are the Hebrews of the Jewish stock from the tribe of Gad. Read Genesis 49:19 and see for yourself that the worst the Igbos can go through had come and gone, God is waiting for our triumph which must be accomplished but it is a matter of time which largely depends on us to turn ourselves in to God on whom lies our destiny as a people.

Let us continue to pray and believe as well as wait on God for direction, a Moses, Joshua and Caleb abound among us. For me, I can no longer wait in this wilderness called Canada (North America).
God Bless Ndigbo as we obey Him and learn to love ourselves for a better tommorrow to the envy of all!


Posted by: Lino Chukumeke Benson at November 17, 2005 03:08 PM

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