*By COLLINS Ughalaa*
*”You must not blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people” Exodus 22:8. “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images” Isaiah 42:8. “However, the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything. He will remind you of everything that I have ever told you” John 14:26.*
Governor Rochas Okorocha on Tuesday, July 4, 2017, came short of expressing calling himself Jesus Christ or making express comparison of himself and Jesus, when he addressed the so-called 3 million man rally that was held in Owerri to show solidarity for God-knows what. Anyway, when election year draws very close you can never imagine what politicians are capable of. A lot things happen, because what to reposition themselves for the next dispensation. Why they do it is just for their daily bread, not for any personal convictions. That is why you would see them move from camp to camp like herdsmen whenever they lose election. They have been to several parties and left, and they are still moving.
To reposition themselves for recognition politicians employ all kinds of intrigues to curry favour from the incumbent, because as far as the incumbent continues in office, directly or indirectly, their sustenance is guaranteed, and the more power they would continue to exercise. They can say anything to the man in power, including asking him to play God, or to curse God and die, like Job’s friends and wife did.
It was not for nothing, not for the interest of the Governor really, that Comrade Jeff Nwaoha, the MD of ENTRACO, an agency of the state government, organized the so-called 3- million man rally in solidarity for the Governor and the President. The purpose was not lost on Jeff, as it was a pure strategic political move, much like the One-Million-Man March for late General Sani Abacha. Those who organized the protest for Abacha were never stupid. They had their plans and strategy well mapped out, except that God, the Omnipotent, the Omniscient, the Omnipresent, saw it all, that the heart of man is full of hurtful things and He intervened on behalf of millions of hapless Nigerians. Therefore, Jeff is sure that if the Governor succeeds in installing his successor (God forbid!), his place in the new dispensation is very much guaranteed. So, the Tuesday rally in Owerri was just a meal ticket for Jeff and others who spear-headed the rally.
Does the Governor know? Yes. He needs it. He is in need of rescueing himself, having burnt the bridge that crossed him over the Red Rea in 2015. He needs to breed new set of soldiers, and the new set of soldiers needs to demonstrate their capacity. The new soldiers on their own understand that they can do anything to demonstrate their capacity, including forcing market unions to join in the rally for whatever bargain, not excluding the promise that their shops would not be demolished if they took part in the rally. Therefore, the hapless traders and artisans were arm-twisted to join the rally. And they did, just to save their businesses.
Like the proverbial bird called *nza* that had his fill and challenged his god to a duel, the Governor, excitedly, took over the role of God. Sorry, they Governor mocked God when he said he would send the Holy Spirit to the people of Imo State in 2019. By the Holy Spirit, the Governor meant his successor. And if that too refers to his Chief of Staff, it means that Uche Nwosu has become the Holy Spirit. God forgive me.
In response to the request of the protesters that the Governor named his successor, the Governor had this to say, and I quote: “I have heard your request for a proactive successor. Before I leave I will send you the Holy Spirit. I will never leave you alone.”
When you read the claim or promise of the Governor to the Tuesday rally, that he would send them the Holy Spirit, you would have no doubt that speedily Governor Okorocha has lifted himself to the position of God. You would also applaud Lord Acton who told us decades ago that “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Governor Okorocha’s usurpation of the functions of God as represented in his statement is a clear indication of what power does to mortals. Having survived the 2015 onslaught the Governor believes he now sleeps comfortably and that he has transformed to a god, so much that he can now send the Holy Spirit after him.
When I read the vexatious claim by the Governor that he would give the Holy Spirit, my spirit became restless, and the spirit of the Lord took me to the book of Daniel 4:17, where I read about God’s dealings with King Nebuchadnezzar. According to Prophet Daniel, there God that rules in the affairs of men.
“The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of people” Daniel 4:17. The Prophet continued: “Seven times shall pass over you (Nebuchadnezzar), till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses” Daniel 4:25.
Daniel’s prophecy is clear lesson to those who hold on to power and play god. It is a clear lesson that power is in the hands of God and that it is transient, because God’s dealings with King Nebuchadnezzar illustrates that ultimately, and in the final analysis, it is God who rules in the affairs of nations.
Yes, to assure those who serve him in spirit and truth that He rules in the affairs of men, God said: “For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another” (Psalms 75:6-7). This universal truth was further expounded by Jesus Christ himself when he told Pontius Pilate: “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:11).
It is therefore abundantly clear that the Lord, Who has all power in heaven and on earth, holds the key to who in the end will rule the affairs of any given nation, especially Imo State, where the people have cried to the God of justice to intervene in their matter. Therefore, the lesson we should learn as far as power is concerned is that He who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself shall be exalted. This truth still holds universally true, and God never fails. Thus, Jesus warned his disciples again, saying: “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11).
Governor Okorocha should realize now that playing God or exalting oneself above or equal to God, is a very dangerous place for any person to be in. How much more so for a ruler who came on the promise to rescue the people to now be at loggerheads with God in the fulfillment of that task? Therefore, by far the worst place for any earthly ruler, especially Governor Okorocha who survived 2015 by the whiskers to be in is one where he tries to know better than the God who allowed him all the liberties to be the Governor of the state for 6 years now. Because, in the end it is God who will take charge and put rulers down or humble them if they choose to remain on a collision course with, Him, God Almighty.
That is why the Governor should act with more circumspection when he speaks and acts. When he pulls down houses or properties belonging to the poor and widows, he should realize that God is the father of the poor and the husband of the widows.
Nevertheless, let me end this piece by reacting to the claim that the pro-government rally was done by 3 million Imo people. My first reaction is that it is not true and can never be true. The reason is very clear and simple: the 2006 national population census puts Imo State at a population of 3,927,563. This was an improvement of the 2,485,635 figure of 1991. But the projection figure for Imo State stands at 4,609,000. This figure includes women, men, the youth and children.
For the sake of this intervention, let me break it down the population census of 2006 to groupings, thus: MALES: 1,976,471; FEMALES: 1,951,092. The age grouping is provided as follows: 0-14 years: 1,415,929; 15-64 years: 2,341,565; 65 and above: 170,069.
Therefore, even if every able bodied men and women in Imo State took part in the rally, from where would the Governor get the three million protesters or ralliers? Therefore, Governor Okorocha should know that truly the day of reckoning has come, and manufacturing figures in government house just to create a false impression of a strong support base in Imo State will not help. He did all of this in 2015, and to many people the Governor was cruising home to victory. But alas! He who wears the shoe knows where it pinches. That was why he went on poaching spree, not minding whether the people he was poaching were villains or not. Holding any straw is usually enough for any drowning man.
And more than it happened in 2015, the Governor would come to know in 2019 that Jeff and his team of protesters will not be anywhere close to saving him or to delivering his anointed. Because, the anointed of God is far better than the anointed of man.
Ughalla is an Owerri based journalist