Sometime ago, our ministry hosted seven Americans. Among them was a 14-year-old girl by name, Tobey Crowe. She pleaded to be taken along on the trip.
On the fourth day of their one-week stay with us, she came to me with her eyes soaked with tears saying she now appreciates how privileged she is to have been born in the United States of America.
Perhaps she is another mother Theresa in the making. She felt like not going back to the United States. She saw how thousands of boys and girls are all over the major high ways and streets running after vehicles hawking and selling what may end up providing a family of six with one-dollar profit in two days.
Her heart bled and she wept. She gave sweets to little children. How I wish the hearts of the average Nigerian politician, public servants including religious leaders can be like the type Tobey Crowe has for the poor Nigerian family.
About 10 years ago, our ministry hosted one of Belgium’s three female white pastors in Lagos. As we were driving through one of the streets, she saw a dead body by the road side and she was horrified. Some years ago, someone from Niger Republic was interviewed on an international television station and the person said that he saw a dead body on the streets for the first time in his life in Lagos, Nigeria.
Someone out there may say: “Bishop, I thought your Love Arena newspaper column talks only about marriage and family intimacy issues. What’s happening today?”
Please, please, let me digress perhaps, this once. Why should I not digress when Nigerian families have become one of the cheapest families on earth? Why should I not digress when Nigerians in Ghana have lost respect? Why should I not digress when the average citizen from Togo and Republic of Benin have lost respect for Nigerians? Why should I not digress when some time ago Africans crossing the Mediterranean Sea with a boat to Europe looking for greener pastures found it necessary to drown some Nigerians in the sea so as to make light the load the boat was carrying? Why should I not digress when Nigerians and their business premises are being set ablaze in South Africa? O Nigeria! O Nigeria! O Nigeria!
We used to sing, “Nigeria we hail thee, our own dear native land.” Now it is, “Nigeria we wail thee.” Instead of Nigeria’s tribal and religious leaders to, “Arise o compatriots, Nigeria’s call obey. To serve our father land with love and strength and faith,” where to keep cows has further divided Nigeria. The forces of centrifugalism and parochialism have taken over the centre stage, while the forces of centripetalism and lovely living have been cast out.
Between April 1994 and July 1994, about one million people were massacred in Rwanda within 100 days. But out of the Rwandan ruin, a leader by name Paul Kagame arose. And in 25 years, the Rwandan family that used to be the cheapest family on earth is now being respected. Rwanda is now a beautiful tourist attraction.
Since August 2018, each time I want to relax to watch my favorite premiership football team, Arsenal, my mind never stops thinking of Rwanda because each of the eleven players wears an inscription with the words, “Visit Rwanda.”
Sometime ago, my wife and I came across a lady in Benin Republic who was proud to introduce herself as a citizen of Rwanda.
I pray that the day will come when Nigerians in Nigeria and all over the world will be proud to say: “I am a Nigerian” just as Tobey Crowe is proud to be an American. That day should come. Love you.