Nigeria: Beware of Greek gifts!

“BEWARE of the Greeks bearing gifts” is an allusion to the story of the wooden horse used by the Greeks to trick their way into the city of Troy. Troy was well fortified and also well defended. Roman poet, Virgil, recorded it thus in his Aenid (Book 2) written in 19 BC: “Do not trust the horse, Trojans. Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks even when they bring gifts” John Dryden put it a bit differently: “Trust not their presents, nor admit the horse” Sophocles (496 – 406 B.C) in Ajax put it this way: “Nought from the Greeks towards me hath sped well. So now I find that ancient proverb true: ‘Foes’ gifts are no gifts: profit bring they none.’”

Some have argued that the Greek/Trojan war was a myth (Greek mythology) while others say it was actually fought. In Greek mythology, the war broke out after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, king of Sparta. To this day, that war remained one of the most important events in Greek mythology and has been narrated in many works, notably in Homer’s famous Iliad. For many years the war raged but Troy was impregnable. The Greeks then pretended to abandon the war and left the Trojan Horse behind, allegedly as an offering or gift to the gods.

A Trojan priest saw the horse and understood its significance; so he cried out: “Do not trust the Greeks, even if they left us a gift” Unfortunately, the Trojans, failing to take heed, decided to accept the Greek gift as a sign of armistice (peace offering, signifying an end to the war) and took the Greek Horse inside their city. Unknown to the Trojans, the Greeks had well-armed soldiers hidden inside the horse! In the night, the Greek soldiers came out of the horse, unlocked the gates of the city and admitted other Greek soldiers in! Thus fell the city of Troy!

What the force of arm could not achieve, deceit and guile achieved for the Greeks. Failing to heed advice, Troy fell! Someone has aptly described coronavirus as “Ogun A-ja-ma-fi-t’ibon se”! The virus carries no weapon; yet, it rages. May the good Lord deliver us from Greeks bearing gifts and from Ogun A-ja-ma-fi-t’ibon-se! A totalitarian state, China is secretive, vicious and cunning. Any gift from it must be taken with a pinch of salt. China is not only a closed State that heavily vets information about its internal operations, it is also a superpower-nation fixated on world domination.

Nigeria relying upon itself has done admirably well against “Ogun A-ja-ma-fi-t’ibon-se” Many are of the opinion that this is one occasion when the country should demonstrate its independence and self-reliance. Necessity, they say, is the mother of inventions. Already, coronavirus has brought out the best in Nigerians. Inviting the Chinese at this point may throw spanners in the works or even hand us over!

Again, there are conspiracy theories swirling around the Chinese and coronavirus. The Chinese are yet to come out clean. The internet is awash with stories of medicals imported from China by some European countries testing defective, infested or contaminated by the same coronavirus they were meant to prevent or fight. How, then, can we vouch for the integrity of the medicals the Chinese are bringing here?

Nigeria must err on the side of caution. There is no alternative to self-reliance. Experience, as they say, is the best teacher. Our penchant to rely on so-called foreign expertise is the reason we do not produce anything but import everything. It is the reason we cannot make our refineries work but waste trillions of Naira on importation of refined petroleum products. It is the same reason we are perpetually neck-deep in debts; we escape one debt trap only to fall head-long into another with our eyes wide open.

The Chinese are also entangled in the controversy, indeed, raging storm, of 5G. Government’s denial of the presence of 5G here and the “evidence” thrown up by anti-5G forces has been at cross-purposes. Is there a nefarious campaign to apply (Thomas) Malthus’ theory of population control through “preventive checks and positive checks”? Are “Ogun A-ja-ma-fi-t’ibon-se” and 5G some of those “checks”? And is Africa, indeed, Nigeria, the focal point of the campaign? Care must be taken not to alienate our own medical workers – or hand them over to the Chinese on a platter. Hoping we are not already enslaved to the Chinese because of past loans and future ones desperately needed!

Since the battle cry against the spread of coronavirus is “Stay at home; stay safe”; let the Chinese themselves also stay at home and stay safe!
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…And too much furore over 666

In the Book of Revelation, the Bible describes 666 as the mark of the Beast or Anti-Christ. As churches conduct services and other meetings these days through the internet, videoconferencing, etc., I got reminded of an article I published last December in my “Treasures” column (every Wednesday in the New Telegraph newspaper on the back page) and here as well titled “Emerging Trends: Christians without churches”. That was before Coronavirus broke.

I got inspiration from introspection, meditation over some of present-day nagging issues of church administration and, finally, from one of the presentations at the 2019 Lagos leadership conference championed by an RCCG pastor. The response was massive, more so from church people aware of, and worried about, those or similar nagging issues bedevilling the church that were discussed in the said piece.

After coronavirus broke, I revisited the article in “Christians without churches: Prophecy fulfilled?” also published in my columns and on the internet. I was humbled to see many Church people say they had seen the handwriting on the wall and had warned for years that the Church must begin to do a lot of things differently but, regrettably, they were branded as radicals or Prophets of Doom! After Coronavirus, the Church will never remain the same again!

As editor of The PUNCH in the early 1990s, I witnessed the computer age leave many otherwise competent hands behind when they could not catch up with the computer train. Similar occurrence may happen to any church unable to learn from, understand and come up with appropriate response to the massive wave of Christians without churches in Europe and other parts of the West. Coronavirus has only helped to speed up the process worldwide.

As it were, we are now all Christians without churches – from top to bottom! Now that we are all at home without an exception praying, is God hearing and answering or not? How we respond after this emergency, more than the palliatives we are scurrying around; will define the Church’s future.

IF THERE IS ANY LESSON TAUGHT BY CORONAVIRUS, IT IS THAT CHURCHES MUST BUILD/INVEST IN PEOPLE AND NOT NECESSARILY IN GIGANTIC STRUCTURES AND GRANDILOQUENT PROJECTS OR ELITIST PROGRAMMES.  TAKE MEMBERS OUT OF POVERTY. INVEST IN MECHANISED FARMING AND ENGAGE THE YOUTH. INVEST IN SMALL AND MEDIUM-SCALE ENTERPRISES. STOP GIVING PEOPLE LOAVES OF BREAD AND PIECES OF FISH; TEACH THEM HOW TO FISH INSTEAD. EMPOPWER THEM! THAT WAY, NOT ONLY WILL THEY BE SELF-RELIANT AND BE BETTER ABLE TO STAND IN TURBULENT TIMES SUCH AS THESE WITHOUT THE TRIFLES CALLED DOLES AND THE PROVOCATIVE AND CONDESCENDING ONE OR TWO DERICA OF RICE CALLED RELIEF MATERIALS AND PALLIATIVE MEASURES, THEY WILL ALSO BE BETTER ABLE TO SUPPORT THE CHURCH WITHOUT COMPULSION OR BLACKMAIL BECAUSE THEY WILL THEN SEE ABSOLUTE REASONS AND JUSTIFICATIONS TO DO SO. IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS, WE HAVE BEEN SENT TO PEOPLE AND OUR FOCUS SHOULD BE ON THEM. PEOPLE ARE THE ONES WE ARE TAKING TO HEAVEN, NOT STRUCTURES THAT WILL REMAIN HERE AND PERISH HERE.

5G has been in the news both for the right and wrong reasons. Technology progresses daily and no one can stop its move. Hence the saying by our elders: “Aiye n lo; a n to!” The world matches on; the best we can do is try to catch up with it! It has been so from time immemorial. Reading the Bible, it would seem God Himself has programmed it so. Hence, He foretells things and they come to pass. All technological advancements carry positive and negative impacts. 5G will not be different; importantly, it will make an already global world even more global.

A spectacular feature of 5G is that virtually all goods and services will be traded online. Government control and stranglehold over citizens and their fundamental rights will also become easier and more total; which is why Hong Kong citizens were seen pulling down 5G masts in their territory because they fear it will enable more intrusion into their life and privacy by mainland China, with which they are locked in a battle of wills.

Ever read “1984” by George Orwell, same author of “Animal Farm”? “Big Brother” will soon be watching all of us! We are happy with ATM and e-transfer, Uber, artificial intelligence and all of that; 5G carries the process forward further still. Soon, we will not need to carry an ATM that can get missing or stolen to make transactions and we will not need to carry bulky phone or multiple phones to make calls. As inconveniences are removed and transactions are made easier, we shall move inexorably towards the chip and 666

It is a process that appears inevitable – or else the Bible (and, by implication, God) would be a liar! One thing I have come to understand of God in my own little corner is this: If He warns you about anything, if that something does not ultimately happen, regardless of how careful you may try to be, you will see the shadow of it. It takes the grace of God to avoid anything God has said will happen.

Of course, there will be cut-throat competition and bitter struggle for control of the 5G process by the superpowers because it is big bucks. We are seeing that already. But the war has only just started. Expect it to get severer and messier over time. Where do we stand in all of these? We cannot stop the move! We are not in any pole position to compete! Things happen to us. We do not make things happen. We simply get sucked into the vortex. The truth, in fact, is that we have already been sucked into the passageway to 666!

Is there anyone not using ATM and e-transfer today? Is there any not in the computer age? Are we not videoconferencing? Soon, it will become possible to control the whole world from just one room. We are already on the way there. And we shall get there! Anyone who lives long enough will see it happen!

In all of this, one thing comforts me: That the Bible or, better still, the God of the Bible, is real! His predictions or revelations are coming to pass to minute details!

 

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