About a year ago, I moved home within Magodo. In my new abode, I was received by a shriller who was also a shirker. You don’t get such first-time, all-night hospitality, without becoming inquisitive, even if you have no reportorial credentials. But I am a bit laid-back in communal relation. Beyond pleasantries and sharing of the Good News, I hardly venture, add that, to the fact I was new. But this particular baby could yell and the midnight held special appeal for him. Because we are fence-separated, the midnight cries were really getting to me; at times I prayed, at times out of frustration, I would ask either of Holy Ghost or Angels of youth to comfort him by either sending him to sleep or attend to his needs, which the adults around him appeared to be clueless about. I just wanted the divinity to stop the shrilling. Weeks after, I started seeing a fair, absolutely handsome tot being handled anyhow by his older teenage cousins, when the two women in the house had reasons to be away from him.
The ever over-playful cousins further riveted my attention to the helpless baby, who they passed around like a toy, when mummies weren’t around. Somehow, I got accustomed to the shrills and suddenly discovered that the “yellow” fellow had started crawling and there were jaw-dropping moments for me, when I would see their compound from my window and this boy, getting into precarious spaces. But somehow, no serious harm came to this little soldier.
Expectedly, overtime, I got to hear his story, after noticing a man, regularly coming around to see him and the rest of the family. Appropriately named, Baby Miracle became motherless, a few minutes after his arrival on the earth and the aunts, who are retiring mothers, took charge, while the father tried to keep life going elsewhere, while paying regular visits. Ok, maybe nothing extraordinary in being motherless, upon arrival. It could be argued that countless children suffered same fate and maybe, many more, would still do, though my prayer is that such storm would forever cease. I’m resolved to stick with good news today, but it is going to be difficult closing one’s eyes to the high maternal mortality rate (second highest in the world according to UN records, contributing 14 per cent as of 2017 and the succeeding figures aren’t better), in Nigeria, where life continues to get devalued at an alarming rate. Even when God said the life of animal (and man) is in the blood, we shed it around here, like five naira “pure” water. Everywhere considered sacred in the past, has been violently violated by those with vampire demon, who seek blood to share (apologies to the Dame), in schools, at worship centres, in markets, on the highways, just name it. Almost nowhere is safe again. Almost, because no governor is yet kidnapped from the government house and Aso Rock is yet to be bombed. No, I can’t wish these on those two fortresses, only that the current dwellers should know that tenancy do expire and renewal of stay isn’t forever. If Boko Haram attempted the life of President Muhammadu Buhari as a former military Head of State, who says the growing band of bandits can attempt a repeat, after his presidency.
Did I not say today is for good news? So, practically no one gave this baby a survival chance, having been dealt a huge breast-milk blow when still in delivery-blood. Well, cant blame the skeptics. How many of Miracle’s contemporaries and kind, survived? I tried an elementary research on the connection of breast milk to human survival. Here is my finding. America’s Department of Health wrote:”It (breast milk), supplies ALL (emphasis mine) the Necessary nutrients in the proper proportions. It protects (babies) against allergies, sickness and obesity. Babies have healthier weights as they grow. Breastfed babies score higher on IQ tests”. It is given that Baby Miracle lacked all above, but he hasn’t only survived all odds, including the rough intense “grooming” of his cousins, especially a certain secondary school student who has practically taken the miraculous fellow under his “wings”, this guy, has moved from midnight cries, to crawling, then taking awkward steps trying to run away whenever I said to him, “come here, I need a miracle”, balancing himself with his chest in a very amusing manner, and now sauntering sure-footed, whenever we see and I throw the usual “I want Miracle” line. We are now better friends and I get to carry him and his usually-dirty dresses, (from cousins’ overplay which he is getting used to) but still have to force him into my car, amid whimpering. Apart from steady steps, Miracle now speaks. Lord, you are wonderful. He goes off, like “shurshez” for Success, his big cousin, to the amazement of all. So, Miracle made it by God’s grace and the mercy of the Lord kept him from becoming one of the 742 deaths per 1,000 live births in Nigeria’s infant mortality rate scale of 2019.
Without doubt, those jarring, chilling nights, Miracle was missing breast-milk, because nothing would make up for the divine provision, at birth. But the One who makes that milk has alternatives when His original provision isn’t available. Is He not God of manna? Many had slammed Nigerians for being too religious, perhaps the most, in the world. Well, we just need to cross the line between empty religious practices and spirituality, in obedience to God and the fruits, would be there for all, to see. We currently bear negligible fruits, because we are just following the will of man, in worship. If earthly leaders are solidly sold on the devilish and demonic, it stands to reason that whoever wants to fulfill destiny, must seek help and validation from the Omniscient.
With God, nothing shall be impossible. In the impossibility that Nigeria is gradually finding self, those who would “make” it like Baby Miracle, through the grace of God, won’t fail and fall, regardless of the vicissitudes in the land. His story has inspired me and encouraged my faith.
Now, a year and about two months, anytime I see him “shining” his teeth and “shadowing” me from a distance, I can’t but glorify God for His ways that are beyond the comprehension of men. So, why do man “form”?
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