Change of Times (Ecclesiastes 3)

by SOC Okenwa

The Holy Bible is known to both Christians and atheists as the greatest book ever to have been written by men of God (prophets and spirits) thousands of years before now. Inspired largely by the Holy Ghost the authors — possessing uncommon wisdom and intellect which cometh only from above — penned down immutable words and accounts, visions and realities that leave the mind always positively boggled and soaked in amazing divine guidance and wisdom whenever a page from Genesis to Revelation is opened forth. The Good Book is a divine road-map for redemption and destruction; it is both a great teacher and ubiquitous ‘judicial police’ –teaching humanity on the the narrow but assured way towards eternal life and at the same time the broad way to perdition. The Biblical contents police our conscience for eventual judgement: condemnation of unrighteousness or vindication of righteousness!

Last Sunday my pastor gave me a spiritual duty to perform at home: he decreed a 3-day fasting and praying sessions for me to observe starting from Tuesday. So on Monday I got myself and my household prepared for the tasking temptation-prone but edifying enterprise.

The dusk to dawn spiritual flesh-denying exercise was concluded last Thursday and I must confess here that it was worth it. A whole lot was gained non-materially. I almost imprisoned myself at home switching off my handset at dawn and only switching it on at 19 hours GMT much after each day’s observation. Contact with the outside world was limited.

The pastor, a soldier in the Lord’s vineyard, gave me a prayer point, a weapon with which I had sought the face of the Most High in a deliberate aspiration for personal re-newal of faith: Imagine the Possibilities, the Opportunities for a better secure future in the Lord!

As I observed the three-day concentrated journey into the spirit world I took time off to listen to good christian music, watch good christian films and above all study deeper the Bible and meditate on the purpose of life and living. The purpose of life and living is knowing the truth, doing the right thing and above all surrendering to the divine will of the Creator.

In Mark 9:23 for instance I came across a verse which says: “Jesus said unto him, if thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth”. Another chapter that caught my attention could be found in Romans 5 verse 1–5. It says:” Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulations worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us”.

In 1 Timothy 4: 14–16 the Bible declares: “Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee”.

And that brings me to the topic of my essay today: Ecclesiastes 3: 1–22 entitled Biblically “Change of Times”. Readers may well reach for their Scriptures and do a quick reading of the passage. The summary of the chapter is that there is time for everything under the sun. It begins by proclaiming: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…”

In life generally there’s a time apportioned to everything (good or bad) in all seasons. At 4.30 AM or thereabout daily when I rise from bed birds of different species make some joyful noises to both man and his Master; for them it is about time apparently to break the silence of dusk heralding a new day.

After the Spanish security officials murdered a compatriot (Osamuyia Aikpitanhi) whom they were violently deporting home a time came for Nigerians to say NO to barbarism and dehumanisation. Therefore on June 29th the appointed time came for those concerned to express their concerns by protesting and delivering protest letters to Spanish embassies around the world.

A certain Locust time came in Nigeria when a ruler impersonated Satan and like a diabolical train bearing within evil fruits of terror and horror, knocked off virtues and values as it trudged on on a journey of no return labouring hard to keep a desperate date with mortality. Sa(tan)ni Abacha had sought vainly to encapsulate and jail our collective faculties and ideas but when it was time for the evil to be tamed survivors of his demonic epoch gave God the glory for waging a ‘war of liberation’ on our sides!

There’s time for everything; for everything that has breath there’s time. A time came for a certain crook masquerading as an intellectual-politician in Abuja and Anambra State (Andy Uba) to be on the center-stage of Nigerian politics employing bravado, blackmail and naked psychophancy as weapons of self-aggrandisement. Alas, a time equally came for our impostor-governor and former Obasanjo chief-servant and cook to be demystified and no less an institution did the magic than the Supreme Court. Our 17-day old governor was told the bitter unadulterated truth found in Ecclestiastes 3 and he had to run away from the Awka government lodge even before an order to that effect was issued by the executives in Abuja. Fortunately those who put him there — Obasanjo and Maurice Iwu — could not help him as their powers were limited.

There’s a time for everything under the sun. A time came for an Egba-born young man who had confessed that he had nursed the ambition of becoming a good road-side mechanic to be enlisted into the Nigerian Armed Forces by a twist of fate in his favour. Former President Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo is a mischievous child of destiny!

A certain time came for one Olusegun Obasanjo to mount the leadership saddle in 1976 when Murtala Mohammed was killed in a bloody coup d’etat. He came then amidst fears and trepidation and saw but never conquered much to his credit. He handed over power to a reluctant Northern dove by name Shehu Shagari. Shagari presided over Nigeria sorrounded by hawks and devious politicians who undermined his presidency culminating in the Buhari-Idiagbon military intervention of last day of ’83.

Another time came once again for Buhari and his WAI-bearing patriotic regime to be thrown out through the same way he announced his arrival to Nigerians. An inner member of the military caucus, the perfidious Ibrahim Babangida led others like Sani Abacha to bid goodbye to the Buhari-led Generals. A time came for Olusegun Obasanjo, ‘this animal called man’ to be sent to prison by late Abacha having been convicted for treason associated with coup plotting. A time came for General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua to die in prison even with his packet of Rothmans cigarretes which kept him company abandoned. A time came for Obasanjo to transform himself into a ‘King Kong’ equating supreme leadership with ‘Babacracy’. A time came when OBJ thought it wise selling off our national monuments, houses and assets; awarding huge contracts hours before May 29 and appointing people into sensitive positions.

It is time for declaration of assets and liabilities by politicians back home. Starting from the “servant-leader” himself who declared almost a billion Naira worth of assets others with good conscience mostly from the north (like Alhaji ‘Sharia’ Sani Yerima, former Zamfara Governor, now Senator and Governor Ibrahim Idris of Kogi State) are following suits; curiously no southern politician has stood up to be counted. I am interested in knowning the net worth of ex-governors like Peter Odili of Rivers, Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia and Chimaroke Nnamani of Enugu.

It was time for the Abuja High Court to release Asari Dokubo on ‘bail’ but not yet time for the Yar’Adua administration to heed the popular call for MASSOB’s Ralph Uwazuruike’s release. Politics of connection in Nigeria is stifling quality leadership and enthroning mediocrity in its stead. And the time came for the SSS errand boys to go over to an Enugu hotel where

the Igbo National Congress were holding a press conference to disrupt proceedings few days ago arresting the leaders who were lamenting rightly the state-orchestrated marginalisation of the Igbos in the scheme of things politically and economically Nigerian.

A time has announced its arrival (since May 29) for President Umar Yar’Adua to be a hero or villain in our obscure search for a stable nationhood. The choice is wholly his! But the good news is that he or Obasanjo before him cannot write their success or failure stories for credible public consumption. Impartial observers and analysts (and not paid agents or spin doctors) will do that gladly.

And finally another time has come for Olusegun Obasanjo (the fake born-again christian and second ‘evil genuis’ after IBB) to announce his come-back to the Nigerian overcrowded political space just a month after ‘ceremonially’ relinquishing power to his chosen one. This time as autocratic Chairman of PDP’s Board of Trustees. Tony Anenih ‘Mr Fix it’ after engineering the ‘success’ of Prof Osunbor at Edo State guber election imposing him against the popular candidate who won the election has lost out in the power game he had thought he knew better. His fall from power might have thrilled Adams Oshiomhole and Tom Ikimi paving the way for the Edo State Election Petition Tribunal to do a thorough job towards retrieving the stolen mandate of the people.

Olusegun Obasanjo (who still has Igbo/Yoruba paternity questions left unanswered) still has time to redeem himself but the problem remains that he is a serious candidate for perfidy. His major concern, it appears, is to continue being relevant so that his fabulous loot will be protected and the illicit interest of many political monsters he created will equally be protected. We must go back to the trenches, ladies and gentlemen, because Obasanjo is not done yet with his destructive strategies, strategies towards national dispossession.

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