Terrorism In Ozubulu Church! By SOC Okenwa
Last Sunday terrorism was ‘exported’ to the serene land of Ozubulu in Anambra state by unknown undesirable elements. Early in the morning of that fateful day of our Lord worshippers in their large numbers and nice attires had gathered at St. Philips Catholic Church in the town to worship their God and glorify Him for His little mercies and miracles of surviving the ‘hell’ that is living in Nigeria. Lo and behold, as the morning mass was going on with the priest presiding, terrorists, armed and dangerous, struck leaving behind rivers of blood!
According to online reports, they brutally murdered about a dozen people and left scores wounded, some fatally. The killers wore army uniforms and drove in military trucks! Those who saw the sons of satan arrive and those who witnessed the carnage were almost united in their chilling account of what gruesomely happened.
Hours after the gory incident the Anambra state Governor, Willie Obiano, visited the church accompanied by the state Commissioner of Police Garba
Umar. There and then, reports had it, Obiano had declared that it was a drug-related ‘war’ whose repercussions were ‘imported’ closer home from abroad! Many commentators on social media were shocked by the Governor’s hasty and tactless declaration. His indiscretion was condemned outright by many online.
Pray, how could a state Chief Executive be so bold to reach such infantile conclusion without giving any room for detailed investigations to be diligently carried out by the competent authorities? When did Obiano become the executive investigator whose word could be taken hook, line and sinker without question? How could the overfed and probably tipsy Governor have known that some foreign-based drug barons or cartels were involved remotely in the butchery of his people?
The problem with Obiano is that he is not a professional politician, one who exercises some decorum and diplomacy in his utterances. Here is a professional banker drafted out of the corporate world in Lagos by the erstwhile Governor Peter Obi (ostensibly playing the godfather) to come down to Awka to succeed him in power as his second tenure ran its course. Here is an Aguleri man in love with mundane bibulous good life: choice wines, women, foreign vacations and good food!
Now there is the gubernatorial election coming up in November in the light of the nation and this same incumbent Governor (whose performance so far is below average) is seeking re-election. The opposition must be united and put their house in order for them to be able to wrest power easily from this drinking Governor. Obiano may not win any re-election unless the poll is rigged in his favour or vested political interests carry out an ‘anointment’ or ‘coronation’ as usual!
The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) remains a unique political party in Nigeria, one that is neither in the mainstream nor the opposition. It has the distinction of being the only ‘opposition’ party governing only a state in the whole federation of 36 states! APGA post-Ojukwu has since lost its fire as a vibrant quality party. The leadership has lost what it takes to be taken seriously in any national political discussion. The late Ikemba Ojukwu had founded the party with the intention to use same to penetrate the Igboland and provide sound leadership to the people. Alas the idea behind APGA has since been compromised by politicians of fortune and merchants of power.
Even if we assume, for one passing moment, that the killings had anything to do with international narcotics trade (in South Africa or elsewhere) would it not have been fair or better for that fact (yet to be proven) to be established firmly after days or weeks of extensive exhaustive investigations? Is it, by the way, true that the catholic church attacked in Ozubulu was built by a businessman of questionable character? Who goes by the moniker ‘Bishop’ and what is his source of livelihood? Was he the target or the instigator of the bloodletting in the holy place?
Beyond the drug gang connections, however, what if the killers were to be Fulani herdsmen or even Boko Haram terrorists? Who gave them the military uniforms they wore and the vehicles they came to the scene with? Were they military men carrying out orders from anti-Biafra sources? These are some of the troubling questions that ought to be elucidated and answered by the authorities before any defensible conclusion is made. Otherwise, whatever is said could be seen as a beer parlor gossiping or narratives of ignorant folks.
Nigeria is a failed state where any criminal can just do anything and get away with it. Security of lives and property only exists on paper or worst still, in the futile imaginations of the unpatriotic unimaginative politicians. Impunity is the order of the day and corruption has almost destroyed whatever we seek to achieve in terms of greatness. You have fake gods and godfathers, fake prophets and prophecy; fake policemen and military and para-military elements, fake jihadists and crusaders; fake Christians and Muslims. You have got fake schools and students, fake certificates and ‘certificates’ (apology to OUK!); fake food and drinks.
In fact, the country itself is one fake Lugardian entity with fake citizens; fake politicians and politics, fake federalism and isms; fake democracy and Democrats; fake fathers and mothers. The ubiquity of fake is beguiling indeed!
In the 21st century world where the Internet and computer technology have revolutionalised the way we are and live our ‘great’ country is still in the analog age! You have manual rulers and followers; manual contracts and contractors. We have a long way to go as we have deliberately failed to reform and restructure our nation to meet our needs and satisfy our collective yearnings. Unless and until we take the bull by the horn and do the right thing the needful would remain unattended to leading to frustrations and agitations for a better deal.
When an incident like a collapse of a building, falling of a tanker filled with fuel or the massacre in Ozubulu takes place more often than not we are quick to provide unscientific answers to difficult scientific questions. Often the devil is blamed and everyone moves ahead with their miserable lives! When Badoo boys hack someone down to death on the streets in Ikorodu Lagos we run for dear lives rather than confronting them. The gun or machete must be demystified in Nigeria if we hope to make any meaningful progress towards modernism.
From Ozubulu to my hometown of Ihiala is just some kilometers apart. I was terrified by the horrendous news of the murder in the house of God, an abominable display of insanity whose consequence must be decided by the higher Master above. The majority of the Igbos were born into the Catholic church. The Vatican-controlled church with global outreach and appeal was held in awe in every village as we were growing up. Reverend Fathers and Bishops were held in high esteem and seen by some as demi-gods. But all those impressions have changed as time went on. Now priests are associated with “uncatholic” scandals bordering on pedophile, open rebellion against the celibate doctrine and the encroaching distractions of civilization. Today it is no longer a taboo to see a priest engaging in unholy alliances or indulging in mundane matters like politics, corruption and sexual perversion.
Whereas we pretend to love God and fear Him our hypocrisy stinks to high heavens exposing our ‘godliness’ folly whenever such cowardly dastardly act of terror like the Ozubulu invasion happened. How can any people that see religion as the best thing that can happen to their lives condone or tolerate the bloodshed inside a hallowed temple? By committing such sacrilegious act God is not mocked but challenged! But He is said to be slow to anger. His wrath shall, at the fullest of time, be visited upon those that defiled His homestead. Woe betide those that went inside His sanctuary to shed the blood of the innocent! May the souls of the departed rest in peace.