When on Thursday, May 6, 2010, then Acting President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was inaugurated as substantive President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, many well-meaning Nigerians were jubilant, hopeful and grateful. So overwhelming was the nature of celebrations that, for once in our history, the people perceived the inevitable emergence of a new Nigeria, where everyone, whether from Kuru, Ileja, Ngwa or Otueke would have a sense of belonging, self pride and true sense of integration.
The national funfair was indeed powered by the failure of intrigues and political manipulations by a few over ambitious politicians who shamelessly politicised the protracted ill-health of a Goodman, a team leader and Nigeria’s President, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to truncate a constitutional transition. Though Nigerians mourned, and rightly so, the passage May 5, 2010 of such rare humanist, they found in the emergence of his vice and tag-team partner a fresh opportunity to sustain the glowing legacy.
On that day, so overwhelmed, facilitator of the Red Rose Oasis of love foundation, Aunty Sarah Ngowari Dikibo, whose third album we are today gathered to celebrate, sent out the following SMS message to friends and followers: Breaking News. The Maker has done it again. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has been sworn-in as President of Nigeria, with an Okrika Lady as First Lady. What is beyond the Most High! This, indeed, is history, made by the Hand of God. Am happy to see this day that ,confirms, Patience truly pays. Congratulations Niger Delta: Congratulations, Nigeria.
Aunty Sarah Dikibo’s joy was most understandable. In her last and second prophetic album, “A Canaan Mu-abe” (I am Enroute Canaan), the singer had predicted the breaking of chains that bound the Niger Delta in order to set the stage for a glorious political dawn. That was at a time when, Late Yar’ Adua was hail and hearty and no glaring suggestion that Dr. Jonathan would ever be President.
In that work, the singer had chronicled the pains, pranks and political strangulation of the Niger Delta which only rewards for being the hub of the hydro-carbon industry upon which Nigeria’s economic survival rests, were deprivation, avoidable deaths of men, women, children and productive youths, economic stagnation, environmental pollution, denial of political space and indeed outright marginalisation.
But, what years of political protest, informed protest, informed intellectual agitations and youth militancy could not achieve was in her view, made possible by a simple, but most marvelous divine fiat that eventually exalted the meek and lowly, defensless and weak, but productive and endowed, into relevance.
That divine intervention, the need to appreciate the Most High for His Eternal Love and Care, the challenge of making real meaning out of the same and building in all hearts fresh hope, a fresh dawn and thus a fresh beginning grounded in the constant realisation of God’s ever present Guarding Hand in the affairs of men, form the nucleus of Aunty Sarah Dikibo’s new album, “The Time Has Come ..• Goodluck Jonathan Is Divine Choice” – a prophecy fulfilled ..
It is above all else, a cursory rehash of the Niger Delta’s sad past, the divine intervention of the present and what hope that holds for a country that for years, took for granted that might is always right, majority alone can be right, and minority must at all times be minors in every national discourse for integration.
All songs are in both English and the Singer’s native tongue – Okrika and quite understandably, celebrates one of her own, Nigeria’s First Lady, Her Excellency, Dr. Patience Ibifaka Jonathan. In track after track, the singer’s sonorous voice of praise and divination runs through like fire and is complemented by scintillating trado-funk instrumentation. It is amply boosted by native water pot music and laced with a soul-moving trumpet at its best. Most tracks offer touching ministration underlining her rare spiritual calling and Christian background.
This 9-traker is, without doubt, a soothing departure from her mournful debut album ‘Afike’ (She’s not Dead), a soulful dirge in memory of her late mother and a near-perfect continuum to her second album – ‘A Canaan Mu-abe’; ‘Am enroute Canaan’. In the singer’s view, the political space today granted the once neglected Niger Delta, through the divine emergence of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as President, epitomizes a prophetic triumphant entry into a political Canaan, only if one and all make their votes count behind the Jonathan candidacy.
“What can we (Niger Deltans) render unto the Lord for all His blessing towards us!” In our Neglected State we had nothing to offer except our own dehumanisation, neglect and deprivation which for years reduced us to helpless slaves. Is that really why we could no longer burst forth in joy? If not so, doesn’t the mysterious intervention that has positioned a minority of the minorities to pilot the affairs of governance, in the polity of our nation call for a Niger Delta Thanksgiving Day, in gratitude to His Great Omniscience? For the singer, it is that victory, standing in same consciousness, with joyful hearts and in gratitude to the Most High, and even more importantly overwhelmed by His Omnipotence and Omniscience, that the group offers its sounds of praise; as it sings the first track:
1. “Alpha and Omega, Creator Art Thou”
Truly, the Lord our God is Alpha and Omega who commands into being and makes impossibilities possible. Overwhelmed by the magnitude of the manifestation of His command in Nigeria, the ensemble trembles with awe and offers to exhalts Him in praise and worship. That same incomprehensibility of His ways informed the following track.
2. “Che Iba Boro Somi Deki?”
(What kind of pillar suspends the sky). The third (3) track calls on all to join in worship and glorify the Most high for His Marvelous work in Nigeria.
3. “Obalafamaye Miesa-e Ibuso 0 boma”
(He has done a marvelous thing join me and glorify him). Many might wonder what miracle that might be but the deliberate suspense created in the 3rd track is broken as the 4th track offers answers with a brief background to the Niger Delta struggle.
4. “In the History of Great Nigeria the Ijaw man was relegated”.
This track celebrates the region’s i1lustrous son and brother, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, whose current office as the number one citizen of Nigeria, in the views of the Victorious Trumpeters is History made by the hand of God. For that even Abuja joined in thanksgiving but while celebrating there, the Nigerians heard bomb blasts at Eagle Square, and later reports of container load of arms imported into the country. The Victorious Trumpeters therefore, wondered what could have led to such dangerous jokes in a community that should savour the sweet brotherhood of a new Nigeria. Who could they be after, could the choice of little David from the little town of Bethlehem, to occupy the seat of government be so intimidating to Saul that he is trying to throw Javelins at him again?
Come what may, the group sings in prayers for the protection of Mr. President in the Fifth (5th) track.
5. “Somi Temese Kiri-temebo Da Ogbein ye”
(Creator of Heaven and Earth, Father protect Him). Having handed over the life of Mr. President and his family into the protective wings of the Almighty, the group continues to celebrate the goodness of the Lord in their lives in the following song.
6. “Niger Delta O-wa boma me”
(Niger Delta, We are Blessed). While in this celebration the group realises that the time is indeed ripe for the proper election of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. But why? Within a brief period, some national maladies that seemed intractable were’ addressed. For instance, within a very brief stay Jonathan announced plans for a $3.5 billion national electricity grid, vigorously pursed women integration in governance through the appointment of two female opposition politicians from the North into his first cabinet on August 11, 2010, and on August 26, 2010, unveiled a multi-billion dollar strategy to end chronic power shortages. For once, the Igbos feel a sense of fulfillment with the appointment of their own to head the Army, vigorous education and health sector reforms and above all else defending the unity, corporate survival and hope for the future Nigeria of our dreams. Today, the long queues at filing stations are gone. Nigeria’s Aviation industry has earned Grade ‘A’ rating while, for once, there are strong signals that every vote will count. Little wonder, Nigerians are most expectant. For these and many other giant strides, the band attempts to rally votes for Jonathan convinced that his present incumbency was undoubtedly ordained, as they key in to the celestial clarion call in the title track.
7. “The time has come … Goodluck Jonathan is Divine Choice”.
This is the title track. “Already, we can hear all Nigerians say it must be Goodluck. Infact, no fewer than 40 political parties have already declared him there consensus candidate. This, to the group, is another history in the making and confirms public approval of his stay in power and to superintend the reigns of government: therefore, they amplify the views of the people that Dr. Jonathan be returned because he’s the people’s choice and do sing.
8. “We believe in you, lead us”
We believe in the current team of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and Architect Namadi Sambo. We believe in the motherly role of our beloved mother, Dame Dr. Patience Ibifaka Jonathan, a rare gem, motivator, a source of inspiration to many and importantly, a worthy daughter of Okrika. With these qualities, the group believes the fire of the Lord must have spoken to Dr. Jonathan to break the prison gates and set the captives free.
9. “Sofini Ani-okwein”
(Heavenly fire, it speaks). This is the ninth track. God’s Command to Jonathan is however unlike that to Moses who had to stand before a Pharaoh to demand the release of his kinsmen in bondage but more like David’s who is challenged by the sufferings of the region and indeed Nigeria and is set to tinker ways of building a new Nigeria where all will be proud of. So, Jonathan the group prays, should remember such deprivations and evolve a viable strategy to provide a new Jerusalem in their steads.
It is the singer’s belief that Jonathan’s election into office in April 2011, will wipe away Nigerians’ tears, wash off the blood of Niger Delta fallen heroes, spilled in our land, and give our children and generations unborn fresh hope, through positive changes they can see and feel.