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Examining The Issues In National Confab

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Ever since President
Goodluck Jonathan inaugurated the National Conference Advisory Committee, there have been a lot of controversies about the permissible and “no-go’’ areas of the conference.
Besides, issues bordering on equitable representation have particularly elicited lots of disagreement, ahead of the dialogue.
In its report, the Sen. Femi Okunronmu-led committee recommended that the conference, which will commence in March and last for three months, would discuss any subject matter “except the indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as a nation.’’
While many Nigerians acquiesce to the committee’s stance that Nigeria’s unity is non-negotiable, some are of the view that Nigerians should be allowed to deliberate on their continued co-existence so as to enable the conference to be a true dialogue.
The committee recommended, among other things, that President Jonathan should nominate114 delegates, out of the 492 delegates proposed for the conference.
States are expected to nominate three persons each; while political parties that have representation in the National Assembly, PDP, APC, APGA, Accord Party and Labour Party, are to nominate two delegates each.
Religious and professional bodies, women groups, socio-political or ethnic groups, national academies, ex-political office holders, the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, ALGON, traditional rulers, retired military and security personnel will also have representation.
The delegates will also include retired civil servants, representatives of labour unions, organised private sector, civil society organisations, Nigerians in the Diaspora and persons living with disabilities.
The Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) will also nominate delegates to the conference.
Leaders of the Igbo ethnic group, under the aegis of Concerned Igbo Leaders, however, expressed their disapproval of the report.
According the group, the recommendations of the committee do not reflect the true aspirations of Nigerians.
The Prof. Ben Nwabueze-led group rejected the committee’s notion that selection of delegates to the conference should be based on the number of federal constituencies that were represented in the House of Representatives.
The Igbo leaders also insisted that Nigeria needed a brand-new constitution and that representation at the conference should be based on ethnic nationalities.
Another pan-Igbo group, OhanaezeNdigbo, said that the six geo-political zones of the country should be represented by the same number of delegates.
The group also said that the priority agenda of the conference should how to restructure the country’s federation along the lines of the six geo-political zones only and not by states – the current structure.
Chief Garry Igarawey, the President General of OhanaezeNdigbo, said that the national conference should resolve the perceptible imbalances in the country.
“The present six geopolitical zones should be recognised as the federating units. OhanaezeNdigbo will be absolutely involved in the conference,’’ he said.
On its part, a group of ethnic minorities, Movement for New Nigeria (MNN), which comprises Itsekiris, Ijaws, Tivs, Jukun and Idoma, among others, expressed the hope that the coming conference would correct the errors of the past.
A MNN leader, Mr Timi Ogoriba, said that the movement believed that the national conference would be able to provide a panacea to the multifarious problems plaguing Nigeria.
“However, the ethnic nationalities will reject any suggestion of using the current imposed structures.
“We believe that sovereignty belongs to the people and that the constituent power to make or enact constitution exclusively rests on the people,’’ he said.
Nevertheless, Mr Victor Anyanwu, a public affairs analyst, argued that the entities which constituted Nigeria were not consulted before the nation came into existence.
“Nigerians who are campaigning for no-go areas in the forthcoming conference ought to be reminded of how a union is formed.
“The various tribes and nationalities that constituted the defunct Lagos Colony, Southern and Northern Protectorates, before they were amalgamated in 1906 and 1914 respectively, were never consulted before they were jumbled together,’’ he said.
However, Mr Abeni Muhammed (SAN), an Ilorin-based lawyer, said that such arrangements were not extraordinary in nation-building processes across the world.
He, nonetheless, expressed the hope that the coming national conference would solve the political and economic problems bedevilling the country.
Muhammed suggested that the resolutions of the forthcoming conference should be used as the basis of creating new constitution for the country.
He said that the conference should also aim at compelling the various states of the federation to harness their economic potential to generate revenue, instead of solely depending on monthly allocations from the Federation Account.
Sharing similar sentiments, Dr Kalu Idika Kalu, a former Minister of Finance, said that the national conference should have the capacity to address all the observable imbalances in the country.
He said that President Jonathan had taken the right step in ensuring that the citizens came together, with a view to addressing some of the challenges facing the country.
He called on all ethnic nationalities as well as politicians, irrespective of their party affiliation, to embrace the national dialogue, which “is in the best interest of the nation.
“Whether as governors, senators, president or members of the house, let us take a new look at the structure that is going to give Nigeria maximum growth and development.
“We can delay the elections a little bit to enable us to restructure and bring about a system that will promote growth. That is more important than rushing to another election.
“Nigerians need to sit down and talk because we are having problems all over the place. So, let’s sit down and talk about the framework that will make Nigeria work,” he said.
Kalu said that the country would be more viable if the framework for restructuring the country was based on the local government system.
On its part, a pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere Renewal Group, said that the conference was crucial for the survival of the country.
Chief Reuben Fasoranti, a leader of the group, regretted that some forces had benefited from the imbalance and inequity in the country over decades.
“Afenifere considers the national conference as the soul of a new Nigeria and as such, it is much more important than anything in the polity, the 2015 election inclusive.
“That is why we are strongly advising that the conference should be concluded early so that the 2015 elections can be conducted on the basis of the new constitution,’’ Fasoranti said.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that it would boycott the conference, describing it as “diversionary’’.
“What we really have to do is a constitutional amendment and not a national conference; we shall not be a party to the national conference.”
The party said that it might participate in the national conference because of its reservations as to the desirability of the talks.
All the same, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) rejected a suggestion of OhanaezeNdigbo that representation of the six geopolitical groups in the forthcoming national conference should be equal
Mr Anthony Sani, ACF’s Publicity Secretary, argued that there was no justification for such calls, as the proposal was purely against justice and fairness.
“One wonders the justification in making the representations by Igbos and Idoma of Benue State to be guided by the principle of equality or that the representations of southeast and northwest zones should be on an equal basis.
“Those making such submissions are trying to reinvent the wheel or redefine democracy to mean minority prevails.
“It is too early to forget the fact that the progenitor of the unitary system, introduced by the country’s first military head of state, Gen. Aguiyi-Ironsi, was our revered Zik (Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe),’’ he said.
All in all, the general consensus of opinion is that Nigeria stands to benefit a lot from remaining a single, united entity; instead of allowing the federating units to go their separate ways.
Political analysts insist that the upcoming conference should serve as a veritable platform to define pragmatic terms for strengthening the corporate and peaceful existence of the country.

Nwoko writes for News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

President Goodluck Jonathan (left), discussing with Secretary, Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue, Dr Akilu Indabawa (middle) and the Chairman, Senator Femi Okurounmu, in Abuja.

President Goodluck Jonathan (left), discussing with Secretary, Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue, Dr Akilu Indabawa (middle) and the Chairman, Senator Femi Okurounmu, in Abuja.

Ifeanyi Nwoko

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NAFDAC And Intensification Of Regulatory Activities

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Those who feel that NAFDAC has become less effective in the fulfilment of its statutory responsibilities over the years may need to have a rethink as the Agency’s Director General, Professor Mojisola Christiana Adeyeye, says its current management team under her watch has remained more resolute, determined and well-focused than ever in the commitment to rid Nigeria of fake and substandard regulated products of the agency.
As a silent achiever and scientific revolutionarist, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye is of the view that a lot has been and is still being achieved by the Agency in all areas of its statutory responsibilities.
The NAFDAC chief executive officer assured that she has left no stone unturned in her determination to rid the nation of fake pharmaceuticals and other unwholesome products of the agency’s interest.
The Director General bared her mind on her efforts at the agency so far and other sundry issues while speaking with Nigeria media practitioners on Tuesday 12th April, 2022 at the Organisation’s Corporate Office Complex Auditorium along Apapa/Oshodi expressway in Lagos.
Speaking at the well-attended press meeting, Professor Adeyeye assured Nigerians of the agency’s management competence and determination to leave up to Nigerians’ expectations in the fulfilment of its statutory mandate, stressing that NAFDAC under her, has not and will never lose its steam as a regulatory agency.
The NAFDAC boss, who debunked the rumour that the agency was fast becoming a toothless bull-dog leading to slow response to regulatory issues, explained that due to the digitalistion of its port directorate, detections, enforcement and regulations have become more encouraging and effective.
Passionately, the NAFDAC helms woman told her story of how she labouriously and patriotically steered the agency’s administrative vessel (ship) from its past leadership to anchor admirably and decently while simultaneously admitting that more need to be done progressively.
According to her, over 3 billion naira worth of fake drugs and other regulated products of the agency were recently seized in Lagos state as part of effort to stamp out influx of fake pharmaceuticals.
While not denying the fact that few quantities of fake NAFDAC regulated products still reside in some Nigerian communities, the anti-fake drugs Caesar explained that incidence of fake drugs could be more in border towns and villages but out rightly minimal in the hinterland (towns and cities) due to the extremely porous nature of our land borders.
The amiable professor opined that recent United States Pharmacopeia (USP) and NAFDAC survey in reasonable number of Nigerian states has revealed minimal percentage presence of fake anti-malaria drugs in circulation.
She said the indebtedness of the agency which stood at a whopping sum of ¦ 3.2 billion naira when she took over leadership baton at the agency, have been successfully neutralised with the payment of 3.01 billion naira off the debt by the NAFDAC current administration under the acclaimed noiseless Professor Adeyeye.
She maintained that owing to her dogged efforts, the agency’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure, budgetary procedures and practices, products certification applications numbering over 6,000, provision of logistics and facilities for NAFDAC inspections to avoid compromise, evolution of a dynamic quality management system via gazetting of NAFDAC regulations leading to the attainment of maturity level three otherwise known as ML3 status of the World Health Organisation (WHO) which is vaccines production enabling and facilitating certification, introduction of government backed secured E-mail to transmit reports etc., acquisition of more laptops for the agency’s personnel was attained.
A long standing agreement which would boost local Covid – 19 vaccines production assuming a public private partnership (PPP) on Bio-Vaccines on which Nigerian Federal Government has 49 percent stake while May and Baker, an indigenous pharmaceutical firm has 51 percent was already implemented/activated – she remarked.
Also in an attempt to mop-up and avert circulation of fake drugs, 40 (forty) units of a scientific handheld device worth 57,000 United States dollars each were procured by the agency, she acknowledges stating that also recently, NAFDAC officials were drafted to China and India where they inspected laboratories and production facilities of 19 pharmaceutical plants for regulatory compliant practices otherwise known as Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Certification.
Expectedly, the agency’s quality assurance regulation cum assessment procedures were being regularly and professionally put in checks with a view to bringing it constantly in consonance with international best practices in the sector, she further elucidated adding that this was made possible through unflinching collaboration between NAFDAC and both indigenous and foreign agencies like the World Health Organisation (WHO), Nigeria Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRID), United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) etc.
Apparently referring to Nigeria’s status in the committee of nations which has accorded her (Nigeria) the status of a “Giant of Africa”, which requires it to be up and doing in all facets of national growth with a view to sustaining its prideful place in leadership, Professor Adeyeye opined that retaining this leadership status (Giant of Africa) has unquestionably placed on Nigeria’s shoulders the need to compulsorily ensure that health boosting NAFDAC regulated products, comply with international standards or best practices.  “You cannot be a giant without acceptable standards”, she added.
On the proliferation of fake herbal mixtures and trado-medicals the director-general pointed out that NAFDAC was out rightly on top of the game as very stringent efforts and measures have been put in place to avert such unwholesome practice/development in the country.  Professor Adeyeye maintained that NAFDAC manpower development to boost efficiency and effectiveness has equally been accorded well deserved priority which has paid off by boosting the agency’s operations locally and internationally.
The professor further explained that in order to boost and intensify indigenous production of pharmaceuticals, a pharmaceutical intervention fund aimed at bringing succour to indigenous production plants in the sector was being sustained and it involves Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).  This will ensure availability of steady financial bailout for these drug firms for sustainability and growth.
Considerably it is also expected that this gesture will boost employment opportunities for professionals in the sector and foster products price reduction cum export, she hinted.
The Amazon NAFDAC head stated that the agency’s new digitalised ports directorate and other departments have been proactive and highly efficient in the discharge of assigned responsibilities as evident in the reasonable sanity which has so far pervaded the production and movement of pharmaceutical products nationwide.
She revealed that this patriotic and professionalised efforts of NAFDAC work force under her as head, led to the recent seizure of 80 types of fake drugs recently shipped into the country from China and India by some disgruntled elements in the pharmaceutical trade.
The NAFDAC director general further informed the Nigeria news hounds that the agency as a matter of tradition does embark on periodic assessment of quality standards for medicines in circulation nationwide to ensure that available pharmaceuticals are produced intandem with international standard.
Professor Adeyeye, who emphasised the need for Nigerians to support the agency for greater and more progressive achievements revealed that a quality assessment exercise for drugs was recently embarked upon by NAFDAC and the World Health organisation (WHO) in reasonable number of Nigerian cities and towns to determine the prevalence of fake/substandard drugs in Nigeria and the outcome of the survey was maximally impressive and highly revealing.
On NAFDAC recertification of Covid-19 vaccines moved into the country from foreign nations, the D.G averred that despite having been tested by the WHO and certified for use worldwide as widely acknowledged, NAFDAC still reserves the right to subject the vaccines to further re-assessment/scientific recertification processes before being used by Nigerians to ensure that they are in line with specified relevant and acceptable standards, while promising that the agency under her as chief executive will continuously record enormous progress and never know retrogression.

By: Martins F. O. Ikhilae

Ikhilae is a Public Affairs Analyst.

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Bestiality: At The Threshold Of Depravity

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It is quite surprising how bestiality, the act of having intercourse with animals, also known as Zoophilia, is gradually gaining ground in our clime of late. News of women in Lagos and some other metropolitan cities in Nigeria having intercourse with dogs has been rampant lately. Why would humans created in God’s image fall to such abysmal moral level, and what can justify a person’s decision to sleep with an animal? These have remained a puzzle begging for answers. While some  speculate pornographic content, others say it could be recreational purpose.
All the same, it is suspected that  desperation for money  and inordinate quest for power and influence may not be ruled out as reasons behind such despicable act. The viral video about a woman sleeping with a dog, speaks volumes of the disregard to moral values and the word of God. It is one of the hallmarks of depravity and gross sex perversion of our time. It reveals a conscience that is no more alive. Thus, Othman Dan Fodio’s maxim that “conscience is an open wound, only truth can heal”, does not find expression.
It is dignifying to be a woman. Like men, women are created in the image of God. Women are the gateway to earthly life. We owe our existence to God first and on a lighter side, to the woman. An ungodly woman has the power to  decide which pregnancy to keep or not to keep. Such is the power of the woman. However, the recent video of a woman having sex with dog for a paltry sum of N1.5million leaves much to be desired and a very bad taste in the mouth. Though the gory incident is a common phenomenon, it is a means of livelihood for baser fellows—women who are depraved and have no regard for morality.
This untoward development is also associated with some men, who it is alleged, sleep with animal either for the fun of it or ritual purposes. This is madness.
Humans sleeping with animal is one thing that should not be heard of. It reduces them to the level of the animal he or she sleeps with, because sex is a function of compatibility. Those involved in such illicit relationship admit that they are one and the same in soul and body. The act translates to soul tie, an unholy union.
I wonder if there is a creature with a capacity to reproduce sexually that sleeps with any creature outside its kind except humans. Even in the animal and bird kingdoms there is no sex mismatch. For instance, dog does not have sex with goat, neither does pig mate with another  animal, the fowl will go for its opposite kind.
If animals which act on instinct, do not reason, not moral beings and not created in the image of God stick to their kind, what on earth should attract a man to an animal? It shows a height of disrespect to the dignity of the humans.
Look at the creation account. God created animals male and female. “Male and female created He them” and according to their kind to perpetuate the regeneration and multiplication of such creatures. This explains why God instructed Noah to preserve animals according to their kind in the ark prior to the flood that devastated the then world.
If God had intended man to sleep with animal or animal to mate with animals of other kind, there would not be need  for the creation of the opposite human or animal sex. Any of the several animals in Eden would have sufficed sex satisfaction, companionship and fellowship for Adam.
Adam also acknowledged the uniqueness of Eve in the sex parity, thus he declared: This is the bone of my bone and the flesh of my flesh, she shall be called a woman. Interestingly, there was no mismatch. Even the All wise God knows that a mating of two strange creatures would create complicated reproduction outcome. No doubt, product from such carnal intercourse will have a dual nature. The product will develop the features of both creatures. What should be the product of a woman’s sex relationship with a dog if any or how will the product of such illicit relationship look like?
No doubt, we are in the last of the last days, so much so that the world will be inundated with worse scenes to the detriment of those who indulge in them.
In his graphic narration and foretelling of some depravities of humans that will inevitably lead to God’s judgement, Paul, the intrepid evangelist and vocal proponent of respect for morality,  states without mincing words: Being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality… without natural affection, implacable… who, knowing the judgement of God, that they who commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but have pleasure in them that do them (Rom. 1: 29—32).
Bestiality is sex perversion, it is sin against God, a crime against humanity and an affront on the sensibility of reasonable and conscientious people. Those who indulge in it unconsciously admit that they are beasts, not humans.
What does Nigerian law say about Bestiality?  Even in the Nigerian law the illicit and dehumanising act of sleeping with animal is punishable. The Criminal Code Act criminalises sleeping with animal and prohibits all sexual acts that are repugnant to the “order of nature”. It attracts fourteen years imprisonment upon conviction based on Section 214 of the Criminal Code Act and Section 284  of the Penal Code Act.
Section 214 of the Criminal Code Act states that, “Any person who (1) has carnal knowledge with any person against the order of nature or (2) has carnal knowledge of an animal or (3) permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature, is guilty of felony, and is liable to imprisonment for fourteen years”.
In the same vein, Section 284 of the Penal Code Act also criminalises all sexual acts that are not in tandem with “order of nature”. The Act states that “Whoever has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman, or animal shall be punished with imprisonment  with a term which may extend to fourteen years and shall also be liable to a fine”.
What is the “Order of Nature”? In my lay man’s view, would imply carnal intercourse of man and woman in decent manner or behaviour. Anything short of decency is criminal, including rape. The danger associated with such inglorious acts cannot be treated with levity.
A former Canadian Executive Director of the Animal Justice Group, Camille Labchuk, once said, “People who sexually abuse animals are sometimes linked to sexually abusing children as well”. Perpetrators  are usually viewed as psychopats. Sexual contact with animals (SCA) has far-reaching health consequences which has not been discussed by the media, animal rights advocates, and lawmakers as well. Now that this act has found its way into our society, it is important to highlight the major health risks of SCA  as well as raise the awareness of health professionals about this issue, as it is underreported in the medical literature.
Apart from the fact that it is a crime against nature and an actual crime, bestiality can be fatal and deadly. It  is considered a taboo subject in the modern society, yet the reported prevalence rates range from 8.3 per cent to 4.9per cent for men and 3.6per cent to 1.9per cent for women in normal population [4-6]. However, in psychiatric inpatients its  prevalence rate  is very high (55per cent) which led to the suggestion that the questions about SCA should be included in the psychiatric clinical interviews.
Zoonotic diseases or zoonoses are the diseases of animals that can be transmitted from animals to humans. Although over 200 zoonoses have been identified which can be caused by bacteria, parasites, fungi, and viruses. Out of which, three most dangerous ones include; Leptospirosis, Echinococcosis and Rabies.
Leptospirosis: Any contact with the sexual organs of dogs, cattle, pigs, horses and sheep can transmit this bacterial disease to humans. Leptospirosis can cause Meningitis which leads to death in about 10 per cent of the cases. Echinococcosis: Parasitic worms from the faces of dogs, cats, and sheep can cause this disease. The worms cause cysts in lungs, liver, brain, spleen, heart, and kidneys. If not treated, this disease can be fatal.
Rabies; one of the most severe of zoonoses, it  is transmitted from the saliva of cats, dogs and horses, which affects the central nervous system and is almost always fatal if not treated soon after the exposure. In addition to the diseases one can catch through SCA, there is also the risk of injury that can be caused by large animals such as horses during the sexual intercourse.
SCA is also a risk factor for urological diseases among humans. In a study of 118 penile cancer patients, 44.9 per cent patients had reported SCA leading to a conclusion that sex with animals is a risk factor for penile cancer and may be associated with veneral diseases.
According to the World Health Organisation, although the zoonoses represent significant public health risks, they are not prioritised by world health systems. Hundreds of thousands of people are affected by these diseases even though most of them can be prevented. zoophilia is an important community health concern of current times, it is thus   high time countries provided needed steps to deal with this crime and stop downplaying on the seriousness of zoophilia
Nevertheless, the fear of God and value re-orientation by the family, society and government, are ways to overcome the problem of sex perversion. Everybody who has a stake in the society is under the obligation of good conscience to protect the sanctity of morality. All stakeholders should be at forefront of the titanic struggle to zealously guard moral and ethical values.
Let us fight bestiality. It reduces the dignity of humans.

By: Igbiki Benibo & Sylvia ThankGod-Amadi

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The Resurrection:  Myth Or Real?

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The Bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the Christian’s confessions that since first century A. D. has attracted the ire and criticism of other faiths. Even with the clamour of religious tolerance for national cohesion and unity, it is difficult for most non-Christians to accept that Jesus died and bodily resurrected after three days. Is it a myth, a hallucination, a fraud, a mistaken identity of tomb or a reality that Jesus resurrected bodily?
While Christians believe the resurrection of  Jesus Christ  is an attested fact of history, it is one of the fundamental elements of the deity of Jesus Christ, those who are sceptical about it find it difficult to explain the existence of Christianity without the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Though the bodily resurrection is incomprehensible absolutely and a mystery that can only be made known by God to man, this evident which formed the bedrock of the Christian faith has archaeologists’ support- the remains of Jesus was not found in the grave.  Of all the founders of religions that are dead, only Jesus’ remains were not found in the grave, some Christian leaders say.
This finding corroborates the angel’s declaration to Mary Magdalene, “He is not here, He is Risen”. The uniqueness of Christianity lies in the assurance of Jesus Bodily Resurrection.
Though the bodily resurrection narration is fraught with several dissenting opinions from the opposition way back, the  Resurrection Morning, over 2,000 years ago when the soldiers on guard the tomb where financially induced to deny the reality of the event which is as absolute as truth.
The overwhelming effect of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is what informs the annual Easter Conferences and Retreats by all Christ-centred churches who accept the Resurrection as a tenet of the Faith and a cardinal belief in Jesus the Christ.
Paul the divine in his apologetic to the Church at Corinth had articulated why the Resurrection is real and a futility of Christianity without the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Hear him: “Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no Resurrection of the dead? But if there be no Resurrection of the dead then is Christ not risen:
“And if Christ be not risen, then our preaching is vain, and your faith is also vain.
“Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that he raised up Jesus: whom he raised up not….For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
“And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your son’s. Then they also who have fallen asleep in  Christ are perished…
“But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept”.
The controversy on the Jesus Bodily Resurrection dates back to about AD 29, older than Christianity.  However it remains a non-fiction.
Christianity rises and falls on the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ thus Paul states “if only in this life we have hope, then we are of all men most to be pitied”.
According to Tim Lahaye in his devotional, “Perhaps Today”, the central miracle of Christianity is the Resurrection. From the doctrine comes our view of the afterlife.
The District Superintendent of Assemblies of God Nigeria Rivers District, the Rev. Dr. Daddy Ibulubo,described the resurrection as a valid hope of the Christian and mankind.
“The concept of the Resurrection gives us a bit of an appreciation for all that Jesus did on the Cross. It was there He paid the debt for our sin taking our judgement on Himself in order to give us eternal life”.
Also speaking on the Blessed Hope at this year’s Easter Retreat of Assemblies of God, Nigeria, Rivers District, the lead speaker of Area One Zone One (Port Harcourt, Rivers District), the Rev. Johnson Nwanebu, rehearsed the background of the “Blessed Hope”.
According to the man of God, Paul the intrepid evangelist, had founded the little church in Thessalonica, a city given over completely to idolatry and immorality. There were Jews there who rejected his Resurrection message and quickly drove him away.   Then within six months of Paul’s expulsion, he was told that some of the members of the church had died and those who remained wanted to know where the deceased had gone. They were afraid the buried loved ones would be left behind when Jesus will come again.
In responding to their doubts, Paul answers to the rest of us who also ponder over the fate of the dead in the Lord.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, no doubt offers invaluable benefits to mankind and Christianity.
According to Dr. Ibulubo the Blessed Hope is sublime to the final defeat of Satan and the power of death. “Oh death where is your sting, Oh grave where is your victory”.
It underscores the reality of the Resurrection of both the Righteous dead and the Wicked dead at the Rapture and after the 1,000 years reign of Jesus Christ on earth, respectively.
In the view of Rev. Nwanebu,  the resurrection was the greatest event which gave birth to Christian faith and power for divine sonship. He said by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, all people who believed in God through Jesus are empowered to overcome the dictates of the flesh.
No doubt, the Resurrection can not be fully and comprehensively explained. That however, does not mean that it is farcical because religion functions on belief even without proof and reason unlike science and philosophy, respectively.
Dr Ibulubo says what remains a mystery to man for lack of understanding, can be revealed by God through the teaching Ministry of the Holy Spirit called “Illumination”.
In the view of Dr Tim Lahaye, God is well able to take care of what remains a mystery to man. He said for scientific explanation, matter is neither created nor destroyed. While a body may turn to dust or ashes, the elements of a person will never leave the universe. It will be simple thing for God who created the entire universe to call together the elements of all the people who have ever lived in a new resurrected form. If He could speak a word and call this world with all its intricate details into existence, God can certainly bring the dead back to life in a new and improved form.
What is the purpose of the Resurrection, a person may ask?
Dr H. L. Wilmington, a professor of Systematic Theology, says that it is a tragic fact that our world is a materialistic one. So the purpose of the resurrection, among other things, was to destroy man’s final enemy—death.
Rev. Johnson Nwanebu, the Assistant District Superintendent of Assemblies of God, Nigeria, Owerri East lent support to Wilmington’ position and added that the resurrection was to deliver man from curse.
Dr Daddy Ibulubo, also said the purpose was to save man from the dominion of darkness, translate him to God’s kingdom, destroy completely the works of the Satan, whom he said came to steal, kill and destroy.
The Resurrection of Jesus which is the foretaste of the resurrection of the dead, is the explanation why people are transformed inside-out, to live for God through faith in the finished work of Jesus the Christ. How could a person explain the salvation of Paul and the several million Christians who forsook the flesh, sin and the lure of the world to serve God. What changes a sinner to a saint?, What transforms a persecutor of the Christian’s faith to an ardent preacher and martyr of the gospel.  The Resurrection of Jesus, undoubtedly, is the answer.

By:  Igbiki Benibo

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