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God Is Not Baal

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It is said in the third com
mandment: “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” (Exodus 20 V. 7).
Truly, in the spiritual domain, there are hierarchies of divinity among the supernatural deity of the entire universe. In other words, the baptism of the Messiah (Jesus) at River Jordan by John de Baptist connotes the concept of Trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Ghost), manifested in the presence of men through Jesus who was physically here on earth as he walked to John to be baptized in order to fulfill all righteousness to redeem mankind from sin.
While John de Baptist was carrying out his assignment of baptism of repentance to people, as soon as he sighted the Messiah afar off, he acknowledged Him and drew people’s attention to the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. Of course, John had talked about the Messiah before now whose latchet of shoe he would not be able to loose. When Jesus came out of the water, there was a significant event which occurred as a dove and descended on him, symbolizing the Holy Spirit. A voice echoed from Heaven. “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3 Vs 16, 17).
In fact, this pronouncement is an indication that there is One Deity functioning in three-dimensional capacities that is beyond human degree of understanding. The integration of the Godhead and their personal activities is unquestionable. That is why God’s name should not be ridiculed or made vain. In Christendom and contemporary society, there are a lot of jestings on the use of the Holy Ghost and the Blood of Jesus. The LORD is being addressed as if he were deaf or at a distance that requires much shouting and physical demonstrations in order to achieve a purpose.
The Bible records a religious encounter between the Prophets of God and those of Baal. Baal in this context connotes idol or strange god outside the real God of creation. So, the contention was to prove the true God who hears and answers petitions. On the contrary, it was also to identify the gods that appear in the form of a loving creature, but could not perform or act positively, hence the episode or drama between the true worshippers of God and falsehood.
The Prophets of Baal (god) prepared their sacrifices as well as Prophet Elijah at the mountain of Camel in Israel. The authentication of these sacrifices depended on the response of their respective deities. However, the event started with the prophets of Baal as they called on their god severally, without any response. The simple reason Baal could not respond was that it was not a living god but being preferred to the real God who created heaven and earth. Prophet Elijah began to make a mockery of them by asking them to cry aloud; probably their god might have been asleep or might have travelled which might require more efforts on their part.
However, the man of God, Prophet Elijah, was set with his sacrifice entrenched in a pool of water and stones and enjoined the prophets of Baal to watch the miraculous drama between him and the living God. Without hesitation, Elijah raised his voice solemnly and the Almighty God answered swiftly by fire and consumed the sacrifice of Prophet Elijah in the presence of the 450 prophets of Baal.
Christians should not approach God as if he was Baal that could not hear and respond accordingly. God is a Spirit who must be worshipped in spirit and in truth (John 4 vs. 22-14). The method and manner in which the Lord’s name is being ridiculed in our contemporary times is very appalling. That Divine name should be addressed with all sense of humility and reverence because God Himself is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent (OOO), a symbolic acronym expressing that God is all-powerful, all-knowing and ever-present who knows the intents of man’s heart from the beginning.
God knows the number of hair on human head. Therefore, there is no secret before him. Human beings tend to control and direct the Holy Ghost (Spirit) instead of subjecting themselves to be used, controlled and directed by the Holy Spirit according to the scriptural injunction in John 16:7-14. Therefore trying to control the Holy Ghost could be likened to someone trying to be faster than his or her shadow which is impossible.
It is unfortunate that these days, despite the multitude of men of God in Christendom, they could not correct the atrocious and improper use of the Holy Spirit and the name of God. Many at times during prayer sessions,” Holy Ghost fire” is being conjured and commanded to consume  perceived human enemies, who are supposed to be saved by the grace of God through human efforts of proclaiming the gospel message to the poor.
If this was right, Jesus, the omnipotent God on earth, would have commanded the Holy Ghost fire to consume those that crucified him on the cross of Calvary, rather he prayed for their forgiveness. Christians should therefore be careful on how the name of the LORD is being used particularly the Holy Ghost and the Blood of Jesus in communication with divinity and humanity respectively. There are repercussions for the misuse of God’s name.

Goddy Ominyanwa is a public affairs analyst.

 

Goddy Ominyanwa

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Opinion

Nazap And Zappy Philosophy

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The Nigerian Association of Zoological Gardens and Wildlife Parks (NAZAP) recently commended the Rivers State Governor Chief Nyesom Wike for planned rehabilitation of Port Harcourt Zoo which would also enhance tourism potentials of the state. Yes, zoological gardens and wildlife parks are attractive resort centres globally and, for some countries, these projects bring in cash and foreign investments. Rather than lechery which is a common diversion in Nigeria, visiting zoological gardens and wildlife resorts can provide healthier alternative means of companionship and comfort.
Zoological gardens and wildlife parks are great means of learning, apart from relaxation and excitements. Regular visits to such resort centres expand the scope of human interaction with nature as well as creatures that live natural lifestyles. Unlike humans who are full of guile and greed, animals, including those in captivity in zoological gardens, can teach humans many lessons practically.
From mating to maintenance of a healthy lifestyle, animals have much natural wisdom and philosophy to profess to humans. So, NAZAP’s commendation of the state governor for a planned rehabilitation of Port Harcourt Zoological Garden bears some zappy philosophy beyond commendation. An idea or view-point is zappy if it is interesting, exciting and promising, far beyond doctrinaire platitudes.
National President of NAZAP Francis Abioye, while making the commendation also revealed that the sum of N472 million was earmarked for the rehabilitation project. That the Port Harcourt Zoo degenerated into a deplorable state did not arise from neglect alone, but same virus responsible for the collapse of public corporations also played some roles. Someone was heard asking why animals in a zoo must have regular food while he and his family would starve; thanks to the prank of eavesdropping!
In the usual Nigerian way of doing business and running public corporations, political patronage played some role in the degenerate state of the zoo. Government contractors, who are usually political party strongmen, are usually experts in cutting corners and getting away with their pranks. Abioye advised the government against contracting non-experts for execution of the project. Yes, there are existing local and international laws regulating the operations and establishment of zoological gardens and wildlife parks.
Therefore, it would not be enough to rehabilitate a zoo that had gone into decay, spending the sum of N472 million for the purpose. There would be a need to apply the zappy philosophy, in addition to applying the existing local and international laws in that regard. Anyone acquainted with Jonathan Swift’s Gullivers’ Travels would have heard about the tribes of Yahoo, Brobdingnag, Lugnag, the Lilliputians, etc. The zappy philosophy originated from the Chief of Brobdingnag.
The zappy philosophy goes like this: “Anybody who is able to make several crops grow where originally there was one, and protect public resources rather than loot or destroy them, serves his people better than all your Generals, Ministers, Judges, etc”. You may call it Brobdingnagian philosophy, but it makes sense, especially when it comes from a chief of animal tribe, to educate a visiting professor from a society of learned people. Perhaps, with a rehabilitation of the zoo, we may learn more from animals than we have from our men of honour and letters.
According to a letter from NAZAP, the Rivers State Government is told that: “We hope that the Bureau for Public Procurement and Intelligence in Rivers State will ensure that such projects are carried out by experienced conservation experts …” By “conservation experts” we should understand that to mean professionals in the conservation of wildlife culture. Animals kept in the zoo or other places of captivity are not meant to be deprived of their “wildlife culture” as if they are being “civilized” or made to adapt to human culture.
It is important to stress this fact, because humans are often very inconsiderate and cruel to animals in captivity. For example, not only are dogs being castrated for various purposes, but there are situations where giant and kingsize animals are forced on women, for fun, based on fees. This practice, to say the least, is bestial, unnatural and immoral. There are several such entertainment centres and joints in some secret places of resort.
There is a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, of which some Nigerians are members. Therefore, the zoo and wildlife culture, which goes with accreditation, is not merely being animal-friendly, but portends more. Apart from being a tourist place of resort and revenue generating project, zoological gardens and wildlife parks are indeed places of learning. Not only intellectual learning process, but an animal village is a centre for imbibitions of the zappy philosophy.
The zappy philosophy knows no guile, deceit, pretences or sophistication, but it is rooted in nature and natural ways of absorbing wisdom. Human beings often suffer from over-sophistication, unnaturalness and artificiality, which close the door to the reception of natural radiations and impulses. Anyone who has been close and nice to animals would agree that animals have compassion and respect for humans. They only become hostile arising from human guile, chicanery and shenanigans.
There is a small breed of Mexican dog known as Chihuahua, whose smooth hair is medicine for people who have anxiety problem. There are also species of snakes and other animals used for various therapeutic purposes. So, being kind to animals is not only a part of the zappy philosophy, but also evidence of humane and advanced humanity. Animals are friends!
Dr. Amirize is a retired lecturer from the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.

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Opinion

Is Secretaryship Still Relevant?

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No nation exists without a government, and no government survives without an administrator. In the same vein, no organisation, private or public, survives without a secretary, a good one I posit. The secretary is more or less the soul of any organization. Who then is a secretary? According to a renowned economist – Robinson, a secretary is a secret keeper; “an assistant to the executive, possessing the mastery of office skills and ability to assume responsibility without direct supervision, who displays initiative with good command of English language.”
The secretary is also seen as an organiser and memory of an organisation. The word secretary is derived from two Latin words, ‘secretum’ or ‘secretarius’ being the term for someone entrusted with secrets. There is no segment of any organisation that can function efficiently and effectively without the inputs of the secretary.
The art of creativity by those who perform secretarial duties is more pronounced through the invention of shorthand and typewriting in London by Sir Isaac Pitman in 1837. This marked the beginning of secretaryship in the labour market when men and women were trained to write shorthand as well as manipulate the manual typewriters with their fingers. This stenographic input, as at then, became an indispensable tool to facilitate productivity in every establishment. As a result, professional examination bodies such as Pitmans Institute London (PIT), Royal Society of Arts (RSA) etc, were established to examine candidates for credibility in their area of specialization.
This trend continued until the advent of science and technology which brought about Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the present dispensation.
Actually, the manipulation of manual machines to aid secretarial duties has become a mundane activity as every secretarial practitioner has now converted to the use of electronic devices, especially computer. Sadly, the people that operate these devices are not being treated with respect. Most times, people take the secretarial duties as those meant for drop-outs with little or no skill and intelligence.
It is necessary to say that the secretary is more or less the live-wire of an organisation. He comes to the office early enough to synchronise things before the arrival of his boss and other officials. He is the unseen hand behind the progress and development of his organisation. He is the liaison officer who ensures the effective coordination of various departments and he uses his discretion to decide what is most suitable to be done at a particular time. Above all, the secretary is the secret keeper of an organisaton.
Without mincing words, the holistic characteristic and dignity of any management is depicted by the noble role of the secretary as the first image maker i.e. public/human relations officer. But it is quite disheartening that secretaries in most organisations are being treated as if they are irrelevant to the organization. The way and manner many of them are being treated in offices and the economic deprivation they suffer call for review.
Apart from being looked down upon by their colleagues in other departments, they are denied certain allowances such as hazard allowances, special allowances, overtime allowances, among others. Worst, many of them are being denied regular promotion. This, I must say, is demoralising, and does not in any way give impetus to the secretariat profession.
The secretary, we must appreciate, is like other workers in the workforce and no doubt deserves the respect and benefits enjoyed by other workers. In other words, the secretary must be well respected as the secret keeper; he must have a sense of belonging where he works and must be made to enjoy all the benefits due his office. Only when the secretary is given his dues and accorded necessary regards can he function effectively and efficiently.
Ominyanwa writes from Port Harcourt.

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Opinion

The TraderMoni Quagmire

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From the inception of the “TraderMoni” project, one of the federal government’s National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), the main opposition political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), some other parties and individuals condemned it, saying it was a form of vote-buying. The governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Oyo State, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), for instance, described the project as a ploy to hoodwink voters into another four years of suffering. The President’s wife, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, and the National Assembly were also among the horde of critics of the NSIP with the First Lady describing it as a failure in the northern part of the country.
But the federal government insisted that the project which gives a non-collateral loan of at least N10,000.00 to traders and artisans had no political undertone. They said it was meant to empower the aforementioned groups and alleviate poverty in the land.
However, the recent disclosure of a government official makes many think that PDP and all those who kicked against the project may not be totally wrong; that it was a programme designed to fail.  Reports have it that the Kwara State Focal Person for the NSIP, Hajia Bashirah Abdulrazaq-Sanusi, last week, alleged that the beneficiaries of ‘TraderMoni,’ are reluctant to repay the loan.
According to her, “Poor masses are not ready to repay the loan after collection because of the attitude of Nigerians to anything from the government, thinking it is a national cake. Also, those that disbursed the money do not have such records as the phone numbers and addresses of beneficiaries, thus, making it difficult to track them for repayment.”
What a country! So the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, and all those involved in the disbursement of the billions of naira had no data of the beneficiaries? They would only go to markets, gather the traders, give them yellow T-shirts to wear and begin to distribute money to them? And they expected a repayment of such “awuf”? Haba! Let us not forget that the same VP had told the country last year that the TraderMoni and MarketMoni beneficiaries were doing very well and were paying back their loans.
Often the government frowns at people who criticise its policies or activities. Just a few days back, President Muhammadu Buhari charged his ministers to defend the government vigorously against politically motivated criticisms. But one makes bold to say that issues like the poor and insincere implementation of projects like the tradermoni, N-Power, Covid-19 palliatives distribution by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, disaster management and social development can fuel such criticisms. You spend billions of peoples’ money without proper records or accounts? How then are we sure that the money was not given to only members of a particular political party in exchange for their votes as was alleged?  How are we sure that the government never intended that the beneficiaries of tradermoni should repay the loan? Why does the disbursement of the loan seem to have ceased after the 2019 election?
Trust between the leaders and the led is in short supply in this country and it will be in the interest of our leaders to make deliberate, concerted effort to build the citizens’ trust instead of destroying the little trust that exists through insincerity, lack of transparency, dishonesty and others. As the great American announcer, Ed Mcmaho said, “Honesty is the most single, most important factor, having a direct bearing on the final success of an individual, corporation or product.” Similarly, Dalai Lama said, “lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.”
Our leaders at various levels should therefore strive to gain the peoples’ trust by being honest and sincere in their dealings. Let transparency be their watchword. As has been suggested by many people, the Office of the Vice President and other bodies involved in the disbarment of the tradermoni, should publish the authentic names of the beneficiaries. To support the VP’s claim that the beneficiaries are repaying the loan, let us also see the details of the repayment – how many people have repaid; how much has been realized and all that?
It is also advisable that the entire Social Investment Programme be thoroughly investigated. Nigerians deserve to know how the $1.3 billion invested in setting up NSIP has been managed. With the controversy that had constantly trailed the social welfare initiatives particularly the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme (CCTP) which doles out cash directly to the poor, the N-Power, the Homegrown School Feeding Programme (HGSF), it is imperative that information be provided on how the programme is being run vis-à-vis how the money is being spent, the criteria used in selecting the beneficiaries and others. That way, corruption, nepotism and partisanship allegedly associated with the programme will be reduced.
The recent call by the Nigerian Governors’ Forum for a reform of NSIP and getting the states involved in order to ensure that the benefits of the programme get to the intended persons should also be considered. The welfare needs of a country of about 200 million population and 36 states minus the Federal Capital Territory, cannot be effectively catered for by a ministry in Abuja who may not even be manned by the right persons. The state and the local government councils who are closer to the people should be involved.
Most importantly, the burden of alleviating poverty in the country should not be that of foreign donor agencies and the federal government alone. State governors, local government chairmen and corporate bodies should join hands in shouldering this responsibility. Our governors should see the need to prioritise the welfare needs of the people, initiate programmes and projects that would curb poverty, hunger and starvation in the nation instead of the white elephant projects they often embark on for some selfish reasons.

 

Calista Ezeaku

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