Monday, 16 January 2012

Why I am Occupying..

What I am about to share has been on my heart for a few days now and while it is a deviation from what I would normally write, I am learning how important it is to have a holistic view of life. As much as we yearn for eternity, right at this moment we live in this world. Jesus said 'We are in the world but not of the world' and sometimes I have this tendency to compartmentalise life into Christian and secular boxes when in reality it is really one life lived with Christ at the centre.

Since the announcement of the removal of the fuel subsidy in Nigeria, I will be lying if I said I have not been angry. In short, angrier than I had ever been before about things occurring in my nation. I saw prices of goods and services rising. I saw some people on minimum wage of N18,000, £72, $120 a month  having the major part of their salaries obliterated by the sure increase in transportation costs. I saw an insensitive Government yet laying another burden on the people. A Government that asked people to sacrifice and tighten their belts and didn't show any good faith in tightening their own belts. A Government that calls basic amenities like healthcare, education, good roads, drinkable water palliatives. There is the economics of the subsidy, why its removal is good for the nation. There is the propaganda, how the fuel subsidy only helped the rich and not the poor. I shake my head and pray that I am wrong in thinking as a nation we have trod this path so many times. That this present administration lacks sincerity and compassion. That while we think we live in a democracy because we have elected leaders, the lack of freedom of the press and judiciary makes it seem we are not.

What I found interesting was the initial silence from believers. I sometimes think we confuse Paul's admonition for us to respect authority with keeping quiet in the face of evil. For to keep quiet when evil reigns is to condone it.  A lot of people felt that our Christian leaders should have been more vocal with regard to the issues. While I am among that group, I respect people's right to do what they feel is right. The most important thing for me is doing what God wants us to do and not what is popular opinion. My grievance was and in some ways still is that a lot of these leaders publicly endorsed a particular candidate and used their influence amongst their congregation so now is not the time to claim separation between church and state.

It was encouraging to see some ministers finally speak up as a response to some criticism for the silence. For too long, the church has hidden behind 'Let us pray' and forgotten that prayer while being the MOST IMPORTANT FIRST step in transformation, it is not the only step. Jesus prayed in Gethsamane, his prayer so intense it was almost like drops of blood fell from his brow, this was his preparation for Golgotha. Esther prayed and fasted for her people, after which she went to face the king with the injustice about to be unleashed to the people even at risk to her life.

Other blogs have the facts and figures. The 2012 budget, the KPMG audit on NNPC, the SURE document etc. I am occupying because I feel in 2012, enough was finally enough. Occupying isn't personal, political, ethnic, religious. It is about Nigeria. It is about saying No to a system where corruption thrives and righteousness doesn't. A system where believers find it difficult to say No to compromise so they can earn a buck. Occupying isn't about insulting anyone but standing for truth. People are free to agree or disagree. For the first time in a long time, the people are united in their stand. I believe in a democratic society, people have a right to say NO in a peaceful manner. I am still praying for Nigeria and I hope we are all praying too because there must be a change. Things can no longer go on as they are.

He said 'Occupy till I come' which wasn't in reference to protesting but us taking our rightful place. Most importantly I must allow Him to Occupy me.

Remain blessed.



Jennifer Abayowa said...

Personally, it took me a while to realize that #occupynigeria was not just about the fuel subsidy, but also about the fight against corruption. Having found that out, I knew what side of the fence I supported. I support speaking against oppression of the masses, but not against disrespect for authority. We cannot overcome bad with good, but the reverse will definitely yield great results. It's nice to see someone who's bold enough to share what's deeply on her heart, I admire you for that. I'll also add that during these protests, I saw writings from Christian leaders such as Pastor Tunde Bakare, pastor Tony Rapu, and Fela Durotoye, and these were leaders who took a stand as well.

Jennifer Abayowa said...

*we cannot overcome evil with evil, but evil with good" was what I meant to say.

Zoe Believer said...

I know what you meant dear : ) and thanks for your comment. I did come across their writings and I am glad for their courage in taking a stand. I don't believe protesting is disrespect for authority. I don't think people should trade words with their elders after all it would have been easy for David to call Saul names but he didn't. There's a lesson there. However for me, evil is evil and there's no sugarcoating or repackaging that.