BasseyUbong

FOOD FOR THOUGHT 1

A  colleague, Dr Ihiegbulem once stated that he does not like hunger but given a difficult choice (such as the proverbial devil and the blue sea) he would prefer hunger to insecurity.

 The sister word (not synonym) to insecurity is uncertainty. 

Ardent followers of Wall Street (financial hub) in the USA know that what disturbs business people most is uncertainty, particularly in government policies. Whether human beings or animals in the wild or organizations, stability is preferred to uncertainty (which is not the same thing as change).

In my lifetime I am not aware of any situation in the world that has generated so much uncertainty as COVID-19. As at today, no one can say anywhere in the world whether the end is next week or next month or next year.

This is why I fail to join the army of critics of the government. If Nigeria is at war say with Cameroon, the government can say let’s safe our face; let’s secretly invite African Union to intervene now that our resources are dwindling too fast. That can be done in 24 hours. By next day, cross-border transfers and trade would start.

COVID-19 is not in that genre. The viruses, which become living things only when they have access to often unwilling hosts, float in the air unseen. It could fly into the secure office of the Head of Government when the war effort is being discussed. Ask PM Boris Johnson of UK.

My suggestions are that we should pray harder, keep the rules, share what we have with friends and neighbours, and wait. It serves little purpose to blame anyone for not stocking enough. Even if there was cash, there is limit to what can be stocked particularly perishables. Food banks are in distress all over US as some of them, prepared for 1,000 people could be besieged by 10,000 people. This is not an exaggeration. It is not story, story. It is happening in real time as this piece is being written.

 In Akwa Ibom, the Unilag Alumni Association at Uyo packaged foodstuffs and focused on 4 villages in Uyo. By Day 2 the team had to hurriedly withdraw to re-strategize when the crowd became overwhelming.

Interestingly a friend outside called me to find out what churches are doing even for their members. I have not heard anything. Rather, church heads are holding services between 6am and 8am to avoid enforcement teams. Some are circulating their account details requesting for electronic transfers. If one church has hosted a food bank, the leaders should make it public hoping that others will follow. Let religious organizations  cease the moment and give back. Master Jesus saw a hungry crowd; He took pity and performed one of His most outstanding miracles, to wit, feeding of 5,000 men and probably twice that number in women and children using the food from one boy’s picnic basket. See John 6:1-14. As in the case of Unilag Alumni, passes are available for such exercise.

Of course Jesus knew situations of this nature will arise. So in James 2 verse 16 He told us, when you meet  someone who is naked and or hungry, don’t tell him or her be warm and be filled! Can you imagine? Jesus said do something concrete; provide food to the hungry; provide even your drycleaned and abandoned clothes to someone who is virtually naked. Jesus then concluded: what will it profit you to sympathize (I mentioned yesterday how a Pension Fund Administrator staff said to me, “sir I sympathize”).

This indeed is the moment we should  show the brotherly love we proclaim on the pulpit and on the pews.

Arise churches and mosques; arise community development associations; arise village councils; arise extended families, friends, and well wishers.

Meanwhile where are Rotary Clubs? Where are the Lions Clubs, the Committee of Friends, Red Cross and Red Crescent? Where are the NGOs that hunt for donations everywhere? Where are philanthropic organizations; rich people and the capable who spend effort condemning Bill Gates while contributing nothing of their own. A 5 kg bag of rice from you to a needy neighbour could save lives. This war is beyond government. Don’t come after now to make claims of being a philanthropist or even a follower of Christ because Jesus said, ” Feed my flock,” lest He denies you as He said in Matthew 25 verses 31-46.  God help you and me to be our neighbours keepers. Amen.

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