Today 8th of April is my birthday and to me birthdays are for renewal, reflection and thanksgiving.
As I look around and see how people are reacting across the country to the 2023 elections, I remember growing up in ECWA Primary school Jos, and listening to wondrous stories of how people of God protested in the Bible.
I remember the story of Shiphrah and Puah who disobeyed King Pharaoh’s command to kill Hebrew boys at their birth (Exodus 1:8-22) and when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s golden statue (Daniel Ch. 3) and also in (Isaiah Ch.20), when Isaiah protested naked for three years as a sign and omen against Egypt and Ethiopia.
I also remember the Biblical story behind the phrase “Let My People Go” which originated in Exodus 5:1; when God commanded Moses to go and tell Pharaoh: “Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, let my people go, that they may serve me”, but Pharaoh initially refused.
Tomorrow as Christians celebrate Easter Sunday, it is now the moral responsibility of David Emmanuel Umbugadu to use his position as the defeated PDP candidate for whom women are going around naked, to “liberate” these women and tell them to go home.
I therefore say to David Emmanuel Ombugadu, it’s time to “Let Our Sisters Go”, from the bondage of living in self-denial, so that this nude display of infamy against the recently concluded governorship elections in Nasarawa State, will finally be put to rest!
The two names of Ombugadu i.e., “David” and “Emmanuel” have very deep Biblical roots. David evolved from the Hebrew word ‘dod’ (beloved) and his second name is even greater: ‘Emmanuel derived from Hebrew ʿimmānū’ēl which means “God is with us!” In the same vein, the man whom Umbugadu attempted but failed to unseat, is Abdullahi Sule, whose name Abdullahi in Islam means Servant of Allah” (God)!”
Suffice it to say that ‘God’s will prevailed in Nasarawa State”, because it is only God that gives and takes power. Every day a leader sits on the throne, it is not by his power, wisdom, antics and machinations, but by the will of God Almighty!
According to Jack Welch; before you become a leader, success is all about growing yourself, but when you become a leader, success is all about growing others! This attribute of growing other people is what has defined the leadership style of Engr. A.A. Sule for over three years now.
To Sule, being a Governor is not about his political ambition, but about the wellbeing of the people he serves and that is why he publicly suspended the General Manager of NUDB (Nasarawa Urban Development Board) for pulling down the billboards of opposition political parties and the governor also granted to PDP and NNPP the use of Lafia Square for their political rallies, just the same way he kept preaching peace and emphasizing that as sitting governor, he would accept any result or verdict which INEC declares.
This same attribute of political accommodation can be said of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of the PDP then, who put the wellbeing of the entire people of Nigeria ahead of his personal political ambition, when on the night of Wednesday, March 30, 2015, he picked up his phone at 9pm to dial a number no one expected him to dial.
That day, on the second-to-the last day of March, Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan dialed the phone number of General Muhammadu Buhari to concede defeat in the 2015 Presidential Elections, because as in his everlasting words: “My ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian!”
Just as Dr Goodluck Jonathan set a new standard of patriotism for political competitors and also perplexed doomsayers at a time of peril when Nigeria stood in danger of bloody disintegration after the 2015 elections, David Ombugadu can also diffuse the needless tension of naked women parading the streets hoisting leaves and singing native songs in Nasarawa State, and instead tell them to go home in peace, as he approaches the courts for a sane and dignified way to legally resolve whatever grievances Ombugadu & PDP bear with the governorship election.
Although we have seen in the Bible that “the people of God are also a people of protest, we must bear in mind that the politics of Gods kingdom is very different from the politics of Nigeria today. Therefore, politicians must be very careful when we sponsor our mothers and sisters to walk the streets naked, in order to protest election results, and invoke God’s punishment against those they perceive “raped democracy and stole their mandate!”
On his part, His Excellency, Engr A.A. Sule has reiterated in his own words that: “I entered politics to serve and to make an impact in the lives of the people of Nasarawa State”, and regarding the elections which he won, Governor Sule has directed both government and the security, as well as all citizens who voted him, to respond with patience, tolerance and great understanding to the insistent demands and expressions of outrage by the band of naked women.
According to the PDP women leader in Nasarawa State, Mrs. Stella Obosi, who is leading the naked women protests: In our cultures, we all know when an elderly mother goes naked and seeks God’s intervention on the land, it comes to pass!
We recognize that Mrs. Oboshi and her small band of naked women have their Right to Personal Liberty”, Right to Freedom of Thought, Conscience & Religion, and they also have the “Right to freedom of Expression, “Right to hold Opinions, and “Right to receive and impart Ideas and of course they have the Right to Peaceful Assembly & Association!”
According to Mrs. Obosi: ‘the nudity of the women would cleanse the land of the impurity foisted on it by INEC who declared Engr Abdullahi A. Sule as the winner of the elections. In her words; “the nakedness of our mothers, widows, and every woman will never go in vain, she stated.
The calm nature and patient disposition of Sule is not a sign of weakness but that of great maturity and compassion because he sees the solving of problems and the improvement of lives and most especially the building of sustainable peace as the ultimate goal of elections.
That is why it is necessary to caution during this Easter celebration that while the right to protest is a fundamental principle of democracy, theres a growing concern that the disruptive actions of this small minority of naked protesters in Nasarawa State is beginning to take the form of a guerrilla protest tactic, that is likely to “trigger” a confrontation or public disorder if left unchecked.
In the Bible, it is said that Adam and Eve did not know that they were naked until they disobeyed the commandant of the Lord and ate from the forbidden tree and “after their eyes were opened and they knew they were naked”, so they hid among the trees because, “Adam knew that he was no longer worthy to stand in the presence of God!”
Adam was ashamed. Not only because he was physically naked, but because his eyes were opened to see his sin. What had changed was that, “sin brings shame, as it is written in Proverbs 14:34: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach (disgrace) to any people!”
Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings, but by the time God came in the evening, the leaves were dry and curled up. And because Adam and Eve were trying to pull the leaves to cover themselves because now, they are ashamed of themselves, God decided to cover their nakedness. Genesis 3:21 “Then LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them!”
Since then, we as human beings have always worn clothes. As in the words of the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him); “Cover your nakedness, except from your wife or those in the custody of your right hand.
For days after the elections, Nasarawa State has been hanging on the edge of tolerance and anxiety, waiting for the politicians who imported these naked women and are sponsoring them to put an end to this shameful tirade before it triggers a collision of opposing forces. So, my dear brother and friend David Emmanuel Ombugadu, it is time to rise to the call of history and Let Our Sisters Go!”
May God Almighty renew us all and cleanse Nasarawa State as Christians celebrate Easter and Muslims conclude the second half of the Ramadan fasting, and our God-fearing Governor, Engr Abdullahi A. Sule returns today from performing the lesser Hajj, where he prayed for Nasarawa State and also to purify his body, heart and soul for the great task of leadership ahead. Amen.
Yakubu Lamai is Director General: Strategic Communication & Events Management to H.E. Governor Abdullahi A. Sule.