“By doubting we come to question, and by questioning, we perceive the truth.”(Peter Abelard, 1079-1142)
3 Questions on ... The Good Umpire: Perceptor cannot say what would have happened if there had been a secret ballot on that particular Friday, but as far as Perceptor knows, the only election in which Jesus Christ participated was the one where he was a candidate. And in the voice vote by which that election was conducted, He lost resoundingly.
If any of his friends, family or disciples raised their voices to shout ‘Save Him’, or ‘Crucify Barabbas!’ they must have been drowned out. It’s true that (in an early example of vote rigging) the crowd had been primed to shout “Crucify Him!”, but it is a bit difficult to imagine what would have been the fate of Christianity if the crowd had not voted for the other fellow, Barabbas.
So while this limited and unhappy experience in the election business might not make Jesus Christ the first name to spring to mind in the context, Perceptor is finding it a bit hard to understand why so many Christians are getting so hot under the collar because ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo happened to mention His Name in the context of the search for a Good Umpire for Nigeria’s electoral process. Now, when words like ‘blasphemy’ and ‘deliverance’ are being thrown around, along with demands for apologies, plans for enquiries, complaints about the translation from the Hausa Service of the BBC (yes, them again!) where the offending comments were originally made, nobody would expect a lily-livered scribbler like Perceptor to put even a toe in when a whole General has stepped in right up to his ...
However, it seems to Perceptor that the analogy between JC and His twelve disciples is not such a far-fetched one, and not just because our own electoral Umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, is supposed to have a Chairman and twelve Commissioners. For example, would the Good Umpire respond to cheating by politicians in the same way that our own electoral Umpire has responded. This is just one of the many questions that arise ...
Perceptor only asks because Perceptor can remember one such gubernatorial election where the REC tried to resign and even went into hiding. What Perceptor cannot remember is our earthly umpire, INEC, standing by the REC and protecting her against being forced to do what was contrary to her aforesaid Christian conscience. In fact, not only can Perceptor remember the said REC being forced to withdraw her resignation and do what her Christian conscience apparently bowed in the face of, Perceptor can remember the umpire defending the ‘untouched by Christian conscience’ election results to the teeth before the Ekiti State Election Tribunal. Perceptor just wonders whether that is what He would have done.
2. How would He have handled the finances of the Umpire organisation?
It will be recalled that the finances of the twelve (+1) were handled by the same person who turned out to be a traitor. Perceptor isn’t clear about whether Judas Iscariot actually stole the group’s money, or whether he was just miserly about money because the gospels seem to have different takes on the matter. Still, it’s certain that JC Himself didn’t think much of money, and we all remember what he did when he got to the Temple and found that it had become ‘a den of thieves’. Perceptor doesn’t expect therefore, that there would have been any need to freeze the accounts in the period between Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension.
3. What about St. Peter?
Despite all the recent hullaballoo about Mary Magdalene, the Good Book makes it clear that in the absence of JC, it was Simon Peter who took over as group leader. In INEC, it is a Phillip that we have to contend with, a Phillip Umeadi (jnr.) Despite the difference in names, Perceptor cannot help noticing similarities to St. Peter who, despite his demand that Christ should wash ‘not just my feet, but my whole body’ to show how committed he was to Jesus, denied any knowledge of or friendship with Jesus Christ as soon as it became politically difficult or inexpedient to have known Him. Readers will therefore not be surprised to learn that the scene that began to play out when the chorus of ‘Hosanna’ turned in five days to ‘Crucify Him’ and culminated in the thrice-repeated denial by St. Peter before the cock crowed, was replicated in its own way, by our earthly umpire.
Unfortunately for Iwu, his own ascension out of office on 13th June will not be accompanied by any translation into membership of an appointment trinity. That no doubt explains why, when there was a sighting at INEC headquarters the other day, by the time his own St. Peter rushed back to ... (not, Perceptor fears, to seek forgiveness for denying him) Iwu had already vanished!
Calling Sinners to Repentance
Perceptor has been in the forefront of those noting the less-than-progressive stance and company being kept by the Comrade Governor over there in Edo State, and regretfully recalling the deafening silence from the Nigeria Labour Congress over the whole June 12th crisis, is not even surprised that he is keeping company with Ibrahim Babangida these days.
Still, Perceptor is not sure that he ought to be so roundly condemned for inviting Babangida to a ‘One Man One Vote’ rally in Benin City the other day. Perceptor hesitates to again bring up His name in the context of something so unsavoury as the Nigerian electoral process, but Perceptor cannot help recalling that when He was asked why He kept company with taxpayers and other sinners, His reply was that he had come to call “not the righteous, but SINNERS to repentance.” Perceptor thinks that it is in this light that we should see Babangida’s presence at the Rally.
And on the Seventh Day ...
Continuing the Biblical theme ... oh, Perceptor’s mistake! Perceptor was thinking of that part at the beginning of the Good Book where it says “And on the SEVENTH Day He RESTED”. Whereas what Perceptor really wants to refer to is the SEVEN DAYS of REST that has been decreed by the Katsina State Government. Yes, Perceptor knows that it was called seven ‘work free’ days of mourning for the late President, but what Perceptor wants to know is: Who Picks Up the Bill?
Between you and Perceptor, that a whole week off work could be given by the Katsina State Government says everything that we need to know about the state from which the late President came to rule Nigeria. A state where it doesn’t matter if people don’t work for a week! Perceptor wants to imagine anybody trying that in Lagos or Kano! Because with the emergency ‘work free’ day of mourning declared last week, Perceptor noticed that workers in the private sector also took the day off, as though it is Goodluck Jonathan who pays their salary. Even workers who had spent time and money to get to work in the morning turned round and went home because it was a public holiday!
Well, as Perceptor says, that may be alright for a sleepy backwater like Katsina, but it tells us a lot about the President’s background and why he took so long to do anything that he ended up not doing anything at all. Perceptor really hopes that when Goodluck Jonathan is looking for a Vice President he will try to find someone who has a bit more to their portfolio than rulership of a rural backwater.
Lives of the Saints: St. Umaru of Yar’Adua
In those days there lived a quiet and saintly man. He was quiet and saintly. In his saintliness he was quiet. And in his quietness he was saintly. He withdrew from the eyes of sinful men. He communed with Men of God. He became more saintly and more quiet. He departed this sinful world. According to sinful men, he became a mega-saint. But he himself remained quiet. Very quiet.
In the Spirit of Aunty Dora
As you know, Perceptor is always looking for nice things to say about this great nation of good people, and the death of our late President Umaru Yar’Adua ought to have been a great opportunity. But although Perceptor would have liked to join the chorus of hypocrites who are now claiming that our late President was the best thing that ever happened to Nigeria and praising his long list of achievements, when Perceptor examined the matter, Perceptor found that there weren’t any actual Achievements! Everything was still, as they say, en ventre de sa mere, (in his mother’s stomach) that is, the pregnancy had been declared, but there had been no birth. Niger Delta – still in progress; Electoral reform – still in progress; Electric power – still in planning. Those were the big three, and as for the rest of the alleged seven point agenda – well, there was never any definitive list of what the seven point agenda consisted of was there? For all Perceptor knows, the swelling tummy might have been nothing more than words, words, words and hot air!
In the circumstances, Perceptor must adopt the wisdom of those who say that you should speak nothing of the dead but good, and speak ... nothing.