Be Patient and Pray: My Response to the Deplorable Situation and Economic Crisis in Africa Nigeria Chiefly in Mind

“The situation in Africa is a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions, marked by famine, disease outbreaks, and displacement. Millions of people across the continent live in extreme poverty, facing daily struggles for survival amidst political instability and environmental degradation.” – Kofi Annan

Africa is grappling with dire circumstances of extreme hardship and suffering, as the plight of its people reaches unprecedented levels of despair in the French word être dans la misère” The population is engulfed in profound sadness and anguish, overwhelmed by the relentless waves of adversity and deprivation. A pervasive sense of helplessness and shock permeates communities; as they confront the myriad challenges beset them on all fronts. From poverty and hunger to conflict and disease, the continent is besieged by many crises that exacerbate human suffering and undermine dignity. Amidst the turmoil, hope flickers dimly, as resilient spirits persevere against overwhelming odds, seeking solace and relief in the face of immense trials. Urgent action and solidarity are imperative to address the root causes of Africa’s plight, fostering sustainable solutions and restoring hope to the millions who endure hardship daily.

As Nigeria is struggling with the insurgency of Boko Haran in the northeastern region and sporadic attacks by militant groups in other parts of the country, Somalia is plagued by the al-Shabaab militant group, which carries attacks targeting government institutions, security forces, and civilians. We cannot forget the Ansar Dine and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb which attack forcefully in the northern region of Mali. As if that is not enough for Africa, al-Shabaab continues their attack on the Kenyan people as the Niger suffers the weight of ISIS and al-Qaeda which took prominence in the boarders of Mali and Nigeria. We cannot claim we are ignorant of what is happening in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic just to mention a few. Nelson Mandela observing these crises posited that “Africa’s plight is a tragedy of immense proportions, characterized by poverty, disease, and conflict. Despite its vast resources and rich cultural heritage, the continent remains mired in underdevelopment and exploitation, perpetuating cycles of suffering and inequality.”

Terrorist activities in Africa have significant impacts on society, economy, and security. They result in the loss of innocent lives, displacement, economic disruption, humanitarian crises, political instability, social division, regional spillover, and human rights violations. These attacks create fear and insecurity, exacerbate existing social divisions, and lead to increased mistrust and violence. Terrorist groups operate across borders, complicating efforts to address security challenges and promote peace and stability. International cooperation and support are essential to combat transnational terrorist networks and promote peace and stability in the region. Addressing these effects requires a multifaceted approach that includes security measures, good governance, economic development, and community resilience.

Nigeria the giant of Africa is in a mess, it is suffering from what a French man will call unesituation désastreuse. Chinua Achebe wrote in the glorious days of Nigeria that “Nigeria’s current state is alarming, marked by systemic corruption, ethnic divisions, and a faltering economy. The government’s failure to address these issues perpetuates a cycle of poverty and instability.” Remember I intentionally mention glorious days, and one can imagine the description of Nigeria he would present if he were alive experiencing the present situation.

The terrorist attacks in Nigeria have disrupted agricultural activities, leading to threats, violence, and extortion. Farmers are often forced to abandon their land, causing a decline in agricultural productivity and output. This has resulted in a loss of livelihoods, as agriculture is their primary source of income. Food shortages and price inflation are also exacerbated, making it difficult for vulnerable populations to access nutritious food. This has long-term economic implications, hindering agricultural growth, food self-sufficiency, and rural development. Addressing these issues requires a comprehensive approach that prioritizes security, supports agricultural resilience, promotes rural development, and strengthens community resilience. Investment in security forces, support for displaced farmers, and fostering peace and stability in conflict-affected areas are essential components of this approach.

In the face of all these, what is God telling us, is God keeping quiet on us, is God not touched with the thousands of people in a terrible state of extremities, is it not a time for God to act? Moreover, so many people posit that those who should talk are not eloquent at this moment of crisis. But what can they say? What strategy can solve the present problem, and how can that strategy be implemented? Every nonpolitical officeholder has a clearer vision of what to do, but once arrive at the stage, can such a person have that vision to make things right? At the end of these endless questions and scanty answers, one may be forced to say that we need divine intervention. Like the Jewish people who waited for the messiah for 400 years during the intertestamental period Africa and Nigeria as a case study need divine intervention.

However, the seeming silence of God in all these difficulties in Africa could be likened to the silence of God during the intertestamental period in Jewish history. This period is characterized by significant historical, cultural, and political developments, particularly within the Jewish community and the broader Mediterranean world. It witnessed the rise and fall of various empires, including the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman empires, which had a profound impact on the religious and social landscape of the region. During the intertestamental period, significant events such as the Hellenistic influence on Jewish society, the Maccabean Revolt, and the emergence of various Jewish sects and movements, including the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and Zealots, occurred. These developments set the stage for the cultural and religious milieu into which Jesus Christ was born and where early Christianity emerged. Understanding the intertestamental period provides valuable insights into the historical context, religious beliefs, and cultural dynamics that shaped Judaism and Christianity during this pivotal period of transition and change.

The intertestamental period and contemporary African suffering share similarities in experiences of hardship and adversity. Both faced oppression and subjugation under foreign rulers, while both exhibited resilience in preserving their cultural identity. They also fought for independence and self-determination, often characterized by resistance and sacrifice. Political instability and conflict have also impacted both societies, resulting in widespread suffering and displacement. Both communities have sought justice and redemption, drawing inspiration from their shared experiences of struggle and resilience. Recognizing these parallels can foster empathy, solidarity, and a deeper understanding of the human experience amidst adversity.

Therefore, we can learn some positive lessons from the period of 400 years of the intertestamental times. During this time sects were formed and amongst the prominent sect was the Essenes. The Essenes were a Jewish sect during the intertestamental period, primarily in Judea. They were known for their ascetic lifestyle, focusing on purity laws, communal living, and separation from mainstream society. They lived in isolated settlements, focusing on ritual purity, apocalyptic expectations, and preserving sacred texts. Their teachings and practices significantly influenced Jewish thought and spirituality during the intertestamental period, reflecting broader Jewish concerns and aspirations. Their teachings and practices shaped the cultural and intellectual landscape of ancient Judaism. The Essenes’ teachings can be applied to Africa, particularly in times of hardship. They emphasize spiritual resilience, community, moral integrity, simplicity, hope, and social justice. By embracing these principles, Africans can cultivate resilience, foster community, uphold moral values, and practice responsible stewardship. They can also maintain hope for a better future, despite facing hardship. By promoting social justice and equity, they can empower marginalized communities and work towards a more just society. By embracing these principles, Africa and Nigeria can inspire a brighter future.

Africa and Nigeria can navigate through moments of difficulties and economic hardships by embracing prayer and patience, which foster resilience and hope in challenging times. Additionally, fostering a collective effort to change negative narratives towards a better life is crucial, emphasizing the core African values of love, brotherhood, and communal living. Embracing these values strengthens social cohesion and support networks, enabling communities to withstand adversities together. Promoting the concept of Ujama, or collective work and responsibility, encourages mutual support and collaboration towards shared goals and prosperity. By upholding these values, individuals and communities can cultivate a sense of solidarity and resilience, empowering them to overcome challenges and build a brighter future for Africa and Nigeria.

The French will advise with the words “se serrer la ceinture,” which translates to “tighten one’s belt” This signifies the act of enduring hardships, making sacrifices, and living frugally during challenging times. Living frugally during challenging times involves making conscious decisions to manage resources wisely and prioritize essential needs over wants. Strategies include budgeting, cutting expenses, meal planning, energy-saving measures, limiting debt, embracing minimalism, comparing shopping, generating additional income if possible, but if not relaxing, and maintaining a positive mindset. Evaluate spending habits and identify non-essential expenses. Plan meals, cook at home, and use leftovers creatively. Implement energy-saving measures and consider debt consolidation or refinancing options. Seek assistance from government programs, community organizations, or charitable resources if needed. Simplify your lifestyle, compare prices, and explore opportunities to supplement income. Maintain a positive mindset and celebrate small victories along the way.

African nations can overcome these present challenges by embracing resilience, determination, and resourcefulness. These strategies include prayer and faith, patience, and perseverance, hard work and diligence, community support and solidarity, innovation and creativity, education and skill development, advocacy and civic engagement, respect for diversity and inclusion, environmental stewardship, and hope and optimism. Prayer and faith provide spiritual strength, patience, and perseverance to help individuals stay focused on long-term goals. At the same time, hard work and diligence encourage a strong work ethic and commitment to excellence. Community support and solidarity strengthen bonds and create a sense of belonging. Innovation and creativity inspire new solutions to problems, while education and skill development equip individuals for societal progress.

Therefore, we are Africans, we are strong people, and we continue to endure till we succeed; we are not going to lose hope, and the labor of our past heroes shall never be in vain, Stay patient. We are together!  Nous sommes ensemble”.

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  1. Father, John this is amazing and what an insight to the intertestamental period in relation to present reality

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