Praying to Those who Dine with the gods

Eyoh Etim

I view all hierarchical relationships as at once dialectical and problematic. But of course the human system is organised this way and has been so ordered right from the beginning of the earliest known history. Little wonder then that all attempts in ideologies and wars to collapse this uneven structure have always been met with stiff opposition and defeat. Thus, the world in which we live is one built on celebrated inequalities. There are gods and there are human beings. The gods are immortal, free and eternal. Human beings are mortal, limited and temporal. Among the gods, there is a God who demands and commands obedience, loyalty and worship from the other gods. He also punishes them when they err.

The same model replicates itself in the human world. There are relationships between masters and servants, husbands and wives, parents and children. Obedience, loyalty, respect and sacrifices define these relationships. When this relationship is stable and enduring, there is said to be order in society. By that it is meant that the servant stays in his position and does not dare to become or take the place of the master. The wife performs her duties and does not aim to overtake the husband. The children know their place in the home. This is what stability means.

Instability, on the other hand, occurs when the individual on the inferior power scale attempts to change his or her position. Instability is asking questions. It is daring authorities. It is instability because the power man can hardly sit back and watch his power being dissipated. There are usually repercussions for questioning authorities. Even the canon of human knowledge can at times be seen to resist interrogation. Yet instability is usually ignited by injustice. Injustice is the fuel that sparks insurrection. It happens when the servant gives all his life in the service of the master but is rewarded with suffering and pain. It is caused by ingratitude and paying back good with evil. It is brought about by ungodly impunity. Most times the new order would only emerge after the servant had been crushed beyond endurance by the gods and the masters. But this situation can be mitigated by prayer.

Yes, prayer is the key; the master key. It can appease the gods of the sky and the ones below. Prayer means appealing to the conscience of the heartless king. Prayer is the art of obtaining one’s right from the one who is unwilling to hand it over until one begs for it. Prayer is the master key because it unlocks the heart of the heartless master whether he wants it unlocked or not. Prayer is a peaceful weapon that works better than swords, guns and bombs. Prayer is the wind that disperses the enemies in different directions, confounding them in their designs and schemes. Prayer is the hope of the oppressed when the gangsters gang up against a lone star. It is an effective protest tool against those who think that they are gods because they dine with the gods. Prayer draws the attention of the gods to the plight of men.

The Nigerian education system needs prayers. It is currently neglected by those who dine with the gods. It is neglected because it mostly concerns the Youth, the less privileged youth and their future, the future of society. Today we appeal to the gods to visit the education system in Nigeria. It needs change and a total turn around. It needs to be rescued from those who profit from it and from the ignorance it breeds among the people. A poorly educated people cannot think and cannot resist oppression. They cannot ask questions as they readily accept what they are told.

The solution to the rut in the Nigerian public school system is for a law to be enacted that will make it mandatory that all public office holders should send their children to public schools in Nigeria, not private schools in Nigeria, and never abroad. Once this is done, the public schools will, within a few months, witness unimaginable transformation.

 Until then . . . we pray.

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