This was over twenty years ago when the whole nation was at the mercy of dictators, who were only after their own interests and not that of the people. When things finally got too much, there was a protest for a democratic government. I was part of those political struggles which the military tried to stop but didn’t succeed. Many people lost their lives in the cause of these uprisings. Others had to flee the country and offer their support from there.
Long before this period of struggle for a democratic Nigeria, some people from the eastern part of the country decided they want to have their own nation. The group believed that they were being denied equal rights as an ethnic group and that the only solution was to strike out on their own. This decision was a dangerous one as the military was still in control then. Their decision jeopardized many lives because the leaders of the cessation thought they could win the battle.
Within this period, Nigeria entered a civil war where they suffered as a nation. Everyone fought for their lives. Many died from diseases caused by starvation and lack of health services during the war. All this suffering happened because there was no focus on building one nation. The move to achieve a democratic government was also stalled as the military stayed in power after the war ended.
I came into the political arena at a time when everyone was still smarting from the aftermath of the war. Several geo-political zones found themselves questioning the veracity of sticking together as a country. Other struggles, either to remove the military or to ensure power was evenly distributed had started. The citizens persevered till they formed two political parties named National Republican Congress and Social Democratic party. I joined the Social Democratic party and we were told to help people understand that collecting money for votes meant they were buying the interest of the people. I took this to heart when campaigning for my party. I explained to people that they were selling their right to expression by accepting bribes instead of voting for persons who would ensure democracy. I campaigned passionately with the view that the new military president did not mean to stay in the government for too long. We were happy to see the change that was coming and that history was being made in the country. I was happy to be part of that history. I was excited that Nigerian was going to sing a new song. I saw that a time was coming when we wouldn’t be barraged with news of unlawful attacks and killings of people defying the military government. I was deeply happy to see that the deaths of many political activist leaders were not in vain.
The change Nigerians were hoping for was announced by the military government on May 29th, 1999. Walking through Lagos on that day, I saw excitement as well as tears of joy on many faces. I could see the freedom to share ideas and the joy that came with the opportunity to contribute positively to building the nation. I saw that our campaigns were not in vain. The hold of the dictators had finally fallen apart and we were a free nation.
I went on a travel to Brazil with the aim to volunteer with an outreach team in Pernambuco state, in the northeast of Brazil. When we were through with the Pernambuco Carnival outreach, the Lord gave us great and unforgettable testimonies. Our next outreach was scheduled to be in Salvador, Bahia. This place is located in the northeast region of Brazil. According to history, Salvador was the first Brazilian capital and the place where most black people in Brazil berthed during the slave trade. Many of these blacks were said to be Africans. The descendants, many who still live there, have their roots in South West Nigeria, which makes them part of the Yoruba ethnic group.
first visit to Bahia before the carnival outreach helped me
understand where those people were from. I was shocked that they
still worshiped a lot of the Yoruba gods that held sway before the
gospel came to Nigeria centuries ago. I’d always though the
gospel would be more prevalent in Western nations but what I saw
reinforced my belief that more needed to be done by the people of God
in spreading the message of Christ. I asked the people about their
knowledge of those gods and they admitted knowing the gods where from
Africa. Some of them were not really sure about the regions in Africa
where these gods were from so I told them the gods were Yoruba gods.
I shared some information about the history of Yoruba people, letting
them know that each family originally had a god they pledged
allegiance to. I told them my family used to worship the god of iron,
Ogun, and as I explained these things they were shocked that their
gods were from Nigeria. They were also astounded to learn that
Christianity had outpaced idol worship and that the majority of those
idol worshippers were now Christians by God’s grace.