Exodus 4:21 says: And the LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.
In the end, the people were let go. The hithertofore enslaved and oppressed nation of Israel left Pharaoh’s Egypt. The Israelites took back their own collective destiny and have been working out their own nation-building since then.
And Egypt? Egypt still stands today, working out its own destiny, working nation-building, the relentless necessary burden of every nation—only without Israelites as slaves. Oh yes, Pharaoh and Egypt paid the price alright for their wickedness against the Israelites. But neither the people of Egypt nor Egypt itself were permanently destroyed; nor was that the intent. Even the Pharaoh was allowed to live.
Today, while the pundits and pious, religionists and philosophers, some of them claiming to speak for God, argue about how and why and if in fact God would / could “harden Pharaoh’s heart”, only thus to set him up for the calamities that befell him and Egypt, the main lessons are lost:
- Inevitability. There was no way the Israelites, a completely distinct nation, could stay and live as slaves forever in and under slave master, Egypt.
- “Two-State solution” was God’s solution. He did not destroy Egypt. The necessary exodus of the Israelites did not neutralize Egypt; from all that can be surmised, that was not God’s intent. Thus, today, the two states / nations stand under God’s sun and rain.
And today, in Nigeria, for Nigeria, there is hardening of the heart. Make no mistake: the outcome is not changed; the peoples of Nigeria will be let go. The different ethnic nations sharing not much in common except for now a forced and perilous “Egypt-like” relationship, will eventually go each its own respective different way. Each will rediscover its own national destiny and take it over to do with it what each pleases. And, each will afterwards face its own task of nation-building, an arduous task at that; but face it it will and must. That’s the inevitable.
It’s all part of hardening of the heart when Nigerians and Nigeria fail to accept the obvious: that Nigeria has failed as “one”, that it’s really time for the peoples to go their own different ways. It’s part of hardening of the heart when Boko Haram bombs and shoots the peoples relentlessly, and no one can stop them, yet the same terrorized victims (which means the entire “country”) refuse to say, “Enough”! and refuse to follow through with the action of getting as far away from association with Nigeria as possible. Instead, they cling, they cling—to the source and cause of their pain and torment, “one-Nigeria”, Pharaohic Egypt. There is no person living or dying in Nigeria who does not have an ancestral homeland. There is no ancestral homeland which is not imbued naturally with sovereignty by the fact of indigenity of its people and its physical geographic rooting. Given the mutilating injury suffered by the peoples which “Nigeria” provides the toxic environment for, the only healing option left for the peoples is to each manifest and express their sovereignty and manage their collective destiny. The people must go.
Planning and jockeying for political advantage for 2015 Nigeria’s presidency is an example of hardening of the heart. Nigeria is barely breathing as we speak; next week is not a certainty. To leapfrog to 2015 is to say that the suffering and anguish of the peoples today does not mean anything. For that matter, it in fact does not mean anything to those busybodies. They are not interested in solving anything today (or in 2015 either). And they are the rulers and makers—the movers and shakers and determinants—of Nigeria. They demonstrate hardening of the heart.
Pretending that the trouble of the day for Nigeria is due to poverty in Northern Nigeria is another example of hardening of the heart. Spending huge sums of money (by a people claiming dire poverty) lobbying foreign government-stakeholders to toe the same deceitful line is hardening of the heart. Everyone knows that Boko Haram fundamentally rejects Western civilization which is the ticket to poverty alleviation in this and many regions of the world and in this dispensation. Refusing to acknowledge the real publicly stated demand, intent and goal of Boko Haram—not just Sharia in Muslim Northern states, but Sharia in entire Nigeria, in complete rejection of anything else—is hardening of the heart. One Northern elite-author in a recent article even states boldly that if Jonathan were to make a public statement declaring that he would not run as president in 2015, thereby to allow a Muslim president of Nigeria in 2015, that Boko Haram would stop terrorizing Nigeria. This one goes beyond hardening of the heart to delusions or sheer disingenuousness.
Praying and fasting incessantly as the Christians in Nigeria are wont to do, for Nigeria to be made “one”, results from hardening of the heart. Especially when Boko Haram bombs Christian churches on Christmas and schedules another bombing on Easter successfully, while the Christians fail to see that it is only in the context and on the platform of “one-Nigeria” that this can happen. To insist on doing on the knees that which should be done with the feet is hardening of the heart: Leave—use your feet and move away from danger—let the people go; enough of the praying already. Praying and fasting for peace and security in Nigeria as Christians are called upon to do, while forgetting that the supplicant must take steps, even if difficult, to leave a dangerous and injurious relationship called Nigeria, is a form of hardening of the heart. For that, these Christians endure incessant bombing of their churches by Boko Haram with mounting casualties, a situation made possible by failing to challenge, and continuing to clinging to, one-Nigeria. Same goes for the misguided activities of the groups whose goal is “one-Nigeria” at all costs; their heart is hardened so they cannot acknowledge reality and the un-tenability and destructiveness of such a position or the arrangement it calls for.
As Pharaoh and Egypt found out, there is a heavy price to pay for insisting on unworkable conditions and relationships. As the peoples living in Nigeria are finding out, there is a hefty price to pay for refusing to learn from history, to learn from common experience, and to learn from common sense—and act accordingly. Today, Boko Haram has practically shut down the Nigerian Press and Media, save for the usual perennial drivel about EFCC, corruption and NASS. Sympathizers of Boko Haram are in control of foreign stakeholders’ opinion on the matter through expensive lobbying, though the UN institutions and these foreign establishments have already been victimized or at imminent risk. Northern elite and leaders are intimidated by Boko Haram into not just silence, but also, now spinning the situation to avoid blaming Boko Haram in any way. With the sympathy of the indigenes aligned with Boko Haram in its areas of operation, the Nigerian government’s armed forces and security agents are powerless to defeat Boko Haram any time soon or even at all. (Even that same government has admittedly been infiltrated by Boko Haram sympathizers and sponsors.) As for the non-indigenes, their reliance on same-Nigerian citizenship to protect them, and their genuine or contrived show of patriotism for malevolent Nigeria, no matter what (a hardening of the heart), has proven empty and wanting: they are finally leaving the Boko Haram areas of their wanton destruction, with nothing but their blood and corpses to show for it: the Nigerian government could not and cannot protect them.
As long as there continues this hardening of the heart, there are more “plagues” afoot, in case one thinks it could not get any worse. Just wait until Boko Haram solidifies its relationship with international terrorism. Then, they will lock down the whole of Nigeria and can and will strike any part of Nigeria at will: the entire Nigeria will become their operational platform and administrative base. And of course, they will install their own hand-picked Muslim as Nigeria’s president: the Buhari’s are always available and have declared their availability! Then, Somalia, in comparison, will be Heaven. Hence, Nigeria, in spite of Hell thus far, hasn’t quite seen “plagues”—not quite yet.
There is an alternative. “Let the people go”, now. Nigeria and the peoples can accept a multi-nation / multi-state solution now, wherein and whereby ethnic nations pursue each its own respective independent sovereignty and national course, building inter-national relationships only when and where mutual, consenting and beneficial.
Multi-state solution: That’s inevitable; not prophecy. “More plagues” is optional. There is a Divine example and precedent, for those looking for Divine guidance, Divine direction and Divine solution.
Let the people go. They will.
Oguchi Nkwocha, MD
A Biafran Citizen