Ozubulu Tragedy: Come Forth Galileo – By Emmanuel Ogbeche

— The Ozubulu tragedy which has left scores dead has reinforced my conviction of the unprecedented hypocrisy in our country as well as our aversion to proper scrutiny of issues and events.
It is imperative that we need the spirit of Galileo Galilei; that timeless spirit of inquiry, the rigour of defying the normal to ascertain the truth. At a time the Church could not be queried, Galileo at the risk of being declared a heretic, he was eventually, challenged the notion of geocentrism or the Tychonic system with his heliocentrism assertion. Though it will take years for his theory to be accepted, his conviction was not based on some conspiracy, or wishy-washy theory, rather thorough and rigorous inquiry.

Since the unfortunate incident at St. Philips Catholic Church, several commentaries have left me befuddled as to the general Janus-like disposition of many, including those that claim to know the Bible.

Some have queried the Church for receiving a gift of church building from a “known drug baron.” Others have hailed the police for the “timely and decisive” conclusion of investigation under two hours after the incident happened, while they are yet others who have latched onto the herdsmen conspiracy theory.

People are entitled to their opinions, but truth, like it is commonly said, is sacred.

For those who claim to be Christians and are not conversant with 2 Timothy 2:20, there is need to give them clarity, and perhaps cure them of their ignorance.

The verse says: “A large house contains not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay. Some indeed are for honorable use, but others are for common use.” Other interpretations say for “others are unto dishonor.”

It is therefore common sense to expect all characters in the House of God. It is God that justifies. Do we turn our noses up when prostitutes, ritualists, rogue civil servants bring their tithes and offerings? It is in no man’s place to pass judgment when it is mainly based on a notion that could be entirely untrue.

Besides, we are a people given to dangerous assumptions and insinuations once it does not fit into our expectations. It is this sort of mindset that led the State Security Service on April 9, 2016 to reach the terrible conclusion that of 55 bodies found in the Umuanyi Forest near Aba in Abia State, five were Fulani without any forensics, autopsy. Curiously, the SSS could not tell the identities of the 50 others!

To the matter of Governor Willie Obiano and the State Police Commissioner of Police, Mr. Garba Umar, announcing that it was a drug feud, one has to take cognizance that both are privy to intel not available to the rest of us. But that is where the problem lies. If the duo had information as to the brewing gang war of drug lords in faraway climes, what did they do to rein in their foot soldiers? Were their conclusions to douse worry of possible “foreign invasion?” Is it not worrisome that all along the governor knew that these “brothers” are a danger to the people of Anambra state and he failed to get the NDLEA to bring to justice known drug barons? Owing to their privileged information, are we going to see arrests within 24 hours? It seems the 24 hours timeline is farfetched as it had elapsed by 6am on Monday 7, 2017.

Drug cartels are known for precision and staking out their prey. One wonders how come in this regard, they could not accurately hit the target they went after?

As to the issue of killing in the church, it is not something novel. T.S. Eliot had dealt with it in his verse drama, Murder in the Cathedral, which portrays the assassination of Archbishop Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170

In recent times, we are witnesses to the Charleston Church shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, United States. On the evening of June 17, 2015 during a prayer service, nine people (including the senior pastor, state senator Clementa C. Pinckney) were killed by gunman Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old white supremacist.

Roof told the police he wanted to ignite a race war.

Before Roof’s, on March 19, 1994 gunmen apparently shot dead a priest as he donned his vestments in the sacristy of his church north of Naples, Italy.

So to hold onto the thinking that because the Church was a gift from a “drug baron,” again, subject of ‘amebo’ is to be ignorant of the force of evil.

May we receive the Spirit of Galileo and ask the right questions to get the right answers.

As we mourn the dead, may the governor and police, who already know those behind the heinous crime, bring them to book, speedily!