By Solomon Okocha
Yesterday, as Senator Andrew Uchendu, crossed the last hurdle on his way to the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and was duly sworn in as the Senator representing Rivers East Senatorial District, my mind took me on an emotional ride to an occurrence which happened during the time of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The coming of Christ our Lord was prophesied long before He was born. From the time when the Israelites were in bondage, suffering in the hands of cruel and numerous enemies, to the period when raging war, excruciating famine, and palpable drought, amongst other mortal ills, pervaded the length and breadth of their domain, the story of the coming Messiah who would save God’s children from the hands of their countless oppressors and traducers, flowed endlessly from the mouths of not a few Prophets.
For hundreds of years, God’s children waited patiently for the coming of the chosen One – He Who would bring to an end to oppression, hopelessness and despair. Such was the hope that kept the Israelites focused and strong during their long stay in captivity; in their journey through the wilderness; when they crossed the Red Sea, et al. The spark of hope that the thought of the coming Messiah ignited in their hearts, was enough to calm any raging storm.
The Bible records in the Book of Luke 2:25-27, that the Holy Spirit revealed to Simeon, a devout and righteous man, who was earnestly waiting for the consolation of Israel, that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. And so when finally Christ was born, Simeon’s joy knew no bound.
During the purification rites of Jesus Christ, Simeon, moved by the Spirit, went into the Temple courts and verbalised the emotions which scores and scores of years of hopeful waiting, had tucked under his belly: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel (Luke 2:28-30).”
Here in Rivers State, just like the Children of Israel, we have had our own fair share of oppression. We were forced under gunpoint to surrender our political system to men of the underworld. Before, during and after the 2015 general elections, our dear state was a ‘theatre of war’, as affirmed by the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Many were killed, many others were maimed and so many others were denied their rightful mandates.
In all these, it is worthy to note that the Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, under the able leadership of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Honourable Minister of Transportation, kept hope alive and waited upon God. Amaechi was seen everywhere encouraging his flock, telling them to set their gaze upon the Almighty, Who never sleeps nor slumbers. Amaechi can be likened to one of those prophets that foretold the coming of Christ. He saw today.
Senator Uchendu was a part and parcel of this tortuous walk through the political wilderness of Rivers State. Two times his mandate was stolen on the pedestal of severe electoral malpractice, gross irregularities and extreme violence. But like a man whose hope is anchored on the Almighty, he did not faint, but persevered till the very end. Today, my Chief is now a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Sovereign Lord, my eyes have seen your salvation!
Solomon Okocha is the Media Aide to Senator Andrew Uchendu and he writes from Abuja