DANIEL BELTESHAZZAR

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Amongst the heroes I’ve read about none inspires me more than the humble Daniel; both for his strong will and his uncompromising faith. People today for a plethora of reasons lack these two character traits and its little wonder why it seems the world is going bunkers. 

 
After Jerusalem was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonian king, he took certain of the children of Israel with skilful wisdom, cunning in knowledge and understanding of science and brought to his palace to be thought the language of court.
 
The king further appointed them a portion of his meat and wine, but Daniel purposed in his heart not to defile himself with the kings meat or wine. We have to understand that this was a young man who just survived his city being besieged and must have suffered weeks of hunger trapped in the walled city of Jerusalem and as a captive trekking to a far away city afterwards, but he rejected the kings food and opted for pulse instead which is an ancient brew of fruits, nuts, seeds and grain.
 
Then when the king had his horrendous dream which he himself couldn’t remember and his respected sorcerers couldn’t help him with. There was a terrible fear in the land because the king had decreed that all the wise men in the land which meant basically his advisors Daniel included would be slaughtered if his dream couldn’t be deciphered and interpreted.
 
The king must have reasoned that if they couldn’t tell him his dream which he per chance had forgotten then all along his sorcerers had no powers and must have being using a combination of guess work and normal sign readings to interpret whatever they wanted for him.
Daniel on hearing this from Arioch the kings captain desired mercies of God then the secret was revealed to Daniel and he went before the Great Fearsome Nebuchadnezzar and he asked ~
 
‘Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?’
 
And Daniel answered ~
 
‘The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king…’
 
Thus the dreadful prophesy in the book of Daniel Chapter 2 foretelling the end of the world was revealed to the king and he was amazed because Daniel had said exactly what he dreamt and he was certain that the man before him was not a fraud. Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief of the governors over all the wise men.
 
One day, in a fit of arrogance like that depicted by Homer in the Illiad describing Odysseus; the king walked into his palace and boasted ~ ‘Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?’ 
 
While the words was in the King’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying ~ ‘O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and they dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men and giveth it to whomsoever he will.’
 
It came to pass within the hour, just as Daniel had foretold earlier.
 
Then Nebuchadnezzars’ son after he became King made a huge feast, he brought the golden vessels that had been taken out of the temple of the house of God which was in Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives and his concubines, drank in them. 
 
In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote and he was greatly troubled for no one could understand the writing. Then the Queen stepped forward to say this ~ ‘There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him…’
 
When Daniel was brought forth there were promises made by the king if the interpretation could be made ~ ‘…thou shalt be clothed with scarlet and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom.’
 
Daniel simply answered ~ ‘Let thy gifts be to thyself and give rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto you and make known to him the interpretation.’
 
And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
 
This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
 
TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.
 
PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
 
In that night was the king slain and Darius the Median took the kingdom.
 
Under Darius Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.
 
Then said these men, we shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors and the princes, the counsellors and the captains have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of LIONS.
 
Wherefore King Darius signed the writing and the decree. Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.
 
Then these men came to the king and reported, he was sore displeased with himself and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him. They assembled unto the king and said know O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, that no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.
 
Thus was Daniel cast into the den of lions but first Darius said ~ ‘thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.’ This came from a pagan warrior king that terrorised the Greeks before his son xerxes, if you’ve watched the hollywood movie 300 SPARTANS, you would understand the manner of man who said those words.
 
After a stone was brought and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace and passed the night fasting…and when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel ~ ‘O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?’
 
Then said Daniel unto the king ~ ‘O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.’
 
Darius commanded and they brought those men which had accused Daniel and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them and brake all their bones in pieces.

 “I criticize by creation – not by finding

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“I criticize by creation – not by finding fault. ~ Cicero” 

 
In recent times the Nigerian opposition has been vibrant, this is welcome and certainly a good omen for our democracy as without it the essence of all the lofty ideals we are so proud to be associated with would be absent. 
 
This having been said, it is proper to caution that we shouldn’t hide under the cloak of our democratically guaranteed right to freedom of expression to stir up acrimony in a bid to score cheap political points, without consideration for the general interests of this country.
 
Every other day the social media is inundated with tales of woe and the incompetence of today’s Government and of course Muhammadu Buhari shows up every once in a while with especially hot vituperations which in my opinion are unbecoming of an elder statesman because there are those especially in his region who would take him seriously.
 
His most recent outburst suggested that the Niger Delta militants where simply given guns by politicians to rig elections after which the weapons where used to carry out criminal activity and asserted vehemently that the Niger Deltans started it first. I am hoping for his sake that these statements where fabricated because this is the most myopic, hideously ignorant thing any right thinking Nigerian can say. I know Adaka Boro wasn’t handed weapons by politicians and everyone acknowledges that the injustices in that part of the country where appalling and glaring; the militants acquired weapons from their involvement in oil bunkering activities not politicians.
 
This notwithstanding, there is no nexus whatsoever between what the boko haram sect is currently doing and what the militants did. The militants never engaged in the indiscriminate murder of Nigerian citizens and where always open to negotiation. How can anyone in his right mind attempt to draw similarities between the legitimate agitation of people living in abject poverty while the subsistence of this nation where siphoned from underneath their feet and cowardly Islamic extremism?
 
Its a pity that a former Head Of State has thrown caution to the wind and made such irrational statements that could easily encourage people in the north to get recruited and join the Boko Haram fighters against the overall interest of this country.
 
It was David Hume who said that a wise man proportions his belief to the evidence and in this regard it would be fair to surmise from several statements credited to Buhari and many others like him that by omission or commission the Boko Haram sect is been supported by political leaders in the north.
 
In the Niger Delta scenario the elder statesmen, politicians, traditional heads and local chiefs all worked together to make sure a solution for the problem was proffered but what has Nigeria really gotten from northern leaders?
 
It is common knowledge that Buhari feels he’s in a righteous war against today’s corrupt leadership and would employ whatever means to flush them out of Aso Rock but he should heed Nietzsches’ solemn advice – Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one.
 
The old man must have forgotten that in his time as Head Of State he would have arrested anyone who dared to incite the kind of sentiments he and his cohorts have been stoking up; this is an individual who successfully gagged the media while he was in office. This kind of behaviour is not strange though, human beings tend to do things only when it suits them. To men like Buhari chaos is not a pit but a ladder and woe betide every freedom loving Nigerian if this man finds his way to power again.
 
The hunger for power has effectively made a lot of northern politicians insensitive to their own people, they’ve resorted to pointing accusing fingers at a man who’s been in office for barely 3 years; how can he be responsible for all the poverty in the north when in Nigeria’s recorded history they’ve had more access to power?
 
Buhari and other northern leaders before and after him failed while in office to provide education for their people now the almajiri phenomenon provides infantry for the boko haram. Illiteracy coupled with little or no investment in health care is the main reason the wild polio virus ravages their people. Yet in the clamour for power they’ve chosen the high road of shamelessly apportioning blame.  
 
Little wonder Soyinka asked these questions in his poem -“…or have the rigours of survival bred a race of naked predators? Is sharing out of fashion? Community a dirty word, service an obscenity?”
 
The APC is an encouraging development and I’d certainly vote for them if they are able to set aside ethnic and personal aspirations and bring forward a candidate with the right ideology to take us forward. I just hope they realise by now that Buhari, El rufai, Dino Melaye and co are not helping their cause but simply overloading the party with unnecessary negative energy which would only succeed in attracting the votes of illiterates and people with religious or ethnic bias, and those numbers will not be able to win elctions in this country. Not anymore.