“The Learned” by Kaius Ikejezie (Ph.D.) is one such book that once one starts reading it, they cannot but continue. The style with which the author moves from fiction to non-fiction is so seamless that the reader cannot distinguish between the two. I was so lured by the book’s lore that I kept returning to it every now and again.
Collin Powell in his “My American Dream” states that a hero is often made not out of his own conscious effort, but that something rather comes and drags him away. This ‘dragging away’ is still part of nature’s conspiracy in making one a hero.
The foregoing aptly describes my encounter with “The Learned”. I started reading it without having any religious ambition. I was not looking for a miracle; I rather was looking for intellectual awakening.
The sixth chapter of the book dwells on the pilgrimage to holy places in Italy by Mr and Mrs Jidesonvich, because of the latter’s ectopic pregnancy. Before embarking on the journey, the couple had initiated a suit seeking permission to abort. As fate would have it, the case was adjourned for two months, thus giving them the chance to visit the Eternal City and Italy’s important sanctuaries.
Quite like Powell’s hero, they were not so sure on the exact place to begin their pilgrimage. After much debate, the husband finally agreed with the wife’s neutral-place-suggestion – San Giovanni Rotondo.
San Giovanni Rotondo is the place where Father Pius (Padre Pio) had his church and was equally buried. Originally known as Francesco Forgione, he was born at Pietrelcina, a small town twelve kilometres from Benevento in Italy. Many miracles were attributed to him. He was said to have the power of bilocation, being in more than one place at a time.
Father Pius was, and still is, a source of blessing to many. He himself was said to have been a recipient of a miracle. In 1959, the friar was gravely ill with pulmonary tumour that doctors said he had few days to live. He could no longer celebrate mass nor have any contact with the faithful. He remained bedridden but the Most Holy Mother did not abandon him.
In this period in question, the Jesuit Mario Mason was visiting Italy with the statue of Madonna of Fatima. He also visited San Giovanni Rotondo and obviously met Father Pius, who was in a wheelchair because of his ill health. When the Jesuit left afterwards with the statue, his thoughts were ceaselessly going back to the friar so much that he had to go back in his helicopter and hovered above the cell of the Capuchin friar for some minutes.
Hearing the choppy sound of the helicopter, Father Pius invoked Madonna with these words: “Madonna, Mama mia, it was since you entered Italy that I have been sick, and now do you go away leaving me sick?” A few minutes after this invocation, the friar witnessed a heavy shivering and immediately felt better, feeling no more pains. He realized his tumour had disappeared.
Finding myself tormented by an infernal ulcer for quite some time, I appealed to Madonna, paraphrasing the words of the friar thus, “Madonna, Mama mia, you know that I have ulcer and that it disturbs me terribly, do you now leave me to continue suffering this way forever?”
What followed was an instant relief, though at first I found it difficult to believe, given that I am not among the most believing Christians, especially when it comes to miracles. Now here I am, writing about a miracle I received by merely reading a book I never considered religious.
It might interest the reader to know that “The Learned”, besides harbouring the above incantatory words that yield miracles, contains also SERVOCRACY, a greater miracle waiting to explode. It is a system of government which compels those vying for an important political position to pass through three different kinds of test. The most important of the three is the objective questions. The person who beats others in the tests wins the position in question. With this system, genuine education will be a determining factor in serving our country; there will no more be room for fake certificates or even real ones that represent only a piece of paper. Imagine a scenario where instead of the voting imperative in the last presidential election, Jonathan and Buhari rather sat for the tests. “But would their respective parties have projected them as their best bets?” “Again, who would have won?” The three examples of the Objective questions below from “The Learned” will help you to answer the question.
According to Albert Einstein how many races do we have?
A. Five – as in the number of the original continents.
B. Two – black and white.
C. One – human race.
Who said the following: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
A. Mahatma Gandhi
B. Jean-Jacques Rousseau
C. Martin Luther King
What are you doing when you are not thinking?
In Servocracy, the head of government is known as Chief Servant, and he or she is obliged to use ‘Sir’ or ‘Ma’ to address the citizens of any age. “The chief servant is a servant in word and in deed,” writes Dr Ikejezie in his book.
Another original idea, aside from the tests, is that a Transition Council that will last for three months takes over power at the end of the tenure of the last chief servant, for instance, and then conducts the tests as well as prepares the incoming chief servant.
There are other original ideas in the new system but these two can do for now. Today is for the testimony of a miracle; distractions are not allowed.
By Chikwado Uzo,
University of Nigeria, Nsukka