I am sorry for using Pidgin English to caption this article. I had to do so because I have this feeling that it would make more sense that way than a big bold caption reading. I AM BIGGER THAN YOU or I AM MORE HIGHLY PLACED THAN YOU.

You know, the first thing that would come to mind when you see this caption is Power Holding Company of Nigeria (alias NEPA) and the rest of us. Like we all know, that company became so powerful and popular for their penchant in holding or withholding lights.

I say powerful because even when they do not give you light for three months, they will give you bills for those months and enforce payment of it by disconnecting your lights and taking away the wires. Again, even if they do not read your meter from year to year, they will give you bills as they fancy, from month to month, and force you to pay such arbitrary bills. And no one is prepared to talk!

On the other hand, I say popular because even if they withhold lights for one year, any day they bring it, children would be shouting and clapping for them as if they have done us a special favour. And they think they have an unbridled right to deny us of our rights! For how long will they do these things and get away with it.

Anyway, what I was going to say before the unacceptable attitude of  NEPA came to my mind is that as people continued to take their unwarranted punishment from NEPA, they decided to help themselves too. Just like it is popularly said, “When the hunter learns to shoot without missing the bird would learn to fly without perching”.

Our people resorted to using small generators popularly called “I big pass my neighbour”. In the night, while your neighbour would be in darkness, you would switch on your small generator with a few electrical points, as if to say “I big pass my neighbour”. Very soon, almost every person owned it and people started going for something bigger and better. Even when people are buying bigger generators, people went for sound proof generators. When your neighbours’ generators pollute your environment with noise, you could easily pound your chest and say “I big pass my neighbour” because no person can say the noise from your generating set is disturbing them. More importantly, your neighbour cannot afford that type of generator.

These days, the problems caused by the “I big pas my neighbour” phenomenon are becoming unbearable. Many people in different ways want to show it. They want to show it by the type of houses they build, the type of cars they drive, the type of schools they send their children and even the things they say. This is why we have people walking about like “tolotolo” (peacocks) and calling themselves “big boys” and “big girls”. They even have their clubs of “big boys” and “ladies of substance”.

Many people of our time would be so glad to see that they are the only cock that crows in their environment. They would be so glad to see their neighbours live in thatch houses while they live in mansions, so that any visitor to their area would just note that one neighbour is bigger than the other.

Some would be happy to see others in his environment use bicycles while they use limousines whose parts cannot be found in this nation for purchase should anything happen to such cars. As long as the difference would be clear between them and their neighbours, some people would not even mind borrowing money to purchase vehicles they cannot maintain.

For some people, the only stockfish or fish that is good is the one bought or eaten by them. Every other one bought or eaten by any other person is non-nutritious and mere bone.

When you hear a man shouting at another in public with threats to kill him or send him to jail, then, you have seen a man suffering from a very dangerous disease called “I big pass my neighour”.

When you see a person discriminating against others on the grounds of trible, religion or circumstances of their birth, you have seen a person suffering from “I big pass my neighbour disease”.

If you see a man who is fond of shouting “1, 1 and 1” without due consideration of others, be kind to him because he needs help. He needs to be cured of “I big pass my neighbour” syndrome.

How can’t one see something good in others? How is it that someone would always think that if it not him, then, it must not be any other person?

How is it that our world is full of people who would even not want any other person to get any good thing which they have failed to get?

“I big pass my neighbour” has become a prominent encourager of evils. It is because of some people’s thirst to catapult themselves to a level beyond the level and reach of their neighbours that they do certain obnoxious and atrocious things, including killing, stealing and telling lies.

Have you not noticed that these days, a simple question to a young girl by her parents about who the parents of her fiance is, or what the fiancé does, can stop a girl from marrying a man of her choice? If a girl says the parents of her fiancé are traders, she has lost the man of her choice. It could be a different thing if she answers that they are a businessman and woman. If she says her fiance is a teacher, she has lost the man coming. It could be different if she answers that he is a lecturer. It may be worse if the girl says her fiancé is a school leaver. Not many would want to hear that because not many knows that such people have futures that might deliver bouncing twins or triplets.

I watched a home video where a woman sighed when she asked the boy coming for the hands of her daughter in marriage and he responded to her question that he was a photographer. The boy noticed it and said, “I studied cinematography and videography inWashingtonDCfor eight years. Then the woman cheered up and said, “Ah,WashingtonDC! I was there for many years. It is a beautiful place”. And that qualified the boy to come for her daughter! This type of woman wants to show her neighbours that she has rich son in law, not necessarily a son in law that would provide care and security for her daughter. She wants to make the point to her neighbours that she has a son in law who had been overseas. She is suffering from “I big pass my neighbour” disease.

It is a disgrace and shame to humanity that the only barometer with which they measure who is “bigger” or “higher” than the other can only be the barometer of material things and earthly possession. What about things of the Lord? How have we thrown all that to the winds or birds? Why can’t we aspire to be bigger or higher than others in serving the Lord, evangelizing God’s people and upholding the truth of the scripture? Why can’t we be bigger or higher than our neighbours in resisting evil, showing kindness to people, saying the truth and doing justice to all manner of people without fear or favour? Why can’t we jettison favouritism, tribalism or ethnicity, and general parochialism for which we are known, more than what our neighbours can do?

Brethren, henceforth, let us understand greatness or “bigness” in terms of service to God and humanity, and not in terms of material possession. I want you to recall the occasion when the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus Christ and asked that her two sons be allowed to sit one on the right and the other on the left of Christ in his kingdom. (Mt. 20:20).

With due respect, I think the mother of the sons of Zebedee had the “I big pass my neighbour” disease. If not, how would she want only her two children to sit on the right and left of Jesus Christ in his kingdom when there were twelve apostles? What about the other apostles? Was any of them not good enough to sit on one of the sides of Jesus Christ?

Anyway, as I was saying, we must see things from the side of how much service we are prepared to render to God and humanity. Just like the Christ said, “Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave” (Mt. 20:26-27). Remember also that it is written, “The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Mt.23:11-12). What this means is that before you begin to say “ I big pass my neighbour” or begin to act it, you must be careful because one can fall from grace to grass. It happened to king Nebuchadnezzar. He did not only fall from grace to grass, but he also ate grass.

Again, no condition is permanent. The fact that you are what you are today, a notable, famous, popular or prominent person, is no indication that tomorrow also belongs to you. A new day may dawn for the neighbour who you despise today with everything in you. Remember the story of the Richman and Lazarus. A new day dawned for Lazarus when both of them died. Tomorrow came. The Richman lost out. Lazarus gained (Lk. 16:19-31).

On the other hand everyone who is well placed today must know that it is not by their power or strength that they are what they are. All things come from God and He expects us to use what He has given us or deposited in us to better His world.

What am I saying? I am saying that “I big pass my neighbour” is a bad sickness that causes arrogance, extravagance, wickedness, jealousy, oppression of others, humiliations of people, discrimination and other evils.

The other day I saw a man shouting to the other, “I will so deal with you that next time when you see me, you begin to run, and respect me”. I said to myself, “When has respect for someone become synonymous with running away when you see them?” I say to you that  that man was only suffering from “I big pass my neighbour” and he was only acting it out.

I heard another woman shout at her househelp in the presence of her visitors, “I picked you up from the gutter to better your life but you wouldn’t change.Washa pig, a pig remains a pig”. Oh my God! Who is a pig? A human being created by God? Does a human being live in the gutter? Well, it is only an acting of “I big pass my neighbour”.

“I big pass my neighbour” but yet when you die, you do not bury yourself and if someone somewhere does not bury you, you will become ready food for vultures.

“I big pass my neighbour” but yet when you die, you are buried six feet down, the same depth as your neighbour would be buried. If you are buried six inches deeper, people would begin to ask questions and probably come to the conclusion that you were such a bad person that those who buried you that deep would not want you to “re-incarnate” again.

“I big pass my neighbour” but yet when you cry, you expect someone to hear you. You expect someone to lend a helping hand when they see you drowning.

Brethren, let us humble ourselves in our actions and the things we say. Let us remember that Christ first humbled himself so that we might learn. He washed his disciples’ feet and did not sit and ask that his feet be washed by them (John 13:1-17). Let us encourage one another by saying or doing things that would keep their souls alive, not things that will make them think that God made a mistake while creating them. If your neighbour is so down and cannot help himself up, help him up and God will bless you.


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Christian Voice