By Dr Francis Agbaraolorunpo
Nigeria is a nation of highly religious people who strongly believe in the supremacy of God. The belief in the existence of God is a common denominator among most Nigerians regardless of their gender, age, social-economic class, tribes, and profession, we are people of faith gravitated to a supreme being who is immortal, invisible and omnipotent in attributes. In other words, although Nigeria is a circular nation with a heterogenous population in terms of language and culture, we are nonetheless driven by faith in God across our different religious expressions as Muslims and Christians, not leaving behind other groups with faith in the Almighty God.
But most recently, the happening in our nation is casting aspersion on our common value for God. The rising wave of insecurity in all shapes and sizes across our land is apparently amplifying our emotional sense above our logical judgment, a situation that seems to be overshadowing our hope, trust and faith in the living God. Although, we all believe in the supremacy of God and channel our prayer to him, at our different worship hours, but we nonetheless fight, abuse and malign one another because of the differences in our political persuasions. The big question is how could a nation of highly religious compatriots allow political jobbers to polarise them to a fearful state of disunity and suspiciousness? How could we allow politicians who have no regard for God in their hearts, affairs, and the management of our dear nation, to tear down the fabric of our tolerance towards another? How did we, the socially
and economically downtrodden Nigerians, allow ourselves to be cajoled, hypnotized and polarized by the whims and caprices of our politicians who are united in mismanaging, bleeding and milking this nation to stupor, through their shared insensitivity, ineptitude, arrogance, greediness, poor judgment, impunity, administrative recklessness and lack of respect for the rules of law? Why should we permit those who through their actions and inactions allowed insecurity to fester to a monstrous state across the nation, polarise, fragment and dislocate our unity as
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As 2023 general election beckons arise o compatriots, Nigeria calls to obey. Most importantly, the political permutation of Christian-Christian, Muslim-Muslim, and Muslim-Christian candidacy should be the least of our problems in the upcoming election, but a unity of purpose to recover and restore our nation. It is not contestable that Nigerians across religious /ethnic divides are all victims of insensitive political jobbers, reputed for political prostitution. As such, the 2023 general election is the mission to salvage our motherland from the metastasizing grip of insecurity, disunity, uncertainty, economic hardship, the dwindling value of Naira, as well as the heaping mountain of indebtedness and a host of other monstrous challenges. And to my mind, this is an urgent task that requires a unity of purpose across religious and ethnic divides. Without gainsaying, 2023 general election is an election that will define our history as a nation and people, and I am most confident that God is willing to be a big factor in this election if we allow him to step in. And this message in particular is to all Nigerians who hold God dearly in their hearts. Therefore, careless and irresponsible promotion of hate, falsehood, fear, agitation, sensationalism, secessionism and division, which are antithetical to our common value for God and inimical to our existentialism as a nation, must be jettisoned.
As I welcome the new leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (C.A.N) on the national stage, I wish to humbly draw their attentions to the counsel of heaven, to unite Nigerians across faith, towards this great task of reclaiming and rebuilding our nation through intercessory prayer and promotion of national unity. Clearly, the challenges bedeviling our nation affect all Nigerians across religious and ethnic divides without discrimination. No Nigerian from either of the major religious divides is immune from the dreaded menace of insecurity, kidnapping, banditry, crashing value of Naira, surging inflation, a threat to our educational system, unemployment, poverty and hunger. We all agree that this indeed is not the Nigeria of our dream, aspiration and destination. We are all victims of socio-economic injustice and exclusion, by the political elites whose futures are secured in Europe and the Western world as evident in their penchants for overseeing medical tourism and educational nomadism for their children and loved ones. As such, this is the time for C.A.N leadership to go the scriptural way to inspire every Nigerian to pray to God for unity, peace and divine guidance in choosing our next leaders who will be saddled with the enormous tasks of reversing the current morbid trajectory. The new leadership of C.A.N must encourage Nigerians to spread the message of faith, love, unity and unflinching hope in God at a critical time in preparation for the 2023 general election. The C.A.N leadership must discourage and dissuade Nigerian believers in misjudging one another as unknown pastors and Bishop as this will be tantamount to breaching the scriptural code of ‘Judge not that you may not be the judge (Luke 6:37)’. In this regard, it is indisputable that God is the judge of everyman’s faith and intention, hence the need to follow scriptural examples in guiding God’s flock in their preparation towards the 2023 election. The election of a disciple to substitute the ‘Biblical Judas Iscariot’ is pertinent and relevant as a lesson and a moral compass towards maintaining God’s lane in the forthcoming 2023 election.
According to the book of Act chapter 1, verse 24, 26 : ‘And they prayed, and said Lord , who knows the hearts of all men, show us which of these two you have chosen and thereafter, they cast their votes (lots) and their votes (lots) produced Matthias’. Incredibly, the above process was a rancor-free process devoid of divisive agitation because God was let in through Prayer. Similarly, the seemly politically qualified and sagacious Biblical brothers of David were rejected by God for a little boy David, on the basis of ‘golden Heart Attributes’, to lead the affairs of a nation. This process was also done without any polarisation and division. Likewise, Nigerians need political leaders with hearts of gold characterized by godly fear, national patriotism, religious and ethnic tolerance, courage, respect for law and order; leaders with a clear vision, burning passion and an unflinching mission to rebuild our ailing nation, where peace and justice reign supremely. Therefore, we cannot and must not fall into the trap of leaders with ‘ hearts’
driven by toxic and morbid greediness, mediocrity, incompetence, arrogance, insensitivity, sectionalism, impunity, and lawlessness, which are largely responsible for our current socio-economic debacles.
To this end, I write this short piece to Nigerians and C.A.N leadership in particular, to factor in God in our political permutation as we approach a defining moment in our political odyssey. Wisdom is profitable to direct and guide us to Pray and Watch out for the candidates after God’s heart in the upcoming general election. We must not as spiritual leaders take over the place of God in this forthcoming election by way of imposing our sentiment and bias to promote divisions and tension, this will be at variance with God’s will and purpose at this sensitive period. We must also avoid the path of the spiritual leaders in the book of Jeremiah 10:21; 12:10 who failed to seek the face of God, thereby misleading, scattering and destroying God’s flock.
Assuredly, the counsel of God shall stand over our nation as we unite the downtrodden Nigerians and people of God across religious and ethnic divides, to pray for divine guidance towards a godly choice in the 2023 election. With the cognition that the heart of men belongs to God, we should intercede earnestly that God’s will influence the hearts of Nigerian voters to reflect God’s perfect will in 2023 General Election.’ In conclusion, except the Lord build a house, they labor in vain that build it; except the Lord keep the city, the watchmen wake up in vain’.Psalm 127:1.
Dr Francis Agbaraolorunpo is a medical practitioner and a medical lecturer from the University of Lagos. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org