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Can the Church solve Nigeria’s problems?

They were particularly sad that Nigeria, which will mark 50 years of its independence this October, is wobbling after squandering opportunities that would have made…

They were particularly sad that Nigeria, which will mark 50 years of its independence this October, is wobbling after squandering opportunities that would have made it one of the most developed nations in the world.

Above all, participants were sad that the Church, which should seek solutions to the myriad of problems facing the nation, was itself part of the rot.

The quest for a solution to identified problems at that summit gave birth to the Christian Consultative Forum (CCF) led by Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.

According to Oritsejafor, the forum is focused on ridding Nigerian of incessant violence, injustice, ineptitude, abuse of office by leaders, corruption and irresponsibility in the corridors of power. The pastor said that the Church must lead the quest for a better Nigeria. He noted that major reformations recorded in other shores came about because God raised voices that “passionately, artfully and powerfully communicated the truth. “We hope that the forum will mobilise credible christians to reverse this trend by making meaningful contributions socially, politically and financially.

“We also hope that this ideal can be achieved on the platform of the CCF, whose objective is to transform Nigeria into a progressive developed nation through the Church,’’ Oritsejafor stressed.

Quoting the scriptures, he referred to christians as “the Church of the living God, the pillar and the ground of truth”.

While noting that christians were called the “salt of the earth and the light of the world” in the scriptures, he said that such was a reference to their commission to provide solutions to human problems.

“Christians must be awakened to act concerning issues on ground. It is imperative that it be done now.

Like Oritsejafor, many christians have noted that the 50th year is usually celebrated in the scriptures as the year of jubilee, freedom, correction, restoration and a new beginning.

Pastor Adamu Buba of the ECWA Church, Nyanya-Abuja, said “this is Nigeria’s 50th year after independence and it is usually a year of jubilee and new beginnings. Today, I urge all christians to act.’’

Adamu challenged christians to actively participate in the efforts toward regenerating the nation and urged christian experts and professionals to lend their strong voices to the issues.

He also urged christians in “the media to broadcast and preach true christian ethics and practices until blindness to what is right ceases to plague the society”.

But as the clergy continue to seek the righteous path toward ridding Nigeria of its problems, many are wondering if the Church has a voice strong enough to bring about any positive change in Nigeria. Can the christian body spearhead Nigeria’s transformation and should good Christians continue to keep silent while injustice, degradation and rottenness pervade the nation?

Nigeria’s former High Commissioner to the UK, Dr. Christopher Kolade, said the only way toward a regenerated Nigeria was to revive family values and boost parental and communal responsibility.

He stressed the need for discipline as norm in daily life and a reliable system for ensuring consistently good performance.

Kolade described Nigeria as a land God created and endowed with human, natural, mineral and climatic resources of copious quantity and eminent quality, with great opportunities for success.

“Our major problem now is that the country is bedeviled by seven prominent maladies which include confusion of priorities, self interest above national interest, and a disdain for truth and justice. “There is also the abuse of authority and privileges of office, very weak concept of accountability, focus on politics rather than governance, selection and promotion by patronage rather than performance, and the lack of stakeholder empowerment.’’

He advised Nigerians to sink energy into building, rather than fighting, while mistakes and failures should be turned into opportunities for learning.

Kolade said, however, that the problem of the Church was that it saw itself as a social institution.

“The Church, which as a spiritual fellowship of Christians, should focus on its divine mandate, drawing inspiration and strength from God, rather than from its environment.’’

 To be able to lead Nigeria’s quest for regeneration, Kolade said the Church must continue to emphasise competence, faithfulness, probity, transparency, commitment, courage, ethical values, good behaviour and accountability.

“Above all, the Church must lead by example,’’ he said.

But Mr Gbenga Badejo, a Christian leader, noted that the Church was contributing to the rot because its leaders have continued to exhibit a lot of arrogance.

He wanted the Church to champion new things in the realm of its commission and operation which the society should follow.

Mr Mike Igini, the Director of the Lagos-based Centre for Leadership Values and Policy, on his part, said it was sad that Nigeria’s leaders have made the country a “litter-bin of missed opportunities’.

He was also angry that the Church was being sycophantic and blessing the political leaders who stole the people’s mandate to enter into government.

Dr Gamaliel Onosode, former chairman of Cadbury Nigeria plc, was disappointed at steps to make the Church look like a political entity.

“I don’t think the Church should be called into politics. It should only teach, preach and heal, both spiritually and physically,’’ he said.

He noted that Jesus was clear about His Kingdom’s mission when he said that his kingdom was not of the earth, adding that Christ never cared whether the Jews were under the Roman government or another set of rulers.

“The business of Christians is to be the light of a dark world,’’ he said and regretted that Churches today no longer punish straying members.

“That has encouraged bad behaviour,’’ he said and implored the Church to ensure that disciplines erring members.

“I have never heard of any comment from the pulpit on the banking sector upheaval,’’ he lamented.

Like Onosode, many Christians are of the view that the Church in Nigeria must restore right values, re-instate high standards and respect orderliness, if the nation is to forge ahead. (NANFeatures)

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