I am a strong advocate for the unity of churches in Nigeria. This much I have highlighted in many forums in recent times. I am of the opinion that the church has a critical role to play in the entrenchment of good governance in any given society, Nigeria inclusive because everyone desires and talks about a change in Nigeria. Our church leaders have the responsibility to lend their voice to the issues of corruption, injustice, impunity and other ills in the land.
This brings me to the critical issue at stake. The role of the church in the build-up to the 2019 elections. News has been making the rounds on how some religious leaders have allegedly compromised by receiving a massive amount of monies to work against the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari in the general elections in 2019. If this is not worrisome, to say the least, it goes a long way to tell how some Christian leaders are using religion to cause disaffection and enrich their pockets, and at the detriment of good governance in Nigeria.
While it remains a rumour that monies have indeed exchanged hands, it indeed raises a red flag on the activities of the church in recent times. In my opinion, supporters of ostentatious and obviously manipulative men of the cloak are quick to put the critics in check by quoting “touch not mine anointed” lines ostensibly to show that men of “God” are above reproach and as such “lesser” men have no right whatsoever to criticize or condemn perceived wrongdoings of these high men of “God.”
But they are wrong. How, you might want to ask? When a man of God decides to align with interest because he had been “motivated”, it means that he has deviated and as such he is no longer an “anointed” and the biblical instruction in Psalms 105:15 that states, “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm”, does not apply to he/she.
Having stated the above, it is also appalling on how some men of God have been feeding fat from the rot in the system and are therefore opposed to the leadership style of President Muhammadu Buhari. They forget that they are meant to be role models to members of their congregation. They also forget that in the book of Philippians 1:27, it is stated that “only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel”. Can this be said of those men of God receiving gratification from politicians? Your guess is as good as mine.
I am somewhat troubled that a segment of the church has towed this ungodly path that would eventually lead to destruction, and ignoring the fact that under President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria has experienced tremendous growth. They also in their wisdom even feign ignorance of how liberal minded the president is, and how he has been able to hold the country together despite the avalanche of challenges confronting it.
This much can be confirmed by the recent visit of the revered Archbishop of Canterbury, Bishop Justin Welby to Nigeria. Also, the relationship of President Muhammadu Buhari with other Christian clerics in the country punctuates any narrative those that have their hands soiled wants the members of the unsuspecting public to believe. The president is not a religious fanatic. He is by far a liberal-minded individual for those that have interacted closely with him. This much I can vouch for.
At this point, I must add that it is time for the church leadership in Nigeria to rise to the challenge of contributing its quota to nation building by identifying with those whose integrity and commitment to the political, social and economic advancement of Nigeria are their lot. President Muhammadu Buhari has indeed demonstrated his responsibility to the three above mentioned areas. So do the religious leaders have a choice not to identify with him?
The vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, interestingly is a member of the fold and one who has also shown that unalloyed commitment over time. He has been able to prove doubting Thomas’ wrong that everyone in government or anyone that gets into government would be consumed.
And if the country has such as its leaders at the moment, I see no reason why a segment of the Christian community would agree to sell their conscience for a plate of porridge.
I dare not say that the church is for sale in Nigeria. The church can never be for sale. The church must take its rightful place in entrenching good governance by lending its voice to the common good of humanity. It must also admit and embrace the positive inroads the Buhari administration has made in the socio-economic development of the country. The focus should be and remain on how to move the country forward. This much is desired from all and sundry in Nigeria, the church is inclusive.
Akogwu wrote from Bodija, Ibadan
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