THE MEN OF ISSACHAR VISION
2022 INTERNATIONAL MINISTERS AND LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE, IBADAN
‘Jesus: The Grace and the Truth:
Biblical model for Effective leadership’
Lecture Delivered on 20th January 2022
Rt. Rev. Prof. Dapo F. Asaju
Professor of Theology,
Anglican Church of Nigeria
I am very grateful to the esteemed Man of God, genuine preacher of the genuine gospel of Jesus Christ, a worthy and respected Church leader and Visioner and leader of the Men of Issachar Vision, Rev. and Mrs Samson Ajetunmobi for inviting mr to address this leadership conference.
1. Preamble : The Nigerian Problem
The excerpts from the article below, written by Lasisi Olagunju and titled “ Desmond Tutu, Kukah and the protests in London”(December 27, 2021) reflects the general frustration being faced by Nigerian people and their desperation to confront the truth of the root causes of our national malady. The Church must learn seriously from the fundamental errors of commission and omission in our reaction to spiritual and secular public matters, in order not to create more problems for coming generations and compromise the future survival, peace and progress of our nation.
Proverbs are not just the palm oil with which yam is eaten; they are the yam. Where I come from, there are a million proverbs for every experience of life. Some people are contagiously sick but they hate being told so. They suffer self-deception, the refusal to believe what is true about themselves…It is the case with Arewa who has a sore on her left leg but is applying medicine to the right). The proverb came back to me as I watched leaders of the north, with profuse thanks, serenade the president in Maiduguri, Borno State last Thursday. He was there to inaugurate state projects, including mega schools, in the middle of an interminable war of guns and rockets.
There was a protest in London a day after by some northern Nigerians resident in the United Kingdom. BBC Hausa streamed the protest live on Facebook. The protesters said they were tired of insecurity in the north and were frustrated by the helplessness of the Nigerian state and its bumbling government. They, therefore, thought help from outside was necessary if our north would stop bleeding. They sounded real; they did it well and some of them even wept. They held placards one of which read: “Silence is Violence.” An average southerner would read poetic justice in that inscription; he would ask when exactly the northern protesters realized that conspiratorial silence in the face of evil is evil?
Bishop Mathew Kukah in his Christmas message also said the north is now firmly in the grip of evil. “In their sleep, on their farmlands, in their markets, or even on the highway, innocent citizens have been mowed down and turned into burnt offerings to gods of evil. Communities have been turned into gulags of misery, death, pain, and perfidy. We must move quickly before Arewa descends into Arewanistan,” Kukah said in the message entitled ‘A nation still in search of truth and vindication’.
But that statement was not Kukah’s first; the London protests were not the first too. Protests and complaints alone cannot redeem the north. Desmond Tutu, the South African iconic archbishop and theologian said “there comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of water. We need to go upstream and find out why they are falling in.” Why is northern Nigeria forever in the news for things ghastly? And why are the victims there hooked till eternity on sleeping pills? Political and religious bandits and other common criminals raid them daily from farm to home; they groan and moan and blame their stars. …“There is nothing more difficult than waking someone who is only pretending to be asleep.”
Terrorists kill more Muslims than they kill Christians in the north. Yet, it is Kukah and his people that are doing the talking. We know some sheikhs are more powerful than the president. We are told that even the bandits dare not look them in the eyes. But where are they? They are quiet and silent. They don’t care. Desmond Tutu said again: “if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” The London protesters who carried “silence is violence” as their banner of battle had the sheikhs, the Ulama, etc in mind. Those who should care have long cast care into the deep seas.
Thirty-five days before the transition of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, he reflected on what the north was and what it could turn out to be. “I don’t believe that the north is destined to be educationally and socially backward. It is their people that make them so…,” Chief Awolowo said in an April 4, 1987 discussion with Professor Moses Makinde of the then University of Ife. He deplored the refusal of the north to embrace education for all and the consequences of what he called the ranka dede mentality of the poor majority in the north. The question has always been whether the north will ever catch up with the south in education. Awo answered that question: “How can you catch up with somebody who is running while you are crawling? See the way people in the old western region are contributing money to build one classroom or the other in the villages….But in the north, people are yet to put a premium on the education of their children. …But I think sooner than later, the leaders of the north will see the repercussion of their selfishness and carelessness in their attitude towards western education. But the time will be too late, and if they don’t regret it or blame themselves for lack of foresight, the northern youth may ask their leaders some questions when they see the rate of development that goes with education in many parts of southern Nigeria. They may then wonder whether it was in their stars or in the selfishness, carelessness, and lack of foresight of their past and present leaders…” (see Awo as a Philosopher by Moses Makinde (2002); page 281).
Today’s insecurity in the north is therefore a child of yesterday’s misadventures. …
Saudi Arabia is Islam’s world capital. But it is not allowing its religion to stand in the way of its peace and development.
Northern Nigeria cannot be more Muslim than Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states. From Bahrain to Oman to Qatar to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), reports the world get from there daily are edifying to sanity and commonsense. They are building schools, training and raising world-class citizens. …
Where stragglers are made leaders, everything goes wrong. Twenty years ago, how much would it have cost the north to educate today’s rampaging terrorists and how much have we spent scrambling to put out their fires in the last 12 years? We still don’t want the truth here. Monies that we should be using to build a tomorrow of values are daily poured into the bottomless pit of northern Nigeria’s self-inflicted insecurity. Now, everybody is scared, tired, and hopeless. What is the cost of human life in Nigeria this year and how much will it be worth in 2022? The country is in tears; Nigerians who were sad yesterday are sadder today; the fog is foggier and the road narrower for the down and out. ISWAP rockets may be raining in Borno and bandits slaughtering whole clans in Sokoto, Zamfara, Kaduna, and Niger, but politicians are safe in their bunkers in Abuja. They are happy and are wondering why we should not be happy too. They say they are signing budgets and spending billions building this and that and investing heavily in bricks and mortar everywhere – all for us. They are happy but are the people happy? If the people are sadder now than ever, what is the way out?
2. God and our Lord Jesus Christ, matter in the leadership question
⁃ Abraham Lincoln (1842 -1864 ) quotes :
• Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.
• And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God … and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.
• Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him, who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust, in the best way, all our present difficulty.
• With Malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds.
• In regards to this great Book [the Bible], I have but to say it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this Book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are found portrayed in it.
• Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation…
• Nevertheless, amid the greatest difficulties of my Administration, when I could not see any other resort, I would place my whole reliance on God, knowing that all would go well, and that He would decide for the right.
• And having thus chosen our course, without guile, and with pure purpose, let us renew our trust in God, and go forward without fear, and with manly hearts.
Christianity and the Church make ample provisions for their active involvement in and participation in politics and governance. The common fear that politics is dirty is not a good ground for Christians as individual believers nor the church as the established institution for their assembly, worship and agency, to avoid participation in electioneering and partisan politics. Politics is simply the running of society by elected representatives entrusted with governance according to the Constitution and other laws of the country. Ideally, it is a good venture for good people with good character, positive and progressive ideals and programmes to avail the society of their wisdom, tact and expertise. The Proverbs 29: 2 states : “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.”.
Darkness exists because of the absence of light, just as evil dominate because of the abdication of involvement, by the good people. Moreover, God is the basic authority for any politics and governance or government. He created man and organized his society as well as gave laws and precepts in the Holy Bible, for good governance and ideal society. In fact, God ran a Theocracy before Israel demanded for democracy in form of monarchy. Democracy is commonly defined as “Government of the people by the people and for the people”. This excluded any role for God, in the sense of secularity. But if you examine our two past National Anthems, there are clear mentioning of God’s role in our nationhood.
1. The governance structure of Executive, Legislative and Judiciary is Bible derived
(Isaiah 33:22 – “ For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is
our King. It is He who will save us”).
2. According to the messianic prophecy about Jesus Christ, “The government of the Universe is upon his shoulder and of the increase of His government there shall be no end ( Isaiah 9:6). Recall that Europe and USA were raised upon Christian laws, principles, morality, hence their development and as Christian nations prior to their sad decline as post-Christian societies today, because of secular culture and rebellion against God and His Biblical precepts. Jesus is described as the Prince of Peace. He provides answer to the world’s and Nigeria’s search for true and enduring peace today.
3. Biblical figures such as Patriarchs and prophets intervened in the politics and affairs of the State : Abraham had a personal army with which he intervened in emergency situations, Joseph became a Prime Minister in Egypt and provided economic policy of saving in the rainy day which saved Egypt from famine; Moses led a struggle to liberate enslaved Israelites from the oppression of Pharaoh. He invented the clarion call for emancipation of oppressed peoples- Let my people Go; Elijah challenged idolatry and wicked autocracy of Ahab and his wife Jezebel; Jeremiah and Ezekiel criticized false shepherds exploiting the sheep; Esther intervened and reversed a promulgated decree engineered by an enemy of the Jews, Haman, to annihilate all the Jews (an example of advantage of Christians effecting deliverance through their being positioned in strategic location).
3. Jesus as the Grace and Truth
• The Person, Divinity, Mission and Manifesto of Jesus Christ:
⁃ Isaiah 61- The spirit of the Lord is upon me for he has anointed me to …..
⁃ Isaiah 9: 6 – Unto us a child is born… Government shall be upon his shoulder … of the increase of his government there shall be no end.
• Leadership style of Jesus’ Christ
1. He patiently trained . His training as Carpenter , baptism and temptation
2. He selected appropriate lieutenants. Selection of his apostles
3. Jesus always spoke the truth .
He himself is the Truth : “ I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”.( John 14:6).
Mathew 12: 34- He called Pharisees ‘ You brood of vipers.
White washed sepulcher, Called Herod a ‘Fox’
Prophets are bound to tell the truth to power and society in all situations, else they will be liable.
Ezekiel 3: “ Son of Man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel,; therefore hear the word from My mouth, and give them warning from me”. , cf Ezekiel 33:6 ff : “ But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood”(NIV version).
4. He built a whole humanity and civilization of Christians (universal church) from his life and teachings . Population today is about..2.382 billion. Compare with Islam- 1.907 billion located in Europe, America, Asia and Africa.
5. Simple, humble and unmaterialistic lifestyle
6. He was a listener : very obedient to His father :
In all things, Jesus listened to the voice of God. Even though he was the Son of God, He was adamant to succumb to a higher authority in all things. How much more, then, should we receive direction from God as leaders? Check out the following verses:
“The Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise.” John 5:19
“I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge.” John 5:30
“The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.” John 14:10
We can see that Jesus, who was the greatest leader ever to live, submitted himself fully to God. How can you submit more fully to God in your position of leadership?
In a world of chaos and busyness, Christlike leaders must cultivate moments of stillness with God. In many places, Scripture refers to how “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16). It takes discipline, but the goal is that we would know how to abide with God and be in communion with Him at all times.
R.A. Torrey writes, “We are too busy to pray, and so we are too busy to have power. We have a great deal of activity, but we accomplish little; many services but few conversions; much machinery but few results.”
7. He was a servant and Steward
that “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many,” (Luke 6:31, NIV.)
Jesus leadership style is diametrically opposed to that of the world. He declared that in the Kingdom, greatness belongs to the servant and that distinction grows from child-like humility (Matthew 18:4). He taught that leaders were to serve others, not to be served by them.
8. He raised and mentored strong disciples who turned the world upside down.
what made Jesus a good leader was how He intentionally poured into others. He taught to large crowds, but He only developed a close relationship with a select group of people. Within the twelve disciples, He chose three to be his inner circle.
This shows me two things. Firstly, Jesus had an acute awareness of who He was called to minister to. Secondly, Jesus was careful about who He let get close to Him. Christians don’t usually think this way. We assume that the Christlike thing to do is to be completely accessible.
Jesus was missionally minded and knew that He was on earth with a purpose. He stewarded His mission to completion and didn’t let anything get in the way. Throughout Scripture, He encourages us to do the same. Jesus warns His disciples that, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more,” Luke 12:48.
9. He delegated
Jesus spent three years teaching His disciples. He laid the groundwork from the beginning when He said, “I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). Then, He let them watch His example and trusted them to minister to others
Jesus was such a good leader that He delegated the continuation of His mission into the hands of broken sinners like you and me. When we lead, we have to learn how to trust and let go. We must do the hard work of teaching and exemplifying, and when it’s time, we have to know when to release a task (or sometimes an entire company) into the hands of someone else.
10. He was righteous, sinless and transparent
11. He had wisdom unsurpassed
12. He had compassion
13. Building bridges (Race, Gender and class)
14. The Courage to accomplish his task no matter the cost. Jesus endured the cross. It is Finished!
15. Problem solving Miracle worker
16. Liberator of the oppressed
17. The Mission sender
4. The Grace from Jesus
According to Bob Russell,
“One of my favorite descriptions of Jesus is John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Jesus was full of both grace and truth. He wasn’t 50% grace and 50% truth. He was 100% grace and 100% truth. He always had exactly the right balance in his response to people and situations”.
A great example of Jesus’ extraordinary balance is how He dealt with the woman caught in the act of adultery recorded in John 8. The Pharisees, who were truth people, demanded the woman be judged and punished. After all, that’s what the law required.
Undoubtedly some merciful bystanders wanted Jesus to overlook the poor girl’s mistake and let her go. After all, we “all sin and fall short of the glory of God.”
But Jesus was full of grace and truth. He made the accusers confront their own failures by suggesting, “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” When they all left, He asked the woman, “Is there no one to condemn you?” Relieved that Jesus had rescued her, she whispered, “No one, Lord.” “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus assured her. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Notice how Jesus extended both grace (no condemnation), and truth (stop sinning) to the immoral woman.
It seems to me, in this stormy and divisive era, we need more Christ-followers who will make an effort to be full of grace and truth. It is easy to spot people 100% on one side or the other – they are angrily shouting at each other. But rarely do we see a healthy balance.
⁃ Jesus saves us by Grace
⁃ Leaders are chosen by grace ( Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Saul, David, Josiah, Paul,
⁃ God reigns in the affairs of men. He promotes and demotes.
• The Truth to be learned from Jesus Christ for leadership include:
⁃ Doing the right thing
⁃ Confession and repentance
⁃ Following the Books
s⁃ Justice and fairness
⁃ Equal rights and fundamental human rights
⁃ Freedom of religion
⁃ Lack of and exposure/ punishment of corruption
⁃ Subjection to Constitution
⁃ Honest elections
• The Gospel and Transformation of human societies:
⁃ personal discipline and integrity
⁃ Moral transformations and conversions
⁃ Education and professional evolutions
⁃ Democracy and political culture
⁃ Christianity Produced western societies of Europe
⁃ Decolonization and independence of Nations was through Christianity
5. The Biblical Lessons and Challenges for effective leadership
• Promote and inculcate Biblical precepts and principles in all areas of society
• Imitate Biblical Role Models
• Presence of Christian politicians and professionals in government and power; as agents of God’s kingdom
• Rule of Law must be fought for to give equal rights and justice to all. There must be means to protect the rights of Christians especially and all Nigerians in general.
The Church must deliberately raise and train and sponsor capable and genuine Christians to contest elections.
• The Church must set example of Accountability for the world at large to stop corruption, nepotism, impunity and lawlessness in society.
• The church pastors should explore avenue of the pulpit to correct ills of society and challenges ruler s and politicians on how to govern well for the good of all on the society.
• Accountability, Courage and Valour
6. Nigeria’s Problems and Challenges to the Church Leaders
The following fundamental issues arises from the current insecurity situation in Nigeria:
i. Islamic fundamentalism and terrorist Jihad in serial order such as Maitatsine, Boko Haram, etc
ii. Attempts at Internal re-colonization, domination and Islamization.
All activities and policies of Government point to these:
Dominance in: Government strategic ministries, Parastatals, Military, Police, Paramilitary, Finance, Education, Foreign Policy, Internal Affairs, Judiciary, Legislature, etc
iii. Fulani herdsmen deployed in every forest in nooks and crannies of Middle Belt and South West and South East.
iv. Migration of multitudes of Northern youths, Almajiris, handicapped who settle in isolated settlements, fully armed, serving as Guards , Motor cycle transport riders, etc. These pose danger to peaceful settlements as most of these people have access to external remote control through their transistor radios, their mosques and the modern communication gadgets. The south can be overwhelmed if care is not taken by host communities to recover their sovereignty and defend their lands.
v. Spate of kidnappings, abductions, murder of innocent people, including students, ethnic cleansing of Christian communities in the north,
vi. Outright failure of government due to incapacitation of the military to check Boko Haram and Isis, who are sacking communities, taking territories, taking over wives of communities, moving towards caliphate imposition,
vii. Quranic challenges to Bible and violence instructions in the Quran: There is a need to appeal to fanatical Muslims to re-interpret these violent instructions as inapplicable to religiously plural societies of the modern day; rather they should emphasize the peace content which Islam means/
viii. The Apparent silence and compromise by Church leaders to speak out against these evil,
ix. Threats of secession and beating drums of war fare and restructuring, etc
x. Failure of Government at all levels, hyper inflation, arms proliferation among criminals, heavy debt burden, rudderless governments and complicity of government in the Islamization agenda.
xi. Politicization of Religion in Nigeria has been ongoing for many years in sectors of constitution, education, judiciary, public service, etc
Tactical error of northern domination: Feudal elite exploit their people, Neglect of educating the people, using religion as political weapon and arming the Islamic uprisings such as Maitatsine, Boko Haram, Fulani Herdsmen, etc
What should be agenda for Christian Leadership struggles in Nigeria? They include the following :
WHAT THE CHRISTIANS WANT IN AND FOR NIGERIA
1. A United Nigeria where peace, unity and justice is guaranteed and where no adherent of any Religion is discriminated against anywhere, on account of his or her faith, tribe , gender or class
2. Maintain the secular nature of the Constitution in the sense that adherent of all religions are free to precise their religions without let or hindrance and where this is done as a personal matter, not influencing or Imposing one particular religion over others by hook or crook.
3. Freedom to evangelize in a peaceful and safe atmosphere . A situation where a Christian preacher in Kubwa Abuja and a Christian Christmas celebrant in Ilorin we’re both killed by Muslims for preaching Christianity and this was not punished, is a dangerous for the rights of Christians.
4. Constitutional recognition of Christianity. There are several references to Islam, Muslims and Shariah in the 1979 Nigerian constitution
5. The right for the Church to establish and run educational institutions in accordance with Christian spiritual and moral teachings without imposition of government policy forbidding prayer and Christian instruction. Neither should Christian schools be compelled to allow dress codes or worship practices of other religions in its schools. Since there are Muslim schools who cannot tolerate Christian dress codes and spirituality in their schools, neither should Christian. Hooks be so compelled to adapt to Muslim students wishes as in currently being done in Kwara State where Christian schools have had to shut down over government decision that Hijab ( Muslim clothing)should be allowed in Christian owned schools.
6. All the The schools owned by Christian churches and organizations which were taken over by government since the military era should be returned and the Churches be allowed to run their schools without government funding nor staff imposition Such schools taken over in the North which had their names changed should revert to their original Christian names .
7. Balanced representation in every sector of government . It used to be the norm for Christians to be well represented alongside Muslims in every sector of government . In fact , during electioneering campaigns deliberate efforts are made to ensure religious balancing as well as ethnic balancing. Today, this has been almost completely changed. We have in place at moment a government which is dominated almost 90% by Muslim House -Fulanis in appointments to ministerial and Parastatal positions, Military and Para-Military, Judiciary, educational regulatory bodies, etc.
8.Freedom to evangelize in the society without let or hindrance. Recent cases of a female Christian preacher who was lynched at Kubwa, Abuja, and a Christian celebrant of Christmas who was also killed in Ilorin suggest impunity by Muslim assailants, who till today have not been prosecuted.
9. Right to own land and build a church anywhere in Nigeria. In Northern parts of the country, it is rare for governments to allow Churches purchase land and be issued with Certificates of Occupancy. There should be no exclusive territories where Christians cannot formally be recognized to congregate in their own church buildings. It is clear that we are running two different countries in one. Some practice the Common Law while some utilized their legislative majority to declare Shariah Law, where Christians often become victims. Meanwhile, Muslim Northerners have been making incursions and settling in southern parts of Nigeria , enjoying benefits which they do not grant to Christians in the North.
10. Justice , security and protection under the law. Christians who have experienced one form of persecution or the other have little room for justice in Nigeria, especially under a system where the judiciary , the legislature and the military are in the hands of Muslim Northerners, who often are biased against the Christians. The plight of the People of Benue and Southern Kaduna is a case in point. For long, they have often been wantonly killed in large numbers and displaced from their ancestral homes in this same country, yet there is no reprieve and justice for them. The fundamental human rights to lives and security are no longer guaranteed to Christians in Muslim dominated territories today. Neither is it common for Christians to get good employment in the North unless they convert to Islam. It is a systemic persecution.
11. The Church demands that Canon or Ecclesiastical Laws be allowed to govern Christian dominated areas in Nigeria as counterpart to Shariah Law which has been operative in the North and even at Federal Level. A situation where the current Chief Judge of Nigeria is a graduate of Shariah Law, and where the Grand Khadis are constitutionally recognized alongside normal Judges, demand equal recognition for Christian Law. What is good for the goose should be good for the Gander. Christian Theologians and Lawyers are competent to develop Canon Law where and when the possibility exists.
12. The Church and Christians should demand compensation from government for territories and properties destroyed by religious bandits who have killed thousands of Christians in Northern communities. If Nigeria were a country where individuals have easy access to sue government for their failure to protect the people, perhaps the leaders will be more careful to respect human lives and rights. It is the duty of government to provide security for the people, and where they fail to do so, they should be liable.
13. Right to convert from one religion to another without been criminalized. Whereas Muslims seek to convert Christians to Islam, and do go extra miles in surreptitious ways by inducing Christians with money and opportunities of funding and scholarships to convert, and also deliberately get married to Christian ladies so that they can produce children for Islam, the Muslims do not allow their own children to convert to Christianity. The penalty for conversion Christianity is death. Parents are in fact encouraged to kill their children if they convert! Such injustice must be stopped. Conversion is voluntary and must not be compelled or prevented by law.
14. The Christian Mission schools taken-over by governments all over the country should all be returned to their original owners. With moral depravity ravaging our youths today, the mission education alternative is the answer. It is disappointing that the take –over of the schools happened under a Christian Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, while States adopted Shariah in the North under a Christian President, Olusegun Obasanjo. Christian leaders who are opportune to be in office should actively protect Christians as they do others.
15. Christian Religious instructions and moral teachings should be reintroduced in the curricular of schools and Universities (Through the General Studies programme), all over the country. Nigeria needs a moral overhaul. We train most times, clever devils who are intellectually brilliant but morally depraved. These cannot become good leaders of tomorrow. Learning and character must complement each other in human formation.
16. Constitutional amendments are necessary to balance up Christian interests for the huge Christian population in Nigeria. Whereas Shariah and Islam appears many times in the Constitution, there is no single mention of Christian nor Church in Nigerian Constitution. This is unfair.
17. There should be de-politicization of religion in Nigeria. Policies such as registering Nigeria as member nation of the Organization of Islamic Countries, adopting Islamic Banking, using the CAMA law to prevent registering churches with names which include Jesus Christ. Etc are subtle Islamization of the country in utter disregard to the rights of the huge Christian population.
18. The much speculated Islamization Agenda should be stopped. The aggressive migration of Northern Hausa Fulani Youths to the South and the fears that they are armed and have aspiration to attack and grab land which belong to Southern people, including many Christian-dominated territories is a sad tale to happen in the modern age. The lives of many Christians and their churches in Nigeria are in grave danger today.
19. Government should allow restructuring in such a way that allow for state police, true federalism and a return to the old regional structure which will allow constituent parts of Nigeria to decide their preferences and actualize governance according to their peculiarities and priorities.
20. There should be constitutional rearrangement to ensure rotation of power among the various geo-political regions in such a manner that power will go round, and not for a segment to claim so-called majority in population which they claim, entitles them to be in power. The obnoxious philosophy that power belongs to the North, as economy is to the East and education is to the West must be jettisoned. Today the wealth of the South has been exploited to the great advantage of Northerners, such that that excuse no longer exists that they are comparatively disadvantaged. Circumstances have been so designed today that have made all regions equal in suffering, unemployment, infrastructure decay and general poverty. All have educational institutions and similar facilities for training of manpower. We are all on same level playing grounds and must therefore be equitable in our policies.
7. The Way Foreword in changing Nigeria through Good Leadership
1. Churches must pray harder for God to release His Grace by selecting and aiding their election as leaders in the next political dispensation.
2. All Churches should show example by speaking the truth and seeking the grace of God in governance and society at large.
3. Churches should muster Christian professional Brains to brainstorm of finding problems to the various problems of Nigeria. They should produce a blueprint for solving our problems and chart the way for development, peace and justice,
4. Wealthy churches should deploy their wealth to alleviate the problems of suffering victims of violence, in society, prisons and Refugee camps, especially the Internally displaced persons.
5. The Christian Association of Nigeria should establish a viable school of Christian and political leadership to train new generations of young persons on Christian role and influence in politics.
6. Christians should be mobilized through public education and enlightenment to actively and massively participate in politics and should be well guided on how to elect good leaders.
7. Diplomatic means would be explored internationally for a review of the legality of post-Amalgamated Nigerian nation. The United nations and the World Court at The Hague need to be approached for this discourse.
8. The Elders of the various nations within Nigeria should organize a major conference to discuss the Nigerian question and come up with viable recommendations on how to restructure this country in a manner that will ensure peace, equity, federalism and less expensive system of government. They should possible escape the presidential system and return to the parliamentary system or a newly designed indigenous system of government, return legislature to part –time workers who will gather periodically to do their work and be paid reasonable allowances for the days of their meeting. This will crash their unreasonably high emoluments and stop the flood of workers serving each of them unproductively, the derivation formula needs to be reexamined to favour the host possessors of the oil and other mineral resources, The term of office of the President/ Prime Minister should be limited to one term of five years only and poser should constitutionally be made to rotate among each of the ethnic groups in the country, with stipulations on his other major offices are to be shared to reflect federal character. The Police and some other military sectors should devolve to the states. There is a need for rethinking Nigeria and redefining Nigeria.
9. There is a need to have a major consultation conference of Brains of Nigeria in every sector to rethink each sector and profession by fining solutions to the problems of each sector and recommending how the country can stop corruption, create employment, and make progress in every sector, including Education, security, Healthcare, Industrialization, Housing, Employment, Agriculture, etc. We need a major wage review that will pay very ell, our doctors , Nurses and engineers and teachers etc such that we can stop the Brain Drain of doctors and professionals outside the country.
10. We need a re-orientation of the entire citizenry about their political rights and fundamental human rights. History needs to be introduced into the curricular of all students at all levels. People must know their history otherwise they will lose their identities with time. This lack of historical consciousness is what allowed for the unreasonable and reckless statements by government leaders of Fulani extraction to claim that Nigeria belongs to them and that the Fulani has a right to occupy all Nigeria and do whatever they like. Can one imagine a situation where Vehicular plate numbers of Sokoto state read ‘Seat of the Caliphate’( Is there a Caliphate of Islam in Nigeria, with a seat in Sokoto?). Initially before public outcry, it adopted the slogan- ‘Born to Rule’; but this has been changed. Compare that with the slogans of plate numbers of other states such as Lagos (Centre of Excellence) Abuja (Centre of Unity), Oyo (Pace setter state), Kogi (The Confluence State), Ondo (The Dunshne state)Gombe (Jewel of the Savannah),Borno (Home of Peace)Akwa Ibok (The Land of Promise)Abia (God’s own State)Anambra (Light of the Nation), Benue( Food Basket of the Nation), Delta (The Big Heart), Kano (centre of Commerce), Ekiti (Fountain of Knowledge), etc. WE can observe that each state has good intention in pursuit of nationhood, except the Sokoto Caliphate, where the current resurgence of Uthman Dan Fodio’s Jihad has resumed.
11. The Church leaders should wake up and stop playing church but assume their roles ad watchman over the affairs of Nigeria. If they fail and calamity befalls the nation, the church will be affected. So far, apart from occasional reactions by the PFN and CAN, the major church leaders of immense influence have not confronted the Government and other leaders, neither have they united all the denominations to achieve intervention on behalf of innocent Christians whose lives and communities are threatened by Islamic and Fulani terrorists. The church is not weak in population and resources to combat this evil of insecurity and failure of governance. Imagine that Anglicans claim about 18 million member, Catholics about twenty million, RCCG, about 10 million, what of Winners Chapel, MFM, Baptist, Methodist, Apostolic, Assembles of God, Foursquare, Christ Apostolic Church , Christ Embassy, Victory International Church Ibadan, and thousand other the small Pentecostal churches who have proliferated every street and corners and the large Aladura Churches such as Cherubim and Seraphim and Celestial Church, etc.
12. The Christian church possesses spiritual weapons which are not carnal but spiritual to the pulling down of political and evil social strongholds. The prayer of a committed church can determine the destinies of nations. Ask Pharaoh of Egypt and Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Perhaps we should remember that those who know their God shall do exploits! The confession of Nebuchadnezzar is relevant here: “ Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of Heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to humble”. Earlier, before he was turned into an animal who ate grass in the bush for seven years, he was warned that his punishment will stand until he acknowledged that God reigns in the affairs of men; He enthrones and dethrones kings and He does as He pleases among the armies of heaven and no man can question what He decides to do! May this be a warning to Nigerian leaders, who forget that they are mere mortals, whose lives are in the hands of God, not to attempt to play God over this God’s own country, Nigeria.
13. We should all pray and work towards the peace and unity of Nigeria. We are better of as one unlimited nation. We suffer at the moment from chronic lack of credible and progressive leadership in all the ethnic nationalities. After the exit of the founding fathers of Nigeria, we have not succeeded in growing or grooming replacement of charismatic. Knowledgeable and disciplined leaders with Spartan lifestyles and philosophical erudition. We have charlatans, crooks and scoundrel in power at all levels. The church is largely to blame for this. We are the light of the world and the salt of the Earth. Our Lord Jesus is the king of Kings and Lord of Lords, but we looked the other way and refuse to actively participate in power politics. Leaving it all to Non-Christians who have dominated power at Local Government to top level and determine policies against the church. We abandoned political education and focused on prosperity gospel.
14. The message of the pulpits must now change. Emphasis on large crowd gathering and wealthy lifestyles and bragging about wealth must stop. The congregation should be politically educated to know hats happening around them and how they can defend themselves, prevent attacks, How so deepen their commitment and convictions such that they can endure persecution even at the point of death. Huge wealth owned by church leaders who are living affluent lifestyles should stop. The wealth of the church should be used to empower the needy children of God in church, especially young Christians who are jobless and homeless. Millions are in refugee camps and begging to eat, while our pastors garner the tithes and offerings of many thousand parishes, investing them in banks, lying idle while they money has work to do for raw evangelism. We need pastors to be up-to-date with events in the country and be prophetic, condemning a every platform the dangers brewing in the society. Unless the church cures itself of its internal corruption and materialism, she will not have any respected voice to criticize the corruption and failures in the society. Church leaders should be able to summon and condemn Christians who occupy strategic positions in this failing government to either resist and challenge the wrong doings or they quit! Church leaders should have influence over Christians in Executive legislative and judicial arms of government.
15. The Church led the fight for abolition of slave Trade through the parliamentary efforts of William Wilberforce.
The Church in Nigeria, like other parts of Africa participated in the vigorous fight against colonialism and for independence of African nations, through Ethiopianism. Names like Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther, Bishop James Johnson, Herbert Macaulay etc.
The Civil Rights Movement in USA was led by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., a fulltime Baptist Minister. The church leaders can lead a peaceful revolution in Nigeria and other African countries towards peace, justice, equality and fundamental human rights of all citizens without oppression by one religion or tribe, of others.
16. Islamic Agenda and assaults against Christianity and the Church calls for an urgent need for Christian Brains, Theologians and Church leaders to formulate a Christian response and guidelines to our members who face Islamic persecution. We need our own Agenda for Christian evangelism and rightful presence in the very sector of the nation’s life. We recall the loss of North Africa and Asia Minor to Brute force of Islamic Jihad, legislative sharia control. The Church was weakened by disunity, theological controversies and internal strife; thus the easy prey to Islamic invasion. The Church must at this time avoid denominational divisions, forge unity and mobilize members to actively participate in political governance and electioneering.
17. We need to inform and train our members on methods of the resilience of the church, through active protection of the vulnerable communities, congregations and use of all peaceful legal means to mobilize and resist evil policies.
18. As mentioned earlier, International moves should be pursued to redress the fundamental amalgamation of the country and the much talked about restructuring should be vigorously pursued by non-violent means, after the patter of the USA Civil Rights Movement and Mahatmas Gandhi’s non-violent resistance.
19. The Church must deliberately design means of training and raising credible leaders who are disciplined and God fearing and knowledgeable enough to provide leadership at all levels and in all sectors of Nigeria. WE are leaderless at the ,moment. The Church is the Light of the World and Salt of the Earth. Bad leadership endures because of absence of the good.
20. The Church must exit its indifference and lackadaisical attitude towards elections. They must register and vote, campaign and monitor elections to prevent rigging and god-fatherism. The church has for now sufficient population to effect positive change in governments at all levels. With proper political education, necessity of current insecurity and failed governance should compel all good Nigerians of all religions (Christians especially to ensure that the next elections in 2023 does not go to those who are bent on bringing this country down to the grave.
21. The Nigerian churches are too proliferated and materialistic. Some Church (especially Pentecostal) leaders live in too much opulence, being mentioned among the richest pastors in the world, preaching an untimely theology of prosperity theology at this time of national emergency! Of course they can afford stupendous wealth and cite them as examples of God’s blessings, in the face of glaring abject poverty, killings, violence, joblessness, youth restiveness and refugees all over the societies.
22. The church must first cure itself of internal errors before it can challenge similar exploitations in the larger society.
23. There is need for mass reorientation of the citizenry and reeducating the present and coming generations about patriotism, nationhood, nation building, civics, etc
new curriculum to be redesigned for primary and secondary schools, to compulsorily include prayer and Christian religious education . Education is knowledge and
24. Prayer is effective but it must be complimented by action. Faith without works is dead. The Church must organize, protest, speak truth to power, instruct her members in government to be accountable to God through the church to do that which is just and right, and not to indulge in corruption or evil Through prayer and divine intervention, God has the power to humble or eliminate all Pharaohs and Nebuchadnezzars. And there will be peace in the land.
25. Where it is difficult for government security agencies to defend vulnerable citizens of Nigeria (Including Christians) in the face of rampaging killers, then the Church must organize security for their congregations and communities in all ways legal. They are entitled to defend themselves and their lives as well as that of their family and church members. The church can consult its members who are knowledgeable in intelligence gathering, defense strategies etc to guide and educate them in case of emergencies. This is the stage we are at in Nigeria already where government fails to provide most of its constitutional obligations, forcing citizens to provide same for themselves. It will help if all prominent Christians in public and private sectors speak out to save Nigeria. Church Leaders should be bold to speak out against the insecurity that is going on in Nigeria. If they fail to be watchmen as commanded by God in Ezekiel, the blood of many people will be accounted for by them. Let us bring to remember the genocide in Rwanda and killings in Sudan, Somalia, etc. We cannot afford any civil war again in Nigeria. This is the time for everyone to shout- Enough is Enough!
26. When the current storm passes, we will need to reengineer and re-orientate our police and Armed Forces in a manner that will make them genuinely patriotic and committed to the security of one Nigeria. May God have mercy on us. Amen.
I believe in united Nigeria but not one which will compromise the freedom, rights, peace and security of the Christian communities. We need to avoid war at all costs. It does no one any good. It opens doors for Satan to exploit to waste lives, populate hell and inflict sufferings on innocent vulnerable people. We must pray and work towards reaching out tour opponents at the other camps and make God change their hearts, we confront them with logic of the truth and appeal to their consciences and prayerful ask God to tale up the fight on behalf of His children. He did it frequently during the times of Ancient Israel and He yet can deliver this country and restore her glory- If my people who are called by my name, humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and heal their land” ( 2 Chronicles 7:14).
Nigerians are good followers and are ready to change if they have good leaders. Christians, being the Light of the World are best trained by Biblical precepts, spirituality and discipline to provide the much needed leadership for Nigeria at such a time as this when the ship of the nation is about to capsize. God still has his hidden seven thousand prophets, other than the so-called Elijahs who can take on power for the good of the people and the Church of God on earth. We must locate the called, gifted ones among us and train them for leadership, supporting them in all ways legitimate to assume leadership in all ramifications of the society: Economic, political and social. It is when this happens that godly leadership can happen and then the people can rejoice again; until this happens, the groaning and fear continues.
May Men of Isachar arise from our church and arise from slumber to shine the light of the Gospel of Christ here and everywhere globally in Jesus’ name. Amen.