As the elections draw near, people are getting more conscious and sensitive about the future of Nigeria, the political landscape, the key players and the possibilities. In the midst of the heated political spaces, faithfuls go to church hoping for a word of direction and comfort from the same pastors that they have relied on for direction, wisdom and guidance. Instead of direction however, the drums beating out of the synagogues today are of strange frequencies. The shepherds are playing the politics of silence. In the midst of their tactical silence however, they are beating strange drums and playing all kinds of music. The keen observers know that in trying to appear neutral, they have betrayed that they have no desire for change, and are in firm endorsement of status quo. In being criminally silent about offering even the basic direction of asking the pew to study the candidates and vote for merit, standards, values or competence, they have subtly betrayed their alignment with the powers that be. Who can blame them though, many pastors have prospered at the expense of the nations citizens. It is in the best interest of pastors who have no care for the people, for Nigeria to continue to live massively below the poverty line. It is in the best interest of these partisan preachers, who deceive us with their silence, that Nigerians continue to pray for light and every basic need! In the next few paragraphs, I’ll be saying it as a I see it, if your pastors position is unclear and you are close to him, ask him, I have asked mine!
Martin Luther King Jr. warned that if the Church does not take it’s place in being the conscience of the nation by being the guide and critic of the nation and fighting the course of fairness, equity and justice, it will become an irrelevant social club. While the formal church structure pretends like all is fine, the real church of “called out ones”, the Ecclesia are responding to the call of God for change in our land. The radical difference between God’s pattern for church and the current enslaving religious system operational around the world is becoming clear. God’s church is the Ecclesia, they are the called out ones, it’s an assembly of people called out to serve a particular purpose, they are a house of representatives or a senate. Let me not bore you with the greek origins of the word Church and how for ages the body of Christ has been fed with lies about the current system the one that was practiced by the early Christians. What is urgent at this moment is the fact that change is about to happen in Nigeria, and the formal Church that has been praying in the last decades for change are about to miss the boat. Thanks to God however, the called out ones – the real Church and Ecclesia are being drawn out from different parishes and denominations into relevance in this wind of change.
Here are my views about the position of a few “Churches” and their positions
Daystar Christian Centre : The Pastors are publicly neutral, but err once in a while and seem misleading; Gathered information from the grape vine indicates that the Senior pastors have a long standing relationship with Pastor Tunde Bakare.
Critique: “In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Canaan Land: The Pastors and Bishops are publicly neutral, the Senior Pastor has been quoted to say “whoever wins is my candidate”. Information gathered from the grapevine indicates that the church leadership had previously got close to GEJ (evidenced by his sending his aids to Shiloh with a DVD from GEJ) and even though they see the gaps currently, are finding it difficult to backtrack publicly.
Critique: “Can you honestly say amen, to a prayer that your ministry, businesses, family, members and their families be run the way the incumbent is running Nigeria?”
CAN: CAN President, Pastor Oritsejafor assured the President and his running mate, Namadi Sambo of the body’s continued support for the administration, praying that they will succeed in the April poll. “As Christian leaders, we are already proud of you because you are one of us. My fellow leaders want me to tell you that they are proud of you. We want you to go ahead and we will continue to pray for your success,”
Critique: “Is Olumba-Olumba truly part of CAN, or is there more to this than meets the eye?”
Deeper Christian Life Ministries: Pastors are publicly neutral, totally silent about the nation or it’s politics. Information gathered from the grapevine indicates that the Senior Pastors may be voting for their son or might not be in the country. The other pastors are open to reason, and if people can get to them, they will vote for what sounds like a morally sound ticket or not vote at all.
Critique: “All the things you have told us not to do, are happening in Aso Rock, we need spiritual leaders that take a stand against sin and evil”
Rhema Chapel (Ever Increasing Word Ministries): Senior Pastor is publicly in support of BB. Information gathered from grapevine indicates that the Senior pastor is clear about who to vote for and why.
Critique: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do with all your might”
Redeem Christian Church of God: Publicly neutral – prayed for GEJ and met with Buhari and Bakare. Information from grapevine indicates a strong desire not to want to lose respect by supporting any of the players, but he clearly has regards for Buhari and a relationship with Bakare.
Critique: “Sir, you have earned the respect of any of the players already, supporting or not supporting them won’t diminish what is from God. The only thing that can be at stake is anything that man is responsible for”
There have also been clearcut and public declarations by a few Anglican priests, Catholic priests, Imams, Ulamas e.t.c for one ticket or the other. I am personally aware of a number of BB endorsements. I am also aware of some pastors who have publicly declared for GEJ.
Here are 2 timeless quotes. Please read them before you pass judgement. One is from the book of Amos, and the other is from Martin Luther King Jr. They are both saying virtually the same thing in different words.
“I can’t stand your religious meetings.
I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
your pretentious slogans and goals.
I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,
your public relations and image making.
I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want?
I want justice–oceans of it.
I want fairness–rivers of it.
That’s what I want. That’s all I want.”
“The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority. If the church does not participate actively in the struggle for peace and for economic and racial justice, it will forfeit the loyalty of millions and cause men everywhere to say that it has atrophied its will. But if the church will free itself from the shackles of a deadening status quo, and, recovering its great historic mission, will speak and act fearlessly and insistently in terms of justice and peace, it will enkindle the imagination of mankind and fire the souls of men, imbuing them with a glowing and ardent love for truth, justice, and peace. Men far and near will know the church as a great fellowship of love that provides light and bread for lonely travellers at midnight.”
We know that our spiritual leaders are being careful, we understand. Some of them have benefited big time from government concessions, they have been beneficiaries of government favors and miraculous interventions, and it’s difficult to speak the truth to power and bite the fingers that fed them. For the sake of the flock, and masses in general, please lend your voice to the birth of a New Nigeria. Do not let us deliver change with you as spectators. If we do, the words of our enemies will not matter as much as the silence of our friends.