Christians have been enjoined to join politics, in order to contribute significantly towards the emergence of true and selfless leaders in the country.
The current spate of insecurity and corruption in society, is because the ruling class is largely made up of unscrupulous individuals, who are not interested in the welfare of the electorate, but in siphoning public funds.
These submissions were made recently at an international webinar, tagged: ‘Kingdom Models for Advancement of Nations.’
The leadership summit was organized by Africa Vision Tract House Society(AVTHS), the missionary arm of the Nigeria Christian Graduate Fellowship(NCGF).
The discourse, which is the third edition of Africa Vision Roundtable(AVR 3), had as theme: ‘Kingdom Models for Advancement of Nations.’
The high-profile conference was established by the faith-based group to promote selfless leadership, integrity and righteousness in the country.
Dr. Okon Okon-Umoren, Executive Director of AVTHS said the programme was ‘designed to bring in the young and old generation for interactions and engagements in leadership transition.’
His words: ‘Since its establishment 12 years ago, by the 45-year old NCGF, the evangelical organization, has embarked on numerous medical and evangelical activities both in Nigeria and parts of Africa, including Gambia, the Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and South Sudan.’
‘Through these outreaches, we have provided help to 52,000 people through medicals. And we have got about 1500 surgeries and host of other things.’
‘We have printed and distributed about 28 million tracts to people free. We are glad that God has used us.’
‘Therefore we are extending through this platform and opportunity for you to come and key in, so that we can change nations because we have the kingdom model.’
‘This is clearly visible from the tremendous impact and benefits of our missions across the nations, since inception.’
Okon-Umoren urged Christian faithful to participate actively in politics, in order to revamp the society.
The keynote speakers included Prof Remi Sonaiya, Deacon Majemite Onosode and Arch Godswill Akpan, while Dr. Osama Iyawe was the host.
The general consensus, among the speakers and participants, who joined from Nigeria as well as well as the United States(US), Europe, Sierra Leone, Ghana and other parts of Africa was that ‘Nigeria needs true and selfless leaders, in order to achieve social stability and economic progress.’
Evidently, society is really in dire need of godly leaders and role models.
The current agitation among youths, he stressed, ‘is essentially due to failure of the ruling class to ensure justice, fairness and provision of basic amenities for the masses.’
Similarly, Sonaiya, a former presidential aspirant and a professor of French and Applied Linguistics enjoined pastors to encourage members to join politics in order to inject Christian ideals in the political arena.
She lamented that many Christians shy away from politics and even refuse to vote during elections, asking, ‘how then can the country with is negative attitude?’
According to Sonaiya, who was appointed in 2008, as the first Nigerian International Ambassador Scientist of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany, the church should stop this negative trend through their sermons and messages.
‘Individuals, as well as the nation are being constantly moved towards the attainment of the state that God desires for them.’
Citing the virtuous attributes of Nehemiah, she said ‘leaders must match prayer with action. There are Christians who pray but refuse to go out to vote on election day. Leaders must be bold to defend what is right.’
Arch Godswill Akpan
‘They should also delegate duties to the right people and partner with others sectors of society, just as Nehemiah collaborated with Ezra.’
‘God may well be looking today for people with a “heart of Nehemiah” to use in advancing His purposes for the nation of Nigeria,’ she added.
Mr. Onosode, a corporate Boardroom expert and former President of NCGF, Benin, Edo State, identified ungodliness, ethnicity and corruption, as major problems bedevilling Nigeria.
‘There must be a system of rewarding good behaviour and punishing defiant actions,’ he stressed.
‘There are many ethnic nations promoting and engendering their selfish interests, rather than the interest and good of the nation.’
Onosode, who is a Baptist Church deacon said ‘as Christians, we must live above these ethnic inclinations and see ourselves as members of a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God and working to bring God’s kingdom and righteous to bear on the nation.’
‘This calls for us to do everything possible to put godly people into positions of power and authority. The evangelical church in the US adopted this principle, hence voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential elections despite his moral failures, since he promised to promote Christian values.’
He alleged that Hillary Clinton, was accused of engendering liberal policies, such as same sex unions and removal of God from public institutions.’
Prof Remi Sonaiya
‘The Church in Nigeria must therefore come out as one people speaking the same language especially with regards to political leadership,’ he added.
He called on the NCGF to pursue and strengthen the present campaign of political enlightenment by its Directorate of Politics and Governance.
Onosode, was a former president of Southwest Association of the Gideons International in Nigeria, African Students Fellowship, University of Wisconsin and Baptist Students Union, University of Ife.
Akpan, an architect and fiery preacher urged government to listen to the youths, because they represent the future of any nation.
He said the #EndSARS is a revolution that should not end. ‘It has come to stay. They have the numbers and can influence any election, if they strategize.’
He called for transparency among executives at all levels of governance and urged clerics to shun all forms of stealing as God’s representatives.
According to him, leadership looks difficult, when there is dishonesty and insincerity.
His words: ‘True leadership raises a lot pertinent questions such as these? Are we diligent in what we are doing? Are we dedicated in the things that we do. Are we faithful? Do we have resilience which is another word for faith and are we humane?’
‘Before we think about being wonderful governors and wonderful commissioners, we need to confirm if we are wonderful husbands, wives and children as well as wonderful preachers in the church.’
‘Ask yourself who you are impacting in your immediate environment? If we have not made up our minds to impact our immediate environment, we will continue to have problems.’
‘For instance, if you defraud your church, there is no way you will not defraud your state.’
‘If you defraud your family, family members, friends and relations, either in business or any other way, there is no way you will not defraud Nigeria.’
‘Let us start with ourselves and get our principles, patterns and models right,’ he stressed.
‘The things and opportunities we are looking for are within us, as a result of the Holy Spirit’s presence, as was displayed by Joseph and Jacob.’
In his views, ‘we need to start from our little corners, before we make the advancements. Ask yourself who you are impacting in your immediate environment?’
He referred to the sterling qualities of Joseph and further pontificated that kingdom models can be viewed through the prism of principles.
‘It is what you have in you, that shows up irrespective of the circumstances.’
He enjoined believers to shun greed, avarice and sharp practices, in all spheres of life, in order to be true ambassadors of Christ, in the marketplace and every facet of life.
.Ojukwu is a Fellow of Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship, publisher, editor and serial newspaper columnist. She is a campaigner and advocate for improved socio-economic and health services for all citizens, as well as the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGS). Please kindly send feedback to [email protected]