The Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) says it has observed a dwindling interest among its members and Christians in general in Nigeria as regards playing active roles in politics.
In a communique issued at the end of its 68th General Church Council (GCC) in Jos, capital of Plateau State, last Saturday, the church decried a perceived political apathy among Christians in Nigeria and urged Christians to enroll into political parties of their choice with a view to affecting the political system from within.
According to the document which was signed by the president of the church, Rev. Stephen Panya and the General Secretary, Rev. Yunusa Nmadu, “The church notes with displeasure the high level of political apathy among Christians and encourage ECWA members and other Christians to actively join political parties of their choice”, adding that “Politics is dirty only because good people abstain from it”.
To give impetus to the resolution, the church council “approved the setting up of a political Advisory Committee at the District Church Council (DCC) level to provide guidance going forward in the new direction” but warned pastors to stay clear of partisan politics themselves.
It is not difficult to understand where the General Church Council of ECWA is coming from when viewed against the background of how colossal the political class in Nigeria has failed the people. From ECWA’s point of view, it is difficult to understand how the generality of the citizenry will be visited with such vicious level of mass poverty, ignorance, disease and insecurity of lives and property if the political class was sufficiently populated by men and women endowed with conscience, consideration (if not love) for fellow citizens, milk of human kindness and the basic fear of God. It is deducible from the perception of the church that “Christians” are endowed with those qualities and virtues that could make the difference in our political life, and eliminate corruption, greed, avarice, insensitivity, lack of sincerity, ungodliness and such unholy tendencies that have characterized the political leadership of our country.
Perhaps the church reasons that if Christian are at the commanding heights of political administration in the country, there would be less amount of frustration, dissention, anger, hunger and needless loss of lives occasioned by inadequate sensitivity to the plight of the common citizenry, selfishness and woeful mismanagement of the resources of the country.
Of course, the church can scarcely be contradicted on this score knowing that the faith is founded on love, sacrifice and selfless service to fellow man. The expectation, therefore, is that its adherents will be the embodiments of these virtues and concomitant values like honesty, probity, transparency, truthfulness, kindness, compassion, good neighbourliness, fairness, equity, justice and the like. Bring a good dose of these to bear in the management of any organization or society and you are on the way to reducing to the bearest minimum, strife and strain, conflict and contention within the body polity.
However, the question is ‘is it true that our government at all levels (federal, state and local council) have arguably not worked and are not working for the citizens because of insufficient presence of Christian officials? Or is it that what is lacking is a sufficient number of persons in the political class with the right Christian conviction, attitude, discipline and focus? And whose responsibility is it to raise the requisite quality of persons to populate the political class in order to bring about the desired state of affairs in the country?
Evidently, ECWA got it right when it observed that our society would run better with a good supply of people who have the right orientation, training and discipline of the Christian faith. But it is not very correct that we need more Christians than we already have in the administration of most parts of the country for things to be different.
While it is true that states in the North-Central and South-West have more than a fair share of Christians in politics as dictated by their population, states within the South-East and South-South regions are wholly dominated by Christians. From the local government areas to the state level, Christians who go to church every Sunday, hear the word of the Lord, partake in the rites, rituals and programmes of the church, expose themselves to the tutelage of men of God, receive guidance, counseling, instructions and prayers from spiritual fathers are the ones in total control of political affairs in the South-South and South-East States via the state and local council cabinets, the state and councils legislative assemblies, and the political parties. Yet the socio-economic fortunes of the people are no much different from other parts of the country.
It is no news that former christian chief executives of states and other top ranking political office holders are persons of interest of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-graft agencies. In fact, ex-governors Joshua Dariye and Rev. Jolly Nyameh and serving various prison terms while now Senator Orji Uzo Kalu is breathing the air of freedom due to legal technicality. The point is that Christians have not proven to be a better breed of politicians in Nigeria so far. So, to merely increase their number in the political sector is not likely to change anything. What is however likely to effect a change is the involvement of a higher and better discipled Christians in the political arena and it is the duty of the church to produce them.
ECWA and indeed the church of Christ in Nigeria must therefore take a sober reflection and concentrate on raising Christians who would uphold the standards set by the Master wherever they find themselves, whether in politics, public service or anywhere else. It is indeed a failing on the part of the church that most of its members in public office cannot be counted upon to be exemplary in piety, faithfulness, trustworthiness, uprightness and deserving of honour, dignity and commendation.
From all indication, church leaders have not been known to strongly condemn and openly upbrade Christians in public service who engage in corrupt practices and thereby shortchange the people and deepen their misery. When the leadership of the church raises its interest and expectation of mega financial contribution, support and assistance from politically exposed individuals within its fold, it subtly constitutes itself as part of the problem rather than the solution.
It is understandable that ECWA warned its pastors to stay away from partisan politics so that the church can be insulated from the incontinences associated with partisan politics in Nigeria. Those who are named by the name of the Lord must be pure, holy and beyond reproach. However, they must be courageous and bold in constantly monitoring, and conscientising their flock in political offices to discharge their duties as service to the Lord.
“When the righteous are in authority the people rejoice”, the Bible says. The church must make it its cardinal objective to raise righteous leaders for the country so that the people of Nigeria can be assured of a better standard of life that will glorify God. It is an unsettling contradiction that Nigeria which is among the most religious countries in the world is also amongst the top worst governed countries while housing the greatest number of the wretched of the earth in addition to being among the most corrupt nations.
Religious organizations in the country, the church in this case, must make deliberate effort to raise responsible and patriotic citizens. There are too many citizens who are neither aware of their civic duties, obligations and responsibilities nor are prepared to abide by lawful instructions, rules and directives of constituted authorities. The church must complement the efforts of government by impressing on its members the need for them to be law abiding and accord adequate respect and regard for leadership at all levels. This is the only way our country can work for all. Citizens at all levels must be conscientised to obey laws, follow rules and adhere to regulations intended to make life easier for them. A responsible citizenship will no doubt produce a responsible and responsive leadership at all times. ECWA and the church in general must therefore ensure that the members they are encouraging and preparing to join the political fray are thoroughly groomed to effect the change Nigerians want to see.
By: Opaka Dokubo
…Urges Ondo Gov To Shelve N2bn Gov’s Lodge Project
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has advised the Ondo State government to shelve its plans to build a new governor’s lodge at the cost of N2 billion in the interest of the state.
Mr Fatai Adams, the state PDP Chairman said this when he spoke with newsmen at the state party secretariat in Akure, yesterday.
Adams expressed concern over mass resignation of doctors in the state due to poor remuneration.
“We are seriously alarmed by the unfortunate resignation of over 109 doctors from the state public service over the inability of the government to pay their due salaries and hazard allowances as at when due.
“I’m sure you will all recall that Ondo State was the destination for medical tourism in the South West because of the first class service delivery found here under the PDP administration.
“According to the Nigerian Medical Association records, no medical house officer has been employed by the state government since 2019, a situation that is responsible for the poor services rendered in the hospitals.
“The present administration has a backlog of unpaid salaries of workers, it is proposing to build a N2 billion new governor’s lodge in Akure. This is not only ridiculous but the surest evidence that the government has completely lost direction,” he said.
Adams added” “Dr Olusegun Mimiko, Oluwarotimi Akeredeolu’s predecessor built a very befitting governor’s Lodge in 2013, a few years before Akeredolu assumed the reins of government.
“To spend N2 billion of tax payers money on another lodge at this time is the height of callousness and wastefulness,” he said.
Senators Rate 9th National Assembly High
Senators on Wednesday at plenary commended the 9th National Assembly at the mid-term assessment of its performance in the last two years.
The lawmakers, who spoke during a special session to mark the second year anniversary of the 9th Senate, commended the various legislative interventions of the National Assembly, especially on security, economy and governance.
The lawmakers, who spoke included the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC-Kebbi); Deputy Leader, Ajayi Boroffice (APC-Ondo); Deputy Whip, Aliyu Sabi (APC-Niger), and Adamu Aliero (APC-Kebbi).
Others were Yahaya Oloriegbe (APC-Kwara); Gabriel Suswam (PDP-Benue); Chukwuka Utazi (PDP-Enugu); Solomon Adeola (APC-Lagos), Olubunmi Adetumbi (APC,-Ekiti), Ibikunle Amosun (APC-Ogun), and Suleiman Umar (APC-Kwara).
The rest were Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo (APC-Bayelsa); Nicholas Tofowomo (PDP-Ondo); Istifanus Gyang (PDP-Plateau); Sam Egwu (PDP-Ebonyi); Teslim Folarin (APC-Oyo); Nora Daduut (APC-Plateau); Jibrin Isah (APC-Kogi); Abdullahi Adamu (APC-Nasarawa), and Francis Fadahunsi (PDP-Osun), amongst others.
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in a speech delivered at the special session, said 742 bills were introduced by the ninth Senate in the last two years.
According to him, out of the total number of bills introduced during the two sessions of the Assembly, 58 have been passed, while 355 bills have gone through first reading.
Contributing, Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, said the realignment carried out on the budget cycle by the National Assembly was to insulate businesses and the economy from going into recession.
Deputy Whip, Sen. Aliyu Sabi, said: “As we celebrate two years, we are guided by the legislative agenda.
“The unity of purpose which we have worked for, has enabled us to achieve those great strides.
“The Production Sharing Contract (PSC) is a testimony on how the National Assembly has been able to work in unity in the interest of the nation.
“We need to work together to find common grounds to problems that beset the country,” Abdullahi said.
In his own remark, Sen. Garbriel Suswam, said: “Inspite of challenges and shortcomings, the 9th Assembly had taken major steps to achieve some of its legislative agenda.”
He said that the executive has been intransigent in implementing the resolution of the National Assembly.
He appealed to the Senate President to ensure that the Electoral Bill presently before the National Assembly was passed transparently, while accommodating provisions for the use of electronic card readers and electronic transmission of results during elections.
Senator Chukwuka Utazi, on his own part, described Executive-Legislative relations under the ninth Assembly as a good one.
The lawmaker, who called for the introduction of State Police, to curb rising insecurity in the country, also advised that the constitutional review exercise, be used to bring the South East region at par with other parts of the country.
Sen. Solomon Adeola similarly said that the Senate had on two occasions rescued Nigeria from a looming economic crises when it slid into recession.
He added that such a prompt response was extended by the National Assembly to the issue of insecurity amid its recommendations to the Executive arm of government, which were aimed at tackling the spate of insecurity faced by the country.
PDP Inaugurates E-Registration Committee
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday inaugurated e-registration Committee to facilitate electronic registration of its members nationwide.
The committee is Chaired by the Governor of Edo, Mr Godwin Obaseki, while Gov. Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State is the Vice Chairman.
The party’s National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, at the inauguration of the committee in Abuja, said that the e- registration was a project dear to the party and had been on the card since 2010.
Secondus said that the party decided to digitalise its membership for proper database, due to its size, reach and to move with time.
“When we say that PDP is the largest party in the continent, we are not grandstanding but stating the obvious.
“There is no nook and cranny of this country that you won’t find PDP members.
“In 2019 general elections, the PDP was the only political party that fielded candidates in all the positions: Presidency, Governorship, Senate and House of Representatives and in all the 36 states’ Houses of Assembly.
“Even in states where we are not in power, our members still out number even the ruling party in such states.
“We are the only party since inception in 1998 that has been consistent in name, motto, manifestos and logo,” he said.
Secondus said that reports available to the party across the country showed that many more Nigerians want to join PDP and that the exercise would provide them such opportunity.
Secondus advised members of the committee to use their wealth of experience to deliver on the mandate assigned to them.
“In appointing you as the Chairman of this project, the party took into consideration your background and your love for data and record keeping.
“We have absolute confidence that you and your team will deliver in this assignment that is expected to update the database of our party across the country.
“Membership registration into our party is a continuous programme, what we are embarking on is to digitalise it for proper analysis of issues.
“The place of women and youths in our party cannot be over-emphasised and this programme is going to help toward proper planning in our party,” Secondus said.
Obaseki, in his remarks promised that the committee would reach out to PDP members across the nation.
He promised that the exercise would be all inclusive to the men and women, especially youths who were living in the digital world.
Obaseki said the committee would leverage on the existing platform of the party and produced a membership register that the party would be proud of .
“It is very worthy that our party being a big party has decided to digitalised membership and position the party to take over in 2023,” he said.
The party’s National Organising Secretary, retired Col. Austin Akobundu is the Secretary to the Committee, while the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan; Agbi Emmanuel, Prof. Wale Oladipo, Sani Kutigi, Cyril Maduabum and Hon. Austin Opara will serve as members.
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