16th July, 2020
By the grace of God, I am sending out this message to Nigerian Christians to remind us all of our two-fold mandate from heaven. The first is to win souls and the second is to establish the kingdom of God on earth.
In Luke 19:13, the Lord Jesus commanded, “Occupy till I come.” This means “take charge,” “set things in order,” “be in control” until He, the Lord of all returns to establish the fullness of God’s kingdom on earth. Isaiah 9: 6 is even more direct. The Word of God says, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder.” Christ is the Head of the Church, His body, and Shoulder is part of the body. That Scripture implies therefore that Government shall rest on Christ’s body, the Church. This is divine mandate. It is the responsibility of Christians to produce leadership in the land of their birth and domicile. The reason our country has lost direction and purpose is because those entrusted by God with the mandate of providing leadership abdicated their responsibility. This is a serious failing due in the main, to an unbalanced theology that more or less disdains politics as anathema to Christianity.
Let me quickly here admit that I used to be in the camp of those that believe that our only duty to the society as good Christians is to win souls for Christ. It took me some time to accept the reality of what God truly expects from all moral men and women, especially followers of Christ. We are the people that Christ in His unrivaled wisdom has specifically designated as ‘the light of the world’ and ‘the salt of the earth.’ The truth is that, except as true Christians, we become active and effective participants in the political process, the government of our country, together with its enormous instruments and power of State will be used against the Church and us Christians. This might mean the destruction of our Christian faith, ultimately. It is time for us therefore, to reappraise our theology and thereby wake up to our God-given responsibility to provide leadership on earth. That is the only way we can be rightly called the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Leadership is the responsibility of worthy Christians. It is our responsibility to establish or restore and maintain order.
Permit me to share with us a story I read some years ago about an African American who was invited to a job interview in the era of segregation in USA. On arrival at what was obviously a whites-only office, he was ushered into a waiting room. The place was filthy, totally disarranged and not only undignifying but absolutely unwelcoming. But rather than get understandably squeamish and go grumbling or complaining, he simply took it on himself to clean up the room and re-arrange it properly before he sat down to wait for his interview. In other words, he took immediate charge and first set his environment in order, never taking a seat for himself until the whole place was in perfect state. His all-white, would-be interviewers surprised him straight on with the job offer. He was stunned to hear that there was to be no other interview that he had already passed their physical test aimed at finding out how he would respond to a chaotic job situation and how much he could be depended upon to take charge without a prompting.
As Christians in Nigeria, you and I are responsible for Nigeria and how it is led and governed. If things have gone wrong and getting worse around us, it is because we have failed to take charge as we ought to and as our Almighty watchful Father expects of us. Has He not given us, His children, everything we need to responsibly exercise dominion? Consider these salient facts: we, Christians are the largest single demographic group in this country. Of the six geo-political zones, we are the unquestionable majority in four zones. We are the most educated group, the most civilized, the highest trained and enlightened, the best equipped as professionals, skilled workers, marketplace captains, scientists, technologists and business entrepreneurs. The wealth of the country, be it the oil and gas, the seaports and the bulk of the arable lands, sit square in the Christian belt of the country.
True there is our basic duty of soul winning without violence. But there is also our Christian mandate of holding Government for the Lord until His awaited return in glory. What global events have continued to demonstrate is that peaceable preaching of the Gospel is humanly impossible in any place where Christians are not in Government or able to influence its institutions and processes. You cannot fulfill the Great Commission without first of all developing a kingdom mindset. How can any missionary safely and openly preach the gospel in the far northern states of Nigeria today? They cannot because Christians tamely allowed themselves to be excluded from the politics and governance of those unfortunate states. They also did practically nothing when the nation’s manifestly secular constitution was openly violated by twelve northern states that wantonly institutionalized Sharia, the Muslim legal code. The need is urgent for an all-out Christian reset to “occupy” and take charge for the better governance, healing and progress of all the states of the Nigerian Federation put together. If Christians are negligent of their political duties or fail to take charge of their political space, the Christ-less world is emboldened and enabled. It then seizes Government apparatus and begins to deploy the enormous powers of state against the Church to the sorrow of everyone. Today’s Christians must wake up to that indisputable reality in Nigeria and begin to organize for effective participation in politics and Government. That is the only way to dominate the seven mountains of the human society and thereby rightly and ably birth a just and godly nation.
Nigeria is in a sorry state today, but not because of any lack of God-given wherewithal to make it a paradise on earth. The country is virtually in the grip of the devil because in sinister compromise and by abdicating their God-assigned kingdom mandate, a grievous number of misguided Christian delivered the nation’s throne to hell in spite of clear and incessant prophetic warnings from heaven. A cursory look will show you that Muslim leaders tend to play subtle and open politics that promotes their religion and its adherents. In contrast, some prominent Christian leaders appear to play a brand of politics that only weakens, betrays and destroys the Christian faith and its long-suffering community. It is the woebegone politics of some Christian leaders that brought the Church and the country to the present calamity. This is a statement of fact, not of supposition, guesswork or innuendo, if we consider the glaring home truths of the 2015 and 2019 General Elections. On those two crucial national milestone events, the Christian segment of the Nigerian electorate was left disoriented and rudderless.
The leadership deficit that has been so tragic is traceable mainly, to one fundamental handicap in the present organizational structure whereby political leadership of the Christian body here in Nigeria is totally and exclusively abandoned to the Clergy. It is imperative that, going forward, Christian laity professionals must organize themselves to participate in this crucial apostolic mantle because its secular dimensions and dynamics are colossal and daunting. Political challenges by their very nature are best handled by a leadership unfettered by denominational structures as may generally constrain the Clergy. Laity professionals are best equipped for the rough terrain that must be traversed in order to provide what is most needed today in Nigeria, a Christ-centred, dynamic political leadership for the benefit of Church and country.
It should be mentioned here that in 2018, a delegation that had met some leaders in the North visited us at CSMN. In a view attributed to some leaders in the North, they urged that the two dominant faiths in Nigeria (Christianity and Islam) should provide the nation with two balancing legs to enable her purposeful march to value-based politics. They noted, however, that whereas the adherents of the other religion are well organized for politics and governance, Christians are not at all organized to that end. They therefore urged us at CSMN to expedite work on harmonizing the Christian political consensus project so that political balance can be achieved whereby the country would transmute from politics of religion to politics of issues and competence.
It is regrettable that much of the good work done by CSMN to build Christian political consensus was eventually undermined and frustrated by some misguided elements in the apex organ of Christian leadership in Nigeria. The grim result of the serial betrayal of Christ and His Church was the wholesale handover of our collective interest to Muslim extremists in 2019 as in 2015. The terrible consequences of the unjust rule that everyone in Nigeria is suffering today should be a wake-up call for all Christians to man their political duties. If the right lessons have been learnt, it shall yet be well. Never again should Christians stand by and look on with folded arms while anti-Christian forces overrun the political arena.
Christians must arise and create their own “political leg” of Nigeria’s envisaged political balancing act. Those misguided elements in the apex leadership of Christianity in Nigeria have succeeded, through their serial compromise, in strengthening the Muslim “leg” of the polity. Consequently, Nigeria is wobbling veritably on just one political leg, i.e. the Muslim political structure. This explains the prevailing climate of gross imbalance in Federal appointments, blatant marginalization of Christians and other non-Muslims in the public service, undisguised positioning and promotion of Islam as the official religion of state. Almost all the arms of government and sectors of the economy are today headed by Muslims and every sensitive position appears to be reserved for Northern Muslims, in total violation of Section 14 (3) of the Constitution.
What is noteworthy is that their wholesale capture of political power across the country was only gifted to the Islamists by some elements in the Christian fold that manipulated their uninformed and unsuspecting followers. The traitors are not the ignorant misled ones, but those who finding themselves in leadership positions, knowingly and willfully sold our collective birthright for a mess of private pottage. But pause here and ask yourself what their ill advised connivance and treachery has brought them personally in the current catastrophe. What have they gained apart from fleeting pleasure? We are in the stress and distress together. May they receive the grace of repentance for the salvation of their individual souls. May our beloved country recover from the nightmare into which selfish personal interest and ill-advised alliance with enemies of Christ has brought on all of us. And may we all in Christendom learn from this tragic but avoidable misadventure never again to disdain God’s prophetic guidance. May the unfailing wisdom of the Holy Scriptures shed light on our way to help us out of this present darkness which is a consequential curse as decreed by God on “them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter….them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5: 20–21). It is, however, pointless grumbling over the present afflictions of the country and the open misery being heaped upon the Church of God. It is like crying over spilt milk. The solution is staring us in the face. OUR OWN POLITICAL STRUCTURE IS NOW A MUST! So, Christians arise! Build your own political structure for leverage! Create your own leg today. Begin to walk your talk!
Let no one that is still a Christian in Nigeria today imagine for a moment that the worst from Islamism is over. Year 2023 is almost on us. Except we swiftly and ably rise on our own political leg for existential balance of the Nigerian polity, there would be a brazen re-enactment of 2015 and 2019 if not a total disenfranchisement of Christians and other non-Muslims. What is already evolving must concern every non-Islamist. Nigeria has an overwhelming Christian majority, yet the House of Representatives hosts many more Muslims than Christians. The implication is that some Christian communities have Muslims as their representatives in the National Assembly. (But where in this country can be found one Christian representing a Muslim community?)
Therefore, every Christian in leadership position should join in the task of Christian political mobilization and harmonization. All the Churches should integrate kingdom mindset education in teachings. Church leaders should begin teaching the imperative of Christian participation in Governance through involvement in politics from collecting voters card, identification with a political party of individual’s choice, contesting according to individual ability and ensuring that Christians vote for credible candidates. If politics is dirty game, Christians should vote honest and sanctified people to clean it up.
We need to urgently mobilize and organize with that perspective in mind. Going by first principles on the matter, never again must Christians anywhere make the elementary mistake of fielding multiple candidates for any elective office. In readiness for 2023, we must from now be standing on our own political leg, a leg that must be well equipped with screening and selection processes aimed at producing consensus candidates. Only consensus candidacy will enhance the fair and square winning that must be our goal for all our Christian flag bearers. In all we do, we must aim at unity through consensus.
Now, before some people start calling me a promoter of religious tension or religious irredentist, please permit me to clarify this point. Politics in Nigeria, presently, is politics of religion. The institutionalized incursion of religion into politics has its root in the conflict of ideologies in the 1999 Constitution. The Constitution of Nigeria is expected to be secular Constitution in accordance with Section 10. However, in violation of Section 10 of the Constitution, a religious ideology was infused into the Constitution of Nigeria thereby bringing religion into politics. It is the politics of religion that is the root cause of the crisis in Nigeria. Nigeria is a secular state not a religious state.
The illegality of conflicting ideologies in the Constitution is attested to by no less than some legal luminaries in the country. Please permit me to quote from three of them.
The late Justice Mohammed Bello said, “Section 38(1) of the Constitution ensures for every person the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, whereas under Sharia, ‘ridda’ (change of religion) is a capital offence. Consequently, the offence of ridda is inconsistent with Section 38(1) and by virtue of Section 1 is unconstitutional.”
Prof. Ben Nwabueze commented thus, “The conclusion is thus inescapable that the prohibition in Section 10 of the Constitution stamps with an indelible taint of unconstitutionality, the Sharia criminal law, whether in its original form as contained in the Quran and the Sunnah or in a codified form to be enacted by the National Assembly or a State House of Assembly”
Mr. Solomon Asemota, SAN, also said, “It is also very clear that Sharia cannot be enforced as state law, which was why the Sardauna took the trouble to ensure the passage of the Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure in 1960, which has the following features:
- It was applicable to everybody in Northern Nigeria.
- It was internationally accepted and above all
- It was Quran compliant.
If the above is the correct state of the two laws, then there is need to return Sharia to the status it was before 1975 – Civil and Personal Law” Mr. Solomon Asemota, SAN
Nigeria is currently practicing politics of religion. This is confirmed by the impudent violation of the Federal Character Principle in Federal appointments in the past few years. Therefore, I cannot be accused of inflaming religious tension, I am stating facts and simply alerting the Christian community to the true state of politics in the country while encouraging them to build their own political platform to negotiate and restore normalcy to Nigeria. A multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious state with 389 diverse ethnic nationalities cannot be run on the ideology of a single religion. Nigeria must return fully to its secular status. The Constitution must be secular and the national ideology must solely remain Liberal Democracy.
It is imperative that the Constitution of Nigeria is purged of every ideology conflicting with Democracy in the Nigeria. The reality staring us in the face is this, the religious insurgency ravaging the country has basis in the Constitution. So long as the Constitutional backing is available, it would be difficult to end the religious insurgency. Therefore every man of good conscience should join in the demand for a new Constitution for Nigeria. Christians should organize to defend and promote genuine democracy in Nigeria for the common good of all the citizens.
Christian Social Movement of Nigeria is hereby calling every Christian in Nigeria to join us in building a Christian political platform. Join us to support and launch worthy Christian candidates into governance. Join us for structure and strength to negotiate the right balance of power in this country in favor of equity and justice, peace and progress. This is not a call to deny non-Christians of their own rights to participate in the governance of the country. It is a call for Christians to rise in faith to fulfill our vision of GOVERNMENT UPON HIS SHOULDERS. CSMN also appreciates and commends other Christian groups that may already be pushing this agenda in one form or another. The Spirit is one. We should therefore aim at collaborative moves towards convergence towards the formation of one strong, united and indivisible Christian political front to promote genuine participatory Democracy. We must never forget that the root cause of the present havoc in Nigeria is the irreconcilable conflict between Democracy and Sharia. It is the Sharia groundwork to supplant Constitutional Democracy as the nation’s ideology that is responsible for the current national calamity in every sphere. The outcome is the lamentable degradation of governance principles and the nation’s unflattering descent into the present abyss of clannish mentality and flagrant nepotism. The nation is hostage today to an Islamist cabal and we are all witnesses to the uncontrolled systemic corruption and institutionalized mediocrity, pervasive insecurity and unprecedented carnage for which no one is ever held accountable. Not even an open war situation could be worse, as is now clear to every genuine patriot. Everyone who loves Nigeria should please join to promote and defend Democracy as the nation’s one and only political ideology.
You may wish to know more about us, the Christian Social Movement of Nigeria (CSMN). This is a body established in 2001 by the five Church Blocs of the Nigerian Church, the same blocs that in 1976 had established CAN as Association of Nigerian Christians. CSMN was established to serve and function as the socio-political arm of the Church. You can access its Constitution as well as its other key document, the Declaration of Policies of CSMN at www.csmnigeria.org
Please take special note that CSMN is not a political party, and neither is it aiming to evolve or transmute into a Christian political party. CSMN’s mandate is only to serve as the socio-political platform to mobilize and harmonize the Christian electorates for effective participation both in the electoral processes and in the redemption and better governance of our country. We shall always aim at letting a consensus candidate emerge. However, we must support every faithful Christian in fulfilling his or her Christian and citizenship obligations irrespective of his or her political party affiliation. CSMN encourages Christians to join any political party of their choice and to aspire with personal integrity to political positions for which they are suitably qualified. So far as there is nothing in that affiliation offensive to, or subversive of Christian values or interests, we shall be there for them. We are putting in place an administrative machinery that will guarantee in all circumstances, that every Christian candidate is adequately resourced with advisory and other legitimate supportive services. But our endorsement of any candidate will never sideline integrity, competence and credibility. This is our Christian agenda that must be pursued. It is open and transparent as everything should be in true Democracy. Our pursuit is for integrity in governance, justice, equality and fairness for the common good of all citizens. We must start now to entrench the right structure.
You are welcome to join us today. This country needs the Christ in you.
For more information, please visit us at www.csmnigeria.org and register on the website. In addition, click on “This is why every Christian should support CSMN” for more information and directions. Please keep in mind that “...The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (Rev. 11: 15). May God grant all of us grace to fulfill His purpose in our generation. God bless you.