Nigerian Church And The Politics Of Self-Défense

Bolaji Akinyemi

Bolaji Akinyemi

Looking down from the sky as we fly over the city of Jos, a surveillance view confronted me and I was forced to ask myself where’s the sincerity of our Government at fighting insecurity, as the city spread out but lay bare before my eyes!

This opportunity was provided me through my desire to honour one of the most consistent defender of faith in Nigeria, Ambassador Isa El-Buba, whose 40 years anniversary of converting from Islam to Christianity was scheduled to hold in the city of Jos on Wednesday, 23rd of March 2022.

El-Buba is our contemporary time Saul of Tarsus whose persecution of the brethren was second to none, the man I will call Nigerian Paul as a reason of his conversion, a prophet whose voice of protest and lamentations for his Christian brethren is heard beyond the territory of Nigeria. Born into Islam, he was passionate about Mission Dar es Salaam, not even his converted mother was spared from the fury of his anger in the days he was Saul.

No one but him, can know better the dynamics of what the church in Nigeria is confronting at this time. This prophetic door, though closed to one side yet can still open both sides in understanding to each other. He is strategically positioned in the church for such a time like this. Its lever the church must use in wisdom for the conference that love must have with peace to save Nigeria and secure freedom for the church.

As if to say weeping must endure beyond the night, though gnashing of teeth is almost a daily routine since the present Government came into power and El-Rufai became the Governor of Kaduna State, with 38 bodies counted last Sunday lamentations trail again the foot steps of unknown assailants in Tonje, Agban, Katanga and Kadarko, all within Kagoro chiefdom of Kaura Local Government Area.

The plight of the church has been rather unfortunate. No doubt it didn’t start under Buhari led Administration, but no one can feign ignorance of how bad the experience of christians have become under the present administration.

Though, generalisation of attacks on individual Christians as Islam against Christianity is unacceptable, these incessant attacks will remain with us for a long time to come if we accept the skewed narrative that the Government will want us to believe.

In the public space today are information about sentimental attachment to certain individuals and groups who are linked to terrorists and terror incitements. Buratai of course should know! And in his knowledge he made a statement; “Northerners have religious sentiment for bandits and terrorists. This intelligence is yet to be uncontroverted nor acted against by the government. The President is of course a Northerner and the control of this administration by northerners is there for all to see. The question is what is the religion of majority of Northerners in Government? The answer to this is an unfortunate assumption against good, upright and humanity loving Muslims that I have personally come across.

These good men and women of Islam are rather being betrayed by other individuals whose claim to Islam (religion of peace) and role in this administration are official. Connection of Isa Pantami then a student of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University and the Chief Imam of the campus Mosque who’s preaching was said to have led directly to a murder. Now the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Pantami was alleged to have been complicit in the unfortunate Jihadist attack that claimed the life of Sunday Achi, the then leader of ECWA Student Movement. The imagination of ECWA as an Institution and of its over 7 million adult members about this Government seeing a man like Pantami holding instrument of government that determines who they are. Nigeria is of course a conclusion beyond politics and its diplomacy. The evil that men do now lives with them, this buried past of the “Honourable” Minister resurfaced in the probe of the public for a lasting solution to terrorism, the flimsiness with which Buhari Administration excused him is a worry to all well-meaning Nigerians irrespective of religions and tribes.

The lack-lustre attitude with which this Government looked away from the fraternal relationship of Sheik Gumi with bandits calls for worry. The cornflakes for terrorists story was a revelation that the government chose to do nothing about!

The Redeemed Christian Church of God has had bitter experiences, among several was the kidnapping of a bus loaded with her members in Kaduna, yet maintained good relationship as expected of us by the scripture with the Government. Its first casualty was Lady Evangelist Eunice Olawale who was hacked to death by suspected Muslim extremist in Kubwa, Abuja while doing morning evangelism. This was the 1st test of loyalty to christianity and to the country that the Vice president, Yemi Osinbajo and the RCCG leadership faced. As the Vice President, he had to visit the victim’s family, a pastor whose faith was on fire was duty bound to endure the heat. RCCG chose to give peace a chance, trusting that Buhari Government that was just about a year in power in July 2016 when the incident happened will soon learn the rope and bring such to an end. The government in which Osinbajo was the flat tyre deserves the understanding of RCCG and of other christian brethrens.

True to this at every opportunity to get on top of the situation as the Acting President, a convincing impression the Vice president has left with Nigerians of his capacity for the top job. He has most times proven to be “the tyre” needed rather than the extra he is. The reality of his role in the government is smacked in the spirit of a dubious constitution that gives an office to occupy but the duties and power of the office to another.

Till this moment, Christian communities in northern Nigeria can’t sleep with their eyes closed.

Though, intelligence seems compromised and unknown gunmen, assailants, kidnappers are the cock and bull story we are served by Government. The fact is we know the Government whose responsibility it is to fish out the unknown criminals hiding behind the finger of their sympathy and bring them to book.

Self-defense is the right of every individual which doesn’t exclude Christians and since politics and power are the combined weapons with which Christians are presumably being persecuted. It is common sense for the church to gear for politics and wrestle power if only to save herself from the untold agony under a Muslim led and dominated administration of Muhammadu Buhari!

The call for the establishment of Politics and Governance in all churches sounds sensible, but how spiritual this is, is in doubt. In the face of threats to life, survival will be triggered by instincts. If the church masters the game of politics and his able to snatch the presidential ticket for Yemi Osinbajo what will the future hold for the church under an Osinbajo and El-Rufai as the Vice President, or a Muslim/Muslim ticket proposal of Tinubu, with a Tinubu/Pantami tickets? Not all Muslims hate Christians not and not all Christians hate Muslims. Our collective responsibility must be to work against individuals whose hate for others are established and are on record. Such men must never, through politics hold the instrument of the power of the state.

Since A Christian/Muslim ticket is what is in view, if the Nigerian church must survive, she has to do something to get good people to power. What to do will not be statements making nor media hyping! Engagement with true Muslims who love humanity and respect the sanctity of life is sacrosanct. The call by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for Islamic Organization to also set up department of politics to mobilize votes for Muslims in politics to counter RCCG is a call to political anarchy.

Love (Christianity) and Islam (Peace) must find a way to rescue Nigeria, by developing principles of leadership evolution for good governance should build structure in alliance with Muslims through which strategies will be deployed to achieve a nation where Justice, Peace and Love will reign.

The likes of one unknown Bishop Sunday Garuba and a certain Pastor Taribo West should be the worries of the church. Until the church finds way to checkmate those who for paid prophecies and commercial prayers are selling out our faith, the department of politics can’t achieve the pruning only the Master can.

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