Being Text of Speech delivered live on A.I.T at the Latterrain Assembly, Lagos, Nigeria – Sunday, January 2nd, 2011.
Fellow citizens of our great country,
With a heavy heart and great trepidation, I stand before you this first Sunday of the year 2011 bringing you a message of hope in our seemingly hopeless situation. In the apostolic tradition of the likes of Saint Paul, the apostle, I stand in the place of weakness trusting God to make His strength perfect in our weakness. Hear Paul as recorded for us in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (NKJV):
- 1. And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.
- 2. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
- 3. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.
- 4. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
- 5. that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
Why so much weakness, fear and trembling? Because, according to Scriptures again, those who know the terror of God should persuade men: 2 Corinthians 5:7-11 (NKJV) :
- 7. For we walk by faith, not by sight.
- 8. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
- 9. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
- 10. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
- 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.
Permit me this morning to speak on the theme: DOING POLITICS GOD’S WAY. For those who think God is apolitical, you may have to do a re-think, because the Good Book says:
- The Most High rules in the kingdom of men and gives it to whomsoever He wills And sets over it the lowest of men”. (Daniel 4:17)
Not only that,
- He changes the times and the seasons, He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him. (Daniel 2:21-23)
Looking across our nation it appears the political class has forgotten one critical factor, namely the God factor. The year 2010 ended with bomb blasts in Jos and Abuja, the Federal Capital. Churches were burnt down, innocent citizens were murdered in cold blood in their hundreds and many are left wounded in hospitals. What is so diminishing about this entire sad event is the arrogance of the bombers and the helplessness of the victims. Even the government at the state and federal levels appears incompetent to handle the grave situation and bring order to our chaos. Right under the watch of our elected officials, including the Commander-in-Chief, our nation is fast becoming a terrorist enclave in spite of years of denial. One of the most bizarre pictures I saw in the newspapers was that of the Director General, National Emergency Management Agency and a victim of the Jos, Plateau state bombings at the Jos University Teaching Hospital (Front page, The Punch, Thursday, December 30, 2010). What kind of national emergency is this? Self-inflicted emergency perpetrated by known ‘special citizens’ and sacred cows who are above the law? It is clear that the political class has rolled out the drums of war and they have begun shedding the blood of war in the time of peace. So far, both those in power and those seeking power have said nothing concrete condemning these dastardly acts across the nation or provided counter-measures by fishing out the bombers and their sponsors and bringing them to justice.
The root of our present dilemma can be traced to the utterances of the leading candidates in the contest for the PDP presidential ticket. Their provocative and unfortunate comments have portrayed them as power mongers who do not mind if Nigeria is set ablaze as long as they can grab power. The fallouts of their reckless comments are already bearing fruits of destruction as evident in various bomb blasts in Jos, Yenagoa, in Abuja on New Year’s Eve, violence in Borno, and political killings in Ibadan and other places.
It is a shame that at the same time Nigeria is at the head of the ECOWAS plan to use military might to resolve the logjam in Cote d’Ivoire, our political elites are brewing a crisis in our nation that would make the situation in Gbagbo’s republic child’s play.
It is now incumbent on all who want the peace of Nigeria not to watch as these desperate people go on sinking the nation’s boat. In 2011, the political gladiators themselves should reflect soberly on the story in 1 Kings 20, especially verse 11, as they draw strength from their forces and proverbial war chests:
- 11 So the king of Israel answered and said, “Tell him, ‘Let not the one who puts on his armor boast like the one who takes it off.’”
NOW, THE GOD FACTOR IN POLITICS.
In ancient history, the likes of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, learnt the God factor the hard way, not to mention some of the sit-tight oppressors, military predators, and their civilian counterparts in our own clime.
I perceive very strongly in my spirit that Nigeria is about to experience the God factor in governance in a way that men will fear, tremble and come to the understanding that God truly rules in the affairs of men.
Does God truly rule in the affairs of men? If He does, how does He do so? I am glad you asked. Let me give you at least six (6) ways I have seen in the Word of God:
- i. God rules in the affairs of men by sending a deliverer to rescue an oppressed people. When He does, He backs up such a deliverer with all the powers of heaven and the oppressor would have no choice at the end of the day than to let the people go, especially when the hearts of the people are stirred up and their minds are unblocked to see the reality that they are more in number than their oppressors and they are mightier than them. A case study is the deliverance of Israel from Egypt under the leadership of Moses and Aaron (Exodus).Pause and think for a moment. The people tampering with our collective destiny constitute less than 1% of our population. When God sends a credible leader our way, as against the incompetent generation of See Nothing, Hear Nothing, and Say Nothing leaders, the people’s spirits will be stirred up. It has happened before and it can and will happen again. Social mobility is not frozen in our country. It is credible leadership that is lacking.
- ii. God rules in the affairs of men by asking His prophets to anoint or ordain a leader and equip him to serve in leadership capacity. For as long as such people fear God, obey Him and serve the people, they remain in power. But when they become self-seeking and arbitrary, Almighty God sends the same prophet to anoint another, and in one political enclave, you have both de jure and de facto governments. You all know the story of King Saul and David as well as the role of Prophet Samuel in this regard. God still removes kings and raises kings.
- iii. God also rules in the affairs of men by exalting the law and making it honourable, so that the government of laws replaces the government of men. In such a state, the people robbed and plundered by the lawless have their freedom restored to them and the lawless are brought to book. You don’t have to look far. Liberia is a classic example. Where is Charles Taylor today?Isaiah 42:21&22 (NKJV)21. The LORD is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake;
He will exalt the law and make it honorable.22. But this is a people robbed and plundered;
All of them are snared in holes,
And they are hidden in prison houses;
They are for prey, and no one delivers;
For plunder, and no one says, “Restore!”It is in this connection that all men and women of goodwill must rise and with a common voice decry the attempt by forces within INEC to perpetrate an illegality in the coming Delta state re-run.We have insisted all along that we would give INEC under Prof. Attahiru Jega the benefit of the doubt but no trust until after the elections. That cautious optimism seems justified in the build up to the gubernatorial re-run in Delta state which is the first major litmus test for the Jega-led INEC.The signals coming out of Delta call for serious concern from all those who crave free, fair, credible and peaceful polls in 2011.a. Unlike in Ondo, Ekiti, Osun and Edo states where the courts held that there were elections but voided some results to determine the winners, the Court of Appeal sitting in Benin on November 9, 2010, voided all April 2007 elections in Delta state on the grounds that there was no voters’ register for the elections as INEC failed to produce any in court. It is therefore tragic that INEC is planning to hold a re-run election in the state on January 6, 2011 with a non-existent voters’ register. The CD of the voters’ register that has been circulated to political parties has 13 out of the 25 Local Government Areas totally blank.b. As if this isn’t bad enough, INEC, on December 4, 2010, observed the primary held by the Republican Party of Nigeria (RPN) to pick a candidate who lost in the PDP primary in 2007 to replace the RPN candidate who is now deceased. Would INEC claim that it is not aware of the decision of the Supreme Court in the landmark case of Labour Party vs. INEC delivered on February 13, 2009, where the question of who can participate in a re-run election was settled?The Supreme Court did say in that decision: “All the candidates on exhibit P3 are the only fit and proper persons to contest fresh elections, the date and period for calling for nomination having lapsed. This is because as rightly and correctly contained in the said order the date and period for calling for nomination had elapsed. Period. By INEC time table for the 2007 general election in compliance with section 36(1) and (2) of the Electoral Act 2006 withdrawal, change and substitution of candidates lapsed on the 13th February 2007. That is not more than 60 days to the Governorship election of April 14th 2007”.
The matter becomes more serious when the running mate of the deceased RPN candidate went to court to be declared as the only eligible candidate to participate in the re-run. The court asked that all the parties be served and adjourned till January 11 but INEC preemptively fixed January 6 for the re-run elections without announcing candidates running as at the time of giving the notice.
Prof. Jega-led INEC must investigate the role allegedly played by the sister of the RPN candidate who was heading the political monitoring department of INEC in misleading the commission into being part of the RPN primary.
The least the commission can do not to forfeit its credibility is to cancel all the illegal processes that have trailed the re-run and do the right thing. The whole world is watching.
How does God rule in the affairs of men? Answer number 4:
- iv. God rules in the affairs of men by stirring up the spirit of the people to demand their rights and smash the culture of impunity being meted out to them by power-drunk megalomaniacs who do not understand that the purpose of government is the welfare of the people. Case in point: Rehoboam, the King of Israel, versus the oppressed people of the land. The kingdom split in two and God said to Rehoboam it was from Him. See 1 Kings 12:23 & 24 (NKJV):23. “Speak to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, to all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, saying,24. ‘Thus says the LORD: “You shall not go up nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel. Let every man return to his house, for this thing is from Me.”’” Therefore they obeyed the word of the LORD, and turned back, according to the word of the LORD.
- v. God rules in the affairs of men by sending the spirit of ill will and disaffection against their ruler, until such a ruler’s influence wanes and his rule is terminated. Judges 9:22-24 (NKJV):22. After Abimelech had reigned over Israel three years,23. God sent a spirit of ill will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech,24. that the crime done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might be settled and their blood be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who aided him in the killing of his brothers.
- vi. Ultimately, God rules in the affairs of men by destroying tyrants, power-drunk despots, using their own hands to destroy them or sending invisible forces to snuff life out of them. Ask King Saul who ended up consulting witches and Herod Agrippa who slew Apostle James (See 1 Chronicles 10:13 & 14, & Acts 12:1-4; 20-24):13. So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the LORD, because he did not keep the word of the LORD, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance.14. But he did not inquire of the LORD; therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse. (1 Chronicles 10:13&14, NKJV) __________________________________________________________________________________________
1. Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church.
2. Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
3. And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread.
4. So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover. (Acts 12:1-4. NKJV)
20. Now Herod had been very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; but they came to him with one accord, and having made Blastus the king’s personal aide their friend, they asked for peace, because their country was supplied with food by the king’s country.
21. So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them.
22. And the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!”
23. Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.
24. But the word of God grew and multiplied. (Acts 12:20-24, NKJV)
Fellow citizens of our great country, do not despair and throw your hands up in defeat as if there is no solution to our myriad social, political and economic problems. There are solutions. You and I must rise up, take our destinies in our hands, and shake off the yoke of oppression put on us by self-serving politicians.
The last few months have seen us at the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) going round Nigeria and even the Diaspora to galvanize our people to be alive to their civic responsibilities as we inch toward the 2011 elections. The SNG has declared 2011 The Year of The Voter and the word VOTE is our acronym for VOICE OF THE ELECTORATE. We, for the umpteenth time, call on our people to ensure that from the 15th of January, 2011 when INEC commences Voters’ Registration, you all troop out en masse to fulfill this civic right and duty.
Some may ask, is this a biblical thing to do? Yes, it is. In fact, the Lord Jesus Christ was born about the time of massive registration of citizens of His country of birth. See Luke 2:1-7 (NKJV):
- 1. And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.
- 2. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.
- 3. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
- 4. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,
- 5. to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.
- 6. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.
- 7. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
I perceive that God is giving us a fresh opportunity to resurrect dashed hopes and shattered dreams and birth a New Nigeria with visionary leadership that will bring about our national transformation. There may be no room for us in the inn just as there was none for the Lord, but the progressives – men and women of goodwill who desire change – may have to LABOUR in the manger till we birth the Nigeria of our dream, especially now that the cancer of god-fatherism is being removed from our body politic and eliminated from our political lexicon as clearly evident in the father-son crisis engulfing Kwara state. We fervently hope that this will snowball and permeate the entire political landscape of our nation so that the best, the fittest, the most credible and the most competent will come to power with our collective effort. GET READY. Change is in the air. God on our side, Nigeria will be Saved, Nigeria will be Changed, and Nigeria will become Great in our life time.
Pastor Tunde Bakare
THE LATTER RAIN ASSEMBLY,
Thank you for listening.