It was a convergence of leading voices in the space of politics in Nigeria when Apostle (Dr) Bolaji O. Akinyemi hosted the Bible Speak Conference in Lagos. Resource Persons and Discussants at the Conference gathered from the nooks and crannies of South West. As Nigeria prepares for the next general elections in 2023, Participants across the nation have been told to prepare themselves to produce men and women of integrity that would make the prophecy of prosperity to be fulfilled concerning Nigeria. These were part of the concensus reached at the Bible Speak Conference hosted recently by Apostle Bolaji Akinyemi, a leading Christian in politics, enthusiast and advocate.
The conference which had Politics For Today’s Church as its theme featured presentations by eminent Christian speakers, commentators, contributors and participants among whom were Bishop Theophilus Taiwo Ajose, the Coordinator of the Directorate of Politics and Governance of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria who is also on the Executive of Directorate of Politics and Governance at National level, Bishop Daniel Oluwajimade, the Director of State Issues and Social Welfare of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Oyo State, Apostle Olu Johnson the General Overseer of the Great Commission Bible Church, Oko Oba and the National President of United Gospel Churches Association of Nigeria. Pastor Timothy Olaniyan, the Director of the newly established Directorate of Politics and Governance of The Redeemed Christian Church of God, represented Pastor E.A Adeboye and the Redeemed Christian Church of God.
Other contributors included Bishop Steven Dada Ogedengbe of Wisdom Chapel Worldwide, who apparently was the first initiator of inter-faith convergence on security in Nigeria, Comrade Ayo Ademiluyi, Apostle Amanda Nwachukwu, Apostle Sola Oyelade represented the Diaspora and a host of others.
In his presentation Bishop Theophilus Ajose who spoke on Money, Pastors and Nigerian Politics pointed out that the Church has long been deceived by Nigerian politicians.
According to him, Christians are deceived during election period by politicians who bring ridiculous gifts which cannot solve any of their immediate problems citing an example of how a gift of a bag of rice by a politician was given to the entire PFN in Lagos State.
It is very clear how Nigerian politicians often take the church for granted when it comes to policy programmes and implementation.
He said: “For instance, the Church was locked down despite its strict observance of covid 19 protocols. Most of our Church fathers are being controlled by politicians that are not Christians. Lagos is more islamized than what obtains in the north. They have politicized many things against the Church”
Against this background, the clergyman also noted that “the numerical strength of the Church in Nigeria is more than that of the registered voters in the country. Nigeria has the largest Christian concentration in Africa with Christian population of about 125 million people. Christians command the political goodwill in Nigeria.”
With all these he queried: “Why can’t the Church produce its own candidate?” as he lamented a situation where in most cases Christians are often used against themselves.
“We have received prophecies but where is the Joshua of our generation? It makes me sad that the pentecostals are not coming together in Nigeria. If Nigeria is ripped off or saved today it is by the pentecostals. We must work together as one. We must ensure that our votes count and are counted,” he explained while calling on all Christians to support the Directorate of Politics and Governance as established by Christian Association of Nigeria and Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria.
The convener, Apostle Bolaji Akinyemi in his welcome address told the participants of the need for Christians to produce distinguished men and women of honour to pilot the affairs of Nigeria come 2023, while blaming Christians for the present calamities befalling the nation. He believes the principle of hiring should apply to political office holders; Akinyemi canvases a situation where job to be done are listed and the quality of who can do the job well are properly analyzed to guide the electorates in their decision.
Dr. Bolaji Akinyemi, who is also the Convener of the Apostolic Round Table, stated that the purpose of the Programme was to educate Nigerian Christians of their power to make change in the polity. He told the gathering that it was possible for Christians to take charge of the affairs of the country.
Bishop Oluwajimade from Ibadan, while making his presentation on what he called Family, State or Constitutional, and Church Government said “these were in existence to ensure that the social issues in society are governmentally controlled for the peaceful existence of every nation on earth.”
He recommended that Christians should research into the three areas of governments and apply the results of the research for both the total usefulness and goodness of the society. He called on Christians with political interests to be encouraged by other Christians in other areas of their respective callings. He also advocated that Christian Seminary Schools should include Political Theology as one of their major courses which will definitely help Christian politicians to know more about their political calling, and “how to go about it as an apostolic politician, prophetic politician, pastoral politician, evangelistic politician and econometric politician,” adding that “All these will help them to operate successfully at their levels of elective and appointive realms of offices.
“In effect, it will enhance a peaceful, developed, loving society with the fear of God and political stability, as it will also lead to explosion in professional leadership, poverty eradication, entrenchment of cultural values, awareness and practice as well as allow for use of mother tongue language.”
Comrade Ayo Ademiluyi one of the figures in the October 2020 ENDSARS protest, representing the interests of the young in the country, in his own submission said the Lord was going to use the youth of Nigeria in 2023. He called on the Nigerian Church to play its role by voting right at the polling booths quoting Joel 2:28. He also promised to get the youths of Nigeria prepared for the 2023 elections.
“We need to stand as candidates in that election. The oppressors cannot be in the same party with the oppressed. As youths we must test our strength. We need to challenge the processes as Christians. We should also be interested in constitutional reviews in the states.”
Another contributor, Bishop Steven Ogedengbe in his submission asked if the men of integrity would be humble enough to lead the polity in Nigeria like George Washington led the Americans with the Bible.
“We are looking for a christian to be in power because they are spiritually powerful. It will take the combination of political and spiritual power to bring the expected transformation of Nigeria.”
On women in Nigerian politics, Apostle Olu Johnson pointed out that man never asked before God saw the need for a woman in the life of a man, he called on women to know their place in nation building. Women, he said, should be fully involved in national politics as he was very quick to also note that “Women are however limited by their revolution of confrontation and non submissiveness as part of the problems of women in public life.”
On how to move Nigeria forward by Christians and Muslims, Apostle Olu Johnson explained that “God has his reason for putting Muslims and Christians together as a secular state. For that reason we have to work together and we should work against divisive issues.”
Rev. Dr J.B. Odofin the Emeritus Chairman of ECWA Southern District Council advised the Directorate of Politics and Governance to bring a road map for political direction, and called on Christian lawyers to wake up each time the issues of Nigeria are discussed especially in making laws, we must keep in view the critical need to restructure our federation. According to him “it is not enough to have PVC if we are not involved in partisan politics where candidates are chosen.”
At the end of the conference, it was agreed that Christians should not see party appointments as aberations or have the belief that Christians who are in politics are not real Christians.
Apostle Bolaji Akinyemi, in conclusion said modalities of a Muslims Christian alliance for good governance must be worked out to disarm the mischievous intention of evil politicians deliberately misinterpreting Directorate of Politics and Governance.
The Director of The Directorate of Politics and Governance in The RCCG, Pastor Timothy Olaniyan seems to concur with Apostle Bolaji O. Akinyemi. When responding to a question asked during the panel session, said we as Christians can work with Muslims, as a matter of fact with any citizen whose desire is to see a better and greater Nigeria, in picking God fearing candidates as leaders.
We cannot do away with citizens because we are interwoven as our mission here on earth is to make it the best it can be till Christ we meet in glory, but with discerning Spirit and the laid down guidelines of the whole Christian Group, we can with God’s wisdom, work with them.