By Nkechi Okoronkwo
Abuja – Three Christian Politicians – Prof. Jerry Gana, Prof. Remi Sonaiya and Sen. Tunde Ogbeha, have blamed the challenges in Nigeria on bad leadership.
They also attributed the challenges to the failure of the church to play the role expected of it and passive or non-participation of Christians in politics.
Gana, Sonaiya and Ogbeha made their views known at the ongoing Divine Commonwealth Conference (DIVCCON) organised by the Anglican Communion in Abuja.
Speaking on the topic topic: “VOTE & BE VOTED FOR: THE ROLE OF THE CHURCH’’, they noted that good leadership determined the success or failure of nations.
They concluded that the failure of critical stakeholders had created the space for evil men and women, who lack the fear of God and good ideas, to occupy leadership positions and hold sway in the nation’s political space.
Gana in his presentation, said: “Politics starts with good leadership. Good politics should bring good leaders and this will translate to good policies and programmes.
“Democracy should be managed by transformed men and women who are “salt of the earth’’, who are “washed by the blood’’ and who are “light of the world’’.
“If such people are absent, our democracy will be dominated by evil people’’, adding “Good people must shine the light of good governance.’’
Gana recommended that delegates should read the book “Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty ’’ authored by by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, adding that nations’ success or failure was determined by the content of their policies and programmes.
“Because transformed people have shied away from politics, we have allowed people without ideas, and evil men and women to rule over us,’’ said Gana, who is currently in court to reclaim the presidential ticket of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Gana concluded that Christians must vote on election day, saying“ Your vote is vital in 2019; we must be part of the struggle; that day is not for prayer sessions or night vigil; go out there and vote.’’
Sonaiya, on her part, said she left her university career and joined politics because of her conviction that it is her fundamental right to participate in governance as enshrined in the 1914 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
She was the Presidential candidate of KOWA Party in the 2015 election.
She stressed that Christians must not leave governance of the country in the hands of people who lack the fear of God and be preoccupied with only spiritual matters.
She noted that the outcome of the recently concluded political primaries presented a dismal picture of politics in Nigeria, stressing that injustice and the exclusion of some groups must not be allowed to continue.
Noting that Nigeria has become the “poverty capital of the world’’, Sonaiya advocated that the Anglican church should teach value re-orientation and volunteerism in schools, to reverse the current trend whereby people demanded for monetary reward for every service rendered.
She observed regrettably that some churches were preoccupied with praying for personal needs rather than those of the larger society.
“This is Our Father’s world; we must manage it well for Him; if we are consumed by our individual needs, we cannot concentrate on the public need.
“The church must find its prophetic voice to support disenfranchised people; the church must stand in defence of honesty and justice; wherever we see iniquities abounding, the church must speak the truth; that is what it is called to do.’’
She further advised Christians and the Church to scrutinise parties and candidates and support sincere Christians no matter the party they belong.
Similarly, Ogbeha decried the nonchalant attitude of Christians toward politics, saying that such apolitical posture, would not bring about the desired change.
Ogbeha noted that even though politics in Nigeria was characterised by the manipulation of the electoral process, vote buying and other anomalies, Christians must participate actively to effect change.
He, therefore, urged the church to sensitise Christians in this regard.
“If you don’t participate, you can’t complain about the leadership thrust on you; the greatest disservice to the country is for Christians to fold their hands.
“We should not be armchair but active politicians; we should not take bribes or sell our votes but vote for people who are accountable and not people of questionable character,’’ Ogbeha said. (NAN)