Nigeria is at the very height and heat of a general election. While individuals and groups are grappling with what opinions to form and decisions to take on the candidates, particularly the presidential candidates, Rev. Solomon Aderibigbe Adegbolagun, the National President of Centre For Righteous Living, a faith based Non Governmental Organisation has come out to help individuals and groups finding it very difficult to know what to do, make a choice.
Looking into the Nigerian situation, the economy, the religious and ethnic situations, Rev. Adegbolagun has taken his time to lay bare the facts and what we can possibly expect as the outcome of our voting decisions in 2023 and the implications, with the hope that the elections would run its normal course and the country will still remain together. The Apostle and advocate of righteousness in governance bares it all with PTL News.
As President of CRIL, our business is to look at the political situation in our country with Christian point of view and advise the church. We take cue after the voters’ guide in the US, where the Catholic have never feared to express who they would support in any election. After critically looking at events and history they would then come as a Christian body through the voters’ guide to express their mind and they will specifically speak of who the Church should vote for.
On that note I want to look at the situation of Nigeria at this difficult time of decision making because whatever decision we make now will affect our future especially our future generation.
Election is few days to come and we are all going to file out to vote. I want to say this clearly, I am not a prophet, and I am not telling you that I am speaking what God asked me to tell you. Whatever I am going to say is the central summation of our thinking in Centre For Righteous Living (CRIL), and from our prayer point and faith, believing that God is guiding our thoughts and our actions, and that is why we want to boldly declare our stand at Centre For Righteous Living.
NIGERIA’S PREVAILING SITUATION
Before we do that we need to look at the prevailing situation in our country. Presently, elections in our country are full of violence, sometimes people believe it would not hold because of palpable fear in the air. I want to declare that like any other past elections, this election will come, and it shall go peacefully, though situations around it may be difficult and full of dangers, this election will be held and it will be peaceful.
Having said that, let us look at the prevailing situation in our country.
Our political situation is heavily monetarised and we are running a reward system. That is why those that happen to be elected seem to be extremely selfish and make the situation a kind of business as usual, because they spend so much money to get to office.
Yes, that may be so because some of them have sold their properties, some of them borrowed money, and when they get there the first thing they do is to pay off all those they owe, and there is no way they would not be corrupt. The citizens cause them to go and borrow, for the voters will demand for money and gratification, and if a candidate doesn’t yield to their demand they will threaten to go and vote for the persons who give them money. Why? Because there is poverty in the land.
Our leaders have not allowed the commonwealth and the blessings of God to go round. A few of them have cornered it, a few of them own Nigeria and they would not let it go. One of them said power is not served a la carte so you have to struggle to run and force yourself to acquire power. How many of us can so struggle? That is why when anybody wants to go for power in Nigeria, he will first calculate how much money he needs, and when he feels he has such an amount of money he would jump up on the queue to buy people, buy officials, and whatever is buyable.
In our country we find out that only those who have deep pockets can be president. We have 109 Senatorial Districts, 360 Federal Constituencies, 36 States plus the Federal Capital, Abuja, 774 Local Governments, and 8,813 Wards, and on all of these money is spent, and if you don’t have that kind of money you will just be wailing and crying foul. That is why we have so many good political parties with so many good people but cannot go very far.
How are we going to get out of this merchandised politicking in Nigeria? We want to thank God very sincerely that day is very near and it is around.
There are other problems we have in our political system apart from the money. There is the issue of religion. This has become very important in who to vote for. The larger part of the Northern Nigeria takes their religion very important and more than any other thing. Because they lack our usual western education, they don’t lack the Islamic one. So they are much more educated in the Islamic way than the Western way.
In their own they have larger family and they keep on breeding more every time. In fact one of them was bragging the other time, in the House of Representatives that he had four wives and he had made 28 children and he was still making more, but in the south, families are thinning down, and here you have a family of husband and wife with only two children. Whereas over there they are multiplying and they take their religion very seriously. They will not like to vote for somebody they call an infidel. This is key in making their decision of who to vote for.
To me, that is why one of the contestants who wants to rule by all means, who understands and knows the Christian leaders very deeply, the one who has been of help to many Christian leaders and is taking a care of many of them, and who has the ambition of ruling Nigeria, who is seen not to be a devoted Muslim that the north may not be comfortable with, that is why he has gone all along to go and pick another Muslim in the north as his running mate, knowing fully well that the north have and will be considered more for the votes to make a leader win. By the time you have the North East added to the North West and a bit of the Central, whoever is able to garner those votes with those of Lagos is already winning the election. I do not blame them. To me religion plays a role in our electoral process.
Christianity is liberal. Our leaders will tell you to go for who you like, but this is not so with the Islamic clerics. We even see on social media where a state governor called his people together and told them it is better now to have two Muslims and the way to coerce them is to tell them that Islam will grow better when they have two Muslims there. I blame the Southern Christians who cannot come together. Christian leaders cannot come and make their impact felt together and not one by one. If they can come and pray together and make a decision, this will certainly make all Christians bow and follow their leaders. By now they are advising their members, denomination by denomination, and that will not carry us far. That is why the church has failed the nation and our leaders have not been able to have a consensus view. Yes, a few of them have been speaking but can only get a little beyond their walls.
Let the kingdom of Jesus Christ in Nigeria speak when they gather at a place and decide to pray together and declare a voice that is Christian. That is a problem and a plus for the Islamic kingdom because they are cohesive, they are more determined when it comes to when to vote, they are more violent in seeking what they want, after all the bible says the kingdom of God suffers violence and the violent takes it by force. They are much more pursuing what they want while we Christians are liberal, and we are growing less in terms of population and that is why anybody that wants to win elections in Nigeria will likely need the northern vote.
Another problem that befalls Nigeria in terms of who becomes the president is that of ethnicity. Ethnicity is very rife. Education in the South West makes them more liberal and they will even stand against their own but it is not so in the North.
Why is it that most of the northern political leaders don’t speak English? Not because they can’t speak English but they want to be local. Politics is local and therefore ethnicity plays a role. The South Easterners are much more ethnic conscious to vote more for their own, it is the South Westerners that do not seriously embrace their own. They are more pragmatic, they are more sincere in judging issues and standing by that issue.
The other major ethnic groups seem to stand stronger with their own more than anything else. Ethnicity is a major issue in our country.
Equally one cannot dismiss the issue of corruption as a major problem in our country. On corruption, we should not blame the political leaders alone, we should blame everybody, because anytime we elect the leaders, every citizen of Nigeria expects the leaders to do his or her own first, especially if they come from the same group. We expect the leaders to give us money, and when election is coming and you don’t give them money they are not voting. This makes the leaders to go in the tendency of becoming more corrupt. The society must take a decision to be less corrupt when going to vote. Even if politicians give you money realise that the money is not from their sweat. It is the money they have stolen from our treasury. Take the money and vote your conscience, vote wisely, you don’t need to vote for the person who gives you money except you believe in him or her. Then, if you believe in the person, you don’t need to take his money before you vote for him. You can use your votes for his or her success. But when you don’t believe in him, take the money and vote your conscience.
So when these politicians start losing with their heavy money they will stop bringing their money out but will use their service out to contest elections. Corruption is a major problem that will determine those who will win this election. One big SAN in Ekiti State once said, the one who would win this coming election is the one that has the deepest pocket and I support him. It is completely impossible for somebody who doesn’t have money to win the 2023 election. They said we should not give out money, we should not do this or that, all these are mere political campaigns, it does not go far.
How many people will the EFCC or police arrest? Will you police them in their homes when the money is shared? On the eve of the election from about 12mid night, they start knocking at doors doling out money to members to go and vote. Except you have many police as individuals, so how are you going to do? Money is still very important and money will still go round. But the education we should give to the Christians is to take the money, vote your conscience, vote wisely or vote for the right person.
We are going to make suggestions for you by the end of this discussion. We are only laying basis for the conclusion that we have in CRIL.
LACK OF EDUCATION
Another problem is lack of education. In the north, this is playing a major role. Because they don’t have much education they eat from the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table. So they are easily controlled. Their master would ask them to go and do something and they will go and do it. In the North, they can die for the person that is feeding them, and they care less, if you dare to touch the person that cares for them you are in trouble. That person may be the one taking all their benefits, they don’t care because they are not educated. So education is causing a lot of harms especially in the North. When people are educated they are liberated and can think rightly. They will have the minds of their own, they can look at issues properly and then judge in the right way. For now the emirate and the feudalistic system in the north will not allow that to happen. What can happen is for the leaders and the clerics to declare where they are going on the Friday before election, and they will really, faithfully go out and vote that way. But when there is education the people will have their own personal mind and be able to decide on their own, so any government that wants to come and free Nigerians should make the north educated.
Finally we want to look at the issue of security. Security is a major serious threat to the coming election. But I can assure you, there can be few skirmishes in some places and it cannot disturb the overall results of the election. Yes, one may not say there will be peace all through. No, there will always be infractions in one place or the other. In fact the joy of the situation now is that we have a process that is more trust worthy, a process that is credible. With BIVAS you can no longer carry ballot boxes, or stuff or exchange ballot box, and that is why we should give kudo to this current president for signing the electoral law. He didn’t sign it when he wanted to go for second term because he knew it might have impact on his return. They may not be able to use it to do what they know to do. Now that he is not coming in, he feels freer and he signed it into law, and in all the activities of government right now, they are playing safe because they are not involved. But it is a good way and a good sign to leave a legacy of credible election, it is a worthy thing for the out going president. I praise him for that. May he hold it to the end in Jesus name.
Talking about the totality of this election I want us to look at those that are parading themselves that they want to become Nigeria’s president. Which of them do we want the Christians as a church to support? Before we name one, our leaders are chickening out because they have many political party members in their churches and they don’t want problems in their churches. But for us we are called to educate the church on this issue and we are bold enough to say what we need to know as Christians and where we should go.
Equally too when you see a prophet of God….., I am not saying I am a prophet, when you see a prophet of God he will tell you the mind of God, not to say if this or that does not happen, but he will give specific names that God said of who is the one coming in. I have got two or three of such prophets saying conflicting things about what they said God was saying, and God cannot conflict himself and that is why we in CRIL want to look at the criteria around the candidates and tell you our mind about who you should vote for in this coming election.
For those criteria we look at a number of them. One, is the issue of structure. To win an election in Nigeria you need a structure solidly on the ground. When you look at how voting holds. For instance the vote of the president comes first, and that makes things difficult for House of Rep, or Senate to stand on its own to canvass for somebody else. This is because if you want to go for the Senate, the president will help you, then, those who vote the president may have to vote for you because it is for the same election. You cannot be canvassing for one party’s president and another’s Senate. We are not there yet. Educated ones, yes, in the South, yes, but it is not likely to work in the North.
When you are talking of structure you are talking of Governors, in terms of presidency, the governors have influence in their states. The governors have funds to spend. The Senators are also wealthy people in their domain, same to the Reps, especially for those of them who want to return. They are not likely to stand against the one they are projecting and that is their president. Therefore if you don’t have a governor, you would not have enough Reps and Senate, and you want to govern Nigeria, it would take a miracle. I am not saying it is not possible but the influence of those people is very important and very key, very important because they control what happens in the local government. The local government is under the purview of the governors and they are not free, and when a governor says ‘if you lose your local government this is what I will do,’ they will like to do all things to win their local government for the governor, they will also give them money. When you don’t have that opportunity, you are not there and it is equally possible the governors are not supporting you. Some of the governors we have today may not be fully going with their presidential candidate but they will tell you who to vote for. Once you can get enough governors the chances of that presidential candidate is real and possible.
Now coming to the local government and even wards if you are not in the wards, the chairman of that party and the wards know how to speak to his people and control them on how to vote. That is structure. But where you don’t have that and the people are not free of their own mind, it may be difficult. But where you have education, for instance in the southern part where people are educated, if they want to throw out the government the structure can collapse, like it happened with Jonathan. People were tired of Boko Haram overrunning the country, and they were ready to get Jonathan out and that was one of the reasons this present government came into existence.
Then we also need to look at the economy. The current economy can set this government packing and whoever the people can trust with the issue of economy may be the person that should be voted for. APC has ruined our economy and they have not been able to fix it. That is the promise they gave us, so I am not too confident to say that APC is coming in again except if they can assure Nigerians that they have a better understanding of managing the nation’s economy, they may be not be trusted with any promise of reviving the economy.
But then we have one or two of the contestants that have a grip of the economy from the time they were governors or play any role in government, we are able to see and one may be able to be righteous in his dealings. Economy is key of who among them could control the economy of this country. I think from our own perspective we have our mind we have our way which we will declare very soon.
UNITY AMONG THE CHURCH
Then we need to talk about lack of unity among the Church Leaders, this is going to affect the church vote because there are various ‘voices of God’ coming from the church. CAN itself stood firmly when it started first on rejection of Muslim Muslim ticket. Rejection of Muslim Muslim ticket is very important and basic. In fact the PFN took a very strong and determined position when the National President of PFN Bishop Wale Oke called a Solemn Assembly in Abuja, to the glory of God I was sponsored to that programme by the Elders at the Gate, a group of Elders to which I belong in Ikeja. There were great prayerful and down to earth sessions seeking the face of God at that meeting. We were very convinced that God answered our prayers. In fact after the whole thing we were very happy to blow trumpet of victory and I believe God has answered the prayers of the church, that issue of Muslim Muslim ticket would not work and it would be a child of God that would become the President of Nigeria. That was the basis on which CAN was also standing.
But from what we are seeing right now, even the PFN has modified its stand. I equally heard the National President of PFN speaking at a conference in Lagos. After exalting the whole PFN leaders with Isaiah 62 verses 1 to 4, seeing a greater future for the country, he warned the people not to vote on religious lines but to vote on competence, capacity, and soundness of health, so he has clearly told the people to vote wisely and vote their conscience. He even said religion should not be considered for the person that would come to the office. So if we are not considering religion, then the issue of Muslim Muslim ticket is no longer viable or considerable.
The Church therefore has not been able to clearly speak on what God spoke to them. It is Papa Adeboye (of The Redeemed Christian Church of God) who spoke clearly that those who have been prophesying might not be prophets of God because God would tell you directly who He says and they are not saying so, and he himself who is highly respected, who I know God speaks to directly, and whatever he says God has been honouring it, he has not come up with who God says, probably God has not spoken to him yet or he has not gone to God to ask for the person. But what I am saying is that if Godfathers can gather together it is not impossible for God to speak to them and say this is where to go, but I want to warn that if God says, A is the president of Nigeria, it does not mean that Nigerians will accept the person. However, that person would become the president of Nigeria one time or the other. It may not be 2023, it may be other times and when the people suffer terribly for going after their will, and leaving God’s will, they will run back and they will follow God’s will later. It has happened in the days of Israel. So it is not impossible for me to say, if somebody is not in the choice of God, but for us at CRIL and for the evidences around we have got to speak our mind and let Nigerians react to it.
The church should be united, our leaders should come out and speak clearly, saying go and vote for your conscience is not good enough. God must have been speaking to them and they should be truthful and righteous enough to say what it is. A number of them have been speaking but they are not consistent, they are running around, it is essential to know who they are talking about and not somebody else.
THE MAN OF THE MOMENT
I want to specially speak for the man of the moment. God has really given us a man of the moment and we should not deceive ourselves. We have been crying that justice is essential in Nigerian polity. God has really answered our prayer. One, the Northerners have ruled this nation, the South Westerner has ruled this nation, South South has ruled, the only area that has not been able to rule Nigeria is the South East and probably the North East, but the North is solidly one, we are not one in the South. Even if you say North East, they also benefited from whatever rulership is from the North. So it is the South East that has not been able to rule this country under democracy, and from the issue of how many people they have, but because they are dispersed all over the country, they are traders all over the place, they will do the politics of wherever they are.
So therefore the next person who should be the president of this country should come from the South East. But it is not constitutional that we should be moving from one region to another, so anybody coming from the South East should be able to garner the interest and the support of everybody all over Nigeria especially from the other zones. He should be able to get the people from the North East, North Central, South West and South South, on his side, and that is what we are still lacking in the man of the moment.
The man of the moment that God has given to us seems to have solutions to how things should be done and we should be excited about it. The man of the moment that God has given to us is talking more to the youth and the youth are the ones that should rule this nation. The youth have larger percentage of those who can vote and put the president there. If they can come together I can assure you that we will get that man of the moment to be the next president. But because of money, because of interest, that may not be. In fact Labour Congress in Lagos is already declaring for the party of their governor. How much more?
The man of the moment may not be able to sail through in 2023, simply because of the contending avalanche of the situation I have explained to you, but I will appeal to all right thinking Christians and the church in particular, that Peter Obi is the one that can bring us to our expected end, Peter Obi is the one that can bring about the economic revolution of production and not importation in our country. Peter Obi is not necessarily a religious candidate but the real candidate of the moment. He is the candidate that can bring us from the level of doldrums of economic woes to success.
BOLA AHMED TINUBU FACTOR
But what do we have? What we have right now that may make things difficult for peter Obi is the presence and factor of Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He has laboured in this nation and he has an ambition to be the president of Nigeria. He has had it long time ago and he has been working and labouring on it. He has gone to every part of the country especially the North and he has support.
He has raised many, he has helped to bring some into governance and he felt a good turn deserves another. He felt it has been his personal ambition to govern Nigeria and he has laboured so much. His labouring spans over 30 years that he has been willing to be the president of this country, he has gathered enough money and men all over Nigeria. Legally he has created sources of wealth for himself. Even though they call it corruption you can’t take him to court and find him faulted.
THE OPTION FOR PETER OBI
Today, we believe in CRIL that Peter Obi may have his way in 2023. But if that happens we are very confident that the experience of what is going to happen having satisfied his interest and urge, and having seen how things would turn out because the next government is going to be tough for Nigeria, and people may likely throw any unperforming government out of office, we will not have any option but to go to the choice of God which is Peter Obi and that is why I will advise Peter Obi of the Labour Party to take it cool. If he eventually doesn’t win in 2023 he should spend the next four years in preparation for 2027, but whosoever wins this election, we should rally round and support him because it is not going to be easy for the next president, it is not due to his own fault.
The PDP destroyed this nation by corruption, and the economy, because of the issue of security, recession and 2020 Covid 19 brought all these woes on the country today, and APC government at the federal level could not perform as expected, you cannot blame them all through. But the government of the day faced infrastructure and they have been able to make mark which all governments before them have not been able to make. They have their own positive side. The government that is there now puts Nigeria into such a huge debt that any incoming government would not find easy, Nigerians are going to go through difficult time, and therefore whoever is going to be the next president should not be envied because he will be in very difficult time, and so if Peter Obi does not come in and get through this year, if he does not go back and Labour Party decides to work so hard with him, have Senators, House of Rep members then 2027 may likely be the be more glorious time for them.
2023 ELECTION AND THE FUTURE
Again, we want to thank God for the country, the nation of Nigeria will stand, it will not break into pieces now, even though there can be break in the future because the constitution of Nigeria is fraudulent and it is going to be rewritten because the people really need to gather and have their own constitution, and not until that has happened we may not have a good governance in this nation. But whatever it is we will manage what we have now, our own advice to the nation right now is that whoever comes in 2023 we should try and rally round him, we should envisage that he may not spend more than four years in government if it is not Peter Obi.
Look at the PDP candidate, his corruptive tendencies and exposures, again, the G5 Governors are making things difficult for him to break through, so if he cannot bring together his own people how can he bring together the whole of Nigeria. The corruption that is alleged around him would make it difficult for people to believe he can win in the coming election.
OUR CHOICE IN CRIL
We now come either to Peter Obi or Bola Ahmed Tinubu. For us in CRIL Peter Obi is our candidate, Peter Obi is the man of the moment, Peter Obi is the man of the future, and we call on you all to let us install him now, and if that does not happen now, let us install him later. May the Lord bless Nigeria, we will all get better and stronger, economically, politically and righteously in Jesus name. Amen.
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