- The forthcoming 2023 general election may spring up some surprises as the poll may record unusual participation of the electorate
- NNCC, a Christian coalition, has explained why members of the church must be actively involved in the forthcoming election
- According to the coalition, Christians would no longer play a second fiddle in the electoral process of the country
Ikeja, Lagos - Apparently dissatisfied with the political apathy among Christians towards participating or seeking electoral offices, Nigeria National Christians Coalition (NNCC) has sent a message to churches ahead of the 2023 general election.
Legit.ng reports that at a press conference tagged: "The voice of the church in the nation", held in Lagos on Saturday, December 3, the NNCC advised the Christians to shun the old cliche - 'politics is a dirty game' and become actively involved in the electoral process of the country.
In her speech, the convener of the coalition, Apostle Titi Oluwadare, said the refusal of the church to do the needful to harmonise the southern, northern and Middle belt Christian voting blocs in the country has always translated into disjointed ideas and interests that lead to defeat and loss of opportunities for the church to have a say in the body polity.
There must be unity among Christians
She said that the Body of Christ in Nigeria both in the North and South have not been able to unite and strategically harmonise their interests based on Biblical social mandate and principles.
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According to her, this is because of a lack of understanding, individual interests and refusal and laziness to strategically harmonise ideas for the common good of all.
Apostle Oluwadare lamented that the Christians have never managed to build a unified political base that would represent the ideas formulated at the grass root level which are brought to the centre with the view to represent, fight for, execute the interests and evolve political ideas of an overall group of people.
She added that in most cases, the Christians rely on the Muslim’s political base to achieve their own objectives.
She further stated that the body of Christ because of not having a base is lacking in ability or capacity to negotiate or place a demand that can achieve or help achieve their objectives.
The NNCC convener noted that the Church has little relevance at the centre of affairs in Nigeria, saying that the Church and Christians end up being used as pawns in the political chess game by Muslims.
"NNCC is raising a new breed of Christian leaders with a passion for righteousness in politics. It is very possible. Righteousness in politics is possible when the Church grooms and mentors mature saints and releases them into the political and economic empowerment areas of human endeavour.
"The church in Nigeria has started building a credible and sustainable political base. The absence of such a base has been responsible for what is happening to our Nation, Nigeria today.
"Politics must start from the grassroots. A sound political base must be behind any public office and office holder. There must be ideas and people who you are representing us in government before the church will endorse or support such a person."
She said that because Muslims understand politics and engage in it, Christians are nowhere to be found in the political sphere because of apathy.
Apostle Oluwadare said the NNCC which is a Christian political empowerment forum, believes in empowerment, political consciousness and strategic positioning as well as the political engagement of the church of Christ in Nigeria.
She noted that the NNCC intend to represent and negotiate as a Christian pressure group and political base to evolve, secure and present the interests of Christians.
There should be re-engagement of northern and southern Christians
Speaking on how to achieve NNCC's vision ahead of the 2023 election, she there should be a re-engagement of northern and southern Christians, working towards the implementation of Nigeria's cry-out political vision for Christians in Nigeria and prayers of the rebirth of Nigeria politically and economically and spiritually unity of the church.
She noted that Christian leaders would inform political aspirants of the agenda and interests of Christians across Nigeria, saying that political leaders should have a platform to speak to the Body of Christ while engaging with and encouragement of Christians in politics
On the meet, the church summit slated for Friday, December 9, in Lagos, Apostle Oluwadare, said that people must be true disciples who know their Bible and follow Jesus Christ so that the faith is anchored on Christ through following biblical principles and not anything the secular world offers to them.
"The Christian body has not even started in politics for the past 60 years. We don’t have a base and we do not have interests. There is a big vacuum and disconnect in the Church. The leadership must change and become relevant to the needs of the people in the church.
"It is now time to bring a matured church to the table in Nigeria and to engage to negotiate the aspirations and dreams, the hopes and future of our people."
In his opening address, the national executive of NNCC, Dr Bola Adewara, said that there is no interface between the church and Christian politicians in Nigeria.
He said what was obtainable in the past was that Christians should steer clear of politics because of the notion that it is a dirty game.
Why the church must rise up politically
The regional coordinator of NNCC southwest, Bishop Theophilus Ajose, said that the political narratives in Nigeria depict that the church must rise up.
"We say enough is enough. The coming event on December 9th will converge Christian political candidates from the federal to the local government levels."
The northern director of mobilization of NNCC and CAN president, Kaduna chapter, Rev, John Joseph Ayab, in his contribution, said that the gentleness of the northern Christians should not be taken as weakness.
He said when the Muslim/Muslim ticket came on board, they expressed concerns, saying that many people said northern Christians have no influence when it comes to politics.
"NNCC emphasises that northern Christians are Nigerians. We want to move from complaining to involving in the political system. The only way we can solve Nigeria's problem is to be actively involved in politics. We do ourselves more harm by not getting involved in politics.
"NNCC is urging Christians to join political parties and contest the election. We cannot lament forever. The solution to our problem is to get involved in the political process of the country."
Tinubu dropped as Dogara, Northern Elders choose from Peter Obi, Kwankwaso, Atiku
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that a former speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and the Northern Leaders Consultative Forum, described Atiku Abubakar as the best option for the 2023 general elections.
It was reported that during a media conference in Abuja on Friday, December 2, the group, comprising Christian and Muslim religious and political leaders in the north, adopted Atiku for the coming election.
The group's decision followed the adoption of a report by its technical criteria committee.