23rd July, 2012
By Tunde bakare
Fellow citizens of our great country, household faithful at The Latter Rain Assembly, Gentlemen of the Press, and every other person present, welcome to this special occasion. At the beginning of this month, during the Father’s Day celebration, an invitation was extended to every concerned citizen of our nation to attend this special lecture – our humble contribution towards nation building… After all, in matters of public enlightenment, the church should be in the forefront of such efforts, going by the definitive proclamation of Jesus concerning the church in Matthew 5:14-16 (NKJV).
In addition, for those befuddled in their minds about our role in this process, let me again rely on the words of Prophet Malachi written exclusively to those in priestly garments who have forgotten their God-ordained role in matters of nation building: Malachi 2:1-9 (NKJV).
For those questioning our intentions and the use of this platform to disseminate truths that will unblock the minds of our citizens and set them free from limiting thoughts that produce self-defeat, there you have it in black and white in the Holy Writ:Malachi 2:7 (NKJV).
Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, saints and strangers, do I then have your permission this morning to perform this noble role of a messenger to a nation on the road to perdition and self-annihilation?
Having given me an overwhelming yes, please permit me to quickly add that, beyond the church being a lighthouse to a dark world, and beyond the role of the priest as a messenger whose lips should keep knowledge and from whose mouth the people should seek the law, there is an additional burden of the watchman and his message that is totally lost on the prosperity merchants and their crowd. (Read Ezekiel 33:1-20).
I invited all and sundry here this morning because I can see the sword already upon this land – shall I then blow the trumpet? Not to do so would be a disservice to my nation and outright disobedience to God – a luxury I cannot afford. Therefore, lend me your ears.
For the sake of clarity and to keep within the boundary of the subject of our contemplation this morning – ‘How to Change Government Peacefully and Make Society Better’ – I have arranged this lecture under four major headings:
•Who truly rules in the affairs of men?
•The purpose of government in a nation
•How to change government in a peaceful manner
•The way forward
Who Truly Rules In The Affairs Of Men?
Today, it is common practice among pseudo-intellectuals worldwide to mock biblical teachings on God, Satan and demons. But to those who are wise and discerning, it is clear that behind the socio-political and economic evils of our time lie supernatural powers.It is true that God Almighty is “the blessed and only Potentate [Sovereign], the King of kings and Lord of lords” (I Timothy 6:13-16). It is also true that honour and everlasting power belong to God. Nonetheless, in the wisdom of God who rules in the affairs of men, He allows or permits the lowest of men to occupy apex power positions in order that the living may know and hopefully learn.
The New Testament’s perspective on the grip of evil over our socio-political and economic systems comes from the Old Testament prophet, Daniel. Daniel was a young man when Babylonians invaded his city Jerusalem, destroyed it, brutally massacred his people and carried their royalty into slavery in Babylon. Later, they returned to destroy God’s temple and placed God’s sacred vessels in the temple of their god.
This humiliating horror raised disturbing theological questions: Who really rules in the affairs of this world? Who is in control of history – at least at this moment? Why are the kingdoms of this world at times so cruel, brutal, exploitative and oppressive? From the Book of Daniel come three clear answers that can help us navigate our own murky political waters and deliver our nation from imminent bankruptcy and balkanization:
•God is the supreme potentate:
Daniel 2:20-22 (NKJV) -20 Daniel answered and said “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. 21 And 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. 22 He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.
•God, the supreme potentate rules in the kingdom of men and gives it to whomever he will and sets over it the lowest of men: Daniel 4:13-18 (NKJV)
•Whenever the lowest of men occupy apex power positions, in their naivety, they yield to demonic powers who then rule through them:
As Daniel humbled himself, fasted and prayed for understanding, he was given a glimpse of the supernatural realm. He saw clearly that behind the socio-political and economic evils of his time lay supernatural powers…
Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, the kingdoms of this world were and are beastly, because behind them were and are evil supernatural forces. This understanding of evil as something more than natural, human or socio-political did not begin with Daniel. Israel’s first king became evil, despotic and murderous, and the Bible explains that God’s Spirit had left him and an evil spirit began to torment him (I Samuel 16:14-23).
Likewise, in the Book of Judges, socio-political evils are seen as a direct result of spiritual evil, specifically the operation of the spirit of ill will sent by God when Abimelech hired worthless and reckless men to kill all the seventy (70) sons of Gideon so that he could become king.Judges 9:22-2322. After Abimelech had reigned over Israel three years, God sent a spirit of ill will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech…
Each of the above mentioned biblical texts and a plethora of others affirm that God remains Sovereign over His creation even when He allows evil spirits or devils to hold sway. Apostle Paul explains in Romans 1:18-32 that God gives whole cultures over to evil when humans choose to suppress truth with wickedness. This is where we are in Nigeria today. To the discerning, the nation has been thrown to the dogs of pervasive corruption and disruptive, perennial insecurity. The question begging for an answer is: Who will deliver us from this self-induced chaotic disorder?
The Purpose Of Government
The purpose of any meaningful government is the welfare and security of the people. In our clime, neither welfare nor security of the lives and property of our people seems to matter anymore. Our malady is not new. History holds records of nations who were bled to death by their rulers and tells how such leaders were ultimately dealt with when the oppressed could no longer bear the heavy weight of their oppressive and insensitive leadership. Biblical history also alludes to this. While the people kept suffering in the midst of plenty in the days of King Solomon, who used his wisdom to satisfy his unquenchable thirst and hunger for material acquisition and outlandish women of all shapes and shades, a day came in the life of the nation when the people kicked and shouted, “We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel!” (I Kings 12:16). The rebellion did not only stand, God also rubberstamped it and said “this thing is from me”(I Kings 12:24) — it was orchestrated by the GREAT ORGANIZED DESIGNER (GOD).
It is unfortunate that our people are crying today for change, but they are expecting the change to either fall from the sky or come from sources that cannot produce it. It is simple logic that when a corrupt leader is in office, he corrupts those he leads. This is true of a family, true of a church, and true of a nation. A corrupt father will ultimately corrupt his family as he cannot distinguish between his wife and his son’s wife. A corrupt pastor will corrupt, influence, affect and infect his church as he prioritizes outreaches, programmes and projects executed with filthy lucre flowing from the perverse and the corrupt above the spiritual welfare of the congregants. And a corrupt elected official will infect his nation with corruption. I cannot but borrow a leaf from the profound lecture delivered by Prof. Niyi Osundare recently on the state of the nation titled: ‘Why We No Longer Blush: Corruption as Grand Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’. He said, and I quote:
“Watch out, Nigeria: a new Jonathan seems to be emerging, one who confuses cockiness with confidence, tactlessness with toughness, strong-manship with statesmanship.”
President Jonathan’s combination of naivety and amorality is as profound as it is injurious to the health of this country. Can a corruption-compliant ruler really lead a corruption-free country? If change – positive change – will ever come to our clime, it will not be engineered by those who are benefitting without conscience from the present cesspool of corrosive corruption. It will and can only come from a new breed without greed and a radical opposition to corruption. True, genuine change can only come from those not infected by the present corruption malaise; it can only come from positive agents of social change who are totally sold out to public good.
How To Change Government In A Peaceful Manner
Every time I have considered this subject, only one thing flows from me towards President Goodluck Jonathan – genuine pity. Anyone who has had the privilege of sitting with Mr. President, as I sometimes have, will feel the same for this simple soul who has become a victim of circumstances generated and orchestrated by his bramble predecessor, who, in his bid to be king of all trees, used his position to force on the nation the sick, the weak, and the ill-equipped in an attempt to dominate the polity and maintain his larger than life status out of office (Judges 9:8-15). So, it did not come as a surprise to me at all when, two days ago, the minority leader of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila cited Section 143 of the 1999 Constitution, saying that any action of the President defined as “gross misconduct” by the National Assembly was “sufficient grounds to initiate impeachment proceedings against him.” Let me quote verbatim from Friday July 20, 2012’s Punch [‘Budget: Lawmakers threaten to impeach President’] to buttress my point:Gbajabiamila had proposed the amendment to a motion before the House on the poor implementation of the 2012 budget.
“If by September 18, the budget performance has not improved to 100%, we shall begin to invoke and draw up articles of impeachment against Mr. President”, he said.
Members shouted aloud “yes”, “yes”, “yes” and clapped for the minority leader as Gbajabiamila made the proposal.He accused the executive of allegedly breaching the Appropriation Act,2012 by engaging in “selective implementation” of the budget.Gbajabiamila added, “What we have in our hands today is a budget of abracadabra; a budget of voodoo economy.
“I like Mr. President, he is a fine gentleman, but I like my people, the Nigerian people more.”
Indeed, Mr. President may be a fine gentleman thrust into a position of leadership by circumstances beyond his control who is now facing a barrage of problems he is incapable of solving. He deserves our sympathy, our prayers, and whatever else we can honourably and legally do to make sure he gets back to his home-base safely.
Perhaps a few suggestions may change the course of our rapid descent into the abyss, since free, fair and credible election is presently alien to our polity. In all honesty, I perceive very strongly that our next general election will be better, though it may come earlier than expected.
•To be continued tomorrow
•Dr. Bakare, the Serving Overseer, The Latter Rain Assembly delivered this speech at the Latter Rain Assembly on Sunday, July 22 2012, as a contribution to public enlightenment on the state of the nation.