In 1999 after the Presidential election and President Olusegun Obasanjo had been sworn in as the president of the country, he embarked on ‘thank you’ tours to various stakeholders across various spheres in the country.
One of the places he visited was the Redemption Camp during one of the monthly National Holy Ghost Services. His visit at that time, to many, was to appreciate the spiritual support of the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, during his trials and campaigns. Only few were awakened to the cryptic message of the visit.
To many, the visit was to Pastor Adeboye, but to few, it was to say ‘thank you’ to Christians who voted for him at the polls. Few would come to see the importance of Christians and churches in electoral success especially for candidates seeking to occupy elective positions in the country.
It was however President Goodluck Jonathan who ignited the flame. After he was able to take charge of the country through the “Doctrine of Necessity”, he was faced with the challenge of winning the 2011 presidential election. President Jonathan visited the Redemption Camp in December 2010 during the grand finale of the Holy Ghost Congress. During the visit, the then president did not directly solicit for the support and vote of the millions of eligible voters present at the camp ground, but his presence spoke volume. He eventually won the election, defeating a Muslim and a heavy weight from the north, Atiku Abubakar.
The implication of this is that for anyone ambitious to rule this country, the Christian population must have a say and with one voice, they will have their way.
Christianity, a venture of the wise, is living the life of Christ in full totality to the will of God as lived through faith, grace, and sure mercies. It is a responsive life in the fulness of God’s righteousness and obedience to His precepts through His divine direction. Christians have a duty to abide by the ethical teachings and as such, provide good leadership and obedient followership. These teachings provide mankind with values by which they live. This is why Christians’ role in the electoral victory of any candidate in an election is very paramount.
Nigeria as a nation is divided among ethnic and religious grounds, and as such is religiously pluralistic. Being a secular state, as enshrined in the constitution, religious organizations have always shown interest in the affairs of the country, for prayers are offered for leaders and the nation at large.
This depicts that politics and religion are intertwined and that it is God’s idea and plan for humanity which He intends to actualize through His faithful. Hence, the need for Christians to seek God for His divine direction and to ensure that His will prevails and the right candidates emerge and become responsive in their duty as Christians for the nation during an election. This President Jonathan did when he visited the Redemption Camp and other major churches across the country. At the Redemption Camp, he said, “your constant prayers have been the sustaining power behind the modest achievements we have made thus far.”
“Choose some wise, understanding and respected men from each of your tribes and I will set them over you.” Deuteronomy 13:1. That was the instruction God gave to Christians. We are expected to ‘choose’ for God to set as leaders. In other words, Christians are expected to go beyond praying for the nation, the leaders and for peace to reign; they are expected to participate actively in deciding who occupies elective positions in the country.
To therefore buttress the point of how important the Christian vote is in the country, the Christian vote was what President Muhammadu Buhari needed to win the 2015 presidential election after he had contested and failed twice. His combination with Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, a Pastor in the RCCG, gained the support of the Christian fold that the interest of the Christian fold in the country would be protected. Since the 2015 election and the ascension of Osinbajo to the post of the Vice President of the country, Christians have come to the realization that they can and are expected to vie for public offices in order to ensure that the will of God for the country is fulfilled.
Politics cannot be complete with certain aspect of the state left behind in the decision making. For successful elections to take place and for credible candidates to emerge into victory, Christians are expected to be prayerful. Just as Plato said, there is a supernatural power that controls the human destiny. Christians must not misplace the value of prayer in the selection of political leaders. Christians are to prayerfully seek to know the mind of God in governance and the right candidate ordained by God, in order to choose the right candidate to manifest God’s plan and for the masses to rejoice through a righteous rule.
Our God is sovereign and controls the heart of kings. Whatever is committed into His hand, He directs. Through prayers, the peace and stability of the nation is assured!
The views that politics is a dirty game and inappropriate for true Christians to soil their hands with, is rather satanic and a ploy by the devil to keep God’s chosen ones in servitude. Since the emergence of Osinbajo as the Vice President, Christian authorities in the country have consistently encouraged all believers to ensure they get their Permanent Voters Cards and vote for the candidate of their choice during elections. They are warned and duly informed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) does not count prayers rather, they count votes.
Vote casting during election is a civic responsibility that every citizen is expected to carry out notwithstanding religious affiliation. Christians living in a constitutional republic should seek to vote in a way that honours God and advances the wellbeing of the nation. They are not expected to buy or sell their votes neither are they expected to be involved in any form of electoral malpractice.
More also, Christians have the moral obligation to participate in government and distinctively engage in political processes. The gospel applies to all areas of life and the Bible instructs about government and political authority. It advocates neither total withdrawal from political process nor over investment in it.
Christians must realize that government is God’s idea and Christians have the responsibility to engage in governance through politics in a way that is consistent with God-ordained purpose. We must realize that government and its laws are part of our daily lives and there is no way to avoid some level of involvement (1 Peter 2:11). Christians ought to endeavour to be good citizens and advance their influence for the advancement of laws, policies and practices that contributes to the growth and development of the nation.
For electoral victory and national development to be fully actualized, every citizen and government of Nigeria must be involved in attaining national growth, change and stability.