Since the missionary era, Christianity has had a positive impact on the socio-cultural environment throughout Africa. In addition to involvement in evangelism and discipleship, a variety of Christian communities were behind the founding and growth of primary, secondary, and tertiary educational institutions, health centers, poverty alleviation projects, children’s homes, and even civic initiatives. . As a result, Christianity not only continues to grow across much of the continent, but has also achieved significant public acceptance as a force for social good.

However, in recent decades, with the advent of modern-age religiosity, values ​​such as humility, compassion, selfless service, and servant leadership are now increasingly replaced by a concern for image consciousness. , self-aggrandizement and expansion of personal and ministerial life. influence at any price. From an ecclesiological and theological perspective, the core of the problem lies in the rapid rise and visibility in the media of ‘dubious’ (ie dubious) pastors, who are the false prophets of our day. Among the many self-proclaimed ‘men of God’ or ‘servants of God’, the values ​​that have traditionally distinguished Christian ministry are increasingly absent.

Once again, religion and politics have been intertwined since the dawn of humanity. Sometimes that relationship is healthy and sometimes it is exploitative. Such manipulation is what we recently observed with regard to election prophecies uttered by leaders of various charismatic and Pentecostal movements in Nigeria. Such false prophecies communicated fear and confusing political rhetoric that made it easy for the church to be mocked and judged. Unfortunately, such “prophecies” also worked to misrepresent the true character of the Most High God. Therefore, they use religion as a weapon of manipulation.

Yet it still resonates. In many parts of the world, organized religion remains the most powerful force in society: more than 4.5 billion people identify with one of the world’s four largest religions, and that number is growing. However, in Europe, faith and religious expression have collapsed in the last 170 years. It’s hard to think of anything that has taken its place, except perhaps secular humanism and Marxism. There is a Marxist quote that says: ‘Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the feeling of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions.’ Religion is fast becoming a barrier and a dangerous weapon in the hands of manipulators.

Most of the merchants of faith are nothing more than confused social criminals who take advantage of the poverty and ignorance of the masses. Some religious leaders take pleasure in exploiting their gullible followers, who are excited to go to “heaven.” Some of these religious leaders are complicit in the rottenness of our society, they are full of godless attributes and for the most part they are self-proclaimed pretentious collections of lousy people. Without a doubt, religion is truly ‘the sigh of the oppressed’, most especially in Africa. Suffice it to say that we are truly living in dangerous times in our society.

In this political season in Nigeria, the so-called “Men of God”, the merchants of faith, using the pulpit in dubious ways for self-aggrandizement, have perfected the art of ripping off unsuspecting gullible followers and negatively controlling minds by spreading hate and falsehood.
I would like to conclude this article by sharing with my readers an extensive response I received from one of my readers on the issue of the Muslim/Muslim ballot which has been stirring the minds of many Christians regarding the 2023 Nigerian presidential election. .

He titled it as:
“The Mystery of the APC Muslim/Muslim Ticket”

“Thank you for sharing the article condemning the APC Muslim/Muslim presidential bid. Those are the general and superficial thoughts of most “Christians”. However, my considered opinion is that Ahmed Bola Tinubu (BAT), the standard bearer of the APC, is an instrument for the liberation of Nigeria. He is being used by God to save Christians from their political ineptitude and the danger of being permanently consigned to second-class citizen status in the nation.

The greatest threat to Christianity in this dispensation was the PDP’s failure to zone and produce a Christian presidential candidate from the South. In a party with 13 governors, 10 of them are Christian, and the national president is a northern Christian, they ended up producing a northern Fulani Muslim candidate, after two terms (8 years) of attempted “Islamization and Fulanization”. The PDP’s presidential candidacy was a handful of fruit for the “Christians”, but they allowed the “Muslims” to pluck it.

You gave it away because you lack vision and you lack competent leaders. Instead of just reacting, the Church was supposed to be prophetic and proactive. The APC’s presidential ticket was about to be delivered to the president of the Senate, a Muslim from Yobe State, where it was alleged that Boko Haram actually started. Thanks to the political wisdom and sense of justice of the northern governors and APC leaders, and the courage and shrewdness of BAT, a moderate Yoruba Muslim and radical with a record of religious tolerance, the APC presidential candidacy it was divided into southern zones. . Tinubu subsequently won the APC presidential primaries.

Looking at its track record, BAT will surely reform and modernize Nigeria. After his victory, some parts of the Muslim north were somewhat concerned about Tinubu’s presidency, which they felt could be a threat to his Islamic interests. Supposedly, they suggested a Muslim/Muslim ticket option as a potential deal breaker. The standard bearer was smart enough to avoid the trap, he accepted but rejected his nominees and made his own decision. Interestingly, the demonization of vice-presidential candidate Senator Shettima by some Christians actually made her more acceptable to northern Muslims. I have no doubt that Tinubu’s political savvy is working and that the APC is heading for a landslide victory.

Supposedly ‘poorly’ educated Islamic clerics now say that working for Tinubu’s victory is Islamic jihad. Such short-sighted and rude outbursts should upset right-thinking patriots, however, it is no different than the statements of those tactless and superficial pastors who curse and abuse dissenting voices who are working for other options due to their local political circumstances. . Anyway, everything is good for BAT’s victory. If Tinubu had chosen a northern Christian running mate, he would have lost the northern votes to Atiku. Self-defeating northern Christians would still have preferred an Igbo Christian president to his northern Christian brother serving as a possible presidential running mate.

Their votes would still have split 3: PDP, APC, and Labor. The Bible says; ‘Where there is no vision, people perish.’ Therefore, as stated above, BAT is a weapon that God uses to free Christians from the real consequences of Christian political ineptitude and lack of visionary leaders. He is saving Christians from the possibility of 8 years of Atiku, a presidency that clearly violates the PDP’s principle of zoning and rotation between North and South. What Christians should do is support BAT, pray for his good health and survival from the unseen murderous plans against him, and be close enough to him to positively influence his government and benefit from it.

The Obi option is entirely a misleading and distracting attempt to administer medicine on a dead cause. Obi cannot win even in the eastern states let alone the whole country because a small party (Labor Party) with weak structures and a stingy candidate who is unwilling or unable to spend much cannot win a presidential election under the circumstances current Nigerian Unfortunately, the Igbo policy of violent secessionist agitations and verbal attacks on other tribes and regions cannot be of any use to Obi either. The Obi project was dead from the start, but it is useful in undermining Atiku’s chances and in deepening democracy by mobilizing young people and indifferent potential voters.
Christians in Nigeria lost the quest to produce a Christian president after the PDP presidential primary.

A united PPD in collaboration with the smaller parties and a strong Christian presidential champion could have won, especially given what is perceived as a poor performance by the current APC government. Therefore, the real antidote to the perceived “Islamization” of Nigeria is a revival of Biblical Christianity that emphasizes love for people and integrity, a Christianity that focuses more on evangelism and missions. There is a chance that a credible and capable Christian president will emerge in the next electoral circle to take Nigeria to great heights. Let us not live or act in fear, but in faith.”

With the rich contribution above, I call on all Nigerians to put religious intolerance aside and vote peacefully. Nigeria will rise again.

ricardo odusanya

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