To commemorate the annulment of the 1993 election of late business magnate, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola (MKO), the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) has laid down grounds to ensure Christians get more involved in the politics of Nigeria.
The event which was held at the Vineyard Christian Centre, Isolo, Lagos on Thursday was themed: “National Unity & Development: The Role of the Church”, using Psalm 2 as the focal point.
Pastor Toju Bolujoko, representing the chief guest speaker, Pastor W.F Kumuyi, the General Superintendent of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, in his speech said:
“It is not in the place of the church to foster segregation or disintegration of the nation irrespective of the prevailing political situation. The church must never be allowed to look like a political association for the whole essence for unity in the diversity in the body of Christ will be lost.
“Our nation needs a church that is spiritually alert, socially responsible and politically neutral. It needs a church that does not seek any form of gratification from civil authorities but a church that is independent, loves the nation and all its component parts, speaks the truth to all the populace.” He read.
On his part, the guest speaker at the event, Reverend Ladi Peter Thompson while extoling the values of MKO Abiola pointed out that the church has the answer to the challenges bedeviling the nation.
“What worked for June 12 is not going to work for the present challenges that we are facing in this country, the church has the answer. The church must not get involved in retaliation. The greatest mistake this generation can do is to allow religious war to erupt in Nigeria.” He stated.
Reacting to the security situation of the country, Rev. Thompson who is also a conflict resolution and counter-terrorism consultant added, “We are dealing with a shape shifting, hydra-headed, merciless, cunning, unrelenting, implacable, patient, global supremacist agenda disguised in the gap of religion. It is not a religious problem. It was designed for you to think it’s a religious problem, and when you see it’s a religious problem, you are like a man using petrol to put out fire.”
The Director, Social Security Outreach/ Inter-Governmental Relations (SSO/IGR), the political arm of the PFN, Bishop Theophilus Taiwo Ajose said that the group is taking a bold step to foster national unity.
“When we came on board the first thing we set out to do is to see the reintegration of the church across the grassroots and the local government in Lagos state. Once we get it right in Lagos state we get it right in Nigeria.
“We sat down with great men of God to see how the church can be alive in politics and have political plans not just for elections but to install godly leaders. What we have realized in Nigeria especially in Lagos state is that politicians come to us just to tell us what they want to tell us for elections, after that, till next four years. They believe that the church likes offerings so much, so they give us physical offerings and after that we don’t see them again.” He added.
The State Director pointed out that “the directorate is proposing to the state for the establishment of a centre for Christian democratic studies. Anyone that wants to represent the church politically must go through this study and be well trained. The centre which is aligned with so many political and democratic institutions internationally, will present people not only grounded in theology but also in politics.”
In an address by the Deputy State Chairman of PFN, Apostle Okwuonu Eyinnaya stressed the essence of the political arm of the fellowship.
“For us in PFN we hold this directorate in very high esteem. In PFN today we have directorates which are geared towards achieving our total objective and the directorate of social security and inter-governmental development is one of such. This particular program is dear to our heart in this regime and dispensation. We thank God this directorate has been in the forefront that the objective is achieved.”
Chairman, PFN and Christian Pilgrim Welfare Board, Lagos State, Bishop Dr. Olusola Ore said, “The church is the solution for the problem of the nation and we have shied away from it for a long time but I thank God the church is trying to work on their mandate. Let’s ask God to give us speed and let’s begin to start from the root.”
Adding his voice, the Chairman, Christian Association of Nigerian (CAN), Lagos State, Apostle (Prof) Alexander Bamgbola emphasized the need for the church to play a significant role in nation building, adding that it must be pure salt and true light to the earth.
“The Lord has sent us to occupy but if we refuse to occupy we will be occupied. The church of Jesus Christ has a crucial but not the most critical role in national unity and development.
“The world is full of darkness because it is temporarily ruled and controlled by the devil. Hence the nations of the world are bedeviled by darkness, indeed gross darkness. The crucial roles the church of Christ must play in any nation therefore is to be the true light in the nation and salt in the land. This is the core assignment of the church in any nation.” Bamgbola said.
Patriarch of Vineyard Christian Centre, Archbishop Osa Oni, whose church hosted the event further explained that what unity means to an individual determines how such person flows with it.
“The word unity means the state of being one, oneness, one agreement, uniformity, undivided and unbroken competency.”
He accentuated unity as a great catalyst that can provoke all round development in Nigeria, whether politically, socially or economically.
“And I believe if the church will come together there is no height we cannot get to, if we are united and take self out of the way things will change.” He concluded.
Present at the event were former General Oveseer of the Foursquare Gospel Church, Pastor Wilson Badejo; General Superintendent of Universal Christian Missions International, Bishop Moses Adedipe; Special Adviser to Baba Aladura, Apostle Joshua Babatunde; Reverend Dr. Akano; General Overseer of Blessed Chapel Church, Bishop Dr. Bayo Adejola; General Overseer of Pentecostal Fellowship Assembly, Reverend Dr. Julius Orowumi; Hon. Mrs. Adegoke; Representatives of the Lagos State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board.