HOLY GHOST NIGHT ON BABANGIDA
My brothers and sisters in Christ if you are glad to be here say thunderous Halleluiah. Thank you very much! Thy Lord is good!! All the time! At the last Holy Ghost Night, I did mention to you what our interests are in the polity, and how a reasonable, spirited and a conscious Christian should strategically position himself. I also posited that on this terrestrial's surface, a political saint or angel or a righteous politician is nonexistent.
If this is axiomatic in the advanced world, how much less a developing polity like Nigeria. In the scripture, we have read 'God says David is the man after my heart.' You and I know the Uriahgate scandal that led to the birth of Solomon. In spite of this, he is the man after God's heart. Who can tell me why? First and foremost we cannot really understand His ways and secondly, David's praise singing prowess remains unequalled in the whole wide world. Do you also know that David was an Army General, who defeated Goliath and fought a number of wars before becoming the king?
Military antecedents are closely intertwined with the cardinal principle of leadership. Let me quickly address the mixture of politics with our faith.
Our Lord Jesus Christ was quite emphatic about the celestial world and the world we live in. Our major objective is to make heaven and in doing this, we are not to be politically non-partisan but partisan, to the extent of not judging so as not to be judged. It is therefore, embarrassing to people, like us that Pentecostal Fellowship Youth Wing is mobilizing, according to them, '50 million' youth against the candidacy of Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, who is a Muslim. Also the Council of Bishops of the Methodist Church is against him. Reasons adduced are the Pius Okigbo report, June 12, and Dele Giwa.
I asked myself how many political deaths did we record in this country during the administration of Olusegun Obasanjo. I remember Bola Ige, Harry Marshall, Funso Williams etc and the Pentecostal Youth Wing nor the Methodist bishops have done nothing to unravel the mystery, not even a statement in the press. They wholeheartedly supported third term with carnal prayers. The problem with us is that of prejudice, borne out of certain inexplicable mindset. Here is a Muslim practising a Christian most cherished family value, one man, one wife, with unmistakable passion. I have said in several fora, that the problem of African in general and Nigeria in particular is not only leadership, but also essentially the degradation of family values. I suppose, as a Christian, this should determine whom we vote for. And in Deuteronomy17: 15-16, one of the God's condition for a leader is one man, one vote. Therefore, the topic of today's Holy Ghost Night sermon is on family values.
For a perspective and profound understanding of family values, I shall first define it in a social political context. Family values are political and social beliefs that hold the nuclear family to be the essential ethical and moral unit of society. Familialism is the ideology that promotes the family and its values as an institution.
In Biblical terms, family values is the uplift of the Ten Commandments in the family and decisive design by parents to be highly responsive and responsible to their offspring. Also in a broader context, Christian family value is the art of loving, taking care of and supporting each other.
My brothers and sister, what correlation is the above to Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida's candidacy and the Nigerian state? Some Christians, politicians and civil right activists are the holier than thou type, whose hypocrisy are legendary than the Pharisees. Their attitude outlook and tactics are best explained in Mathew 23:1-7. I read: 'Then Jesus spoke to the crowd and to His disciples, 'The scribes and the Pharisees area seated in the chair of Moses. Therefore, do whatever they tell you and observe it.
But don't do what they do because they don't practice what they teach. They tie up heavy loads that are hard to carry and put them on people's shoulder, but they themselves aren't willing to lift a finger to move them. They do everything to be observed by others. They enlarge their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love the place of honour at banquets, the front seats in the synagogue greetings in the market places and to be called Rabbi by people.'
Most critics of Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida today are playing to the gallery to score cheap political points. An excursion into their lives, both privately and publicly, leaves much to be desired. If most leaders in Nigeria today have limited their child-bearing capacity to four, like Ibrahim Babangida, we would be having an optimum and qualitative population that we can be proud of. Parents would have absolute love for their few offspring; there will be less 'area boys' for all kinds of negative endeavours. As a Christian, I wholeheartedly urge you to positively consider Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, because he has done what he preached.
By all intents and purposes and in the book Isaiah 43: 18-19, I read, 'remember ye not the former things of old. Behold I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.' This is the message Babangida is sending to us today. He has enormous capacity to turn things around in the country. More than ever before, experience and political sagacity should be the determinant variables in 2011 election. My grouse about the opposition is the penchant for criticism without solutions. If you ask them who their candidate is, the answer is none of the above.
Therefore, where do we go from here? It means their objective is principally to destroy people's image and paint a gory and fearful picture. At this hour, in this moment, what we need is hope, stability, security and a caring leader. Have you ever ponder this fact that before Babangida came to power in 1985, we have had Nnamdi Azikiwe, Tafawa Balewa, Aguiyi Ironsi, Yakubu Gowon, Murtala Muhammed, Olusegun Obasanjo, Shehu Shagari, Mohammadu Buhari and after him we have, Ernest Shonekan, Sani Abacha, Abubakar Abdusalami, Olusegun Obasanjo, Umar Musa Yar'Adua. Why is that not a single of them is being regarded as a saint or angel in their times as President or Head of State? If nothing is wrong somewhere, the system would have thrown up a saint or an angel as president.
My brothers and sisters, in Christ, let us use the opportunity provided by this Holy Ghost Night to search for the soul and spirit of the Nigeria nation in proffering solutions to our problems. I will like to implore you all according to the scripture of Joel 2:12-13. I read, 'Even now declares the Lord return to me with all your heart, with feasting and weeping and mourning, rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love and he relents from sending calamity.'
If we can look up to God deeply in spirit, our horizon will be opened to the new Nigeria of our dream. I have implicit hope in the new Babangida's Presidency because he is prepared for it and that was proven beyond reasonable doubt in his eventful, exciting and remarkable sojourn at the presidency. I make bold to submit, without any fear of contradiction, that Shehu Shagari, Olusegun Obasanjo and Umar Musa Yar'Adua were literlly entrusted with power by accident and they humbly discharged accidental policies. This is in contrast to Babangida, who has long developed a blue print of what his ideas and dreams of moving Nigeria forward are about.
Our expectations are unmistakable turnaround of the country within four years. It is possible and achievable with the facts at my disposal. I shall comfort and motivate you with the gospel truth in 1 Timothy 6:12. I read. 'Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.'
The 2011 election is an election by faith, which we all should be interested. It marks the beginning of another golden jubilee of the Nigeria nation. We expect things to be conducted in a fashion depicting readiness for positive change. For what will IBB be looking, if not for an enduring legacy of being the architect of new Nigeria?
The issues he has raised should be the critical nucleus of discourse and not dwelling in the past, as if we live for the past. Fiscal and structural federalism, state police, effective diversification of the economy, aggressive repositioning of the education sector, reducing carnage on our roads, encouraging qualitative population, power sector, electoral reforms and empowering opposition parties by limiting the parties to maximum of three, and bringing back Option A4 to lay the foundation for an free and fair election. The hues and cries about election reforms will remain an illusion if limited parties, Option A4, and open ballot system are not the major ingredients. He has done that before. We should allow him to use his father figure clout to bring all stakeholders together and entrenched this in our political psyche for good.
If not for the two political system he midwifed M.K.O Abiola would never have enjoyed support from all divide. This is the crux of the matter. The over 50 political parties are just like tribal association with inconsequential political values.
My brothers and sisters, in Christ, don't let anybody fool you by telling you their own prejudices and not the truth. The truth is for this country to develop the revolution must begin from bottom up and not as they want us believe. Every family that procreates more than its micro domestic economy is guilty before God and man. Limited offspring in relation to your resources will unmitigatedly guarantee easy access to education, poverty reduction and consequently growth and development nationally. Let us pray! O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have got your glory above the heaven.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower the righteous runs into it and is saved. We have come to you in humility father Lord honour us with our request of blessing us with IBB Presidency who will do wonders to our country Nigeria.
Elo-him, Adonai, Jehovah Yahweh, Jehovah Maccadshem, Jehovah Rohi, Jehovah Shammah, Jehovah-Rapha, Jehovah-Tsidkenu, Jehovah-Jireh, Jehovah Nissi, Jehovah Shalom, Jehovah -Sabbath Jehovah -Gmolah, Elru, I El-Shaddai, El-Olam, the 2011 election by faith is hereby presented to you for your blessing. As your servant and ordinary mortal I believe Ibrahim Babangida should be elected. If this is in consonance with your will for Nigeria come and surprise us exceedingly by a moonslide victory. We do know that obstacles abound in every human endeavour, come and help surmount them in Jesus name. Amen.
•Obayendo writes from Lagos