We are at the threshold of another defining moment in the history of our country. Barring all odds, come Saturday, February 25 every Nigerian within the voting age bracket who has a Permanent Voter ‘s Card will go out to cast their votes for the next president of the country. It is hoped that many will do it responsibly.
But then it is important to let the Church understand that God will not choose for us. That seems odd. But that is the truth more so that we are running a democracy, not a theocracy.
He already answered our prayers when he gave us options and the capacity to make our choice. He will not impose his will on us. If the majority dance the wrong way, we are all going to be here to eat the scum. If the majority choose the right person, we are going to be here too to eat the good.
The question is who is the right man for this job? Social media was agog lately with the trolling of some church leaders asking them to be audacious to endorse candidates they think people should vote for.
Muslim Rights Concern
Some were making such demands because just last week the Muslim Rights Concern led by Prof Ishaq Akintola wrote a letter to the Muslim North reminding them of the pact they had and that they should not fail to ensure that the Muslim candidate from the south is the next president of our dear Nation.
If it is within the right of the Muslim group to make such a statement and request, some feel it is also within the right of the Church to make an categorical statement directing people on how to vote.
A few church leaders have actually publicly thrown their weight behind the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi. There are some other church leaders who have lined up behind Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Prominent among them is the Chairman of the Lagos State Chapter of the Christian Association, Bishop Stephen Adegbite.
Muslims also rooting for Christian candidate
It is so interesting that some Muslims are rooting for the Christian Candidate while some Christians are rooting for the Muslim candidates. There are Muslim leaders that have canvassed for Obi despite the move of MURIC leadership to ensure a Muslim president from the south emerges. So it all boils down to individual preferences irrespective of whatever anybody says. We all have our convictions. It is that conviction that we will take to the ballot box come Saturday.
Our convictions notwithstanding, permit me to present the following posers: What is motivating you to vote for the person you so desire to win the presidency of Nigeria?
You must ask yourself is money a factor in making your choice? If you are rooting for the candidate because he has given you money or because you are working for him and he is the one feeding you, it is not likely that you will be making the right choice.
Yes, he has been good to you. But this election is not about you. It is about over 200 million other people. If the basis for which you want to vote is money, then, you are among the very problem of this nation. You are not a patriot. The other time a church leader was saying he would vote for a certain candidate because he gave the church land. What about those he did not give land? That means land is his motivation to vote for his candidate. Can we see the greed and self in people?
We all have ambitions and it is good to have ambition. But when it comes to the destiny of a nation, our ambition should be put aside. Some people supported the incumbent President Mohammadu Buhari because they hoped they would get some juicy positions from him. But he disappointed them. People like that soon turned back from following him and started firing missiles at him.
If you are supporting your candidate because there is hope that your family will benefit from the government, you are surely one of the problems of our nation. Will you support this candidate even if you won’t get a position from him? That is the question you must ask yourself. The prospect of getting a position must not be the motivation for voting for a candidate.
One of the most dangerous sets of people is those who carry their tribe on their heads with reckless abandon. These people can kill on a tribal basis. They are the people that will tell you how can a Yoruba man vote for an Igbo candidate. Some will say how can Igbo vote for a Yoruba man. The Hausa man also thinks first of his people. Any person with a tribal sentiment does not wish Nigeria well.
There are those rooting for self-determination. They have a right to do so. But if we are going to belong to this entity called Nigeria, then the issue of tribe should not come in. It should be about the right candidate for the job. It should be about the ability of the person to perform and the character that goes with leadership.
Another evil that is troubling us is religion. This evil will continue to hinder us from making any appreciable progress. If your choice of candidate is based on the fact that he is a Christian or Muslim then you are Nigeria’s enemy. You are the reason Nigeria will not get it right this time around. We must ask ourselves what has religion got to with leadership. The truth is that there are good people and bad people in both major religions. There are people who are Christians by name and association . They have never met Christ. What is crucial is the need to have the right kind of leaders.
We need a man whose track records show he does not have moral baggage; who has the capacity to lead the country well. Nigeria can’t afford a morally bankrupt person in the place of leadership. Such people can kill and do anything to remain in power if they get power. Such people have no regard for human life.
It may really be difficult to pin your candidate to some of these vices because the Bible says the heart of man is desperately wicked who can know it? It is in this regard you need to seek the face of God and watch before making your choice. But then the indices are there for some to see.
Prospect of winning
For some, the election is like a football match. They would rather support the candidate they feel would win than support the candidate they know has the capacity to rule well. Unfortunately, many of us have boxed ourselves to four of the candidates contesting leaving about 13 others or thereabout. Some of the presidential candidates have since formed alignments.
The point is, you need to go with your choice. It does not matter if the person has many supporters or not. Vote for your candidate even if you will be the only one that will vote for him. That is the beauty of democracy. Don’t be swayed by the tyranny of the majority. Your choice should not be on the basis that the person will win but on your convictions about his ability to rule Nigeria well.
Read also: Pulpit, politics and the church: managing a tripartite romance: https://churchtimesnigeria.net/pulpit-politics-church-romance/
Perhaps one of the most damaging campaign slogans is to think the presidency is a reward. Those who think that way don’t wish Nigeria any good How dare we say service is a reward and compensation? in what way? Why will anybody even in his wildest imagination dream up that slogan that it is payback time? The billboard of a presidential candidate actually reads It’s Payback time. If a presidential candidate has the mindset to get to Aso Rock because it is the crowning glory of his past labour, then we are in trouble as a country. Unfortunately, the handlers of this candidate don’t see anything wrong in that payoff.
Family and friends
Many people will vote for candidates on this basis. They feel they have a moral obligation to vote for the person because they are related. And by extension, if the person becomes the next president they will benefit. It is natural to think that way. But then your family is just a drop in the vast ocean of people in Nigeria. If your family disappears from the radar, Nigeria will continue. It is not about your family. We are talking about taking the nation out of the woods and not about venerating your family lineage.
No candidate is good
There are those who have maintained unrepentant cynicism about all those who are contesting. These people will say none of the contestants is morally okay to stand for election. They say they are all evil, corrupt and bad. Their cynicism has made them not collect their voter card.
Those who have collected their PVC among them have said in their heart they won’t go out to vote. Such people are not only inimical to Nigeria, but they are also the very cancer-eating this country gradually. If all the presidential candidates don’t deserve your vote, then there may well be something wrong with you as a person. Or better still, what has stopped you from contesting in the election since you are the good one?
The fact is that God will not come to govern us. He is going to use people. Right from the Bible times, God has been using people irrespective of their moral failings.
The point of this is that we need to check why we are supporting who we are supporting. If our motives are altruistic, our choices will ultimately be for the common good. If our support has no colouration, Nigeria will be the winner. Our choice should be on the basis of love for Nigeria, and the need to have a genuine change, not one that will favour us as a person.
The question again is, who fits into this bill from your own assessment? Remember God is not going to choose for us. He has done his bit by presenting choices before us.
By Gbenga Osinaike