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How Nigeria can become great again in a short time

by Church Times

By Apostle Tonye Oliver


Sometimes in the 1990’s I spent nights keeping company with my brother who was recuperating at the then famous EKO hospital in Ikeja, Lagos. Most of the time while staying with him, I would lie down praying on a makeshift bed by him.

This particular day I was interceding for Nigeria. Things were terrible then. But the situation now is far worse than that period.

While praying and pleading on behalf of Nigeria, the Lord said, ‘How can I overlook the wickedness of your people, the corruption and the greed that you have indulged in, how?

The tone was that of annoyance at our hypocrisy in seeking his face without recognizing that  Nigeria was not the problem. It dawned on me that we were the problem. The Lord made me realise our wickedness has brought unnecessary problems to us.

Not God, not the devil

It wasn’t God or even the devil that was responsible for our woes. We are the ones responsible for our sorry situation.

Many years have gone by and things have snowballed from a disconcerting situation to ever-increasing crises. Nothing has changed indeed things have grown worse.

Ironically, the experience I had with the Lord in the 1990s played back again on May 28, 2024. This time I was not praying for Nigeria. But I was praying nonetheless.  As soon as I finished praying I wanted to start studying the scriptures when the Lord began to speak to me.

The Lord’s message

The Lord said to me: Righteousness exalts a nation but Sin is a REPROACH to any people, this was the opening thought and I began to write.

In a different version, it says Righteousness makes a nation great, but sin degrades any people. (Prov. 14:34 CJB)

God is a God of righteousness, this means he does things right and justly. Righteousness is doing right towards God and towards our neighbor. At the root of every social, economic, and political crisis is sin.

What is sin?

Sin is abandoning God-given values and principles that govern our relationships, whether towards God or our neighbor and fellow man. Sin is more than a description of religious inferences, no! Sin is about broken relationships, trust, actions, and inactions that disrupt the moral and spiritual order of a society.’

God created the world and ordered it according to His principles. At the heart of the stability and prosperity of the world is God and his ways.

In the Old Testament, he expressed these principles or values in 10 commandments. If you read these commandments you will see that the first four are about our relationship with God while the remaining six are about how we relate with ourselves as humans.

God made Himself the center of our moral universe, this is because all morality must be connected to a source from which it derives legitimacy.  He determined the principles that determine the growth, proper functioning, and prosperity of a society.

When God and his ways are removed from the moral universe, things fall apart as we can see happening worldwide. The further nations are from the ideals represented by these principles the more susceptible they are to crises. And the more nations legitimize through legislation or official edicts the vices condemned by the commandments the faster or quicker their disintegration.

Spiritual realities

Though we live in a physical space, the world is directed by spiritual realities that influence the outcomes in our physical world.

Sin and righteousness are spiritual and moral realities. To ignore them is to be ignorant of the forces that can shape our society and nation one way or the other.

The Lord said righteousness will exalt a nation, but sin will bring disgrace to any people. These are not a matter of religion but a revelation of the spiritual realities that affect and influence nations and societies.

God always does what is right. He takes no shortcuts. He always works according to His principles and statutes, in other words, he subjects himself to the laws he has created even though He is God.

What does that say to us?  It simply means a nation that will experience growth and progress will be a nation that is built on laws that protect divinely given rights, that are fair, that protect the weak, and that are just to all.

The laws of such a nation will not favour any group of people above another. The laws will be in harmony with natural justice and equity and they will give premium to the wellbeing of human beings in the nation.

Is this our reality?

The question here is whether this is our present experience, or has been part of our national narrative in the past decades.

What can we learn here? The primary reason why societies and individuals will be exalted is because they walk in righteousness. History has shown this to be true. The greater the level of unrighteousness in a nation, the higher the crises they will experience.

A time will come when that nation will pass the tipping point and at that moment it will begin to regress and eventually come to nothing. This is why great civilizations disappear.

Righteousness will eliminate all the corruption, stealing, and maniacal looting of natural resources we are experiencing. It will dismantle armed robbery, banditry, and the culture of deception in our political leadership.

It will ensure that tribalism, ethnic bigotry, religious fundamentalism, regional or separatist agitations, and public and private larceny are not practiced. It will make Nigeria livable again.

A nation that will experience progress will ensure that its laws work. It will ensure that its institutions are strong. Such a nation will not joke with its judicial system.

The courts will deliver fair judgments, and its schools will do what they were established to do, educate its children. Righteousness is the root of national prosperity.

No prosperity without righteousness

No nation has prospered where its political and religious leaders are morally bankrupt. Our people wear garments of religion to mask the rotten stench of corruption but the stench can no longer be covered up, the rottenness must be dealt with.

At the heart of true righteousness is a reverence for God based on truth. Many people use religion as a covering for vileness and wicked activity.

I believe that the principles and values revealed by Jesus Christ offer the best platform to build national righteousness. By this, I don’t mean that everyone should be a Christian (I wish they would ) but I mean the values and principles of truth, love, and mercy. Justice, equity, respect for individual rights, protection of the weak and vulnerable, women and children, etc that he taught are the recipe for a blessed nation.

I love your Jesus

Mahatma Gandhi the great Indian nationalist stumbled on the principle of passive nonviolent resistance and successfully employed it to help India throw off the yoke of colonialism. Where did he find it? He learnt it from the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Many people claim to be Christians. They occupy high positions in government and corporate circles. But they do not know Him or His ways. Some soil their hands with blood, and rape and loot the nation, robbing future generations of a future, and dividing the country on religious and ethnic grounds.

God has warned us in His word that sin will bring disgrace to any people. We have found this to be true. Our national passport is scorned all over the world, despite our immense human and physical resources we are crawling on our bellies and failing to attain the Millennium Development Goals.

Our smaller neighbours mock us. We are the butt of the derision and jokes of nations without the resources or potential that we have. Our sin has brought disgrace to us.

Let me repeat, sin is not a religious experience, it is a spiritual one. It is a description of an infraction against the spiritual and moral universe and it has consequences.

It does not matter if we believe it or not. If sin becomes our culture as it is now, we will reap the consequences of death, and economic, social, and political crises.  It does not matter the religion you profess, sin is sin across boards even if our ‘religion’ does not call it so.

The way forward?

Our economic, social, and security issues are not the major issues we have to deal with, they are the underlying symptoms of a deeper and far more lethal situation, unrighteousness!

The scriptures say when a nation is led by wicked people, the people will mourn and if its leadership is righteous, the people will rejoice. You can discern where we are and what is happening in our country.

A wicked man is a man who places tribe, ethnicity, religion, self, and family above the issues of equity, justice, truth, competence, righteousness, and the rule of law.

We have been led by wickedness in high places and have enabled that wickedness by our wickedness. So why do we mourn over where we are? We have sown, so we must reap.

It is useless to offer prayers in unrighteousness. Is God unrighteous, would he legitimize wickedness by ‘bribes’ of worship centers and tithes?

God does not live in buildings made with the hands of men but in hearts where love, righteousness, peace, and justice are established.

Our worship houses have become assemblies of devils and worshippers of gold and silver, houses of thieves and robbers of men!

What hope do we have as a nation? How can a nation so corrupt turn back from our march to self-destruction, how?

It must begin with national repentance,  a revival of righteousness that puts the fear of God at the center of our moral universe irrespective of your religious leanings.

For those of us who profess faith in Jesus Christ, we must go back to Him and truly begin to follow him in truth and righteousness.

For those who may not be inclined this way, I would suggest the principles enunciated in the Ten Commandments, they offer a guide to establishing righteousness in individual and national spaces.

Here they are

  1. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. “You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall not make for yourself a carved image
  3. 7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
  4. 8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy
  5. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
  6. “You shall not murder.
  7. “You shall not commit adultery.
  8. “You shall not steal.
  9. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Ex 20:2-17

Can this work? Singapore says it can

Singapore is a multicultural, multiracial, and multi-religious society just like Nigeria. But by building their society on these principles have transformed it from third-world to first-world status in one generation.

The healing of our nation starts with each citizen. Dear reader, what are you going to do? Will you continue in your path of unrighteousness? Or will you make a U-turn and vote for life?

The 2020 EndSars demonstrations were a cry for the establishment of righteousness in political leadership and national administration but what we need today is a top-to-bottom national revival of righteousness.

Let me repeat, nothing but this will turn around our trajectory. Anything we attempt to build without righteousness will eventually crumble under the weight of unrighteousness and wickedness that we are currently experiencing.

We need a critical mass

Do we need everyone to become righteous before things turn around? No not really, we just need enough people across the board to change the direction of our trajectory.

The reason why societies have laws is that there will always be infractions. Our problem in Nigeria is that the lawmakers have become lawbreakers. Those who are supposed to implement policy have corrupted the process, while court judgments are bought and sold in private bazaars.

Democracy does not work in corrupt societies because the underlying premise upon which it is built is the assumption that people will always do what is right according to the knowledge available to them.

You are a very significant part of this national change, sign up for doing the right thing and encourage others to do it. If we continue along this path, the consequences are unimaginable, to those who are elites or political leaders, please remember that riches are no protection on the day of ‘death

God is giving us the opportunity to stop this slide. No political, economic, or social solution will work unless they are built on the foundations of righteousness.

A message of hope

In 1986 a man called Sydney Granville Elton, a British Missionary who came to the country in 1937  by what he called divine guidance gave a message from the Lord, he was so convinced about the future of Nigeria that he refused to go back home, he said the following words

 ‘I want to warn you, and serve you notice, that I’m going to have my interest in Nigeria, whether you like it or not. I may be a white man, but this is where my inheritance is. God has … brought me to Nigeria … and nobody will take me back to a place where I’ve got nothing.’

And indeed, Elton was true to this cause till the end: he never, even for once, since 1937, returned to England for any reason. Elton believed in the greatness of Nigeria, do you?

What was this message the Lord gave to S.G Elton?

Nigeria will be known for corruption worldwide but the tide will turn and Nigeria will also be known for righteousness worldwide. Many shall take hold of him that is a Nigerian, saying, “We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’

S.G Elton saw the future before it became obvious, as bleak as the first part was and which we are today living in, there is a message of hope, Nigeria shall be known for righteousness. Are we at the point where the tide will turn?

How will this be? It is in our hands. Everyone reading this will have to make a choice. Will you choose the part that speaks to a nation steeped in unrighteousness or that part that speaks to the renaissance of righteousness?

The choice is ours

Apostle Tonye Oliver is an apostle of Jesus Christ. He is the president of Jesus Heals the Sick Ministries and he writes from Lagos Nigeria



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