The General Overseer of the City of Refuge, Bishop Oscar Ossai has said Nigeria will continue to grope in the dark as long as the church does not live up to its billing.
Oscar made the submission in a phone interview with Church Times recently.
He said the problem of Nigeria can largely be traced to the disunity in the church and the lack of coherence of church leadership.
The cleric said, “The church has the presence, the financial capacity, and the manpower to cause a change in Nigeria and make the desired impact that we are all clamouring for. But we are not making use of what we have.
“Rather, our leaders are busy building their individual empires and expanding their territories. There is so much selfishness in the church, especially among leaders and it is having a negative impact on Nigeria.”
He noted that the challenge has been that every church leader wants to champion a cause and be known for it.
“We want to take the credit. That is why we can’t get leaders to come together to push a particular cause,” he said.
According to him, the church is the only hope of Nigeria. “This is the only remaining institution in Nigeria that could drive a change. The church has a formidable structure that can galvanise political support and give backing to credible politicians that will make impact.”
He expressed worry at the lacklustre attitude of church people asking: “How can we have churches with 150,000- congregation, 200,000-congregation and yet the country is not feeling our impact? Why is it difficult for us to impact the grassroots?
He said with the number the church parades, it should be the one deciding the political direction of the country. “But unfortunately we are not doing that. Instead, we have even become prey in the hands of corrupt politicians.
“Our leaders should be seen to be taking positions and not hide behind a finger. We need to take a position for once for Jesus to liberate this country.”
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Ossai who is also the Convener of Centre for Values, Change & Initiatives noted that the Nigerian church is not ready for politics. “What I know is that the Church as a body is not ready for politics. We don’t know the meaning of being called the light of the world and the salt of the world.”
He said many preachers think God instituted the church to do miracles and deliver prophecies. “That is far from the truth. Miracles and prophecies are just by the way. God instituted the church to make the kingdom of God a reality on earth. It is about the kingdom of peace, righteousness and joy in the Holy Ghost.
“We are meant to demonstrate and live the kingdom lifestyle. But we are more interested in talking about miracles as evidence of approval with God. ”
He said there is no way we can make an impact in the political space with the way we approach politics. “We are not seen to be supporting people who go for elective office. And yet, when they get to office we complain that they are not representing the church. How will they represent the church when the church did not back them in the first place?”
Ossai said the place to start is to begin to groom people, impact the grassroots, and then build up from there.
“I think we can start building a strong political base by supporting people from the least elective office and build up from there. Right now, the church is not giving any concrete support to anybody and yet when they get to power, we want them to do things right. They will dance to the tune of their sponsors who already have an agenda for sponsoring them. That is the tragedy we find ourselves in.”