It’s amazing how a memo dated February 28 2022 within the Redeemed Christian Church of God will become a subject of debate. From the very day the memo leaked to the public, many people have taken to the media to pick a hole in it.
The front-line argument is that the church is set to use its platform to support the purported presidential ambition of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
But a careful study of the memo shows there is nowhere the name of Osinbajo is mentioned. Many of the comments so far are at best insinuations and glib conclusions.
RCCG can support Osinbajo but…
In the first place, if the church chooses to use its platform to support Professor Yemi Osinbajo, there won’t be any crime in that.
Osinbajo is the only visible member of the political class in the church. Apart from that, he has all the credentials that suit the presidency. And it will only be wise for the church to invest in a candidate that is close to the mark.
But then, the danger in such brazen and open identification is that it would to some extent endanger the candidacy of the revered Prof and create unnecessary enemies for him.
This is so because the RCCG has become an oak tree that accommodates all and sundry.
Dele Momodu’s position
Chief Dele Momodu also a presidential aspirant though with lesser clout did a piece on Saturday, March 12 about his age-long romance with the RCCG.
He wrote of his many interactions with Pastor Enoch Adeboye and his wife Folu and how it will be wrong if the church uses its platform to canvass support for any candidate who is a member of the church.
Rather, Momodu who said an insider told him that the reason for the political arm of the church was to drum support for Osinbajo posits that the church should have “pretended” a little.
He reasoned that picking Osinbajo would be tantamount to picking a child out of one’s children and saying, “this is my favourite!” It is simply not right or proper for the RCCG to demonstrate such blatant and flagrant partisanship.”
Momodu states further in the piece that the church cannot even afford to ostracise any aspirant on the basis of religious persuasion or denomination.
“It is the job of the church to seek out and promote the best candidates and then pray for them and galvanise support for them perhaps clandestinely,” he stated.
Before Momodu’s piece, celebrated writer, Farooq Kperogi took the RCCG to the slaughter in his piece, “ RCCG’s Dangerous Foray into Politics for Osinbajo”.
He made a comparison of the church with the Salafists Muslim sect. The Muslim sect according to him has also immersed itself into politics. The group is doing everything to get its members into political positions.
But then, both Momodu and Kperogi may have just been too hasty in drawing conclusions. It’s better we stay with the memo and not draw undue conclusions based on hearsay or insinuations.
There is nowhere in the memo that states the directorate will support the presidential ambition of Osinbajo.
The church has been too careful not to make that public. But then there is a need to interrogate the memo from the standpoint of the Body of Christ.
THE PFN CAMPAIGN
The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria has been doing great work sensitizing members on the need to be politically active.
Pastor Femi Emmanuel, General Overseer of Livingspring International Chapel has been at the vanguard of waking the church from political slumber.
As director of PFN Directorate of Politics and Governance, he has been ringing the political bell. He has literally been pleading with Church leaders to sensitize their people on the need to be politically active.
But then, the RCCG memo has done just one thing. It has set the RCCG apart from other churches in this campaign.
The main issue with the memo from the Christian standpoint is the statement that explains the reason for the directorate.
The statement reads, “The essence of this directorate is to help coordinate our people who are willing to be involved in politics and as well mobilise support for them when required.”
No denomination can do it alone
The danger is that in setting up such a directorate, it will be suicidal if any denomination thinks it can go it alone. As a matter of fact, the entire church in Nigeria can’t go it alone. There will still be a need to collaborate across the religious and social divides.
The primary goal is to get credible people into government. The church can then decide to look within and lend support to any credible candidate. Ultimately It is a game of numbers. If the church succeeds in getting more of its people to be active and they have the number to win political seats, why not?
But if this memo is anything to go by, saying the goal is to support “our people” goes to show that the RCCG is cutting itself away from the Body of Christ. Perhaps the memo should have read, “the reason why this directorate is being set up is to increase political awareness among Christians. It is also to encourage those who are interested in political office to go for it”
The issue about supporting “Our People” ought to have been a background thing that should not be pronounced.
Our ultimate goal should be to promote good governance. Reasonable Nigerians won’t vote for a candidate because he is a Christian but because he has the capacity to perform.
And there are many Christians who have the capacity and the moral credential. There is nothing wrong if we support them but it should not be a denominational thing.
RCCG has to swim with CAN PFN
The RCCG has to swim with CAN and PFN. It has to see itself as a tool in the hand of the Body of Christ to promote good candidates irrespective of church affiliation. This “our people” should have read, “credible people”
By stating that the directorate is to sensitize Christians to vote credible people, RCCG would have stripped itself of the religious bias.
The truth is that politics is a science, it is also an art. Anointing alone is not enough in politics. There is a need to combine anointing with political acumen. An anointed brother who is bereft of the workings in the political arena will make a bad leader.
The church must admit that it is waking up too late. But then, it is better late than never. As it steps into the political foray, it has to do it with the purest of all motives. And that should be to save Nigeria from political hyenas.
By Gbenga Osinaike