In the days of the locusts between 1985 and 1999 Father George Ehusani wrote a book called A Prophetic Church. The major thrust of that book is that the Church should speak, fight and work for the poor in times of trouble.
In that Book Fr. George Ehusani wrote this: “Nigeria needs a prophetic church that will act as the conscience of the nation, a prophetic church that will courageously highlight the evils of society which constitute the obstacle on the way of peace and prosperity.
Nigeria needs a prophetic church that will be forthright and consistent in denouncing individual evil and evil structures in our society, a prophetic church that will cry out loud enough for the leadership of Nigeria to be compelled to do something about our primitive penal system, our inhuman prison conditions and our treatment of ex-convicts.
Nigeria needs a prophetic church that will stand alongside the oppressed, the impoverished, the marginalized, those denied their just rights and those discriminated against, a prophetic church to defend the right of the child to basic education, basic health care, adequate nourishment and protection from all forms of violence and abuse, we need a prophetic church that will champion the cause of the handicapped and the homeless and the destitute.
We need a prophetic church that will defend the right of the poor workers to just wage, health insurance and adequate retirement benefits. We need a prophetic church that will be in the forefront of the struggle to rid Nigeria of military dictatorship and the structural injustices that go with it”
We had thought that after the fierce struggle for Democracy and rule of Law that spanned 14 years, the leaders of this country found in every sector of the economy would have learnt sufficient lessons of history by insisting on getting it right this time around.
There have been disappointments and many of them for that matter because those who should know better have joined the oppressors to do further damage to the project NIGERIA.
Those who were in the forefront then for the struggle for democracy and rule of law have joined the other side to work against democracy. Now if I can forgive others who fell on the road side to join the ruiners and destroyers of Nigeria, I may not forgive the church at a time like this. Church is failing. Church is not standing up . Church is not living up to expectation. Church has joined the powers that be. Church has joined the oppressors on Nigeria.
I can never forget the prayers of the Catholic Church of Nigeria, the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, and others during those trying times. The Catholic Church of Nigeria issued a prayer for the Nation titled: PRAYER FOR NIGERIA IN DSTRESS.
The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) under the leadership of Late Archbishop of Nigeria, Most Rev. Abiodun Adetiloye first gave us Psalm 20 to recite every day and followed it up with three Prayer Versions which and space will not permit me to reproduce here. The rest is now history.
Dr Edwin Madunagu once wrote that ‘when a representative of the oppressed absorbs the ideology of the oppressor, he becomes more ferocious and dangerous than the oppressors in defending that ideology” With the 7 billion Naira bribe to the Churches in Nigeria excluding the Catholic Church and few others, it seems to me that the Church has lost the battle to fight for humanity.
Given the number of Churches in Nigeria you will think that evil will have no place in the land any longer but the more the number of churches, the more evil debases the landscape with reckless abandon.
Today the Church has helped President Jonathan to divide Nigeria along ethnic, religious and tribal lines. Everything in Nigeria is viewed along the prism of primordial sentiments and ethnic preoccupation.Today, President Jonathan spends more time in the Churches than ruling Nigeria and our Christian leaders do not see the potential danger inherent in that unfortunate move.
My take at this critical point in the nation’s history is that the Church is too big to be bribed to support corruption, impurity and brigandage. President Jonathan has failed miserably and woefully and the world knows about it.
He has to be voted out for incompetence, mediocrity, and corruption. If indeed money exchanged hands from President Jonathan and the Christian leaders in Nigeria, such money should be returned to the coffers of Nigeria as a matter of urgency. We see this huge sum of money as bribe and it must not stand. It is mindsore, heartsore, eyesore, brainsore and mouthsore for the Church to be bribed in this stage and age.
Believers cannot serve God and Mammon. Jesus said” My Father’s house should not be den of robbers but house of worship” Out of annoyance Christ drove money changers and money doublers out of the Sanctuary. I declare that any Priest, Pastor, Vicar, Father, Bishop, Overseer, etc who touches that money is bringing a curse to his family and even generations yet unborn. It is blood money.
It is corruption. It is a sin. It is wickedness against God. Nigerians need security, jobs, power, houses, roads, good schools and hospitals, water etc and not President Jonathan’s bribe.
Joe Igbokwe is Lagos State Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC)