Monday, 3 February 2014
A MUST READ AND FOOD FOR THOUGHT. OPEN LETTER TO THE CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (CAN)
I will not express any pleasantries, for we are clearly in unpleasant times - apparently the worst - in the life of our nation Nigeria since the end of the civil war in 1970. However, I express my love, which serves as the board from which this epistle jumps from.
Being the association that represents the bulk of Christian believers in Nigeria, which seem to also serve as the voice of these same believers, I am compelled to write and draw your attention to the ominous silence of this association to the steady drift of this nation into the abyss.
The political temperature of Nigeria has risen to the point of burning the top cylinder gasket that holds the beautiful mix that makes this nation work. This is made so by the apparent selfishness and desperation being exhibited by the political class, especially those of them closely associated with you. And this selfishness and desperation have combined to create a climate of insecurity and fear among the people hopelessly suffering the consequences of misgovernance, which has been feathered and furthered by your apparent lack of rebuke.
You will recall that I did warn you in August 2011 in my long article 'As the Church Slept...' (The first series of it) of the consequences of your partisanship in that year's presidential election of which you adopted and vigorously campaigned for president Goodluck Jonathan in your churches and other areas of influence. You will also remember that I advised you to make sure this government works to succeed so that the integrity and honour of the Christian faith is not diminished, because there was nothing successful in the tenure of Goodluck Jonathan as governor of his state, Bayelsa other than massive corruption, a fact you people woefully and stubbornly refused to consider before plunging the church and the entire nation into this avoidable calamity, which is in dire conflict with the biblical instruction that says "Let every man's work speak for him." However, by the current mess the country is thrown into now, and by your loud silence over the mess, it is clear you have not heeded my counsel, which could also mean you care less about how the corporate image and integrity of the Christian faith is being muddled by your "favourite politician" the president. You seem not to understand that whatever he does shall be deemed as springing from a "Christian behaviour" or attitude, and I am compelled to ask whether you people in CAN lack shame or are not ashamed of the unprecedented corruption and insecurity being perpetrated by this regime whose worth is no more than the worth of broken dry leaves carried in a whirlwind?
There are so many scandals bordering on corruption and insecurity, which should have drawn from you appropriate rebuke and demand for comprehensive disclosures, but you chose to be as silent and as dumb as a graveyard in the desert. Instead, all you seem to care about is your continuous odious relationship with these same charlatans who only mention God with their lips but despise Him in their hearts and actions.
If you have not thrown away your Bibles you will not have missed how the Men of God in the Bible were a torment to the (unrighteous) rulers of their time. Those Men of God served as the conscience of their nation with the people always running to them to seek reprieve from oppressive tyrants, but in your own case you seem to have become accomplices in the campaign of plunder and rape of the common wealth of the people. Your consciences appear to have been "seared with hot iron" as the Apostle Paul would say, and without any sense of shame and rebuke you all seem to gladly open your altars to these same liars and thieves to stand and mock God and to further ensnare your followers with their lies! No one among you seem to have the courage now to "speak truth to power" but you would rather "speak truth according to power" as a wise man somewhere appropriately put it. Your altars are no longer points where fire is spitted to convict evil in the land, rather they have become points from which "messages of comfort" are spewed for our thieving rulers and other vandals that throng worship places for fun and recognition, and little wonder there appears to be no change in the land that can be attributed to convicting messages from the altars and pulpits.
You may not know it, but shouldn't you have figured out the danger of politicising your altars or pulpits? Already, you have wittingly or unwittingly set up the next political campaign to be on religious basis exactly the way you and your favourite politician did in 2011, and the danger is you are now setting up your innocent followers for any unpleasant consequences after the election if its outcome turns out to be considered as flawed like it did in the past. And considering the desperation of your favourite politician, president Goodluck Jonathan, there are signs already that he will not mind using crude and crooked means to assert himself in power, including the use of killer snipers (Obasanjo has not been certified mad by a competent doctor to have made that allegation), and you may have conveniently forgotten that up till now he has not bothered to even visit to commiserate with your followers who lost lives and properties in the 2011 fiasco after you have goaded them to vote for him because he goes to church.
We have had church going leaders in the country like President Nnamdi Azikiwe, Gen. Aguiyi Ironsi, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Gen. Obasanjo and President Obasanjo, but none of them ever made government policy announcements in church in honour of the secularity of the nation and in recognition of the sensitivity of religion in our polity, and in the same manner none of their Muslim counterparts ever made any government policy announcement in the Mosque. And I am very sure now that if any Muslim politician goes to any Mosque to campaign or make any similar announcement you will be the first to come out smoking hot against the person. Of course, evidences of your double standard and hypocrisy abound. Are we taking in vain the Golden Rule set by the Lord Jesus Christ that says "Do unto others what you want them to do unto you"?
You also seem to have kept quiet over the Boko Haram conundrum. Is your silence occasioned by the realisation that this Boko Haram nonsense has always been a "Boko Haram" contrivance set up to disorganise and depower a particular part of the country and to blackmail certain persons considered hostile to, or more popular than your favourite politician? Let me clearly warn you that the evil conspirators behind the magnification of this Boko Haram madness shall be duly exposed and punished by the LORD God Almighty with an "overflowing measure" of punishment before this year 2014 ends! The time has come when the Lord God Almighty will clear His Holy Name from the filth filthy politicians have rubbed on His Name!
Why are you also very quiet about the contrived lockdown in Rivers State? Are you also not courageous to tell the clear aggressor to stop the nonsense? Isn't Rivers State located in the "Christian South" which should have attracted your care and concern? Or is there any part of the "Christian South" that should be destroyed for the benefit of your favourite politician just as the north-east of Nigeria? Is your silence due to the allegation that quite a good number of you were heavily "dashed" some very huge sums of cash for the unwise endorsement of 2011? Can you see why the Bible in Proverbs chapter 15 verse 27 says "He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live"? And if you have noticed a lot of Nigerians disenchanted with you over your clear romance with these rogues in power, it is because the Bible has said it in Proverbs chapter 29 verse 24 that "Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and betrayeth it not."
Receiving cash or material gifts from rogue politicians or businessmen will muffle your voices from rebuking them, and, moreover they don't give such gifts for any good; it is so that they can buy your conscience and voices. Proverbs chapter 17 verse 23 says "A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment." If your voices and consciences have not been bought by "the wicked", Nigerians need and desire to see you doing what Proverbs chapter 27 verse 5 says: "Open rebuke is better than secret love."
History and the coming generation will not forgive you if you fail to stand up to compel positive change in Nigeria, for they will read about how you slept and colluded with those destroying their nation. And most importantly, remember that you will be expected to give account of how you discharged the mandate of being "the light and salt of the world" before the Lord God Almighty! But at that time the LORD will not be seated on The Mercy Seat but The Judgment Seat!
Sharon Faliya Cham,
February 2, 2014