Although Nigeria is a secular state, Nigerians are deeply religious. The three major religions in the country include: Christianity, Islam and African Traditional Worshipers. Religion has always played a major consideration at the leadership selection process in the country so as to balance the polity even as religious leaders have remained apolitical.
Nigeria as a nation has been served by a religious leader, persons that stool above politics, persons that do not take sides but listens to all sides with respect, persons whose words can calm hearts and help extinguish anger.
It appears today that what we are witnessing in Nigeria, a new breed of religious leaders using the pulpit to advance political views and playing unhindered active partisan politics. I use to think that to be a religious leader is a calling from God but these days I can’t vouch for the source of calling of most religious leaders in today’s Nigeria based on their utterances. Let me make it clear before I got misunderstood that I am not in anyway asking that religious leaders and their views should be gaged or not to have a view in politics or on current issues of the day for that matter.
If religious leaders want to abandon their calling and play party politics, they are at liberty to do so, but not to use the pulpit to be engaged in party politics and endorsement of candidates.I am vehemently of the opinion that politics and religion can not mix in any sane political environment. These religious leaders appear to be using the pulpit to have undue access to power and political perks, delving away from their stated mission and calling which is the expansion of God’s Kingdom.
Some of these Religious leaders go to the extent of perpetuating political fraud. They use the pulpit to advocate dangerous political views which portends great danger to religion as their gullible followers swallow the opium and cause mayhem to other members of same sect opposed to the view of the religious leader or loyal to a politician not being promoted by the religious leader.
When religious leaders weigh in on behalf of a candidate, his or her naive followers surely assume that the religious leaders are speaking on behalf of God. But there is no evidence that God takes sides in politics and religious leaders know it.
In some bizarre cases I have heard religious leaders suggest that God was on the side of candidate A or B. In most cases these religious leaders’ views at best represents those of charlatanscausing nuisance to themselves and never shy about selling their support to the highest bidder in exchange for access for political power, contracts and perks. These so called “Religious leaders’’ should all get out of the political game or better still abandon their religious robes and pulpit and enter the murky waters of politics.
They should and must stop endorsing and vouching for political candidates. They should use their role as spiritual leaders to minister to candidates and political office holders andmore importantly minister to their flock the right dosage of spiritual dogma. They should be a safe refuge for those looking for comfort and direction in this confused, complex and scary world. They should not be advocate for political parties and candidates as that compromises their ability to dish out Divine ministration.
I have read the bible reasonably well if not cover to cover and never once did I see a story of Christ or his disciples getting involved in politics or political campaign. Jesus Christ and his disciples were one hundred percent focused on spreading the Gospel. I suspect that’s true of other religions as well. “I learned long ago, never wrestle with a pig. You will both get dirty and besides; the pig likes it’’, politicians are the pigs. Religion and partisan politics should always be kept separate. I am a practising Christian; I pray and go to church and feel part of a wider global Christian community.
My faith and Christian values are in my heart and head. But it seems to me without any doubt that the most sinister and oppressive states in the world and Nigeria in particular are those that use God to control the minds and actions of their populations.
Do not get me wrong, Religion does have a place in our society. But when bishops, self-proclaimed prophets, pastors, miracle performers, get involved in politics they corrupt both good governance and religious integrity. I fear and loathe the politicization of religion and religious proclamations corrupted by partisan bias. Church leaders in Nigeria cursing politicians and opponents as ‘godless’ dramatically play out the dangers of these wholly alliances.
The most recent example was Father Ejike Mbaka’s ranting as well as curses and abuses rained down on Mr. Peter Obi who has absolutely done nothing directly or indirectly to deserve theunprovoked attack.
Father Mbaka, the spiritual director of Adoration Ministry, Enugu Nigeria is completely out of order by thinking that he has the right to tell anyone how we go about spending his/her hard-earned money.
I’m glad I made this view known to the Nigerian public and I do know that faith means so much to many of us. Father Mbaka’s ranting and irresponsible outburst has pushed me towardsthe uncompromising position that religious leaders must be keep away from partisan politics.