One may not be wrong to say that most of our politicians are not putting God first in the scheme of governance. If they do, definitely, the people will rejoice. This is because the word of God in the book of Proverbs chapter 29 verse 2 says “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”
If our politicians, whether belonging to the Christian or Moslem religion, are having the fear of God in carrying out their daily political activities, they would love the people in accordance with the injunctions of virtually all religions. Love is a common thread that runs across the fabrics of all religions.
Our politicians that occupy political positions at all levels of government in our nation should not be taking religious injunctions from the surface but should as well be internalising and putting them into practice in the course of governance. I know most politicians respectively bear Christian and Moslem names and that they equally attend religious services at the mosques and churches on Fridays and Sundays, but that is not enough. They should truly demonstrate to us that they are children of God at their various political positions by articulating efforts that would lead to good governance for all Nigerians.
Apart from loving the people in the context of politics by providing good roads, electricity, potable water, affordable and accessible healthcare, qualitative and quantitative education and creation of jobs for the youths, they should always ensure that programmes and policies initiated by them do not literarily become thorns at the stage of implementations in the collective flesh of the citizenry.
At this juncture, I must confess that the inspiration to express this view came on the heel of the dust raised by the Codes of the Financial Reporting Council, regarding the issue of good governance in Non-For-Profit Organisations (NFPOs), and which has no doubt affected some prominent Pentecostal churches in Nigeria negatively. There is no denying the fact that the Governance Code, 2015, is not new, and that it has been in existence since it was signed into law under the last administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. However, the reverence, which men of God and the things of God deserve, should be considered in its implementation as most of us, outside the responsibilities our offices bestowed on us, still attend churches and mosques and in that sense believe that God truly exists. Implementing the code in the manner that is herein advocated should not be misconstrued to mean that the country should embrace theocratic system of government.
I know, at this juncture, that this write up may have been misconstrued. Some readers may by now be thinking that this writer is advocating for theocracy as a system of government, no, it is not. The view I am expressing in this piece is not new. There is nothing wrong in putting God first in the process of governance.
America, as a nation, no doubt, has remained a trail blazer in the act of putting God first in the process of governance. As we all know, the motto on the national currency of America is In God We Trust. Given the fact that the Americans truly believe in God, it is,therefore, not a surprise that America literarily stands like a colossus in the comity of nations.
The book of 2nd Chronicles chapter 20 verse 20 says “Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established.” Based on my personal observation, America, as a nation, is abiding by this scriptural injunction. It is unarguably the reason why the country is well established when compared with other countries in the world.
Precisely on 6 August, 2011, then Texas Governor Rick Perry hosted a national prayer rally in Houston. The event was attended by an estimated 30,000 people and broadcast live in 1,000 churches around the country. In his prayer for the United States of America, Rick Perry pleaded to God, saying “Lord, you are the source of every good thing”, according to the New York Times.
He continued in his prayer “You are our only hope and we stand before you today in awe of your power and in gratitude for your blessings and humility for our sins. Father, our heart breaks for America. We see discord at home. We see fear in the marketplace. We see anger in the halls of government and as a nation, we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, who blesses us and for that, we cry out for your forgiveness.”
The rally, entitled The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis, was Perry’s idea, but was financed by the American Family Association, a group that opposes abortion and gay rights, the Associated Press reported.
Perry spoke for about 12 minutes. He read from several Bible passages, “We pray for our national leaders, Lord, for parents, for pastors, for the generals, for governors, that you would inspire them in these difficult times” he said near the end of his remarks, adding, “Father, we pray for our president, that you would impart your wisdom upon him, that you would protect his family.”
As documented in the most popular and visited online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, the United States of America constitutionally observe The National Day of Prayer on every first Thursday in the month of May. The online encyclopedia further revealed that “The National Day of Prayer was designated by the United States Congress. It is a day “when people are asked to turn to God in Prayer and meditation.”
It went on to say that “the modern law formalising the annual observance was enacted in 1952, although it has historical origins to a mandate by George Washington, the first president of the United States.”
For instance, the website that is dedicated to the annual event currently conveys a public information that says, “Many Christian’s are unaware that they live in a nation that has a law in place requiring our President proclaim a National Day of Prayer each year on the first Thursday in May.
The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals. (Public Law 105-225)
As citizens and residents of the United States and as believers in Christ Jesus, we not only have a spiritual responsibility according to 1 Timothy 2:1-2 to pray, but a civic duty as well to heed our President’s call to stand in the gap for our nation. Who but God’s people have the ability to enter into the very throne room of Heaven with prayers and petitions!
It added that “Our theme this year is For Your Great Name’s Sake! Hear Us… Forgive Us…Heal Us! Taken from Daniel 9:19, which says, “O Lord, Listen! O Lord, Forgive! O Lord, Hear and Act! For Your Sake, O My God…”. As the 2017 National Day of Prayer on May 4th approaches, thousands of individuals, churches, and communities will be working to rally millions of Christian’s to once again heed this call!
With a historical mind-set, it would be expedient for us to compare the development of America from 1952 to the beginning of the 20th century and that year to the present and understand the awesomeness of God.
This piece would not be complete without mentioning that our former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, has a pet nondenominational prayer group called Nigeria Prays.
Without any scintilla of exaggeration, pages of some of our national newspapers are replete with calls on religious bodies and organisations to be praying for Nigeria. To me, Christians, Moslems and others should be praying for this nation without ceasing, because as a nation, we cannot go far without the help of our creator.
The bible in John, chapter 15, verse 5 has it that “Without me ye can do nothing.” The indispensability of prayer, both for the growth of an individual and nation cannot be disputed. Charles Spurgeon, who lived a life of prayer, said “I would rather be the Master of the Art of Prayer than MA of both Oxford and Cambridge. He who knows how to pray has his hand on the leverage that moves the universe.” Also in respect to prayer, Spurgeon said “I recall strength lies in prayer”, and by extension, the strength of Nigeria lies in prayer.
The essence of this article is to encourage our leaders, particularly the politicians, to always put God first in the scheme of governance. The reason is that God owns the earth.
Psalms 24, verse 1 says “The earth is the Lord and the fullness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein.” In our respective apartments, we do not engage in reconstruction or major repair without soliciting the consent of the landlord. We should be committing all our projects, programmes, visions and dreams into the hands of God the creator as we are just tenants on this planet earth and when our individual tenancy gets due, we go back to the Lord to give account of how we managed the property, position and resources He gave to us.
Therefore, leaders should always have the fear of God. They should realise that they do not get to the position of power because of their university degrees, financial strength or because they can rig elections, it is because God is willing for them to be in positions.
Isaac Asabor, a Journalist, writes from Lagos