he upcoming Anambra State elections, scheduled for 18th November, has brought up as expected massive campaigns from the main political parties looking to capture the Governorship seat. There are also other groups campaigning that the voters should stay at home during elections as a means to getting a referendum. Obviously, each party and groups have their interest and are campaigning vigorously to polling day.
I am not a supporter of any of the political parties or groups but there is a fundamental issue which has somewhat been ignored since 1999, when the military handed over democracy to civilians. The contentious issue here is the Nigeria's 1999 Constitution which begets the elections. We assume Nigeria is a secular country, but the constitution drafted by military fiat says otherwise.
The Islamic entries in the constitution are strange to Christianity and its bible teachings and thus constitute a conflict of interest, but the interesting part is the oath of office which the victorious elected Christian must take before assuming office.
It reads thus:
"I will discharge my duties to the best of my ability, faithfully and in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law, and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well-being and prosperity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will strive to preserve the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will not allow my personal interest to influence my official conduct or my official decisions, that I will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; and that I will abide by the Code of Conduct contained in the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria".
So help me God.
The oath of office demands the winner of the Governorship election to set aside their religious beliefs and defend every aspect in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is fair to say that if you are involved in the election process, be it campaigning and/or voting, you have unwittingly or knowingly accepted the Constitution and everything it represents which includes references to Islam, Sharia, Grand Kadi and Muslim regardless of your Christian beliefs. It may be hard to accept, but this is reality.
To put the religious issue into perspective, if a Christian is being charged under Sharia law, there will be strong objections.
Recently, there were proposals by the Federal Government to make compulsory Islamic religious studies in the curriculum for all secondary schools, and the de-listing of Christian studies. There were massive protest from Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and concerned citizens, but we have the same Sharia in the constitution and our Christian politicians gladly take an oath to defend it, and is supported by the people, which I find amazing. There is a saying the devil is in the detail. Christians have regrettably overlooked the constitution contents and its implications for the last 18 years of civilian democratic rule.
Sadly, the Nigerian 1999 Constitution is a done deal imposed on the people. Efforts to get a wholesale review through numerous constitutional conferences have been frustrated by a sectional region.
Generally, I have no problems with elections as long as the constitution that provides the framework for governance is fair, equitable and secular and reflects the broad consensus of its multi ethnic people.
In view of the facts, one may consider the current voting dilemma in Anambra State elections as being stuck between a rock and a hard place. The fear of boycotting elections and allowing an undesirable candidate to win is a valid concern for all. However, we should remember that doing the wrong thing with the hope of achieving a positive result will not take us to the promise land. Instead will create more problems and failures means at the end going back to the drawing board.
On a final note, whatever your voting intention is will have an impact over the next 4 years and beyond, so people need to think wisely what's best for the State. If everyone does the right thing, then we will get a positive outcome.
I'll leave you to reflect on what the Lord God Almighty told us in 2 Chronicles 7:14, "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land".