Wednesday, January 3, 2024
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Lagos, Nigeria

Is there any Nigerian who does not know that Nigeria's wealth is so boisterous to care for all citizens? If you are in doubt, try and search for the yearly budget of the Federal Government and see how huge it is.

And is there any Nigerian who does not know why the wealth does not go round every citizen and why the majority live in abject poverty?

In case someone does not know why the wealth does not go round, they are :

1. the high cost of governance

2. The plans and budgets in many cases though are plausible, the large portion of the money ends in the pockets of officers in charge of executing the plans.

3. Theft of the Commonwealth by Government Officials and Heads of Parastatals

If you are in doubt, check the yearly budget year in year out and examine how the monies are allotted including money voted for food and refreshment of officials.

Check the staggering amount of money that various officials are accused of looting and on few occasions, staggering amount of money that are recovered from some of them. These monies are sufficient to transform the nation, Nigeria to one of envy, similar to any nation in the Western world. It is enough to make every Nigerian comfortable.

Not long after we returned to Civil rule, the then World Bank President for African countries, Paul Wolfowitz (06 2005-06 2007) had said right on our soil in Nigeria that the government is only 1% of the population, yet they alone consume 80% of the wealth of the nation. I want to believe that it is much today.

The question then, how do officials get away with their profligacy and stealing of these government monies? How is it that the shout of someone like me does not shake, frighten or bother them?

There are many reasons.

Majority of citizens have sold themselves to the Politicians. They have traded their birthright for peanut. Politicians have used them as merchandize.

The populace will never learn their lesson, they frequently cheat themselves by taking peanut money during election campaign. Now they are complaining that they no longer see them (Politicians) again. They (ignorant citizens) should wait for another four years. Meanwhile they should continue to savor the dole, which they were given during the electioneering campaign, if it is enough to feed them and their family and pay their children school fees for the next four years.

So today I will be preaching on the topic "For Poverty to be alleviated in Nigeria, we ourselves and two other Eminent groups of citizens must make Big Sacrifice"

In the meantime let us commit this hour into the hands of God.


For Poverty to be alleviated in Nigeria,

Two Respected groups of Citizens and you yourself must make some Big Sacrifice"

With the killing poverty ravaging this country, I see two eminent groups of people whose actions can be very weighty and can send chill waves down the spines of the Politicians and in turn, turn things around for the betterment of the people of this nation but only if they will be prepared to make the necessary sacrifice. They are Our Royal Fathers and the big names in our two major religions.

Their sacrifice is worth it, if this country must be rehabilitated and reckoned with in the comity of nations.

If this country should catch up with the comity of nations, if our reproach and shame as a nation should be a thing of the past, if poor citizens will be able to partake of the enormous wealth, which God has blessed us with, then the big names in our two predominant religions and Our Royal fathers should be kind enough to do all it takes to rehabilitate this country.

The greatest thing they can do for this nation is to henceforth refuse gifts from the Politicians. And Our Royal Highnesses not to honor them with chieftaincy titles any further. Politicians are very cunning. The gifts they give the popular and big names in our religions and our Royal fathers is a bait to silent them so that they will not to be able to criticize their theft of the commonwealth.

The story was told of a late most respected politician who always spoke in the interest of the nation, not caring whose Ox was gored but was silenced when one Pharaoh assumed leadership of the country and was in the habit of showering praises to the old sage.

When I was in the Higher School, we onetime invited a very top Civil Servant to our campus to preach at our Sunday evening service.

As some of us saw the top Civil Servant off to his car, I commented that it should be much easier for someone in a top position like him to be able to live the Christian life. The old man looked at me and responded "Sam you are young to understand what people in our position go through" to which I asked him to expatiate. He answered "Imagine someone junior to you, visits you in the house and when he is leaving, he hands five or ten shillings to one of the children" I asked what was wrong with it. The top Civil Servant Officer answered, if the visitor had given three pence to the child, there might not be any suspicion but five or ten shillings is too much a gift for a child. I further asked what the suspicion was. The Godly officer answered that the visitor had only done that to wet the ground for a day when he would come with a request for an undeserved favor. I then asked what he would do in such a situation to which he responded "Take the money from the child and hand it over to the visitor"

Your Royal Highnesses and great men of God on the two sides of the Isles, please henceforth, start to do, to our Politicians, what this top Government Officer would do for his visitor.

God commands "Take no gift; for the gift blinds the wise, it corrupts the decisions of the godly" (Ex. 23: 8 ; Deu. 16: 19)

Proverbs 17: 23 reads "A wicked man accepts secrete gifts to pervert justice"

Proverbs 15: 27 says "Dishonest money brings grief to the whole family, but those who hate gifts shall live"

Proverbs 29:4 reads "A just king gives stability to his nation, but one who receives gifts destroys it"

Eccl. 7:7 says " ---Gifts (Bribes) destroys the heart"

Hebrews in 12:16 advises "Let no one be immoral or godless like Esau who traded his birthright for a single meal"

Your majesties, you cannot be said to be comfortable except your subjects are (comfortable). A Yoruba adage states that "The only way any parent judges his fullness is in the stomach of the children" It also says that "One wealthy person among six others are all wretches"

The moment you stop accepting their gifts, they will no longer have a hiding place.

Your Royal Highnesses, please stop giving them honorary chieftaincy titles. It is in the large interest of your subjects and our coming generations.

I am a Prince and I cannot be dis-respective to the throne.

As the case is today, your subjects are hungry. May God help you to be bold and stop accepting their creek gifts.

Actually if we will follow our culture, Politicians should answer to your Majesties.

Our culture and tradition is built on respect for our Royal fathers. It is my believe that running of the government will be better effective and productive should the Political Local Government chairmen are made to answer to the Chairmen of the Traditional Rulers council in the way the Prime Minister of England answers to the Monarchy. It bastardizes our culture, tradition and value for Royal fathers to stand up for Politicians. It is an insult to our traditional values for our Royal Fathers to stand for anyone. Anyone I say. Our value demands that we prostrate for them.

Our royal fathers, 'men of God' and Islamic clerics can remove our poverty, if for once they take a joint decision to shun all gifts in whatever form from politicians. A firm and joint decision by them alone will salvage Nigerians from the oppression of the feudal lords who sit on the Nation's wealth and make every other person a beggar.

A careful look at our traditional values in Nigeria, if truly adhered to, should be the best government all over the world because if a politician misbehaves, his or her royal father and his spiritual head should be able to call him/her to order in the interest of the good name of the town or his place of worship.

But once the Royal fathers and Spiritual heads take gifts here and there, certainly, they will not be able to perform their functions as expected.

It is a necessary sacrifice, which they must be prepared to make for our betterment. It is not sufficient that the royal fathers and Religious Heads live comfortably; rather their full satisfaction ought to be drawn with the general state of well being of their subjects and congregations.

"A just king gives stability to his nation, but one who receives gifts destroys it" (Proverbs 29:4).

Jesus Christ is our High Priest and High Shepherd. Many times I wonder whether the people who assumed the position of Shepherds today in our two major religions actually understand the responsibilities placed on them. They should ask themselves, were Jesus to be physically present in Nigeria today, if He would be watching, as poverty ravages the length and breadth of the country and not take action, as poverty is making citizens to dip their hands in sin due to vicissitudes of life, which will eventually make them to lose heaven.

Let the big names in our religions ask themselves, confronted with what we are facing meanwhile in Nigeria, if Jesus will ever take gifts from the Politicians. Let them sincerely ask themselves if Jesus will ever ask the Politicians to build house of worship for them.

How do you expect the conscience of any Politician who finance the building of a house of worship to be troubled in spite the difficulties, which the citizens are passing through?

The big names in our religions cannot be bothered so long as they are comfortable, living on the offering of the poor congregations, milking them further dry and living on the benevolence of the Politicians and Government.

Let me tell our religious leaders on both sides of the isles, who drive vehicles gifted to you by the government/politicians, that you are driving on the blood of fellow citizens who are deprived of good medical services and basic necessity of life.

I understand that the heads of Religious houses who have big wig politicians in their houses of worship are spoilt with money and various gifts and where this happens, such religious leaders turn their eyes off the robbery of the commonwealth by the Politicians.

No wonder, appeal, cry and all efforts by someone like Pastor Sam Aweda for religious leaders to team up and rehabilitate Nigeria is met with scorn and laughter.

The retirement packages of Pastors of certain denominations are very unfair to their poor congregations.

When they are so spoilt, how can they understand what their congregations are passing through?

The Bible referred to Jesus in the book of Hebrews 4:15 as a really true High Priest. It says "For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin"

Certainly our Priests of today are not good representatives of Jesus.

The retirement benefits of their officers, particularly the big denominations are enormous. How then do you expect them to bother themselves about the efforts of someone like Pastor Aweda, calling for rehabilitation of Nigeria through spiritual means.

My old man N I Alabi, may his soul rest in peace, was quick at saying "Onigbagbo go pupo" meaning Christians are really stupid. Were he to be alive today, I wonder what he will say to this development!!

Let us pray.