Thursday, July 22, 2021
Lagos, Nigeria

t is over 20 years when the nation returned to civilian rule, it is however very sad and disheartening that there is little to show for it in terms of development. Many citizens are still wallowing in poverty in spite of the abundant wealth, which God had blessed us with.

Added to it, is the menace of a certain self-styled religionists, who believe that they alone are righteous and the rest of us are not entitled to live and should be killed and they are actually killing us wickedly in thousands.

Added to this are banditry, kidnapping of men and women and raping of the innocent housewives and young girls that are kidnapped. They collect exorbitant amount of money before they set their captives free. Yet people who make their wealth from the People's treasury are fingered to be sponsors of these atrocities

Observers have argued that we progressed better under dictatorial rule, who govern with gun than under civil rule who do not carry gun. Certainly something fundamental must be wrong.

I have been meditating how progress has eluded us and how we can rectify it. So the topic of my sermon today is "The making of a Failed Nation and the Remedy"

Let us pray

After careful observation, I can summarize the whole story this way that the failure of the nation is premeditated by the greed of those who designed the present government, which we are running. Their design was not meant for the success of any nation.

It appears to me that those who designed the ongoing system of government knew that they will eventually be the ones in power and they have designed it with their enjoyment alone in mind, in the most utmost selfish way. What they designed is, a system of "Legalized robbery of the nation" They had no consideration for the citizens in mind, so the citizens are left to pauperize as the Church rats while the rulers are fabulously enriching themselves.

As I earlier summarized, the failure of this democratic government is premeditated by the greed of those who designed it.

For example, consider the emoluments of the Legislators including what they call "Constituency allowance" They are supposed to make laws but the system has rubber stamped them as contractors with the huge constituency allowance, which they allocate to themselves. Why should they usurp or duplicate the functions of the government Ministries?

The huge constituency allowance has turned them to philanthropists and semi gods, who the populace must worship in order to be given doles before they can eat. It will have still been better if they faithfully use the allowance to do something visibly tangible in the society but it never happens. How can they be made philanthropists with the commonwealth? What an absurdity!!

Another example is the huge security votes allocated to each governor in the amount of N400m every month, in spite the fact that each state has a Police command with a Commissioner of Police. Worst, there is no law that requires the governor to account for it, meaning it is not retireable.

The World Bank has analyzed all these and expressed that the ruling class in Nigeria constitutes an insignificant 1% of the population but they alone share 80% of the wealth of the nation, leaving the rest 99% to scramble with 20% of the wealth.

Another example of their design to perpetrate themselves in power is the fee to file for any political post, which excludes the poor.

Some years ago, the picking of a gubernatorial nomination form (letter of intent) of some political parties was N1m and the cost of submission is at a non-refundable cost of N5m; totaling N6m, while the submission of a presidential nomination form is at a non-refundable cost of N10m; totaling N11m. Most probably these fees must have been jacked up by now.

These filing fees have eliminated the average Nigerian from contesting and it has restricted it to only the money bags. The interpretation of this is that only the money bags are wise and only they, can run the government while the average Nigerians are stupid and can't hold any ruling office except the poor ones who can lick the boots of the money bags, who they will put on seat and control remotely, as the adage goes "He who pays the piper dictates the tune" And whenever the stooge decides to ignore the dictates of the tune, they make life difficult for him and boot him out of office with ignominy.

Certainly any party who sells nomination form at N6m is offering the public treasury for sale. And anyone who purchases such a form is simply buying a lottery coupon to the public treasury. And this is why when he gets into office he delegates no power to any Commissioner or any one; he alone has the authority to award contracts, which in most cases are awarded to their surrogates, which in essence are to themselves.

In fairness to them, should they not recoup the money, which they used to purchase the nomination form? And do not forget that the nomination fee is only the beginning of spending because they will still have to distribute money to their party members in the ward, in the Local Government, State level as well as to important personalities in the different communities. In addition, they will hold many campaigns in streets and corners of the state, which involve throwing money, cloth, sugar, rice etc to the crowd as one throws bone to the dog after the meat is eaten.

The question now is how do we liberate ourselves from this feudal system of government? Mallam Aminu Kano used his youthful age to fight this system. Unfortunately, we are back to it. May his soul rest in peace!

I believe in the power of God. With Him nothing is impossible. God gave each of his creation, different weapons to protect, defend and fight for comfort. He gave venom to the snake; nails to cat, lion and tiger. He gave turf to elephant. He gave teeth to the dog.

It is God's wish that man lives a good life, so he gave us religion for our benefit, so that if we follow His guidelines, we shall live peaceably among ourselves where no one is oppressed.

The Bible states in 2 Cor. 10: 4-5 that "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal (are not weapons of the world) but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (they have divine power to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ).

While the animals use their different weapon mechanism to protect and give themselves good life, it is man that refuses to use his weapon to better his life.

Houses of worship in this country are uncountable, No house owner thinks he has completed his building until he has constructed an adjoining place for congregational worship but it does not reflect in how we deal with ourselves. No one pays attention to the golden rule "Love the other fellow as yourself" Had we done, those who are ruling us, must have corrected the blemish in the design of the system of governance, which enrich them fabulously but pauperize the citizens.

Let me add that if we expect our politicians to fight for our good life, we shall be deceiving ourselves. We are the ones to fight for ourselves and I have a number of suggestions, which if we can pursue, all citizens can start to feel the touch of the government. No street protest will be involved, but we shall utilize what is readily available to us, which is our religion.

How wonderful it will be if the Priests on the two sides of the coin will wear out the politicians by speaking to them the truth of how the populace is decimated by their greed and the consequences of it for them in the life to come because except they repent, they are on their way to hell.

How great it will be if we Priests on all sides of the coin will cooperate and work together and wear them out with Inter religious assemblies and prayer meetings and Town hall meetings in cities, towns and villages, where we shall be praying to God to deliver us from their greed and the penury, which they have put us into.

If we are able to pursue this project rigorously, with time, they will be ashamed of themselves and they will not be able to move freely in the society until they effect the necessary changes.

But to achieve this purpose calls for unity among the priests of all religions. Priests must understand that if they must take their followers to heaven, it is crucial that the followers have some level of comfort here below because poverty can make their followers dip their hands into sin, thereby lose heaven.

We priests are the closest to the populace in a country that is so religious. We meet them every Friday and Sunday and other days in the week and in some circumstances, five times every day of the week and that was why I said at the beginning that since God has given us religion, it is our fault if we cannot use it for our betterment.

You Priests, reading this piece or listening to me, I hope you will not be the betrayer, who will not join us in this crusade because of the crumbs falling from the Politicians' table, which you receive. The Yorubas say that the stomach of the children decides if we are full or not, meaning that we cannot claim that we are full except the children are full. Let me put it in another way that we shall be failing in our calling, if we are full when our congregation is hungry. It is to our shame if we are full when our congregations are hungry. The Politicians are conmen, so they take care of the popular priests in order to silent them. I hope that no priest henceforth will allow himself a pawn in the chess game of the Politicians, which decimates your congregation while they live in opulence.

These are what we should do: we shall demand that:

  1. Politics is made unattractive. Meanwhile, politics is the most lucrative job in the country and it is an absurdity, it must be reversed.

    They are civil servants and they must be seen as such and their salaries and other emoluments must be subject to what is obtainable in the civil service.

    The monthly salary of the Northern Region House of Assembly members in the first republic was sixty pounds, which was the entry salary of a fresh University graduate. Let us not even talk of sitting allowance as it will create further avenues for stealing.

    Making politics unattractive will bring out, the people who truly have the mind of sacrifice for the nation, people who love the nation, who want to take the nation to a great height and to be reckoned with, in the comity of nations. Making politics unattractive will bring out, the very honest cream in our society, which we actually have in large number, but which are unable to come out because of the prevailing dishonesty and gangsterism in our politics as of moment.

    The so called Constituency allowance is an evil project. It is stealing. It must be scrapped.

  2. The present fee for nomination form to political offices is outrageous, it excludes the poor in the society. There should be other criteria to stream line the number of contestants other than money"

  3. A law be passed, which will make it an offence, punishable by imprisonment for any political office seeker to distribute money or any kind of gifts to the electorates, whether in the wards, Local Government, State or Federal. Such a practice insults and debars the good and honest people to contest for office. A person who shares money and other gifts is simply trying to buy the post and it should be seen as a coup d'état. And such an offender must be disqualified of any political office, which he may be seeking. Such gifts are what I describe as 'Gifts that end in eternal poverty"

  4. The Local Government should be made strong. Making the Local Government strong is the only way by which the touch of the government can be felt at the grass root. The Political officers of the Local government are expected to be citizens of the local government area; they and their parents will be known by all people in the local government area, so they will be held responsible and they will have no hiding place should they not perform.

  5. The paramount rulers must be given some roles to play in the system of the governance. We can borrow some leaves from the British system, who earlier colonized us where the Prime minister reports to the monarch, though the monarch is just a ceremonial head of the government. The chairman of the Local Government, who is politically elected should be made to be answerable to some extent to the chairman of the council of paramount rulers in the local government. The reason why I advocate the inclusion of the paramount rulers in governance is because they know their subjects and they will have the means of monitoring them for good behavior.

Let us pray.