Sunday, October 7, 2018
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Lagos, Nigeria

Senator Ibrahim Mantu, Deputy Senate President (2001-2007) stood as his citation was being read by Lawyer Sunday Olawepo at the Ilorin Town Hall Meeting on Aug 11 2018 To his immediate left is Chief Peter Olorunnisola, (SAN), Vice chairman Kw. State Committee on Religious Matters and to his immediate right is Hajia Kulu Abdullahi, GM, NTA Ilorin

brahim Mantu (CFR) was the Deputy President of the Senate, Federal Republic of Nigeria 2001-2007. He was on Channel TV on Friday March 30 2018 where he confessed to the habit of, them, politicians giving financial inducement to Electoral Officers and Security Officers in order to favour their party in the past elections.

He now regrets his action with a feeling of discomfort with how the outside world perceives us as a nation and he now wants the image of Nigeria to be repaired.

Many people sought the prosecution of the former Senator but in my own case, I rejoice at his bold confession and regret because such gladdens God's heart. God does not want the death of a sinner because that is hell for him, but rejoices when any sinner comes to repentance so that his soul will not perish in hell.

The former Senator sought for the forgiveness from God and fellow Nigerians for the evil and many wrongs, which they, Politicians had committed against Nigerians.

So, we thought it wise to invite him as the Guest Speaker at a Town Hall meeting, which we held at Ilorin on August 11 so that other Politicians can learn from him and become remorseful of the evil, which they are committing against Nigerians.

Our aim at the Town Hall meeting was to deliberate on what we the populace can do to make our Politicians serve us so that we all can eat the good of the land.

I listened to the full speech of Senator Mantu at the Town Hall meeting. I found it profound and I am seeking the indulgence of the to have it published. I post it unedited.

Here goes his speech, which he himself titled:

"My Story"

I have spent the past 40 years swimming in the murky waters of Nigerian politics. All these years, I have listened to the same message being preached during electioneering campaigns. I have listened to the same promises being made, during electioneering campaigns.

I also joined the bandwagon of preaching the same gospel, when in different occasions; I joined the race to occupy elective political office. Promises upon promises of a better tomorrow each election year, without seeing any light, at the end of the tunnel; yet the electorate, religiously, continue to vote political office seekers in the belief that, may be, this time around, things would change for the better, only for them to have a worse deal than previous outcomes. Instead of making progress, we continue to retrogress. Forward never, backward ever.

Comparing countries like Malaysia which we gained independence with them at the same time is like comparing darkness with light. The difference is clear. I therefore ask myself 'why is it that their politicians have developed their countries and improved the quality of lives of their citizens and we have not?' The answer is rightly that, these other countries have visionary leaders, who see tomorrow. They have leaders who regard occupying public office as an opportunity to offer selfless service to their fellow citizens. They have leaders who shun corruption. They have leaders who are honest and transparent. They have leaders who are accountable to the people. They have leaders who believe in the unity of their nations. They have leaders whose conscience is not dead and govern with the fear of God; knowing fully well that apart from being accountable to the people here on earth, they will also be accountable to God in the hereafter.

I ponder and ask myself, these leaders who are taking their nations to greater heights, do they have two heads and I have one? Do they have four eyes and I have two? What do they have that I or any other Nigerian politician does not have?

God is a gracious and fair God, He has given all mankind equal intellect and opportunities - there is nothing these leaders have, that, we do not have. Then, the question is: why can't we be like them? Yes, we can be like them if we shun corruption; yes we can be like them if we shun nepotism; we can be like them if we have visionary leaders; we can be like them if we explore and exploit our God-given abundant natural resources; we can be like them if we provide conducive environment for our talented youth to create and invent; we can be like them if there is the will-power and determination to serve selflessly, we can be like them and even greater than them if we see ourselves as one people, under one God, in one Nation with one destiny.

Ordinarily, the concern of any well meaning political office seeker, should be the welfare and the well-being of his people. In fact the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states that the primary responsibility of Government is the 'Security and Welfare of the Citizens'. Can you honestly say the well-being of the people is the primary concern of the Nigerian politician? The answer is obviously NO.

'No' because if the answer were to be 'Yes', there is no way, for instance, that a Governor of a State who has not paid salaries of his civil servants for upwards of 6 months, would go to Dubai and buy a villa or go to California and buy a mansion or France to buy a castle. Ordinarily, one would expect that such a Governor, who has not paid salaries of his civil servants, would not even have the appetite to eat in his house because he is supposed to be greatly troubled and deeply disturbed by the poor living condition of the civil servants who are supposed to be the 'engine house' of the civil service. Unfortunately and regrettably too, what happens is that you would not only see assorted delicious dishes being served on his table but to 'add salt to injury' he would buy exotic cars for girl friends and hold lavish parties.

From which ever angle you look at the situation, Nigerian politicians have failed to meet the expectations and aspirations of the people. This business as usual attitude must stop. All hands must be on deck to rebuild Nigeria.

As members of the Nigerian political class, we must tarry a while and reflect on our past and present activities and see whether we can say we have delivered on our promises to the people. How many of us, if any, can honestly say, we have not fallen short of the expectations of the electorate? As a member of the Nigerian political class, I am as guilty as any of my other political colleagues. Yes, I am indeed.

Having been out of office since 2007, I have had time for sober reflection, and frankly speaking, the result is regret, remorse and repentance. I deeply regret some of my political actions in the past which made me to be greatly remorseful and repentant of my political sins. I therefore seek for forgiveness from the people and from God Almighty, the Giver of power. I have pledged since I became repentant seven years ago NEVER to repeat my mistakes of the past. You know, as one matures and grows older, your values about life change. I love today what I hated yesterday and I hate today what I loved yesterday.

For me, I have every reason to celebrate God's grace on me. Some of my political colleagues died in the act, without realizing that they were required to give account of their political stewardship not only to the people here on earth, but to God Almighty in the hereafter. They did not have the opportunity to be remorseful and repentant; let alone asking for forgiveness from the people and from God Almighty. If not for the grace of God, I would have been one of the departed, and the opportunity I have had to ask for forgiveness would not have been there.

I am therefore calling on all politicians, big and small, to reflect soberly on their past political activities and seek divine intervention in their lives; repent, ask for forgiveness from the people and from God Almighty, now, that they have the ample opportunity to do so. Let us conduct our political activities with the fear of God. Let us totally commit ourselves to building a new nation that will be the envy of all. Let us rebuild our nation and drive it to its destined greatness, so that we can play our destined role as the most populous black nation on earth and the giant and leader of Africa.

If you want history to be kind to you, then, you must be a born again or a repentant politician. In other words, how would you want to be remembered after you are gone? What legacy are you leaving behind for your children and generations yet unborn. Will people visit your grave and curse you or would they pray for the repose of your soul?

Let us shun all vices that have held our country captive in spite of God's enormous endowments on our nation. Let us see occupying public office as a unique opportunity to serve fellow human beings, selflessly. When you serve the people selflessly and with the fear of God, God will reward you with the best of His rewards, which are everlasting peace and happiness in paradise.

Ladies and gentlemen, our two Holy Books, the Bible and Qur'an support the assertion that if we are genuinely repentant from our sins, the Lord will forgive us and prosper us and our land. The glorious Qur'an chapter 71:10-12 says 'Ask forgiveness from your Lord, for He is oft-forgiving'. Qur'an 71:11 says 'He will send rain to you in abundance and Qur'an 71:12 says He will give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers (of flowing waters)". In the Holy Bible, II Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV) God says "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 will FORGIVE their sin and HEAL their LAND".

Need we say more? There has never been a time in the history of Nigeria that, the Nation is in dire need of God's divine intervention in its affairs than now. We must humble ourselves and pray fervently and seek the face of God. We must turn away from our wicked ways. We must stop the bloodletting, we must stop terrorism; we must stop the inhumanity of man against man. If we humble ourselves, pray, seek the face of God, turn away from our wicked ways, then, God will hear from heaven, forgive our sins and heal our land. Nigeria, our land will then flow with milk and honey.

All these cannot be realized unless and until we have good governance in our land. Almighty God, give us leaders that will govern our country well and whose actions shall be God-centered.

Thank you for listening.

Related reading "The hope of Nigeria; Senator Mantu is at the lead"

A Cross Section of attendees at the Town Hall meeting. From the right is Dr. Amuda Aluko, Medical Director, Geri Alimi Hospital, one of the 1st crops of Medical graduates of Nigeria; Alh. M.S. Koro, OON, one time Secretary & Head of Service, Kw. State & Chairman, Kw State Committee on Religious Matters; Chief Peter O. Olorunnisola, (SAN), Deputy Chairman, Kw State Committee on Religious Matters; Senator Ibrahim Mantu, (Guest Speaker); Hajia Kulu Abdullahi, GM NTA Ilorin

A cross section of Attendees at the Aug.11 2018 Ilorin Town Hall Meeting. From the left is Rev. Reuben Idowu, Kw. State CAN Scribe; Rev. D.B Akinyemi, Pioneer Chairman, Religious Leaders & Pastors' Fellowship, Ilorin.

Another Cross Section

Another Cross Section

Pastor Sam Aweda, Convener of the Town Hall meeting