FEATURE ARTICLE

Tuesday, July 9, 2019
foborji@hotmail.com
Pontifical Urban University, Vatican City (Rome)
THE FUTURE OF CHRISTIANITY IN NIGERIA AND BETRAYAL OF POLITICIANS

will like to start the present article by quoting from the following passages of the First Letter of Peter:

"Be strong but vigilant, because your enemy the devil is on the prowl like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand up to him, strong in faith and in the knowledge that it is the same kind of suffering that the community of your brothers throughout the world is undergoing. You will have to suffer only for a little while: the God of all grace who called you to eternal glory in Christ will restore you, he will confirm, strengthen and support you. His power lasts for ever and ever. Amen." (1Peter 5:8-11).

Our present article is a follow-up to the last one, entitled: "Treacherous Christian Politicians and Denial of Persecution of Christians in Nigeria", published in this column.

What many of our Christian Politicians have forgotten in the present dispensation is that the failure on the part of any disciple to stand up for Christ and His Church at a critical time like ours today in Nigeria, is a sin of betrayal. It is a sin of betrayal comparable to that of Judas Iscariot, as discussed in our previous article. This is why the Apostle Peter in his First Letter cited above, strongly, advised Christians to stand up for their faith in all circumstances, no matter the cost.

Betrayal is the highest form of sin against the Lord Jesus Christ and the believing community. It is the highest act of sin one can commit against his people, community, the Church or a friend. This is why Jesus said to Judas Iscariot in the gospel of Matthew:

"Alas for that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed. Better for that man if he had never been born." (Matthew 26:25).

Today, a good number of our serving Christian politicians (not all, however), have made themselves so cheap, spawns at the mercy of the highest bidder. Standing up for sublime principles, truth and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, His Church and for the suffering masses, no longer counts in the political calculations of a good number of our serving Christian politicians in Nigeria today.

For most of our Christian politicians serving in the present dispensation, what counts nowadays, is political expediency, 'political correctness', greed and one's pocket. Standing up for God and one's faith and community have been relegated to the background.

Our Christian politicians in the present dispensation have forgotten that, by our Baptism in the Risen Lord and in the power of the Holy Spirit, every Christian as a disciple of Christ, is automatically, clothed with the eternal gifts of the Holy Spirit, and made a defender of the faith and the believing community, the Church. Standing up for the faith at all times and in all circumstances, is the duty and mission of every baptized disciple of the Risen Christ.

Sometimes, we make the mistake of thinking that such a task, like the work of evangelization and of defending the faith itself, in public arena, is for the ordained ministers, bishops and priests only. No. Every Christian, from bishop to the lay faithful, especially Christian politicians, elites, and professionals in different human endeavors, are by virtue of their Baptism, evangelizers and defenders of their faith in Jesus Christ in the larger society.

Christian politicians, elites and professionals are the defenders of the faith and the Church in the world of politics, economics and in the other areas of socio-cultural and political governance of the society. In fact, defending the faith in socio-political arena is primarily the task of Christian politicians, elites and professionals. It is not that of the ordained ministers. Priests are ordained primarily for the service of the Altar. They lead the faithful in liturgical worship and in preaching the Word.

The primary duty of ordained ministers in the Church are in the areas of celebration of the sacraments and the Word for the overall spiritual nourishment and growth in the faith of each member of the believing community as well as for the continued spiritual sustenance of the community itself. Ordained ministers are authorities in matters of faith and moral. The faithful get spiritual nourishment for their evangelizing mission in the larger society from the pastoral ministry and service, bishops and priests render to the believing community.

From the pastoral ministry of bishops and priests, members of the Church are equipped, spiritually, for the work of bearing witness to Christ and the Church in the society in which they live and work. Therefore, it is wrong to expect bishops and priests to do the work of politicians in government houses, parliament buildings, judiciary, ministries, parastatals, companies, etc., especially, whenever anti-Christian policy surges its ugly head there.

Conscientious politicians and people of good-will are expected to rise up and stand up for truth, justice and freedom, especially, when the government in power begins to abuse the rights of individuals, religious freedom, freedom of expression, etc. When the government in power demonstrates a clear incapacity and unwillingness in providing for the welfare and security of lives and property of the citizenry, ordinary people, led by conscientious individuals are to rise up, save the fatherland from tyrannical regime and dictatorship.

When dictatorship and tyranny takes over the leadership of the nation, it is the duty of conscientious politicians and individuals to rise up and save the fatherland. In this case, Christians by virtue of their calling, are expected to lead the way. Christian politicians and every Christian indeed, in time of crisis and persecution and killing of Christians must take the lead in the struggle to free the people from tyranny and dictatorship. They are expected to stand up for their faith, always and everywhere, including political arena and save the fatherland and their people from tyranny and dictatorship.

This is why it is lamentable that most of our Christian politicians who serve in the present dispensation, have sacrificed the demand of their faith in politics, at the altar of their personal ego, selfish interest and greed. They have thrown away their discipleship of standing up for Christ and the Church at a time like ours today in Nigeria.

The Sin of Betrayal

It is very painful that when you hear most of our Christian politicians, who serve in the present administration of President Buhari speak, you will immediately notice that what is actually at play is the repeat of the biblical story of Esau who sold his 'birthright' for a mere plate of porridge. No wonder his younger brother, Jacob had to trick him out at the appropriate time.

There was no way at all, in God's divine plan, for an unreliable individual like Esau, be chosen as God's instrument in bringing about the Covenant God entered with the Patriarch Abraham and his generations after him. Thus, we meet the timeless words of the old man, Isaac in the Old Testament Book of Genesis:

"The voice is Jacob's voice but the arms are the arms of Esau." (Genesis 27:23).

The 'selling-out of one's birthright' through greed, negligence, complacency or docility is the worst thing that can happen to an individual and his descendants after him for generations to come. This is the lot of the biblical Esau and his generations and generations after him. It has remained ever since, the lots of many others down the ages who allowed themselves be used as saboteurs, stooges, by the oppressors of their own people and religion.

Unfortunately, this is what some of our highly placed Christian politicians serving in the present administration, and even some of our church leaders who dine and wine with the same administration are doing today. Many of them have sold their "birthright" as Christians and defenders of their faith and fatherland.

The ongoing systematic persecutions and killings of Christians in Nigeria as well as the unfolding Islamization and Fulanization agenda of Buhari administration cannot happen without the complicity and outright collaboration of some highly placed Christian politicians in the corridors of power. Back in 2015, when some of us started to raise alarm through our publications on the social media and Newspapers about the impending Islamization and Fulanization agenda of the present federal government of President Buhari, they called us all sorts of names, even by our fellow Christians and Church leaders.

In fact, one of them went to the extent of saying that nobody was trying to Islamize Nigeria. He went further to add that "if they Islamize Nigeria, he himself will Christianize Nigeria." I am sure that today, with the turn of events, he would be convinced, as some of us were then, that Islamization and Fulanization are the cardinal points in the agenda of this administration.

He must have also come to the naked truth that Christians and indigenous ethnic populations in Nigeria are the most endangered species in the country today. There is a systematic persecution and killing of Christians and people of indigenous ethnic-nationalities going on in Nigeria today under the watch of the present federal government. Today, we know who was right. Those who saw this coming or those others who allowed themselves controlled by docility and complacency while their house was on fire!

In the light of the above, it may not be an over-statement to say that one of the greatest threats to Christianity in Nigeria today, aiding the unfolding Islamization and Fulanization agenda of this administration, is the betrayal behavior and silent complicity of many prominent Christian politicians in the corridors of power. Added to this is the docility of some church leaders, who have refused to confront in the face, the monster, Islamization and Fulanization agenda of Buhari administration. However, this will form our point of discussion some other day.

However, the refusal of most Christian politicians, professionals and elites in corridors of power, to stand up for their faith in Jesus Christ, uphold and defend the secular nature of Nigerian state at this critical moment of our history as a people, is the major threat to the survival of Christianity and religious freedom in Nigeria of our dream. The lethargy of most Christian politicians and church leaders is the dangerous monster, we must all confront and defeat. The way most of our Christian politicians at the corridors of power, and some of the so-called pastors and General Overseers are being used as stooges, 'errand boys' for the government in power for the advancement of Islamization and Fulanization project is a great threat to the future of Christianity in Nigeria. We dwelt at length on this last point in our previous article.

In other words, what worries many people of good conscience in Nigeria today, is how a good number of our Christian politicians and those in the corridors of power have decided to remain docile and sometimes, assume the role of outright collaborators in the unfolding Islamization and Fulanization of Nigeria. Added to this, is the silence of a good number of them in the face of the ongoing persecutions and killings of Christians and indigenous populations of Non-Fulani Ethnic-Nationalities by the Fulani herdsmen militias, bandits and kidnappers.

A good number of our Christian politicians are yet to link the activities of Boko Haram with those of the Fulani herdsmen, and to question the government complicity of silence over these killings and persecutions of Christians. Some of our Christian politicians at the corridors of power are yet to interpret the activities of these terror groups as something akin to the Islamization and Fulanization project of this administration of President Buhari.

Most of our Christian politician-collaborators of this administration don't even see the unfolding Islamization and Fulanization agenda of the administration for what it really is. This is why none of them has challenged 'Buhari's RUGA insult, either at the National Assembly, or at the Federal Executive Council meetings. Not even the Judiciary has summoned the courage to put a halt to this nonsense and stupidity, save the fatherland, using their legal profession. A courageous Judiciary and legal luminaries alone are enough to do this job, and save the nation from total collapse and further bloodshed.

What does one expect from a weakly Nigerian Judiciary? A Judiciary, which ab-initio, failed to do its job appropriately, without fear or favor, as required by the law of the land and the Constitution. A Judiciary intimidated ab-initio, into approving someone who has no basic educational qualification such as WAEC Certificate as enshrined in the Constitution, to contest election and rigged himself into the highest office of the land?

If the Nigerian Judiciary had done its job courageously, without fear or favor, during the 2015 Presidential Election Petitions' Tribunal, we would not be in this sorry situation today. Because what we have in Nigeria presently is a very rotten, corrupt, fearful and uninspiring Judiciary. The recently shenanigan ruling of the Supreme Court on Osun State governorship election is sufficient enough to tell us what to expect on the ongoing 2019 Presidential Election Petitions' Tribunal.

This is because anyone in tune with the history and composition of the present Nigerian federal Judiciary, especially, the Supreme Court, will be waiting in vain to see justice delivered at the ongoing 2019 Presidential Election Petitions' Tribunal, between PDP Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and the incumbent APC President Buhari. In fact, the end-result of the 2019 Presidential Election Petitions' Tribunal judgment may turn out more atrocious than what transpired at the 2015 elections court judgments or the recently concluded Osun State governorship election petitions judgment at the Supreme Court.

The unconstitutionally removal of Justice Walter Onneghen, as Chief Justice of Nigeria in the buildup to the 2019 elections, and replacing him with a former Sharia high Court Judge, Muhammed Tanko, is enough to tell us not to expect any justice from the ongoing Presidential election petitions' tribunal court hearings. It is just a waste of time. The Cabal at Aso Rock and the Sharia Court Judges that dominate the Supreme and Federal High Courts of Nigeria will always tilt the judgement in favor of their own, General Buhari.

Today, Nigeria's Judiciary arm of the federal government (like the Executive and Legislative arms), is dominated by Sharia Islamic legal system trained Muslim Judges of Hausa-Fulani ethnic-configuration. In such a situation, only fools will be expecting justice from such a lopsided Judiciary. That is, with regard to the ongoing 2019 Presidential Election Petitions' Tribunal court hearings. No matter the credibility and amount of evidences Atiku and his team of lawyers may have, the present lopsided, corrupt and Sharia inspired Nigerian Judiciary can hardly summon the courage to overturn the INEC fraudulently rigged Presidential election that saw General Buhari declared as the winner. This is despite the fact that all scientific indices indicated otherwise.

Nigeria is already behaving as United States' National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) predicted on October 18, 1990, 'a country on the way to its demise.' Without sounding unpatriotic, since there is nothing on the ground today to inspire patriotism any longer, Nigeria is a nation singing its requiem with all alacrity and speed. If care is not taken, the requiem may sooner or later, snowball into serious intercommunal conflicts and massive bloodbath. God forbid! Yet Nigerian politicians are behaving like individuals living in another planet earth.

What may quicken the imminent demise of Nigeria is the unfolding Islamization and Fulanization agenda of Buhari administration, its concomitant systematic persecutions and killings of Christians and people of indigenous populations of Non-Fulani Ethnic-Nationalities in Southern Kaduna, Middle Belt and Southern States of the country. The infamous Fulani Ruga colonies, Buhari administration plans to establish in all the 36 States of the federation will be the last straw to ignite the fire.

Nigeria, a Country that Has Refused to Learn from Its' Past

In all these, however, Christians and indigenous populations of Non-Fulani Ethnic-Nationalities pay the highest price. The persecution and killing of Christians in Nigeria has never been this bad in recent times, since the end of Nigeria-Biafra genocidal war (1967-1970). The Nigeria-Biafra War, on its own, is still an open wound Nigeria has refused to address after about 50 years, the war ended.

Nigeria-Biafra War was not a 'civil war.' It is deceptive to call it 'civil war.' It was a war of survival for the Biafran people. There was nothing 'civil' in that war. It was a war characterized by Nigerian state staged military pogroms, 'ethnic-cleansings, directed against a particular 'ethnic-group', the Igbos and other Easterners residing in the North and later pursued into their Biafra enclave. It was Nigeria and its allied world powers, Britain, Russia, Egypt, etc., in addition to their superior military might, pursued with rigorous policy of 'blockade' and 'starvation', the war of 'genocide' against the people in the Biafra enclave.

It was a war directed against civilian targets, markets, churches, towns and villages in Biafraland. A war in which over two million civilians (out of the estimated 3.5 million victims), especially women and children died because of the federal government 'blockade and starvation' policy against the people of Biafra, than the total number of all those killed through bullets. No person in his right senses would refer to such a war, as 'civil.' This is to tell you how 'perverted rhetoric' still dominates public discourse on issues of this kind in Nigeria's political landscape.

Nigeria-Biafra war, was a war of 'genocide', and of survival for the Biafran people. Till date, Nigerian state is yet to atone for the blood of innocent it killed during the Biafran war? This, in my estimation, is one of the reasons Nigeria moves from one political crisis to another since the end of the war in 1970. Until Nigeria acknowledges the wrongs it has done to the Igbos, the country may never know peace or have any future in sight.

We say all these, because the cloud is gathering again. From all indications, there are no capable hands yet, on the political scene, who looks serious and determined to help the country navigate through the turbulent winds, without the country erupting into something undesirable, for the second time. May God help us, and may he raise a new 'Moses' to lead the country through this turbulent time!

Again, as we speak, Nigerian Christians and people of indigenous populations have been reduced to almost second-class citizens by the present administration. In most places, their ancestral homelands farms, villages, towns and churches have been turned into war zones, by either the dreaded Boko Haram terrorists' organization or their offshoots, the marauding Fulani herdsmen militias and bandits. Most of our Christians and indigenous populations have been rendered homeless, living in refugee camps as Internally Displaced Persons (IDP).

Yet, the Nigerian government has no plans at all towards rehabilitating and helping them return to their ancestral homes. Rather, the main preoccupation of the present federal government is to establish Ruga, Fulani colonies in the deserted villages, towns and farmlands of all those Christians and indigenous ethnic populations - victims of Boko Harams and Fulani herdsmen militia, who are still languishing in refugee camps as IDP.

In such an ugly situation, it will amount to suicidal for us all to continue to fold our arms and watch this administration appropriate the scarce lands of our Christians and indigenous populations of Southern Kaduna, Middle Belt and Southern Nigeria, most of who are still living in refugee camps as IDP. It will be suicidal for the future of Christianity and our Christians and indigenous populations if we continue to fold our arms and watch Buhari administration go ahead with the Ruga settlements, he plans to establish for his tribesmen, the dreaded marauding Fulani herdsmen militias, across the 36 States of Nigeria. God forbid!

These are Fulani warriors and militias, ordered by the present administration, through Miyetii Alla, to congregate in Nigeria from all over their abodes in West African sub-region and beyond, disguised as herdsmen. But who, in reality, are terrorists, equipped with AK47s to kill and to invade towns, villages, farmlands of Non-Fulani Ethnic-Nationalities living in Southern Kaduna, Middle Belt and Southern States of Nigeria. They are foot-soldiers for the unfolding Islamization and Fulanization agenda of Buhari administration. Time will tell!

Therefore, with what is unfolding these days, it is now clear to every Tom, Dick and Harry that the primary objective of the sponsors of these marauding Fulani herdsmen militias and the infamous Ruga settlements, is nothing else than complete Islamization and Fulanization of Nigeria. Nigerian Christians will be fools to sit and watch this happen. Moreover, we shall be deceiving ourselves if we continue to interpret myopically, what in reality is a Jihad at work, as a mere 'conspiracy theory.'

This lazy narrative of some 'compromised' Journalists and mainstream media practitioners in Nigeria and beyond must stop. It is high time we call a spade a spade, to shame the devil. It is a disservice to the nation and suffering masses of Nigeria to be using such deceptive narrative - 'conspiracy theory' or expression such as 'herders/farmers clashes' in describing what in truth is the daily living reality of most of our Christians and indigenous populations in the North East, Southern Kaduna, Middle Belt and Southern States of Nigeria today.

Our complacency and lethargy, interpretation of what in reality is a Jihad in making as a mere 'conspiracy theory' or 'herders/farmers clashes', is only playing to the gallery of the deceit of the devil. Christian faith and lives of our poor masses, ordinary citizens living in our villages and towns are already in serious danger. We shall be making the grievous mistake of the millennium if we fold our arms and allow this monster to devour our people and land.

Conclusion

The conclusion to draw from all we have discussed in this article and in the previous one is that 'Christianity in Nigeria is under threat today.' With the unfolding Islamization and Fulanization agenda of the present federal government, the persecution and killing of Christians and indigenous ethnic populations on daily increase, it is high time Nigerian Christians, especially, our politicians and church leaders wake up to the reality. The time of complacency and docility is over.

Nigerian Christian politicians must come together, renew once more their commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ and the Church. From there, they ought to begin to align themselves with the aspirations and collective interest of their people. Learn to stand up for Christ in political arena: in the State House, in Government Houses, in the National and State Houses of Assembly, in the Judiciary, in the Media, etc., and in seasons and out of seasons.

Our Christian politicians have lived in another man's island for long. They have lived for so long in denial, fed with narrative of lies and deceit. It is now time to return home, face the concrete reality, and stand up for God, for your people, ancestral land, and faith-based community. A Stitch in Time Saves Nine!

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