The Imperative Of Christian Participation In Governance Presented By National Christian Elders Forum At Rccg Mega Political Conference On Friday 15th June, 2018 At Redemption Camp, Lagos
UNDERSTANDING THE ISSUES
Nigeria is currently embroiled in myriad of crisis and distresses that stagger the imagination. For careful observers, it is a mystery how the country still exists. National distresses range from corruption to insecurity, unemployment of gigantic proportions, collapsed social infrastructure and dysfunctional institutions, kidnapping, drugs, armed robbery, ritual killings, human trafficking, unimaginable poverty, bastardized democratic institutions, conflicting Constitution, and other unbelievable social ills.
There is intense debate on the cause of the distresses. To some observers, the problem of Nigeria is corruption while others believe it is militocracy, the interference of military in politics and governance. Some generous observers simply put it as bad governance and are very sure that if the right people are in charge of government, the nation would be straightened out. This group place very high premium on the emergence of a new political class dominated by youthful intellectuals.
It is necessary to point out, especially for Christians that the problem of Nigeria is not North versus South, rich versus poor, military versus civilians, political class versus the electorates or APC versus PDP. The problem of Nigeria is simply Islam versus Christianity. This has always been the problem and until it is resolved, Nigeria is not going anywhere.
THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
During the Constitutional Conference preceding Independence in 1960, one vital issue for discussion was the National Ideology of the emerging country. A country’s National Ideology defines the character of the nation and its system of governance. It was felt that due to the multi religious, multi ethic and multi cultural nature of Nigeria, an all inclusive ideology would be required that would guarantee Justice, Equity and Fairness for all citizens. On this basis, Liberal Democracy was adjudged the best National Ideology for Nigeria with Parliamentary System of Governance.
The Muslim North expressed preference for a system of governance of which an essential ingredient would be Islamic Law. The Colonial Government subjected Sharia to what Willinks Commission in 1958 described as the “repugnancy test”. Sharia failed the test and it was rejected as National Ideology.
Unfortunately, the sponsors of Sharia did not stop nursing the ambition of imposing Sharia on Nigeria and transmuting the nation from a democratic nation into an Islamic Theocratic State with Sharia as the National Ideology. From 1st October, 1960, the very day Nigeria obtained Independence, the battle line was drawn between Liberal Democracy and Sharia Ideology. The Sardauna of Sokoto, late Sir Ahmadu Bello was quoted as saying on 1st October, 1960:
"The new nation called Nigeria should be an estate of our great grandfather Othman Dan Fodio. We must ruthlessly prevent a change of power. We use the minorities in the north as willing tools and the south as a conquered territory and never allow them to rule over us and never allow them to have control over their future."
– Sir Ahmadu Bello, The Sardauna of Sokoto Parrot Newspaper October 12, 1960.
While the likes of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Anthony Enahoro, and other non northern Muslims leaders were thinking they were building a nation where “though tribes and tongues differ, in brotherhood we stand”, another section of the nation was busy planting landmines and surreptitiously undermining Liberal Democracy so that Sharia can become the National Ideology. Of course, the ascendancy of Sharia signals the death of Democracy and by extension, Christianity.
Working through the Military Heads of State, most of whom were Muslims from the North, Nigeria was, in a clandestine manner, turned into an Islamic State. It should be pointed out, right at the onset of this paper, that Nigeria is an Islamic state, despite the unrealistic denial of some Christian leaders. There are two factors that confirm any nation to be an Islamic state and both factors have been fulfilled in Nigeria:
- Membership of the country in OIC
- Inclusion of Islamic law and jurisprudence in the Constitution of the country.
In 1986, General Babangida, as the self appointed Military President of Nigeria, smuggled Nigeria into the OIC and it was kept out of public awareness until 1996 when Sultan Dasuki confirmed to Pope John Paul that Nigeria is a full member of OIC. In 1999, General Abdulsalaam Abubakar smuggled Sharia ideology into the 1999 Constitution thereby creating a dual conflicting ideology in the Constitution of Nigeria.
DUAL CONFLICTING IDEOLOGY
As of today, Nigeria is a country with two ideologies for the same country and two laws for the same people. The dual conflicting ideology in the 1999 Constitution is at the root of the corruption, mediocrity, insecurity, incompetence and dysfunctional system and infrastructure in the country. Unless the conflict of ideologies in the country is resolved, Nigeria would either completely transmute into a fully fledged Sultanate or it would implode.
Legal luminaries, including a former northern Muslim Chief Justice of Nigeria have examined the legality of Sharia in the Constitution of Nigeria and have concluded that it is a nullity in law. Nevertheless, the sponsors of Sharia are adamant that the aberration should persist.
“The conclusion is thus inescapable that the prohibition in section 10 of the Constitution stamps with an indelible taint of unconstitutionality, the Sharia criminal law, whether in its original form as contained in the Quran and the Sunnah or in a codified form to be enacted by the National Assembly or a State House of Assembly”
Prof. Ben Nwabueze
“It is also very clear that Sharia cannot be enforced as state law, which was why the Sardauna took the trouble to ensure the passage of the Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure in 1960, which has the following features:
- It was applicable to everybody in Northern Nigeria.
- It was internationally accepted and above all
- It was Quran compliant.
If the above is the correct state of the two laws, then there is need to return Sharia to the status it was before 1975 – Civil and Personal Law”
Mr. Solomon Asemota, SAN
“Section 38 (1) of the Constitution ensures for every person the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, whereas under Sharia, ‘ridda’ (change of religion) is a capital offence. Consequently, the offence of ridda is inconsistent with Section 38 (1) and by virtue of Section 1 is unconstitutional.”
Late Justice Mohammed Bello
An ideology that is “unconstitutional” inhabits the Constitution of Nigeria and is conflicting with the Liberal Democracy ideology, which is the authentic National Ideology thereby throwing the country into crisis and distress. Other consequences of the incursion of Sharia into the Nigerian space are as follows:
GLOBAL LEGAL SYSTEMS
Worldwide, legal systems are classified into four main jurisdictions:
- Civil law - 88 nations practice Civil Law
- Common law - 38 nations practice Common Law
- Civil law & Sharia jurisdiction - 14 nations
- Common law and Sharia - 5 nations
Nigeria used to belong to Common law jurisdiction.
Without National awareness, Nigeria joined Bangladesh, Brunei, Gambia, Malaysia and Pakistan in the new classification of Common law and Sharia. The re-classification of Nigeria was not discussed and only some northern Muslims know the reasons why it took place.
INFILTRATION OF 1999 Constitution:
- Sharia - 73 times
- Islam - 28 times
- Grand Kadi - 54 times
- Muslim - 10 times
- Christ - Zero
- Christian - Zero
- Christianity - Zero
- Church - Zero
The above facts would account for the statement of Abubakar Shekau, the founder of Boko Haram in 2012 as follows:
“… this war is not political. It is religious. It is between Muslims and unbelievers (arne). It will stop when Islamic religion is the determinant in governance in Nigeria or, in the alternative, when all fighters are annihilated and no one is left to continue the fight.
I warn all Muslims at this juncture that any Muslim who assists an unbeliever in this war should consider himself an infidel and should consider himself dead.”
For those who might think that these issues are recent, they should be reminded of the reply Emirs gave to the Association of West African Students Union in 1942, when the students wrote to the Emirs for support in the growing clamor for independence from Colonial rule. The Emirs wrote back as follows:
“Holding this country together is not possible except by means of the religion of the Prophet. If they want political unity let them follow our religion.”
Response to West African Students Union, 1942
ABUJA DECLARATIONS 1989
Following an OIC Strategy Meeting in London in 1983, during which OIC strategized on turning Africa into an Islamic Continent, Islam in Africa Organization (IAO), an arm of OIC held a Conference in Abuja in November 1989. At the end of the Conference, IAO issued a Communiqué of which the following issues affect both Christianity and Democracy:
- "To eradicate in all its forms and ramifications all non-Muslim religions in member nations … such religions shall include Christianity… (In the original Declaration, the word ‘Christianity’ was underlined.)
- "To ensure only Muslims are elected to all political posts of member nations“
- "To ensure the appointment of only Muslims into strategic national and international posts of member nations.”
- "To ensure the ultimate replacement of all western forms of legal and judicial systems with the Sharia …”
In a 5th February, 1990 letter of the IAO, signed by the Protem General Secretary, Dr. Hassan El-Farouk, the IAO thanked the Government of Nigeria for “having graciously donated on behalf of Nigeria the sum of US$21 billion to the OIC to facilitate our mutual task of spreading Islam not only in Nigeria, but in Africa as a whole.” To date, there has been no rebuttal of the letter.
TWO RACES IN NIGERIA
It is pertinent at this point to clarify the political and cultural dimension of Islamism in Nigeria. Time and space may not suffice to consider the spiritual dimension. Islamism is being exploited in Nigeria to drive a political and cultural domination Agenda of an ethnic group: the Fulanis. As Nigerians wake to the reality of Islamization, they should simultaneously be aware of “Fulanization”.
Nigeria is a country made up of 389 ethnic nationalities, according to the Ethnic Nationalities Movement (ENM), but it has two races. The two races are:
- The Negro race made up of indigenous African ethnic nationalities. In this group are Bachamas, Biroms, Tiv, Nupes, Gbagis, Jukuns, Ebira, Igala, Ibos, Yorubas, Kalabaris, Ogonis, Efik, Ibibio, and so on.
- The Negroid race is made up of Fulanis, Hausas and Kanuris. The Negroid are of Arab descent and they are different race from indigenous African ethnic nationalities.
The Negroid race has adopted the Arabian culture, lifestyle and religion and seeks to impose same on the remaining 386 indigenous African ethnic nationalities. Islam is being exploited as the machinery to drive the process. The current distress has been traced further down to two factors:
- The doctrine of hate taught in the various mosques and Islamic “madrasas” in northern Nigeria.
- The Fulani supremacist ideology.
The combination of these two factors is fueling crisis and distress in Nigeria. There is therefore the need for the entire Negro race in Nigeria to join hands to resist Islamism because at the end of the day, it would not pay any of them. The solution is for all groups in Nigeria to promote and insist on Democracy as the only National Ideology. Once Democracy is entrenched, Nigerians are at liberty to practice any religion of their choice. Without Democracy, even the Yoruba Muslim would realize that he is regarded as an “infidel”.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ISLAM AND ISLAMISM
At this point, it is necessary to explain the difference between Islam and Islamism. This is necessary to re-assure the sensitive ones amongst us that the religion of other citizens is not denigrated. We acknowledge that every Nigerian citizen is at liberty to worship God according to personal conviction and no one should be condemned, discriminated against or vilified for holding to any form of religion. Therefore, the following facts should be noted:
One, Islam is a religion just like Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Ogun, Sango, Amadioha and a host of others religions.
Two, Islamism is NOT a religion but a political ideology that holds that wherever Islam is, Islam must dominate. It is the narrow minded interpretation and implementation of Islamism that is responsible for the world wide Islamic insurgency. A very good example would be comparison of Yoruba Muslims and their northern counterparts. In the South West, there is relative peaceful co-existence amongst Muslims, Christians and Traditionalists. This is because the Yoruba Muslim practices Islam as a religion while his northern counterpart practices Islam as Islamism.
The Yoruba Muslims however, need to realize that it is in their interest to throw their weight behind the advocacy for Democracy as the only National Ideology of Nigeria. It has been confirmed that whenever the Jihadists of northern Nigeria launch their attacks, they do not discriminate between Christians and Yoruba Muslims. Both are served equally from their bowl of cruelty.
Nigeria’s myriad problems can be traced to Islamism “(also called ‘political Islam’, ‘radical Islam' or 'activist Islam') a politico-religious ideology, opposed to a simple belief in Islam. Islamism demands:
(1) That society should be reconstructed in line with the religious principles and ideals of Islam;
(2) That the modern secular state should be replaced by an 'Islamic state', in which religious principles and authority have primacy over political principles and authority; and
(3) That the West and Western values are corrupt and corrupting, justifying, for some, the notion of a jihad against them. However, distinctive Sunni and Shi'a versions of Islamism have developed, the former linked to Wahhabism, the latter to Iran's 'Islamic Revolution.” [Political Ideologies: An Introduction Andrew Heywood, pg. 297]
All the global Islamic terrorist organizations, ranging from ISIS, Taliban, Al Qaeda, to Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen, are foot soldiers of Islamism. Therefore it should be understood that the issue is not simply Islam but Islamism.
The NCEF wishes to remind Nigerians that there is a maximum difference between Muslims and Islamists. Many Muslims practice Islam as religion while the doctrine of Islam espoused by the Islamists is essentially a doctrine of hate. To many Muslims, adherence to Islam as religion is of paramount importance, whereas Islamists practice Islam as “political ideology”. This is why Islamism is called “political Islam”. Islamism is the ideology of ISIS, Boko Haram, Taliban, Al Qaeda, Al Shabab, Hamas, Fulani herdsmen, and all the other Islamic terrorist organizations worldwide. Islamists in Nigeria are responsible for the religious tension and intolerance in the country which has resulted in gross violation of the Constitution, abuse of human rights, injustice, inequality and unfairness in governance.
It is also worthy of mention that some Arab Islamic nations cannot tolerate “political Islam” due to the extremist ideology of the Islamists, their religious bigotry, extreme discrimination, and wicked inhuman policies. It would be recalled that after the Arab Spring revolution in Tunisia and Egypt, both nations elected Islamists into government. Within one year, both Arab Islamic nations conducted another revolution and threw them out.
If Arab Islamic nations cannot tolerate Islamists, due to their extreme religious intolerance and doctrine of hate, how would Nigeria, a multi cultural, multi ethnic and multi religious society cope with them? Islamists seek to undermine Democratic nations by subverting the Constitution and the Rule of Law, compromising the economy and willfully oppressing the people into a state of fear and bondage.
Christians also need to understand one major modus operandi of the Islamists. For Christians who have been taught in religious doctrines to hold to the truth and shun deception, they usually make the mistake of ascribing Christian virtues and values to Islamists. It should be understood that Quran permits a Muslim to deceive an unbeliever in order to defeat him or advance the cause of Islam.
The word “Taqiyya” (approved deception) in Islam has made many Christians victims of stealth Jihad. An Islamist would readily deceive, make promises and give assurances that he has no intention of keeping. Many Christian elites have fallen victims of Taqiyya. Therefore, Christians have to be very circumspect and discerning in relating to Muslims especially on national issues. It would be wise to ensure every agreement is documented and signed by two or three witnesses.
JIHAD IN NIGERIA
Without any doubt, Jihad has been re-launched in the geographical space referred to as Nigeria. This Jihad started in 1804 but was halted by the British in 1903. After the Independence in 1960, the Muslim North, as a result of the undue advantage it obtained from the British Colonial powers, felt emboldened to re-launch the Jihad. It has culminated in the present Jihad manifested as Conventional Jihad (Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen, and compromised security units) and Stealth Jihad (Taqiyya, recruiting of Christian leaders through financial inducement,)
National Intelligence, Law Enforcement and Security leadership in Nigeria have been taken over by the Islamists as part of the Jihad. The Islamists are also in control of the Presidency, Legislature, Judiciary, Education, and for emphasis, all the Security Units. The Islamists are at war (jihad) with the rest of Nigerians who are considered unbelievers and those of different Islamic sects such as the Shiites who have a different interpretation of the meaning of jihad.
Examples of stealth jihad:
- Whittling down of a chapter of the Constitution on Human Rights by excessive provisos to bring it into conformity with Sharia which stipulates that humans have no rights, as all rights belong to Allah
- Creation of States and Local Government skewed in favour of the ‘Muslim’ North
- The numerous provisions in the Constitution for Sharia and Sharia related issues without relative provision for Christianity and Christian issues.
- Section 162(2) on Public Revenue is skewed in favour of ‘Muslim’ North as, for example, the consideration of landmass, which, ordinarily, should be an asset but is used to provide more Revenue
- Illogicality of military decrees becoming the Constitution, all of the above and more constitute stealth Jihad. Examples of regular Jihad are (i) Boko Haram (ii) Fulani Herdsmen and other similar organizations in Nigeria.
- It is stealth Jihad to prevent Christians and others from having political parties they can call their own while Islamists own all the over 40 political parties.
Muslim leaders, in the exercise of “Taqiyya” laboriously tried to debunk the truth that Jihad has been launched in Nigeria. Consequently, on 6th September, 2017, the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) asked the Islamists in Nigeria the questions below. Till today, no Islamist leader or organization has been able to provide an answer to any of the questions. So, the next time Islamists want to accuse Christians of “Islamophobia”, please remind them the questions below. The next time Islamists want to deny that Jihad has been launched in Nigeria which has resulted in the murder of tens of thousands of innocent citizens, please ask them to provide answers to these questions:
- Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, in one of his video releases, said in 2012,
“… This war is not political. It is religious. It is between Muslims and unbelievers (arna). It will stop when Islamic religion is the determinant in governance in Nigeria or, in the alternative, when all fighters are annihilated and no one is left to continue the fight.
I warn all Muslims at this juncture that any Muslim who assists an unbeliever in this war should consider himself an unbeliever and should consider himself dead.” If this statement is not a declaration of Jihad, could Muslim leaders explain what this means?
- In 1989, Islam in Africa Organization (IAO) held a Conference in Abuja and amongst many other decisions, released a Communiqué tagged Abuja Declarations 1989 in which it affirmed that its purpose was "To eradicate in all its forms and ramifications all non-Muslim religions in member nations. Such religions shall include Christianity, Ahmadiyya and other tribal religions.” (In the original Declaration, the word Christianity was underlined.) Since Nigeria is considered a member nation, could what is going on be an implementation of this decision? Or, could we be corrected that the Conference never held in Abuja in November 1989 or such Communiqué was never released? We are also unaware of any rebuttal of the same statement by Muslims leaders.
- In a 154 page Research Report conducted by Arne Mulder in 2015, the researcher affirmed that over 13,000 Christian places of worship (Churches) have been destroyed in Northern Nigeria as at December 2014. Under what condition do Muslim insurgents destroy Churches if not Jihad?
- On 4th February, 2017, the United States Congress affirmed that the most dangerous nation on earth for anyone to be a Christian is Nigeria. The implication is that Nigerian Christians have become endangered species in a country in which they constitute over 50% of the population.
- According to the Global Index on Terror, the 1st and the 4th most terrible Islamic Terrorist organizations in the world operate in Nigeria. Boko Haram is 1st while the Fulani Herdsmen is 4th. If these terror organizations are not fighting Jihad, what then are they doing in Nigeria?
- Under the present administration, every key and sensitive position in National Security is held by Muslims from the North, in outright violation of Section 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution. Also early in the life of this administration, we recall that more than 95% of senior army officers retired from the Military were Christians. In NNPC, only recently, more than 95% of the new appointments into senior management positions are Northern Muslims. Taking these developments in conjunction with the lopsided appointments in National Security, is one not confronted with the inevitable conclusion that there is a deliberate attempt to emasculate Christians, Southerners and other non-Muslim population of Nigeria verifiably by intimidation and force which are stealth Jihad?
- Despite unconstitutionally appropriating all security positions to the Muslim North, the Fulani Herdsmen operate with impunity in mostly Christian areas, killing, maiming, raping, and destroying without any arrest, without any prosecution. If this is not complicity of the Muslim dominated Security services, are we then to conclude that the Nigerian security units are so incompetent that they cannot successfully engage insurgents after the Nigerian Army successfully prosecuted a Civil War?
- We recall that in 2011 in Harvard, USA, his eminence the Sultan of Sokoto who is also the President of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, was reported to have said during a public function, “I do not recognize any Nigerian Constitution and the only Constitution I recognize is the Koran”. By virtue of Section 38 (1), the Constitution guarantees freedom of Religious conviction while Sharia through its law of “Ridda” forbids it with capital punishment. It is clear there is a huge conflict between the Democratic values of the Constitution of Nigeria and Sharia in the 1999 Constitution. The late Justice Mohammed Bello said, at a lecture in Kaduna, “Section 38 (1) of the Constitution ensures for every person the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, whereas under Sharia, “ridda” (change of religion) is a capital offence. Consequently, the offence of “ridda” is inconsistent with Section 38 (1) and by virtue of Section 1 is unconstitutional.” Therefore, when the President of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs said in a foreign land (which is in itself a treasonable statement) that he does not believe in the Nigerian Constitution (which guarantees freedom of religious conviction), but he believes only in the Koran (which forbids freedom of worship through Sharia’s “ridda”), could not the statement of the Sultan be interpreted as an endorsement of Jihad?
- Added to the above are the big questions begging for answers. Who is funding and equipping the Islamic insurgents? And more importantly, who is shielding them from prosecution?
- NCEF would not wish to belabor these issues but rather appeal to the distinguished leaders of Islam, who have stepped forward to be identified, to join us in putting Nigeria first. Nigeria is a Secular State according to Section 10 of the Constitution, but a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious society. The diversity in the country should be harnessed for progress and prosperity and not resisted thus leading to disintegration of the country. It is wishful thinking for anyone to imagine the possibility of imposing one religion or one culture on 389 Ethnic Nationalities.
The NCEF hopes that Muslim leaders and organizations that have stepped forward to respond to the Press Release of July 2017, like Mr. Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, Prof. M. M. Nguru, Prince Judge Abdul Jabbaar Bola Ajibola SAN, Professor Dawud Noibi, Alhaji (Dr) Sakariyu Babalola, MUSWEN, MURIC, and others, would consider these issues again. Tens of thousands of Nigerians, mostly Christians, have been murdered by religious insurgents. The murderers of 74 years old Mrs. Bridget Agbaheme in Kano were discharged and acquitted in a Kano court! According to World Watch Monitor, over 60% of global casualties as a result of religious persecution are Nigerian Christians killed in Nigeria. Muslim leaders have to do more to persuade us that JIHAD has not been launched in Nigeria.
To date, no Muslim leader/organization has been able to refute any of the points above.
WHO CONTROLS SECURITY IN NIGERIA?
- Nigerian Army is headed by a Northern Muslim.
- Nigerian Police is headed by a Northern Muslim.
- Air Force is also headed by a Northern Muslim
- The Minister of Interior is a Northern Muslim.
- The Minister of Defense is also a Northern Muslim.
- The Chief of Defense Intelligence is a Northern Muslim.
- The Controller General of Prisons is also a Northern Muslim.
- The Head of Customs is a Northern Muslim.
- The DG, State Security Service is also a Northern Muslim.
- The Comptroller General of Immigration is a Northern Muslim.
- Head of the Port Authority is a Muslim lady from the North.
- Controller General, Fed Fire Service is a Northern Muslim.
- The Head of the EFCC is a Northern Muslim.
- The Civil Defense Boss is also a Northern Muslim.
- DG of National Intelligence Agency is also a Northern Muslim.
So, what happened to FEDERAL CHARACTER PRINCIPLE in appointments? This is a gross violation of Section 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution?
THE NEED FOR CHRISTIAN CIRCUMSPECT:
CAN CHURCHES DIE OR BE WIPED OUT BY PERSISTENT JIHADIST PERSECUTION?
Prof. Philip Jenken’s (Baylor University USA) research on this subject is the way it reminds us of the fact that the Eastern Churches flourished before many of the Churches came into existence in Europe. But today, most of the Churches have experienced severe decline and some have been completely extinguished. According to Jenkins “This older Christian world was destroyed so comprehensively that its memory is almost forgotten by all except academic specialists. In some places the blood of the Martyrs is the seed of the Church, while in other places and at other times, it has been the death of the Churches and Christian communities.
In 1050 the population of Asian Minor was mainly Christian, but by 1450 Christians were only 10 -15% of the population. Also, between 1200 and 1500 the number of Asian Christians fell from 21 million to 3.4 million. In Turkey for instance, Christianity existed for about 1023 years, with Constantinople having the biggest Cathedral in the world – the Hagia Sophia. Today, Christians constitute a mere 0.02% of the population. The seven Churches Jesus spoke to in Revelation 2 & 3 (Ephesus, Smyrma, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodiciea), existed in Turkey. It was in Turkey (Antioch) too that disciples were first called Christians. Today, Turkey is a Muslim Country
According to Jenkins as late as in 1900s Christians were about 11% of the population throughout the whole of the Middle East. Jenkins concludes as follows “For practical purposes, Middle Eastern Christianity has within living memory, all but disappeared as a living force”.
Christianity can be wiped out in Nigeria if Christians are not careful.
FILLING A VACUUM IN THE CHURCH
Most Christians are aware that Christianity is vulnerable and weak in Nigerian politics. Unfortunately, they do not realize where the weakness stems from. Some blame Christians in government for inability to effectively represent Christian interests while some attribute the vulnerability to disunity.
The problem of the Nigerian Church is inability to produce a Christian political leader. Without effective leadership, it would be difficult to harmonize all the various groups in the Church into effective political machinery. Without leadership, resolving contentious issues of multiple Christian candidates contesting the same seat would be a mirage.
The Islamist demonstrated political sagacity which Christians would do well to pay attention to and emulate if the Church is to make any significant impact in governance. In its goal of taking over Nigeria, the Islamists built an institution called the Caliphate. The Sultan is no longer an individual but an institution. It does not matter who sits on that throne, all the Muslims in Nigeria would kow-tow before him. The Islamists platform has become so formidable and effective to the extent that Christians who want to win election or take part in governance must get endorsement from the Sultan.
Christians have to agree on who would be the Christian political leader. Bearing in mind the sharp divergences amongst Denominations and other Church Groups, Christians may have to settle for a Group Leadership that covers all the geo-political zones as well as all the Church Groups in order to ensure balance and equal representation.
THE BASIS FOR CHRISTIAN PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNANCE
Is. 9: 6 “… and the government shall be upon His shoulder …”
- Nigeria is said to have a population equal in number of Christians and Muslims yet Christians have to rely on the generosity of the Muslim promoted parties to participate in government as reflected in the three arms: the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary, where Christians are regarded as minorities because only few Christians occupy the apex arm of government.
- Nigeria has, in effect, been a secular state from the time of amalgamation. Lugard said “the British government would not interfere with the religions of the people and every man should be free to worship God as he chose” until 1975 when the Military decided to transform Nigeria to “a multi-religious country” with the overthrow of General Gowon and some Christian Clergy were brought into this ploy.
- This desire by the Military to transform Nigeria from a secular state to a multi-religious country, was the first step in the strategy to full blown Islamic Caliphate. It was also responsible for the overthrow of President Shehu Shagari, who, though a Muslim is not an Islamist.
- The Islamists in the Military were motivated by crave for power, wealth and admiration for the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, the originators of Islamism or Political Islam.
- The Islamists hold the view that Sharia and Democracy are incompatible. Military President Babangida in his ‘transition without end’ was unable to marry the two ideologies. Their incompatibility stem from the use of force (jihad) in Sharia and persuasion and rule of law in Democracy.
- British colonialism laid the foundation for Islamism by protecting the Hausa/Fulani as an ideology – “a system of rule and of society of which an important ingredient is the operation of Muslim law” – (Willinks Commission). Nigeria already had a Caliphate that has provided the first step - Sharia for the ultimate world Caliphate.
- Islamist principles of Taqiyya (deceit) and Mukharabat – (Islamist operatives) came handy with the re-organization of the Intelligence Service by military President Babangida who ensured that Jihads – both stealth and civilization were employed surreptitiously by the Intelligence Service to change the character of Nigeria from a secular state to a multi-religious country, as the first step to a full blown Islamic Sultanate.
- The problem of division in the country today, we believe is caused by the clandestine method being employed by the Islamists in Nigeria to achieve this change in ideology with the instrumentality of the Intelligence Service to transform Nigeria from secular to a “multi-religious” country. The SSS and, its alias, DSS, constitute a hostile Intelligence Service against non-Islamist Nigerians by the way they operate.
- The secular Parliamentary System was changed first into a dictatorship and, thereafter, without a referendum to a Presidential System to further weaken the Legislature for a strong Presidential System where the President could function as a colonial Governor-General, with state Governors also as colonial Governors thereby reducing the political parties to mere government corporations placing Islamism at an advantage over Democracy in Nigeria.
- The competition or lack of co-ordination between the Intelligence and security agencies in Nigeria can be identified with issues between the Islamists on the one hand, against other Muslims and non- Islamists on the other hand, which explains why certain Nigerians are regarded as indispensable notwithstanding Senate refusal to confirm the Islamist candidate. Nigeria is also polarized on religious grounds, Muslims and Christians are not only in divisive competition but also at the mercy of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen.
- The only voice of Christians in Nigeria presently, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has been caught up in stealth jihad seems now in co-operation with the Islamists. Most Christians and Church leaders now say they are apolitical or neutral in a situation where the Islamists say they are Muslims but not Nigerians. We, Christians see ourselves first as Nigerians before we became Christians. Those who regard themselves as non-Nigerians cannot be relied upon to protect those who say they are Nigerians.
- The Islamists reject the notion of moderate Muslims which explains why Boko haram and Fulani herdsmen kill moderate Muslims whom they regard as unbelievers (Kafri). These include Shiites and fellow Sunnis who do not abide by strict Salafist covenant.
- Nigeria, as a country, has sufficient resources to stop the divisive policy of North and South, indigenes and settlers, etc by withholding Federal Allocation, the “nation’s commonwealth” from offending states until such policies are discarded. The Islamists dominated Federal government is in conformity with the Sharia principle of superiority of Islam over any other Religion. Islamists must therefore dominate others.
- All attempts by the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) to unite Christians and turn CAN into an institution is being frustrated by some Church leaders, as agents of Islamist Jihad who regard the CAN Trust Fund as “monies required by some Christians to commence a crusade” in order to pauperize the Association and ensure that Christians remain attached to the apron string of the Caliphate.
- Some Church leaders, advertently or inadvertently, have become instruments in the hands of the Islamists in the pursuit of stealth jihad, by entrenching the practice whereby the wealth of the country (oil and gas in Christian areas) are controlled by the Islamists or their agents, who select Christian leaders to speak for or against as the issues demand but always to encourage Christians to turn the other cheek.
- North Africa once a Christian geographical area was converted to Islam because the Muslim rulers were able to compromise the Christian leaders. The Muslim rulers were able to use education, employment, etc, as weapons for proselytizing and made it possible that today North African countries have become mainly Muslim.
- Christians have enough resources for proselytizing, yet some Church leaders go cap in hand begging Islamist controlled government for funds. This Islamist funding has made some Church leaders, and not their Churches, very rich. In the process, they subjugate their dogma and ideology to suit the Islamists that want Nigeria to be part of the world Islamic Sultanate.
- Stealth Jihad has been used on some Church leaders who go cap in hand begging the Caliphate for funds, notwithstanding the fact that their Churches are very wealthy and have sufficient funds to meet the needs of the Church, yet became a victim of Jihad to satisfy the greed of the Church leader.
- Most of the above issues are political which require political solution. The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) therefore recommends that Christians in Nigeria, especially those educated and regarded as elites, break away from Islamists promoted political parties to one that we, Christians, can identify and call our own because of its philosophy and ideology. These include:
- That Nigeria first before Religion, Ethnicity etc
- The party must see all Nigerians as citizens with equal rights and privileges not as colonialists and colonial subjects
- At a time like this, Christians must re-kindle their faith in Jesus Christ so that even the blind in Nigeria will see and avoid the missiles being thrown at them by the Islamists. Christians cannot be neutral at a time like this.
BIBLICAL CONFORMITY – CHRISTIAN PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNANCE
And we will notice that these principles are either derived from or at least compatible with, Christianity and the Bible.
1. A belief in God and His providence, by which He guides and controls the universe and the affairs of mankind.
2. A belief in and respect for revealed religion - that is, recognition that God has revealed His truth through the Holy Scriptures.
3. A belief in the God-given power of human reason to apprehend truth. While reason does not supersede revelation, it serves as an aid in the search for truth where the Scriptures are silent.
4. A belief that man is not a perfect or perfectible being and those in governmental authorities must take that fact into account.
5. A belief that God has ordained human government to restrain the sinful nature of man.
6. A belief that God has established certain physical laws for the operation of the universe, as well as certain moral laws for the governance of mankind,
7. A belief that God has revealed His moral laws to man through the scriptures (revealed or divine law) and through the law of nature, which is discoverable-through human reason and the human conscience.
8. A belief that human law must correspond to the divine law and the law of nature. Human laws which contradict the higher law are invalid, nonbinding, and are to be resisted.
9. A belief that the revealed law and the law of nature form the basis for the law of nations (international law) and that this law of nations includes the right of a nation to defend itself against aggressors (just warfare).
10. A belief that the revealed law and the law of nature include natural, God-given, unalienable human rights which include life, liberty and property.
11. A belief that governments are formed by covenant or consent of the people in order to safeguard human rights.
12. A belief that governments have only such powers as are delegated to them by the people in the said covenants or consent, and that when governments attempt to usurp powers not so delegated, they became illegitimate and are to be resisted.
13. A belief that, human nature being what it is, rulers tend to usurp more and more power if given the opportunity.
14. A belief that the best way to prevent governments from usurping power is to separate their powers and functions into legislative, executive and judicial branches.
15. A belief that, human nature being what it is, a free enterprise economy is the best way to give people an incentive to produce and develop national prosperity.” [Christianity and the Constitution: The Faith of Our Founding Fathers John Eidsmoe, pgs. 72 – 73]
- Christians must speak with one voice and have one common agenda for 2019 Elections and subsequent years.
- The Church should agree on Christian Political Leadership. A body should be recognized to provide direction and harmonize all the various Christian resources into one formidable asset for Christianity to pursue the entrenchment of Democracy as the indisputable National Ideology of Nigeria. This body shall coordinate screening political parties as well as Christian political candidates. Without proper Christian Political Leadership, harmonization and coordination would be impossible. A house that is divided cannot stand.
- Promote the doctrines of Truth, Righteousness and Repentance in all Christian assemblies because “righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.”
- The Church should be in vanguard of demand for a New Constitution to replace the one in use that has Sharia inclined military decrees grafted into it. There is need for proper understanding of the nature of Sharia by non-Islamist Nigerians in order to keep Nigeria Sharia free.
- Discard Sharia compliant Finance and Banking Acts (This includes Islamic Banking and SUKKUK)
- The Church should also demand the establishment a Truth and Reconciliation Commission as the basis for healing, reconciliation and forgiveness in the country.
- Establish a Law Review Commission to isolate Sharia in our statute books.
- Support CAN Trust Fund to mobilize critical funding to make Christianity in Nigeria financially independent.
JOIN THE MOVEMENT
Finally, every Christian is encouraged to join the Christian Social Movement of Nigeria (CSMN) which was established in 2001 as the Social Arm of CAN. The CSMN is the body coordinating Christian political response and is the parent body of National Christian Elders Forum.
Register at www.csmnigeria.org and encourage other Christians to enroll. Once Christians register, they will have access to more relevant information about the issues unfolding in Nigeria. We need unity of Christians to overcome the threat against the nation. Ensure that you register and encourage every Christian to do the same.
National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF)
Friday 15th June, 2018
Solomon Asemota, SAN (Chairman), Prof. Joseph Otubu, Gen. Joshua Dogonyaro (rtd), Archbishop Magnus Atilade, Dr. (Mrs) Kate Okpareke, Dr. Ayo Abifarin, Gen. Zamani Lekwot (rtd), Elder Moses Ihonde, Elder Nat Okoro, Gen. T. Y. Danjuma, Elder Matthew Owojaiye, Justice Kalajine Anigbogu (rtd), Elder Shyngle Wigwe, DIG P. L. Dabup, Sir John W. Bagu, Dr. Saleh Hussaini, Elder Mike Orobator, Justice James Ogebe, JSC (rtd), Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Chief Debo Omotosho, Dame Priscilla Kuye, Dr. S. D. Gani, Mrs. Osaretin Demuren, Prof. Yussuf Turaki, Pastor Bosun Emmanuel (Secretary)