Religious Organizations as Catalyst for Change.

Religious organisations in Nigeria have done very well. I so much hold them in highest esteem. Part of the things, most of us in Diaspora miss so much about Nigeria is the free and daily evangelism on out televisions, radio, newspapers, magazines, leaflets etc. Everyday, you will be sure to a listen to a preacher in one of our media channels. Blessings and spiritual enrichment always follow after each preaching. Sermons are preached to both Christians and Moslems. This preaching’s mean a lot to Nigerians; at least it has given hopes were the Nigerian government (past and present) have dashed our aspirations.

The branch network of most of our churches and mosques shows how massive and strong they are. It also shows there wider spread and reach. Their influences on our lives are enormous and there large membership cannot be disputed. The significance of our Churches has spread to our educational sector, where churches are building many universities and higher institutions.

The decision of our churches to invest more in building universities is highly appreciated. This must be a relief for most Nigerians, especially with the near collapse of the government schools. Am sure these church schools and universities are designed in a way to produce graduates of international standard. The management of your organisations should be a lesson to the government.

Religious organisations have added positive values to our society, whereas our government is busy adding negative values (pain and misery) to the masses. No doubt, churches, mosques and other religious organisations are an integral part of the Nigerian society. It becomes difficult to separate the two. Men and women of God have always been called upon to pray each time there is a political function. Prayers are usually offered before the start of any event, be it government function or otherwise.

Men and women of God have held political appointments in Nigeria. They have also carried out government assignments. An example was when Rev Father Kuka was appointed to the Oputa Panel as a member. We all knew what his contributions were. Rev Mbaka from Enugu Catholic dioceses used to be a strong critic of then Enugu State government under Chimaroke. I remember prelate Sunday Mbang who uses to criticize the government. The Christian Association of Nigeria used to be a strong critic of Babangida administration. In 2003, Rev Chris Okotie contested for the Nigerian presidential election. Am sure many more other men of God have participated in one way or the other in running the affairs of Nigeria. The list is endless. There is nothing wrong with this. The truth is that religion cannot really be separated from the Nigerian politics.

The Nigerian political terrain needs more honest men and women of God. Therefore I am using this medium to appeal to religious leaders to increase their participation in the governance of Nigeria. Your participation will be highly appreciated. The reason for my appeal is simple. A lot has gone wrong with the governance in Nigeria. Besides, whatever wrong policy that is made by the politicians will affect all of us. No person will be exempted. Maladministration affects the entire populace whether you’re a man or woman of God. The mismanagement of our resources is a problem to all. Another example is the bad road network which affects every person that drives on the road. The chaotic situation of things in Nigeria demands your immediate participation in governance so as to help in salvaging our motherland.

Religious organisations have tremendous influences on our lives including that of the politicians. That is why I am so sure that if they join hands together to ask for electoral reforms, it will be achieved without much delays. Our problem in Nigeria is the electoral system. Even the president has acknowledged this. Since we are clamouring for change in our electoral system, my position is that Option A4 system is the best for Nigeria. At least there was no single person killed when this system was used. In contrast, I have lost count of how many people killed as a result of electoral violence, starting from 1999 to 2007 elections, not to talk of properties destroyed.

My Lords spiritual (All men and women of God), I wish to remind you that your failure to support positive electoral reforms might mean your continued presiding over funerals, occasioned by political violence. Jos crisis being the latest. Alternatively with your prayers and fasting, electoral reformation will be achieved quicker. Please may you critically examine the advantages and disadvantages of Option A4 electoral system in line with the Nigerian society. This I believe will make you support the campaign for the reintroduction of this system. May God continue to bless Nigeria.

Chinedu Vincent Akuta
An activist and leader of “Support Option A4 Group”

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