Nigerian Church is Condoning Corruption-Lausanne Congress, CAN, PFN, Gana, Gen Agwai, others
Written by Obinna Akukwe,
Clerics and eminent Nigerians who participated in the Lausanne Congress 2013 at Wisdom Cathedral, Maitama, Abuja, were unanimous in condemning the attitude of some churches in Nigeria which condones corruption and corrupt practices. In his lecture, the Regional Secretary of International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES), for English and Portuguese Speaking Countries and former International Director of Lausanne Congress for English Speaking Africa Rev Gideon Para –Mallam said that beyond dictatorship, terrorism is eating up the soul of Africa through a combination of Mahgreb in Algeria, MUJAB in Cote d’ Ivoire, Tuareg in Mali and Boko Haram in Nigeria and called for public sector security reforms to curtail the insurgency. Speaking on corruption in the church, he tasked church leaders to”resolve not to get money from questionable sources” .Rev Gideon said that “the church should not connive with politicians to manipulate the nation; church leaders must not allow themselves to be used in Nigeria. The politicians are looking for prophets to use and the church should not be willing tools”. He asked the church to “get involved in the political future of Nigeria. The church should get involved in issues of social justice, integral and holistic missions and must not classify all Muslims as terrorists” He asked the church not to support selected elections and insisted that democratic elections be properly conducted. Rev Gideon concluded that “if the Nigerian church gets it right, the face of Christianity in Africa will change”
In his lecture, the Anglican Archbishop of Kaduna, Rt Rev Dr Edmond Akanya berated church leaders who use National Prayer on television to collect money. According to him” National Prayer on Television is a smokescreen. It is meant to attract government patronage. Prayers should be made for Nigeria in secret and without much publicity”. Citing the example of Baptist Nasara Church in Zaria, and the Doko people of Niger State which withstood the attempt of a late Sultan to uproot them through the instrument of prayers, the Bishop asked the church to seek the power of God for intervention in difficult situations challenging the nation and the church. Bishop Akanya also warned against glorification of demons in the churches. He said that Satan has created work for some Christians who spent time that should b used to elevate Jesus Christ on chasing demons all over the place.
The prelate of Presbyterian Church, Rev Prof Mba Uka, warned that if the church is not careful, what happened to churches in North Africa, where the once predominantly Christian enclave fell to Islam, will be re-enacted in Nigeria. He said that “ what the church needs is not dialogue but diaprizes, a situation whereby people who share common goals in sports, music, entertainment etc are brought together to see the basis for their cooperation …the use of inter-religious dialogue as a mechanism could be misleading and we must ensure that Christianity does not go extinct as done in North Africa and Middle East“ The prelate emphasizes that “ Government must not support any group over the other and that maintaining the secularism of Nigeria is a tool which can be used to checkmate extremism”.
Rev Obinna Akukwe, a human Rights activist, alerted the session of the attempts by different ethnic nationalities to use the occasion of the conference to break-up the nation and asked the Nigerian Church to adopt a position on the contending issues. He asked the Church to determine whether God wants Nigeria as one or disintegrated and follow God’s counsel on the matter. Rev Obinna also warned that “a corrupt church cannot influence a corrupt nation or people of other faith, including Muslims” He also warned that” if the nation is not preserved from agents of destruction including terrorism and ethnic militias, the task of African and World Evangelism which has been assigned to the Nigeria Church by God will be a failure, since a fractured Nigeria may not be relevant in world evangelization” He led prayers for the peace of the church and the nation.
Former Minister of Information, Prof Jerry Gana, asked the church to rise up and fulfill destiny of evangelization the same manner the early missionaries took the gospel to Africa. He cited the example of Mr Edmund who left England in 1910 with his wife to bring the gospel to the Bachawa People of Adamawa State and asked the church to go wherever Jesus sends them. Prof Gana also told the audience that “there is a dearth of good political leadership in Nigeria and a good leader surrounded by bad people is finished. Leaders must watch their inner circles in order not to be led astray”.
Former Chief of Defense Staff of Nigeria, General Martin Luther Agwai told the audience that God had delivered him through dangers situations thrice in the past. The first being when as Chief of Army Staff, he was wrongly accused before President Obasanjo. Secondly was when his helicopter did emergency landing inside a bush in Sera Leone due to heavy rain and poor visibility at a time when the rebels were chopping off people’s hands. Finally when he deployed Nigerian from Sierra Leone to Liberia for peace operations and he kept night vigil to ensure that the landing was successful. He thanked God for his protection and mercies.
Former Chaplain of State House Chapel, Rev Williams Okoye asked Christians to pray for any believer who is trying to get it right in government and is facing opposition. He believes that someone who tried to do things well but failed is better than those who made no effort at all. Rev Prof Yusufu Turaki asked the church to strive for unity so that they can corporately lead in the transformation of the country. He asked the church leaders to rise above ethnicism, culture and sectionalism. Rev Danny Mc Cain, an English Missionary based in Jos tasked church leaders to ensure that they transit to their successors properly in order to continue the streaks of successes. Citing the example of Moses who transited to Joshua while the later couldn’t properly transit to the next generation thereby leaving Israel without leadership for over 400 years, he said that the ark of a successful leader is his ability to raise those that will continue the work.
The PFN President, Rev Felix Omobude had earlier warned Christians not to be bribe takers and wondered why they forget the precepts of God once they enter public office. President of Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, represented by the president of Church of Christ in Nations, Rev Dr Jose Bewarang, prayed for Christians in public service, using Prof Jerry Gana as a point of contact. Pastor Proper Isichei and Rev Chudi Chukwudile spoke respectively on Youth Development and Children while Rev Dr Godfrey Ugwummadu spoke on the unreached peoples groups of Nigeria.The conference will end on Friday with a communion to be administered by the Primate of Anglican Church, Rev Dr Nicolas Okoh.
Lausanne Conference on World Evangelism(LCWE) was first held in the Lausanne in 1974, Switzerland, hosted by Rev Dr Billy Graham. Subsequent ones held in Manilla, Phillipinnes in 1989 and Cape Coast , South Africa in 2010.