Christians should get involved in politics, not only prayers –Emmanuel, PFN leader
Presiding Pastor, Living Spring Chapel International and National Director, Social Security Outfit of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Femi Emmanuel, talks about governance in Nigeria and why Christians and young Nigerians should be involved
24 October 2021Presiding Pastor, Living Spring Chapel International and National Director, Social Security Outfit of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Femi Emmanuel, talks toALEXANDER OKEREabout governance in Nigeria and why Christians and young Nigerians should be involved
You were recently appointed as the national director of politics and governance of the PFN. What gave rise to that?When the new PFN President, Bishop Wale Oke, emerged, the Oyo State branch decided to host him, being an indigene of Oyo State, to appreciate what God did for him. That was the same day I was invited to give a lecture on Christian in politics. That lecture was on when Bishop Wale Oke came in. He said when he became the president of PFN, he had a 10-point agenda and one of it was the inclusion of Christians in politics; that we could not just be praying, and that was exactly what I was treating – that whoever said the church should not be brought into politics or politics into the church killed the church in Nigeria. Not only should the church be involved in politics, it should own the structure that should produce people to go into politics.
You can never see governance from the perspective of a Nigerian from the pulpit. So, my first reaction was to say it (the appointment) was an assignment; maybe that was why God made me go into politics. It is not going to be easy; it is like waking up a dead man, the church is deeply in slumber but if it is a good thing to do, I know God will help us. headtopics.com
Nigeria always has Christians occupying top positions in government. Where do you think things went wrong?If you look at the history of Christianity in Nigeria, the Orthodox and the rest came in and the Pentecostals went the way they are going. I think when the holiness messages came in, that we just wanted to be holy unto the Lord and don’t want to have anything to do with worldly affairs, like politics and hooliganism, Christians didn’t want to have anything to do with that. So, I don’t know how governance came to be classified as worldliness and I think that was where the church missed it. Again, the church in Nigeria is peculiar. In Canada and the United Kingdom, Christians can face the church and leave politics for politicians. But in Nigeria, the government controls everything about Nigeria, which is unfortunate. That is where we found ourselves.
Politics rules life; if you are asked to get out of whatever rules your life, it could consume you and that is one of the messages I am giving to the church. If politics is played the way it is being played, I think we should bring sanity into it. In the absence of light, darkness prevails. If you are not close to governance, the government would choke you because of the people there, because of the Nigerian factor. This is not the presidential system we brought in from America; we brought it in and ‘Nigerianised’ it. This is not how democracy works where it works. Democracy is supposed to be the government of the people, by the people and for the people, but you know that is not what it is here; it is the government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich.
Are you advocating the ownership of political parties by churches?A political party is supposed to be an association of people with the same ideology coming together to sell their manifesto to the people to vote for them, as you see it among the Republicans and Democrats (in the United States of America). Here (in Nigeria), political parties are owned by political entrepreneurs. So, if one wants to go into politics, one has to buy it from them. That is what we are asking the church to own; except one owns the structure and the platform, one is at the back of the fence. The church should own the structure producing candidates because we have the people.
People ask, “But there are Christians there (in politics). (Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, (Yakubu) Dogara, is from Winners (Chapel). Dogara was there when the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020, was enacted. The law says the Registrar General could sack the board of trustees and bring his own people in. He (Dogara) didn’t go there (National Assembly) for the church. He has his own mindset. From what I saw in politics, there is no way people can emerge as a political office holder in Nigeria as Christians without compromising; it is not possible because they don’t have a platform of their own. They had to join other people’s platforms and those platforms had their demands. There is something in politics about loyalty; if one is not loyal, the party will never put them forward. To be loyal, one has got to be heavily compromised. That is why the church should provide the platform for honest, sincere, competent and God-fearing people to emerge. There are many of them; apart from people in the church, there are good Nigerians. There are Nigerians who won’t steal, they may not be many. But there is no platform for them to emerge. headtopics.com
What structure are you talking about?Read AlsoNo Christian leader can play politics and remain clean, says clericThe structure is the grassroots. Democracy in Nigeria is the grassroots. It is about wards. Nigeria has political wards and it is at that level that the decision about who to present for the electorate to vote for in an election is taken. That is where rigging starts. The system producing candidates now is heavily compromised; you are either the owner of the structure or you satisfy the owner.
You were a member of the Oyo State House of Assembly between 1992 and 1993. What was the situation like as of that time?I had not played politics before but I just had the clear vision that I could not leave it for them (politicians). Why should you stay at the back of the fence praying to know what is in front? Look at my church or any church for that matter; one cannot change anything in it from outside. One could criticise us or abuse us but one cannot change anything except you are part of it and evolve and get to a level where one’s voice could be heard. So, I went into politics and how it was played. When you get to the ward level, you will weep for this country. You will see people who decide who the delegates are and those are the people the moneybags buy. To become part of the ward exco, people fought and bribed each other; the whole thing is compromised down to the roots.
So, what I did was to see what was happening and I had 10 wards in my constituency and 10 ward chairmen. As soon as I got my ward chairman to support me, he promised to bring other ward chairmen and they saw me. They asked me whether I wanted to play politics and I said yes, and began to influence them. They were the ones that told me to represent them but with a condition that they would take me to their ‘baba,’ Pa (Lamidi) Adedibu, because he was the strong man of Ibadan politics and all he wanted to know was whether I would be loyal to them. But the chairmen said I was the one they wanted. They even forgot that I was not an indigene. That is what gives me the confidence that if Christians go to the grass roots, they will make a difference. When we were sacked after the June 12 annulment and politics returned in 1999, I was their natural choice. But they didn’t believe it when I told them I wanted to become a full-time pastor. Baba opposed me during the primaries but when I won, he carried me shoulder-high. His people asked him why he congratulated his political opponent, but he told them they could not afford to be enemies. He called me his son and trusted me.
What do you think is the political fate of Nigerians going into the 2023 general elections?With the present system, if one votes 20 times, nothing will change. But it is better late than never. Nigeria will go beyond 2023; let us start something. We won’t get it in a single jump, but let’s start something. I said the Christian community is imprisoned. I think we are just apolitical. It will surprise you that there are still pastors preaching against Christians’ involvement in governance. They tell them to get their voter cards and vote but the question they don’t answer is: vote for who? And we can’t go anywhere that way. headtopics.com
Young Nigerians took to the streets to mark the one-year memorial of the EndSARS protest and some have asked whether anything would change. What do you think?The power a lot of people arrogate the youth can only be so if the youth come together. If they must make any meaning now, they must go to the grass roots to take the structure from those who own it now. Protests work where you have governments that listen to the people. They can also present credible people that would be voted for. It is not on social media. They should use their enormous strength. The 2023 general elections are close and the 2027 elections will follow. Let them get involved and work towards those that will emerge.
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No oh. Shebi wuna go dey preach am like say na only prayers. How about the Muslims and the traditionalist Not on this dirty and God forsaking pedestal... Those that are there nko? Dem be Pagan? Isn't Pastor Kris Okotie a Christian? ....🚶🚶🚶🚶🚶🚶 Is about the daddy GOs telling Nigerian’s the truth. Christians are been killed in Nigeria, but the daddy GOs are keeping quiet.If the daddy GOs in Nigeria can take their congregation to the street for a protest, believe you me, buhari government will be toppled under 2 weeks.
Hmmm should I say it? Lol, daddy go, pastor yemi, tunde bakare and Co Wow this man became PFN leader, very selfish and uncaring man anyway pastoring is a job Tithes and offerings no do again, na to chop politics money remain.
Don't amplify Nigeria’s problems, PFN urges Nigerians - Punch NewspapersDon't amplify Nigeria’s problems, PFN urges Nigerians Shut up there, mumu Amplify tithes only. Anyhow! Is it amplifying when people stand up and say enough is enough? Why don’t the govt take a different approach and listen to their cry and fix the problems of the country instead of treating them like unwanted children
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