UNTIL there is a deliberate plan to disallow bad people from running our national life through the infusion of dedicated Christians into politics, all current efforts by the nation’s Christian Community; including the preachment of the gospel and prayers to transform the nation will not accomplish their mission.
Nigerian technocrat, administrator and erstwhile presidential candidate of the All Nigeria People’s Party, ANPP, Deacon Gamaliel Onosode on Thursday expressed this concern in Lagos at the 8th annual luncheon and awards ceremony of the Special Members Forum (SMF) of the Bible Society of Nigeria, BSN.
In his opening remarks as the chairman of the occasion, Onosode who spoke on the theme; ‘Value re-orientation: A panacea for National Transformation’, noted that at the inception of democracy in Nigeria, no Christian has minister asked faithful to stay away from politics, categorizing it as a dirty ga-me. Rather, he said, the Church has looked inward to identify people God may have called to play important roles in the polity.
According to the Baptist minister, the only medicine that cures all is Jesus, adding, that it is in only Him that we can find all answers, urging Christian faithful to be confident about themselves, “as we are only pilgrims passing thro-ugh the earth.”
Lagos State deputy governor, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire in her address, said that every Nigerian knows the problem with Nigeria, agreeing with the chairman that the only solution is in Jesus. According to her, if Christians in the country will be true believers in both deed and word, Nigeria will change for the better.
The deputy governor, who was represented by the permanent secretary, Lagos state ministry of information and strategy, Mrs. Oluranti Odutola, hailed the theme of the programme, saying it is very relevant given the sharp decline in value systems in the country, which should be the needed guide for doing what is right.
She opined that a number of social vices in the society today have arisen from the value decline, noting that a meaningful national transformation should begin with value reorientation. Mrs. Orelope-Adefulire therefore urged parents to leave a good legacy for their children to emulate, while charging the faithful to imbibe the fear of God and self sacrifice, “if we desire the growth of Nigeria.”
Former National Publicity Secretary of CAN and presiding steward of Soul Winning Chapel, Lagos, Rev. Moses Iloh, in a lecture of the same theme, is of the opinion that for any meaningful transformation to take place in Nigeria there must be a proper diagnosis of the foundational problems before the prescription of appropriate drugs that would heal the plague.
He expressed disappointment that Nigerian governments are not truthful to the nation’s citizens, lamenting that government officials often permit fake drugs to flood the Nigerian market, stressing that life in Nigeria is brutish; “today we have a nation so rich but the people are homeless. Our conscience doesn’t prick us when we see fellow Nigerians sleeping under bridges”.
The cleric also lamented that values and relationships, which were the hallmark of the African hospitality, don’t matter anymore as children now learn evil from their parents, noting that corruption and fraud are the most viable companies in Nigeria today. “The over 80 million Nigerian Christians have not been able to bring about the desired change, as corruption has become a powerful religion in Nigeria which has swallowed everyone,” he stated.
In his own presentation, chairman of the SMF, Pastor Festus Daramola noted that every nation should be concerned about the issue of orientation, which, he said, is a contemporary way of talking about a national ideology or philosophy.
According to him, the SMF was formed as a formidable team mainly to support the BSN in the area of fund raising to be able to carry out her task of making the Bible available, explaining that this year’s prestigious Bible Award was in two categories: the clergy and professional.
BSN CEO/General Secretary, Rev. Fred Odutola enjoined Nigerian Christians to join the Special Members Forum – a club of committed Christians who sponsor the numberless activities of the Society including the translation of the Bible to Nigerian languages, which he said, costs several millions of naira to accomplish.
While commending efforts of SMF members for their support, he explained that BSN donates free bibles to countless homes across the country.
Awardees at this year’s event included founder of Mount Zion Faith Ministries, Evangelist Mike Bamiloye, secretary of CAN Lagos State chapter, Archbishop George Amu, managing director of Traven Limited, Mrs. Ifie Ezenwa-Ugwoke and the managing Director of Jawa International Limited, Mr. Verkey Verghese.