Nigerians must ensure a peaceful election with an eye on the future

Chall Emmanuel is our TEN3 correspondent in Jos, Nigeria. He submitted this piece recently on the upcoming national elections in Nigeria. The presidential and National Assembly elections are Feb. 14 The Governorship and state’s House of Assembly elections are Feb. 28.

The Encarta Dictionary defines politicizing as to make somebody politically aware, or active, or to introduce a political element to something. The topic of politicizing the pulpits is a picture of how political issues are wrongly articulated on the pulpit. If the pulpit is a raised platform in the church — the household of God that is supposed to be treated with all sense of decorum and responsibility and purity in our act and speech — so do our hearts deserve the same treatment.

Albert Einstein once said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.” Hence, the need for rationality in making speeches and articulating our opinions. In other words, the concept of pulpit does not only picture the physical pulpit, but our hearts are symbolically what God delights in as a raised platform where He can always stand and speak to our consciences. Our minds should be kept holy.

One predominant aspect anywhere democracy is peddled as a system of government is that individuals freely enjoy rights to speech and other fundamental human rights. Another trend is that clerics politicize the pulpit, relying on sentiments to give flavor to their reasoning, stifling the Holy Spirit and relying on their intellect in making their congregation aware of issues. It’s like twisting facts to suit theories and imposing their opinions, which affects the decision-making of the general masses within their jurisdiction. Like Karl Max would say, “Religion is the opium of the masses.”

Consequently, in some Churches, Pastors instead of shepherding the flock of God under their care are rather scattering and destroying them through diabolic soft tunes, instead of being committed to their charge.

Religious leaders ought to consider their people as the flock of God’s heritage and treat them accordingly, advising them on a positive path of righteousness. They are not theirs, to be lorded over at pleasure, but they are God’s people and should be treated with love and tenderness for the sake of Him to whom they belong.

In contrast, members of the church must learn to submit to religious leaders, to give due respect to their persons, and yield to their admonitions and reproof.

A street scene in Jos, Nigeria. Terrorists detonated bombs not far from this street in December, killing 30 people and injuring dozens.

A street scene in Jos, Nigeria. Terrorists detonated bombs not far from this street in December, killing 30 people and injuring dozens.

I was listening to the radio some weeks back and a chaplain commented that, “One thing Nigerians must know is Nigeria does not need a religious leader, but a God-fearing leader.” In other words, Nigerians must work hard in ensuring they consolidate more on this hard-earned democracy we are currently enjoying, ensuring a peaceful election and predicting better days to come. This includes ensuring stability even after the elections and charting a new course for our dear nation.

More so, as Nigerians prepare for the February general elections in a couple of weeks, Nigerians must be discerning on how to consolidate on the gains of democracy, while the incumbents are faced with a fierce oppositions at every level of aspiration.

In summary, our hearts — the pulpit — must be kept Holy. Our hearts should be guided by the spirit of God to enable us see beyond the next general election and for generations to come. The Church must also survive as we decide through the ballot boxes, ensuring massive participation by members through leaders who head the churches. Let peaceful and good brotherliness be our watchword during and after the February polls.

Finally, Thomas Campbell said, “Wisdom resides more in the heart and soul than the intellect.” So teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.”

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