The truth that must be told is that many Christians who have gone before into politics have messed up. Many have soiled their hands in dirty deals, got involved in ungodly acts and ridiculed the body of Christ who support them. This has been used by so many ignorant believers to argue that politics is not meant for Christians. They are not correct.
- WRONG ATTITUDES: Many believers see political offices and posts as answered prayer to their many years of poverty. When they do thanksgiving in churches, it is more of “a gratitude to God for bringing me out of poverty” When this happens, the focus of such a Christian is on “how much can I reek out of this office while my short tenure lasts” This is bound to end up in disaster.
- SUPPORT FROM WRONG QUARTERS: Many of the Christians who venture into politics usually do not receive sufficient support from their spiritual “constituency” They get more support from the god-fathers, unbelievers, hooligans, market women and miscreants who know what lies ahead. They receive only prayer supports from their Christian constituency. Check the next Christian candidate and consider the list of his supporters and active campaign officers, then you will appreciate this factor.
- PRESSURE FROM PARTY LEADERS: When they win elections through these sets of people, what magic do we expect them to perform in office. Since democracy is government of the people by the people and for the people, a Christian who gets elected into office by the support and patronage of the wrong party leaders will have a hell of time trying to do good as they run into a major dilemma. How can they jettison the “evil people” who helped them to get into office? They are torn between doing right and incurring the wrath of those who put them in office. This is usually a common dilemma of believers in political office.
- ABSENCE OF LIKE MINDED FELLOWS: Most Christians who win political offices have few good people, Christians, dedicated and God- fearing like them around in leadership position. The few men of God who would have helped them to stand on their feet are more interested in the crumbs they get from their political dining tables. Because democracy thrives with the majority, such believers are usually pushed and bent to the point of succumbing to the whims and caprices of the popular opinion even if it goes against their convictions.
- CHURCH LEADERS WHO WANT LARGESSE: They are faced with the challenge of Churches and religious organizations who mill around the to have a share of the national cake in form of requests appeals for church building funds, launching of musical instruments, Jerusalem slots and so on. When a Christian in political office is faced with such challenges, he tries to appear good in the eyes of his/her Spiritual Leaders by doing everything possible to meet their needs. Since such moneys are “given to God” through these fathers of faith, the Christian politician may even justify himself that whatever public funds he stole has been used to “placate” God! Blasphemy !!!
- NO TRAINING: Many Christian Politicians have not been well groomed for the challenges ahead. Missionaries go to mission schools before embarking on mission fields. Pastors get trained. Christian politicians also get trained; but from the wrong people! Thus, they get carried away by the storms of the political world. If some Pastors, Missionaries etc still fumble once in a while despite all the years of training they had gone through, why are we surprised when Christian politicians mess up.
WHAT WE MUST DO URGENTLY
- POLITICAL DISCIPLESHIP PROGRAMME: The church must design and draw up a syllabus of training and political discipleship programme aimed at producing a new generation of leaders for our country. It is a conscious effort that must begin with teens and youths.
- SPECIAL FELLOWSHIPS IN CHURCHES: The creation of special fellowships in churches aimed at meeting the peculiar needs of Christian Politicians who do not have the right fora to address their life callings. Like other groups in the church, we need one for politicians.
- MASSIVE INVOLVEMENT: Christians must be massively involved in voting and being voted for. Join a political party of your choice and lend your voice at meetings. Even if it will take you the whole day. Don’t say “They already know who will win”. INEC count votes not prayer points.
- STOP MILLING AROUND CHRISTIAN POLITICIANS: Church leaders MUST desist from milling around Christian politicians for the sole aim of getting a share from their “largesse” Some politicians tend to be consoled that after all, a large chunk of their “largesse” is being collected by unscrupulous ministers for “God’s work”
- COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: Believers must become active in Community activities. Join the CDA, Landlord associations etc. Be involved in community activities like security, community projects. Maintain a high level of integrity. Be willing to sacrifice your time, energy & resources for communal purposes.
- MEMBERSHIP OF A POLITICAL PARTY: Belonging to a political group at the ward level is paramount. Here you can air your view and contribute positively to group. At this point you can gather support to choose or be chosen as a credible candidate to be the people’s representative.
- POLITICAL EDUCATION: Massive political education is needed by the church to enlighten the congregations on the gains of political party membership and the need to save “genuine and good politicians who have call of God” from the hands of hawk godfathers.
CAUTION FOR CHRISTIAN POLITICIANS
- Electoral victory MUST no be “do or die”: Loosing an election is not a signal that God has not spoken to you.
- Make clear distinction: There is no point being apologetic about your faith. Let them know who you are.
- Wisdom in dealing with other religions: Nigeria is a secular state. This means we must respect the religion of others, even as a born again Christian, you must tolerate them. Don’t ever give an impression that you don’t believe and accept the other faiths. Wisdom is profitable to direct.
- Be people-centric: Let your campaigns center around the people. Once the people accept you, it becomes not too easy for the godfathers to jettison you.
- Don’t ignore the godfathers: Wisdom demands that you respect and honour the existing political leaders. You can’t correct some things until you get to the top. However, this does not mean you should accept everything.
- Steer clear of rituals and evil activities: Politicians know how to stain your reputation. So beware of invitations to meetings especially, nocturnal ones. Don’t make the mistake of trying to belong!
- Be scandal free: He who must come to equity must come with clean hands. A little scandal is enough for them to blow out of proportion. Every Christian in politics is a target of others who wish to make a mockery of their faith.
- Steady source of income: Politics is expensive. Don’t be completely sponsored by somebody. Then you become a stooge. Plan to spend your money. However, spend only what you can afford to loose… just in case.
- Prayer supports: Raise prayer supports and you must equally pray. As you pray, you must have a support of other believers praying for you.
10. Determine to make a change: No matter how small, determine to make a change in governance.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Hebrews 13: 8