Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja
The Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria, Rev. Samuel Uche, has said Christians will not vote for wicked and lazy politicians, who are religious bigots in the 2019 elections.
He said although he had only one vote, he could influence at least two million voters from his denomination and many other Christians.
Uche said this in a sermon delivered at the 2018 Democracy Day Interdenominational Church Service held at the National Christian Centre, Abuja where Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo warned Nigerians to resist the temptation of asking to be returned to the era of the past characterised by corruption and ethnic conflicts.
While saying impunity would no longer be allowed in the country, Uche said he was ready to take the bullet while fighting the menace.
He said, “As we celebrate Democracy Day on Tuesday and as we remember our children today, I want to advise that we should avoid do-or-die politics.
“There should be no fear in politics. Let people be allowed to vote and let their votes count.
“We will work against all those who plan to manipulate elections; we will never allow that. And let me tell you that if they fire their bullet, it will not penetrate because God is with us. The God of Elijah and Elisha is our God.
“We will no longer allow impunity to reign in this country. I don’t belong to any political party but I can influence at least two million Methodists in Nigeria. I can also influence other Christians.
“We will never vote in anybody that is lazy; anybody that is wicked, anybody that is a religious bigot can never smell any office in this land. Those who mean well for Nigeria, God will preserve them. Those who are planning to hurt Nigeria, God will annihilate them.
“So, let us come together to build a nation where there is peace, love, harmony, tolerance, concord and synergy.”
The clergyman warned the ruling party against clamping down on members of the opposition parties just as he advised the opposition members to avoid crying wolf where there was none.
He warned all stakeholders against heating up the polity, saying the nation needed peace.
He also described the calls for the breaking of the country as nonsensical, adding that those behind such calls were ignorant.
The cleric said Nigerians must learn to live together in peace.
Uche also called on the Federal Government to revisit the report of the 2014 National Conference with a view to picking the recommendations that would be useful to the nation.
He advised the government to stop apportioning blame and pointing fingers, saying it was a waste of time.
He supported the call for the establishment of special courts for urgent trial of corruption cases.
According to the clergyman, Nigeria personifies the biblical Job at this time because the country’s problems and challenges are many.
He said the nation’s past heroes meant well for Nigeria and they worked for the nation’s progress.
Uche, however, said the present-day politicians acted with impunity because they had not learnt their lessons.
He described 90 per cent of such politicians as chameleonic, asking them to change.
“Our leaders have failed to provide good leadership. They can’t organise simple primaries. There is in-fighting. What a shame! We need peace before we can build a nation of our dream. We need tolerance, forgiveness and forbearance,” he said.
Uche urged the Federal Government to review the bogus salaries and allowances of those in authority downwards, saying they could not continue to be enjoying while the people were suffering.
He enjoined them to allow the little national cake to go round so that everybody could have a bite.
“Hawking is evidence that all is not well with our country. Many young people are deprived and that is why I call on the government with all due respect to review the bogus salaries and allowances of those in authorities because they are squandering our money.
“They engage in bogus spending leaving us to suffer; this must stop. We must allow our little cake to go round so that each one can have a bite.
“Our government should ensure something is done about our porous borders in order to checkmate the incidence of migration of miscreants, irresponsible cannibals and wicked people into our country,” he said.
Uche said former President Olusegun Obasanjo recently told him about a Yoruba proverb that meant that a family could only know peace if there were no bastards.
“All those who are troublers of Nigeria are bastards. A family only knows peace where there are no bastards.
“No holy book encourages war or hostility. Why then do we have hatred, malice and intolerance?
“I blame religious leaders of different faiths who collect money. They are wicked, malicious, and satanic,” he said.
Despite all the ills, Uche said he saw hope for the country if only Nigerians could agree that the amalgamation of 1914 was a divine one.
Don’t ask for a return to the past, Osinbajo warns Nigerians
In his remarks at the service, Osinbajo said the current national challenges that were making some Nigerians to call for a return to the pre-2015 era were designed by God to strengthen them.
He explained that when God put individuals or nations on a journey to destiny, He did not tell them the challenges inherent in the trip, lest they would refuse to embark on it.
Quoting extensively from Exodus 14: 10 to 15, the Vice-President likened Nigeria’s current challenges to the children of Israel wilderness’ journey that was tough, difficult and fearful.
He said like some Israelites did at a point, Nigerians might be faced with the temptation of wondering why they were not left to remain in the captivity of the past.
Osinbajo said his message for Nigerians at such critical point in the nation’s history was for them to go forward and refuse to turn back because “the challenges they see today won’t be seen again.”
He said, “As it was with the journey of the Israelites, so it is in the journey of nation-building and development. Our nation is not different. We are on a journey from the past.
“There have been times where the journey is somewhat tough, difficult and even fearful.
“We looked behind us, we see the armies of the past: the armies of division which led to civil war where many of us died; the armies of religious strife that refused to leave us; the armies of corruption and graft; those who want us to remain in the captivity of ethnic and religious conflicts, these are the armies of the past.
“But ahead of us, we also see the Red Sea – bloody conflicts and the doom sayers saying the future will be worse than the past.
“And then the people say, ‘Why did you take us from where we were?’ The same people who cried in anguish to the Lord, now say, ‘You should have left us in the past, you should have left us; we didn’t know you were taking us out of captivity to kill us in the wilderness.’
“And like Moses, the leadership say, ‘What shall we do, oh Lord? We didn’t expect that this will be a journey to destruction.’ Then God said to Moses, God speaks to the leadership of Nigeria, ‘Why do you cry to me? Tell the children of Israel, tell the children of Nigeria, go forward, go forward, don’t turn back.’
“Moses, inspired by God, said to the children of Israel to go forward. He also said, ‘Do not be afraid, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians you see today, you shall see no more forever. He will fight for you and you shall hold your peace.’
“So, I say to you brethren in Christ and to you my fellow country men and women, let us go forward, let us not look back.
“The armies of the enemy that are today threatening to kill and maim and the colours of poverty and injustice, you shall see no more forever.
“God will fight for us and we shall hold our peace. We must move forward, we are a people of prophesy. God has said concerning this nation that he is building a nation where all men and all tribes and faith will dwell in love and peace, a nation where our people will have ample opportunities for productivity and reward. The promises of God are assured and certain.
“2 Corinthians 1:20 tells us that all the promises of God are yea and amen to the glory of God to us. All the promises of God to us are yes and amen in Jesus Christ for you and I.
“This is the future that we are heading and we are already going steadily, surely in that direction.”
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said the Church had a role to play for the good of the nation to manifest.
“The Church has a responsibility that Nigeria sees the light,” he said.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, took the only lesson for the service from Job 14:7-9.
The service featured a short drama, special renditions by the Christian Association of Nigeria’s mass choir, and pupils of the School for the Blind, Abuja as well as intercessory prayers for Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, Osinbajo, the Legislature, Judiciary and the Church.
Dignitaries who attended the service included the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen; and the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, John Odigie-Oyegun, among others.
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