By Dr Bolaji O. Akinyemi
The 30’s were the era of the move of God in Africa and Nigeria was at the centre of it. Christian Missions were divinely “indigenized”as preachers of African descents caught the fire and became the fiery inferno that will consume the dry ready wood of revival that the Europeans model had become.
A new move was birthed which saw the emergence of Apostolic movement; streaming alongside the spiritual churches. The African consciousness has become component part of christianity.
The revival fire was passed from decade to decade and by the 60s the influence of American churches and Ministries had become pronounced on African ministries and churches taken after them. The trend led them from the 70s through into the 80s.
The 80s ushered in the 90s of the American model of churches and ministry with spanning acquisition of estates and businesses which became the order of the day in lawlessness. African societies were autocratic and unaccountable as military governments held sway. The influence of absolute power and its consequent recklessness permeated every fiber of our society.
The church was caught in the web. African churches and ministries modelled after their American counterparts were thus led by those who grew up under the military regime and so carried same arrogance of power over to church leadership and administration
Democracy as a form of Government is of course the fashionable trend globally today, but unfortunately, both the churches in Nigeria and the Government are yet to understand this: that the ethos of the system must tickle down to public and corporate governance.
The home as the smallest unit of human Government is responding to the nudge of democracy. Never in the history of the world have we seen promotion of rights of individuals in such a way that cultures are forced to give up their conquests and traditions softening its grip on the mind.
Husbands today are learning how to respectfully love their wives; parents are coming to the consciousness of their children’s rights of choice within the family architecture and the society at large. It’s a new day!
The church in Nigeria has carried on as if today will never come and she lost her opportunity to champion a move for democratic representation and accountability; a concepts original to the church which birthed the revival era of the early church (see Acts of Apostles Chapter 6).
No doubt, the church in Nigeria needs to imbibe the best global practices applicable today for which our Government must take responsibility. Unfortunately the culture of “militocracy” has deprived our democratic Government the fairness and justice required to superintend the church and the nation for needed reforms in line with the tenets of democracy. This is greatly worsened by the present administration’s impunity prevalent in nepotism and bigotry.
Constitutionality is the essence of democracy; a body of laws with the soul and spirit of the military is injurious to democracy. It can’t work!
Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, for example was necessitated by the need to curtail the recklessness of individuals who take public funds from banks for businesses and private use without a sense of financial accountability and probity.
AMCON law unlike CAMA clearly protected the rights of Individuals as forfeiture of assets comes under the purview of laws by subsuming AMCON to court processes before property(ies) of such erring persons can be seized or taken over. Why then is CAMA different?
CAMA is a sad development; a price that comes with describing politics as dirty and bounding it to the Philistines. While we slumbered they smuggled it in and made it a law. Where were the Christian legislators especially the lawyers among them when this law was passed? How come it escaped their scrutiny?
Could it be that they were bought over? Was the 37 billion granted NASS for renovation meant to renovate our laws to suit the Executives? How come nobody warned the Church? NASS passed this law and the President assented?
A law that can:
1) Remove the trustees of churches using the corporate affairs commission?
A law that says:
2) If there is any money in an account of such churches, they can direct the transfer of the funds into their own designated account if they are not satisfied with the operations of the Organisation?
A law that has:
3) The powers of the commission under CAMA that over rides the powers of the judiciary? In other words, there is no court of competent or incompetent jurisdiction when ALMIGHTY CAMA rules.
Put AMCON law side by side CAMA where those concerned have not obtained loans but the authority of CAMA is without a recourse to the judiciary and consequently the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Are we in a banana republic?
The most important need of our country today is nationhood; Agenda for Restructuring must be drawn to encourage regional government to support true federalism.
An insane State should rather bother about her insanity. CAMA will be a bigot beast of attack against descentingvoices. Nigeria is an insane State right now and measures must be taken to recover her of insanity through an holistic review of our article of union. This jaundiced selective review will only complicate our precarious state!
Is there anything preventing the Government from picking and prosecuting Pastor(s) who are infringing on our laws? I don’t get it when we excuse Government responsibility for want of laws.
CAMA for me is like putting the cart before the horse. There are clauses in our constitution begging for amendment, with NASS doing nothing.
Individuals must be held accountable. There is no point generalizing issues that can be singled out and dealt with. A Pastor in Akure Ondo State is standing trial for homicide of a little child kidnapped in his church and later found dead and buried in the church.
It is when crimes are committed and criminal are not brought to book that all “Pastors” are criminal. When justice is served then criminals have names. It’s wrong for those in defence of CAMA to says “churches” are culpable and “Pastors” are criminals.
How? Is it my business for example to query the Prophet or ministry to which a state Government pays tithes of her monthly allocations from the Federal Government for 8 years or the other to whose ministry account FCMB transferred over half a billion in error? What Government need to show is responsibility to existing laws and not draconian legislation of laws of Sharia origin.
The church must arise and champion her own reforms. CAN under the leadership of His Eminence Rev, Dr Samson Ayokunke has spoken the minds of united Nigeria churches and must be commended. They must however lead the church for a convocation of all Christian lawmakers at the National Assembly.
The good will of Distinguished adherents of faith at the Senate and of Honourable members of the House of Representatives must be sought and invested into resolving this impasse.
Permit me to draw Distinguished Senator Francis Adenigba Fadahunsi’s attention to this, and ask how and when did this happen?
Our trust in you and others like you at NASS who have balanced faith and patriotism is needed to assure our Muslim brothers and sisters in NASS that all we seek is fairness and not favouritism to have a review of this considered immediately or Nigeria will be shut down.
In the words of Archbishop Benson Andrew Idahosa, of blessed memory, “tell Babangida if we can’t build this country together we will burn it together”.
We are where we are, educationally, because politicians in the 2nd Republic in their inordinate search for power and quest for votes sold our educational destiny. They woke up one day and with one dysfunctional policy took over mission schools away, which many allegedly was done in a bid to slow pace one faith for the other and keep them at par educationally.
But we ended up with the destruction of our educational system over a period of two decades, only for politicians in the same desperation for votes in the 3rd Republic to turn around and hand back mission schools to their owners.
Our churches must not be subjected to decades of political destruction. This must be resisted! We must not allow our churches to be slaughtered and sold on the altar of politics.
We must all say no to this “karma” of a CAMA! We must not play into the hands of history; for it to repeat itself. A Government grossly failing in governance shouldn’t venture into business, as it is said Government have no business in business, not to talk of ecclesiastical leadership required for church’s ministry duties and services.
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