By Annabel Ogheneganre
On Wednesday August 16, 2017, I had a robust telephone conversation with a friend, a close confidant, my leader and publisher of an online newspaper from Sapele who gave me one piece of good news about the prospect of having the most respected, humble and well endowed cleric, Revd Francis Ejiroghene Waive join the race to represent our people of Ughelli/Udu Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives come 2019. It was one piece of news that gave me joy that night.
We had a lengthy discussion and I was glad it was coming from a very reliable source. I was happy not just because his coming signifies a bold step by Christians who are Christians indeed taking the bull by the horn to provide leadership for the people, I was particularly happy he is a man of unblemished records of service to the Church and humanity. I had earlier read the call by members of the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma Alumni Association prompting the cleric to enter the race. While I believed his would be the best choice ever contemplated by the people of the constituency, I thought Waive will succumb to the usual blackmail of running away from full time politics because of the fear of soiling his garment and calling into priesthood. That lie from the pit of hell has given the children of Beelzebub the impudence to have full reign to preside over the polity for too long. The time for the Church to wake up to the delusion of the evil one has come. God, give us men!
Over the years, church leaders have succumbed to the tricks of the enemies who quote biblical portions out of context to harass men and women of goodwill away from taking serious interest in politics. We forget to interpret scriptures to locate the value of mixing religion with politics towards enthroning righteousness in leadership. The children of Ishmael through whom Islam was founded had always taken politics as a core calling of every true Muslim to tilt the scale of balance of political leadership in their favour while the children of promise wallow in avoidable pains through ignorance of the place of politics in religion. We fail to appreciate the fact that Jehovah God himself is a politician and master of the game. He enthrones and dethrones because he is interested in government and leadership amongst his people. The finger of God is everywhere. When His chosen ones refuse to take their place, he raises men even from amongst the heathen to accomplish his will, even if not his perfect will, but at worst, his permissive will. The coming of Revd Francis Waive therefore is a most auspicious decision which must be applauded by all men and women of goodwill. God, give us men!
The Revd Francis Waive I know and have read about will not go to the House because of the money. He is outspoken, fearless and firm. He commands the audacity to talk to power. He will defend and promote bills and motions that will protect the Church of God against the subtle Jihad going on in the land. Most Christians wallow in abject ignorance. They are beclouded by party loyalty and sentiments to trade their faith, security and truth on the altar of ignorance and political delusion. Muslim leaders preach politics from the pulpit. The Chief Imam gives directive on the choice of candidate and the people obey without asking questions. Northern Nigeria commands superior political cloud because the mixture of religion and politics is a perfect blend. But among Christians, a cleric who preaches and gives directive on what is best for the people is considered worldly and out of tune with divinity. Cheer ignorance. In Bible times, there is no separation between politics and religion. In 2015, Bishop David Oyedepo warned Nigerians against the choice of the President they were making. Today majority of the people are lamenting and gnashing their teeth in regret. Christians must take politics seriously and encourage leaders to be actively involved. The world will always raise their agents to attack those who are coming to serve, discourage and call them names in the press. But Christians must stand firm to resist the devil and his evil wiles. The coming of Revd Francis Waive, I dare say again, is a welcome development that must be embraced by men of goodwill. God, give us men!
Another evil I have seen is the subtle inducement of our people with money and worldly pleasures by agents of those propagating Islam across Nigeria. In a Muslim dominated society, the Christians minority dare not declare for elective positions because to vote for such would be viewed as anti-Islam. I live in the north and I have seen so much of this happening. Christians who are not sensitive to this subtle move of the enemy are being taken unaware. The Islamic agenda of the present administration which is being denied by the leadership is real. It’s waxing stronger by the day. Most agencies of government have been taken over by Muslims. Sometimes, we joke about the domination of the political space by Muslims on social media, laughing over the danger of having the President, Senate President, Heads of almost all security formations in Nigeria and most government agencies as Muslims in Nigeria. But the truth remains that a deliberate plot to undermine Christianity is brewing with the fury of hell. God, give us men to stand for Christians in the law making chambers in Nigeria!
They are coming and are being sponsored to dominate the political space amongst our people in the southern Nigeria politics. But we have to say no by sending those who understand the times and can stand their own to be our voice in leadership position. As Rev. Asake, quoted by Fani Kayode in one of his pieces rightly said, those of us from the south should get ready because the Fulani killers and herdsmen are coming and they have a master plan! Yet few understand the gravity of the situation or even care. The Nigerian people are so weak, so battered, so bruised, so stoic, so trusting, so naïve, so ready to accept injustice, so gullible, so uninspired, so uninspiring, so fearful, so faithless, so incapable of being courageous and standing up for truth. They are like the proverbial frog that is slowly boiled to death in a pot of hot water. They just sit there, doing and saying nothing until death comes. They will wait forever for God to deliver them forgetting that God has already deposited everything that they need in them to enable them to deliver themselves. These people conquer by infiltration, assimilation and guile. The likes of Revd Waive should be discovered in their numbers, sponsored and encouraged to take leadership position for genuine change to come. We need men that can stand firm and be a voice indeed for the people. God, give us men!
For too long Christians have been too docile, naïve and pretentious about the reality and challenges confronting the people, running away from their responsibility as salt and light of the world to illuminate the corridor of power. For too long we have sent the ‘devils’ in our midst to help tame the devils in the corridors of power and society. For too long we have left the serious matter of faith and state in the hands of men and women without conscience, those who cannot be role models in moral, marital, intellectual and spiritual probity to influence our wards into virtues, men whose conscience have been seared, lacking in the milk of human kindness, men who desire to win elections at all cost by deploying all means no matter how crooked to get power for personal glory and not for service. God we need men who will stand for truth and be the conscience of a nation on the brink.
Revd Francis Waive will not go to Abuja because of the money but out of cheer conviction of what he can stand for to draw down real change, and not the mere cosmetic, sloganeering and ineffective political lip service being traded by some of our leaders. Rev Waive is a man who resigned from Ecobank Plc, then Oceanic Bank on the brink of being made Branch Manager to take his place as a full time minister of his new-found Church. He started with his nuclear family and has grown the Church to retain a brand which is known for discipleship and building of a new generation of god-fearing Christians. He is not known for prosperity messages designed to milk church members dry of all their savings in the name of sowing seeds rather, he is the weeping prophet, passionately out for souls on the path of destruction. If he were after the money, Waive would have stayed with Ecobank. He left the known for the unknown out of clear conviction that was what God wanted from him. Today, this same man is taking the bold step into another unfamiliar terrain, trusting God to lead the way with the support of the people. Waive will not go to Abuja to steal public fund. He is not greedy. He is respectful, modest in character, and will represent the Church against the wiles of the evil ones. I dare say this man has a mission which men of goodwill must support to provoke the right changes in the land.
His choice of political platform, from my interaction with my contacts, is another auspicious step wisely taken. He will neither fly the APC or PDP flag. According to my sources, Revd Waive is running on the platform of a neutral political party so he could be for nobody but for everybody. That way, supporters from either political party could be free to work for him without incurring the wrath of their respective leaders. Our elders say that a chick that will grow to be a cock could be spotted on the day it is hatched. Waive will be a perfect choice to represent the people in the green chamber. For too long, we have experienced the misfortune of electing people who represent themselves and pockets rather than the people. I am not supporting Rev Waive because we are from the same village in Ughelli South LGA, I will not support him because he is my uncle, I will support him because, for once we shall have a man who is competent and fearless enough to look at the devil eye ball to eye ball and tell him to go to blazes. Waive will return to give report of his stewardship to out Kings, Church leaders, Community leaders and the masses. He will not go and corruptly share our money like PDP or blame others for their incompetence and failures like APC. Waive will know that he would be putting his priestly calling, integrity, self-worth and honour at risk if he dare fails the people. A man like Waive, who is conscious of his place in history will not mess himself up. He sure deserves the support of all. His, is an idea whose time has come. As more people enter the race, I will examine all to see whether there could be a better choice. For now, I strongly believe Waive is surely the best.
As I wrap up this piece, the words of the poem of the American novelist and poet, Josiah Gilbert Holland on the topic, ‘God, give us men’, came to mind which says:
GOD, give us men!
A time like this demands
Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;
Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy;
Men who possess opinions and a will;
Men who have honor; men who will not lie;
Men who can stand before a demagogue
And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!
Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog
In public duty, and in private thinking;
For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds,
Their large professions and their little deeds,
Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps,
Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.
May God give is more men like Revd Francis Ejiroghene Waive to represent our people, be the light in the National Assembly and a harbinger of real change towards a better society!
Annabel Ogheneganre writes from Garki, Abuja. (08092569702 SMS only or firstname.lastname@example.org)