So, I was speaking with a friend sometime ago and I said, whenever this prayer for Nigeria, that God should save our country is being led in my church or any religious gathering, I do not participate in it. One of the reasons being that repetition of prayer is a hindrance to answer to such prayer. Knowing how repeatedly this particular aspect of “laws of prayer” has been taught in my church, I wondered why we are defaulters. I stopped wondering, anyway.
I hate to keep malice with issues that I am not quite satisfied with. Long-suffering is one virtue I am short of, so I address the anomalies around me just as they are. Most truly and blatantly. I feel we do not see God as benevolent, prayer-answering. Perhaps He is forgetful, that’s why we keep reminding him of our predicament every second of the day. Or we are one strange specie that is being consumed by our religious fervour. The same prayer we met on the lips of our ancestors, our children are passing them on to their children’s children. And Nigerians, you know, we can be very violent when it comes to praying. We can blow off the roof, pull down the mountain, tear down the skies with our tongues. Sometimes our strange and incoherent rumblings. I don’t know but God, I’m sure, is tired. We make too much noise in here. It is, however, funny that we fail to understand that God has answered our prayers and that we have failed in our roles as citizens of Nigeria.
In one of his religious sessions, popular preacher and one-time Deputy Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Pastor Femi Emmanuel made a savage attack on religious hypocrisy, superstitious extremism and anglicised puppetry in Nigeria. Speaking of some churches with over forty thousand branches across the world, Emmanuel accused these religious centres of “imprisoning” their disciples with doctrines that frown at political participation. The point is, the leadership of these religious centres control a hurricane of devoted followers who should be active stakeholders in national politics and policy making but are unfortunately not because they have been blindfolded by their sanctimonious practices.
The reality is that God has answered our prayers long before now but nothing has changed because we have refused to act. Didn’t the Bible say that faith without work is dead? Perhaps we only acknowledge the portion that encourages us to pray without ceasing. Emmanuel, addressing his fellow gospellers said, “next to God’s power is political power, and political power is people-giving, and God has given us people, what else do you want Him to do for us?” Rasaq Gbolahan, a literary scholar and critic, also bothered by this reality, couldn’t have captured it any better than he says in one of his poems:
“My grandfather died
while waiting for the
future of this country.
My grandmother died
while praying for the
rays of light in this
Brother, if I walk the same
path tomorrow, bury me
without regaling my tomb
with the veil of tears…”
Many Nigerians, not only Christians believe that politics is a dirty game. A game of the corrupt. That it is loaded with a bunch of shady activities that will snatch our “omoluabi” from us. That when we join them, we will be like them. So we leave it for “them” and keep on praying for them because “the heart of the king is in God’s hands.” What?! That election results are manufactured before the election is another reason why many of us do not participate in politics. We feel our votes do not count. We feel elections are scam. However, it is on the contrary, we made it look that way because we are politically impassive.
But the redemption of Nigeria has been bought. Why it is not manifested yet is our belief in miracles. We want it effortlessly. We have to wake up from this religion-induced sleep. Prayer itself is hard work. Crying, sweating, jumping, muscling. These are not easy. If we are tired of the leadership that runs here, then we have to come to this truth, that our destiny is in our hands, that God has given us the free will to chart our destiny, that God has provided us with everything we need to fulfil our destiny, that God will not descend from heaven and be casting votes on our behalf, and that He will not come and preside over our nation for us, either.
We have prayed enough…
This is how to stop complaining about the failed leadership of this country. When the “righteous” begin to see politics as practicable and not evil, when we involve in decision making and make ourselves available for quality representation, when we shake off ourselves from our deep slumber, when we stop to think that God has dementia, when we come to know that praying is not everything, that is when we begin to deliver this country.
I hope you join me and stop praying for Nigeria now.