HOW RIGHTEOUSNESS MIGHT EXALT NIGERIA: A CASE STUDY ON RECENT ELECTIONS
By: Deji Yesufu
A cursory study of the Bible will reveal two things: democracy are recent developments in the manner countries are governed. Second, it will reveal that while governance is not the primary concern of God in his dealings with his people, our God is intimately involved in the way and manner nations are governed. In fact the biblical pronouncement is that God installs and dethrones kings (Daniel 4:32). Those who understand how providence work, know that God is actively involved in the process in which leaders come to the thrones of countries. If God does not permit it, no one can become king or president.
A second consideration this article wants to look at is an examination of how democratic norms became the more accepted form of government around the world today. Prior to now, most countries operated a monarchy: a system of government where one man ruled. It was never tenured and he ruled all his life, only passing on the reins of government to his offspring at death. It doesn’t matter what kind of person he was, people will have to live their lives under him. The blessing of time, the workings of God through modernity, brought forth democracy as an alternative system of government. Fact is that democracy is not a divine establishment; there is no where written in a holy book that countries must be ruled via democratic ethos.
Having stated these two points, may I now present to us an argument on how righteousness will exalt Nigeria, even as I use the recent elections in our country as a case study. A few things have happened since the last voting processes were completed. Cases are in court; the internet is rife with debates; the Igbo/Yoruba relationship has been tested; etc. What has, however inspired this essay, is the song Falz the Bahd Guy released yesterday, which is titled “Mr. Yakubu”. In the song, Falz and Vector are rapping lines filled with innuendos directed at the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, alleging rigging of the just concluded elections. Falz is not new to politicking in Nigeria’s national life. He almost single handedly plunged Nigeria into chaos with the ENDSARS protests – which he and a few others started. The latest song is a testimony to the shoddy manner an election is carried out despite so much resources expended on it. The question then is: how does this concern righteousness and the exalting of a country?
Righteousness is a reflection of God’s holiness on a society. Righteousness will birth justice, truth, equity, love, etc, in a society. It doesn’t matter who governs a society or what systems of government exist, righteousness will allow for the right thing to be done. Now, human beings are naturally wicked, selfish, self centered, dubious, etc. It is Christians and the Church that shows the world what right is and how righteousness can exist in a society. Christians often form the ideologies that allow for good governance to thrive; Christians influence public opinion until those opinion become mainstay and can influence how a country must be governed.
Now, let us examine how Bola Tinubu, the president elect, reached this stage. Tinubu effected an alliance that wrested power from the PDP in 2015. He sat back and watched President Muhammadu Buhari complete his terms of office. After this, Tinubu declares it is his turn to govern the country. He made this statement on the eve of the primaries of the APC. At the venue of the primaries, there were allegations of large sums of money disbursed to party delegates. Tinubu was overwhelmingly voted for and he emerged the APC presidential flag bearer. After this, money politics began in earnest. The cooperation of Northern governors was obtained, some allege bought, and Tinubu emerged president elect. Can Nigeria say with certainty that Tinubu became president on the path of righteousness?
On the other hand, Tinubu’s opponents are contesting his emergence at the courts and they have all shown willingness to allow the judiciary dictate the direction the country should go. Yet the judiciary is a part of society and Falz’ song on the INEC Chairman would have reached their ears. Perhaps influencing what decisions they will take in the days to come .
My point is simple: there is no divine pronouncement anywhere that Bola Tinubu must be president of Nigeria. The whole process of contesting the election results at the courts is still part of the electioneering processes. Whoever emerges victorious is God’s will for Nigeria. Yet, everything happening in between is God’s ordained will to bring about his good purpose for our country. Therefore, the Christian Church can not assume a non-chalant attitude towards government. Churches must add their voice to the call for the right things to be done in society. It is as we do this that righteousness will exalt a nation. But where all kinds of brigandage is permitted in the name of elections, sin becomes a reproach to a people. Many people that God will use to uphold right in society may not be professing Christians, but Christians must be able to recognise righteousness in their course and support such worthy courses.
I think the song Falz sang was so on point and I think it is a creative way of reminding Nigerians of what the right is and that we should never lose sight of it. All righteousness: right, justice, truth, peace, etc, will exalt a nation. As long as we continue with the same old ways elections are run in this country, such sins will not cease to be a reproach to the country.