Nigeria is Politically Unique
By Joseph C.Ibekwe
There is an emerging narrative in the political space as the 2019 general elections draw near. It is a narrative that seeks to divide the nation and pitch the people between Christians and Muslims. I am a strong advocate for the active participation of Christians in politics. This is because for many years, Christians have been erroneously taught in Churches that politics s evil and dirty. This theological bent had put many sincerely and qualified Christian people out of the political space. But I feel it smacks of hatred to insist that during the elections Christians should only vote for Christians. I think this is a wrong narrative. It is true that sometimes overzealous Muslim groups in Nigeria also tell their people to vote only Muslims during elections. Either way, it is wrong and we cannot propagate that kind of narrative.
The fact is that Christians are just waking up to the need for them get involved in politics. But even at that, how Christians are getting into politics to protect the Kingdom agenda and not just their personal political career? Kingdom agenda is the one that accommodates everyone; that believes that public resources must be used for public good; not for sectional religious interests. Even at that, we behave as if Christians have not been in politics, the question to ask is: how many Christians go into politics as Christians and not just for personal career engagement? I have discussed this matter extensively in my book, “Politics is a kingdom Business”.
Nigeria has Christians, Muslims, and people of other faiths and those of no faith at all. The common denominator is that all of these people are Nigerians and therefore each of them is qualified to seek for public office in our Democratic space.
Voting for candidates strictly on the basis of religious affiliation or ethnic leaning, rather than on competence and capability, is myopic and counterproductive, on the long run. The reason is that being religious does not amount to leadership competence.
If you are a Christian, you shouldn’t be caught up in narrow and divisive messages. Think deeper. Interrogate individuals based on their antecedents, not just because they are Muslims or Christians.
It is not for me to tell you who to vote for in the coming elections, but it is important you learn to clarify issues so that you can make your choice based on the right kind of information. Don’t let yourself be carried away emotions and sentiments. This is why we developed a tool on how to engage political candidates during campaign prior to elections. You can download this tool from here: https://blog.fledgroup.org.ng/2018/10/27/599/
Nigeria is unique country, politically and culturally. That is the more reason you should be more robust in your thinking and judgment.
Nigeria belongs to Nigerians and every Nigerian should be allowed to seek for public office provided all other requirements are met.
Be smart, encourage your people to contest elections, but don’t subscribe to the sentiment that Christians should vote only Christians in the elections. Don’t do it.
Joseph C. Ibekwe