Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

So While in Church this morning my Senior Pastor reminded me of the piece opined by Elnathan John in July 2012, though sacarstically comical, it points to our religiousness as a people and lacking Godly Character. I will allow you read through it, feel free to drop a comment or your thoughts in the Comment Section.

The Nigerian god is one. It may have many different manifestations, but it is essentially different sides of the same coin. Sometimes, adherents of the different sides may fight and kill each other. But Nigerians essentially follow the Nigerian god.

This article is for all those who want to become better worshipers. If you are a new or prospective convert, God will bless you for choosing the Nigerian god. This is just how you must worship him.

First, you must understand that being a worshiper has nothing to do with character, good works or righteousness. So the fact that you choose to open every meeting with multiple prayers does not mean that you intend to do what is right. The opening prayer is important. Nothing can work without it. If you are gathered to discuss how to inflate contracts, begin with an opening prayer or two. If you are gathered to discuss how to rig elections, begin with a prayer. The Nigerian god appreciates communication.

When you sneak away from your wife to call your girlfriend in the bathroom, and she asks if you will come this weekend, you must say—in addition to “Yes”—“By God’s grace” or “God willing”. It doesn’t matter the language you use. Just add it. The Nigerian god likes to be consulted before you do anything, including a trip to Obudu to see your lover.

When worshipping the Nigerian god, be loud. No, the Nigerian god is not hard of hearing. It is just that he appreciates your loud fervour, like he appreciates loud raucous music. The Nigerian god doesn’t care if you have neighbours and neither should you. When you are worshipping in your house, make sure the neighbours can’t sleep. Use loud speakers even if you are only two in the building. Anyone who complains must be evil. God will judge such a person.

This is how the Nigerian god judges people who are your enemies- evil people who want to spoil your hustle; like your colleagues who don’t want your promotion; like your single old aunties who secretly don’t want you to marry that rich handsome man (who you haven’t met yet); like all your neighbours who are stopping you from getting pregnant: He violently consumes them by fire. He returns all their evil plans back to sender. So when making requests about all your enemies, do not pray that they be forgiven or that they change. Pray that the Nigerian god kills them off with such violent finality that there is nothing left of them. 

Attribute everything to the Nigerian god. So, if you diverted funds from public projects and are able to afford that Phantom, when people say you have a nice car, say, “Na God”. If someone asks what the secret of all your wealth is, say, “God has been good to me”. By this you mean the Nigerian god who gave you the uncommon wisdom to re-appropriate public funds.

Consult the Nigerian god when you don’t feel like working. The Nigerian god understands that we live in a harsh climate where it is hard to do any real work. So, if you have no clue how to be in charge and things start collapsing, ask people to pray to God and ask for his intervention.

The Nigerian god loves elections and politics. When you have bribed people to get the Party nomination, used thugs to steal and stuff ballot boxes, intimidated people into either sitting at home or voting for you, lied about everything from your assets to your age, and you eventually, (through God’s grace), win the elections, you must begin by declaring that your success is the wish of God and that the other candidate should accept this will of God. It is not your fault whom the Nigerian god chooses to reward with political success. How can mere mortals complain?

The Nigerian god does not tolerate disrespect. If someone insults your religion, you must look for anyone like them and kill them. Doesn’t matter what you use—sticks, machetes, grenade launchers, IED’s, AK47’s. The Nigerian god sometimes deeply appreciates a good beheading for people who blaspheme. If the person who insults your religion is online and you can’t locate them, feel free to threaten to kill them. Like we say in Nigeria: “at all-at all na im bad pass”. Something is better than nothing at all. 

The Nigerian god performs signs and wonders. He does everything from cure HIV to High BP. And the Nigerian god is creative: he can teach a person who was born blind the difference between blue and green when the man of god asks, and he can teach a person born deaf instant English. As a worshipper you must let him deliver you because every case of sickness is caused by evil demons and not infections. Every case of barrenness is caused by witches and has no scientific explanation. So instead of hospital, visit agents of the Nigerian god. But the Nigerian god does not cure corruption. Do not attempt to mock him.

If you worship the Nigerian god, you are under no obligation to be nice or kind to people who are not worshippers. They deserve no courtesy.

The Nigerian god is also online. As a worshipper, you are not obliged to be good or decent on Facebook or Twitter all week except on Friday and Sunday, both of which the Nigerian god marks as holy. So you may forward obscene photos, insult people, forward lewd jokes on all days except the holy days. On those holy days, whichever applies to you, put up statuses saying how much you are crazy about God.

These days, the Nigerian god also permits tweets and Facebook updates like: “Now in Church” or “This guy in front of me needs to stop dozing” when performing acts of worship. Also, nothing like a Twitter hashtag with your pastors sermon. These are great hashtags to consider for Sundays: #SundaysWithJesus #JesusRocks #SundaySermon #Crazy4JC

In all, the Nigerian god is very kind and accommodating. He gives glory and riches and private jets. And if you worship him well, he will immensely bless your hustle.

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Fellow Nigerians:

Happy 2018 once again. This year promises to be an unusual one and a turning point in the history of our nation. In conveying my optimistic salutations, I am not unmindful of the unpleasant circumstances that characterised the turn of the year, including the fact that the first “Merry Christmas” uttered by many Nigerians was to their fellow compatriots in fuel queues at petrol stations. I am also saddened by the terror attacks on places of worship during the festive season. My heartfelt condolences go to the families and communities in Guma and Logo Local Government Areas in Benue State who began the year in grief because of the murderous activities of heartless criminals. I pray that they, and every hurting Nigerian, will experience the comforting hand of God and find the fortitude to hope for a happy and joyous year in 2018.

Tomorrow, the fifteenth of January, is Armed Forces Remembrance Day; a day set aside to remember Nigeria’s fallen heroes, those who fought in the First and Second World Wars, as well as those who laid down their lives during the Nigerian Civil War to keep Nigeria one. I salute these heroes and every member of our Armed Forces still fighting in various missions in the world and, in particular, those in the theatre of the prolonged war against Boko Haram.

I am also mindful that tomorrow will mark fifty-two years since the shots were first fired that eventually destroyed the federal foundations upon which our union was originally constructed. We remember the fathers of our nation who lost their lives in the process, the likes of Sir Ahmadu Bello and Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. We celebrate the legacies of these heroes past, together with those of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and we reaffirm that their labours shall never be in vain.

I stand here today as I have done in previous years to constructively examine the state of the nation, to evaluate our progress, to appraise our governmental systems and structures against the backdrop of our national purpose and promise, and to awaken leadership to the solemn call to dispense good governance. Very importantly, I stand today to prick the conscience of a nation that has turned the other eye in deliberate sinful silence of a conspiratorial magnitude while Nigerians are being murdered in various parts of the country by marauding herdsmen. I will proffer structural solutions to these and other challenges facing our nation in the course of this address, but first I will clarify issues arising from my public statements regarding my role in the future of our nation.

Setting the Record Straight

On the first day of the year, I shared twelve prophecies regarding the nature of the year 2018 as I had received from God. For instance, the tenth prophecy indicated that there will be an upsurge in the price of mineral resources as well as oil and gas in 2018. Barely had these statements been made when the price of oil topped $68 for the first time since 2015.[i]

However, the twelfth prophecy has become the theme of myriad speculative interpretations and enquiries. While it has brought excitement to some, it has brought anxiety to others. I have since been inundated with messages from politicians and journalists as well as friends and well-wishers seeking clarification or offering advice based on their understanding of those declarations.

I did say that, while waiting on God, the Spirit of God said to me:

“Politics is not over for you. There is still one thing left for you to do: Run for President…I will work it out Myself and make it happen in due course[ii].”

I went ahead to put this in context as I appealed for prayers. I hereby further clarify the twelfth prophecy with the following ten points:

  1. The declaration was not a presidential campaign announcement; it was an invitation to prayers sent out to fellow labourers initiated in our corporate destiny as nation builders;
  2. To the uninitiated, that declaration was news, but to my partners in destiny, to whom indeed the request for prayers was extended, my journey and trajectory in the call to nation building is well known. It began on April 10, 1967 when, as a thirteen-year-old, I saw myself in a vision discussing the future of the nation with two Nigerian leaders, General Yakubu Gowon and Chief Obafemi Awolowo. That vision changed my life; it sustained me as a teenager and propelled me into student politics at the University of Lagos as I ran for the post of Student Union President; it took me into active politics as I stood on the platform with the elders the day the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) was launched in Lagos; that vision shaped my uncompromising non-conformist value system in legal practice, business, ministry, and politics. The subject of the twelfth prophecy is therefore not new;
  3. Nowhere in that declaration did I mention running for election. It is, however, not surprising that politicians and the politically-minded have interpreted it as such. Their narrow interpretation reminds me of Joshua’s description of the sound from the Israeli camp while Moses was away on the mountain with God.[iii]Whereas the Israelites were making merry, to Joshua, a man of war, every sound from the camp was a sound of war. In like manner, every time the word “run” is used in a statement, the politician thinks of elections, while a statesman thinks of the next generation. I am, by God’s grace, a nation builder propelled by the dream of a New Nigeria and hopefully will become a statesman someday;
  4. I am indeed running, but not for elections; it is a race of destiny and the destination is certain. The certainty of this destination is reminiscent of the statement Jesus made before Pilate:

John 18:37 (NKJV): 37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

In like manner, to everyone asking what the twelfth prophecy actually means, my unequivocal response remains, “To this end was I born, and for this purpose I came into the world: To lead Nigeria into her prophetic destiny.” It will happen in due course, in God’s way, and in God’s time;

  1. Some may ask, “How then can it happen, if not by elections?” My simple response is that there are biblical precedents, including the stories of Joseph, David, Nehemiah and Daniel; there are also historical precedents, including the case of George Washington whose unanimous election was merely an endorsement, and Gerald Ford who, under the terms of the 25th Amendment, took the oath as Vice President on December 6, 1973, and, following the resignation of President Richard Nixon, was inaugurated as the 38th President of the United States on August 9, 1974, without a single election;
  2. Furthermore, as Jesus said when Nicodemus came to Him by night to make enquiries:

“…The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”[iv]

If God leads me to serve my nation by election into political office, I state boldly that I will accept it with all my heart. In the year 2011, when the opportunity came to be running mate to then General Muhammadu Buhari, God said to me, “You are walking on a path that I have mapped out for you.” In His wisdom, God knew that phase of His plan was not going to lead to election victory, but it was a crucial phase of His plan, and I dare say that the dress rehearsal was worth it. As God unfolds the next phase, my response to Him is simply, “Here I am. Send me.”[v];

  1. The important point to note is that it is my destiny to shepherd this nation into her prophetic destiny, and the time is at hand. The method by which God intends to do it is up to Him; I am neither flagging off an election campaign nor building political alliances. Like David, I will continue to shepherd God’s flock and, in His time and manner, I will shepherd the nation according to the integrity of my heart and the skillfulness of my hands[vi];
  2. For the cynics who query the authority and audacity by which I speak of my assignment to Nigeria, let me remind them of the statement by Papa Chief Obafemi Awolowo before the High Court on September 11, 1963, just before he was sentenced to prison for treasonable felony:

“It is, therefore, with a brave heart, with confident hope, and with faith in my unalterable destiny, that I go from this twilight into the darkness, unshaken in my trust in the Providence of God that a glorious dawn will come on the morrow…I…will not die in prison…I am confident that the ideals of social justice and individual liberty which I hold dear will continue to be projected beyond the prison walls and bars until they are realized in our lifetime.”[vii]

History later justified these bold claims. Shortly after his release from prison, he became the Federal Commissioner for Finance and Vice Chairman of the Federal Executive Council in the Gowon administration (today’s equivalent of Vice President and Minister of Finance rolled into one). In this capacity, Chief Awolowo helped Nigeria prosecute the Civil War without borrowing a dime, to the extent that General Yakubu Gowon, in a tribute to Chief Awolowo, acknowledged that the late sage helped save Nigeria from breaking up[viii].  My question to the cynics is therefore: How did Papa Chief Obafemi Awolowo know that he would not die in prison but would be released to serve Nigeria? If they cannot answer this question, then neither will I tell them by what authority I make these audacious declarations;

  1. Having established the fact that I am ready to follow God’s leading in the service of my nation, let me reiterate that what Nigeria needs now is not another election but a return to the drawing board to renegotiate our union. You will recall that, in 2015, I made a similar declaration in the message titled “The Gathering Storm and Avoidable Shipwreck: How to Avoid Catastrophic Euroclydon”[ix]. In that address, I called for restructuring when others were clamouring for elections. Three years later, the majority that was wrong has become the minority, and the minority that was right is becoming the majority, even as restructuring has become the buzzword in our nation;
  2. Finally, I am reminded of David’s response to his brothers’ spiteful cynicism when he accepted Goliath’s challenge. This is recorded for our learning in I Samuel 17:28 & 29 (NKJV):

28 Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David, and he said, “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” 29 And David said, “What have I done now? Is there not a cause?”

Fellow Nigerians, given the state of our nation, is there not a cause? Therefore, rather than waste time on cynical critics, we draw strength from the words our ears have heard:

The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying,
“Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass,
And as I have purposed, so it shall stand…”[x]

The State of the Nation

Some measure of progress has been made within the first thirty-one months of this administration[xi]. However, as was the case with previous administrations, the current government appears to be merely patching the cracks on the wall. This administration anchored its policy outlook on three main thrusts, including security, job creation through diversification, and anti-corruption, yet all around us are signs of retrogression.

As at June 2015, the unemployment rate was 8.2% of a labour force of 74 million[xii], meaning that about 6 million Nigerians were unemployed. By September 2017, despite such efforts as N-Power[xiii] and a range of policies aimed at improving enterprise development and facilitating job creation, the unemployment rate had risen to 18.8% of a labour force of 85.1 million[xiv], indicating that between 2015 and 2017, the number of unemployed Nigerians rose from about 6 million to almost 16 million.

On diversification, despite ongoing efforts, reports indicate that oil continues to significantly dominate Nigeria’s exports revenue[xv], leading to the shortfall in foreign currency in the first half of this administration[xvi]. In essence, we have been unable to export much beyond crude, as oil still accounts for over 90% of total exports revenue[xvii].

The ineffectiveness of the anti-corruption war is seen in the loss of crucial corruption cases[xviii]. For instance, in April 2017, the federal government lost four high profile corruption cases in ninety-six hours[xix].  These losses are in addition to bizarre developments such as the failure of the government to confirm a substantive Chairman for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), despite the fact that the same political party controls both the executive and the legislature, not to mention the public showdown between EFCC and Department of State Services (DSS) officials[xx], or the opposition of the Director-General of the DSS to the confirmation of the Acting Chairman of the EFCC[xxi].

Furthermore, nothing indicts the current government greater than its failure in one key performance area that ought to be its strength: security. Despite recent setbacks, we acknowledge the gains in the war against Boko Haram, but highly disturbing is the mayhem being continually unleashed by herdsmen on communities in different states across the country, including Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Adamawa, Kaduna, Enugu, Edo and Ogun States, leaving trails of weeping and wailing. The recent killings in Benue State are akin to the last straw that is set to break the camel’s back.

Herdsmen Attacks and the Deliberate Sinful Silence (DSS) of the Nigerian State

Not only has the government failed to stop these killings across the country, it has done so against the backdrop of conspiratorial silence, choosing rather to label such attacks “an issue of communal misunderstanding”, as the Inspector General of Police recently did in respect of the Benue attacks[xxii]; it has treated the menace with kid gloves even after the Global Terrorism Index 2015 described “militant” herdsmen as “the fourth most deadly group of 2014”[xxiii]. Worse still, some of these killings have reportedly been carried out in collusion with the military[xxiv].

Recently, the Secretary to the Adamawa State Government, Umar Bindir, justified the bearing of arms by the herdsmen[xxv] but failed to tell where the herdsmen get their guns from and with which government agency these guns are registered. Who authorised them to bear arms? Who gave them immunity against section 3 of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act 1990[xxvi], which prescribes punishment for illegal possession of arms? Who monitors the use of these guns? Why have the relevant government agencies failed to act? In particular, why has the name Department of State Services (DSS) become synonymous with the phrase “Deliberate Sinful Silence” (DSS)? Or is it now the Department of Sinful Silence?

As expected, due to the incapacity of the states, not even the anti-grazing laws of states like Benue have succeeded in dealing with these issues. These one-sided and incomprehensive legislations by state governments that lack the constitutional powers to provide security for their people have yielded little or no results. Therefore, the federal government has become complicit for the following reasons:

  1. By not advancing and vigorously executing policies aimed at pre-empting or preventing these killings even with sufficient warnings: I am reminded of the open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari by a former Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada and Second Republic senator, Prof. Iyorwuese Hagher. Permit me to quote excerpts from that letter:

Your Excellency Mr. President…I am pained that you ignored my advice in my private memorandum to you dated 30th July 2016. I had warned you of the possibility of a horrendous genocide in Benue, Plateau, Taraba, Southern Kaduna, and Southern Adamawa States. I asked you to be proactive and stop the genocide that has been ongoing but which would burst out in the open and shock the world within 18 months. Your office replied my letter…thanking me “immensely” and giving me the assurances that the advice would be heeded…I regret to now inform you that it is seventeen months since my warning and prediction and your government did nothing to pre-empt or prevent the genocide.[xxvii]

  1. By failing to make it an issue of importance in national discourse: Despite the antecedents of the marauders, including the recent Adamawa incidents[xxviii], Mr. President, in his New Year address to the nation, did not consider the menace or the pain of victims of previous attacks worth a mention in his address[xxix];
  2. By failing to give victims a path to reconciliation and the hope of a united Nigeria: It has been reported, for instance, that as a result of the failure of government to act, there have been reprisal attacks on herdsmen[xxx], resulting in a vicious cycle of death and destruction;
  3. By rejecting the call to restructure our nation in order to bring lasting solutions to these and other signs of sectional discontent:

In his New Year address, Mr. President further alienated his government from the voice of reason in relation to the call to restructure Nigeria. In his words:
“…I have kept a close watch on the on-going debate about “Restructuring”…When all the aggregates of nationwide opinions are considered, my firm view is that our problems are more to do with process than structure.”[xxxi]

I totally agree with Mr. President that we need process reforms; otherwise, we would not be appointing dead men to head parastatals[xxxii], but can process reforms replace foundational structural reforms? Never. Be that as it may, let no one confuse the genuine call to restructure the nation with the gimmicks of political opportunists who ride on the restructuring wave for their perceived advantage. Many of them talk the talk but neither walked the talk in the past nor will do so in the future.

Therefore, I say to those who have the power to take the decisions and actions necessary to end these atrocities, especially by restructuring the nation, but have failed to do so for political gains, that they are attempting to establish a city by iniquity and there are dire consequences. I am reminded of the word of the Lord in the Book of Habakkuk: “…For the stone will cry out from the wall, And the beam from the timbers will answer it. Woe to him who builds a town with bloodshed, Who establishes a city by iniquity!…”[xxxiii]

The current edifice of state has become a deathtrap. All around are cracks on the wall that originate from the structural foundations. Those cracks are dripping with blood and the stones in the wall are crying out. The stones are crying out from Benue State and every part of the country where herdsmen have slaughtered the innocent in unspeakably barbaric attacks while the government failed to act until there were yet more bodies in morgues. The stones are crying out in every state in the federation where workers’ salaries are unpaid and poverty prevails because states are nothing but institutional and constitutional vegetables on life support from Abuja. The stones are crying out because young men and women are leaving the shores of a country so rich yet so poor and are enslaved, prostituted and murdered in other lands. By maintaining the status quo, Nigeria has once again become a land filled with crimes of blood.

Therefore, since state legislation has proved inadequate and the federal government has failed to act, the cries of Nigerians have gone up to God as an appeal to a higher governmental order. The judgement that is written in Ezekiel 7:2327 (NKJV) is about to be executed: 23”‘Make a chain, For the land is filled with crimes of blood, And the city is full of violence.

24 Therefore I will bring the worst of the Gentiles, And they will possess their houses; I will cause the pomp of the strong to cease, And their holy places shall be defiled.

25 Destruction comes; They will seek peace, but there shall be none.

26 Disaster will come upon disaster, And rumor will be upon rumor. Then they will seek a vision from a prophet; But the law will perish from the priest, And counsel from the elders.

27‘The king will mourn, The prince will be clothed with desolation, And the hands of the common people will tremble. I will do to them according to their way, And according to what they deserve I will judge them; Then they shall know that I am the Lord!’”

The Nigerian state has a choice to make on the way forward to lasting peace and prosperity: It is either the path of divine judgment reminiscent of a Jehu revolution[xxxiv] or a choice to renegotiate our union through a pragmatic approach to restructuring the nation. I will devote the last part of this address to reiterating the latter option, hingeing it on an interesting statement made by Mr. President in his New Year address.

Of Impatience and the Expectations of Nigerians

First, I will read excerpts from the 2018 New Year address by Chinese President Xi Jinping that show the heart of a leader mindful of his people:
“Our GDP rose to the level of 80 trillion yuan (12.3 trillion US dollars). Over 13 million urban and rural jobs were created…1.35 billion people are covered by basic medical insurance. More than 10 million rural residents were lifted out of poverty…
…Our country’s great development has been achieved by the people, and its fruits should be shared by the people…
…officials at all levels must constantly hold in their hearts the interests and concerns of the people, and regard the benefit of the people as their highest career accomplishment. They must think for the people, respond to their needs, and work for the greater happiness of the people.”[xxxv]

By contrast, in his New Year address to Nigerians, President Buhari said:
“We Nigerians can be very impatient and want to improve our conditions faster than may be possible considering our resources and capabilities…We must give a long period of trial and improvement before the system we have adopted is anywhere near fit for purpose.”[xxxvi]

Admittedly, this administration inherited a backlog of woes, including economic recession, an unfavourable external environment characterised by low crude oil prices, and a treasury emptied through corruption by previous administrations. Also, one cannot but agree with President Buhari on the long-term nature of the desired change. After all, China began its journey to economic transformation in 1978[xxxvii].

However, the fact remains that, over the years, Nigerians have been known to be resilient to a fault and to have low expectations of their governments, but if Nigerians are now getting impatient, it could be because they are beginning to realise that fast-paced growth is possible when we get the fundamentals right. In those fundamentals lie the solution to herdsmen attacks and our myriad economic and socio-political problems. It is a call to return to the foundations of our geopolitical structure; it is a call to renegotiate our union.

Facilitating Nigerias Economic Miracle: Revisiting the Pragmatic Approach to Restructuring

Nigeria’s past episodes of oil-induced growth have never been sustained, not even when we had a GDP growth of 33.7% in 2004[xxxviii] after oil prices rose in response to the American invasion of Iraq. However, as at 1963, when Nigeria had not yet discovered its oil, we had the opportunity to build a fast-paced but sustainably growing economy. At that time, the Nigerian economy had begun to grow at about the same growth rate[xxxix]by which Japan would later become the second largest economy in the world within two decades.[xl] By 1962, official reports indicated “a rapid rate of economic growth” across Nigeria[xli]. However, while Japan’s growth continued, ours was truncated by political recklessness and military intervention. This led to the abrogation of the regional federal structure that nurtured that growth.

Fellow Nigerians, this is why I stand on the God-inspired pathway to the New Nigeria which I call the Pragmatic Steps to Restructuring Nigeria[xlii]. I stand on this because it is a return to the winning formula, albeit improved upon and better suited. With this plan, Nigeria can leapfrog, within ten years, the phases of industrialisation to become a global industrial powerhouse comprised of six geo-economic zones.

With this plan, the North Central can optimise its mechanised agricultural potential and harness the Niger and the Benue not just for irrigation but also for hydroponic farming; it can become a centre of world class cattle ranching that will not just quell the menace of herdsmen attacks but also incubate allied opportunities such as meat, milk and leather processing and a range of fast moving consumer goods industries, powered by renewable energy. The zone can then transit to heavy industries, including steel manufacturing and auto-manufacturing, while also harnessing the rivers as inland waterways and tourist attractions.

Meanwhile, the North West can harness its vast arable land by deploying land-enhancing technologies for mechanised agriculture and cattle ranching, while also becoming Africa’s defence manufacturing hub. With this arrangement, the zone will then be provided sufficient competitive impetus to revive its historical potential as a central hub in Africa’s textile industry.

With this approach, the North East will have the opportunity to redefine its identity from being a hotbed of Boko Haram to becoming a hub for cattle ranching as well as pharmaceutical and construction industries, harnessing its unique concentration of mineral resources such as clay, limestone and gypsum.

With its new-found liberty to develop at its own pace, the South West can revive the vision of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. The zone will not just resuscitate its vast industrial and agro-allied manufacturing potential; it can become a global centre for warehousing and distribution with its world-class sea and airports. Its intellectually aware cosmopolitan social class can become the catalysts of an African cultural renaissance that will facilitate the rise of new genres of creative and cultural industries. Meanwhile, within the zone, Lagos State can consolidate its position as the African hub of global finance.

The South South zone, with its vast oil and gas resources, currently sustains the nation’s expenditure. Nigeria owes this region the urgent activation of the pragmatic approach to restructuring. This approach will see the zone progressively obtain autonomy over these resources such that it can house a cluster of refineries and petrochemical industries. In addition, it can recover from its history of environmental degradation to harness its agro-allied industrial potential. It can also incubate a renewable energy cluster and become an African shipping hub.

The South East is home to a large population of vibrant entrepreneurs. In addition to potentially hosting a globally competitive agro-allied and energy industrial hub, it can, once again, break records in commerce and industry, and export to the world, innovation, enterprise, and an energetic human resource ready to convert opportunity anywhere in the world in the interests of our nation and continent.

With this approach, within ten years, from a near unitary structure comprising thirty-six states, these geo-economic zones can then evolve into six strong federating geopolitical zones and a Federal Capital Territory, roughly mirroring the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates.

Fellow Nigerians, another important season is upon us as a nation, as a people, and as custodians and protectors of our collective national heritage. A nation should indeed be more than just a mere geographical expression: it should be the sum total of all its peoples, joined together by shared history, values, culture and aspiration, fused into a national ethic and an ingrained sense of identity. Failure to embrace this wise option, brilliantly articulated with patriotic fervour in 1947 by the sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo in his book, Path to Nigerian Freedom, is at the root of the unfortunate challenges we face today as a people. Indeed, there is nothing anyone, however cerebral or highly placed, can do against the truth, but for the truth[xliii].

Our founding fathers embraced the challenge of nationhood in their season by securing independence from the so-called colonial masters. Our military has played their role, good and bad, in shaping national direction for a considerable portion of our nationhood. The current political class has done its part by facilitating our return to civil rule.

Now, it is the turn of Nigerians: professionals, artisans, students, soldiers, policemen, para-military, academics, market women, drivers, youth, both the employed and the unemployed, as well as every Nigerian who is not an active beneficiary of the present disorder.

It is time for a DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION. The season for complaints and complacency is over. We must seize this opportune moment to translate our collective national disappointment into a uniquely Nigerian REBIRTH.

The current political class constitute far less than one percent of Nigeria’s voting population. To avoid engagement with the powers that have hijacked our collective patrimony is to surrender our national destiny without a fight. And as Cardinal John Onaiyekan said: “Every citizen must be involved in politics…Only people who are irresponsible will say they are not interested; even if you are not interested in politics, politics will be interested in you”[xliv].

Our fight to reclaim and renew Nigeria begins now. Registering and obtaining a valid voter’s card must now be a national priority. If the 2015 elections were critical to our national survival, the 2019 polls are pivotal to our country’s future development. If power truly belongs to the people, it is time for the silent majority to instigate REAL AND GENUINE CHANGE.

As I have declared on previous occasions, what is required to kick-start this process is the creation of a Presidential Commission for National Reconciliation, Reintegration and Restructuring[xlv]. This commission is to be headed by a biblical Joseph-type national figure appointed to provide visionary leadership for the process with the support of six Zonal Commissioners. The visionary leadership will co-ordinate the implementation of master-plans for each of the six Geo-economic zones. It will evolve for the nation a strong anti-corruption-based national value system and stir up uncommon patriotic zeal among Nigerians. It will also attract various domestic and foreign investment packages and float a social impact bond to fund development. The requisite human capacity for the economic miracle will be provided not only by skilled Nigerians at home but also by many others based abroad through Diaspora for Development agreements guaranteed by goodwill and fuelled by uncommon patriotism.

To facilitate the process, the National Assembly will provide the requisite constitutional amendments within the ten years in addition to serving as a monitoring and evaluation clearing house. By the tenth year at the latest, the systems, values and structural underlay of the geo-economic transformation will be codified in a new constitutional arrangement whose preamble is the Nigerian Charter for National Reconciliation and Integration[xlvi] adopted by the 2014 National Conference. The new constitution will be adopted by the Nigerian people through a referendum, such that it can genuinely lay claim to the prefix, “We the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria…”

Conclusion

As a nation, we have an opportunity to rewrite our history and choose a more prosperous future. We can choose to continue to play the ostrich or we can decide to take up the gauntlet and face our national challenges squarely. Just as Moses said to Israel in Deuteronomy 30:19 (NKJV):

“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live…”

Let it be known, however, that the New Nigeria is like a moving train that cannot be stopped, like a stone that will cause the wicked to stumble, and like a rock that will make them fall[xlvii]; and whoever falls on this stone will be broken, but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder[xlviii], and this nation will fulfill her destiny.

I have said my piece. He who has an ear to hear, let him hear: Nigeria will be saved, Nigeria will be changed, and Nigeria will be great in my lifetime. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Pastor ‘Tunde Bakare
Serving Overseer, The Latter Rain Assembly,
Convener, Save Nigeria Group (SNG)

 

References
1. Okoromadu, Festus. “Oil Price Rises Above $68, Highest Since 2015.” Leadership. January 5, 2018. Accessed January 9, 2018. https://leadership.ng/2018/01/05/oil-price-rises-68-highest-since-2015/

2. Bakare, ‘Tunde. “2018 Our Year of Good Success”, Video, 59:47, December 31, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2l91oFjXm5U/

3. Exodus 32:17 (NKJV)

4. John 3:8 (NKJV)

5. Isaiah 6:8 (NKJV)

6. Psalm 78:72 (NKJV)

[vii]Dawodu, Segun. “Obafemi Awolowo’s Allocutus.” Dawodu. Accessed January 9, 2018. https://www.dawodu.com/awolowo6.htm/

[viii]Ameh, Comrade Godwin. “How Awolowo saved Nigeria from breaking up during the civil war – Gowon.” Daily Post. March 7, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018. http://dailypost.ng/2017/03/07/awolowo-saved-nigeria-breaking-civil-war%E2%80%8E-gowon/

[ix]Bakare, ‘Tunde. “The Gathering Storm & Avoidable Shipwreck: How To Avoid Catastrophic Euroclydon.” Tunde Bakare. January 4, 2015. Accessed January 9, 2018. http://tundebakare.com/gathering-storm-avoidable-shipwreck-how-to-avoid-catastrophic-euroclydon/

[x]Isaiah 14:24 (NKJV)

11Adetayo, Olalekan. “Nigeria @ 57: Presidency releases Buhari’s 57 achievements.” Punch. September 30, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018. http://punchng.com/nigeria57-presidency-releases-buharis-57-achievements/

[xii]Ugwuanyi, Sylvester. “Unemployment rate in Nigeria rises to 8.2%.” Daily Post. August 3, 2015. Accessed January 9, 2018. http://dailypost.ng/2015/08/03/unemployment-rate-in-nigeria-rises-to-8-2/

13N-POWER. Accessed January 2018. http://www.npower.gov.ng/

[xiv]“Nigeria’s unemployment rate rises from 14.2% to 18.8%.” Vanguard. December 23, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018. https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/12/nigerias-unemployment-rate-rises-14-2-18-8/

[xv]“Nigeria facts and figures.” OPEC. Accessed January 12, 2018. http://www.opec.org/opec_web/en/about_us/167.htm/

[xvi]Ohuocha, Chijioke, and Mayowa Oludare. “Nigeria considers foreign exchange reforms as dollar shortages bite.” Reuters. November 21, 2016. Accessed January 9, 2018. https://www.reuters.com/article/nigeria-currency-lawmaking/nigeria-considers-foreign-exchange-reforms-as-dollar-shortages-bite-idUSL8N1DM2Y0

17See 15

18“Why EFCC keeps losing corruption cases, by Agbakoba.” The Nation. September 3, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018. http://thenationonlineng.net/efcc-keeps-losing-corruption-cases-agbakoba/

19Tijani, Mayowa. “Orubebe, Ademola, Patience…FG loses four cases in 96 hours.” The Cable. April 6, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018. https://www.thecable.ng/orubebe-ademola-patience-fg-loses-four-cases-in-96-hours/

[xx]Akinkuotu, Eniola. “Drama as DSS operatives stop EFCC from arresting ex-DG.” Punch. November 22, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018. http://punchng.com/drama-as-dss-operatives-stop-efcc-from-arresting-ex-dg/

[xxi]Oyedele, Damilola. “Senate: DSS Report on Magu Sent to AGF More Damning.” ThisDay. March 26, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018. https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2017/03/26/senate-dss-report-on-magu-sent-to-agf-more-damning/

22Wakili, Isiaka. “IGP meets Buhari, says Benue killings is “communal misunderstanding.”” Daily Trust. January 5, 2018. Accessed January 9, 2018. https://www.dailytrust.com.ng/igp-meets-buhari-says-benue-killings-is-communal-misunderstanding.html/

23Institute for Economics and Peace. “Global Terrorism Index 2015.” Economics and Peace. Accessed January 9, 2018. http://economicsandpeace.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Global-Terrorism-Index-2015.pdf/

24See Agbakwuru, Johnbosco, and Marie-Therese Nanlong. “Uniform men lured us to be killed by herdsmen – Plateau attack survivor.” Vanguard. October 17, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018. https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/10/uniform-men-lured-us-killed-herdsmen-plateau-attack-survivor/ and “Tension in Edo as Fulani herdsmen rape, kill two women.” National Daily. May 23, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018. http://nationaldailyng.com/tension-in-edo-as-fulani-herdsmen-rape-kill-two-women/

25Silas, Don. “Why Fulani herdsmen need to carry weapons – Adamawa SSG, Umar Bindri [VIDEO].” Daily Post. December 15, 2017. Accessed January 9. 2018 http://dailypost.ng/2017/12/15/fulani-herdsmen-need-carry-weapons-adamawa-ssg-umar-bindri-video/

26Law Nigeria. Accessed January 9, 2018. http://www.lawnigeria.com/LawsoftheFederation/ROBBERY-AND-FIREARMS-(SPECIAL-PROVISIONS)-ACT.html/

[xxvii]Ameh, Comrade Godwin. “’You betrayed Nigeria’s democracy, promoted genocide’ – Former senator bombs Buhari in open letter.” Daily Post. January 6, 2018. Accessed January 9, 2018. http://dailypost.ng/2018/01/06/betrayed-nigerias-democracy-promoted-genocide-former-senator-bombs-buhari-open-letter/

28Silas, Don. “BREAKING: Suspected herdsmen attack villages in Adamawa.” Daily Post. December 4, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018. http://dailypost.ng/2017/12/04/breaking-suspected-herdsmen-attack-villages-adamawa/

29“Full text of Muhammadu Buhari’s 2018 New Year address.” Punch. January 1, 2018. Accessed January 9, 2018. http://punchng.com/full-text-muhammadu-buharis-2018-new-year-address/

30 Umar, Yusuf. “Silent killings of herdsmen ongoing in Adamawa, Fulani group alleges.” Vanguard. January 3, 2018. Accessed January 9, 2018. https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/01/silent-killings-herdsmen-ongoing-adamawa-fulani-group-alleges/

31 See 29

32 Olowolagba, Fikayo. “Appointment of dead people: SERAP asks Buhari to withdraw appointments.” Daily Post. December 31, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018. http://dailypost.ng/2017/12/31/appointment-dead-people-serap-asks-buhari-withdraw-appointments/

33 Habakkuk 2:11-12 (NKJV)

34 II Kings 9 (NKJV)

35 “Full text of President Xi’s New Year address.” CGTN. December 31, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018. https://news.cgtn.com/news/3063444d35637a6333566d54/share_p.html/

36 See 29

37 “Chinese economic reform.” Wikipedia. January 3, 2018. Accessed January 9, 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_economic_reform/

38 “GDP by Country | Statistics from the World Bank, 1960 – 2016.” Nigeria Data Portal. Accessed January 9, 2018. http://nigeria.opendataforafrica.org/mhrzolg/gdp-by-country-statistics-from-the-world-bank-1960-2016?country=Nigeria/

39 ibid

40 “GDP by Country | Statistics from the World Bank, 1960 – 2016.” Nigeria Data Portal. Accessed January 9, 2018. http://nigeria.opendataforafrica.org/mhrzolg/gdp-by-country-statistics-from-the-world-bank-1960-2016?country=Japan/

41 Eastern Nigeria Development Plan, 1962-68. (Eastern Nigeria, Nigeria, Ministry of Economic Planning: Government Printer, 1962), i.

42 Bakare, ‘Tunde. “Pragmatic Steps Towards Restructuring Nigeria.” Tunde Bakare. October 1, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018. http://tundebakare.com/pragmatic-steps-towards-restructuring-nigeria/

43 II Corinthians 13:8 (NKJV)

44 Odunsi, Wale. “Why every Nigerian should be a politician – Onaiyekan.” Daily Post. January 7, 2018. Accessed January 9, 2018. http://dailypost.ng/2018/01/07/every-nigerian-politician-onaiyekan/

45 See 42

46 “Download: Nigeria 2014 National Conference Report #NGConfab.” Premium Times. August 14, 2014. Accessed January 9, 2018. https://www.premiumtimesng.com/national-conference/download-nigeria-2014-national-conference-report-ngconfab-2/ (See pages 288 – 295)

47. Isaiah 8:14 (NIV)

48. Matthew 21:44 (NKJV)

BEING TEXT OF SPEECH BY PASTOR ‘TUNDE BAKARE AT THE STATE OF THE NATION BROADCAST ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 14, 2018.
VENUE: THE LATTER RAIN ASSEMBLY, END-TIME CHURCH, 4, AKILO ROAD, OFF OBA AKRAN AVENUE,
OGBA, IKEJA, LAGOS, NIGERIA.

THEMEIT IS TIME TO RENEGOTIATE OUR UNION

SCRIPTURAL TEXTS: JEREMIAH 8:20229:19.

Tips to a brighter Relationship
The wise couples (you know the ones that most people say “they were meant to be”) turn into wine and keep on getting better with age. Yet, lots of relationship fade away after the excitement phase is over and separate themselves like oil and water.

If you want your relationship to have the long life it deserves, have a look at our 10 things to do for a brighter relationship.

1. Have a positive attitude towards life

Everyone wants to be around cheerful people that seize the moment and take the best of everything.

A constant attitude of dissatisfaction, complaining and nagging — attracts negative emotions creating a terrible mood, and implicitly creating bad relationships between people.

Having and keeping a positive attitude towards life makes you a more attractive partner while at the same time, makes you a happier person overall.

2. Love yourself

Your partner doesn’t want to be the object of your sacrifices. He wants you to be happy with him just as much as he wants to feel good with you.

You both need to be pleased and fulfilled with your own individualities in order to be able to draw the same emotions in your relationship. And, more importantly, you need to preserve your own personality above and beyond the things you’re doing to please the other person.

3. Pay attention to your partner’s wants and needs

Men and women are different and inherently share different perspectives on relationship and what makes them happy in life. Acting controlling and trying to change your lover around to like the things that you do and undertake the actions and reactions you see as righteous — is an instant major turnoff for your partner and extremely frustrating for you.

4. Show admiration and gratitude

If you are in a relationship with someone — it goes without saying that you appreciate them for a series of qualities, the way they treat you, how they make you feel etc.

The key here is to REMIND your partner CONSTANTLY just how much you admire the things he/she does for you and the way those makes you feel.

5. Be careful with words

“Words cut deeper than swords” is more than just an idiom. It is a universally valid truth.

You cannot take back an offense, an insult, a humiliation, a lie or any verbal abuse. No matter how much you’ll excuse yourself after the storm has passed. It will irreversible linger in the back of your partner’s head and “scar” her/his feelings or opinions about you.

6. Show respect

Any kind of healthy relationship needs to be built on mutual respect.

Respect is multi-leveled and shows that you have common-sense and value the person for what they are and stand for. Therefore, you need to respect them verbally (see item 5), you need to respect their opinions and decision even when you don’t agree with them, you need to respect their friends and family even if sometimes it’s just for the single reason that “they come with the package”.

7. Be empathetic

We all go through stressful periods, have bad days and lazy moments and get affected by various factors which alter our spirits and self-worth. Having someone besides you who accentuates your awful mood rather than ameliorating it — is even worse.

So, try to cheer up your other half when they’re down, accept that your partner might be upset by something that does not impinge on you (and vice-versa) and show them compassion. Bear in mind that once in a while, we all need some time alone.

8. Make memories together

There is nothing that brings you two closer than going through happy, adventurous and also less joyful experiences together. Try to make an effort towards taking some trips, lessons (dance/music), doing whatever you find exciting and fun (scuba-diving, camping, participating in a contest) as long as you do them TOGETHER.

Take a lot of pictures and souvenirs to reinforce your good times and to remember that blissfulness, if and when things become tedious.

9. Fight routine

Sometimes, life just seems too demanding and tiring to find the time, patience and will to fight daily routine. Still, as I said previously, memories are what make your connection deeper and more meaningful. Sitting in front of the TV the whole afternoon and ordering dinner every evening is not too much of an experience.

10. Spice up your love life

Routine is again a turnoff when it comes to your most intimate moments. Once again, being adventurous and open to trying new things can make a huge difference.

You need to constantly find new ways to appeal to your partner’s senses and outreach his or her desires.

Try new positions and / or locations, anticipate the moment (through messages, notes, phone calls) and value foreplay in order to relate at a deeper emotional level. Dare to dive into each other’s fantasies and be that person that he or she never had and never wants to leave.

There’s nothing wildly spectacular about the pieces of advice shared throughout the article yet that’s precisely the reason why they work — always! They fit with any person and any type of personality, it’s what people in successful relationship do, and what keeps them in those relationships.

So, are you ready to brighten your relationship with these 10 easy and natural things?

Almost everyone has had a bad sales experience. You know, where some shady salesperson is trying to get you to buy something you don’t need, like a timeshare, a gym membership, or a car. Behind their smile and smooth talk lies an opportunity to take advantage of you and leave you with a decision you might regret. Promises are often inflated, and the deals are covered in glitter and made to look irresistible.

Our enemy, Satan, uses many of the same tactics (for the record, I’m not saying all salespeople are evil. I used to be one myself) to get you to follow your flesh and leave you with decisions you’ll regret and that will cost you dearly.

Over the past few weeks at The Porch, we’ve been talking about the unseen realm and how it affects us, and some of the steps you can take to combat such a force. Last week we talked about the lies the enemy throws your way, and seven truths that can help you combat them.

The enemy is out there

The first step is always admitting there’s a problem, and the same concept applies to evil: you don’t stand a chance of surviving if you don’t acknowledge that there’s something out there trying to make you stumble.

Let me spell it out for you: Satan is real, and he wants nothing more than to see you wreck your life by following your flesh, not trusting God, and pulling you out of fellowship with Him. If you want to see real-life examples of Satan at work in our world, go to any major news site and spend a few minutes there; you’ll quickly see what I’m talking about.

Just as Satan disguises himself (2 Corinthians 11:14), he also disguises the consequences of following your flesh. A fish doesn’t see the frying pan when it bites the hook, and you’re probably not thinking about the consequences of disobeying God when you’re making the decision to do so. Satan has been around a long time, and he knows what makes humans tick. While he doesn’t know you nearly as intimately as God does (Psalm 139:13-18), he knows what our flesh craves: pride, money, sex, vengeance…you name it.

Satan’s lies and attacks

One of Satan’s biggest lies is to make you think that God is trying to keep you from having fun and that He is trying to keep good things from you. Satan wants you to think that you deserve whatever you feel entitled to, and that life is found in giving your flesh whatever it wants. Feeding these desires, however, always leads to negative consequences. Some of those consequences, for example, are broken families, unintended pregnancies, STDs, emotional baggage, discontentment, addictions, etc.

Satan will attack anyone. His goal is to try and ruin your usefulness for God. He tries to get you to waste gifts God has given you, and to hurt those in your life (John 10:10). It’s so important to surround yourself with other believers who are pursuing Christ alongside you, to help you fight those attacks. God gives us one another to strengthen and sharpen each other (Proverbs 27:17Hebrews 3:13), push us into a deeper relationship with Christ, and get us back on track when we veer off the path.

If you know that the attacks are coming, you can prepare yourself to defend against them.

How is Satan trying to trip you up, right now, and how can you defend yourself against it? This is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself. Answer it well.

– JP

Jesus was so large of heart, so large of spirit, so endless in consciousness. Like, you don’t even need to think he is the son of God. Just think of him, first, as a man. He was such a man of beauty. Impatient with hate, dismissive of judgement, large of heart. Jesus was a beautiful man. Giving, forgiving, listening, understanding, relating, empathising. He was what some call, a son of mercy. How did his followers get so angry, and faithful and full of the fury of condemnation, and … xenophobia.

It’s all this ‘heretical’ teachings that take symbols and words and twist and bed them to fit whatever prejudice is in vogue in that age. Every generation has had its interpretation of the book of Revelations for 2000+ years. To fit its social context, and in this generation, our apocalyptic influencers insist the job of Christians is to delay the anti-Christ. *Shudders* And delaying the anti christ often means, in their telling, fighting ‘sin’, attacking the ‘sinful’, fighting cultural wars. To do this, they often descend on the book of Revelations and stretch and pull every word and symbol until it fits that assignment.

I have no doubt that they truly, truly believe in what they say, and their hearts may be in the right place. But it’s oh so dangerous. When Christians leave the simple, clear words and teachings of Jesus and the example of his life and witness, to pursue… evil.

Like sometimes I understand why the world is so cynical, so suspicious of Christians and Christian motive. Why they disconnect from our culture, and attack beautiful experiences like worship, or tongues, or prayer. They don’t see what I see when I am in many gatherings and I see the family of God’s children in worship, in fellowship, Connected, broken, emptied of self and ego and ambition, and fear and hate. Ah, worship, it’s a blessing to watch people in worship.

Then, those same people get into the world after service and then they become this judgemental, angry set of people. It really confuses me. Really confounds me. Like, how did you lose that pure state, that Jesus-state, so soon? How did you let it go? How did you let love go? How did you let compassion go?

Jesus was a disruptor. He was a spiritual disruptor. And that disruption was to the Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and all of that of the times the eye-for-an-eye, God-of-wrath stranglehold. His disruption was love. If it wasn’t love, then there was no point of His coming. The religions of the time already had judgement, condemnation down to a part. If that’s what he came here for, then it was unnecessary. But he came because his message was radical and revolutionary.

The way I see it. God was tired of the disruption of his true image for millions of years. He sent Jesus to make it right. To reveal his true nature that prophets and priests had struggled with for years. Jesus came to earth to model God’s true nature. That’s why it’s so difficult to justify a gospel of hate with his life. You can’t use Jesus’s words to justify this self-righteousness. You often have to turn to flawed apostles, or visioners. I’ll stick with Jesus. I’ll always cast my lot with Jesus. Stop “fighting for God”. He doesn’t need your help. What he asked you do is work on your life and bring others to him through that life. 

Listen, Jesus didn’t send the church to fight the devil for him. Nope. Jesus already won that battle on the cross. It is finished.

Anytime the Bible teaches about the Devil, it’s in relation to a Christian’s personal life. Resist the devil and he will flee “FROM YOU”. It’s not for you to carry weapons and go claiming you are fighting the devil. God doesn’t need your help to fight the devil. God needs you help to fight for your salvation and to draw others to him. And his weapon for that is love. The more you spend time fighting the world, the less time you have living a better life as a Christian. 

Matthew 7:5

Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. (NLT) 

When Christians stop persuading and start coercing, we have moved so far from what Jesus thought, we’ve practically turned our backs on Him.  Here’s what Walter Brueggemann has to say about “Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God.” 

I so desperately want people to meet Jesus. To meet this beautiful, incredible guy. All this hate from Christians makes it so hard. 

Important reading: “The Problem with, Hate the Sin Love the Sinner” 

“Using “hate the sin” as a license for cruelty defeats the purpose of proclaiming truth.”

  • Phylicia Masonheimer

The Problem with "Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner"Social media has brought out a dark side of Christianity. Torrents of hate spill into Facebook comments. Names are called. Insults are hurled. And somehow, we’re expected to win people to Christ through all of this. It’s this dark side of faith that the world reacts against so violently; their scapegoat for subjective morality. If Christian love looks like this – who would want it?

Hate the sin but love the sinner.

We use the phrase liberally, but are we liberal with the love?

There are plenty of Christian leaders who see this hatred and say, “No more!” But with the same breath that claims the love of Christ they write off the law that made Him necessary. Blurring the created lines of right and wrong, they “love the sinner” – and lie about the sin. Thus we end up right where we began: Striving for the ever-evasive balance of love and truth.

Our faith is like walking a tightrope. With each step, we are in danger of a wild swing into legalism or compromise. We walk the thin line – this narrow path – only by keeping our eyes fixed on the perfect balance of love and justice: God Himself. For if God did not define these things for us, we would have no measure of right versus wrong. We would be unable to give grace because there would be no reason to give it – without sin, there is no cause for mercy.

I’m the first person to call us to a higher standard of holiness. But as we navigate this sharply divided world, both online and in real life, we need to ask ourselves the following questions:

DO WE ACTUALLY HATE SIN, OR DO WE SIMPLY LOVE JUDGMENT?

Using “hate the sin” as a license for cruelty defeats the purpose of proclaiming truth. The gospel needs no help causing division; it is foolishness to those who reject it (1 Cor. 1:22-24). Because the gospel will divide based on its exclusive nature, our job is not to further that division but to simply love the Lord our God with all our hearts (emotions), souls (being), minds (thoughts), and strength (effort). Our second directive is to love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves.  (Matt. 22:37-40)

God hates sin because He is holy. Sin is contrary to His nature and prevents humanity from approaching Him. But because God is also loving, He desires a relationship with humanity. Jesus was the solution to the problem of sin, atoning for our unholiness and making possible what would otherwise be an impossible relationship with God.

Thus, God doesn’t hate sin arbitrarily. He doesn’t take joy in condemnation (2 Pet. 3:9). He judges because He is holy and sin must be judged. Yet it is by God’s mercy that any of us are able to claim the name of Jesus today. We are called to discern right from wrong in the world, but we are not called make judgment our hobby. To hate sin doesn’t mean we point it out at every opportunity, finding satisfaction in the failures of others. Our hatred for sin should be a direct result of our love for gospel hope. We only hate sin because it prevents a relationship with God. God is the judge; we are just the messengers, and we would do well to remember that.

SEE ALSO: 5 Ways to Protect Your Marriage on Social Media

DO WE HATE SIN IN THE LIFE OF OUR NEIGHBOR BUT IGNORE IT IN OUR OWN LIVES?

This question convicts my heart whenever I scroll through social media. Rife with animosity, Christians go to battle against even more malicious commenters in a never-ending debate about homosexuality, abortion, alcohol, and politics.

Yes, we should stand for what is true. But if we really hate sin, we will hate all sin, starting with the sin in our very own lives.

It’s really easy to point fingers at people who live a lifestyle devoid of God. It’s not so easy to see the sin in ourselves. Modern Christians, we are a speck-picking bunch. In the name of “truth” we seek out sin and we point at it like an over-eager hunting dog, waiting for God to pat us on the back. We are not called to seek out sin but to seek out those who need the gospel (Matt. 28:20). In the process of presenting the gospel, sin must be addressed. But hating sin is not our Christian day job.

The best way to understand, recognize, and address sin is to hate it in our own lives first. That means knowing the Word of God – really knowing it. Really studying it, not just proof-texting passages for Facebook debates, yanking phrases out of context to prove a point. We hate sin best when we love God most, because only His hatred for it is a direct result of His love for mankind.

SEE ALSO: How Sin Kills the Pro-Life Mission

DO WE ARGUE OVER THE DEMISE OF SOCIAL MORALITY WHILE IGNORING OUR OWN LACK OF HOLY LIVING?

Lifestyles of sin are celebrated in cultures worldwide. It seems to be all the rage. Morals are relative. Everyone does what is right in his own eyes. Society is indeed descending into moral chaos. But before lamenting the rapid descent, we should check our own moral thermometer. Are we ignoring the same heart attitudes that have been our culture’s demise?

Pride. Selfishness. Anger. Materialism. Envy. Lust: “…after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (James 1:15) Our world is dying because of the idolatry of desire. Where self replaces God, there is no room for abundant life. The eternal is replaced with the material, and separation from God is the inevitable result.

We bewail politicians and feminism and Common Core but the harsh reality is that this society is the way it is because of human hearts just like ours. We cannot expect a transformed culture when we have not transformed our very own minds. We cannot expect society’s sins to be conquered when we refuse to acknowledge our own transgressions.

So before arguing about abortion online, shut off the sexually promiscuous TV show.

Before bewailing the demise of the family, respect your husband. Love your wife.

And before burning sinners on a verbal stake in the name of “hating sin”, ask yourself: Does this action reflect the holiness of God? Am I really presenting the truth in love, or have I lost my love in zeal for truth?

I’m preaching to myself here. Instead of repeating, “Hate the sin, love the sinner”, I’m telling myself something else:

“Hate my own sin, love the way God does.”

Mercy is what draws us to repentance; it is the hope of our gospel. It’s the most lasting, loving way to truly hate sin.

This article originally appeared on phyliciadelta.com. Used with permission. 

Phylicia Masonheimer blogs at Phylicia Delta, where she teaches women how to preach the gospel with their lives: proclaiming Jesus in work, love and home. Her eBook Christian Cosmo launches March 1st, 2017

Let me just start straight up, exactly how I see it. ​In some sense I don’t think the colonial project really ended in Nigeria. We just shifted the tyranny and extractive ethos to a local elite.

What difference is it to a Teacher in Takum, A Farmer in Otukpo or a Fisherman in Ekim,  if his faraway oppressor is in Abuja or in London, or indeed, in Jalingo, Makurdi or Uyo his state capital?

When people talk about a country growing from poor to rich, that gets lost in the jargon of income per capita and other metrics.

In fact, what that looks like is a fisherman in Ekim in 1923 has grand kids who have vastly better incomes, education, health, opportunity. It means that a fisherman’s grandchild has the opportunity to compete to be a bank manager or even CEO today. That’s progress. 

It’s about people, en masse, moving from a life where they have low productivity to vastly higher productivity. But what I think has happened since 1923 is that children of fishermen mostly became fishermen themselves, with no change in productivity. Or they moved to cities to work in other low productivity jobs. Comparing his grandfather’s life to his, it hasn’t changed much (or has grown worse).

This is the challenge. How does a society develop to ensure that each successive generation lives better and has a better shot: progress.

So many problems just vanish when people are well fed, life is not bitterly difficult, the kids are looked after, etc. People keep looking to the various governments. We expect that an omnipotent Federal Government has the resources to fix all problems: It can’t. 
Looking at the 2017 budget across Africa, it is clear that the Federal Government of Nigeria is broke. We plan to spend roughly $120/Nigerian. The Kenyan Government is spending $560/Kenyan. South Africa: $2180/SAn. That is a big difference. 

But that doesn’t tell the full tale really, because as the saying goes: ‘Every Nigerian is a Local Government’. We are paying for that budget. We are paying in hardship, in the high cost of living, the lack of opportunity, one of the lowest life expectancy rates on earth and so on.
Of course, in the middle of all this, we supposedly have one of the biggest economies in Africa. I always find that one hilarious. If we had the productivity of the average South African worker, our economy would be two or three times its current size (our labour pool is 3 times larger than theirs). Also, SA’s government is spending about 33% of GDP. We, with our unsigned budget, are spending 7%. Again, pointer that Government isn’t that big.

The Government has to start working to empower Nigerians. It cannot be this colonialist mafia that just extracts from the population. They sit in Abuja with the best roads in the country, but a man in Nnewi or Aba cannot ship his produce through Calabar or Port Harcourt. Buhari is ‘recuperating’ in London claiming to be taking made in Nigeria drugs, while doctors are being tassed in LUTH over salaries that they are actually owed. This is colonialism!

I think it is so bad that we do not EXPECT things to get better in the next 25 years, so we optimise towards the proximate next best. 

Always interesting to read about America after the war (and California in the 70s). Phrase ‘alive with possibility’ always seems to come up. What phrases come up in your everyday experience? Of course we hear ‘there is money in this country,’ but it rings hollow for most people. What tends to ring true are things like: ‘This country is finished’; referring to other countries ‘these are serious countries’ and so on. You face a self-fulfilling prophecy situation — you think the country is finished, so you behave like a person living in a finished country. You don’t inflate the contract by 20% and fix the road well, you under-engineer the road and inflate the contract by 200%. 10 people do well, 1,000,000 suffer. The same road is re-tendered in a different budget cycle and the sham is repeated. 

2019 is coming. There will be an incredible amount of energy poured into it from that 7 trillion naira budget (and other budgets to come). To what end? The person is inheriting a mess. (And the funniest part is that we are going to hear the same vacuous, platitudinous slogans!). Actor, Andy Roid in Game of Thrones described it as “focusing on the politics of the Red Keep while White Walkers, Dothraki Hordes and Dragons are coming for you”. We aren’t talking about our real problems. 

The country is broke; y’all are marrying and having babies far too much; the government is choking off progress. We need to think about how govt can become more accountable, become less colonialist, to actually work for the people. Maybe that is confederalism or true federalism, I don’t know. I’ll leave thoughts on how to change the status quo for another time. I drop my pen here. We all need to start thinking right and start acting.

I personally never thought anyone would actually say, “sell me this pen” in a sales interview. I was wrong. It will happen to you too. And to avoid panic, you should know exactly what to say back.

I am going to give you the right sales framework to respond perfectly every time.

On a quick side note, did you know this sales interview question has been around for millions of years? Its origins date back to the earliest of cavemen. Selling slingshots cave-to-cave. Except back then, they asked, “sell me this bowl of crushed berries.”

Anyways. The point is, one day it will happen to you and I want you to be prepared.

Because if you start to describe how smooth the pen feels and how shiny the pen looks, just like you saw in the Wolf of Wallstreet…

You probably won’t get the job.

 Why it matters to sell me this pen

At first, I didn’t realize why it mattered. It just seemed like a silly question. But, you’ll see.

When you become good at answering this question, you actually become one hell of a salesperson.

And that’s why people still ask it in interviews. It shows your creative approach and how good you are at actually selling product (not just reading your resume).

There are exactly four sales skills the interviewer is looking to see when you answer:

  1. how you gather information
  2. how you respond to information
  3. how you deliver information
  4. and how you ask for something (closing)

Now, since I had a lot of sales interviews lined up at the beginning of last year. I thought, I better practice my response just in case.

The “just wing it” strategy is best for making pancake mix, not for sales interviews.

So let’s go through exactly what you can say to address each sales skill. Because when you do it right, you will blow their mind!

Here’s exactly what you can say

Just to back up for a second, I had 26 sales interviews in a period of three months. Someone was bound to ask me.

Ok. The Director of Sales stood up and said, “it was great meeting you Ian. Let me go grab the CEO to come in next.” Moments later, the CEO of the 30 person startup walked in the small conference room.

Shortly after initial greetings, the CEO wasted no time to start the interview.

I practiced my answer beforehand. I made sure my answer displayed the four sales skills the CEO needed to hear.

Now you can read it for yourself. And then use it for yourself.

At the bottom, you can see a simple sales framework to memorize that will make this work for you in any situation.

You can memorize the script, but more importantly, memorize the sales framework at the end.

Here you go…


CEO: Do me a favor, sell me this pen. (reaches across to hand me the pen)

Me: (I slowly roll the pen between my index and thumb fingers.) When was the last time you used a pen? 

CEO: This morning.

Me: Do you remember what kind of pen that was? 

CEO: No.

Me: Do you remember why you were using it to write? 

CEO: Yes. Signing a few new customer contracts.

Me: Well I’d say that’s the best use for a pen (we have a subtle laugh). 

Wouldn’t you say signing those new customer contracts is an important event for the business? (nods head) Then shouldn’t it be treated like one. What I mean by that is, here you are signing new customer contracts, an important and memorable event. All while using a very unmemorable pen. 

We grew up, our entire lives, using cheap BIC pens because they get the job done for grocery lists and directions. But we never gave it much thought to learn what’s best for more important events. 

This is the pen for more important events. This is the tool you use to get deals done. Think of it as a symbol for taking your company to the next level. Because when you begin using the right tool, you are in a more productive state of mind, and you begin to sign more new customer contracts. 

Actually. You know what? Just this week I shipped ten new boxes of these pens to  Elon Musk’s office. 

Unfortunately, this is my last pen today (reach across to hand pen back to CEO). So, I suggest you get this one. Try it out. If you’re not happy with it, I will personally come back next week to pick it up. And it won’t cost you a dime. 

What do you say? 

CEO: (picks jaw up off floor) Yes.


See how simple that was. The CEO loved it. Why?

Because all four sales skills were displayed.

Here’s the simple sales framework I used to answer “sell me this pen”. Memorize it for yourself.

  1. Find out how they last used a pen (gather info)
  2. Emphasize the importance of the activity they last used a pen (respond to info)
  3. Sell something bigger than a pen, like a state of mind (deliver info)
  4. Ask for the buy (closing)

 Does that make sense? Yes. Ok, good.

Conclusion

Remember, it’s not about actually selling a pen. It’s about showing how well you can sell a product.

And even though there are an infinite number of answers to this interview question, it’s easy to memorize a simple formula.

Now that you have a formula, next time you need a quick, go-to answer, remember this. 

Take 15 minutes today to practice the script above. I promise you will benefit.

Plus, would you mind doing me a favor. Share this with ONE person in sales. It could save their career

Highlights:

For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger (I Kings 14:15).

There is always a cost for being disobedient to God. Sin definitely has it’s price. It separates us from God. It’s final results, unless one repents, end in death and hell. 

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 6:23).

Israel had fallen prey to the same sin many times. It seemed they had lack of trust in the One True God which they could not see. Consequently, they found it easy to turn their backs on God and turn to false gods for which they could construct idols in which to visibly worship.

The worship of false gods is strictly forbidden throughout the Word of God. In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel had heard this from God through Moses. 

Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: (Ex. 20:3-4).

 In the New Testament, Paul lists the worship of idols with works of the flesh that separate anyone from God. 

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:19-21).

Therefore, Israel knew that what they were doing was sin, but they continued on in their ways. The price they were to pay would be a high one. It would destroy them as a nation.

The consequences of their sin would be the downfall of these people as a country. They would be separated and scattered all over the world. This separation would last for nearly 1900 years. It began after Christ and His apostles died and lasted until 1948. That is the year Israel was established again as a nation.

One thing about the ongoing Big Brother Naija reality TV show is the fact that whether you watch it or not, it’s in your face. As such, the concern of many over it’s value to the Nigerian society cannot be pushed aside. Unfortunately, the show has thrived on catering to the naughty or vice instincts in most people, with rated and raunchy scenes being the order of the house. Not surprisingly, many had called for a government action against broadcasting such content to a Nigerian audience in the future. Expectedly, that threw up mixed reactions from the Nigerian populace. While some find the entertainment exciting, other more serious folk are concerned about how the content affects values. Either way, the show has continued.
But perhaps more compelling in the argument against the continued airing of the show is one of the housemates, Tboss’ inability to recite the Nigerian National anthem in a routine truth or dare game. Since then, social media Nigeria cannot seem to recover from the shock that a potential winner of a show which is purportedly meant to be won by representing Nigerian values cannot recite something as basic as the national anthem. Shame!
More annoying to many is the fact that rather than own up to the goof and find a more intelligent way to placate her fans, the said housemate, Tboss, went on a tirade against her fellow contestant, Debbie-Rise, who posed the harmless kindergarten question to her, blaming her for the negative blowback her failure would do her chances of winning the show! Unbelievable. But then, nature has its own ways of shaming misfits. As it is, Tboss’ goof clearly, barring any miracle or organisers scam, makes the coast clear for other show favourites Efe or Bisola, who those following the show say are more deserving.
But much more than expose Tboss’ detachment from her country’s ideals, her national anthem disaster does also expose an aspect of our general failure as a people without deeper values for what is truly important. The national anthem of any country is the soundtrack of national existence. Footballers cry out of passion for their countries when singing before a game. Soldiers too. Great political leaders world over do too. The anthem is the soul of the country. But obviously not here in Nigeria. Only last year, two ambassadorial nominees, Alhaji Ibrahim Bida from Niger State and Mrs Vivian Okeke from Anambra State couldn’t recite the anthem at a Senate screening. Still, they were screened. The message is clear, it doesn’t matter whether you are passionate about the country or not, once you’re connected you have your way!
At the end of the day, beyond all the fuss about Tboss’ national anthem fiasco, Bisola’ blowjob on Thin Tall Tony, Kemen’s violation of Tboss’ womanhood, the free kissing sessions, the boobs baring moments and all the bad drama that Nigeria has been made to see on the road to creating a Big Brother model, we must all ask ourselves Olamide’s poser: who did the show epp? Apart from the organiser making loads of money off subscribers and voters, what else? Thin Tall Tony says he can make the prize money in three months on his own, meaning he or the others don’t necessarily need the show to make it!
As a final word to Tboss and all those who are privately guilty of this crime of passion for country, go on YouTube and find American singer Beyonce to teach you how to sing the Nigerian national anthem
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