By Abiodun Fijabi
In all my five decades as a Christian, I have never seen the levels of passion in prayers and political activism displayed by Christians in the just concluded Presidential elections in Nigeria.
Our reasons were just, our passion excusable, and our anger justified. A Christian in Aso Rock would be a good departure from the current occupier, with his obvious and mindless favoritism for his faith to the detriment of others. It showed in his kitchen cabinet. It reared its ugly head in every appointment and almost in every of his policies and programmes. The man both the Christians and Moslems voted into power twice has done enough to alienate more than half of the population that do not share his faith. And my God, it seems he doesn’t give a damn! Such an arrogance made the support of a Muslim-Muslim ticket in the just concluded presidential elections a mountain too steep to climb and a rationale too difficult to defend.
Not only did this move Christians to tears and drive them on their knees, the seemingly conspiratorial plan to prolong the Northerners’ hold on power raised many heart beats and pushed many politically docile Christians into activism. In our newfound pragmatism, we went shopping for a candidate. We found one that fitted the bill, even if not perfectly. Who is perfect anyway? The candidate became our rallying point. He was the town crier announcing our freedom, the object of the change we sought, and the messiah to our dreamed up El-dorado. Our prayers were no longer general. It was no longer, “Lord, let your will be done.” In that drunken state of holy anger and in the deafening noise of a justified cause, we forgot to say like Jesus, “Nevertheless, not my will but your will be done.” You can only blame us if you are an angel. You can only fight us if you are a poor student of history. I hope you and anyone reading this will agree that our nation has just seen a revolution unleashed right before our eyes. Think about it for a minute; will you? A failed member of a 2019 presidential ticket and a man considered inconsequential to his former party’s quest for the highest office in 2023, rose to a new and historic third party stardom. The candidate said to have no structures won in Lagos, Nasarawa and Plateau, and broke the backs of seating Governors in the East and in the South South. A man from a tribe where self-determination is in the front burner, garnered an unprecedented National appeal and shattered myths that have long stigmatized the people of his race. A Christian man who has neither before healed the sick nor raised the dead, suddenly became the object of countless sermons and prophesies. Only a fool will see the candidate as a mere opportunist or equate him to a bull in a china shop. It will be foolhardy to see his support base – the multitudes of Christians and the young people from across religious and ethnic divides – as mere rabble rousers.
Hell has no fury like a woman scorned, we often say. But we have just seen played out the fury of Christians and young people from across the nation as they raged and raced with unparalleled passion and commitment to the polling units. They did this to take a stand against the insensitivity, the callousness and the marginalization in the political calculations that have divided us along ethnic and religious fault lines. They did what they did to disavow a political system that disconnects and impoverishes. They rose up against debilitating insecurity and the disregard for human life and dignity.
With the declaration of the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission, I only hope the President-Elect saw them. I hope he heard them. He would be delusional not to have heard them. I hope he doesn’t have vengeance even in the remotest part of his mind. I hope he sees them as they are – the voices of ones crying in the wilderness for good governance, justice, inclusiveness and a level playing field in a country in which we are all stakeholders.
I hope Christians from across the nation and in the diaspora will be grateful to God they have started a revolution that is bound to recalibrate our political campaigns, restructure the polity and redefine political class’ response to the yearnings of the various sections of our nation.
There is no doubt our heartfelt prayers bombarded the heaven’s gate. The God of heaven heard. And He responded. But in His response, He chose neither earthquake nor fire as we earnestly demanded. Rather, His still small voice broke through the doors of our expectations and shattered the windows of our hope. It was His answer, not ours. And answer that is nevertheless consistent with His omnipotent and omniscient nature. We should be clear about God’s sovereignty vis a vis our own limitations. “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.’”Isaiah 55:8,9 (NKJV). It is the habit of God to use the foolishness of this world to confound the wise. Just as it’s not unusual for Him to turn the stone rejected by the builder into a cornerstone. The God who called Nebuchadnezzar His servant and Cyrus His anointed is obviously wiser than us. Therefore, knowing that His judgments and His ways are past finding out, we must now surrender to His will and rejoice in the hope and assurance that the road to the New Nigeria we seek passes through the President-Elect. May we not miss God’s visitation just because it is not dressed in the familiar and the expected.
Abiodun Fijabi, a public speaker, trainer, public affairs commentator and Christian leader writes from Abeokuta.