by Pastor Afolabi Oladele (preached in 2011)
THE task of governance is a shared responsibility between the rulers and the citizens, divinely ordained. This task includes seeing that order, justice, freedom and equity are maintained for the smooth running of the nation’s affairs. It is therefore the duty of each citizen not to stand aloof and watch things derail under faltering or failed leadership. The approaching General election is an opportune occasion for the current and upcoming generations of Nigerians to take personal responsibility for their government just as much as the government must for the citizens.
But how do we all develop this sense of responsibility for one another? What are the things we need to know and learn towards contributing our individual and collective parts to the common good of our nation-Nigeria? What are the divine prerequisites for seeking leadership and the consequences of abuse of the position?
Responding to these questions formed the core of the teachings being shared by Pastor Afolabi Oladele of The Christian Brethren Church (TCBC), Lagos in a series titled – Rulership, Governance and Accountability that ran on LTV, DBN and Gateway T.V The 5-part series is available on DVD for those interested.
God is speaking to Nigeria, The question is: who is listening? Pastor Oladele’s messages on: “Rulership, Governance and Accountability” are not only directed to the citizens, but also to Leaders, from Ward Councilors to Local Government Chairmen, from State Legislators and Commissioners to Governors, from National Assembly legislators to the Ministers as well as the President.
Drawing from the writings of the Apostle Paul in 1st Tim 2:1-4 and verse 8 -every Nigerian is urged to understand their responsibility as it relates to:
- Recognizing and accepting the powers that be as ordained of God, and
accordingly should be obeyed unless their reign or laws become anti-scriptural;
- Paying our taxes to the human government; and
- Praying for leaders in human government
It is interesting to note that Romans 12:2 compares with 1st Tim 2:3 in suggesting that praying for leaders is part of our offertory as a living sacrifice to God! We see that offerings to God on behalf of leaders are also clearly practiced in the OT (see Ezra 6:10, 7:23). We find the same notion expressed by Paul in 1st Timothy, expressed by Peter in 1st Peter 2:13-14- the exception being when the compromise or denial of the faith is involved- Hebrews 11: 33-40.
Pastor Oladele noted that Peter’s declaration builds the bridge to Romans 13:1-8 which speaks to the general function of human government as ordained by God to be those of:
- Protection of all under its domain;
- Punishment of those who do wrong and honoring those who do right; and
- Promotion of the general welfare of the community where its laws are in effect.
These set functions also set out the basis on which Leaders in governments should be evaluated without any deviation by the believing citizens from the precepts espoused in 1st Tim 2 referred to earlier.
He added: “This having been said, we are inspired by:
- The word of the Lord in the mouth of John the Baptist (Luke 3:1-14; Matt 3:1- 12, and John 1:19-31) reveals how the believer expectedly relates to governance beyond satisfying the scriptural demand for prayers. It is note worthy that Luke 3 recorded the three-tiers of governing authorities in existence at that time when the message of repentance from derailed leadership started sounding out; and
- The Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Who set out for us the model to follow in dealing with failed governance and rulership such as Nigeria has witnessed in the larger part of the last three decades -Mark 6:30-45 emphasizing particularly on vs. 34.
- Did they not have Shepherds (rulers, guides)? Yes, the civil leadership (Herod), religious leadership (Matt 24) and the military existed at that time just as they do today.
- John shows our next responsibility as publicly drawing the attention of leaders to how far they have departed from the principles of the word of God and calling them to repentance; while
- The Lord Jesus Christ began teaching the people, showing them the role of true leadership in exercise of compassion and following divine economic principles (sharing equitably and not self-seeking greed).
On deep reflection, Jesus taught the people to:
- Recognize the two Kingdoms and their respective economies.
- The Kingdom of this world where men compete selfishly to be at the top and the rule is “grab all you can within the time you have” and where you are always vulnerable to greed and manipulation; and
- The Kingdom of God where He rules and reigns, owns all resources and dispenses them generously to meet the needs of His creation and where the rules are reversed -Isaiah 55:9, compared to what prevails in the Kingdom of this world. In God’s Kingdom, sharing not hoarding is ‘the rule that triggers multiplication!
The man of God then calls viewers and listeners to: “choose for yourself which Kingdom and economy you want” -Joshua 24:15-and understanding the power limitations and attendant to whichever choice is made.
Rulership is God’s idea just as the operating structure and system are also His ideas. The principles of delegation, shared responsibility founded upon fear of God, commitment to and propagation of integrity are shown clearly in:
- Luke 3 as well as in 2nd Chronicles 1 :2, via:
- Military – generals etc.
- Political leaders (governors) all of who constitute the leadership supporting
He notes that God demands that these (leaders) not only be models of justice but
mentors providing inspiration for those who are ruled as we observe from 2nd Samuel
23:1-4.Translated, this scripture says· “Whose ways are like the rising of the sun that brings light giving clarity of paths to follow and those to avoid, inspiring the growth and the thriving of that which gives life”. Who can find such except those which God selects? Such leaders are not men that are captive to fellow men’s -political godfathers’- whims and caprices. Rather, they are men who are captives only to God’s desires and purposes.
Citizens are thus enjoined, as they look at the leadership landscape in this nation, particularly in the coming elections, to search for men that are:
- Just and
- Have the fear of God
The message stressed the importance of the fact that, the God Who set up rulership is also the One that
set up accountability standards and demands that they be respected.
To show more on the responsibility and consequence of failure, leaders, this time
around, are directed to consider the book of Numbers 13:12 and 14: 45 in order to learn important lessons. Leader’s lives and testimony, the message stressed, must draw people to God and not turn them against God! Number 13: 12 and 14: 10. Furthermore their (leaders) responsibilities to their citizenry are well captured in God’s assessment journal, See Ezekiel 34:1-6.
Against the declaration of Ezekiel: 34 1-6, the poser was raised: have Nigerian
leaders fed the flock, strengthened the broken and diseased. Sought those driven
away or have they ruled with cruelty?
- Leadership failure in the treatise in Numbers: 13 and 14 carries rejection and death penalty. Some think death is a full stop and are therefore not bothered. This perception is scripturally wrong. We will all account for Stewardship. This is also addressed.
- Failure on the part of the rulers can also provoke rebellion amongst the citizenry causing the transfer of Gods purpose or plan from the rebelling generation, to one that fits Gods demands.
- The entitlement and self-interest mentality is the bedrock of continuing
The rape of the unlearned and the poor continuing in successive generations only bring further delay to the establishment of God purpose.
This is why the evil works must be stopped.
This is why the younger generation must not imbibe the ways of our present
crop of leaders. If they do, we only delay the much assured promise of God
that Nigeria can be great again.
- The message then affirmed: This is the time to make every effort to
fight and reject imposition by the evil caused by whatsoever party names
they are called, of people to be elected who feed themselves fat and kill the citizenry.
The man of God, calling on leaders in Nigeria and indeed across the world said: “You crop of present rulers -Commissioners, Ministers, Legislators at State and National levels, Governors and the President -you can no longer, by the virtue of this word that is being preached, pretend ignorance of the consequences of your ways” -Hear the word of the Lord- Luke 16:19-31! The judgment of God is not only against the shepherds, but against the strong sheep too. Ezekiel 34:8-10, 17·22.
As for you the down trodden (citizens): arise” Pastor Oladele called, “and lay hold upon the promises of God -Ezekiel 34:11-16, 21-22. In every assembly of believers, raise up your voices and spare not, call upon the Lord until He raises up His hand to deal with the spoilers and their evil party caucuses.
Emphatically. Pastor Oladele said: This is the season that in every assembly:
1. Prayers must be made without ceasing to enforce the will of God concerning
His own choice of Nigeria; and
- These things should be spoken about publicly that all people may recognize
their responsibility in living right so that God’s promise upon our land and the people
should be brought to pass.
THIS IS THE TIME TO START!