By Poju Oyemade
When I invited former Anambra State Governor Peter Obi to speak at the 2016 edition of ‘Platform Nigeria’, I had not met him before. In fact, I only met him in person for the first time two hours before his speech on October 1. But his intervention on the waste that defines governance in our country today has touched a very deep nerve with many Nigerians, including me.
Indeed, I strongly believe that the political elite will be making a big mistake if they think the landscape will remain the same after such a revealing presentation. The pertinent question here is: Why is an accusation of waste of scarce public resources so significant when it comes to governance? As a pastor, I will say it is because there are parallels to draw even from the Bible.
In Luke chapter 16, verses 1and 2 (NIV), The Lord Jesus Christ told the parable of “a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’”
The import of that story is simple: Once it is established that a steward is a waster, he/she loses every moral authority to govern or lead. This is one of the hidden laws through which our Creator governs the affairs of men. Jesus just came to demonstrate that to us.
There is something about God in His dealings with us, particularly with the ruling class, which can be summed up as, if the people don’t cry out to Him, He doesn’t get involved. However, once a legitimate voice(s) is heard in heaven God begins to show His hand in the affairs of men; showing to us as He did with Nebuchadnezzar that He reigns in the affairs of men.
Historically, the political class in Egypt went untouched until God said He heard the groaning of the people. We can find that in Exodus chapter 6: verses 5 and 6: “And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments.”
There are several other Biblical passages which reveal hwo and when God intervenes and the consequences for bad leaders. From Judges Chapter 2 verse 18 (…for it repented the Lord because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them”) to Job chapter 34 verses 28 to 30 (So that they cause the cry of the poor to come unto him, and he heareth the cry of the afflicted. When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble? And when he hideth his face, who then can behold him? whether it be done against a nation, or against a man only: That the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared).
We can go on and on in the Scriptures to show that it is only when the people cry out that God gets involved by showing His hands. Even in the story of the unforgiving servant, it took others to report to the master for him to get involved. But the cry of wastage in governance is a cry the Lord responds to and it is not about the perfection of the one who cries. It is about the perfect timing of an accurate cry.
Therefore, it must be clear to every Nigerian at home and in the Diaspora that a sound has gone out on a serious abuse of public trust. The steward i.e. the political office holder must understand what a voice of accusation concerning wastage means when the Master of the earth in which we live in hears it. And to go back to the Biblical account, the unfaithful servant knew in very clear terms he was going to lose his position so he started weighing other options available to him.
His response, as recorded in Luke chapter 16, verse 3: “Then the steward said within himself, what shall I do? For my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed”.
The steward was left with two options: to become a digger or a beggar. It was very clear to the steward that the choices he had made while serving, especially how he (mis)managed the resources now had consequences. The cry of those who were at the receiving end of his misrule was now going to make him lose political power.
I hope all the office holders in our country (whether in the private sector or in the public arena) can hear what the Spirit is saying: the cry of accusation in the area of wastage is an accurate voice that changes the game. It is important that Nigerians make the adjustments before the Lord shows His hand in the affairs of our country and it becomes too late to change. God bless Nigeria.
* Oyemade is the Senior Pastor of the Christian Covenant Centre that organizes ‘Platform Nigeria’