By Owei Lakemfa
THE politicians are in bloom with the 2019 General Elections knocking. One colourful politician I am yet to hear from is Pastor Chris Okotie, the Founder and Head Pastor of Household of God Church International Ministries. In almost all contemporary elections, he tells Nigerians that God had instructed him to run for the Presidency as he has been anointed the next President of the Blackman’s most populous country. In 2003, he ran against President Olusegun Obasanjo, and failed. Four years later, he ran against President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and floundered. In 2015 when he decided to run against President Goodluck Jonathan, some reminded him that he had used the name of God twice, and failed, perhaps it was not The Almighty that was telling him to run because God does not promise and fail.
Pastor Okotie responded: “God spoke to me about my participation in the political process, which was why I took the step in the first place. He has not said anything contrary.” So if in truth God is the one instructing him, why does he not even come close to winning one of the 36 states? Okotie explained: “If they didn’t rig, then I could have won. Apart from election malpractices, the duty of a servant of God is to obey his master when he gives him instructions.” Maybe the pastor truly experienced the Call and Promise of the Lord, but destiny changers were at work, so thrice he was called, thrice he has failed. Praise be to God in the Highest.
I am convinced that Pastor Okotie is still waiting on the Lord. But one man of God who claims to have received God’s instructions to run in the 2019 elections is the Serving Overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare. He had been Running Mate to General Mohammadu Buhari in the 2011 elections on the platform of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC. The CPC team had lost to President Goodluck Jonathan.
Now, Pastor Bakare has come out to publicly proclaim that God has chosen him to be our President next year. The fiery cleric told the media : “It may draw excitement or condemnation. I have tried my best to keep it (to myself) but the Holy Spirit will not allow me to do so… God told me ‘you cannot bring your political career to a close; there is still more to do. Run for the Presidency. I will do it at the appointed time.”
Perhaps, with the experience of Pastor Okotie in mind, Bakare said once God had spoken to him, it was left for the Lord to make him the President of Nigeria. Not taking chances with the voters, the pastor is seeking divine intervention: “Joseph (in the Bible) did not contest an election; yet, he became the Prime Minister of Egypt. Why must I worry myself about where to get the resources for the task? Your own duty in this assignment is to pray along with me. When it is the appointed time, He (God) will do it. When He tells me the time, you will hear about it.”
Having delivered the message of his impending beautification as Nigeria’s next President, the Pastor turned to heavyweight politicians whom he said will crumble at the feet of women: “In 1998, I told you that I saw your President dying between two women. Did it happen? I’m telling you again: some of these political juggernauts will fall at the feet of women and you will see it happen.”
Another politician-priest, Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka, the Spiritual Director, Adoration Ministry who has the gift of Tomorrow, sees President Buhari failing in the 2019 elections. So he has cautioned him not to seek re-election. Conversely, he sees, Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo climbing the Aso Rock ticket.
These men of God must be quite strong; I must admit that one of the most difficult vocations in Nigeria is partisan politics principally because the votes virtually do not count. Little pretentions are made to democratic principles. Some months ago, I met a friend who was a Local Government Chairmanship aspirant in the Delta State Local Government elections that was held this January. He seemed too quiet and gentlemanly for the race. But he persevered, campaigned vigorously and had quite a team working for him. He was quite confident he would win the elections but only feared that the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, primaries may not be free and fair. So he worked hard campaigning for free primaries. When the time came, rather than all aspirants having access to the party’s interest form which would set the stage for the primaries, only one form was made available, and it was given to the preferred candidate. So there was no issue of primaries or anybody challenging the process of picking a candidate. It was a done deed.
Now, any serious student of Nigerian politics knows that Local Government election is mainly a charade; the culture is that the ruling party in the state no matter how dismal its performance, sweeps the polls. Or to be more precise, the governor usually picks who wins. So was it in Delta State where the ruling PDP ‘won’ all the 25 Local Government Chairmanship seats.
However, the problem was that the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, is the ruling party at the national level, so it sought to display some federal might. In some areas, it showed some strength by resorting to violence. Obviously as part of the rigging plan, the Electoral Officer of the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission, DSIEC, office in Ughelli North Local Council claimed that he forgot the results sheets in Asaba, the state capital. Quickly, armed gunmen moved in, shot sporadically, and torched the office.
There was also violence in other parts like the Aniocha North Local Council. A wise Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, out of the generosity of his heart, decided to donate six councillorship seats out of over 400 to the rampaging opposition. He didn’t believe in a ‘Winner-takes-all’ zero sum game. However, the APC, not used to left over meals, rejected the generous offer.
If you ask me, I think Governor Okowa was quite considerate and accommodating. On the other hand, the APC was quite principled in rejecting the handouts. I can see the faded colours of the two dominant political parties. I am looking out for those of the Third Force. The Good Lord Bless the APC. The Almighty be with the PDP. Lord, Bless the Third Force; Concerned Nigerians, CN), and the Unconcerned Nigerians. We are all together!