By Sam Eyoboka
A 3-DAY conference hosted by Senior Pastor of The Fountain of Life Church, Taiwo Odukoya, to sensitise the Church on the importance of political partici-pation for good governance agreed that the Church and Christians must urgently dev-elop the capacity for strategic engagement in politics and governance for the redempt-ion of the Nigerian nation from protracted inept leadership.
This was the consensus at a leadership panel on the role of Christians and women in po-litics by Pastors and Leaders Network. The panel was co-ordinated by Chairperson of First Bank Plc, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, as all the speakers lamented the lukewarm attitu-de of Christians towards parti-cipation in politics.
The panel which included the founder of Kingsway Internat-ional Christian Church, Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo, former Minister of Education, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, Political activ-ist, Adebola Williams and foun-der of Rise Networks, Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji lamented the absence of Christian youths in the political space, arguing that such was responsible for inept leadership which has been the bane of nation’s development despite the huge resources.
Ashimolowo called on the Church to develop a 20-year political plan that will pro-gressively prepare Christians for leadership, stressing that such agenda must be tailored to train emerging Christian politicians.
According to him: “The Church is so badly educated on politi-cs that it only reacts instead of invent. We need a political training school like the kind Daniel and the three Hebrew boys attended in ancient Baby-lon for emerging leaders,” stressing that it must also develop achievable strategies for funding so that a powerful political base can evolve for national transformation.
Former Minister of Education, Mrs. Ezekwesili also lamented that the Church has been left behind in the political evolution of the nation.
“We need to build a base for emerging leaders,” she stated, pointing out that the world at large has acknowledged that leadership is gender-neutral. According to her, nations that involved in political leadership have been found to be more prosperous economically than their counterparts that prohi-bit women.
Rwanda, according to her, has the highest women politicians at 63.1 per cent while Nigeria boasts of a paltry six per cent, reflects on the development indices of both nations.
She therefore urged Nigerian women not to allow themselv-es to be intimidated, noting that many Christian women with capacity have sadly shot themselves out by keeping quiet.
In his own submission, a poli-tical activist, Adebola Williams, will also want the Church to urgently invest massively in technology and media to engi-neer the much needed political change, stressing that selfish Nigerian politicians have con-spired to put the masses on survival mode so that they can show zero-interest in govern-ance.
To change the current narrati-ve, he urged churches to em-brace media and technological inventions to empower people for political participation.
In a similar vein, founder of Rise Networks, a Nigeria-based private and public sector funded Youth Interest social enterprise, Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji, lamented that the Church has been sold on the lie that it must be apolitical.
“Politics,” according to her, “is the business of the Church and everyone. If you think you are not affected, think of the taxes slammed on your busi-nesses and the numerous untarred roads that lead to avoidable accidents and deaths.”