By Azu Ishiekwene
The pastor of the Household of God International Ministries, Reverend Chris Okotie, has asked the 68 political parties, especially the two major ones, to roll over and adopt him as their consensus candidate in next year’s presidential election.
It is not a joke or a suggestion. It is a divine instruction, which the parties will do well to accept “within the confines of conventional propriety,” to quote Okotie.
When a man – and not just any man but a reverend gentleman – says God says, you cannot ask for proof. You take it or leave it. Negotiating compliance is out of the question. In this instance, Okotie is not even leaving us with a cryptic, indecipherable writing on the wall. He’s laying it on, straight from the holy mountain.
His statement, received from the cherubs and seraphs, contained sufficient terrestrial context to convince any doubting Thomas that the message can only be ignored at our collective peril.
Knowing that we’re a forgetful nation, Okotie reminded us of the bright promise of nationhood at independence. The hopes and aspirations of our founding fathers that Nigeria had all the potential to be great and nothing would impede the realisation of that dream.
Sadly, Okotie said, that dream has been betrayed by politicians whose god is their stomach. “Times like this require the recruitment of patriotic gladiators who must now take up the gauntlet to defend the Nigerian dream.”
Okotie, the anointed
But who, from the rotten deck, can champion this new dream? Okotie leaves us in no doubt that he is the anointed one.
His words: “I am fully persuaded that Nigeria needs a man who is credible, dependable and trustworthy; a God-fearing man who will be readily embroidered with compassion and love for country, who will be readily accepted as a symbol of national unity.
“I believe that the benevolent grace of God has telescoped these virtues into my person, to prepare me for such a time as this.”
It was in furtherance of this divine political mission that Okotie wrote, “as directed by God”, to the chairmen of the parties to save themselves and their parties from any further meaningless search and adopt him as their consensus candidate.
Regrettably, the major parties have not received this message with the excitement, gratitude and relief that one had expected. After reading Okotie’s letter, I asked the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday, if they had received the letter and what they were planning to do with it.
APC responded with three laughing memes and said they hoped I got the message. Such blasphemy! PDP advised the reverend gentleman to go and join the party in his ward first, get a membership card, pick the nomination form and contest at the convention, adding, “PDP has no ticket to dash.”
I have since asked for forgiveness for both parties, because it’s quite clear that they do not know what they’re doing.
Not since former military head of state, General Sani Abacha, tried to whip political parties in line for his presidential ambition have we seen any politician so audaciously demand the crown without a contest.
Abacha didn’t claim any divine mandate of course. He created the parties, famously described by Bola Ige as the five fingers of a leprous hand and gave them a script to adopt him as the sole presidential candidate. The plan collapsed. When Abacha died suddenly, the remains of the parties were buried with him, freeing up the space for another round of political experiment.
But this is a different dispensation. Okotie’s current undertaking is not man’s idea or the product of any worldly political engineering. It is a script from the celestial realm. It is important to keep in mind too, that not once in his last three previous attempts at the Presidency did he say that God asked the other parties to adopt him or that other contestants should roll over for him.
Okotie was the candidate of the Justice Party, a party that he formed after he was schemed out of the National Democratic Party primaries in 2003. He contested against former President Olusegun Obasanjo and lost, while the NDP won only one seat in the House of Representatives.
In 2006, he formed the FRESH Party, contested against former President Umaru Yar’Adua, and lost again. He not only lost the election, a few years later, he almost lost his party when the Independent National Electoral Commission tried to scrap FRESH and 27 other parties, which were mocked as owner-occupier cottages.
FRESH was saved by the courts and in 2011, Okotie ran for a third time against former President Goodluck Jonathan and lost a third time.
It’s obvious that God has thought the matter over, very carefully, and has decided to give Nigeria a fourth and final chance at redemption: Okotie’s emergence from hibernation is our last chance to be saved from a shipwreck.
Politicians, being politicians, haven’t changed much from the stubbornness and conceit for which they were destroyed in the Great Flood in the biblical story of Noah’s Ark. In case they are tempted to deride Okotie’s prophetic call as inconsequential, they should remember that Okotie’s public letter will stand as a witness in the day of the coming apocalyptic inferno.
Since none of the parties has so far chosen a candidate, there’s no better time than now for the parties and their candidates to cut their losses and take their chance on this divinely anointed consensus candidate.
Since the APC fancies itself as the party to beat in the next poll, it bears the greater burden of taking the lead in this matter. If President Muhammadu Buhari is finding it difficult to step down, it should not be difficult for his Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to get him to see the point.
Osinbajo is a pastor. If anyone in the inner circle of government understands the importance of a divine directive, then he’s the one. The retribution for treating Okotie’s demand with levity will be compounded for APC if the party’s resident pastor neglects to play his role in ensuring that God’s will is done through Okotie’s adoption.
Should the need arise for compensation (of course, I mean compensation of the pecuniary kind), I’m sure Okotie will be happy to dispense with a small part of his estimated $10 million personal fortune to sort out any candidate who may suffer financial loss and who may be dissatisfied with spiritual blessings alone.
And if more money is still a problem, I’m prepared to launch a crowd-funding effort among the faithful to settle the matter once and for all.
Also, as my modest contribution to Okotie’s campaign, I have taken it upon myself to contact Patrick Obahiagbon, otherwise called Igodomigodo, to co-ordinate his campaign and bring to bear that chemistry in extraordinary use of language (or linguistic reverberation), which Okotie and Obahiagbon both share and which is so vital for the success of this type of endeavour.
In a country famous for religion without virtue, wealth without labour, and pleasure without happiness, only very few can still hear God, much less hear him as clearly as Reverend Christopher Oghenebrorie Okotie.
We must be careful not to treat his revelation as anything other than the ultimate divine intervention to turn the country around.
Those who have ears, let them hear.
Ishiekwene is the Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of The Interview and member of the board of the Global Editors Network