Osinbajo, Tunde Bakare urge more Christians to participate in politics

The Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, has said that despite the challenges of public service, more godly people are needed in politics to change the nation for the better.

Also, the Serving Overseer, Citadel Global Community Church, Pastor Tunde Bakare, urged Nigerian Christians to play active roles in the affairs of the country, instead of sitting on the fence.

They said this last Saturday during a lecture, award and dinner night to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Shepherdhill Baptist Church, Obanikoro, Lagos State.

According to the Vice-President, only those in government understand the peril of being involved in politics.

While enumerating some of the challenges, he said churches were not  always in support of Christians involved in politics.

He said they, however, remember such people when they get into positions of authority and are quick to say, ‘you are in the kingdom for such a time as this’ without remembering to pray and fast for the success of such Christians.

Osinbajo recalled that he almost quit public service after a meeting during the administration of former Lagos Governor, Bola Tinubu.

He said, “I became born again in 1994. Just five years after, I was nominated to be the attorney-general of Lagos State. On a particular day, I was in a small room with three of the advisers of Governor Bola Tinubu and we were meant to be talking about some policies.

“But there was a young man who was smoking a pipe. Smoke filled the entire room. For somebody who had been born again for some years, I had not come across smokers in a while, let alone be in a room where somebody was smoking. My body was smelling.

“So, I said to the gentleman, ‘Why not just stop smoking so we can have some peace here.’ Fortunately, he agreed with me, but not before saying, ‘You pastors, that is the way you are’.


“Just as I was about to leave the place, my whole body was smelling. So, I just asked myself, is this thing really worth it? I was pastoring a church at that time. I thought, ‘What if somebody from my church were to walk up to me and perceive the smoke and say, ‘Pastor, do you also…just in a while?’ But I clearly heard God say to me, ‘You cannot be salt if you are not going to be in the stew.’ And being in the stew means taking the heat, too. There is no way in the world that anybody who has been in public service will tell you that unless you are willing to do those things, you are going to be hit all the time. Your reputation is always going to be on the line. People are going to attack you every day.”

The Vice-President said it was difficult to be righteous in Nigeria because of the pervasive corruption, adding that people don’t attack those who offer bribes “in the right place.”

He lamented that corruption had also spread to religious houses, where Christian leaders seek help for their members accused of committing crimes.


Osinbajo urged Christians to practise the gospel to the maximum by praying for those who persecute them.

“I met a woman whose two children were killed by Boko Haram; a Christian woman. But strangely, the woman told me that we have a duty to bring those people to Christ. I was surprised. The truth is that if our gospel will be transformative, it is a difficult gospel and it is a contrarian gospel because it does not agree with our flesh.

“If Stephen had cursed Saul when he was being stoned to death, the man who was to write two-thirds of the new testament would have died. The difficult thing for many of us is that the gospel does not agree with our flesh and it cannot agree,” he added.

Earlier, Bakare said the church could become a nation builder through visionary leadership, strategic positioning and visionary institutions.

“Rather than our reactionary postures, we must begin to develop strategies for positioning godly people in economy, governance, arts and entertainment, media and education, religion, until the flag of the kingdom of God is hoisted on every mountain.

“Until we step out of the comfort zones of our cozy weekly services and interface with the rot around us as salt and light, the work of nation building cannot begin,” he said.

Bakare said that Christians should not expect the task of nation-building to begin until they step out of the comfort zones of their Sunday services.

He said the best way for Christians to fulfil their divine mandate as the “salt and light of the world” was to step out and confront the rot in the society.

The cleric identified visionary leadership, strategic positioning and visionary institutions as the essential elements of nation-building.

He called on Christians to develop strategies for positioning godly people in strategic places in the polity.

Stressing that godly people must be positioned in places of authority in politics, economy, arts and entertainment, etc, he said, “We must become skilled not only in rightly dividing the word of truth, but also in rightly dividing public policy.”


The Punch Newspaper

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