Election or Selection: Theological Appraisal of Elections in Nigeria By The Ven. Dr. Paul Dajur

  • Korede Akintunde
  • June 3, 2023

Election or Selection: Theological Appraisal of Elections in Nigeria.

Nigeria in its history of existence as an independent nation has witnessed elections anchored by both the military and civilian governments. It is in its fourth republic and the blame or praises are shared by both the military and civilian governments that have ruled so far. Since it became a republic in 1963 the fourth republic which started on May 29, 1999, and continues till date is so far the longest and uninterrupted by the military, as the military took hold of the nation’s governance between 1966 to 1999 except for the years between 1979-1983. The military cannot be solely blamed for their long stay in the corridors of power in Nigeria since independence because of the misdemeanor of the civilians with power. This made the nation suffer serious political instability that it has not recovered completely from its effect. Some of the reasons for instability include economic mismanagement and embezzlement of public funds, election malpractices, blatant disregard for the constitution and the rule of law, tribalism, nepotism, and regionalism, disagreement on the ratio for sharing of revenue, baseless religious fanaticism and intolerance, corruption, power grabbers and sit-tight emperors, falsified census figures, hard economic conditions and unemployment, foreign interference, selfishness, greed, and destructive tendencies of some leaders, etc. Nigeria as a republic is expected to perform as a government that is by the majority, which is democracy, the absence of monarchy which entails the election of its leaders, and the rule of law which guides and protects the citizens from the abuses of leaders who would want to rule based on their whims and caprices. As far as Nigeria’s constitution, 1999 as amended on the leadership and governance is concerned, election is the only means through which individuals can come to power at the national, state, and local governments leadership. It was an aberration and still is to get to the leadership of these tiers of government through a coup as the military had done previously, or through military fiat, violence, or any other undemocratic means such as selection. To this effect, the topic of this lecture needs to be clarified to remove ambiguity, especially on the use of the word “selection.” What is selection? The word that stands between election and selection is a conjunction and can be of agreement or contrast. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “or” is a conjunction that is “used to connect different possibilities;” and “used after a negative verb to mean not one thing and also not another.” There are two ways to look at selection in relation to the topic. If it is taken in the agreement sense of it, then selection is a synonym of election, for instance, whereas the republican constitution of 1963 allowed for the selection of the Prime Minister from among those already elected, the presidential constitution of 1979, as well as the 1999 constitution as amended, permits the election of the president directly by the electorates. In this case, it can be argued that Nigeria legally at different points permitted both selection and election. But if it is seen as a contrast then selection is an antonym of the word election. Although both are tenable, the constitution of Nigeria has no room for selection. To confirm this point, Human Rights Watch sees selection as “the process in which political office is secured by means of corrupt and abusive practices rather than through free and fair elections,” (Human Rights Watch (April 2007, No. 1). If this description by Human Rights Watch is taken to its logical conclusion, then it makes it possible to conclude consequently, that Nigeria has never had an election but selection. This must be so because Nigeria has never had a free and fair election that the opposition has no recourse to challenge either by castigation, lawsuits and at the extreme by violence. For instance, whereas the 2023 election has been decried by many as the worse in terms of malpractices and rigging, the 16thPresident, Bola Ahmed Tinubu said, “since the advent of the Fourth Republic, Nigeria has not held an election of better quality” (The Nigerian Ideal – First Inaugural Address by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu 29 May, 2023). So, as it is, if the topic aims at pushing away selection for election to stay, at this point it will be difficult because, quite frankly, selection seems to be a landlord whereas election is a tenant in Nigeria. This is a lovely lacuna because it invites this lecture to focus on the theological aspect which if accepted and properly performed will send the unwanted landlord called selection packing and enthrone election which is so much desired. Having said this, this paper will briefly review elections in Nigeria and conclude with a theological appraisal. Election and Stages of Elections in Nigeria It can be erroneously assumed that election is simply the act of casting a vote for a preferred candidate at the polling booth on the day of the election. But election is much more than casting of votes on election day. Election is more than what happens on the day of election. According to David Tuesday Adamo, An election includes the entire legal and constitutional framework of elections, the actual registration of political parties, party campaigns, financing, the activities of security agents, and the government in power. It includes the authentication and the genuineness of the voters’ register, the independence or lack of it. It also has to do with the liberalism or nonliberalism of the political process in a particular country and the independence of adjudicating electoral bodies (pp. 3-4). Adamo’s perspective about election suggests that election is not merely the exercise of casting of votes but includes all the processes before and after the day of election. As already established above, election is not a day’s affair as such it involves different activities at different levels or stages of the electoral process. A typical election goes through the following stages: 1. Pre-Election Stage: This is the first stage which involves setting the commission in charge of election, providing electoral act and guidelines, registration of voters, candidate of political parties presenting their manifesto, and all persons qualified to vote are registered, etc. 2. Primary Stage: This has to do with the screening of candidates by political parties and the holding of primary elections. 3. Nominations Stage: This is the stage when political parties present their flagbearers who will contest election with others from the other political parties in the general election. 4. Campaign Stage: The different political parties go around canvassing and campaigning for votes for their party and flagbearer. 5. Accreditation Stage: This stage involves what happens on the day of election. Each voter is accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) staff before proceeding to vote. Those who are accredited cannot vote. 6. Ballot Paper Stage: The next thing after the accreditation of voters is the handing over of ballot paper to the voter in readiness for voting. 7. Voting Stage: This is the stage when the voter enters the voting booth to vote for his preferred candidate in the election. 8. Collation Stage: After the voting has ended according to electoral guidelines and timing, all the results are collated and the result of each political party and candidate are counted and documented. 9. Declaration of Result Stage: At this stage, the INEC announces the result of the elections and declares the winner of the election. 10. Certificate of Return: The INEC will present the Certificate of Return to the winner of the election. 11. Inauguration Stage: This is the final stage of election where the elected person is sworn into office to perform his or her leadership and governance in accordance with the stipulation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Election is a necessity in an ethically diversified nation such as Nigeria. Gershinen Paul Dajur (2019), in underscoring the necessity of election in a democracy sees election as a process rather than a single act. He said, “election is the process of choosing and selecting people into leadership positions” (P. 65). Sikiru ‘Lanre Nurudeen presents the benefits of elections as well as the place of the winners and losers of elections. That is, both the winners and losers of elections have vital roles to play in the governance of the nation. Elections guarantee political participation and competition. They also provide an opportunity for citizens to make a political decision by voting for the competing candidates fielded by various political parties. This implies that election which is one of the critical anchors of democracy requires the existence of political parties. In Nigeria, political parties offer citizens a choice in governance, and while in opposition they can hold governments accountable All these are central to the wider consolidation of democracy (p. 126). An Overview of Nigeria, Political Parties and Elections Nigeria came into being as one entity through the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914 but had its first political party, Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) formed by Sir Herbert Macauley and had an election in 1922. This became possible through the Clifford Constitution of 1922. The next political party became the Lagos Youth Movement (LYM), a political made up of the graduates of King’s College, Lagos in 1934. In 1936 LYM changed to the Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM) and its membership became strengthened with the return of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe from Ghana. The National Council of Nigeria and Cameroon (NCNC) was later formed in 1944 as a national political party with Sir Herbert Macaulay and Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe as national leader and national secretary respectively. This political party was powerful and was said to have sent a powerful delegation to London in 1946 to express its concerns against Richard’s constitution. Action Group (AG) of Nigeria formed by Chief Obafemi Awolowo became the next political party to be formed after NCNC. The Northern People’s Congress (NPC) which is more like a counterpart of AG was formed in 1951. The three political parties, NCPC, AG, and NPC representing the three regions of the East, West, and North became the national political parties that heralded the independence of Nigeria in 1960. At independence, NCNC joined NPC in the formation of the coalition government, with Tafawa Balewa of NPC as Prime Minister NPC and Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe of NCNC as the Governor-General, while Chief Obafemi Awolowo of AG was the opposition leader. Although these three were the major political parties, others not so strong existed as well: Northern Element Progressive Union (NEPU) led by Aminu Kano and the United Middle Belt Congress (UMBC) led by Joseph Tarka which served as opposition to the NPC in the North. The Mid-West Democratic Front (MDF) was the opposition for the mid-west region, and the Nigeria National Democratic Party (NNDP) by Chief S.L. Akintola was the opposition for AG. NNDP came about because Akintola was forced out of AG, and he joined Fani Kayode and they distinguished NNDP from the one formed by Hebert Macaulay in 1922. In the first republic coalitions of political parties to competed for seats for instance the NPC joined NNDP to form the Nigeria National Alliance (NNA); while AG joined NCNC to form the United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA). The inability of the then Nigeria’s President, Dr Nnamdi Azikwe to form a new government with Tafawa Balewa, the then Prime Minister caused crisis that led to the intervention of the military and that brought the end of the first republic. In the Second Republic Federal Election 1979, the Federal Electoral Commission supervised the 1979 general elections under General Olusegun Obasanjo. The political parties of this republic are the National Advance Party (registered in 1983); the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) rooted in the AG and led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo; the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) with Shehu Shagari; the Nigeria Peoples’ Party (NPP) (the reincarnate of NCNC) led by Nnamdi Azikiwe of NCNC; the Great Nigeria Peoples’ Party (GNPP); the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) (NEPU of a sort with the protestant philosophy of Mallam Aminu Kano); and the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). Shehu Shagari won the 1979 and 1983 elections. The military coup on 31 December 1983 led by Major General Muhammadu Buhari toppled brought the second republic to an end. General Muhammadu Buhari’s regime was toppled on August 27, 1985, through another coup led by General Ibrahim Babangida. The military President Ibrahim Babangida which were the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and the National Republican Convention (NRC) supervised by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) chaired by Professor Humphrey Nwosu. These parties were funded and allocated secretariat by the government; therefore did not act freely as independent political parties. The whole arrangement collapsed with the annulment of the result of June 12, 1993, that denied Chief MKO Abiola of SDP ascendency as the elected president of Nigeria. This brought Nigeria under the National Interim Government led by Ernest Shonekan between August 26 to November 17, 1993, as General Sanni Abacha took over as Head of State on November 17, 1993. General Sanni Abacha registered five political parties: the United Nigeria Congress (UNCP), National Congress Party of Nigeria, (NCPN), Congress of National Consensus, (CNC), Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN), and Grassroots Democratic Movement (GDM), which were controlled in nominating and adopting him as their consensus presidential candidate, even when he did not belong to any of the political parties. His on 8th June 1998 brought that game to an end and that was how the third republic was botched. Nigeria’s fourth republic presidents are;
  • President Olusegun Obasanjo of PDP (May 29, 1999 – May 29, 2007 – two terms);
  • President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua of PDP (May 29, 2007 – May 5, 2010);
  • Goodluck Jonathan – acting President of PDP (May 6, 2010. May 29, 2011); President Goodluck Jonathan of PDP (May 29, 2011 – May 29, 2015);
  • President Muhammadu Buhari of APC (May 29, 2015 – May 29, 2023 – two terms);
  • and currently President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of APC (May 29, 2023 – date).
The architect of the fourth republic was General Abubakar Abdulsalam who came into power as the Head of State on June 9, 1998, dissolved all the political structures that were in place under General Abacha and brought about three political parties: The People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the All People’s Party (APP) and the Alliance for Democracy (AD) registered and supervised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The fourth republic has seen more political parties and that is not unconnected with the legal victory of the late Chief Gani Fawehimi (28 political parties in the 2003 elections, 54 in 2007, 91 in 2019, and 18 in 2023). This confirms that Nigeria has accepted election as its only means of getting people to the seat of power at the national, state, and local governments. In the 2023 elections, some of the prominent political parties that fielded their candidates for presidential election include PDP with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; Labour Party (LP) with Peter Obi; and APC with Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu who won and has been sworn in as the 16th President of Nigeria. What was almost common in a successive manner is the rate of electoral malpractices, rigging, and violence that took place during the elections of most of these leaders. Almost all the presidents played lip service to the issue of free and fair elections but never went beyond that to fully implement them, such that “rigging seems to be the unofficial means of winning an election in Nigeria” (Dajur, 2003, pp. 33-34). However, President Goodluck Jonathan is to be commended for declaring that his personal ambition for a second term as president is not worth the blood of any Nigerian which made the 2015 election violent-free. On the other hand, Muhammadu Buhari is well known for making utterances and invoking violence during elections. The experience of elections in Nigeria is characterized by vote buying, rigging, ballot snatching, violence, fraud, evil manipulations, hate speech, propaganda, etc. One major trait of the evil that 2023 brought to the limelight is the rate of hatred some Christians had and expressed against other Christians on account of their choice of a presidential candidate (Dajur, 2023, p. x). Moreover, Dajur on the 2023 election wrote, Nigeria is not yet there in terms of having a free and fair election and Nigerians are tired of bad governance and politics. INEC, the body handling issues of elections in Nigeria has been badly compromised. The President and INEC must work hard to redeem the image of the electoral body and gain the trust of Nigerians on politics and elections in Nigeria because the experience has made some people so angry with Nigeria to the extent that they see no future for the country again – some have cursed Nigeria with some destroying their Nigerian passports (Dajur, 2003, p. 33). Ugo Jim-Nwoko, quoted Professor J. F. Ade-Ajayi, a renowned historian saying, “Nigeria’s electoral history is a study in controversies, violence, deaths, national crises, civil wars, riots, and national destruction.” Whereas it has been obvious that a great number of Nigerians are displeased with the way the 2023 elections were handled, it was appalling that President Tinubu applauded the election that brought him into power as the most credible of all elections. Finally, the following commission supervised elections in Nigeria: Electoral Commission of Nigeria (ECN) inaugurated in 1958 and headed by an expatriate Ronald Wraith; Federal Electoral Commission (FEC) inaugurated in 1960 headed by Chief Eyo Esua; another Federal Electoral Commission was inaugurated and headed by Chief Michael Ani in 1979 who was succeeded by Justice Victor Ovie Whisky; Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO) was inaugurated by General Olusegun Obasanjo for the elections of 1979 and 1983; National Electoral Commission of Nigeria was inaugurated by General Ibrahim Babangida headed by Professor Eme Awa (1987–1989), Professor Humphrey Nwosu (1989–1993), Professor Okon Uya. It was headed by Chief Sumna Dagogo-Jack (1994–1998) under the regime of General Sani Abacha; Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was inaugurated in 1998 by General Abdulsalam Abubakar. Since its inauguration in 1998, INEC has continued to organize all the elections in Nigeria since then. It was headed by Justice Ephraim Akpata; later Abel Guobadia, Professor Maurice Iwu, Professor Attahiru Jega appointed by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2010, and Professor Mahmood Yakubu who took over from the acting Chairman Amina Bala-Zakari in 2015. Theological Appraisal of Elections in Nigeria The simple definition of the word theology based on its Greek etymology is the study of God. The task of theological appraisal is two-pronged, the appraisal of God about elections in Nigeria and the appraisal of God’s involvement in Nigeria’s elections. But whether it is God that is being appraised or God is the one appraising the political actors, one question that stands out is, where is God in the elections of Nigeria? Although God, being divine enters anywhere He deems fit according to His being and purpose, He has in most instances manifested through theophanies and His children. Indeed, those who are not Christians have often judged God’s involvement in the elections of Nigeria by the involvement of Christians. However, notably comforting is the truth that God’s testimony about Himself right from the days of old is “I am who I am” (Exod. 3:14). Jesus demonstrated who He is to the disciples further by making them confess by the Spirit of God His being when Simon Peter without mincing words said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16). Further comfort is the fact that those who judge God based on our words and actions usually came to the conclusion that convicts and convinces them about the uniqueness of God despite the failures of those who belong to Him. For instance, Mahatma Gandhi said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” It is sad to underscore that not everyone would exonerate God based on the involvement of His children in elections, especially as Tai Solarin an educationist and self-acclaimed atheist faulted the sense and existence of God as the cause of corruption in politics and elections. Justus N. Mogekwu quoted Tai Solarin saying, “I cannot afford to be corrupt because I do not believe in God.” He said this because of the Tarka/Daboh and Joseph Gomwalk corruption saga in 1974. He explained further saying, “Public officers who steal public money, plead their innocence, declare that God is their witness, and later ask Him for forgiveness. But I have no God to run to for forgiveness, so I dare not steal or cheat” (Justus N. Mogekwu, p. 76). Another statement was attributed to the former Governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang which reads, “God is a democrat, he does not support rigging but if you rig and succeed, that means God approves of it.” It is statements such as these that present God in bad light within the political scenes in Nigeria. These statements rather than motivating Christians into politics are reinforcements to the long-held disposition that tagged politics as a “dirty game” unholy, ungodly, and despicable for Christians to be involved with. It is easy to fall into the trap of accepting and believing this understanding about politics and elections in Nigeria because of the misdemeanors and vices prevalent in politics and elections. At a recent Leadership Conference organized by the Evangelical Leadership and Missions International Institute, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, the Most Rev’d Henry C. Ndukuba in his keynote address bemoaned the 2023 elections in Nigeria saying, It is very disheartening to discuss the nature and state of political leadership in most countries of the world including ours. We are eyewitnesses to how the 2023 elections were conducted in Nigeria, with all the characteristics that represent inordinate ambition to ‘grab power’ whether qualified or not. Among the unfortunate components and outcomes of this were violence, intimidation, thuggery, harassment, disenfranchisement, voter suppression, ballot box snatching, underage voting, cheating, and shedding innocent blood (p. 29). It is unarguable to note that both military and civilian politics and elections in Nigeria are tainted and not pure. My personal observation of the 2023 elections opened me to seeing corruption, abuse of rights, hate speech, slander, blackmail, propaganda, violence, “go to court mantra,” and other dastardly acts involved. However, despite all these ills, politics and elections are not dirty, rather, those who engage themselves selfishly are those who are dirty. Christians who are holding the belief that politics is a dirty game are invariably boycotters of politics and elections. To boycott politics and elections means to refuse, reject, shun, and avoid, politics and elections. God is involved in politics and elections; thus, it is awkward for Christians who pray to God for good governance, politics, and free and fair elections to boycott the processes involved. Dajur (2019) said, In politics, leaders do not just emerge. In the democracy being practiced in Nigeria, political leaders are elected through democratic means. … It is a Christian civic duty to go out and elect leaders for the nation. Although there are times when Christians can be united to boycott elections, it must be carefully handled because avoiding elections in most cases does not bring the best result for the church (p. 65). The same Dajur (2019) went further to say that “abstaining from voting because none of the candidates meet our criteria is voting, electing, and endorsing bad governance” (p. 70). According to him, if none of the candidates meet the desire of the Christians the biblical verse in Jeremiah 6:16 which calls for listening to the direction of God should be applied (2019, p. 69). To this end, there is no reason why Christians who have been commissioned to “occupy” and wait for the coming of the LORD Jesus Christ will boycott politics and elections and continue to cry about being marginalized in their churches and ministries (see Luke 19:13). Abraham Kuyper said “[T]here is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: “Mine!” The Church can safeguard against getting to the point where the flagbearer that meets their choice in an election by engaging the outline provided by Dajur below: 1. Encourage and organize platforms for voter education. This must ensure that active political culture is imbibed by the Church. 2. Encourage and motivate people to register and obtain their permanent voter’s cards (PVCs). 3. Encourage and propel people to go out and vote on election days. 4. Create platforms and forums for different Christian candidates to debate. 5. Encourage those who have the call into politics to register under credible political parties and where necessary to contest elections. On this point, Ezichi A. Ituma noted that “it is completely absurd for a Christian leader to claim to be patriotic by merely encouraging his members to participate in voting while discouraging them from political party membership.” 6. Mobilize the Church to fast and pray for leaders in politics and elections. 7. Preach and teach biblical qualities of leadership. 8. Preach and teach people to entrench peace in the electoral processes (Dajur, p. 63). It is important to stress the point here that unless boycotting an election means any good to the people, especially the Christians, no person, no matter how spiritually oriented the person is. All Christians who are constitutionally qualified and physically healthy are under God’s mandate to participate in elections. Let me represent in a play format a conversation on the matter of election D. L. Moody, the great preacher had with someone below: The Man: Where are you going, Moody? D.L Moody: “To cast my vote in the forthcoming elections.” The Man: “But brother Moody, don’t you realize you are a citizen of heaven, and that this world is not your final home?” D. L. Moody: “That’s true, but in the meanwhile, I pay my taxes in Cook County!” (Dajur, p. 65). Additionally, Christians in Nigeria must never allow the craftiness of the political system in Nigeria to discourage them from politics and election. Jeff Amexhi Agbodo as quoted by Dajur (2019) presented Archbishop Nicholas Okoh the then Primate of the Church of Nigeria’s charge to the congregation during a service of consecration of Bishops at All Saints Cathedral in Onitsha, Anambra State in June 2018, on the matter of election saying, So, do not say the sun is too hot. Do not say I am very tired. If you do that you are selling your birthright and when it is taken away, don’t complain. Go and pick your PVC and o and join a party. Stop saying that it is dirty. There is nothing dirty there. If it is dirty, wash it (p. 66). I appreciate an anonymous story about monks that I will use to illustrate the involvement of Christians in the politics and elections of Nigeria. The story reads, An age-old joke that illustrates the differences between religious orders… Benedictines, Franciscans, Dominicans, and Jesuits. A diocesan priest is hosting a gathering of the area clergy. They gather in the Church to pray Vespers (Evening Prayer), and as they begin, the lights suddenly went out. The Benedictines, as they have the office memorized, continue praying. The Franciscans begin composing a hymn to “Sister Darkness”. The Dominicans compose a treatise on Christ the Light as shown forth in the works of St Thomas Aquinas. The Jesuits begin debating whether this dispenses them from needing to pray the office that evening. The parish priest finds a torch, descends to the basement, and changes the fuse. The story is used strictly as an illustration; hence, agreeing with its content as far as the different orders of monks is not the aim of this lecture. The illustration in this lecture is that there are five kinds of Christians in Nigeria: 1. The Benedictines: These are Christians who pray and prophesy without going into politics and election. 2. The Franciscans: These are Christians who are music composers, hymn, writers, poets, and singers who are excellent at singing the blessings or woes of Nigerian politics and elections without involving themselves. 3. The Dominicans: These are Christians who as philosophers, scholars, theologians, and academicians are majorly preoccupied with writing about Nigeria’s politics and elections. 4. The Jesuits: These are Christians who are layabouts and are found at relaxation joints and on social media baselessly, fruitlessly, and endlessly debating issues about Nigeria’s politics and election. 5. The Parish Priest: These are Christians who understood their call as transformers and are actively engaged in seeing how Nigeria can become better through their participation in politics and elections. These are the categories of Nigeria’s nationalists for fought for the independence of this nation in 1960. This category does not see politics and election as dirty; therefore, they have rolled off their sleeves and are down in the “basement,” “underground,” and “grassroots,” working to change things for the betterment of the nation. The Parish Priest restored light and that is a better and more challenging narrative to us who are called by God to shine as the light. Jesus said, “let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). In what ways will Christians restore light in Nigeria’s politics and elections and Nigeria as a nation? The call for full participation in politics and elections must be undertaken based on the space allowed to the Christian clergy and laity. In the light of the experience of the 2023 elections, Dajur (2023) called for “proper orientation and schooling on the level of their political participation and involvement while maintaining their office as clerics of religions” (p. 35). Conclusion This presentation cannot end without emphasizing the need for all and sundry to get involved in Nigeria’s politics and election processes by exercising their rights to vote for good and credible leaders and having the courage to act in removing bad and corrupt leaders. Also, Nigerians must seek proper education on politics and election matters and respect the rights of others in politics and elections, thereby shunning and condemning violence and encouraging those who are aggrieved to seek redress through lawful means in the courts. Do not forget, there will be another election in four years’ time; so, do not go to sleep, instead, keep being educated and educating others about politics, election, leadership, nation-building, patriotism, etc. Above all, while you act, remember it is God who enables you to do what you do. Consequently, your humanity must not avoid humility; tilting towards humanity without humility leads to “practical humanism” and tilting towards humility without humanity leads to “pious irresponsibility” (John Stott, p. 128 & Rick Warren, pp. 58-59). Let us not get caught up in the web of waiting for God to act while He is waiting to work through us. (Warren, p.60). Every orthodoxy requires an appropriate orthopraxis. I consider it apt to conclude this lecture in the violent manner in which the Roman Catholic Mass ends based on the Latin rite. Ite missa est in polite English means “now you are dismissed” but in a blunt way means “‘get out!.’” And Stott said “out into the world which God made, and God-like beings inhabit, the world into which Christ came, which he now sends us. For that is where we belong. The world is the arena in which we are to live and love, witness and serve, suffer and die for Christ.” (p.26). I pray that all of us will together with one heart, mind, and one voice respond in clear words saying “Deo gratias” meaning “thanks be to God.” So, to you all, “get out!”

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