July 14, 2024
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Prophetic Reading of the Political Situation in Nigeria – Prof. Teresa Okure, SHCJ

Prophetic Reading of the Political Situation in Nigeria:

A follow-up on the prophetic reading of the events in Nigeria before the 2023 Election

 

In my previous prophetic reflection, I shared what I saw as God’s action in the political life of Nigeria. I described what I saw as a prophetic attempt to interpret God’s action in Nigeria, not a prediction. My reading was based on God’s consistent action in human history recorded in the Bible. Many Nigerians who read the reflection were inspired and energised to align themselves with God’s action by going out to vote for the candidate of their choice. The result given by the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) was not what we expected. Did God fail his people in this instance? By no means. What follows is my continuous observation of how God is still acting in our political situation; and how Nigerians have either received and aligned themselves with God’s action; or rejected it, with dire consequences to themselves in the first place, whether they believe it or not. With God there is always “mercy and fullness of redemption” for those who wish to be redeemed from their bondage to Satan, the originator of lies, corruption, and all evils in the world.

Before and During the Elections

The election of 2023 was an unprecedented event in political life of Nigeria. Before the election, young and old, men and women made untold efforts to register and get their personal voter’s card (PVC), trusting in INEC’s promises that this time their votes would count. What they met were blatant and calculated anomalies in the electoral process perpetuated by INEC and most of its officers. Before the elections INEC had disenfranchised many Nigerians by denying them the opportunity to register for their (PVC). Others who had legitimately registered went several times to collect their PVCs without success. A number of PVCs were shown dumped away by INEC.

All that notwithstanding, on the election day people went out to vote en masse, some walking miles, bracing and defying the hazards of the naira crunch and the weather, waiting on long queue till late at night or early next morning. Many anomalies trailed the election process across the nation. Political thugs terrorised, harassed and chased away voters from voting booths, if they disagreed to vote for the candidate who had paid them handsomely to terrorise and coerce people to vote for their party. In some cases, the voting materials arrived very late; videoed cases showed boxes of votes thrown away, some officers intimidated, beaten, and so forth, by the thugs of the ruling party. Some media personnel were badly beaten for trying to cover the proceedings and relay them to Nigeria and the world.

I leave aside the whole saga of INEC that disrupted and betrayed its own voting process, by recording votes that never took place, downsizing the votes of the Labour Party presidential candidate and inflating the votes of the APC candidate who had reportedly pumped them with money to rig the elections in his favour. Contrary to what happened in previous elections, the international observers corroborated the reports of the multifaceted fraud at the polling units across the country.

An Enemy in the Night (Matt 13:24-30)

Given these and other fragrant anomalies that were reported, Nigerians hoped that INEC would listen and address these complaints before announcing the presidential election results. The exact opposite happened. While Nigerians were asleep, INEC, like the enemy in the parable of the weed and the weeds (Matt 13:24-30) crept in at night and announced their cooked up presidential election results that destabilised the nation.

The Election Results and Its Aftermath

Viewed in the Light of the Bible, God’s Word

At the 6:20am Mass on March 1st, the officiating priest commented on the reading and the fraud that human beings do. Then said that INEC had announced the result of the presidential election early that morning. All ears opened up to hear the result. INEC had announced Tinubu as the winner of the election. There was dead silence from the congregation. A sword went through me because the sure hope that I had seen as God’s action in the Obedient movement as I reported in my previous reflection. This word of Scripture came to mind: “Your own soul a sword shall pierce that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34; Simeon to Mary, the mother of Jesus, during their Presentation of Jesus the Messiah and the Light of the nations in the Temple in Jerusalem; Luke 2:22-36).

The sword was part of the price to be paid for the redemption of a false and self-betraying humanity. I thought of the hope that I and many others had seen in God’s doing in Nigeria, acting through the youth, the Obedient movement, and the personal integrity of the presidential candidates of the Labour Party. A flash of the teaming, spontaneous rallies that accompanied Obi-Datti campaigns wherever they went, the energy and spontaneous campaigns of the youth; the joy of the voters’ counting the result of the elections in some poling units where they were not terrorised and forced to vote against their consciences; I thought of the Obedient movement that we viewed as the second EndSars that could not be defeated this time around. I said in my heart that the announced election result would not go anywhere, and that the second EndSars could not be destroyed, defeated this time around. Yet the worst seems to have happened.

On the day INEC announced the winner of the presidential election, the nation (except the APC ruling party and their stooges), and even the weather, went into mourning. As happened when Jesus was fraudulently crucified, by those who used their political weight and position to kill him, citing God, their religion and allegiance to Caesar (Matt 26:68; John 18:12-40), though their real aim was to guard against their political posts being taken from them by the occupying Roman authority. (Rome had paid the Chief Priests and elders in Jerusalem, the real ruling authorities of the Jewish people, building them terraced houses, to keep their people from rebelling against Rome. Anyone who then claimed to be the Messiah of the Jews or the King of Israel was enemy of Rome and a threat to their privileged position. So they coerced Pilate to do the dirty job and condemn Jesus to death. I will return later to this).

Many people protested the announced result of the presidential election; including the Labour Party, arguably the real winner of the election, and the PDP, the second runner up. The APC ruling party asked them to go to court. They did so with admirable and undaunted courage, with conviction based on the overwhelming evidence for their cause; with faith in the judiciary, based on the evidence that was open to all at home and abroad.

The inauguration of the president was scheduled for May 29th. Between February 25th and May 29th, the judiciary had three months to do its work and declare the self-evident results of the election. It dilly dallied till the INEC president select was installed. In spite of that, the real President elected by the people continued to calm the nation, telling the people not to resort to violence, trusting in the Nigerian judiciary, when most people did not.

Key thoughts revealed by INEC’s fraudulent sword

that pierced the nation’s soul

  1. The toothless and false explanations that INEC gave to Nigerians for resorting to manual voting of the presidential election.
  2. The fake credentials of the INEC selected president, including his drug records, fake certificates of birth and academics, perjury in the falsified records submitted to INEC to qualify as presidential candidate for the election, his dual citizenship, the dual submission of his running partner for both president and senator, etc., etc. All this would not have surfaced had INEC remained true to itself and respected the votes of the people, across party lines.
  3. The complicity of the West who though their observers admitted that the result of the presidential election was fake, yet trooped to Nigeria for the installation of the president select because it suited them that Nigeria should have a president who would dance to their tune.
  4. A judiciary that has seen the truth yet drags on and delays judgment; action seen as their strategy for perverting justice; resorting to legal technicalities to subvert life-based realities.
  5. The use of praise singers of the president-select and the media whose songs act as anaesthetics to reduce the nation to slumber and make the people accept the president select as their saviour. The list could go on.

The Worst Evils in the Aftermath of the Election

The damage to the nation in this whole fraudulent saga, as I perceive it, could be described as thefts.

  1. First the theft of the mandate of the people, by declaring a fake presidential election result while they were asleep.
  2. The theft of the programme of the President elected by the people, but badly and haphazardly implemented; because it did not come from the heart nor does it empower the people to take full responsibility for their lives and nation, and together join hands and hearts beyond boundaries to right the ills of the nation and get rid of all forms of falsehood and corruption;and, where necessary, to voluntarily make sacrifices that promote their wellbeing.
  3. The theft of the conscience of the people. As I see it,this is the worst and most impoverishing theft of all. I may not be able to articulate it well. The illegal ruling party has made and is continuously making frantic efforts to convince the nation that their regime is the best one for Nigerians, the mandate they have stolen from the people notwithstanding. It is like a thief who has taken possession of a person’s house and entire possession, then reduces the owners to dependent beggars and persuades them to believe that the thief is the best administrator of their belongings, for their own good. The owners then seem happy to be thus treated and persuade their household to submit to the thief, praising the thief for its good deeds.
  4. The greatest theft is the theft of the conscience and sovereignty of the people. A number of Nigerians seem happy to “Let them do it for us”. Some people who were against the theft of their mandate scrambled for positions from the thieves, praising their swift and bold actions. Saying that the nation has to wait, suffer to see the good outcome of the actions of the thieves. Unaware that such actions are strategies to make the owners of the house accept them as Godsend. The will to resist the evil seems visibly dead; but not entirely. Many Nigerians refuse to be bought over.
  5. A point not understood by the thieves of the nation The candidate that the majority of the people elected as their president had repeatedly promised to help the nation pass from consumption to production, not just materially, but in the mentality of the citizenry. This illegal regime sings that song, but has done the exact opposite. Their emphasis on palliatives(mere tokens calculated to make the people happy for one day and starve for ninety-nine days), rather than on job creation, is orientating and grooming the people to remain consumers, not producers. Some school children have keyed into this consumption mentality by faking their examination results. Who is to challenge them, when “the president” of the nation faked everything to get into power, and is happily apparently accepted by the nation? “He is doing well, taking bold steps; let us collaborate with him”. Collaborate with falsehood, with evil? Does it make sense? What of our Prayer for Nigeria in Distress? And “Against Bribery and Corruption in Nigeria”?

Election Saga Viewed in the Light of Scripture

The elections took place during Holy Week. I could see similarities between the election process and the events in the trial and crucifixion of Jesus.

  1. As Jesus was secretly and falsely tried and condemned to death at night by the Jewish Sanhedrin, for fear of the people, then sought Pilate to endorse their false judgement, so INEC and its sponsors secretly falsified the votes of the people, and announced the winner of the presidential election at 4:00am while the nation was still asleep; evidently, for fear of the people.
  2. The ruling party of the Jews, said to Pilate, “Not his man but Barabbas. Barabbas was a thief and a brigand” (John 18:40). Pilate released to them Barabbas, and had Jesus crucified. Does this preference for the thief and brigand to Jesus, God’s Messiah, ring a bell? But the crucifixion of Jesus was not the end. Human beings cannot overrule God’s deed; thwart God’s salvation for all peoples, and get away with it indefinitely. INEC delayed the call to review the election process till after they had installed their president select on May 29th, erroneously believing that that would seal their plan for good. Believing that “One cannot unseat a ruling president”. The recent coups in Niger and Gabon prove this wrong.
  3. When Jesus rose from the dead, the rulers did not give up; they paid their guards to say that his friends had stolen his body. The social media is agog with reports of how people have been paid to declare that the election was free and fair, that the installed president is doing wonders for the nation, though in reality the masses are dying of hunger.
  4. It was precisely when those who condemned and crucified Jesus thought that they had achieved their goal once and for all by killing him and setting guards over his tomb, that God raised him from the dead. His killers could do absolutely nothing about it. Scripture says that their cooked up message that the body of Jesus was stolen by his disciples had gone on “to this day” among the Jews (Matt 28:11-15). Today, the 21stcentury, the resurrection of Jesus is proclaimed worldwide.
  5. Though the Jewish leaders had successfully threatened and forced Pilate, the supreme court judge in Jerusalem, the capital of occupied Judaism, to do their will, command that Jesus be crucified, in the end Pilate got his own way by writing over the cross of Jesus: “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” (John 19:19). That is what he personally believed as the truth. Having first succumbed to the fear of losing his position and favour with Caesar (John 19:12-16), he now summoned up courage to exert his authority in a way that the Jewish leaders could do nothing to stop: “What I have written, I have written.” (John 19:22). The inscription written in Hebrew, Greek and Latin (the major spoken languages of the Roman Empire), was read by all the pilgrims who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover. Who knows, maybe the Nigerian judiciary of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) that is reportedly under pressure and paid heavily to pervert justice, will listen to the voice of the Spirit, the voice of truth inside them, and declare the real winner of the February 25thpresidential election that they and the world know.

Scripture and a Proverbial Word on the Thefts of the Nation

Scripture is clear that good cannot be brought out of evil; grapes are not plugged from thorns, nor figs from thistles Matt 6:16-17). God cannot partner with evil in any way to produce the good. The greatest damage and challenge to the nation in this whole election saga is whether or not the nation has the moral will to reject to be ruled, governed and fed fat by blatant lies and corruption. Whether the nation has the will power, not war power, to resist and utterly reject the current regime that has stolen its mandate and its entire property, reducing the citizen to beggars and making them see as their benefactors the thieves who have stolen their soul. If our prayer to God for a new Nigeria has any value, then we cannot acquiesce to the evil of the blatant theft of the nation, with all the questionable nature of the characters concerned, and yet think that it is going to be well with the nation. An intrinsically evil regime by theft, cannot become a good regime in time. The aura of corruption and theft will hang permanently over the nation and serve as a model for the young.

Our late father used to say that one who sees a pit during the day has no excuse whatsoever to fall into that pit during the night. The person should know instinctively that there is a pit in the place and avoid it even in the darkest hour of the night. My Nigerian brothers and sisters, we have seen in broad daylight, huge pits in the 2023 election process and its aftermath, how can we be ready and willing to fall joyfully into it in broad daylight?

Need for Courage, Faith and Enduring Hope

After Jesus was falsely condemned, crucified and buried, with soldiers guarding his tomb, his disciples completely lost all hope of the realisation of their dream for the liberation of Israel. “We had hoped that it was he who would redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21). But now all such hope is buried with him for good. These were the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, Clopas and his wife. “Mary the wife of Clopas” was one of the women who stood by the cross of Jesus with Mary his mother (John 19:25) and as “the other Mary” saw the risen Lord (Matt 28:1-8), though the men disciples did not believe them. Jesus who was walking with them in the depths of their despair opened their eyes and hearts to see that what they experienced, what had happened was actually God’s fulfilment of their final, definitive and irrevocable deliverance from all oppressive forces, including death, the fruit of lies.

Similarly, many Nigerians have lost hope in the birth of a new and corruption free Nigeria. Or they have settled for the travesty of that new Nigeria. That is why they urge all Nigerians to collaborate with the thieves of their mandate to build the nation. God cannot be co-opted into such partnership and collaboration. Jesus risen from the dead, never to die again, is evidence that when God acts, no human being can stop God’s action, not even by temporarily killing God’s Messiah.

I, for one, believe firmly in a new God-given Nigeria. I believe in what God is doing in Nigeria and Africa, as witness the recent coups in Niger and Gabon; and in the world. Even if God does not respond in the way I think, I will not lose faith and hope in God. Like the three young men in the lion’s den, I say, “If our God will save us from the lion’s mouth, from the wiles and machinations of the thieves of the nation, well and good. If not, we will not worship your beast o king” (Dan 3:8-23, vv. 17-19); we will not endorse your regime, o Tinubu and APC. The three young men were furiously thrown into the pit to be devoured by the lions. God delivered them from the lion’s mouth, and by so doing, converted the self-made god, king who sought to destroy them (Dan 3:30). After the announcement of the false election results, some friends who had received my first prophetic reflection called or texted me to say, sorry, what you said has not come to pass. I repeat that what I said was not a prediction but a perception of God’s ways among us as recorded in the Bible. God’s ways are ever constant. For “God is faithful” (1 Cor 1:9) and will save Nigeria and Nigerians, all Nigerians. Our unswerving faith in God is the catapult that will bring down indomitable, invincible Goliath. All Nigerians will be the better for it.

For those of us who are Christians, our baptism into the living God, making us God’s children, obligates all of us to cultivate the prophetic life and mindset; to stay tuned to God’s deeds among us, and be courageous enough to serve as living and active agents of God’s deeds, as our brother and Saviour Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth, did no matter the cost. “God is faithful” (1 Cor 1:9), and will surely redeem Nigeria and Africa from all its woes. To God be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

 

Sr, Teresa Okure, SHCJ

Professor of Scripture and Gender Hermeneutics

Certified with Nihil obstat by the Congregation for Catholic Education,

now the Dicastery of Culture and Catholic Education, Rome

31st August 2023

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