Why church left business, politics to Islam —Maina
Reverend Joshua Ray Maina is the chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bauchi State chapter and the pastor of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA). He speaks with ISHOLA MICHAEL, on the role of the church in nation building, among other issues.
As one of the authorities in the Christian body in Nigeria, what role do you think the church should play in the quest to build a Nigeria of our dream?
I think the church should develop a core value by which all the North and the South would accept and stand in unity. The church can facilitate forgiveness and acceptance roundtable summit for all the past conflicts that separated both region. The church should institute the dissemination of the principles of equity and justice in the land. It can also preach contentment instead of greed, which is the basis of our corruption in the country.
Everyone seems to see the church as the bastion of high moral ground, probity and other values that exalt a nation. So, what went wrong such that Nigeria that seem to be at a crossroads?
The wind of the last days is blowing, hence, the emergence of the new age and occultism are gradually taking the centre stage. Infiltration of some people with evil cultures and beliefs from some failed states are really making things worse. Things got worse after the Unification Decree of Aguiyi Ironsi. The FESTAC has helped in shaping our moral landscape. Again, the long military rule has some effects as well. So, these are some of the things that brought us to where we are today. The church had no leaders who defined the relationship between the church and public life such as the economic and political struggle. Again, the prosperity preaching has contributed to it.
There was a period, when clerics were regarded in highest esteem in Nigeria because they could neither be compromised nor intimidated. Why is the situation different now, especially going by the lifestyle of most of the notable clerics?
The main reason things are different in the Christian body today is as a result of the great corruption instituted during military rule, coupled with global quest for materialism, emergence of false and prosperity clerics, emergence of terrorism and population explosion.
Gong by your experience in the Christendom, what is the link between the church, business and politics? How and why?
Yes, there is a link. From the onset, the church left business and politics to Islam, saying they were not of the world. Why? It was silently part of the indirect pack of Lugard. Missionaries should not get into politics, tradition and the missionaries silently added business. Any quest in business and politics was seen as backsliding or Worldliness. Again, it was the misunderstood teaching of non violent struggle teaching of turn the other cheek. It made the church both passive and poor. Talking about the connectivity, the church is the people and business is the means of livelihood and survival, while politics is to be the authority and backup for all aspirations, vision and governance. So, they are connected. The only thing that is required of us all is make good use of all these for the progress of humanity and the nation.
What do you think is wrong with Nigerian leaders at every level, is the country still gropes in the dark in the midst of abundant human and natural abundance resources? Isn’t this a time bomb?
In all African empires, the emperor’s attitude of accumulating needless wealth that seems as if it will be used hereafter is a leading problem. Fear of uncertainty of the future make them heap wealth they don’t need, Lips knowledge and fear of God; greed and corruption; lack of patriotic goal and target aimed at national development; illiteracy and lack of exposure driven by ethnic, regional or religious sentiments are among the reasons. There is no single core value for the land from which all leaders and citizens can take their bearing from. These all are factors that destroy our leaders.