Former governorship aspirant of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Ondo state, Chief Olusola Oke, has maintained that more Christians should be involved in politics.
Oke stated this in Owo, headquarters of Owo Local Government Area of Ondo state, during the 40th-anniversary lecture of Owo Anglican Communion held in Owo, Ondo State, with the title, “Way Forward: The Roles of Christians in Nigeria Politics.”
He maintained that it would help redirect the country unto God’s path through fairness, equity, and justice and determine what happens around them.
The APC chieftain noted that religion and politics have always been intertwined and related, saying religion has a vital role in political learning while the two are for the good of the people and society.
Oke advised Christians in Nigeria to join politics and use their good values to change the political space, charging Christians and elites to desist from labeling politics as dirty and sinful.
“It is advisable that religion should produce good adherents that would go into politics and use their good values to clean the mess in the political space and enrich good governance as positive catalysts.”
While acknowledging the roles of the church and leaders who are fervent in the faith, Oke said good virtues of accountability, courage truthfulness of Christian leaders had helped to distinguish religious leaders and men of faith in politics, especially at the grassroots level.
Oke, who identified the church as a veritable platform for Nigeria’s socio-political engineering, charged Christians to shun sentiment and actively participate in politics to have a better nation.
“As I stand before you this moment, I remember, quite fondly, the unquantified sacrifices of the First Civilian Governor of Ondo State and model Christian leader, Chief Michael Adekunle, whose remains lay peaceably within the sacred premises of the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Owo, where he worshiped and served in his lifetime.
“Pa Ajasin, against all odds, distinguished himself as a Christian political leader. Grounded in his Christian faith, the legendary South African Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu left an indelible legacy as a peace builder through his anti-Apartheid activism and promoting peace and justice.
Desmond Tutu’s significant influence on peace building and his mark on peace and reconciliation efforts rippled globally.
“First African Anglican bishop of West Africa, Samuel Crowther, laid enduring examples. Foremost Nationalist and first Bishop of Akure Anglican Diocese, Rt Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Bolanle Gbonigi, remains an undisputed hero of the faith whose political offerings to nation-building continue to reverberate.
Nigeria’s foremost public intellectual is the current Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, the Right Reverend Matthew Hassan Kukah.
“May I sincerely add that the Christian community in Owo must be proud of the efforts and accomplishments of my dear brother, distinguished colleague, and leader, the governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu.
It sets him apart as a fearless, truthful, and accountable Christian and leader who speaks truth to powers.
“He is indeed a pride to us, Christendom and this illustrious Diocese. The list is long and virtually endless. These are testimonies of what Christian upbringing can bring to bear in public life.”
He advised the church to set up internal regulations to forestall any behavior from any of its ranks capable of dwindling the credibility of the Christian body in Nigeria.
“As the church in Nigeria remains a victim in the volatile political firmament, the church must also note that there is a need to step up internal regulations to forestall dwindling of the credibility of the church.”
He charges the church to continue to seek a better life for all.
In his remark, the state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, appreciated the support of all religious leaders for their prayers which contributed to the success story of his administration.
Represented by his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, he charged the church’s leadership to keep the flag flying.
The Chairman on occasion, Chief Wole Olanipekun, also said Christians needed to do more in rebuilding the nation and support those in politics to get better results.
Olanipekun, while congratulating Bishop Fagbemi on the 40th Anniversary of the diocese, commended Akeredolu for creating an enabling environment for spiritual growth in the state.
The Bishop, Rt Rev. Dr. Stephen Fagbemi, attributed the growth and development of the diocese to the grace of God, the cooperation of all members, and the contributions of past leaders in the last 40 years.
READ ALSO FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE