The Diocesan Bishop, Diocese of Omu-Aran, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Ecclesiastical Province of Kwara, The Rt. Rev’d Festus Oyetola Sobanke has said the problem with Nigeria is failure of leadership.
He stated that Nigeria is blessed with great human and material resources, adding that Nigerians have no business being poor.
He spoke during the fourth synod of the diocese. A copy of his speech was made available to journalists on Sunday.
He said, “The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership.”
Sobanke, who was the Synod President, admonished President Muhammadu Buhari, members of the National Assembly, Governors, ministers and other political office holders to realise that many Nigerians are suffering and are in abject poverty and address the nation’s challenges. He decried that manu people in the country are unemployed and some have no source of livelihood.
He also noted that Nigeria is challenged by insecurity in form of kidnappings, banditary and terrorism.
He appealed to the political leaders find solution to insecurity and deliver dividends of democracy to Nigerians.
He alleged that some leaders in Nigeria were not God fearing.
He said, “Our theme for this synod is aimed at appealing to our leaders that they should remember God! Our dear President, Vice President, lawmakers, governors, ministers, and commissioners, heads of government establishments and parastatals, cabinet leaders, and all political stakeholders, let me make it loud and clear, Nigerians are suffering and Nigerians are wallowing in poverty. This nation is sinking. I know I am not saying anything new but I am doing it for the sake of emphasis and to trouble your conscience. You have not been fair to this nation.’
“What more can we say, we have moved from worse to worst. You have made people to call God a liar. You have refused to allow our prayers to be answered by your selfishness and insincerity.
Crime has increased very rapidly in this nation. Kidnapping has become the order of the day, tribalism and nepotism are ruling our decisions, our roads are bad and fast becoming death traps, electricity in this nation is an apology. Nigerians are in pain. We entrusted our votes into your hands, even if some of us had done it based on what you gave, all the same, we trusted you to lead us aright but you have failed us. We can not continue to celebrate failure. You have betrayed our trust and you backstabbed the church of God.”
He added, “In Nigeria today, being a Christian is a thing to dread. You are almost not safe for being a Christian in this nation. Go to North, see hundreds of attacks on the churches. In the eat, it is gradually coming up and our experiences in the South West are not palatable. Who has bewitched this nation? Where have we missed it, who are the troublers of our Israel?”
“What has happened to employment schemes? Several times I weep for this nation, but weeping is not solving anything. Doctors went on strike, and people die on daily basis. It is time to think and act. For how long shall we continue in this? This nation is blessed but we have mostly ungodly leaders. And when someone is ungodly, you expect the worst.
Let me commend the few ones who have the fear of God in office. May your days be long and God bless your efforts. Please speak out among them, be bold, death is never the end.”
The bishop stated that Nigeria needs transformation leaders.
He said, “We can not run a transformation agenda without a transformation leader. The need of the moment for our nation is for leaders with the fear of God, leaders with Godly idealism, one with standards and convictions, with a tendency towards the leader, a strategist, and an alchemist, who will transform our arid waster into a blooming garden of pure delight.
In Bible terms, the search is for a servant leader who will combine in one, the multiple and varied roles of a shepherd, steward, seer, and servant. Such a leader will come, not with titles, honours, and accolades, but with service and sacrifice.
Nigeria’s recent history raised hard questions on the issue of political leadership. Here is a nation with vast, enormous, and indeed awesome potential for growth and development and a surface of human, material, and natural resources.
“In the days of the attainment of national independence, Nigeria had some of the best leaders any nation could have. These were the titans – the great Rt. Hon. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe; the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and the resources Sarduana of Sokoto, – men with empires in their minds, whose far-sighted vision excited our fathers and forbears.
“Today, the picture that emerged is unflattering. The summary of Chinua Achebe (1983) is most apt here: There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian character. There is nothing wrong with the Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything else. The Nigeria problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of time leadership.
“I am saying Nigeria can change today if she discovers leaders who have the will, the ability, the vision, and the fear of God.”
Sobanke urged Nigerians who have not registered to obtain their permanent voter’s card, vote wisely and vote only for God fearing candidates.
He said, “My dear people of God, we are praying and God is hearing but the hour has come, the time has come for us to stand up and take the bull by the horn. If you don’t have a voter’s card, please go and get yours.
“Our votes will count this time but you must be all out to vote. Let us vote out those who are perpetrating evil and giving unrest to this nation. We know them, they are ungodly leaders. They allowed killings and bloodshed. These are not signs of democracy, neither are they signs of godliness. They are signs of darkness. Please join in this campaign. Don’t let us miss it again. The N1000 given to us during the election did not solve anything. We have a long list of youths seeking employment and we are not seeing the jobs coming. Please let us do our best to save this nation, vote for the right persons.
“Secular leaders must be called by God if they are actually godly leaders. How can you just surface from nowhere and say you want to lead the people created by God, without God’s backing? That is the result of what we are experiencing today. Because you have been a good service boy on errands for politicians, now it is your turn to lead. What an amazing way of becoming a leader? Or perhaps, he was a member of a different party or his father was very good in politics and needed to be compensated or perhaps, he had been contesting for this office long ago, let us allow him to lead. Is that a call to lead the people?”
He added, “How many of our leaders today can sincerely say, come and see the situation this country is! But rather, they feed us with lies and unrealistic assurances, simply because they are not godly.
“Only God knows how many times our soldiers have conquered the still existing and killing Boko haram sect! Only God knows how many times the Abacha government looted funds have been paid back into the government of this nation, yet we still go about borrowing and lending.
“Godly leaders always seek God’s vision even in difficult times. Prayer is the fundamental act for people of Godly leaders.
“As much as the churches and Christian bodies pray for our leaders, but a larger percentage of our leaders are fetish and into idolatry especially when they want to go into offices All manners of rituals, killings, sacrifices, just because they want to lead in office or in-state, if such acquire the said office, do you think, their loyalty will be to the Almighty God? Absolutely no. That is why today our leaders now avoid church services and programmes because they know they don’t belong to God.
“If we have failed in raising leaders, the only situation is to go back to the drawing board and see what must be done to raise godly leaders. It amazes me when the leaders of this nation are arrogating the problem of this nation to the past government. I asked myself who were those in the past government? Are they not our senators and governors today? Were they not the governors and lawmakers yesterday? This is just to tell us that if we continue with these kind of leaders, who don’t fear God, this nation won’t succeed. In all sincerity, we need God-fearing leaders.”
Bishop Sobanke called on all stakeholders to join in the war against drug addiction.
He lamented that drug addition had negatively affected some youth and their future.
He said, “At the standing committee meeting of the Church of Nigeria in Lagos, which was held between, 20th and 24th September, The Church of Nigeria War Against Drug Abuse and other addition was launched. This body among other issues is to address and help us in fighting the menace of drug addiction which is destroying the destiny of our youth. Drug trafficking and drug addiction are becoming a monster affecting our nation. So many youths, both male and female have been exposed to this monster. They church actually commended the effort of President on the appointment of Gen. Buba Maruwa as the leader of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency team and we also commend his (Buba Marwa) efforts so far but then in our local community, we have to step in.