More than two millennia ago, the prophet Daniel observed that, “God changes the times and the seasons and lifts up kings and deposes them.” These are salient words for you as you try to interpret Nigeria’s current circumstances. The scriptures further tell us that the sons of Issachar understood the times and they knew what to do.
The ‘House of Issachar’ represents two powerful resources you will need today – prophetic awareness and strategic insight. Like those proverbial sons of Issachar, you must understand our current political and social setting vis a vis our historical context, and also have a grasp of the strategies required to govern effectively at such a time as this.
Mr. President, as you probably know, the history of a nation can be understood in two ways. First, it can be erroneously seen as the normal chronological sequence of unrelated events. Secondly, it can be understood as a smokescreen for the operation of a higher providential agenda and the field of conflict between cosmic forces. Your task as a perceptive leader is to go beyond the apparent and to perceive the workings of providence behind the curtain of history.
The challenge for you now is quite frankly one of acuity and discernment. Does the current political wrangling have a deeper dimension of interpretation beyond what many officials in your cabinet and administration can readily discern? What story could God be telling you through our national history? What lessons are you meant to derive from current contemporary events? What posture should you assume as our President in a season when so many forces are arrayed against you and your government?
To any discerning watcher, your meteoric rise from relative obscurity to the very pinnacle of national affairs bears the stamp of what might be called a providential event. Your ascent from humble origins, the fact that you lacked the political clout of your rivals, and the fact that your path to the presidency was paved by unforeseen circumstances, would seem to suggest an invisible hand orchestrating affairs.
In the context of Nigerian political history, your emergence was an impossibility made possible. Not many prophets or even diviners will question your ascent to the throne as a divine act. You must understand therefore, that power is an instrument of divine purpose. Power, I need not remind you, is a means to the ends of justice, or righting wrongs and resetting balances.
Mr. President, it is not enough for you to revel in the alleged providential selection for political leadership. The task now is to discern and implement the purpose of that power. This is why throughout the scriptures true prophets were never far from kings. The role of the prophets was to regulate, rebuke and reorient kings – the wielders of temporal power – towards the spiritual implications of their rule. It was to remind them that all institutions of earthly power must ultimately answer to a higher Authority. Kings that rebelled against the Divine imperatives and requirements of their time met unhappy ends.
What providential ends could your Presidency be meant to serve in our history? Could your enthronement as an outsider against all odds signal the beginning of a new order beyond your rule? Could your divine assignment as President be to herald the dawn of a new era in which the traditional power blocs that have historically led this nation no longer hold sway? Your Excellency, your presidency has unfortunately been marked by perhaps the most intense national crisis we have endured since the end of the civil war. You have yourself said that the current Boko Haram crisis raging in the nation exceeds in intensity that of the bitter civil war that engulfed the entire country. Perhaps you may need to consider that the increase in insurrections and insurgencies is indicative of the contention that surrounds your ascent. Do these violent conflicts also reflect a cosmic battle raging in the spiritual dimension for the soul of this country? It is clear to many that we have reached the end of ourselves as a nation. The present political climate does not augur well to many of us. We are at a dead end.
Perhaps your divine assignment is to providentially supervise the end of a chapter of our history and to usher in a new epoch. Could the ongoing National Conference be the instrument by which you establish a new order? This is a question that you should ponder prayerfully. Many have written off the conference as a gathering of geriatrics who had earlier failed the nation. Could this be their chance to eagerly restitute their errors and pave the way for a new Nigeria if properly guided? Could the Conference institute the new order of leadership that this country so craves? Many have complained of the lack of legality of the National Conference and the possibility of its being dead on arrival. You need then to look into ways of ensuring that the Conference has legal teeth enough to effect its own recommendations. You need to also ensure that the Conference will not be hindered by an apparently self-serving National Assembly.
I need not remind you that 70% of our populace represent a demography that is below the age of 35. This is a segment of our society that is becoming increasingly restive. You must begin a conversation among the youth of this nation in the direction of change. Posterity will overlook and forgive many of your government’s failings if you successfully point the nation in the direction of a radical transformation agenda. Mr. President, we need not wait till the nation degenerates into a chaotic situation like that of Somalia or Sudan before you act. Don’t let the spin-doctors and ‘yes-men’ around you convince you of an otherwise situation. We are in the final throes of the spasms of a failed state. As I pen these words, the clock is ticking and certain far-reaching decisions must be made concerning this nation before it is too late.
It is vital you do not see this as an argument for the nation to adopt an uncritical partisan stance towards your presidency because you have been anointed by providence. Nor is it any reason why we should support your political party, which in many respects has been weighed in a balance and found severely wanting. Many who have looted our treasury and raped our institutions will still reap the disastrous consequences of their dastardly actions. On the contrary, the season in which you currently find yourself is meant to orient you towards an accurate posture as you pray to the One who permitted you to rise to the throne. Solomon, the wisest man on earth and himself a king said, “the heart of a king is in the hands of the Lord and like a river, He turns it whichever way He wishes.” We hope and pray that the Lord will turn your heart in the direction of His sovereign will for this nation.
Finally, I wish to remind you of government’s moral purpose and obligations to the Nigerian people under God.
Your Excellency, strike while the iron is hot.
Dr. Tony Rapu, a medical doctor and senior pastor at the House of Freedom, contributed this piece from Lekki, in Lagos State.