Nigeria as captive to prayer warriors

As a nation of miracle seekers where people are desirous of reaping what they did not sow contrary to God’s injunction that we must live by our sweats, we have all become captives of prayer warriors and merchants of grace. Our children are misled to believe they could pass examinations through the power of prayers while our youths see nothing amiss becoming fortune-seekers as yahoo yahoo scammers. The churches that have become the biggest industry in our nation and their prayer warriors take credit as the source of the new fortunes. Prayers thus become elixir to all ailments – joblessness, poverty, barrenness, and inept leadership of the political class.

Of course, our elected and selected leaders understandably are the weakest link. Once captured, they hardly have time to think creatively. Ex-President Obasanjo, fresh from Abacha’s incarceration, immersed himself in endless prayer sessions while the sharing of our national patrimony in the name of privatization, the wrecking of the banking sector, the collapse of the stock market and above all, the frittering away of about $30b foreign reserve in the name of repaying debt to Paris club went on. There has been no parallel to such recklessness, anywhere in the world, whether in the advanced or developing economies.

President Jonathan, captured before he was elected, has spent the greater part of his presidency engaged in fervent prayers. Confronted with probe reports of massive looting going on in government, coupled with his own acknowledgement of infiltration of economic saboteurs and Boko Haram insurgents into his government, he resorted to prayers with little help from Nigerian prayer warriors, never in short supply in high places like the Abuja presidential palace.

And still confronted by the unresolved ASUU strike now in its fourth month, increasing tempo of ‘kidnapping for ritual and kidnapping for ransom(apology to Gbenga Omotosho), the sheer ferociousness of Boko Haram insurgency, crisis in the aviation sector, fuel theft etc, all these despite the president’s recent 30 days of fasting and prayers with our Muslim brothers, he was persuaded that by the prayer warriors that what was needed was more prayers, and this time around in Israel, the Holy land.


He was consequently, quietly conscripted by the prayer warriors to lead this year contingent of Nigerian pilgrims to Israel. John-Kennedy Opara, the Executive Secretary, Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission revealed this when he announced that the presidential visit was purely spiritual and not a state visit. He went ahead to also recruit the Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang, “to lead other governors that will accompany the president to the Holy Land”. And accepting his new task, Jang had declared “It is a great honour and privilege for Plateau pilgrims to show example to others and for Mr. President to know that pilgrimage to Israel is not a wasteful venture.”

The prayer warriors did not disappoint Nigerians. Those who closely monitored the tour of the Holy Land by our president and his entourage of governors and ministers cannot but acknowledge how fervent Nigerians are. President Goodluck Jonathan set the ball rolling in Jerusalem when on arrival he led other Nigerian pilgrims in a special prayer for the numerous challenges facing Nigeria. At the intercessory prayer session at the Chapel of Dominous Flevit (where Jesus wept), the President was reported to have specifically beseeched God to intervene in the current political and security challenges in Nigeria. He was ably supported by other powerful prayer warriors including Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau, Minister of Agriculture, Akin Adesina, FCT CAN President Rev. Israel Akanji and Ndudi Elumelu, a member of the Lower House.

Jang’s session was remarkable for its theatrics. He crawled on his fours, occasionally touching the floor with his head, weeping, wailing crying murmuring “Christ, my God, my father, my father”, momentarily forgetting that Pope Francis recently reminded us that Christians don’t have a monopoly of Christ who is equally a saviour to those among his non-believing cantankerous anti-Christ Israelis and their querulous cousins-the Arabs who do good to others. For those who must have forgotten, Jang was the PDP governor who lost Nigeria Governors’ Forum chairmanship election by 16 votes to Amaechi’s 19, declared himself the winner, swiftly moved to the church to give a thanksgiving before racing to Abuja seat of government to receive the president’s embrace.

In another scene, we saw the president on his knees in one of the most hallowed parts of the Holy land with our prayer warrior stretching forth their hands to bless him. In this hallowed chambers where Christ’s body was washed and perfumed before burial, a place where cardinals pray in studied silence and submission to God’s presence, only few visitors outside Nigerian Holy men have the temerity for such an audacious act.

The spiritual journey climaxed with a church service tagged: “A Day with Jesus for Nigeria In Israel,” which was preceded by a fast observed by the President and over 3, 000 Nigerian pilgrims along with ministers, governors and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), officials led by its president, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor. It was here the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Board (NCPC), Kennedy Okpara, revealed that the total number of pilgrims this year will exceed last year’s figure of 30,000. It was also there that Pastor Paul Eneche, founding overseer of Dunamis Church, who gave the word of exhortation during a church service prophesied that ‘God will replicate the successes Israel has witnessed after many years of wars and tribulations in Nigeria’.

What Opara however did not tell his congregation was that more than half of the 30,000 figure he quoted were sponsored by either the federal or state governments using taxpayers’ money to support individuals and cronies who want to fulfill their religious obligations. Jang alone sponsored 1000 pilgrims for the 2012 edition. (In the just concluded Hajj exercise, of the 800 deported pilgrims that arrived at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, last Wednesday, about 171 of the young females returned for not having male companions were claimed to be underage students, undergraduates and youth corpers sponsored by governors with taxpayers money).

And what Pastor Eneche, did not tell the president, his ministers, governors, law makers and the 3000 Nigerian pilgrims was the fact that the success witnessed by Israel after many tribulations was not just because of prayers. The Israelis, in spite of being the chosen people, added value to their prayers in order to transform their nation of desert, hills and gullies into a fertile agricultural land from where Nigeria today imports not only chicken but also arms and secret intelligence personnel.

But since no one can mock God who has in His wisdom decreed we all must reap what we sow, the captive and the prayer warriors returned to Nigeria early in the week to confront the unresolved issues of ASUU strike, doctors strike, kidnapping for ransom and kidnapping for ritual, revealed dirty deals between NCAA and Coscharis allegedly supervised by the aviation minister, fuel theft that has reduced our current budget by a quarter, PDP’s vicious gang wars and many other issues which cannot be wished away by fasting and prayers whether in Nigeria, the land of prayer warriors or in Israel, the land of the unbelievers.

Beyond prayerful leaders and self righteous prayer warriors whose activities make the much derided Pharisees that Christ condemned look like saints, our nation is in dire need of selfless leadership with ambition beyond political office, who can faithfully apply the lesson of the Jewish Torah “don’t do on to others what you don’t like” which is not dissimilar to Christ’s “do on to others as want done onto you”

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