Bakare is not a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Imagine this scenario. The American Ambassador to Nigeria got so caught up in Nigerian politics; he became a card-carrying member of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). He was then nominated as the party’s vice-presidential candidate.
Two things need to be done immediately. His ambassadorship should be revoked and INEC must reject his candidature.
This is a parody of the case of Tunde Bakare, pastor of Latter Rain Assembly, Lagos. He is running as vice-presidential candidate of the CPC in the forthcoming presidential elections in Nigeria. But Bakare is not a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria: he is a citizen of the kingdom of God.
Bakare is mistaken. He should be reminded that believers are aliens and pilgrims in this world (1 Peter 2:11). An ambassador to a foreign country does not seek to take over the government. Since we will reign with Christ in his kingdom, we should not aspire to be rulers of Babylon. God says: “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins” (Revelation 18:4).
When Christians dabble into politics, we do not sanitize the system. It corrupts us. Jesus says a bad tree does not bear good fruit (Matthew 7:18). Nothing good can come out of the Nigerian political system. It is a system of men, by men, for men. It cannot and will not bear godly fruit. Our faith requires that brethren dwell together in unity (Psalms 133:1). But politics is inherently divisive.
In order to be elected, Bakare has been appealing for public approval. A true Christian should not do this. Jesus requires us to be content with only the approval of God. If we are Christ-like, men will not like and elect us; they will hate and crucify us.
The best man for the job from man’s point of view is inevitably the worst man for the job from God’s point of view. Jesus says: “That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the eyes of God” (Luke 16:15). Therefore, the election of Bakare would only serve to rubbish his ministry. It would mean the devil approves of him for, as “the ruler of this world,” it is the devil who determines those elected into political offices (John 12:31).
What would Jesus do?
Jesus was apolitical. He would never join a political party, run for public office or even vote. His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). When the devil offered him the kingdoms of this world, he rejected the offer out of hand. When the people wanted to make him a political king, he refused (John 6:14-15).
Bakare should not have accepted an offer that his Lord and Saviour rejected. Participation in politics is a forbidden fruit to sons of God. Even Paul has the good sense to say: “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:4).
The rot in Nigeria is spiritual. It is not political. The righteousness of God does not come through political legislation. The solution lies in making men disciples of Christ; not in involvement in partisan politics.
Our hope in Christ is not in better housing, better schools, or better social services. Jesus ignored all these concerns in his ministry. Our hope is in God’s heavenly kingdom. Jesus has no interest in changing Nigeria for the better. He is only interested in changing Nigerians.
Oil and water
Let me tell you a parable. On September 11, 2011, Cameroonians attack Nigeria. They raze Aso Rock to the ground, destroy the national assembly and kill over three-quarters of Nigerian legislators.
Vice-President Bakare makes this impassioned plea to Nigerians: “Jesus says we should love our enemies. If someone strikes us on the one cheek, we should offer the other also. We must turn the other cheek to our Cameroonian brothers. We must forgive them so that God will also forgive us.”
Should this happen, there would be an outcry for Bakare’s impeachment. Under such circumstances, vice-presidents are not expected to preach the gospel. They are expected to defend the nation’s territorial integrity. Anything short of a declaration of war on Cameroon would be unacceptable to Nigerians. But citizens of the kingdom of God do not fight (John 18:36).
In short, involvement in politics would create major conflicts of interest for a vice-presidential son of God. Jesus asked Mary and Joseph: “Why did you seek me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49). Politics is not the Father’s business.
Hopefully, Bakare will be rejected at the polls, so he can come back to his senses and return to his first love.