Nigeria: Redeem The Time.
By Pastor Amos Dada PhD : P. Eng
I want to thank God and join Nigerians at home and in the diaspora for the grace we have to celebrate our birthday as the giant of Africa, preferably referred to as our Independence Day.
Past few years have been tough for us particularly in the area of prophetic doom from those in the spiritual and political engine rooms, who saw Nigeria disintegrate, and never gave it a chance to still be an entity at 56 but the sovereign God has seen us through. Today though as a nation, we are gasping for breath in the ICU of our geographical place on planet earth, but we are confident that the worst is over. We can celebrate because we have a great future, we surely shall live.
In my several write up and ministerial admonitions I have urged the old and the young to be spiritually, industrially, academically and politically optimistic about Nigeria. I have urged those who care to listen particularly on the platform of the global conference we run, International Gathering of Eagles Conference to move from grumbling and complaining in the wilderness like the Israelites of old, misled by the ten spies to the land of Israel who came with a bad report; ‘the land is good but we are not able to take it.’ And because they could not see beyond the giants, their generation perished in the wilderness. When it is easy to blame the ten (majority of our political leaders) for giving the bad report, the truth remains there was a minority report by The Joshuas and The Calebs that was optimistic , clear, full of faith and highly encouraging ‘But if the Lord delights in us, the giants will become our bread, we shall possess the land’ So my clear admonition has been for Nigerians to begin to seek, prophecy and proffer solution for our sick nation in the ICU. When a person is brought to the ICU whether due to accident or relapse in long sickness, the medical and para-medical personnels don’t go about blaming the person for his or her bad choices of life style but they will do everything in their capacity to bring that person to life.
I woke up this morning in Singapore, (celebrating Nigeria independence in this country for the first time ) one of the tiny, one city, one country nation, yet one of the richest, physically most beautiful nation of the world. Yesterday, Pastor Benjamin Akinrinola and myself who are here to teach the nations about the gospel of Jesus Christ on the platform of International Gathering of Eagles conference went around taking pictures of beautiful scenes.
But while we are here to teach, we have enough wisdom to know we can learn a few things that we can share to take our nation Nigeria to another level as they celebrate 56th Independence.
But before sharing specifically on how to move Nigeria forward, let us go on a spiritual train. The prophet Joel was concerned about his nation and he dealt with the question, how can Israel Redeem the Time and be delivered from their woes and have restoration? Paul shouted to the people of Ephesus, redeem the time, for the times are evil. Let Amos Dada join the prophets of our time to encourage Nigerians to redeem the time.
In the first chapter of Joel, the writer uses the imagery of locusts to warn the people of Israel of God’s judgment. The second chapter delves into what their – and consequently our – reaction to a Holy God should be – repentance. Joel is speaking to a nation that needs to acknowledge and receive God’s mercy and to repent (turn away) from their sin. God’s deliverance and blessings are named starting in verse 19, leading into the familiar saying shown above. In a merciful response to our repentance, the Lord promises to provide our every need (v. 19), and protect us from our enemies (v. 20). We will rejoice at what He does, giving us joy in life instead of fear (v. 21-22). Even the rain is evidence of God’s faithfulness (v. 23). The effects of the locusts will be reversed, the Lord says, “I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts,the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts.It was I who sent this great destroying army against you.
26 Once again you will have all the food you want and you will praise the Lord your God,
who does these miracles for you. Never again will my people be disgraced.
27 Then you will know that I am among my people Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and there is no other. Never again will my people be disgraced. After restoring what was destroyed, the Lord goes on to promise even more.” Joel 2:25-26NLT
God is saying our nation have witnessed locust-like, caterpillar-like, Palmerwom-like leaders who have devastated, ravaged, devoured, consumed, pilfered and stolen our collective wealth through uncontrollable appetite for greed, avarice ,corruption, nepotism, selfishness, lack of vision, hypocrisy, pretence and have destroyed our nation, but He is the sovereign God that loves Nigeria, and is willing to give us an opportunity to redeem the time.
How do we as a nation redeem the time?
An ancient Greek statue depicted a man with wings on his feet, a large lock of hair on the front of his head, and no hair at all on the back. Beneath was the inscription: “Who made thee? Lysippos made me. What is thy name? My name is OPPORTUNITY. Why hast thou wings on thy feet? That I may fly away swiftly. Why hast thou a great forelock? That men may seize me when I come. Why art thou bald on the back? That when I am gone by, none can lay hold of me.
How did Singaporeans redeem their nation? Permit me to give this quotation:
“Lee Kuan Yew, was the founding father of one of Asia’s smallest but most developed economies. Lee led Singapore after its separation from Malaysia to emerge as one of the world’s most powerful financial centres. The tiny nation, whose main industry was manufacturing at independence, saw its GDP per capita skyrocket under Lee to one of the highest in the world in 2013, behind just oil-rich Qatar and private banking centre Luxembourg, according to the IMF. Its population has doubled to more than 5m.
Singapore flourished on the inherited advantages and foresightedness of Lee to transform into the ranks of New York, London and Switzerland as a global financial hub. As a key port in the British Empire, Singapore was in a strong position for trading activity. Lee built on this, as the country had no natural resources of its own to exploit.
Even though Lee was criticised by many for leading the country in an authoritarian style that stifled political dissent and press freedoms, his firm grip on power and maintenance of stability gave little scope for corrupt financial practices. The orderliness that Singapore became known for was attractive to foreign investment – billions of dollar poured in, ensuring the country’s success.
Lee maintained a tight grip on domestic finance by preventing the internationalisation of the Singapore dollar and limiting the operations of foreign banks. This meant international firms saw an opportunity to establish themselves in the tiny island nation. Sound financial and economic policy coupled with a corruption free environment and technological advancement meant many multinational firms chose Singapore as a regional hub. Lee championed free trade which helped Singapore attract a free flow of foreign investment and multinational giants such as General Electric. (Source:http://theconversation.com/how-lee-kuan-yew-transformed-singapore-from-small-town-into-global-financial-hub-39192)
What are the highlights from above:What do we need for Nigeria to Redeem the Time?
- Strong Leadership. Leadership that is purposeful, that has stamina. Leadership that is prepared to selflessly move the nation forward and not seize the opportunity to grab.
- Vision. Leadership with vision. I presented a paper under NIDO in Ottawa,Canada in 2010. The thrust of my paper was to warn Nigeria and proffer strategic solution that the vision 2020 of Nigeria will be an illusion if the leadership does not educate the masses about vision 2020, but let it remain just a paper hidden in the ministry of planning. Nigeria at 56 should go beyond vision 2010 or Vision 2020 and set a workable vision to run with regardless of whatever year. A nation that is only responding to crisis will not only go to recession but will always see their dollar ‘dollarised’ as we are seeing now. The present administration can create vision for Nigeria to follow and use their Federal might to execute. President Buhari (and cabinet members) should understudy people like Lee Kuan Yew and go down in history as a leader who through vision and development of human capacity took his nation from zero to hero. Economy is a function of vision. Singapore has no resources than few human beings – compare 5 million to almost 200 million Nigerian, but they have developed the minds of their citizenry.
- Zero tolerance for corruption. There is no nation without corrupt people, human beings have propensity to be corrupt, no nation is born a saint . But nations have capacity to identify their locusts, caterpillars, palmerworms and deal with them. Nigeria has to do that. In as-much as we use judiciary manipulations, tribal sentiments, lack of political will, and refuse to deal with corruption and corrupters, we are only rubbing pepper on our sours and it will continue to pain us. This administration must not just tell us through EFCC those who have looted, misappropriate funds and ruined our nation and still keep them in power to be misruling us, No ! They must create special courts to send them to jail. This administration must not just tell us that they are fighting corruption, they must actually fight corruption . We are tired of October 1st speeches that have no effect on our will to be the nation we want to be. Corruption in Nigeria is thick.
The Assistant to Mr President, Honourable Abike Dabiri-Erewa was in Toronto last month for a town hall meeting with Nigerians in Canada. I attended the meeting. I presented a copy of my book : To the Rescue (Say No To Corruption) to her and she promised to get a copy to Mr . President. What is the motivation and strategy of the book? It is simply that we must develop an approach to fighting corruption; Be proactive about fighting corruption; Teach the masses leadership by example and life style to shun corruption. I encouraged the Special Assistant to facilitate how the youth of Nigeria can read this book and redeem our nation by redeeming the time.
Singapore has become a giant nation not by mouth but by engaging in a principle of zero tolerance for corruption . We can make that not just a slogan but a vision and more importantly a way of governance for our nation.
In conclusion, Joel said the people will be filled with the Holy Spirit and transform their nation. Nigeria has the potential to be great. We are endowed with a Holy Spirt filled, though a secular nation, if only the Christians in our nation will not only go to the church, but be Christ practitioners, our nation will witness monumental development and get the giant of Africa out of the woods. When we allow God to work in our nation, we give Him the access He needs to clean out what the locust (the invading enemy of our souls – sin) destroyed and build up what the Spirit delivers. The Holy Spirit, in effect, redeems what was lost by working through our lives.There is nothing in the Quran that encourages looting nations, let our Muslim brothers too shun looting. As a secular nation, let no religion think it can through manipulations dominate the other. Let the agitators of fragmentation of our nation think of how to buy back our nation from devastation, and know that the bigger the better for us as giant of Africa. ‘Deem’ means to own, to redeem means to re-own, re- control, repossess, redefine our time and how we do things. “Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel awoke one morning and read his own obituary in the local newspaper. It read, “Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, who died yesterday, devised a way for more people to be killed in a war than ever before, and he died a very rich man.” It was Alfred’s older brother who had died; a newspaper reporter had bungled the epitaph. But that account had a tremendous impact on Nobel, who decided he wanted to be remembered for something different. As a result, he initiated the Nobel Prize to reward individuals who foster peace. He said. Every man ought to have a chance to correct his epitaph in midstream and write a new on one.”
As a nation and as individuals, let us re-write the destiny of our nation Nigeria, as we celebrate our God given 56th anniversary.
Long live Nigeria.
Pastor Amos Dada celebrates Nigerian independence in Singapore for the first time and writes from there. Accompanied with Pastor Benjamin Akinrinola are currently on a tour of five nations Singapore,Thailand,Philippine, South Korea and China with a message from the Lord on how individual and nations can redeem the times.